Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, October 31, 2011

Calendar note for #H1

For some reason MTSU has decided to give me a promotion, and they want me to be present with my colleagues and President McPhee when it happens on Nov. 15 at 3 pm. That's a Tuesday, so we'll have to cancel class that day in section #H1. Sorry, luck of the draw.

Here's my proposal for making up that class date, if you can: attend the regularly-scheduled meeting of the Philosophy Club on Nov. 17 (5 PM, JUB 304). Contact its president (and your classmate) Ryan Parrow for details.

Any Thoughts?


Group 005, Section 001 (Honors)

Here are the some questions and topics that were included in the posts for our group throughout the month of October. Hope this helps with the studying for the exam tomorrow. Good luck!

1) What kind of value did James say ideas needed in order to be useful?

A) High value
B) Cash value
C) New value

(Answer: B.)

2) Factual question: True or false?... Both Postmodernism and New Age philosophies have lost the search for truth, and by so doing they simply accept the flow of ideas that spreads across the globe.
(Answer: True.)

3) Factual question: True or false? Gnositicism has elements of spirituality and mysticism in it.
(Answer: True.)

4) Factual:
What era followed Hypatia's death?
1) The Industrial Revolution
2) The Renaissance
3) The Medieval Period
4) The Dark Ages
5) The Enlightenment
6) A period of secular philosophy
7) None of the above

(Answer: 4.)

5) Factual question: What is Averroes known as?
A) The prophet
B) The commentator
C) The physicist
D) Great Thinker
E) The translator
F) The Neoplatonist
G) The nudist
I) The religious philosopher

(Answer: B)

6) Factual question: What was Nicholas forced to do?
A) Drink poison
B) Admit to the Catholic Church that his philosophy was sacrilegious, and repent
C) Burn his writings
D) He was forced into exile.

(Answer: C)

7) A) He said that the planets circle the sun in ellipses
B) He said that the planets circle the sun in perfect circles, contradictory to the prior notion that everything in the universe circled the Earth instead
C) He developed a more accurate, yearly calendar that was based on the motions of the Sun and Earth
D) He said that the planets circle around the sun.
E) Copernicus was the first to introduce the concept that the universe was held in together by gravity.

(Answer: D.)

