Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Taoist of Two (Section 8 group 2)

Hey party peoples!!!!!! JK , but my b for getting this up so late....I've been runnin around all of  Tennessee for the past  24 hours.  Here's  the  dealio:

Last class we talked about 3  different things.  Can  universal love exist? We also  took on the Confucians vs. Mo Tzu school's  argument about whether having rulers and a leader is  a   hinderance  or if it   is  a  benefit.  Lastly we   spoke  briefly about  the  Art of War,  Vonnegut, and whether   Mo Tzu having security at his     school contradicted their  belief love....  now GIT HER   DONE!!!!

Section 9-2

Group Members
Nader Issa
Colin Szklarski
Devin Dixon
Ember Parr
Jeremy Buma
Quint Qualls

On Monday, Group 2 embarked on a mystical quest into the deep dark depths of Confucianism, Taoism, and Mo. We didn't know what to expect, but we believe we came out with a psuedo-understanding of the 3.

Confucianism: Emphasis on a paternalistic society, such as that found in China.
Taoism: Along the same lines as Confucianism, but with the "society" being the entire earth. We labeled these folks as "the hippies".
Mo: A universal love, that incorporates every living being and atom as a part of a whole. We compared this idea to a "permanent ecstasy".

All in all, the 3 all seemed to garner one central theme-- to seek harmony, get rid of suffering, and to find enlightenment.

Open Question: Why do you think these 3 system's of thought all came about around the time that they did?

Factual Question: Which of the 3 schools of thought focused on the paternalistic society?

Section 9, Group 4:Post 3

In our class, we discussed Socrates and what he believed and what we thought about what he believed. He was one that said that there was and answer to every basic question. Though he did not possess the answers, he believed that there was one. He wanted others to seek the answers for themselves. He never wanted to degrade or belittle anyone because of what they thought. He had a huge impact in the philosophical world because of the life he lived, and ultimately died from. He was killed for what he believed. Up until the last night before he died, his friends tried to get him out but he refused. He said, "I would rather die than give up philosophy." And that's exactly what he did.

Factual question: Who was the famous philosopher that was a student of Socrates?

Discussion question:Do you believe, like Socrates, that there is an answer to all the basic questions in life?

PLATO (11/5)

Katie, Robb, Dave, Shawn, Jamie

Which one is more important

the key to the breathe body soul is:

- if you believe that theres no afterlife then the body is all about the now
- but if you believe in the soul then you have to believer in the afterlife

What is the figurative meaning of Plato's the cave?

Inside the cave

In Plato's fictional dialogue, Socrates begins by describing a scenario in which what people take to be real would in fact be an illusion. He asks Glaucon to imagine a cave inhabited by prisoners who have been chained and held immobile since childhood: not only are their arms and legs held in place, but their heads are also fixed, compelled to gaze at a wall in front of them. Behind the prisoners is an enormous fire, and between the fire and the prisoners is a raised walkway, along which people walk carrying things on their heads "including figures of men and animals made of wood, stone and other materials". The prisoners watch the shadows cast by the men, not knowing they are shadows. There are also echoes off the wall from the noise produced from the walkway.
Socrates suggests the prisoners would take the shadows to be real things and the echoes to be real sounds, not just reflections of reality, since they are all they had ever seen or heard. They would praise as clever, whoever could best guess which shadow would come next, as someone who understood the nature of the world, and the whole of their society would depend on the shadows on the wall.

What is the deeper meaning behind this allegory?
Can you think of a moment or period in your life that you have experienced going out from the cave into the sunlight?
How did it feel?
What were people's reaction?

Plato the social misfit!!!

"Rulers should be thinkers not followers
they believed that rule should be in the hands of those who know best and have insight  into virtue-- philosophers."  

It is noteworthy, to begin with, that Plato is, among other things, a political philosopher. For he gives expression, in several of his writings (particular Phaedo), to a yearning to escape from the tawdriness of ordinary human relations. (Similarly, he evinces a sense of the ugliness of the sensible world, whose beauty pales in comparison with that of the forms.) Because of this, it would have been all too easy for Plato to turn his back entirely on practical reality, and to confine his speculations to theoretical questions. Some of his works—Parmenides is a stellar example—do confine themselves to exploring questions that seem to have no bearing whatsoever on practical life. But it is remarkable how few of his works fall into this category. Even the highly abstract questions raised in Sophist about the nature of being and not-being are, after all, embedded in a search for the definition of sophistry; and thus they call to mind the question whether Socrates should be classified as a sophist—whether, in other words, sophists are to be despised and avoided. In any case, despite the great sympathy Plato expresses for the desire to shed one's body and live in an incorporeal world, he devotes an enormous amount of energy to the task of understanding the world we live in, appreciating its limited beauty, and improving it.

Confuciousm, Taoism, and Mo (11/2)

Today we had a short discussion about what Taoists think about the world, and how they believe that all is done harmoniously. The Taoists feel that rulers did not rule, the wise rulers are the ones who rule as little as possible. With all that being said our group pretty much summarized that when you lead it should be from what you feel and instincts, not what you are taught from a textbook. Basically you should follow your common sense not necessarily what others say is right.

The Chinese needed a harmonious society in order to understand philosophy. Also they felt that the sole end of ethics as the promotion of a harmonious society. With all this being said human beings can be influenced by their circumstances around them; they cannot control them or secure their success or failure.

1. According to Confucius, what is the single most important virtue in a society?
Answer: Good leadership pg 23
2. Would you agree with Mencius about human beings being naturally good or Hsun Tzu, that human beings are naturally bad?


