Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween

The Great Pumpkin abides...

Extra credit today for anyone who comes to class in costume. Extra extra credit for candy and pie.


Happy Hallow's Eve, Martin Luther:

It was on this day in 1517 that Martin Luther (books by this author) posted his 95 Theses on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Martin Luther was a monk who disagreed with the Catholic Church's practice of selling indulgences, which forgave the punishment for sins. Luther thought that God offered forgiveness freely without having to pay for it, and he wanted to reform the Catholic Church. He posted the theses as points to be argued in a public debate. He had no intention of creating a new branch of the Church, but that is what he did, more or less. He set in motion a huge rift within the Church, which eventually led to the Reformation.  *(see below)

The modern holiday comes from an age-old tradition honoring the supernatural blending of the world of the living and the world of the dead. Halloween is based on a Celtic holiday called Samhain. The festival marked the start of winter and the last stage of the harvest, the slaughtering of animals. It was believed that the dark of winter allowed the spirits of the dead to transgress the borders of death and haunt the living.
Eventually, Christian holidays developed at around the same time. During the Middle Ages, November 1 became known as All Saints' Day, or All Hallows' Day. The holiday honored all of the Christian saints and martyrs. Medieval religion taught that dead saints regularly interceded in the affairs of the living. On All Saints' Day, churches held masses for the dead and put bones of the saints on display. The night before this celebration of the holy dead became known as All Hallows' Eve. People baked soul cakes, which they would set outside their house for the poor. They also lit bonfires and set out lanterns carved out of turnips to keep the ghosts of the dead away. -- WA--
* "One has to admire that kind of single-minded pursuit of an idea." Has to? Are we determinists today?

Monday, October 29, 2012

section 13 group 3 test questions.

I know this is a little late but I had a football game to perform at and completely forgot to post the questions.
Q-Who influenced Hume?
Q-What is another name for Bentham's theory of utilitarianism?
     A-The Great Happiness principle
Q-Who thought that a high amount of a low pleasure could ever match a low quantity of a higher pleasure?
     A-John Stuart Mill
Q-Whose famous words are"God is dead"?
Q-Which philosopher used the greek story of sisyphus to explain that no matter what we should be happy to be alive since that is better than death?

Questions Group 1 Section 13

•Rousseau: Chapter 18

•Rousseau was the great Swiss thinker and writer.

•He believe true religion came from the heart and didn’t need religious


•He thought that “Envy and greed were the result of living together in cities. In the

wild, individual ‘noble savages’ would be healthy, strong, and above all, free, but

civilization seemed to be corrupting human beings.”

•He believed in the idea of General Will: whatever is best for the whole

community, the whole state.

•He believed in forcing people to believe in General Will is the only way for true



•What did Rousseau say must happen if someone opposes the generally

accepted idea?

•Why did Rousseau believe that we “should be left to our own devices?”

•What was he trying to figure out when writing The Social Contract?

•What was the basic idea of General WIll?

•(Fill in the blank): In the beginning of his book, The Social Contract, Rousseau

declares “Man was born _____, and everywhere he is in _______. (Free, Chains)

•Hegel: Chapter 22

•Born in Stuttgart, now Germany, in 1770.

•“For Hegel, everything is in a process of change, and that change takes the form

of a gradual increase in self-awareness, our state of self-awareness being fixed

by the period in which we live.”

•“Reality is constantly moving towards its goal of understanding itself. History

isn’t in any sense random.”

•“History and philosophy were entwined for him.”

•He was an idealist- thinking that the Spirit or Mind was findamental and finds its

expression in the physical world.

•“Hegel claimed, it was only with Christianity, which triggered an awareness of

spiritual value, that genuine freedom became possible.”

•believed true freedom only arose from a properly organized society.



•An idea ______ (thesis)

•It’s opposing idea or contradiction ________ (antithesis)

•A new idea formed from the conflict ________ (synthesis)

•What was the name of the famous book Hegel wrote?

•What religion did Hegel relate himself with?

•Who was Hegel influenced by? (Kant)

•Darwin: Chapter 25

•Darwin was a biologist and a geologist, not a philosopher

•His theory of evolution by natural selection explains how human beings and the

plants and animals around them have come to be as they are and how they are

still changing.

•As a young man, Darwin went on a five-year voyage on HMS Beagle, Visiting

South America, Africa and Australia.

•The most valuable part of his trip was in the Galapagos Islands in 1835, where

he studied a range of ‘drab-looking finches.’

•Another naturalist’s, Alfred Russel Wallace, studies urged Darwin to go public

with his findings.

•he published the book On the Origin of Species in 1859.


•What was the name of his first book?

•What was the most important species found in the Galapagos Islands for

Darwin’s Theory?

•What ship did Darwin travel on during his journey?


Hello everybody!
I have composed five questions based on Section 13 Group 4's assigned readings.  For those in my group, I would like everyone to have a say.  Below are my suggested questions, but I would like to agree upon them.  GROUP 4: Post any factual questions you may have and we can pick our favorite five tomorrow in class.

1)  TRUE OR FALSE.  Wendy Brown would agree that tolerance is fair to those being "tolerated."

2) One problem with discussing the concept of "infinity" is that it is arguably undefinable.

3) Hugh Mellor argues that time and tense are one in the same.

4) Which concept does David Papineau focus much of his thought upon?

5) Which philosopher focuses much of his thought upon the relationship between mind and body?
A. Tim Crane

Let me know what you think!

Arielle Roides

Sec14 Grp2 Review/Test questions

1) In Voltaire's "Candide," Which famous philosopher did he relentlessly mock? A: -Leibniz- B: Pyhrro C: Plato D:
2) Kant's worldview could be summed up as "The ends justify the means." A: False!
3) What did Schopenhauer see as making a pointless life bearable? A: Love B: Death C: -Art- D: Nothing
4) Who was the ultimate authority, according to Kierkegaard? A: Yourself B: God C: Scotland Yard D:Your peer
5) Summarize James's philosophy in one word: A) Pragmatism B) Stoicism C) Skepticism D) Evangelism

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Exam2 review

Here is what we find to review, as of 4 pm Sunday. Fill any holes in your section with questions & topics from the others, and be prepared to ask review questions in class on Monday and Tuesday. The exam will be on Wednesday and Thursday. Remember to review relevant discussions in our required texts. Don't just memorize Qs & As.

In addition to the topics indicated, also be sure to review Moore on infinity and Stroud on skepticism.

1) What does Berkeley's "esse est precipi" mean?
To be is to be perceived.

2) True or false: Rousseau believed forcing someone to do the right thing is still giving freedom to that person.

 3) In Hegel's book The Phenomenology of Spirit, he describes the struggles between which two people? Hint: they're classes.
Master and slave

4) Which concept supports Darwin's original Theory of Evolution?
Natural selection

5) Pierce is credited with founding what school of philosophy?

 6) Freud was not a philosopher by trade, but rather, a _______________.

7) Sartre's original philosophy was named ______________.
Grp2 - ???
1. What was Camus's philopsophy called?
     Answer: existentialism- later became a cult about how life is pointless.

2. What did Ayer believe needed to be true for a statement to make sense?
Answer: it must be true by definition and testable

Multiple choice:
. 3.In what kind of world does Nietchech believe that right and wrong make sense?
a.. a perfect world
b. In a world where God exists.
c . No satan exists
d. a political world
Answer: B, in a world where God exists
4.  Marx believe communism would be the best society to create equality? T or F
Answer: True
5. What is Bentham's Felicific Calculus?
Answer: Bentham's method to calculate happiness. subtracts any negative effects from the overall happiness.
Grp4 - ???

Grp1 - ???
1) Which philosopher believes that in no circumstance or situation should someone lie?  (Immanuel Kant)

2)Schopenhauer gave the arts, especially music, great attention.  T or F?  (True)

3)  Which philosopher put a lot of emphasis on decision making?  (Kierkegaard)

4)  Which philosopher said the statement "God exists", is true because it was a "useful belief to have"?  (William James)

5)  Simon de Beauvoir believed that women were not born women; they become women.  T or F?  (True)
Grp3- ???
Grp4 - ???