Midterm Report- The Philosopohy of Vampires

Alyssa Vance
Midterm Report-The Philosophy of Vampires
When I was trying to decide what to do for my midterm report topic I came at a loss, then I noticed the due date was Halloween, and I thought what a better topic to cover than one of the holiday’s scariest, yet most beloved of all the monsters, Vampires. Vampires as we know have been a very hot topic in the last couple of years. From Anne Rice to Twilight people just can’t get enough. The big question, however, is why people seem to be so amused with them, and what got it all started. I am going to examine this philosophy of vampires in 4 parts: In the beginning: The Origin of Vampires, The Fear, The Phenom: A comparison between the favorites of today, and my conclusion along with some interesting sources to check up on if desired.
In The Beginning: The Origin of Vampires
The stories of Vampires have been told for not only the past couple of years but for centuries. But are they real, or simply a figment of our imaginations? It is thought to be a legend or a horror movie icon, but that doesn’t exactly explain why several different societies have stories of them. What do they mean to society, are they something to fear or do they secretly hold great admiration and meaning to us? The stories have surfaced in many different areas, but where do they come from? Did the first story of the Vampire first come from Bram Stoker’s novel Dracula? The book was published in 1897 and was filled with sex, fear and bloodlust. Dracula was a repulsive monster, yet he was irresistible to the fairer sex. He may be the most well known vampire account we have, but he is not the first. Sure he started the general guidelines of no garlic, steak through the heart, allergic to sunlight and silver concept, but he was not the first vampire story. In fact, Bram Stoker may have been influenced by a real life monster, Vlad Dracula from 16th century Romania. Dracul means devil in Romania, and he was known to impale people as a form of punishment so they could die slowly and painfully. However, much to tourist’s dismay that visits Transylvania, there is no recorded account of Vlad Dracula having vampire tendencies. Another vicious real life human monster was Elizabeth Bathery, who was said to slaughter virgins and bathe in their blood; supposedly to keep her young and beautiful, but was there an ulterior motive? Or was the reason of wanting to be kept young and beautiful reason enough? Vampires are often documented as creatures beautiful beyond words, and always appearing young. No matter what, stories of vampires have both terrified and mesmerized us.
The Fear
Leading to first intense fear, people were known to dig up late family members and notice instead of a skeleton there was a bloated corpse with blood around the mouth. Back in the 18th and 19th centuries, people were often victims of plague. Back then plague was more medically confounding than it is today, they had no explanation or reasoning behind their loved ones dying away the way they were. After their loved ones would die from this plague, the remaining family members would experience, supposedly, being haunted by the deceased. The family would then exhume the body, and either cut out the heart or drive a stake through it, as per the legend of how to kill the immortal. The only sickness that could remotely explain it was tuberculosis or consumption. It would even appear that a vampire was forming. The infected would have labored breathing, would stop eating and waste away to nothing, and be coughing up blood. The infection literally would suck the life out of the person infected. The real fear was that the dead family members coming back would infect their other family members with the plague that was so unknown to them at the time. It could only be assumed that if the family members were coming back, there was only one explanation, they had to be still alive. Another scary observation once the body was exhumed was not only the bloated corpse but other tale tale signs, such as growing finger nails and hair growth. This is a terrifying thought, unless you are familiar with decomposition of the human body. The apparent growth if the skin and hair could be easily explained by the drawing back of skin as the body is decomposing; the bloating of the corpse can be explained as gas forming in the body as decomposition is taking place; the blood forming around the mouth is simply blood and other bodily fluids being expelled from the body as this is taking place. Sometimes there would even be audible sounds emitting from the deceased and visible movement, another terrifying observation, which fortunately science can explain. The movement of the body could be explained by the emitting of the gases causing the corpse to bloat, and the sounds are a result of that as well. Another fear was that often when the body had been exhumed and the ritual began as they drove a stake through their loved ones heart, the body would admit a shriek almost as if the body had been awakened and was crying out in pain. This being probably the most terrifying observation of all, if it weren’t due to all those troublesome gases again being released from the dead body.
The visitations may not be able to be explained as well. Perhaps it is a dream, or a ghost, or just a hallucination resulting from intense grief at the loss of a beloved family member; and although it may be clear that those deaths resulting from consumption and the exhumed corpse exhibiting signs of life can be explained by science, there is still more stemming from the stories that baffles scientists and religious figures alike. For instance, the fact that several different cultures both in main stream society and non mainstreamers have accounts, very similar in comparison, of a vampire figure; these stories are being passed around from culture to culture that speak different languages and have different customs, yet they all have accounts and fears of the very same monster. Maybe all the stories stemmed from the same need to explain sickness, or psychosis. Or maybe it all comes from Bram Stoker’s adaptation of the real life monster Count Dracula, being translated in several different languages around the world. However, no matter what the reason, we still question today out of phenom or history whether this vampire truly exists and is actually walking among us. This is a thought that both terrifies and excites us tremendously.
The Phenom: A comparison between the favorites of today
Bram Stoker’s account of the vampire has not only induced fear on a mass scale, but also inspired other authors to create their own form of the popular monster. Vampires have caused widespread fear true, however it has also intrigued generation after generation, and also ensued a mass following in the process. My assumption behind the philosophy behind this is perhaps stemming from Stoker’s account that not only was Dracula a repulsive and terrifying monster, but that he also had some very powerfully attractive and mystical qualities as well. Dracula was filled with not just death and bloodlust, but a very different kind of lust as well. The lust of the unknown, of the dangerous and the forbidden, that fills the pages of the infamous tale of Dracula, is what gets us so infatuated with vampires. From 1897- present vampires and the sultry atmosphere they create has occupied every corner almost of our minds. Not only has the possibility of these creatures being among us gotten everyone all hot and bothered in real life, but in books and movies and TV as well. Therefore, I have created a pop-culture comparion of vampire media to explain the way of thinking of these long standing horror celebrities.
True Blood
Inviting all the traditional vampire lore in as well as creating her own spin on things, Charlaine Harris has created a deliciously sexy world. In her account the vampire is the same one we know and love; the silver allergic-dangerous-provacative-coffin sleeping-sex and blood hungry creatures of the night, howver there are a few key differences between her vampire and the version from Dracula. First, garlic is only a mild irritant, it wont keep them away from you. Second they are allergic to silver, but wearing a silver chain around your neck isn’t always the best form of protection either, these vamps will take it where they can get it and there are several more juicy ateries than that in the neck. Third, they can be seen in mirrors and pictures, Holy water is just water to them, crucifixes do them no harm (unless it’s a silver one or wooden and used in the form of a stake), and they can walk in a church no problem. Many of them just as in famous tales of the vampire will take on a human lover and feed of them. For the main character of Charlaine Harris’s series, the Sookie Stackhouse novels, the appeal of vampires comes from the fact that Sookie is a telepath, and since vampires are dead and emit no brain waves, she cannot hear their thoughts, and after a lifetime of noise a little peace and quiet is much desired. Isabella Swan’s appeal in the Twilight Saga, and the vampires in it, however, are vastly different.
Stephanie Meyer took a very different spin on the vampire when she wrote the famous series, instead of focusing on the demon within she appealed to the good side of the monster. Her vampires can go out during the daytime but not in sunlight, not because of an allergy but because their granite skin sparkles in the sun like a thousand tiny diamonds and people would still know they are different. Unlike Harris’s vamps who are “out of the coffin” so to speak, Meyer’s are not quite as open and still very secretive. They mainstream and try to fit into society, because they don’t want to live as monsters. They drink only of animal blood and one bite could turn you into one of them, unless their bloodlust turns fatal. They don’t have fangs visible but their teeth are like the sharpest knives and can cut through anything like hot butter. Isabella or Bella, falls in love with the loaner of the coven to the point where she cannot live without him and eventually marries into and becomes of them. My question is this; despite being very different versions of the same monster is this…. Which would be most terrifying? The vampire we know the most? Or the unknown that can come out in the daytime and hunt whenever they so choose, and can come into the home of a mortal without and invitation?
As I leave you with this question, I also leave you with a few interesting sources if you wish to learn more and where I got the information for this essay.
Charlaine Harris, Dead Until Dark, ISBN 978-0-441-01699-0, available at most books stores and online(Book Series)
The Twilight Saga, by Stephanie Meyer, available at most books stores and online(Book Series)
National Geographic’s: Is It Real? Vampires, As seen on National geographic(DvD) available For DVD rental at Linebaugh Public Library