W 1/Th 2 - PW 40-49* - Aristotle, Stoics, Skeptics, Indigenous American philosophy, African philosophy. RECOMMENDED: JMH ch1 (p.21-44),ch4

The syllabus has gotten ahead of us, it says you’re to have read to p. 59 today but that’s 10 pages too far. Consider yourself a leg up.

A question's been raised about posting pictures & videos. Is it ok? Yes indeed, if relevant. I love philosophical cartoons and comics (check the archives of this site and you'll see lots of examples from last semester).

Remember, everybody post a comment on your group rep's summary of last time's discussion and/or a response to last time's discussion question, AND suggest (1) a question for discussion next time, & (2) a factual question based on next time's assigned reading. (Read that slowly again a second time, or a third, if you're still puzzled.)

If you were absent, you should still post a comment on last time's discussion and/or a response to last time's discussion question, as well as your questions for next time.

If you're ready to comment and your rep has not yet posted: either go ahead and put up a new post yourself, or send your comment to me or someone else to post for you.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Special Group 6 (section 8) Elisha, Justin, Nate, & Ray


In our discussion our group chose to focus on Protagoras, one of the sophists. (sophists are teachers who use philosophy to teach virtue) In our readings we found that he says that we should believe what is useful to us.  According to Protagoras, this has to suggest a kind of skepticism as his ideas kind of proposed that existence could be based on human influence instead of any deity. He also says people aren't oblivious to what is in the world. For example we know what is real and do not question what is real. We discussed Socrates "man in the cave theory" (people believe what they are told & don't go and search for answers for themselves) and then we went on to talk about how Protagoras' "man is the measure of all things" is opposite to the "man in the cave theory".  "Man is the measure of all things" says we know what everything and don't rely on other to tell us what is real because we just know.

FQ: Who said, "Man is the measure of all things."? 

IQ: What do you think "Man is the measure of all things." mean?

Group 1- Section 9. January 30th Post.

Today our group discussed a documentary on Netflix about how Buddha left his family and newborn child to go pursue his personal dream. Dr. Oliver talked to our group about the dalai lama. He also told us about a guy who got tapped to be the next Dalai Lama, but he denied the request in order to continue his music. This was all very interesting, and led us into a discussion about whether or not leaving your family to pursue Nirvana is a selfish act. It seems relatively contradictory.

Fact: What are the "Four Noble Truths" of Buddhism?

1) Life is suffering
2) Suffering arises from selfish craving
3) Selfish craving can be eliminated.
4) One can eleminate selfish craving by following the right way.

Discussion: Buddhists say you are essentially insignificant in life and in the universe. Does the thought of being completely insignificant make you feel angry/sad/useless or is it a positive thing for you?

Section 8, Group 3: Philosophy (1/30/12)

Discussion Question: Do you believe that we have a soul and in an afterlife? And do you think that the idea of an afterlife influences people’s behavior?
In class we discussed our own views and beliefs of having a soul and if we think there is such a thing as an afterlife.  Most of us agreed that we do have a soul and that we do think there is some sort of an afterlife.  And that our belief in an afterlife does influence our behavior in the most part.  But then again we cannot prove that an afterlife exists, in reference to science.  We also discussed that science always wants to prove everything and have a logical explanation for why everything happens.  Even though, there are some things that are unexplainable.  That led us to a different topic, and we began to discuss whether scientology was a religion or not.  And some group members agreed that it wasn’t.  Also, talked about the school people has to attend in order to become priests, and if anybody can go to this school, just to learn about the history of religion and how different religions came to be.  At the end, we also asked ourselves how our behavior would be influenced by the idea of a soul and an afterlife. Furthermore, asked each other if we would behave differently if we did not believe in an afterlife or a soul.  We concluded that maybe some of us would, but for the most part we think that we would essentially behave the same, because most of us have moral standards that we come up with personally, regardless of religion or other beliefs.  In addition, we said that even if we are not part of any religion or any other spiritual group, as humans we feel guilt for the things we do that we feel are wrong.  We know what is wrong and what is right even if nobody tells us.  There is just an inner voice I think all humans have that we call guilt, which makes us feel uneasy when we do something we can just feel is wrong. 

Factual Question:
Who were three materialists?

Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes.

Group Members:
Alexa, Kenya,
Ryan, Sarah, D'Juan, Cameron, and Nayeli.

Plato Section 9 Group 5

Today our group discussed Plato. He had some very interesting ideas, like when he said that the soul is nothing without the body, and the body is nothing without the soul. We also thought it was interesting to think about his idea of the "two world cosmology." What if our existence was made up of two separate, yet intertwined worlds, the "world of being," and the "world of ideal forms," like saying that humans are part of the "being," while nature and the universe are part of the "ideal forms?"
We also discussed how the death of Socrates possibly gave birth to the rest of Western philosophy, and Plato's censorship of the arts. Though the later may seem a tangent to some extent, we raised the question: why would Plato want to censor the arts? Yes, it encourages a freedom of expression and free thought, but when one is philosophizing is it not free thought that gives birth to new concepts and ideals? In truth, the main thing we could come up with is that Plato disliked the arts because of arts inability to truly capture and convey the depth and "truths" of philosophy. 

Section 8 group 5 1/30/12 (Plato)

We looked at Plato's republic, and his view that philosophers should oversee the society.
In Plato's view, everything a person did would affect the society as a whole. He believed that what people did should be for the good of the Republic and not for the good of self.
We discussed Plato's idea that every person is born with an innate knowledge of virtue, good, and beauty. Is this knowledge instilled in us at birth? Mostly the group seemed to believe that these things are dependent on learning--except maybe beauty.

