Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Group 2 Section H01 - John Lachs p 7-13

     We did not have much time in our group today, but with the little time that we did possess, we talked mostly on how philosophy fits into the context of life and its possible future within the scope of medicine and other careers paths in existence today.  First, since I hope to be a doctor one day in the future, we analyzed the role philosophy may one day play in a medical setting and John Lachs' potential position on such a topic.  Dr. Oliver said that philosophers are not prevalent today in any fields other than in the traditional settings, like universities, but one day they may achieve positions on staff of hospitals such as bioethicists or bio-medical advisers.  He believes they would weigh in on controversial subjects such as the consequences of genetic enhancement, the ability to extend one's life indefinitely, or the situations in which euthanasia can be prescribed.  Dr. Oliver also believes that children should be taught the use of philosophy from an early age, especially in schools, so that children can think complexly and learn to do so early on.
     After medicine, we discussed Lachs' view on happiness.  Nobody in our group was sure of his stance, but in his book he does state that there are at least 2 main roads to understanding and enjoying happiness, but he never expresses which one works best for him (choose to be happy with what you have, or be unhappy until you have what you like?).  He does, however, believe that humans should be able to choose whichever suits them at the moment, because humans are complex and no one way works best for all.
     Last, we discussed his views on the future of philosophy.  He believes that philosophy will never produce any new information, it is only able to synthesize information from other fields in an understandable and relate-able way, and he compares it to music and literature rather than like math or science.  Philosophy works on the expansion of the mind, but never develops or produces anything new.  I took this to mean that, like music, philosophers use the materials at hand and do not create new components, but analyze or utilize those components in different ways to create something new or develop a new take on something already in existence.  Just as rock and roll utilizes the same basic musical components that classical music did, philosophers simply reuse ideas, and paradigm shifts throughout history allow a new light to be brought to those archaic ideas.

DQs and questions for John Lachs:
What is his/your view on happiness?
What is philosophy's future in regards to other fields and in its own position now?
How is the synthesis and anylization of something not considered producing new knowledge?
What is the relationship between philosophy and religion, and what is your religious stance?


  1. The idea about how philosophers are not present anywhere except the university is what we talked a lot about in our group. I believe that it would be better to have philosophers in every field that could possibly have the need for someone who could think critically. Also, I think it would be better to spread the ideas outside the university setting. We need to get other people thinking about these topics instead of students in the classroom. Isn't that limiting the capability of philosophy????

    I agree with Dr. Oliver saying that children need to be taught philosophy at a young age so they can think critically and complexly when they get older. Americans these days just want the easy way out. Most people do not like to think hat hard about things. They just want to go with the flow and whatever happens, happens. But with philosophy being introduced at a young age, there might much more critical thinkers in the world.

    I think that Lachs might have hit a road block with happiness on that one because no one truly knows what makes each person happen but the individual themselves. Therefore, to be happy, each person must do their own activity (or whatever it may be) to make them happy. There is no guideline that tells us how to make ourselves happy. I might like to go to a football game and others do not (including Dr. Oliver which I am completely okay with because that is his view!).

    I also disagree with the point he makes about philosophy never producing anything new. I think that as more time goes by, the more there is to be put in philosophy's "court." The world is not going to stop (or at least any time soon....) producing new things and coming up with new ideas on how to look at things an do things. Therefore, there has to be something that philosophy will produce in the present and the future.

    Good post Mason!

  2. A bioethical advisor already exists...


    1. Thank you Logan, I was unaware, but I'm glad they will stoop low enough to even consider taking care of those related to lawyers.... However, I don't know if his full time position is making sure lawyers are given relatively decent care.

  3. Having just came from a avant gard faculty recital at the school of music, I think that musicians most definitely do create completely new sounds and, really, completely reinvent the wheel. John Cage is an example of this with his famous 4'33--a piece that consists of 4 minutes and 33 seconds of absolute silence.


    Or, his Atlas Eclipticalis, where he took a star map and layed it over staff paper and created music that way--hardly using what's already there.


    Music is being revolutionized all the time, it just takes a while for it to become popular enough that you'll hear about it, and by that time it's been transfused with more mainstream music.