Essay Topic Sam (17)

An Evaluation and Critique on Scott F. Parker’s Essay:
“How Deep Does the Rabbit-Hole Go?: Drugs and Dreams, Perception and Reality”

Might post actual essay up later but right now.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Paper topic (16)

Book Review of Successful Intelligence and its relation to Philosophy

Matthew Williams

Friday, October 28, 2011

Exam review questions

Click here to review question slides for #H1, [tim...], #16, & #17. Also eligible for inclusion on Monday's & Tuesday's exam are any question-topics posted to this site in October, as well as topics discussed in my posts.

For extra credit you can prepare an answer to the discussion question of your choice in advance and bring it with you to turn in with your exam, OR write your answer in class. I'll suggest an extra credit question.

Thanks and kudos to #16's Rapheal Dabney for creating a study site, check it out: http://tehgol.com/cophilosophy/pages/

Following last night's incredible Game #6 I'm in the mood to do a small gratuitous kindness, so... essays in #16 & #17 are now due Wednesday, and in #H1 Thursday. 

P.S. Following the Cards' World Series WIN, I'm declaring a semi-holiday on Monday and Tuesday. We will do our exams, and regroup, but not much else. Presentations and discussion of JMH will resume on Wednesday.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Red vs Blue and Philosophy

Copernicus (16) Group 5

Discussion question:
Do you believe heliocentric theory shows evidence for a prime mover or a god?-Is our solar system appear to be intelligently designed? Or is it seem more spontenous, more in favor of other theories (big bang theory,ect.)

Do you believe their are other life forms out there in the universe?

What model of the solar system did Copernicus propose?
A. Geocentric
B. Heliocentric
C. Theocentric
D. Galicentric

Section 001, Group 5

Here are the questions for Copernicus. Nicolas Copernicus developed a new cosmic model that more accurately described the motions of the solar system. Because he did not want to be convicted of heresy, Copernicus merely brought out these ideas as simple speculations and said that even he himself did not believe in them, even though he actually did.

Factual: What was the major scientific contribution that Copernicus brought to cosmology?

A) He said that the planets circle the sun in ellipses
B) He said that the planets circle the sun in perfect circles, contradictory to the prior notion that everything in the universe circled the Earth instead
C) He developed a more accurate, yearly calendar that was based on the motions of the Sun and Earth
D) He said that the planets circle around the sun.
E) Copernicus was the first to introduce the concept that the universe was held in together by gravity.

Discussion: In what ways did Copernicus pave the way for more scientific observations, such as those made by Galileo and Isaac Newton?

(Ps. Did you know that Galileo NEVER dropped objects from the top of the Tower of Pisa? This is a very popular misconception. As an aside, Cinderella's slipper was never glass... it was made of fur. Cool, eh?)

Copernicus Sect 1 Group 5 Questions

Here are some off the cuff questions that I wanted to jot down after reading the section of Doubt on Copernicus.
Discussion: Why was Copernicus so hesitant to publish his ideas? Why did he wait until his deathbed? It stated that when he finally did publish them he didn't even agree with them any longer. Could this mean that he struggled deeply with his own ideologies throughout his life?
Factual: Copernicus believed in his system of astronomy in his later years of life?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Questions for Group 1, Section 1

We didn't meet in our groups on Tuesday, so I'm going to start a post for our group to comment Thursday's questions on, if they so choose! :)

Q: What does "satori" mean?
A: Awakening/ A state of sudden spiritual enlightenment

"Great Doubt, Great Awakening." That almost seems contradictory. Thoughts?

"We eat, excrete, sleep, and get up;
This is our world
All we have to do beyond that
Is to die."

What are your thoughts on this poem by Ikkyu Sojun? Is it depressing or uplifting?

Group 4 (Allie, Asiyah, Hannah, Katie) Sec-1

Here's the whole show. Though it's not as cool without the transitions and you have to click twice for the next slide to develop.

School of Zen group 1 sec 17

The two main schools of Zen were
a. Lin-chi and Moa Zeh Dong
b. T'sao-tung and Chi-chi
c. Lin-chi and T'sao-tung

How accurate do you think Ikkyu Sojun's claim that enlightenment entailed an awareness of the pleasures of life is in describing the process of being enlightened?