Zarathustra/Zoroastrianism (11/4)

Zoroastrianism is a philosophy and a religion based on the teachings of Zarathustra.  Zarathustra believe there was a god who created the universe and he, as well as other Zoroastrians, worshiped fire because he believed that fire purifies the soul.  He is also the one who first asked, no verbatim, "If there is a good, righteous God, why is there so much pain and suffering in the world?" Correlating with this is the philosophy Zarathustra had of the origin of evil and suffering.  He explained two spirits that were created by his creator god, Ahura Mazda, would battle on the earth.  One spirit being good and the other was bad.  Because of the wars between the two spirits, our suffering takes place as aftermath.  A human's free will is another problem since this would allow us to take side to either the good spirit or the bad spirit; however there is an outcome to the alliance taken to either side of the two spirits at the end of the world.  Zarathustra did believe that those who united with the good spirit will go to an afterlife that is similar to what we today would consider Heaven.

Now that we all understand more about Zarathustra and his teachings, and not just about the piece of musical composition he might have been named after (Also Sprach Zarathustra),  this is what our group discussed:
There is alot of evil in the world.  We concluded that majority of the evil and suffering in the world is rooted to greed.   Jared brought up an interesting experiment on money and apes.  Researchers taught apes the value of a currency, in which they taught the apes that they could purchase food for the currency.  During this experiment, female apes resulted in prostitution for the money and theft occurred often.  Another example of this is the suffering endured by restaurant and retail employees during the holidays.  In most retail establishments, stores are open earlier and close later during the holiday season and employees not only work 40 or more hours a week, most of these retailers submit what is known as a blackout.  A blackout is a time period in which employees of a company are expected to an open availability and cannot ask off during that time period, ever.  Beginning this year, toy stores opened as early as 10:30pm Thanksgiving NIGHT, electronic stores opened at midnight and clothing stores continued to open at 3-5am for Black Friday shoppers.  Most employees worked 12 hour days with a one hour break.  Many retailers and restaurants are also open on Thanksgiving and Christmas day --the two major holidays that are sacred to majority of American citizens.  These retailers and restaurants are cutting into the common man's time with his family and friends just to increase the profits of their business.
We also believed that God has a very hands-off approach on pain and suffering.

Who was the god Zarathustra created?  Ahura Mazda (zoom zoom lol)

Why do you think there is so much pain and suffering in the world?  Do you believe that if there is a god(s) that they allow suffering for positive reasons later on?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Group 4 Section 8 1/25

Our group discussion was centered on the theme of Zoroastrianism, however we expanded the conversation to talk on the subject of religion in general in our generation today.  With that we ask this discussion question:  What is the difference between religion and a relationship with God and also can a civilization exist without some form of religion?

Q: Zoroastrianism is the belief of how many God(s)?
A: 1

Group 4 Section 9 1/25

Our group discussion was on Zoroastrianism. This philosophy was the first to focus on the nature of god and evil and the conception of a single Creator God. As to good and evil we discussed that evil was a reinforcement of faith, similar to the book of Job where he is "tested" by God with personal disasters but Job maintains his faith in God.  "he insist that his ways need not be comprehensible to human beings, thus the need for faith despite the apparent injustice " (17)  We also said that most evil stems from stems from greed.
Zarathustra explained suffering as a war between which two spirits?
What kind of world would we live in without evil? Do you think people lose "faith" because of evil?

Section8 Group1 Post#2

Our last discussion started around fate vs. logos. We discussed wether we thought fate or logos was real in any form. We talked about How much control we have over our own lives based on the idea of fate and/or logos.We all agreed that there is at least a sertian amount of control we do have, but there are some things that happen and or dont happen to us that we can't control(wether it be caused by fate, logos, or just coincidence).

Factual Question: In buddism, What is the condition of enightment without misery known as? Nirvana

Discussion Question: How much truth does the "Four Noble Truths" of buddism actually hold?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Section 8-Group2 (from Tamara)

Okay, I'm not sure if people actually know what group number they are because, we are section 8 group 2. 

Last class we talked about Hinduism, their gods being related to humans.  We had a nice little spat about whether or not it is a selfish religion becauseyou are trying to achieve nirvana for yourself.  We also talked about, good vs. evil, God vs. Devil, Is there a heaven or hell??? Alrighty then..... YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO NEXT :)))

(PS- if you don't know, post something we talked about last class, post a factual question, post a discussion question, and discuss for a bit)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Section 8: Group 2: Eastern India

Group Members
Nader Issa
Colin Szklarski
Devin Dixon
Ember Parr
Jeremy Buma
Quint Qualls

Wednesday, Group 2 proceeded to have a discussion of cosmic proportions concerning the Hindu religion. We discussed the concept of Hedonism vs Poly and Mono Theisms. We had a difficult time deciphering the differences between Hindu hedonism and Christian monotheism in regard to the Christian Trinity vs. Multiple Hindu Gods. We had trouble find our footing in that conversation, but we were able to come to the conclusion that if there was a difference, it was not a very significant one.

Open Question:
If God is believed to be "in everything", why does Polytheism, Monotheism, and Hedonism exist as separate ideological belief systems?
Factual Question: What is the difference between Polytheism, Monotheism, and Hedonism?


M 30/T 31 PW 18-39. Buddhism & Jainism, Confucius & Taoism, Early Greek philosophy, Socrates, Plato. RECOMMENDED: JMH ch3 & p11-24

Remember, everybody post a comment on your group rep's summary of last time's discussion and/or a response to last time's discussion question, AND suggest (1) a question for discussion next time, & (2) a factual question based on next time's assigned reading. (Read that slowly again a second time, or a third, if you're still puzzled.)

If you were absent, you should still post a comment on last time's discussion and/or a response to last time's discussion question, as well as your questions for next time.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Evil/Suffering (11/5)

Katie, Robb, Dave, Shawn, Jamie

 Group 5 discussed the following:

What is evil? 
                 the absence of Good.  

Why does evil coincide with death?