1.What was the title of Rousseau's book? Answer: The Social Contract

2.What was "entwined" with philosophy for Hegel? Answer: History

3.What was the name of the vessel Darwin was on when he made his most notable scientific inquiries? Answer: The Beagle

4.Which philosopher criticized Freud's psychoanalysis theory? Answer: Karl Popper

5.What was Sartre's philosophy known as? Answer: Existentialism

1) What was the name of Voltaire's famous play that heavily parodied Leibniz's core philosophy? Candid
2) Kant's philosophy boiled down to "The ends justify the means." False.
3) What did Schopenhauer think made life bearable? Art
4) Who was the ultimate authority according to Kierkegaard? God
5) James' core philosophy was based around: Usefulness
Posted by Jonathan

1. What was the name of Bentham’s theory about how we should live?
A: the Greatest Happiness Principle

2. What does Mill compare human beings to when he says we should give everyone “space to grow?”
A: a tree

3. What did Marx declare was “the opium of the people?”
A: religion

4. What did Ayer call the principle of dividing statements into those that made sense and those that were nonsense?
A: the Verification Principle

5. What Greek myth did Camus use to explain human absurdity?
A: Sisyphus
Posted by Kendall

What does Newton's famous phrase "Hypotheses Non Fingo" translate to?
A: I Feign No Hypotheses

Who replaced Newton

In what decade was there "an enormous renaissance in the use of 'tolerance'"?

Which 3 political figures said, "We are not for gay marriage but we are for tolerance [of gay people]."
Answer: John McCain, Sarah Palin, George Bush

What does skepticism (relative to scientific realism) arise from  according to Papineau
A: failure in science
Posted by Roberto Kohler

Sec19 Grp1 Ex2 Q's

(Please don't copy and paste THIS part. I just want to say I know this post is later than it should have been, but that we were unable to come to a decision about which questions to post, so I wrote one on Wednesday kindly asking my group to vote online on which questions to go with. Since that hasn't worked out as planned, I alone selected the following questions.)

1) What does Berkeley's "esse est precipi" mean?
To be is to be perceived.

2) True or false: Rousseau believed forcing someone to do the right thing is still giving freedom to that person.

 3) In Hegel's book The Phenomenology of Spirit, he describes the struggles between which two people? Hint: they're classes.
Master and slave

4) Which concept supports Darwin's original Theory of Evolution?
Natural selection

5) Pierce is credited with founding what school of philosophy?

 6) Freud was not a philosopher by trade, but rather, a _______________.

7) Sartre's original philosophy was named ______________.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Section 14 Group 1--Exam #2 Questions

1.What was the title of Rousseau's book? Answer: The Social Contract

2.What was "entwined" with philosophy for Hegel? Answer: History

3.What was the name of the vessel Darwin was on when he made his most notable scientific inquiries? Answer: The Beagle

4.Which philosopher criticized Freud's psychoanalysis theory? Answer: Karl Popper

5.What was Sartre's philosophy known as? Answer: Existentialism

Hakuna Matata sec19group3 test two review

1. What was Camus's philopsophy called?
     Answer: existentialism- later became a cult about how life is pointless.

2. What did Ayer believe needed to be true for a statement to make sense?
Answer: it must be true by definition and testable

Multiple choice:
. 3.In what kind of world does Nietchech believe that right and wrong make sense?
a.. a perfect world
b. In a world where God exists.
c . No satan exists
d. a political world
Answer: B, in a world where God exists
4.  Marx believe communism would be the best society to create equality? T or F
Answer: True
5. What is Bentham's Felicific Calculus?
Answer: Bentham's method to calculate happiness. subtracts any negative effects from the overall happiness.



Friday, October 26, 2012

section 13 group 2 ?'s

1) Which philosopher believes that in no circumstance or situation should someone lie?  (Immanuel Kant)

2)Schopenhauer gave the arts, especially music, great attention.  T or F?  (True)

3)  Which philosopher put a lot of emphasis on decision making?  (Kierkegaard)

4)  Which philosopher said the statement "God exists", is true because it was a "useful belief to have"?  (William James)

5)  Simon de Beauvoir believed that women were not born women; they become women.  T or F?  (True)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Syllabus/schedule change

On Monday and Tuesday we will continue with presentations and will review in class for exam #2, with no new reading assignments. The exam will be on Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 31/Nov. 1, covering October material through the French existentialists (Sartre, de Beauvoir, Camus) etc.

Groups, post your five best October questions by Saturday pm. (Oct.27)

Section 14 Group 4 REVIEW QUESTIONS

What does Newton's famous phrase "Hypotheses Non Fingo" translate to?
A: I Feign No Hypotheses

Who replaced Newton

In what decade was there "an enormous renaissance in the use of 'tolerance'"?

Which 3 political figures said, "We are not for gay marriage but we are for tolerance [of gay people]."
Answer: John McCain, Sarah Palin, George Bush

What does skepticism (relative to scientific realism) arise from  according to Papineau
A: failure in science

Section 14 Group 3 Review Questions

1. What was the name of Bentham’s theory about how we should live?
A: the Greatest Happiness Principle

2. What does Mill compare human beings to when he says we should give everyone “space to grow?”
A: a tree

3. What did Marx declare was “the opium of the people?”
A: religion

4. What did Ayer call the principle of dividing statements into those that made sense and those that were nonsense?
A: the Verification Principle

5. What Greek myth did Camus use to explain human absurdity?
A: Sisyphus

Russell the mathematician - Sec14 Grp2

Russell's view was interesting! From what little we discussed he approached philosophy the same way he did mathematics; with logic! The idea that something can make sense, as in be understood, yet still be false was fascinating.

Overall Russell may have been a little ahead of his time. The biggest thing was that he was, by belief, an atheist. Not simply disbelieving in any deities, but in fact openly opposing any organized religion who, on the whole of things, produced more misery than happiness (think inquisition).

As well, he was noted for his famous Paradox: If the job of the barber is to shave everyone who does not shave themselves, then he is stuck between shaving and not shaving his own beard. If he did not shave it, he would have to shave himself, but by shaving himself he would be bound not to shave himself - This contradiction simply shouldn't exist in the real world.

His logical approach to philosophy was, on the whole, refreshing. However, there remains a more important task! We need to dredge up our questions that might be for the test. Post your reply to this blog with a question for each philosopher we've studied this month: Voltaire/Leibniz, Kant, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, and James. Hopefully we'll have enough to work with! I'll start with my own questions.

1) What was the name of Voltaire's famous play that heavily parodied Leibniz's core philosophy? Candid
2) Kant's philosophy boiled down to "The ends justify the means." False.
3) What did Schopenhauer think made life bearable? Art
4) Who was the ultimate authority according to Kierkegaard? God
4) James' core philosophy was based around: Usefulness

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Grp19 Sec1: Voting pt. 1

Hey, all. Been awhile since I posted. I mistakenly thought that because we didn't have discussions in class, I wasn't supposed to post here. After all, that would just be summarizing what's already in the book with no opinionated input, which would be kinda pointless.

In any case, I'm gathering the questions for the next exam together. I realize that because of the above, I may not be able to find all of your questions, so if I miss any, please bring it to my attention. As quickly as possible, please.

Here are the rules: for each philosopher, I will give you a choice of which questions you would like to see on the exam. Simply vote for the letters next to them. 1A, 2B, 3C, et cetera. When that's done, I'll compile them all and put them in a single post. The most popular will go on the test.

(If there's an asterisk* next to the question, it means the answer is unable to be provided by me, or in other words, not easily findable. If this is one of your questions, give the answer in a comment.)

And yeah, being an English major, I will sometimes make "creative" changes to the questions.