Class 17 Group 5 Mickey Wells

Factual Question: The School of Athens was painted between 1510 and 1511 a.d as part of Raphael's commission to decorate with frescoes in the vatican. =True

Discussion Question: "To be able under all circumstances to practice five things constitutes perfect virtue; these five things are gravity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness and kindness." - Confucius. Is there anything we can add to this statement? Is it incomplete?

gruop 5 (17)

true or false: On the Revolution of the Sun and the Stars was the name of the book the Copernicus published in 1543?
answer: false, On the Revolution of Heavenly Spheres was the name of his book

How did Corernicus learn how to predict the path of the planet through our sky?

H1 exam postponed

We'll do the exam in #H1 on Tuesday, not tomorrow. Essays are due from non-presenters on Tuesday as well.


Group 3 Section 17: Pomponazzi & Machiavelli

Factual Question: Who said that a good ruler had to lie sometimes because everybody else did it?

A. Pomponazzi
B. Machiavelli
C. Martin Luther

Answer: B

Discussion Question: Do you agree Machiavelli when he says that "[Christian principles] have made men feeble, and caused them to become and easy prey to evil-minded men, who can control them more securely, seeing that the great body of men, for the sake of gaining Paradise, are more disposed to endure injuries than to avenge them"?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

4(16) Ockham

We didn't have time to discuss in class Monday, so I guess if it's cool with everybody, I'll just pick somebody's questions for the powerpoint? If anyone has anything specific they want put in the powerpoint, let me know tomorrow. Thursday we'll have "The School of Athens." My questions for this are:
Factual: Who painted the "school"? A. Michaelangelo B. Donatello C. Leonardo (Davinci) D. Raphael
Discussion: Can faith alone justify everything? Consequently, if a question can not be justified by faith, is the problem worth overlooking?

Group 2 01

We did not have a chance to form into groups in Tuesday's class, so I will post my questions over the material here and encourage my other group members to post their respective questions as well.

The factual question that I formulated for the test Thursday over the Zohar. The question is, who wrote the Zohar?

The answer is Moses de Leon

Seems creepy

The discussion question I formulated is why do you think that the Zohar was eventually accepted and adopted by the Jewish community?

Section 16, Group 1

For last class, we read about Maimonides. Since we didn't meet, I'll just post my own questions. If anyone feels strongly about their own, though, by all means, share.

Factual: Was Maimonides Christian, Jewish, or Muslim?

Discussion: Do we make and follow laws as an organization/control system for our own human needs, or to please some higher power?


W 26 H 264-285. Zen, Renaissance & Reformation, Pomponazzi & Macchiavelli, “School of Athens,” Copernicus 

Section 1 Group 1 Questions For Test

Q: What theory did Darwin and Wallace propose?

A: Evolution

Q: Who was John Stuart Mills' dad?

A: James Mill

Q: What was the philosophy in which the maximization of personal happiness would be the ultimate end?

A: Utilitarianism

Q: Bertrant Russell produced what piece of work with his partner Alfred Whitehead?

A: Principia Mathematica

Q: Who were Wittgenstein's two biggest influences?

A: Schopenhauer and Nietzche

Q: "Apirkoros" is a generic term used by Modern Jews to refer to what?

A: Atheists.

Q: When the Arabs came into contact with Greek science and philosophy a new breed of Muslim dedicated to an ideal they called the _______?

A: Falsafah

Q: The Falsafah movement used what philosophy to interpret the koran?

A: Greek Philosophy

Q: Which dynasty brought the Muslim world its first golden age?

A: The Abbasid dynasty

Q: Maimonides was run out of Spain by a _________ sect for being _________.

A. Jewish, Muslim

B. Christian, Jewish

C. Muslim, Christian

D. Muslim, Jewish

Q: What Jewish mystical movement took off in response to Maimonides and other Jewish rationalist philosophers?

A: Cabala

Q: Which of these famous works was not written by Maimonides?

A. Guide for the Perplexed

B. Fountain of Life

C. Mishneh Torah

Nicholas of Autrecourt (16) Group 5

Discussion Question:

Do you believe that we cannot truly no anything?
-Can you be skeptical about all claims that knowledge makes?

Is there any true knowledge?

The pope ordered Nicholas of Autrecourt's ________
a. Death, by hanging
b. Books to be burned
c. deportation
d. renewel of Christian vowels



Going off of Platos equation as the sun being the ultimate good, Copernicus concluded the that the sun was a more logical center of our solar system. Contrary to popular belief and many religious belief that the Earth was in fact the center.

Discussion question: Do you believe heliocentric theory shows evidence for a prime mover or a god?
-Is our solar system appear to be intelligently designed? Or is it seem more spontenous, more in favor of other theories (big bang theory,ect.)

Do you believe their are other life forms out there in the universe?

Section 1 Group 1 Questions

My questions over Maimonides.

Which of these famous works was not written by Maimonides?
A. Guide for the Perplexed
B. Fountain of Life
C. Mishneh Torah

  • A quote from Doubt: "People need religion for political and emotional reasons; for ideas our best options are reason, meditation, and resignation. Maimonides saw 'the mass of the religious people' as 'the multitude who observe the commandments, but are ignorant.'"
Is religion as prevalent as it is in our world because of these needs? Do religious people believe in their religion because they think it is truth, or because they need help with these political and emotional struggles?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Group 2 (03)

Our group's topic this time was Ibn-al-Rawandi. He was an extremely interesting figure from Arabic history who sparks much controversy from today's standards.