Why is there evil and suffering?

There is no question that the world is filled with an appalling amount of evil and suffering. We are impacted by this reality every day on all levels: emotional, intellectual and practical. As such, it is not surprising that people have a difficult time reconciling this harsh reality with the idea of an all good, all powerful God.
  1. God exists
  2. God is all good
  3. God is all powerful
  4. Evil exists (Kreeft and Tacelli 1994: 129).
If we affirm any three of these propositions, it seems we must reject the fourth. For example, if we accept that God exists, is all good and that evil exists, we must reject the idea that God is all powerful, otherwise he would put a stop to evil. Or, if God exists and is all powerful and yet evil also exists, then God must not be all good, because he wills or allows evil to exist.
In the philosophy of religion, the problem of evil is the question of how to explain evil if there exists a deity that is omnibenevolentomnipotent, and omniscient (seetheism).[1][2] Some philosophers have claimed that the existences of such a god and of evil are logically incompatible or unlikely. Attempts to resolve the question under these contexts have historically been one of the prime concerns of theodicy.
Some responses include the arguments that true free will cannot exist without the possibility of evil, that humans cannot understand God, that suffering is necessary for spiritual growth or evil is the consequence of a fallen world. Others contend that God is not omnibenevolent.
One example among many of a formulation of the problem of evil is often attributed to Epicurus[9] and may be schematized as follows:
  1. If an all-powerful and perfectly good god exists, then evil does not.
  2. There is evil in the world.
  3. Therefore, an all-powerful and perfectly good god does not exist.

Romans 6:23
the wages of sin are death...
so sin is the cause of evil...
but if someone dies is it because of sin or evil.
So maybe this evil thing is suspect unless you believe in the word of GOD like I do then it makes sense.
ohh, did you ask why it made sense... Glad you asked.

ok Jesus came to the earth born of a virgin... blah blah blah.. you know the story...
he died but rose on the 3rd day so we can have the right to grace... He was sacrificed for our sins & transgressions...  
So now we (Christians) are saved by grace which means that we can be forgiven of our sins, if we express them to him.  

evil, problem of
Bad things sometimes happen. Whether they are taken to flow from the operation of the world ("natural evil"), to result from deliberate human cruelty ("moral evil"), or simply to correlate poorly with what seems to be deserved ("non-karmic evil"), such events give rise to basic questions about whether or not life is fair.
The presence of evil in the world poses a special difficulty for traditional theists, as both Epicurus and Hume pointed out. Since an omniscient god must be aware of evil, an omnipotent god could prevent evil, and a benevolent god would not tolerate evil, it should follow that there is no evil. Yet there is evil, from which atheists conclude that there is no omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent god. The most common theistic defense against the problem, propounded (in different forms) by both Augustine and Leibniz, is to deny the reality of evil by claiming that apparent cases of evil are merely parts of a larger whole that embodies greater good. More recently, some have questioned whether the traditional notions of omnipotence and omniscience are coherent.

(11/2) Early Indian Philosophy

Our discussion today was kind of difficult because we only had 2 group members but Dr. Oliver joined in with some input. It turns out that just about the oldest recorded philosophy comes from India. It is known as Hinduism, yet, this is not the religion. The book stated that "Hindu" is referring to a place, "east of the Indus river" (9). It is composed of a wide variety of beliefs and a particular social system (caste system). They saw life as more of an illusion, with a veil between them and reality. They are characterized with believing in fantastic creatures and having a trinity of gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. However, these are merely the faces of one God. This view is difficult for us in the West to really grasp because of the mysticism.
An interesting discussion that we had was about Nirvana. There are many differing ideas of Nirvana but we came to it being when you are completely content in your life and will remind that way for an extended amount of time. Indian philosophy sees it as having spiritual self-discipline and reaching a deeper reality with a blissful experience. I found it interesting that many of them reach this through yoga. In our western culture we have adapted yoga for the physical fitness of the practice, but this has caused some discontent with other practicing cultures. They practice for the spiritual side of yoga.

The ultimate aim in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism is to achieve freedom from everyday troubles.

Questions: What influential book did the Hebrew thinkers leave us with? (the Hebrew Bible or "Old Testament")
[Discussion] What is your definition of "Nirvana"?

11/2 Can someone in Group 2 post for Rachel?

Posted for Rachel Gocken:

I am e-mailing you to inform you that I won't be able to make it to class today, I have been getting sick for about 24 hours now, and I believe I have food poisoning. I'm sorry for the inconvenience.  

Also, I am the group rep for Group 2 section 11, if possible could you have someone in my group either become an author and post today's discussion notes, or have them e-mail me at rag3n@mtmail.mtsu.edu? That way I can still get our post for this week up.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Skeptic (11/5)

Katie, Brooke, Robb, Dave, Shawn, Jamie

 Group 5 discussed the following:

What is Skepticism? 
philosophical skepticism is an overall approach that requires all information to be well supported by evidence.[4] Skeptics may even doubt the reliability of their own senses
In philosophical skepticism, pyrrhonism is a position that refrains from making truth claims. A philosophical skeptic does not claim that truth is impossible (which would be a truth claim). The label is commonly used to describe other philosophies which appear similar to philosophical skepticism, such as academic skepticism, an ancient variant of Platonism that claimed knowledge of truth was impossible. Empiricism is a closely related, but not identical, position to philosophical skepticism. Empiricists see empiricism as a pragmatic compromise between philosophical skepticism and nomothetic science; philosophical skepticism is in turn sometimes referred to as "radical empiricism."

Why is Skepticism such a huge part of our society (then and now)??