A) Did Berkeley believe that objects are physical at all times? (N)
B) What does Berkeley's "esse est precipi" mean? (To be (or exist) is to be perceived.)
C) To what schools of thought did Berkeley generally belong to? (Idealism / Immaterialism)

A) Rousseau believed that for society to be truly free, each individual had to submit to the _________ (General Will)
B) What is the general concept of the "General Will?" (Whatever is best for the community, as opposed to the individual.)
C) Rousseau declared at the beginning of his book, The Social Contract, "Man was born free, and everywhere he is in __________ (Chains)
D) True or false: Rousseau believed forcing someone to do the right thing is still giving freedom to that person. (True)
E) How did Rousseau believe life should be lived?*


A) In what way can the "Spirit" be defined, according to Hegel? (The single mind of all humanity.)
B) Hegel's view that history would unfold in a particular way inspired what philosopher? (Karl Marx)
C) What philosophers did Hegel irritate and why? (Betrand Russell and A.J. Ayer, because Hegel employed heavily esoteric, abstract language. Also, Arthur Schopenhauer, who claims it was nonsense.)
D) In Hegel's book The Phenomenology of Spirit, he described the struggles between which two people? Hint: they're classes. (A master and a slave.)

A) Which concept supports Darwin's original Theory of Evolution? (Natural selection)
B) True or false: Darwin was a philosopher. (False)
C) Who was the naturalist whose similar theories on evolution gave Darwin the confidence to go forth and publish his own? (Alfred Russel Wallace)
D) True or false: Was Darwin thought to be such an influence and to create this kind of idea throughout his life and at school? (False)

(I was unable to find any posts on this (see second paragraph), but considering we filled out that form in class, just copy and paste your questions in a comment and I'll get to them. In the meantime, the following are my questions, even if I steal them from one of you.)
A) Pierce is credited with founding what school of philosophy? (Pragmatism)
B) ?
C) ??
D) ???

(Ditto. Strange.)
A) Freud was not a philosopher by trade, but rather, a _________. (Psychiatrist)
B) ???
C) ??
D) ?

(This is getting to be quite an issue...)
A) Sartre's original philosophy was named ____________. (Existentialism)
B) More question marks.

A final note: this is part one. There will be much revision in the future, so look out for part two.

Section 13 Group #1 Sartre

  Sartre's view was an intriguing one at the least.  His Existentialistic views really open your eyes to the belief in purpose.  I believe that there is great contradiction to condemnation towards our freedom and faith.  Sartre also discusses Bad Faith and how we all tend to play our rolls as do puppets in a play.  Granted we all have necessities that require compensation for the work that we do.  In an ideal world where everything was to be given to us we would be more inclined to act on the freedom to which we are allegedly condemned with. 
  How would Sartre view a nun, monk or anyone else with considerable devotion to the lord?
  Is the freedom that we have something that we could consider us being condemned with?

This should give us a little to talk about during our next opportunity.


Section 14 Group 1-Autodidactic-(Freud Summary)

In class on October 23,2012, we briefly discussed the thoughts and beliefs of Freud. We didn't really much time to extensively discuss Freud, due to the start of presentations, but we all concluded that he was basically consumed with the subject of the unconcious. We also decided that Freud accredited the unconcious mind to the reasons for why events and actions occurred the way that they did. It was also stated that even until this day, Freud's theories and beliefs are still controversial!

Section 14 Group 3 (10/23)

Hello all, sorry this is a day late but I wasn't sure if you wanted me to start posting or not. Anyway, on Tuesday most of the class time was taken up by presentations so we didn't really get to discuss Ayer. Any thoughts?
I personally don't like his philosophy that everything has to be true by definition or empirically verifiable. I can understand why it would be useful to weed out incorrect information, but there are so many facts now that would have been thrown out as false in the beginning simply because at the time there wasn't a way to empirically test them. And the fact that the rules for something to be considered "meaningful" contradict the theory itself, takes away from the validity of it.
Tomorrow we are talking about Albert Camus.

What Greek myth did Camus use to explain human absurdity?
A: Sisyphus

Do you agree with Camus that human life is completely meaningless since there are no answers that will explain everything?

Hakuna Matata sec19 Group 3 CAMUS

WE didnt have any time to really discuss Camus with all the presentations but for just a quick overview here is a summary of our reading on Camus: He believed that life was completely meaningless, but that it was still preferable over suicide. They called this existentialism and eventually it turned into a form of cult that just sat around talking about how meaningless life is. Camus compared our meaningless life to Sisyphus who was punished by having to roll a boulder up a mtn just for it to fall back down and do it all over again.

7 and 1/2 Americans

Today we talked about feminism and how it relates to De Beauvoir and how her philosophies have carried over into our current generation. We also talked about how her view has affected the minds of many current feminist.

Post your questions and comments!

In reply to an email I just received, asking what to do if your group's author is negligent or just gone: 

Your group needs to select another author, and in the meantime you all need to post somewhere on our site and/or my blog. Reply to another group's post if you must; but any port will do in a storm, as I've said before.  JPO

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What is NOW? (Section 13; Group 4)

Hey everybody!

This week's reading was a bit challenging for me.  I had trouble understanding what Hugh Mellor meant by his idea that tense is different time.  I had always believed that tense described time.  In class today, I brought this up to a few people in my group.  We determined that tense is a temporary characteristic.  Something occurring tomorrow is future tense now, but will be past tense on Thursday.  Tense changes as time flows.  Time, however, does not change.  The exact moment in the flow of time that something occurs does not change as time continues flowing.  At first, this chapter was difficult to grasp, but when thought about, Mellor's thinking is actually not complex at all.  It makes perfect sense.

Factual Question:  Mellor argues that time and tense are one in the same.  True or False?
Answer: False.

Discussion Question:  Do you think time is infinite?  What would time travel say about Mellor's idea?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

Arielle Roides (PHIL 1030-013; GROUP 4)

7 and 1/2 Americans (Gr. 2 Sect. 19)

On Wednesday we  discussed, after presentations) how Russell was a delinquent in his early childhood because of one of his main interest among his most prominent 3. The interest that got him into the most trouble out of math, religion and sex was sex. He was imprisoned for his ideas of sex in relation to religion. Was he an Atheist? We didn't have much time to discuss more on that subject.

Two-for-one! Kirekegaard & James - Sec14Grp2

It didn't take much to realize that Kierkegaard (That last part is pronounced "Gourd") was not a happy man. He called off an engagement with the love of his life because he believed it was "the morally right thing to do," and spent most of his life living in regret of it.

Or, he might not have - That's the problem with his writings, they were all so very cryptic that almost all of them are open to interpretation. What we've gathered, however, is that he was a deeply religious man and that the "moral" choice is not always the easy one, or the one we would enjoy the most. Rather, the morally right choice was always inalienably what God deemed right, such as with Abraham's Son as mentioned in the book.

I personally disagree with his view, especially since for a select few people, "God" is their voices echoing off the inside of their own head. Actually, I disagree with almost all of his views, as interesting as they may be.

Factual Question: Who was the ultimate Authority according to Kierkegaard's Philosophy? God.
Discussion Question: Do you think Kierkegaard would have been happier if he had married Regine against his moral objections?

Now, onto James!

From the first glimpse of him, I could tell I was going to like him. The pragmatist asking "Why does it matter?" grounds philosophy in my opinion, keeping it from spiraling too out of control with "what-ifs" that will never occur, or, frankly, matter.

His pragmatic views are, while clear, some of the most sideways I have come across - Things are only worth the effort of believing in if they're useful. When posed the question "Does God exist?" He said "Yes," not because he had a firm belief in it, but because to those who believe in god, the belief had a pragmatic use and was therefore useful, or worth believing in.