He has a small image. Sad day.

Our group only had time to produce a factual question which is as follows:

True or False: Ibn-al-Rawandi was a doubter who devoted himself to the community's well-being and grew famous for his generosity, intelligence, and skill.

The answer is "False"

As stated, there was not enough discussion time to produce a discussion question so I invite every member to post and discuss their own. My discussion question is as follows:

Why do you think that there is no agreement as to the nature of Rawandi's heresy in the Muslim community?

For clarification, this is the opposite of heresy.

Y U NO? (2-16) The Zohar!

Factual Question: Who was accredited with writing the Zohar?
Answer: Moses de Leon

Debate Question: Hecht says on page 247 of 'Doubt' "...according to the Zohar each individual, going through his or her lawful obligations, was mystically fixing the world." Do you, then, need to be a part of a specific religion?
Luther and I agree that no, we do not. We already consider ourselves lawful/moral/just/etc. We also don't consider ourselves a part of any organized religion. I certainly see no need in some archaic traditions and texts to tell me how to be a good person if I already do so. It seems to me that this is just a way to follow tradition without needing an explanation. I'm cool with that, but it's not my cup of tea :) What do you guys think?

Questions for Group 1, Section 1

Due to my absence on Thursday, I don't know who the group leader is and I don't really feel like waiting for he or she to post :)

Here are my questions for tomorrow's class:

1. Maimonides was run out of Spain by a _________ sect for being _________.

A. Jewish, Muslim
B. Christian, Jewish
C. Muslim, Christian
D. Muslim, Jewish

Sometimes, I like to get a feel of people's opinions on certain quotes from the book or thoughts mentioned and then formulate a question around that. These are two things I found in my reading that I thought were of  interest:

-The more you negate God's attributes, the closer you'll get to him.
-"People need religion for political and emotional reasons..."

Revised presentations, #H1

1. Asiyah, Hannah, Allie, Katie: Harry Potter & Philosophy
2. Amanda: Sex in the City & Philosophy
3. Jackie: Dr. Who & Philosophy
4 Tim: ???
5. Nick: ???
6. Kristin: God & suffering

Exam #2 clarification

Exams are on the last regularly-scheduled class date of the month. This month that's Monday the 31st in #16-17, and Thursday the 27th in #H1.

So, we'll review in #H1 tomorrow and #16-17 Wednesday. Post all your questions, please.

Group #4 - Section 017

Please Watch and Post your Views.
Homosexuality viewed by Bill Maher

Presentations, 16-17

Remaining presentations (revisesed)

1. Derrick: Job & the Ubermensch

2. Lauren H.: Children's literature & philosophy
3. Shavangi: Bhagavad Gita & philosophy

1. Hicham, William, Teresa, Matt, Zach, Jacob: Atheism and Islamic & Hebrew Philosophy (conclusion)
2. Tracey, Ren, Joel: House & Philosophy
3. Ally: Philosophy and "Greek" (sorority) life

Group 05, Section 001 (New Format)

Okay, this post is going to contain two subjects, since the class is now switching over to the new format for blog posting.

(All group members were present.)

Topic 1: Averroes (For last Thursday's class - 10/20/11)

Averroes was a Middle Eastern philosopher who tried to bring back philosophy into western culture. Following al-Ghazzali, his counterpart who argued that civilization should bring an end to all philosophy, Averroes argued that all people who are capable of reasoning should try to understand philosophy and that outlawing philosophy would be "like a man who prevents a thirsty person from drinking cool, fresh water until he dies of thirst, because some people have choked to death on it." Not only is Averroes arguing to the preservation of philosophy and logical thinking, he is also stating that people should beware the traps and snares of logical reasoning (which I am currently learning how to do in my "Elementary Logic and Critical Thinking Class.") Averroes also claimed that things can be reasoned from demonstrative study, which is close to allegorical and metaphorical justifications of explaining the world around us. Demonstrative study can change with the times.

His writings were significant in the fact that he always had a comment to say whenever he translated Arabic texts in Latin. For example, for each of Aristotle's ideas, Averroes also inserted his own opinion, and he was not afraid to disagree with the ancient philosophers, either. It came to the point that Aristotle became known as "The Philosopher" and Averroes as "The Commentator." Averroes said that philosophy did not clash with the Koran, and that God (contradictory to Aristotle's theory) at least knew us in some sense.

Factual question: What is Averroes known as?
A) The prophet
B) The commentator
C) The physicist
D) Great Thinker
E) The translator
F) The Neoplatonist
G) The nudist
I) The religious philosopher

(Answer: B)

Discussion topic: Do you agree with Averroes that demonstrative studies change with the times?