In life we all have fallen short by being skeptics at one point or another.  In fact isn't it inhumane to not be that way... THINK ABOUT IT!!!  
Life deals you a bad hand and what do we do complain about how horrible life is and how we wish we would die... but all that damn complaining doesn't change a damn thing..  
We struggle trying to maintain sanity throughout doubt but isn't it inevitable?
Your reality could be as black and white as a zebra but a skeptic will see and find grey somewhere.

Hecht says this:  What is more, all the philosophers systems were vulnerable to argument.  Pyrrho believed the opposite of every statement could be asserted with plausibility.  Also, our senses and minds provide false or merely narrow information.  WE SHOULD TO ATTEMPT TO HAVE NO OPINIONS.  

analogy--------->  lil kids playing a game without putting a quarter in the game...
the game is doing what it wants to do but the kids is given the perception that they're playing the game.

HIND SITE IS 20/20 but reality is what you feel is real...

Group 3, Section 8 : Hebrew Philosophy (1/25/12)

Discussion Question: Why do you think the Hebrews chose to believe in a single God (monotheism), as opposed to the many Gods/Goddesses of other cultures (polytheism)?

We only briefly discussed our actual discussion question this class, as we got a little bit carried away talking about our own religious beliefs (or feelings on that topic, anyway), sparked by some of the conversation in class pertaining to another group's discussion question that was posted on the blog from last class (the 9/11 question). That, and making sure we were all on the same page about being respectful of our group member's beliefs so that nothing ever gets heated.

As far as the Hebrews go, we talked and speculated about how we think Judaism came about when so many other cultures during that time still believed in and worshiped many Gods (although the Hebrews were not the first to adopt a monotheistic belief system). One theory we touched on as to why the idea of a single God may have been appealing, is that the human mind is always seeking some sort of explanation as to why the world is the way it is, and attempting to relate that to the our own human minds. The idea of one single, omnipotent God correlates to the sense of the individual that all humans experience. Also, the belief in one God as all-powerful and loving, and yet still fallible and wrathful, easily explains away the misfortunes the Hebrew people experienced.

Factual Question: What were the three key concepts in Hebrew Philosophy?

  • The belief in a single God.
  • The sense of being favored or "chosen" by that God.
  • The importance of the God-given law.

Group Members:

We also had a new group member for this class, but I didn't catch his name! Just comment and I'll update the list of members. Also, I apologize for the formatting of the subject - if Dr. Oliver posts how he wanted the title to be formatted, I'll change that too.


Epicurus believed that we should always be happy.  In order to fulfill this impossibly happy state, we have to be self-sufficent, surrounded by friends and live fearless of pain, death and the gods.  We came to the conclusion that Epicurus emphasized getting control of your mind.  Basically, he argued that if you accept it, you no longer live in fear of it.  If we can get control of that we have the capability of always being happy.  Epicurus also said, "We must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness; since if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed toward attaining it."  Do what makes you happy.  If you don't you will never be satisfied until it happens.   We also took this statement as an emphasis on "living in the moment." 

Questions are:
(factual followed by discussion)

1.  Epicurus believed there were gods out in the universe somewhere.  Why did he tell us not to fear them?

2.  Do you believe that today's younger generation is following Epicurus's idea of living in the moment/doing the things that bring us the most happiness or are they pre-meditating on the future?

Group 1-Section 9. Jan 25th Post.

Today our group talked about fate vs. logos and our views on both. We all had different opinions on what fate meant in relation to logos. Even though we all had different views, we did come to the mutual agreement that there is never a way for life to be completely planned out step by step. Chris mentioned a book he read about religion and about how different religions have different beliefs on which is the "right" one. We all started to wonder on how do we know which religion will actually get you to heaven? This is when Chris explained to us that it's like a map..there are all kinds of paths to take that are leading various directions but somewhere on that map, there is a certain point that everyone will cross eventually. Therefore, we all have the opportunity to choose the "correct" religion at some point.

Fact: In place of whims and passions of the gods and the uncertainties of fate, there had to be _____.

Answer: logos.

Discussion: Is it right to say that any one religion is the "right" one? What about people who never leave their particular tribe in the middle of Africa and have never heard of any other religion? Are they still destined to hell? Is it their FATE to go to hell because they had no opportunity to learn other religious views?

Sec 9 Group 3 #2

      In class today we spent a lot of the time comparing the Hebrew texts and religion with Christianity and other religions around the world. We noted the similarities of the dominant religions and discussed the possibility of them all developing form one specific idea or religion. The root of the conversation digressed from the subject of the Ten Commandments and the 'main laws of religion' and these similarities in multiple cultures. We asked: What came first, the laws that society then followed, or society and its norms, then written as law? Also, we talked about people in specific circumstances where they would be brought up devout to one religion, but never getting a chance to hear or experience the options of other ideas in the world. We then asked: Why did no one question what they were being told? The last segment of our conversation was focused on the Bible, and other religious texts, and whether it is a credible source for history. Do we think the Bible is still the same, if not similar, to its very original text? Are the stories and lessons the same? Or have they been altered over time, either by chance or accident, or deliberately? 

      We had a great discussion today guys, and I hope that everyone can gain access to the blog and will comment! See you Monday!

Special Group 6 (section 8) Elisha, Justin, Ray, & Nate!

In the Beginning! We talked about Philosophy getting started and spread around to different cultures. We know that Philosophy didn't just spontaneously start, during trades between the different cultures ideas were also swapped. From Asia, to the Mediterranean, the Nile, and the middle East ideas were shared and spread around. Each culture had different systems of math and science so sharing all this info helped broaden everyones intelligence.

FQ: What were the original Hindu theorists called?

IQ: What would have happened if all the different cultures didn't share or trade their ideas?

Section 8 group 5 1/25/12

Is suffering unnecessary? We briefly discussed this and would like to hear others opinions.