However, what happens when we apply the same logic to Santa Claus, only to wake up and find conclusive evidence that he has, in fact, not visited your house and in fact was never real in the first. This question remains an unanswered conflict, and brings up a more distressing question: Is truth subjective? If there was a single philosopher I would love to talk with, it would have to be this man. James I mean, not Santa Claus.

Factual question: James argued that what separated truths from non-truths was: A) Ability to be proven, B) Moral rightness, C)))) Usefulness, D) Nothing
Discussion Question: How do you think James would have reacted if given the Santa Claus counter-point mentioned above?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Section 14 Group 1-Autodidactic (Freud)

Well, well, well, Sigmund Freud, much like Charles Darwin, has found his way back into my life. I remember extensively studying Freud in high school Psychology. I, like many other individuals, mainly remember Freud for professing the importance of the unconscious, a perfect example being dreams. Also, Freud firmly believed that an individual's unconscious was a key factor in the decision making process. According to history, Sigmund Freud was a very "different" individual, whom some believed made a tremendous breakthrough in the world of Psychology, while others believed him to be totally insane. I am waiting to hear the different responses and views concerning Freud in our next group discussion!


Factual: What did Freud believe the mind did to thoughts?

Discussion: Do you believe that dreams act as symbols?

Hakuna Matata sec19group3 Ayer

Today in class we did a few presentations and Dr. Oliver talked a little about our previous readings over the break.  Our last reading was on Ayer. Ayer believed in a verification principle to decide weather statements made sense or were just nonsense. To know weather a statement makes sense you ask two questions: is it true by definition? and is it empirically verifiable? if it was neither it was considered meaningless.  "God exists" was considered nonsense.

section 13 group 2

William James practiced pragmatism when it came to his philosophy.  He studied what is practical and what is not.  Or what has a beneficial impact on our lives.  It seems to me that it is a more scientific approach to philosophy, which I like because my mind is very logical.  He thought that "God exists" was a useful belief and that is what made it true to him. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

7 and 1/2 Americans

post questions for the last reading on James and Russell when you get a chance

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Section 14 Group 3 (10/18)

Hello all,
This week we are talking about Friedrich Nietzsche and "The Death of God." Nietzsche wasn't literally saying that God died, but rather that the belief in God was no longer reasonable. The main thing he focused on was that if God is dead, what happens to morality. Most people base their morals and values off of religion and what God wants, so if God is dead how do people know how they are supposed to act. "Where once religion had provided meaning and a limit on moral action, the absence of God made everything possible and removed all limits." What would people do if there are no longer fixed ideas of what is moral and what is not. Nietzsche did think that the positive side of this was that now people could create their own values instead of being governed by religion.
Nietzsche preferred the values of aristocrats, celebrating strong heroes, over the Christian morality of compassion for the weak. He thought that every individual shouldn't have the same worth and that that idea was one of the mistakes of Christianity, and it was also holding humanity back. Neitzsche was influenced by Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and he viewed the main character in his book Thus Spake Zaruthustra as the next step in humanity's development. He also emphasized emotions and irrational forces playing a role in the shaping of human values.

Why did Nietzsche say "God is Dead?"

Nietzsche thought that Christianity was holding humanity back because people were then governed by what was considered moral in God's terms, do you think this is true and that humanity would evolve if everyone looked out for their own interests first and thought about how they affected other people second?

Can we really KNOW anything? (G4;S13)

Hello everybody!  As always, I enjoyed reading this week's passages.  I feel like much of what we read are ideas that I have had, but never discussed before.  I am now reading the passages, and discussing them with others, allowing me to see that other people have thought about these things as well.  Much of what we read are things rarely discussed, but commonly thought about.  Each chapter brings with it a new concept to think about.

C.S. Pierce argues that truth could only be found by observation and practical thought and practice.  This, at first, sounds plausible.  However, if like Barry Stroud, you believed that senses may be unreliable at times, Pierce's argument could not stand correct.  I agree with C.S. Pierce in his idea that it is convenient to believe that truth is whatever we can see, but I do not believe that that would be "truth."  It would be somewhat of a "truth for measures of convenience."  Truth, I believe, is beyond human knowledge.

I did like William James' stance on truth.  He believed that truth varied from person to person.  Each person has different definitions of what may be true to them or what "works" for them.  Therefore, there are as many truths as people in existence.  Truth is, according to James, whatever benefits the individual to believe.  From a religious standpoint, I disagree with this.  A person should not believe in God, simply because it benefits them to do so.  From a realist point of view, I would agree with James in that truth varies from person to person, according to their values and perception.

I did not like reading about Nietsche's ideas.  He continuously quoted that "God is dead."  In a world that lacks any belief in God, more and more people would lose sight of right and wrong.  Nobody would care about practicing goodness, and everyone would work towards fulfilling their selfish desires.  I believe that this would be an evil world of turmoil and chaos.

Barry Stroud's ideas were ones I have thought about quite often.  I believe that humans cannot know anything for a fact.  Everything is based upon previous assumptions, that may be incorrect for all we know.  Our senses cannot raise our awareness of what IS.  Senses only portray to us what we perceive.  I liked how he mentioned that a perception is, in essence, a hallucination.  Can we trust hallucinations to give us TRUE knowledge?  For all we know, we could be in a constant state of dreaming.  What we believe is happening could be a figment of our imaginations.  Who is to say what is and what is not?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!
Arielle Roides (Group 4; Section 13)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What is the truth? Will we ever find it? (S13; G4)

Hello everybody.  I really enjoyed reading about Darwin, Kierkegaard, Marx, and Papineau.  Like all of the other readings, there are some ideas that I agree with, and others I am skeptical about.

Darwin claimed that we, as humans, evolved from monkeys.  He shut down creationism and held tight to his belief.  While I am not saying that humans did NOT come from monkeys, I am also not saying that I do not believe in creationism.  How do we know that both ideas are not the truth.  I believe that the Bible is filled with symbolism.  If you asked me if I believed in the Big Bang theory, I would say yes.  If you asked me if I believed in the Bible, I would also say yes.  I think that science and religion can coincide with one another, despite popular belief that it cannot.  I agree with Darwin's idea that we are in a constant process of change and evolution.  But what was there at the beginning? Who or what created the very first "something"?  I liked how Darwin did state that, "the whole thing is too profound for human intellect."

I loved reading what Kierkegaard had to say about faith in God.  Although it involves a huge amount of risk and irrationality, Kierkegaard argues that faith in God is essential, despite its difficulty and at times, unconventionality.

Marx is admired in that he was a common man who fought for workers' rights.  He saw the suffering and inequality the working class endured and wanted it to change.  He knew that the workforce was what drove the economy.  If the workforce is dissatisfied, the economy is at risk.  Do you think workforce satisfactions plays a major role in economical prosperity?

I really enjoyed reading about Papineau's ideas.  Papineau questioned the unobservable world.  Can something we cannot see actually exist?  There are no factual findings; just a bunch of hypothesized explanations.  Call me a skeptic, but I believe that "knowledge of the unobservable world is not possible."  I, too, believe that all of these scientific theories are simply a bunch of misinterpreted false relationships.  Past theories are usually found to be incorrect, so what makes people so confident that our present-day theories stand correct?  Papineau argues that "we should be realists about good theories and skeptical" about others.  The question that arises is, how do we know which theories are good and which theories are garbage?  Nobody will ever agree on a set of good theories.

Looking forward to hearing everybody's thoughts!

Arielle Roides

Monday, October 15, 2012

Section 13 Group 1 Peirce

Hello Group 1,
  Peirce "Purse" is nothing like what we discussed about Hegel so consider this a turn of corner.  Peirce and William James were both Americans who lectured at Harvard.  So its nice to discuss Americans again.  Anyway, Peirce like James was very pragmatic.  They both believed that there should lie value in the answer to each pondered question.  The answer itself should have a meaning or level of importance such as why is the answer significant?  Regardless the answer what is the real significance behind it or is it just to know something?  This thought should pose a question or two.  Is Peirce interested in answers or the value of the answer?