Topic 2: Nicholas (For today's class - 10/25/11)

Nicholas of Autrecourt was one of his "period's other great Christian thinkers." He was one of the few medieval philosophers to push back into the range of the ancient skeptics. He said that "we can never be certain if two rational notions are causally related, no matter how well they seem to link." Cause and effect, then, are uncertain things. (This puzzles me a little, especially since in my "Elementary Logic and Critical Thinking Class," we are studying valid argument forms in which the conclusion must follow if the premises are true. Here's a common argument form that many of us are familiar with: If A, then B. A, so B. Basically, what Nicholas would try to say, it would seem, is that we could not derive B from A, even if A is true --- and therefore, according to logic courses --- means that B would have to follow.) It came to the point that he doubted even the existence of the physical body. He questioned, therefore, that we cannot determine the existence of a God when we cannot even prove our own existence. He is known as the "medieval skeptic."

Factual question: What was Nicholas forced to do?
A) Drink poison
B) Admit to the Catholic Church that his philosophy was sacrilegious, and repent
C) Burn his writings
D) He was forced into exile.

(Answer: C)

Discussion question: Why was there such as influx of skepticism again in Nicholas's period?

class 17 group 5 Mickey Wells

Question One: Is it at all possible for god to be proven for an absolute certainty?

Question Two: what does this quote mean. "The heavens, the last refuge for the weak?"

Questions for Maimonides 1(17)

1. TRUE or FALSE: The Mishneh Torah was a code of Jewish law intended to guide Jews on how to behave within ONLY religious context?
2. Maimonides dismissed the "accidental" creation of the universe idea for
a. Aristotle's already demonstrated creation theory
b. Plato's creation story
c. a more logic and concrete causation than" accidental" creation
Is it acceptable for Maimonides to essentially write away doubt for his deeply rooted belief in Aristotle's findings?

Group 5 (17)

Do you agree with Nicholas of Autrecourt vindication of cause and effect: we can never be certain if two rational notions are casually related, no matter how well they seem to link.

Why is Nicholas often called the "Medieval Skeptic"?
Nicholas was often called the sole medieval  skeptic because he was known for developing skepticism to extreme logical conclusions.

5-17 questions

Factual- T or F: Nicholas was sentenced to burn his writings and he refused, resulting in his imprisonment.
Answer: False. Nicholas did burn his writings in November of 1347

Discussion: Nicholas states in a letter to a friend that "...you do not know whether the Chancellor or the Pope exists... similarly, you do not know the things of your own body-", which is taken to mean that we cannot know anything: not our own selves, not the world, and certainly not God. Do you agree with this statement, and why or why not?

(Outline) Reality within Reality TV


Reality within “Reality TV”

· Objective: To present information about reality and TV through comparison of philosophy and its great philosophers.

· Caleb (Basketball Wives of LA) compares Buddhism to the element of drama which was attained by seven women’s selfish actions.

· Tara (Jersey Shore) compares the element of drama (within reality TV) to the Greek philosophers’ “drama” and how it creates a superior and inferior world.

· Ian (Teen Mom) compares the rare true reality of the show to Freud’s subconscious philosophy.

Rebekah Schott

My presentation will evaluate Rebecca Newberger's 3rd Argument for the Existence of God: The Argument of Design using my biology and chemistry background. From my presentation you will see, I have not exactly decided which side I stand on. I can see both theories of evolution and creation. And I can also see how their could have been a mixture. Although, I do feel that faith is not an argument, it is someone's personal decision to JUST believe and they don't necessarilly have to have a reason, it is called free will.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Philosphazers! Section 16 Group 1

Discussion question: Why do societies that adopt a relatively new religious philosophy inevitably move toward being far more intolerant of other religions as their's becomes more popular?

Religions tend to benefit the bourgeoisie class, so it is often their duty to indoctrinate the youth into taking immense pride in their religion. This results in the closing off and intolerance towards other religions and belief systems.

Zach Pigg - Group 4-17 Oct. 24th Questions

These questions pertain to William of Ockham

Factual: Ockham rejected which well known philosophers "proof" of god?
A. Confucious
B. Socrates
C. Aristotle
D. Plato

Discussion: Ockham's most famous question was "How much can reason know faith?", his particular answer was "Not at All". Do you believe reason can know faith?

Philosoraptors (2:40)

So it seems I managed to miss a post, so this one is going to have double the content.

First off: the scholastics. They were the result of rationalism vs. mysticism in the Christian faith. They got a hold of some Aristotle writings and had their noses in the books ever since. Mostly they studied systems of logic in language based on Latin. They didn't really apply their new found knowledge to anything, they just studied the theories and observations.

TL;DR version: Most scholastics were Christian schoolmen, or rationalist theologians, that liked to play word games.

Factual Q: Scholasticism can best be described as Empiricism without observation or measurement.
A: True

Discussion Q: Why do you think the Scholastics never really applied their knowledge? My personal opinion is that they had their minds blown by logic problems like "This statement is false."

Part two of this post covers Pomponazzi and Machiavelli.