Also does evil exist in the world because it is a counterpart to love just like hot and cold?

1/25: Section 9, Group 5, Suffering and the Problem of Evil

Why suffering? Zoroastrians and the Problem of Evil
Zarathustra was the founder of Zoroastrianism and worshipped Ahura Mazda, the creator of the universe. He also recognized lesser deities who were concerned with “particular aspects of nature” (pg 16). We get the “problem of evil” from Zoroastrianism: why does suffering and pain occur in the world if God is good and powerful? It would be easy to understand this problem if God was not good or omnipotent. Many struggle with this problem: “Even Jesus asked, ‘Why have you forsaken me?’” (pg 17).
The book of Job in the bible tells the story of a man who God allows to be tortured by Satan in order to “test” him (pg 17). Eventually, God allows Job to live happily again, but he denies that Job needs to understand why he was put through such pain and suffering. But here is the question that the book (and I’m sure everyone else) keeps coming back to: “Why should man suffer for no reason?” (pg 17). 
An answer to the problem of evil can be explained through another evil being like the Devil. Zarathustra explained that suffering came from two opposing forces, one all-good and one all-evil. But doesn’t it stand to reason that if the all-good force (God, or Ahura Mazda etc.) was more powerful than the all-evil force, there would be no suffering? And wouldn’t it mean that if there was a being as powerful as “God,” then there would no longer be just one God? So, we are still stuck. 
This also begs the question, “what is our personal responsibility in the face of these overwhelming cosmic powers?” (pg 18). Zoroastrianism answers this question with the response of free will. 

Group discussion: We talked about the concept of God's power and his knowledge, the possibility of an opposing force like the devil. Maybe suffering occurs because humans are fallible and imperfect. But then why would God create us that way? Does free will have to exist for there to be suffering? Does the fact that suffering exists mean we have free will?

We also thought about what the purpose of suffering might be, regardless of religion. Maybe suffering exists for there to be a balance in the universe (i.e. it must be possible for suffering to occur, suffering must occur for there to be a such thing as happiness and goodness). 
Factual QuestionsWhat do Zoroastrians believe about lesser Deities? What were their role? Why do Zoroastrians believe that evil exists? 

Open QuestionsAre these questions of Evil and suffering unique to Zoroatrianism? Why are these such universal and fundamental questions? Why can’t there be a resolution within a religion that seems to satisfy the question of why suffering exists? Can we talk about suffering without the religion frame of reference? 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Group 4 Section 9

 Our group discussed the questions used by Hecht in her Doubt quiz. We came to the conclusion that as we read the questions we were able to easily identify which direction the response would take : yes or no God. As Dr. Oliver discussed in class we should have probably taken the quiz with a more open minded almost innocent approach, we wondered if others encountered the same situation. We also discussed the statement made by Hecht : " believers refuse to consider the reasonableness of doubt, and nonbelievers refuse to consider the feeling of faith." We discussed  the importance of considering opposing view points not only in philosophy but also other fields such as politics where major parties are strongly divided, we concluded with defining doubt.    
Factual question: Which French Philosopher wrote about the difference between problems and mysteries?
Discussion question:  Do you think studying  philosophy would help us understand various societal problems such  as inequality, war, political power etc..? Does doubt make you abandon beliefs or critically analyze one's viewpoint thus strengthening an argument?

Teshell Gales Section 8

Hello my lovely philosophy class! My name is Teshell Marie Gales. I am currently a Freshmen at MTSU. I'm currently studying political science. I am a Pre-Law major. Just to get to know me a little I am 18 years young. My birthday is April 5th. I enjoy playing basketball and watching basketball. My favorite NBA team is the LA Lakers. I am a family of nine children.  And I am the only one in college at the moment. But hopefully with time and patience that will change. I am the aunt of 2 handsome boys by the name of Don and Jeremiah and a beautiful niece by the name of Shaniya. I am not sure what this semester will hold for me. Quite frankly I have no idea what philosophy is. I just know it requires a lot of deep thinking. But hopefully I have brilliant classmates who are beyond understanding and will work with me. :) I have a lot of potential and I am quite excited to get to know each and everyone of you and how you all think ! 

Cynics (11/2)

During our discussion period in Tuesdays class we talked about The Cynics, what they were what extremes they went to and whether or not we agreed with how they lived. As we briefly discussed in class, cynic is a Greek work meaning dog, and what a Cynic did was choose to live life like animals do; they rejected all possessions and social forms and slept outdoors. That is what the book stated, now our group felt that would have been cynicism taken to a bit of an extreme.

We also feel that The Cynics felt even though they were lower class, they didn't lack anything because they didn't want anything. For example Diogenes was completely content with his lifestyle of being a Cynic because he didn't want much, he was happy with the little he had. Now on the other spectrum of things you have Alexander the Great and if he wanted something he would go out and get it, nothing would stop him.Those who followed Diogenes simply gave up what they had, as a sense of freedom.

Alexander the Great once offered Diogenes, who was laying in the street, absolutely anything he wanted, and Diogenes reply was to stop blocking his sun. Diogenes had found a way to be completely content with how he lived his life. Group 2 doesn't feel this is how everyone would wish to live or that every Cynic would choose to be that devoted, some might just go without what we consider necessities, other may follow Diogenes, what they do is their decision. People who chose this lifestyle shouldn't be frowned upon, they're living how they want to, not how society says they should.

1. Who does the book Doubt refer to as a well known Cynic?
2. If you were a Cynic to what degree would you take you life?