Michael Lucas


Midterm report presentations begin on Monday/Tuesday (22d/23d):

We'll plan to do two or three reports per class, but be ready if you're "in the hole." Remember to prepare your bullet point summary and hand it to me when you begin.

#19 - 1) Sara A., Why Do We Dream? 2) Bre P., Dubstep & Philosophy 3) Logan R. & Brooks C., Lord of the Rings & Philosophy  4)Brad, Mitch, & Ben on South Park; 5) Heather & Brittany, tba  6) Melissa, tba  7) Asher, Top Gun
#13 - 1) Caleb D., A Philosophy Song 2) David B., Philosophy Song  3) Amanda G., Pink Floyd & Philosophy 4) Austin S., Star Wars & Philosophy  5)Caitlyn O., Batman (or ?)  6) Rachel G., Superheroes  7) John D., The Big Lebowski  8) Casher B., The Martial Arts & Philosophy  9) Emily L., Weeds  10) Larissa, Caitlin, & Blake, HT Lose A Guy  11) Anthony E., tba  12) Zach C., My Personal Philosophy  13) Edrell S., On Blindly Following Religious Belief  14) Natalie R., St. Augustine  15) Michael L., Plato's Forms & Facebook  16) Arielle R., School of Athens

#14 - 1) Journey, Landy, & Paul, A Little History of a Modern Philosopher 2) Deonte C. & Katie B., Name That Philosopher  3) Kendall, Genetic Engineering 4) Alex W., & Griffin C., Philosophy v. Psychology  5) Shane C., Good v. Evil  
6) Garrett M., School of Athens  7) Malcolm, Rastafari Philosophy  8) Kyle, tba  
9) Jon W., tba

Everybody not presenting will be turning in their midterm report essays on Monday and Tuesday.

Friday, October 12, 2012

"America the Philosophical" author in Nashville Sunday

In case any of you are interested: Carlin Romano, the philosopher/journalist from the Chronicle of Higher Education, is appearing Sunday afternoon at this year's Southern Festival of Books, talking about his new tome America the  Philosophical: 1 pm at the public library downtown, conference room #1B.

Monday update: The epilogue of  Romano's book is called "Obama, "Philosopher in Chief." Yesterday in the New York Times, Harvey Cormier also opined that Obama is a pragmatist in the philosophical (not just the political) sense of the word. For better or worse.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Section 14 Group 1-Auto-didactic (Darwin Summary)

Today in class,
Group 1 discussed "naturalist" Charles Darwin in great detail. Among many things, the Theory of Evolution of course arose, as well as the Big Bang Theory. Group 1 came to the conclusion that Charles Darwin was a very philosophical being ,although he was a scientist. In relation,  we also acknowledged how "scientific" the subject of Philosophy actually is, in regards to how philosophers come about answering their questions. Dr. Oliver provided a lot of insight into the life of Charles Darwin. Today's discussion was very interesting and informative. Unfortunately, we will not meet again until the Tuesday after next. Group 1 can hardly wait!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Section 13 Group 1 Darwin

Group 1
  Quickly discussing Hegel; I think we had all agreed that he was one of the more confusing philosophers that we covered.  Its great to see that he believed reality is reality.  With that being the most easily understood his methods of teaching could be contradictory.  Teaching or lecturing by confusion???  Lets Jump into Darwin
  Darwin - Evolutionist
Ape/Monkey - Human  Its clear that there is a seperation between where some believe that we come from the Ape's and others from God.  This in itself is a good topic for our next discussion.  Anyway, here is a factual quesion and one discussion.
F:  What was the name of his first book?  A: On the Origin of Species
D:  How can a trip to different countries/contenants be an eye opener for us?

Sec19 Grp1: Chuck Darwin

Charles Darwin, though not a philosopher by trade, introduced one of, if not the single most earth-shattering revelation to the people of his time. The theory of evolution effectively split us into two categories: pious and secularist. The line did blur down the road, though. For instance, I'm neither a believer nor a disbeliever. I'd like to think God exists when I need something, but I don't want to think of Him when negative things catch my eye.

Some would argue he is a scientist, not a philosopher. Philosophy is a science, technically. And HE HAS EVERYTHING TO DO WITH PHILOSOPHY.

Most of this chapter focuses on his trip to the Galapagos, his discoveries, and his theory. Because of this, there was little philosophical material to discuss, influential as it may be. The most important thing to note is probably his beliefs and those of others who read his work. He is not saying God does not exist, just that we humans share a common ancestor with apes, which logically explains the truth behind evolution and why cavepeople look nothing like us today.

But not everything can be logically explained; rather, blind faith must be used to explain things humans are not meant to know. At the risk of being promotive again, I must quote a book of mine in creation (I tried to paraphrase it):

"...I would not be standing before you if I did not believe. [...] I acknowledge none of you. [...] You do not exist to me because my human rationality wills it so. [...] Logically, none of you can exist. It's common sense: all magicians have explanations to their tricks. Your fireballs? Smoke and mirrors. You're not witches. You're not even good magicians. [...] You're just trying to make me believe in you. That's what makes you stronger, isn't it?"
"...your logic has no place here. Here, in a place outside time, outside the constraints of your world, we are free to perform whatever magic we wish. [...] You say you cannot understand? Good. You were not meant to. No human can comprehend our magic. To you, it is an impossible feat. But to us, it is reality."
"I don't believe in you because you exist. You exist because I believe in you. So I guess I'm as crazy as you said, huh?"

That went on a bit long.
Anyway, in conclusion, the result of Darwin's theory of evolution ultimately strengthened logic as an indicator of validity. Like the giant above quote said, though, just because logic can explain something does not mean it is the case. There are things humans will never understand. But as long as __________ (fill in the blank) exists in one heart, it is real, at least to that one person. Of course, the more believers, the stronger the concept, but you get the idea.

(I realize this post was long, so thanks for your time.)

Section 14 Group 3 Summary 10/10/12

Okay, sorry guys... I know I'm awful and forgot to put up last Thursday so I'll just post it with this one.

Last Thursday we talked about Jeremy Bentham. He was an English utilitarian. He thought the way to determine what the "right thing to do" was whichever option brought you the most pleasure. He didn't care how the pleasure came about or was produced, one activity was not above another. If rolling around in the mud made you happier than reading a book, then that was what you should do. He called his method for calculating happiness The Felicific Calculus.

Questions for Mills: Who influenced Mills education? How do you feel about the harm principle?
During Tuesday's class, we talked about John Stuart Mill. He was somewhat of an educational experiment and was brought up by his father, James Mill, in a strict educational environment. He was a prodigy. Despite Jeremy Bentham being a family friend, Mill came to disagree with his views. He did agree that you should do whatever makes you happy, but he said there should be different levels of pleasure (higher and lower). Rolling in the mud was certainly not equal to reading a book or going to a classical concert.

Mills also believed that humans were like trees, in the fact that they need space to grow. He said that an individual should be allowed to do whatever he/she pleases and have freedom of speech/free will until it starts to negatively affect others. This was his Harm Principle.

Questions for tomorrow (Marx):
Factual-What was Karl Marx's cause of death?
Discussion- Do you agree with his belief that people could eventually all cooperate together and there would be no need for class structure, religion, or morality?