Pomponazzi believed that the soul is mortal, angels and demons were fake, and possession/demonic prophecy were the result of sickness or insanity. He came up with this conclusion when a student asked how a soul can be eternal and still remain within the natural limits. He believed that the soul is bound to the body and only exists within the body.
Here's a quote that best describes Pomponazzi's beliefs, "It is likely that the whole world is deceived in this common idea of morality. For if we assume there are three major religions--Christ's, Moses', and Muhammad's--either all of them are false and the whole world is cheated, or two are wrong and the greater part of mankind is deceived.

Machiavelli is known for his book The Prince. He was a political thinker who had dissonant views in comparison to the majority. He believed a good ruler must lie sometimes, just because everyone else does it. He questioned the relationship between high morality and worldly success. He also believed that Christianity made men feeble by encouraging them to endure injury rather than avenge it.

Discussion Q: How can the human soul exist eternally if it is bound by natural limits?

I like to believe that the soul is bound by natural limits only when it is attached to the body. When we die, the soul transcends the body. What happens after that, I'm not sure.

Factual Q: Machiavelli believed Christianity makes mankind feeble.

A: True

Sec. 17 Scholastics

Factual Question:

True or False: The Scholastics did not occupy themselves with their observations of the world but with Aristotle's observations of the world.

Answer: True

Discussion Question:

Do you agree with Thomas Aquinas's statement that "everything we see in the world can be accounted for by other principles, supposing God does not exist...natural things can be reduced...[to] nature; and all voluntary things can be reduced...[to] human nature, or will."?

Summary: Philosophy and Horror

My project summaries the impact various horror movies have had on the behavior of the American public since the early 1960s. I focused on the impact horror has had on individuals and the ideas philosophers presented which shaped the movies. Mostly, the presentation focuses on the reactions which the movies create in the audience and why.

"Reality" in Teen Mom Summary

Teen Mom is a show that follows four mothers that had their child at an early age and their families. The focus of the show is on the parents and their hardships. Not only are the hardships time, money, and education based, but they also took a mental toll on the girls as well. This is what I will be focusing on. How the show depicts the girls' psychological struggles in dealing with moving from adolescence to a place of great responsibility in a matter of nine months. The show starts with 16 and pregnant and then chronicles all the way through the early years of child raising and is still on going. The four different stories include jailing, adoption, death of the father and other events that occur through the time with a child. Strengths included in this show are showing an accurate depiction of what some of the difficulties of being a teen mom might be, and showing a wide array of scenarios the parents chose or were thrust into. One of the main weaknesses of the show is that it shows only through the parents perspective so those around them such as friends and parents don't seem as much of an impact as would be in most cases in actuality. Overall the show does however depict a pretty real "reality" that the teens are living in and also shows many psychological hardships. This is one of the stronger "reality" shows on tv and is a semi real one in contrary to the many scripted, fake, or over produced reality shows on air. However since we have no basis of knowing the participant of reality shows true reality it seems more as though they are being depicted by grand puppet masters casting shadows of what we see as reality. This comparison can parallel Plato's story The Cave. We are like those chained to the cave floor. A blank mind content to sit on the cave floor, or couch, and stare at the images being depicted to us, shadows to the cave or television to us. This comparison sheds light to what we see and think we see when watching reality television. While it may appear to the common watching teen mom, myself included, that this is a much more normalized version of reality, we truely do not know and therefore are no better than the prisoners to the cave staring at a wall. Once they get this view of how reality is or should be implanted in our minds, there is a Freudian twist to the seemingly innocent business of warping minds through mindless entertainment. Freud would say they are then able to subconsciously advertise to the audience using products that this new image of reality has projected and makes those living with this new view of reality think they might need a product.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

summary of project : reality tv and phhilosophy

Jershey Shore is an American reality TV show that follows the lives of eight housemates spending their lives and time together. It is clear that the element of drama is needed for any successful "reality" show, and this is exactly the element i would like to focus on. Considering the element of drama within reality tv is equivilent to considering the essence of the show or if it is "reality" at all. When i considered these things i considered the greek philosophers. I cant help but wonder if the famous philosophers Thales, Perminedes, and Plato were ever surrounded by drama. Considering that they lived in a time when philosophy was hailed, and everyone had a different way of thinking, i would say yes, they did have drama. It may not have been drama in a sense of "who is sleeping with who" but i believe it was drama in a sense of who was teaching what and who to listen to. They both can be seen as confusing, stressful, or tiring. Nevertheless, i do believe the element existed. Using Plato as an example, reality tv's (jershey shore) distinction is not between reality and illusion. It is the distinction between the more and less real, a superior and inferior world (37pw). With that being said, it is easy for me to go forth and question how real is reality tv? How much does the youth today relate to what is called "reality" within a tv series? It would be easy for me to call reality tv less real, but it would also be misleading because i realize that a vast majority (of youth and young adults) consider it to be more real. Maybe, because they experience many of the things that the cast does, or maybe it is simply because they see the show often. Regardless of why reality tv is more or less real, one thing it has in common with philosophy is the element of drama.

4(16) Al-Ghazzali

Discussion: Do you believe that if we were all philosophers, then there would be no bloodshed?
Factual: Al-Ghazzali liked Aristotle, but found fault with his arguments for the existence of God. True/False? True.