Section 8 Group 4

Hey all, sorry I'm getting this up so late but oh well.  I look forward to seeing you all again tomorrow and getting back into the wonderful world of philosophy.
Here are the questions from today in class.
Q: What great philosophers helped develop the idea of atheism.
A: Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, and Friedrich Nietche. (Pg. xix)

Also the discussion:
Why are things the way they are?  How should things be ideally?  What would a utopia society be like?  Is it even possible to create a utopia?  If so how would a utopia assure personal freedoms?  What then should we do to those who wouldn't cooperate with the system?  If you control or punish them, is it really considered a utopia?
See you all Wednesday!!!

Section 8 Group 2

Hey guys!!! It was awesome meeting you all and we are going to have some awesome discussions!!!!
Sorry I'm po0sting this so late, but I just got my email invite today.
Here's the question we agreed on posting on Monday.

Example:  When the twin towers were hit during 9/11, some people jumped out of the windows instead of staying in the buildings.  Was this considered suicide???

Don't forget to read up on the Illumnati! :)
Also don't forget to post your factual questions and discussion questions.


W 25/Th 26 PW preface, 3-18. Fate vs. logos, Early Indian philosophy, Hebrew philosophy, Zoroastrianism, problem of evil/suffering/pain. *RECOMMENDED: JMH ch2, especially 62-74.

Remember, only the five group reps in each section should make new posts on the home page. Everybody else should submit comments in reply to those posts. Be sure to include section and group numbers in the Title, reps. 

Your comment should always include your thoughts on the discussion your group had last time AND your proposed questions (factual AND discussion) for next time.

If you or someone in your group is having technical problems with the site, use the search command (Control/f) to find the "Technical issues" thread and post a description under "comments" there. Look those over, everybody, and let us know if you can solve anyone's issue.

And while we seek those technical fixes, please find someone in your group who will post your comments for you.

I'm having fun, hope you all are too!

Section 9 Group 3 Post 1

(Someone has already posted with the same title, so we will have to get group numbers sorted out.)

       As a group in class we spent a lot of time talking about the structure of the test. It seems everyone is unhappy with the delivery and results. First, we decided that it should have been written by a group of people with various views, instead of one person with obviously atheist views. Secondly, we agreed that although JMH was trying to be broad on the topics, she ended up being extremely specific, and there for missed her goal. And thirdly we all agreed that instead of two (or three if it counts) possible answers, having a wider range of possible answers in a scaling format: 1-5, based on how strongly one believes _______. We felt like the options given to us, prevented us from diving into great detail with in our conversations because there just wasn't much to talk about. It was either yes or no and that was it.

We came up with a couple questions: Do we believe the test defines us? and What was the purpose of the test?

For confusion purposes, our group meets in the JUB at 2:20 MW. We sat in the back and center of the class room. I don't know who the other group 3 is. :? We are the REAL one!!

Introduction: Goodwin

So I know I'm a little late on the introduction but my name is Goodwin McDonald.  I'm from Eads right outside of Memphis and I'm in my third year at MTSU majoring in Engineer and Technology.  I have two older sisters that I love.  Family is the most important thing to me.  I love music and play drums and a lil bit of guitar.  I also love staying active by rock climbing, working out and running.  I believe that philosophy is learning how to find the right question. 

Section 9: Group 2

Group Members
Nader Issa
Devin Dixon
Ember Parr
Jeremy Buma
Quint Qualls

T'was an excellent group discussion that began with each of us retaking the Doubt quiz in order to find out what questions we had problems answering. The group as a whole found the quiz to be fairly accurate. The conclusions the quiz led each of us to weren't far off from our predispositions in life already. We even came to find that the group has a nice ratio of atheists, agnostics, and theists. All very open minded to the wonders of Philosophy.

Open Question: Do you believe the quiz's intentions are to predict your spiritual predisposition, or do you believe it's just a purposeful manner of putting the reader in a state of doubt in order to get the "critical thinking" center of our brains going prior to delving into the contents of the book?
Factual Question: How many questions did you have to answer for the quiz?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Introduction (section 8)

My name is Khendal and I'm a junior here at MTSU. Im majoring in music business. I absolutely love music. I listen to every genre of music as long as it's something I can feel. I play piano, drums, sing, and write songs as well. I enjoy sports and all that good stuff as well. Im very inquisitive about life and why things are the way they are. To me, philosophy is just that. I hope to learn a lot more and challenge my own way of thinking in everyday life.

Section 8 Group 1: Post #1

In our fist discussion, we talked about Hecht's quiz near the begining of the intro. We talked about what our answers to the questions were and why we answered them the way that we did. Our main focus was is there an intelligent higher being that created the universe and if there is, would such a being care about the wants, needs, and actions of an individual.

Factual question: How long ago was the fisrt historical record of doubt?
Discussion question: Would it be better for logos or fate to be the deciding factor of the "the gods"?

Section 9 Group 5: Discussing Philosophy

During our group discussion the one thing that we all seemed to agree on (besides the fact that we dislike the phrasing of Hecht's questions) is that the main point of the introduction and the quiz seemed to be to show everyone that doubt exists. Doubt is an intrinsic part of our society, which is a fact few seem able to accept. It is a chimerical concept to ponder the fact that many of those who consider themselves "learned" people in the sciences or religion will refuse to deign the reality of doubt. No matter what you choose to do or believe, no person can positively stand beside one view or another without thinking about doubt, which is why we believe the test was in the beginning of the book. I believe two questions that our group could agree on would be:

1. Was the phrasing of the questions in the beginning of the book intentionally ambiguous?
2. What are Hecht's two interpretive ideas of doubt?

Group 3, Section 8: Doubt Quiz (1/23/12)

First group post of the semester, so hopefully we're doing this right! 

Discussion Question: 
Would we be happier as human beings if we regard the universe and existence itself as mysteries?