Hakuna Matata Sec19 group3 MARX

We began by defining what an egalitarian really was. We defined it as a type of society where everyone makes contributions. We than began discussing the ideas of communism. We brainstormed why communism is usually badly associated. We decided that communism usually results in violence because everyone does not cooperate. Marx was very optimistic and assumed everyone was selfless and not led by greed. Is communism an ideal society? or is it just unrealistic. We all agreed that it would be realistic within smaller groups that were implemented by choice and not force. An example of this smaller society would be a commun. We all said that there would be too many free-loaders in a national economy. People who just take advantage of the ones who actually contribute to society.

section 13 group 2 10/10

In class we discussed Arthur Schopenhauer, the man who pushed the old woman down the stairs.  That is definitely the first thing that came to my mind and the rest of the groups minds when we started discussing.  The odd thing we found about it, it that it seems that Schopenhauer is a hypocrite.  He says that we are all part of the same energy force, that if we hurt someone else, then it is just like self-harm.  It will destroy a part of the life force that brings us all together.  We also talked about his love for the arts and music, and how he was one of the first philosophers to write about it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Section 14 Group 1-Auto-didactic (Hegel Summary)

Hello fellow philosophers,
      During today's class period, Group One, Auto-didactic, discussed the ins and outs of the complex theories of Hegel. Hegel was one of the more likeable philosphers of his era. He preached that every single person, before being completely knowledgable on a subject, had to first experience history in its entirety. His theory was very similar to that of the Domino Effect, in the sense that he personally believed that everything that occurred of the world often lead to the transpiration of something else. Much like being qualified for a job, Hegel thought people needed the "proper training" or first hand knowledge about things that have happened in the world, in order to be a wise being. In the midst of our discussion, we also came to the conclusion that Hegel was far from being modest. We discovered that he happened to be quite a big fan of himself. Furthermore, we found Hegel to take a slighty different, but at some points vaguely similar approach to the concept of knowledge and wisdom as Socrates...very loosely. All in all, Group One looks forward to Thursday's philosophy session!


Hello everybody!

Today our group discussed what it meant to define infinity.  We came to the conclusion that it was relative and impossible to adequately define infinity.  Are time and space infinite?  We came to the conclusion that time is relative.  We don't know the reality of time.  One could say that it is infinite before and after our lives.  Others could say time is finite in that it begins somewhere and ends somewhere.  We discussed where we thought time began and ended.  Again, we saw that this discussion was relative to how people defined history, the universe, and time.  Discussing infinite time before and after death led to the discussion of what happens to our souls when we die? Do we have souls? Do they exist postmortem?  As you can see, our group often time digresses into interesting, thought provoking discussions.  Going back to infinity, we agreed that number are not the only things that demonstrate infinity.  Knowledge is infinite.  We may think we know something accurately, but time and advancement often proves us incorrect.  Can the mind acquire an unlimited amount of knowledge, or are there limits on our thought and intellect?  Are there certain things people simply cannot have answers for?  We also talked about the idea that humans may evolve infinitely.  Change is infinite and never ending.  Do you think the world around us will ever stop changing?  Amanda also brought up an interesting example of a Bill Nye the Science Guy episode she had watched when she was younger.  Bill Nye wanted to see how many times he could cut a piece of cheese.  He discovered that you could continue cutting the cheese into smaller and smaller pieces infinitely.  I brought up a point that stated that eventually there would be no cheese to cut.  However, I am wrong.  It may be difficult to do, but that matter is still there.  Because matter cannot be destroyed, it is therefore infinite.  It was interesting to hear what everyone thought about infinity.  It is a concept that is difficult, and even impossible to fully wrap one's mind around.  We look forward to hearing everybody's thought on infinity.  See everyone on Thursday!

Arielle Roides (Section 13; Group 4)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hakuna Matata sec19 group3 MILL

We started our discussion talking about how Mill was raised. We started asking ourselves if he could really be a genius without any social interactions. Or how could he take perspective on pleasures without interacting with the pleasures of society? We then switched to his theory of individual pleasure unless it is going to harm other. We decided this theory was greatly flawed in practice. For example the scenerio of a husband and wife gettinga divorce. One wants to stay together, and the other wants to split up. The greatest pleasure for the one who wants to split up would be to leave, though this would hurt their spouse. What would you do according to Mill? We then all agreed that his levels of lower and upper pleasures(rolling in mud vs. reading) were a matter of opinion to himself personally. We then compared Bentham to Mill. Mill focused on more of an individual pleasure while Bentham was thinking of the society. Mill's opposition to paternalism sparked a conversation about why children were left out in his beliefs on the practice of paternalism. We came to the conclusion that it is different for children because they have developing minds that need to be taught basic morals.

Sec19 Grp1: About Hegel

"Haygull" is mainly associated with his philosophy about History. See the underlines? It's a mnemonic maybe.

he argues, unpopularly, that history is not a random sequence of events, that it instead is constantly moving toward a goal of self-awareness, self-actualization, self-understanding. As to the goal history is moving toward, he claims the end will be the point when everything clicks like a light bulb in the head of the Spirit, a collective mindset shared by all humans, and all of history makes sense. Thus, we learn from our mistakes and move forward. In a sense, the end of the world will come about when we build utopias that ultimately fail, just like in every dystopian novel ever written.

We talked about retrospection, as well. Hegel says our mistakes are not always obvious in the moment we're making them; it's only in hindsight that we realize we're wrong. ("The owl of Minerva flies only at dusk.") This, to me, sounds like an application of the Black Swan theory... which wasn't developed yet. He says sagacity is a trait that arises from fixing errors made in the past. The Black Swan theory supports this by claiming there was always a possibility, no matter how minute, of a genuinely surprising event happening, but that it seemed farfetched before it happened, so we dismissed it. So, in order to move forward, we must look backward.

Since Hegel's writings were so esoteric, much about his philosophy is unknown. But if we take one thing from him, it should be that no one is perfect; however, we can move toward that goal by smoothing out our imperfections.

Section 13 Group 1 - Hegel

Hello Group 1,
  I hope you all had a good weekend.  During last class we discussed Rousseau's view on freedom and his explanation of General Will.  I believe it was clear that our opinion as a group was that this General Will understanding is not something that we would be likely to follow in this time.  He may be a good fit for a cult like leader.
  Moving forward; We now jump into Hegel.  It would be great if he was less confusing but that is just not the case with this Philosopher.  My take was that he see's reality as actual and combines philosophical views with history.  Better explained may be that reality as it relates to history is relative only by when it unfolds for us to observe.  This is the best understanding that I have.  I also think that the reason it is difficult to understand this philosopher is because the way he chooses to explain or express his views are complex.
  My opinion is anyone can make their views complex and greater that what they are.  Its when we simplify, clarify and effectivly got our view accross that a good philosopher should be recognized other than for the view itself.


10-4-12 Section 13 Group 4 "Tolerance"

Wendy Brown makes the argument that tolerance does not necessarily denote a complete lack of prejudice or the presence of acceptance and understanding.  Instead, Brown sees tolerance as indicative of a society in which aversion and prejudice are managed and suppressed but not dispelled.  Tolerance reinforced the dichotomy of the "normal" and the "other".  We agreed that it is impossible to say that the world is entirely free from prejudice and human rights violations.  However, there has been a great deal of progress in these areas over the past 200 years, and perhaps Brown is too quick to denounce America and human society in general for their championing of tolerance.

Possible test questions

Why does Brown see "tolerance" as a troubling concept?

Because it creates an atmosphere in which one group of people has the power to permit or limit the actions of other groups based on their sole discretion.

Does Brown think that toleration is an entirely malevolent virtue?

No. Brown argues that tolerance is needed, but it should not be the ultimate goal of a society to merely tolerate what it does not understand.

7 and 1/2 Americans

Today we talked about how Schopenhauer was an extreme example of a pessimist who didn't acknowledge the bright side of life. We than talked about how always wanting more is a bad thing because you are never satisfied.