In class, we discussed Matt's post (where we got our discussion question). We discussed the possibility of all conflicts ending if everyone were philosophers.
Al-Ghazzali doubted everything to the point which he rejected many of the widely accepted beliefs, including Aristotle's propositions for the existence of God. He believed many of the God most believed in was inefficient and useless. For the most part, I think we agreed in class that Al-Ghazzali doubted everything just for the sake of doubting things.

For Monday, we have Ockham. It's a super short section. My questions are:
Discussion: Do you agree that reason can not relate to faith in any way?
Factual: What philosopher other than Al-Ghazzali rejected Aristotle's proof of God?


M 24/T 25 H 239-263. Maimonides, The Zohar, Scholastics, Ockham, Nicholas. Midterm report presentations begin.

But, as previously announced in class,  midterm report essays from non-presenters are not due on the 24th/25th. They're due in #H1 on the 27th, and in #16 & #17 on the 31st (the next exam dates).

We'll also review for the exam. If your group hasn't yet posted all its questions please do so before class begins.  

Here's the order of presentation. We'll plan to do two presentations per class, but if you're "on deck" or "in the hole" please be ready, in case those ahead of you in this schedule fall sick or mute. 

Presenters, when it's your turn please give me a brief written bullet-point summary of the main points of your talk.

1. Asiyah, Hannah, Allie, Katie: Harry Potter & Philosophy
2. Amanda: Sex in the City & Philosophy
3. Jackie: Dr. Who & Philosophy
4. Lacey: Detective fiction & Philosophy

5 Tim: ???
6. Nick: ???

7. Kristin: God & suffering (& Philosophy?)

1. Rebekah: Arguments for the existence of God
2. Maranda: Philosophy of horror
3. Matt: Founding Fathers & philosophy
4. Derrick: Job & the Ubermensch
5. Alex: the first philosophers
6. Duke: Thoreau & the wild
7. Lauren H.: Children's literature & philosophy
8. Lauren B.: Philosophy of music
9. Rachel B.: Hip-Hop & Philosophy
10. Shavangi: Bhagavad Gita & philosophy

1. Ian, Tara, Caleb: Reality & "reality TV"
2. Hicham, William, Teresa, Matt, Zach, Jacob: Atheism and Islamic & Hebrew Philosophy
3. Tracey, Ren, Joel: House & Philosophy
4. Alejandro: House & Philosophy
5. Joe: Hip-hop, rock, & philosophy
6. Robert: Facebook and Philosophy
7. Ally: Philosophy and "Greek" (sorority) life


In class Wednesday, we talked about Al-Warraq, and what he thought about God. We also talked about our plans for our midterm papers.


Who referred to God as an Idiot?
A. Al-Razi
B. Al-Rawandi
C. Al-Warraq

Answer C

What is your opinion on Al-Warraq's Statement "he who orders his slaves to do things that he knows him to be incapable of doing, then punishes him, is a fool"?

Next section is on Scholastics don't forget to post your questions.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Summary of my group project: Reality Shows and Philosophy

Basketball Wives L.A. and Buddhist philosophy

Basketball Wives is a reality show that follows about 7 women in L.A., California who are married or have been married to a current or former NBA player. Surprisingly most of the women are either former girlfriends, ex-wives, or have never been married to an NBA player. As with most reality shows of today Basketball Wives must have an element of drama to the show. However upon watching the show it can be concluded that the drama is throughout the show in abundance, every preview is about whom will “backstab” who, or which “wife” is going to fight the next one. With so much animosity, deceit, and selfishness, I figured what better philosophy to contrast this distasteful show with than Buddhism. In ancient India the Buddha was very concerned with the suffering he saw going on in his land; he was so concerned that he came up with a noble way of living that would combat this suffering. This self transformation was, at its foundation, known as the four noble truths, and the way to liberation known as the Eightfold Path of Buddhism. The Buddhist believed that much of suffering and problems came from our selfish cravings and everything that went along with selfish cravings; selfish ambition, vanity, etc. they believed that this eightfold path could assist in eliminating the selfishness and lead one on the path to Nirvana. So how does this tie in with reality shows, particularly Basketball Wives? Well as I said earlier the show has a large element of drama, and just like suffering the drama was brought about by selfish actions. These women slander each other with gossip and hurtful words towards one another, while Buddhists believe that right speech (one of the eightfold paths of Buddhism) is a way to liberation, or in this case a drama-free lifestyle. Some other guidelines in the Eightfold Path are right seeing, right thinking, right action, right living, etc. all of these clearly contrary to most of the aspects in the show. This philosophy can be compared to numerous popular reality shows; Jersey Shore, Teen Mom, The Real World etc. many of which have the reoccurring theme of misplaced drama. I say misplaced because I honestly believe that the drama is planned out, scripted, and not reality at all, but placed in the shows just for propaganda, to gain ratings. Therefore, according to Buddhism the show is NOT beneficial to society or a “suffering”-free, liberating life.