A: As a group, we briefly discussed and shared our opinions on how JMH presented that there are generally two kinds of people: Believers and Skeptics. Believers being those who ardently follow their belief based upon feeling, forming their life philosophies around that faith, and Skeptics being those who dismiss human emotion and feelings as not being supporting evidence of whatever it is the Believers have faith in. Taking her point further, we posed to ourselves the question of whether or not either group of people are doing themselves an injustice, the Believers by choosing to follow something without fact to back them up, or the Skeptics, who won't believe in anything unless there is concrete evidence to support that belief, and whether or not both would just be happier if some of the unanswerable questions in life were left as mysteries. Perhaps if both parties met somewhere in the middle, both could agree that agreeing to disagree, and leaving those unanswerable questions as just that - questions - we would somehow be closer to the truth.

Factual Question:
What are the seven categories of doubt?

  1. Materialism
  2. Rationalism
  3. Cosmopolitanism
  4. Secularism
  5. Nontheistic Religion
  6. Philosophical Skepticism
  7. The "doubt of the ardent believer"

Group Members:

Also, Dr. Oliver -

I just want to clarify for myself (and for everyone else too), the rest of the group needs to respond to this post and with a possible discussion question and factual question NOT for this reading assignment, but for what we need to have read by Wednesday (Preface & p. 3-18 in A Passion for Wisdom). Is that right? We were confused today!

Thank you.

Group 1- Section 9. Our 1st Post!

Today our group focused on the Doubt quiz and what we all thought of it. A few of us didn't particularly like the quiz because it seemed like the answers were too narrow. There needed to be more options than just yes and no. The book seems to encourage doubt in the reader, and we think the quiz justifies that claim. It doesn't seem fair that the author of the book is the question master, because she has her own beliefs and feelings just as we do. Therefore, why is it okay for her to be right about our religious views just because of our answers to a quiz she wrote? It isn't right for her to be able to define our reality with her feelings. With that said, here are our two questions for the day... 1) When was the earliest recorded doubt? 2) Why should our individual feelings serve as evidence of a definable reality?

(Hopefully I did this right, guys! I tried! :)

Special Group 6 Section 8 with Nathan Pate, Elisha Hartley, Curtis Barker & Justin Jackson

Nathan Pate
Factual Q: The earliest doubt on historical record was _______________ years ago, which makes doubt older than most faiths. (Doubt Intro xxi)

Factual A: Twenty-six hundred

Interesting Q: Do we feel "possessed" when we love someone we did not intend to? (Doubt Intro xvi)

Interesting A: Yes.I think this is a very cool discussion possibly.

Emmy Bartlett, Brief bio and Quiz, Section 9

My name is Emmy Bartlett and I am currently in my third semester at MTSU. I grew up in Michigan and Ohio (Tennessee was a BIG change!) and I landed here when my parents relocated. I am an undeclared major--my mind keeps changing and I keep finding new things I might like to explore. 
I’ve always thought that philosophy is the attempt to make sense of the surrounding world and to find reason in chaos. I was drawn to this class because I have always had my doubts about the way the world works and my place in it. Do I have a purpose? Does anything actually matter? I struggle with this and I think other people do to. It also seems that my struggles and my existential questions might change a little depending on what is going on in my life, but fundamentally, my questions are the same.
On the scale of doubt quiz:
I took this quiz and discovered that I am an atheist (I already knew this) but I have what the book calls a “pious relationship to the universe.” I think that is a good way to sum up my feelings. Question three asked is there is “an identifiable force coursing through the universe, holding it together.” My first instinct was no, in fact, there is not. But after I thought about it for a moment I realized that my true feeling is that yes, in some way there is. I do no believe that it is a higher power, but actually humanity and a general consistent urge to move forward, live well, find happiness and love, and to survive on a basic level. I believe it unites us all. 
Does anyone see the point I am making? Does it make sense to anyone? If you agree with me on any level, consider question nine: “Do you believe that any part of a human being survives death, elsewhere or here on earth?” My answer to this question is similar to my answer to the last: I believe that when someone dies, they do in effect live on on earth. They don’t live in another realm or with a god or as angels, but I believe that they live in their legacy, the people they have left behind, and the impact they have made on the world. I think that is all anyone can hope for. 
Discussion question: are my views compatible with the views of a more extreme atheist or a religious person? If not, why not? Isn’t everything really kind of connected in a way that makes no answer correct and no answer incorrect? 

Group 5 -- section 8

Q: From its beginnings to the present, doubt can be identified in how many categories?
A: Seven

Q: Based on your beliefs, do you agree with the results of Jennifer Michael Hecht's estimated results of the Doubt Quiz?

CURTIS BARKER! (Section 8)

I am Curtis Barker, and I am a Professional Math Major. I am a freshman. I have no clue what Philosophy is. Oh, I'm from Smyrna.


and scroll down to read my "Post suggestions"...

Sec. 8 Question for Doubt Quiz

Q: In the Hebrew Bible, what character "rants" at God?
A: Job

According to the Great Schism, there are only great believers and great doubters...how can this be so and if it is true then where to the people fall if they believe that they are both...or possibly neither?

Introduction: Allison McCullough

Hey everyone!  My name is Allison McCullough and I'm currently a senior at MTSU.  I'm taking this class for some credit hours that I need in order to graduate.  I chose this class because I've heard nothing but good things about it and that's its extremely interesting.  I'm currently a major in advertising with a minor in marketing and psychology.  I'm originally from Union City, Tennessee and graduated with 70 people, so needless to say I'm definitely from a small town.  Murfreesboro was a huge change for me, but I love the shopping here! :)  My two favorite places are Florida and Bonnaroo!  I love music and I love to read!  I THINK philosophy is your view on life and the way you interpret the world around you.  I'm very interested in learning more about this class.  Just from reading the introduction, I think it will be very interesting.