Section 19 Group 4 Tolerance

Last Wednesday we finished our political pod casts with a discussion over Tolerance by Wendy Brown. She starts off by giving an universal definition saying, " tolerance is all about the management of some undesirable element of foreign body, invading or taking up residence within the host. Brown then goes on to explain that a level of personal tolerance is necessary to get along the world, but when the principle is raised to a political level it can have negative effects. "It cloaks inequalities; it even sometimes substitutes egalitarian principles". She uses 2008 election issues, such as gay marriage, to help illustrate her point, saying that many people said they were not for marriage inequality, rather tolerance. Brown makes the point that this implies that some people have to be tolerated rather than made equal in our society. Our groups main discussion point came from the question, at what point are you tolerating, and what point are you just, for lack of a better word, not caring? Many of us agreed that a lot issues that have no affect on us we tend to have no opinion of, and don't get involved in disagreements or debates concerning those matters. Is that considered tolerance? And is that one of the negative effects that Brown was worried about? It seems that everyone has at least one issue where they would cross the blurry line of tolerance and voice their opinion, so its safe to assume that problems will  arise when it comes to certain groups "being tolerated" , rather than equally incorporated into our society.


Why does Brown prefer the term tolerance to toleration?

What does Brown say that tolerance has become a substitution for?

Reasons Matter

Jonathan Haidt says our reasons are often rationalizations, reinforcing our previously-formed "intuitions":
Among the most memorable scenes in movie history is Toto’s revelation that the thundering head of the Wizard of Oz is actually animated by a small man behind a curtain, who lamely says, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” Modern psychology has, to some extent, pulled the curtain back on human reasoning and shown it to be much less impressive than it sometimes pretends to be, and much more driven by the hidden force of intuition...
But that doesn't mean that intuitions are a good substitute for solid thinking. Up with philosophy!
...philosophers have the best norms for good thinking that I have ever encountered. When my work is critiqued by a philosopher I can be certain that he or she has read me carefully, including the footnotes, and will not turn me into a straw man. More than any other subculture I know, the philosophical community embodies the kinds of normative pressures for reason-giving and responsiveness to reasons that Allan Gibbard describes in “Wise Choices, Apt Feelings.” I wish such norms could be sprinkled into the water supply of Washington.
Jonathan Haidt: Reasons Do Matter - NYTimes.com

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Section 13 Group 2

In group discussions on Thursday we discussed Immanuel Kant.  We manly focused on the chapter on his moral views.  Kant says that we should never lie, not even if it is going to benefit himself or help another, never.  The book gave an example of someone knocking on your door begging for help because a murder is coming after them.  When the murder comes and knocks, and asks whether or not that person is here, Kant says he would say yes.  In his eyes, this is morally correct.  Honestly, I do not believe, and I'm sure many others do not believe this is not morally correct.  It is a challenging question whether or not to believe your feelings get involved or not.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Who majors in philosophy?

"You might be surprised. Steve Allen, Woody Allen, Steve Martin, George Soros, Thomas Jefferson... it's a very long list. [Here's another. And another.]

And why? It's the most practical major, of course. And Simon Blackburn notes that "people turn to philosophers when they feel less confident and more insecure." Bad times, good times... Bottom line is, philosophy prepares you to think and talk about everything."

See video at Delight Springs: Who majors in philosophy?

It's how you play the game

A word or two of heartfelt consolation for my Atlanta Braves fan-friends.
“You cannot call that an infield fly!” But the umpire can. Blown calls are part of the game, and part of life.
Continues at Infallible like the Pope « Up@dawn

Friday, October 5, 2012

Auto-didactic-->Section 14 Group 1 (10-4-12)

Hello fellow Philosophy classmmates,
     Rousseau was the focus of today's summary in class. The first thing discussed was one of Rousseau's personal philosophies, independent or "free" thinking. We then talked about the many contradictions that surrounded his way of thinking. He was the author of one of the most notable pieces of governmental works, The Social Contract. In that particular work, Rousseau urged the importance of NEEDING laws and structure, in order to lead an efficient lifestyle. He basically wanted everyone to be satisfied but still under some sort of order and/or control. Furthermore, Rousseau's philosophies still reign true until today. Auto-didactic definitely looks forward tothe upcoming discussion on Tuesday!                            


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Section 14 Group 4

Today we discussed tolerance. We've understood it to be the outwards acceptance towards others. The issue of this being, there is no internal acceptance. Only stage acceptance that only states, "it's alright, i guess... but we want no part of it."

We discussed religious tolerance, as well as toleration with sexuality.
We came to the conclusion that tolerance has progressed, but there will always be some part of society to object to.

We got to enjoy the sunshine.
Good conversation.

Auto-didactic Section 14 Group 1

Hello fellow Philosophy students,

Tonight's assigned reading on Rousseau was very fascinating, but at the same time, it was contradictory as well. Rousseau often professed the importance of "being free" and making independent choices, while simultaneously proclaiming how unhealthy it was to be controlled. Surprisingly, Rousseau is the same individual that constructed the Social Contract, a work that stresses the significance of order; however, Rousseau suggested laws and mandates that were agreeable upon everyone. He promoted unity and satisfaction among groups. He wanted the world to positively affect every single person. In closing, Rousseau stood for independent thinking and goodwill for the people.


1. What is General Will?

2. Do you think that laws are necessary, in order to live "safely" and efficiently?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Section 13 Group 1 Rousseau

Good Evening Group 1
   In reading about Rousseau it is interesting in his view on General Will and how not conforming to this understanding would dessignate one as not being free.  Even more interesting is the view where those who would not conform should be forced to as it shows contribution to societal well being.  This reminds me of a dictator.  His way or the unpaved highway.  This would be a good topic to discuss since there are several pro's and con's that could become of this.  Lets all take the time to think on this view and lets discuss this tomorrow when we meet.

Michael Lucas

More on Religion, Morality, and Diversity

Hello everybody!

I have traffic court tomorrow morning and will not be in class, but I figured I should go ahead and post some thoughts for you guys to think about for discussion tomorrow.

I have always said that a person did not need to go to church in order to be saved; salvation was acquired by establishing a personal, intimate relationship with God.  Jean Jacques Rousseau and I would have been good friends.  He too, believed that "true religion came from the heart." (LH) Rousseau was quite optimistic about human beings.  Rousseau's idea of a tradeoff between freedom and protection still exists today. Where is the line drawn?  When are human's freedoms diminishing to nothing?  How much of our freedom is worth our security?

I believe that the society Rousseau imagines, the one that practices the General Will, could never be established because who is to say what is good for society as a whole? Do you, unlike Rousseau, think that humans are inherently selfish?

Like Kant, I believe that no one knows what true absolute reality is.  When have you been in a situation in which a prior experience has colored your perception of something or someone?

Do you think there are limits on human knowledge?


It is interesting to view the world as something perceived differently than it really is--something way beyond the limits of our knowledge.  Do you think humans are born with knowledge, or do you think humans are born with a "blank slate" in which experience builds ones knowledge?

Kant's moral values were based entirely on reason.  If I donated money to a charity because I wanted recognition, I would not be carrying out a moral action.  A moral person would donate to charity because it is the right thing to do.  People should not make choices based on what they will return in exchange for their good deeds.

I disagree with Kant's argument that it is absolutely, positively never okay to tell a lie.  Do you think there are any situations in which it would be okay to tell a lie?

Jeremy Bentham's ideas are attractive at first--do whatever makes you happiest.  But what if all of the immoral people did what made them happy?  Chaos and madness would break out.  Although everyone may feel the reward of happiness the same way, they all obtain this pleasure in unique ways.  I think his ideas were extreme, as were Kant's.

What do you think makes an action moral?

Wendy Brown sounded to me like a racist.  What do you think? However, if I am understanding correctly, Brown believes that it is a social injustice to those being tolerated.  Tolerating individuals is boldly pointing out that the group is actually undesirable.  I liked how she pointed out the U.S. boasting about their level of tolerance against the Middle Eastern countries, despite their infamous past of racism, brutality, and intolerance. Who are we to boast about such a thing?



Keep me posted on discussion tomorrow and I will see everybody Tuesday!

Arielle Roides

Hakuna Matata Sec19 Group 3 Bentham

We started our discussion today by trying to give examples of his felicific calculous equation. We came up with skateboarding. If someone though skate boarding had a pleasure level of 10, but the chances of getting hurt would make the overall pleasure an 8. We tried to understand how Bentham would transfer his philosophy of Utilitarianism into laws of society. He had said he wanted to maximize the happiness or utility of the community. But how does this apply to people that have different ideas of what pleasure is? His goal was to make the felicific calculous equation a general formula for pleasure verse pain that could be used for everyday choices. Though his idea seems a little to broad. We thought that there was a certain kind of happiness that should be maximized, not just any type. His philosophy stated that there was no individual rights, it was meant for the overall happiness of the community instead of yourself.

Sec19 Grp1: -Rousseau-

To Rousseau, being "free" did not necessarily mean being "free." To further society, individuals are given certain amounts of freedom, but he argued that close-quartered society is what corrupts our freedom and that restrictions need to be placed on it. Within a hard-to-define frame, people should be allowed to do whatever they want, so long as it benefits society. While most people would be against it, our example of raising the taxes would benefit society, so Rousseau thought this raising was necessary.

This philosophy reminds me of the movie Hot Fuzz. In it, the corrupt Neighborhood Watch Alliance is in total control of the town of Sandford. In order to win the coveted Village of the Year award, anyone deemed unnecessary or not beneficial to the town as a whole is murdered to protect its perfectness. So, in a sense, regardless of what the villagers wanted to do with their lives, their society told them they could only pick certain occupations because only certain ones were needed. I think Rousseau's concept of the General Will (whatever is best for the community instead of just the individual), albeit in hopefully less extreme scenarios, is reminiscent of this.

We went on to talk about Rousseau's great paradox: if one chooses not to be free, he or she will be "forced" to be free. Here, free meant fulfilling a beneficial societal position. Being a component of model society is what makes us truly free, so contributing to it would mean making society better, thus making us freer. In essence, to be free, we have to think in terms of the General Will and act accordingly.

To sum it up:
Individual < Community
Feelings < Obligations

Section 13 Group 4 "Minority Rights"

This week's reading dealt with the issue of minority rights in relation to multiculturalism.  We discussed the importance of certain programs and aids made available to minority groups who may be marginalized by mainstream society.  We agreed that there are often times, even in a country such as America where personal freedom is valued highly, when cultural and ethnic minorities are not given the respect and equal treatment they deserve.  Therefore programs which even the playing field for such groups are important and not unfair to society at large. Kymlicka made a very clear distinction between human rights which need to be protected and cultural practices which are incompatible with the liberal democratic views she hopes to encourage.  This piece connects in many ways to the other political philosophy pieces in PB as the majority of them have dealt with the treatment of minorities who are often disenfranchised or exploited.

Ideas, Creationism, and Minorities: Section 13; Group 4

Hello everybody!

I have been terribly sick for the past four days now.  I am starting to feel well, but I have to go to court on Thursday for a traffic violation.  I am missing all of the great discussion and cannot wait to return next Tuesday.  Below are my thoughts on the readings for Berkeley, Locke, Voltaire, Leibniz, and Hume.

Berkeley believed that anything that was unobserved at any given time did not exist.  As crazy as it sounds, I have actually thought about this many  times.  Is everything around us simply a figment of our imaginations?  Does everything in this world exist only in our heads?  I have thought, at times, that life is just an imagination in our minds and something our souls experience.  Berkeley thought that ideas were the only things that actually existed.  In his thought process, if no mind was there to perceive something, that something simply did not exist.  The point that makes this idea logical is that God maintains ideas in order to keep things in existence, even when civilian observers are absent.

I really enjoyed reading about Leibniz.  There is such a great peace and lifted weight off of my shoulders in believing that each moment is all part of God's greater plan.  God is all good and perfect and would never allow bad things to occur if they did not serve a greater good.  Does the existence of bad things, such as natural disaster and evil, conclude that there is no God.  What do you think?

Voltaire was inspirational in that he believed everyone should be able to speak their minds.  I absolutely agree with his value in freedom of speech.  This is how the flow of knowledge spreads.  I am not saying that everybody should agree, but each person should be allowed to share their unique ideas and knowledge with the public. Although I agree with his advocacy on free speech, I do not share his pessimism about the world around us.  Faith is trusting God's goodness, no matter what seemingly nightmarish tragedy you may witness.
Q: WHILE LEIBNIZ WAS A(N) ___________, VOLTAIRE WAS A(N) ___________.
          a) optimist; pessimist
          b) pessimist; optimist

David Hume claims that God is not proven to be our divine creator.  I disagree.  The things ad beings of this world are far too complex to simply fall into existence one day.  This universe is too magnificent and complex to simply come to being out of thin air.  I did like, however, that Hume did not dispute creationism.  I disputed the lack of evidence in who or what the creator was.

I find it interesting that as Albert Einstein became more educated on science, the more he believed in a higher power.

Warburton asked Kymlicka if immigrants were classified as one group or if they were divided into groups of different cultures.  In a sense, immigrants as a whole, face similar hardships.  To the majority of the people of their new land, they are viewed as different, incompatible, or less important.  Individually, different cultures each face their own set of prejudices.  All of the racism and prejudice is depriving these HUMAN BEINGS of their rights as HUMAN BEINGS.  They deprive these individuals of their dignity and humanity with their unjust words and actions.  We are all inhabitants of this universe.  What are some examples of universal values across the world? If everybody thought of one another in terms of this universal concept, this world would be able to see peace.  Instead, everybody speaks and acts in ways that show carelessness and disgust towards those with cultural, religious, or ethic differences and forgets to embrace this diverse melting pot of a universal community we live in.

I can't wait to hear your thoughts and hear about what GROUP 4 discussed in class. Keep me posted!

Arielle Roides (PHIL 1030-013)

7 and 1/2 Americans (Group 2 Sec. 19)

today we talked about Kant and his views about the world through his eyes and how we thought that we were seeing the world through a different perspective and how they could see through this illusion if they used reason and understanding of their individual reality. We thought that this idea of an illusion was very strange and misleading but at the same time were satisfied that you could overcome the illusion in your mind by utilizing logic.

For the second portion of Kant's philosophy having to do with morals we looked at how he thought we should act when helping someone in need and why we do it. Kant says when we help someone we should not act on emotion instead we should act on duty, which in Kant's eyes, is the only way we can help someone with good intentions. We as a group said that it is good to think about why you will help someone instead of just doing what the society would expect you to do in a more stoic position rather than going on pure emotion.

Section 14 Group 3 Summary 10/2

Our topic of discussion was Hume and his Design Argument. He was basically saying that even though many things look like they've been designed, that doesn't mean that the designer/architect behind the design was God or that God exists. The argument that things are so complex that someone/something must be behind it doesn't provide enough evidence to conclude that an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good being must exist. The eye, for example, is imperfect. Why, then, would an all-knowing, all-good God not make a perfect eye?

He also discussed how we can't rely on personal accounts of miracles. Perspective changes with each case or each description of the same miracle. He also claimed that many ordinary things are often claimed to be miracles.

Election & debates reminder

This is the very last week to register to vote, please remind your students, or to shift their voter registration toRutherford County for the November 6th election.   A registration table will be operated by ADP and SGA in the new Student Union all day on Friday 10/5 and there will also be a registration table at Step Show Friday evening.  Monday, technically the last day to register in Tennessee, is a federal holiday without postal service or stamping, so our registration drive ends this week.

The presidential debates start tonight and we hope you will encourage students to take advantage of these opportunities to hear and compare the ideas of the candidates.

Wed., October 3, 2012
8:00 p.m.
Presidential debate with domestic policy focus
University of Denver, Denver, CO

Thurs., October 11, 2012
8:00 p.m.
Vice Presidential debate
Centre College, Danville, KY

Tues., October 16, 2012
8:00 p.m.
Presidential debate in town hall format
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY

Mon., October 22, 2012
8:00 p.m.
Presidential debate with foreign policy focus
Lynn University, Boca Raton, FL