Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Philosopher's Guild (H) September 3

It seems things went quite well on our first discussion day. As we discussed Romano's claim that America is perhaps the most philosophical country to ever exist, everyone seemed to have something to say or something to add.

Evan seemed to believe that the free spread of ideas found in America is due to a lack of a societal overseer perhaps witnessed in other countries. Anna questioned how one could measure the "philosopical-ness" of a country while also adding fruitfully to the debate. Draven, though he seems to prefer France as the most philosophical of countries, agrees with the general consensus of the group which states that American production (music, movies, books, and other media) tend to have extensive philosophical undertones.

Kyle likened American imagination to the imaginative aspects of video games in popular culture while Graham and Jody also added interesting viewpoints and arguments to the debate as well.

We all seem very open-minded and ready to discuss the readings to come!


  1. Factual question: what figure in history has been most associated with the question? (Socrates)

    Discussion question: Socrates states that the unexamined life is not worth living. Is it better to go on with our live the way we have always known or is it better to question everything we do in our lives?

    Comment: our group had some good discussion this time even though it was a shorter group discussion. We talked about how America compares to other countries and times philosophically. Our group touched on many different points of comparison from education all the way to video games.

    Link: here is a link to an article discussing the relationship between Socrates and Plato.

  2. Evan Mason6:26 PM CDT

    (H01), 9/04/2013
    Factual Question:
    Who stated that "Truth issues only from deliberation conducted under maximum conditions of openness and freedom"?
    Answer: Habermas

    Philosophical Question:
    How true or false is the statement "Philosophy is to confound our sense of the way things are, to flip our world upside down, and to ferret out hidden, often uncomfortable truths about life" and why is that?

    Comment here:
    I would really like to see the creation of a way to measure the philosophical status of a nation. It would be an amazing statistical analysis quantifying a major part of the human experience, but i honestly do not know how this would be achieved. There are just so many ideas on what philosophy is and what it can and should do that i do not know if it will ever be truly quantifiable. I do know that all humans have the capacity to perform some form of philosophical thought and maybe quantifying such a thing is the wrong way of approaching the idea of measuring philosophicalness. After thinking about all the opposing view points, and the intro from America the Philosophical, maybe comparing two sets of peoples ideas and expressions should not be what we do, but rather take what we learn from one another as beings and try to include everyone in the expansion of philosophy. Maybe all the name calling and finger pointing is just slowing us down, or maybe it is just human nature. My money is on a little of both.

    Comment there:
    On Phil Oliver's quote posted under the Highlanders most recent post (as of 09/04/2013).
    I guess it is just my Irish heritage calling to me but I found a wonderful compilation of some classic Irish quotes to share

  3. (Group 1: The Highlanders)

    I thought it was interesting to see the mention of America's Media productions as a form of our philosophical impact. I think that, in this day and age, it's important to recognize that there are new sources of information sharing, and that just because a part of our culture's philosophy happens outside of academia doesn't make it any less valid. I think that a lot of our philosophical ideals are represented through our nation's media, and I think it's important to take that into consideration when viewing America from a philosophical standpoint.

  4. I agree that there is some American media that causes us to think. I don't consider that to be a typical thing, however -- at least not in "mainstream" media, not to sound hipster.

    "World War Z" certainly did leave me thinking, however, and that's largely what I define philosophy as: thought and reflection.

    (group 3, H)

  5. Draven Brew2:35 AM CDT

    Factual Question:
    Why was Socrates executed.
    He was seen as a corrupting influence to the youth.

    Discussion Question:
    Was Socrates's act of allowing himself to be executed conducive to his idea of an examined life, or should he have denounced his views, and continued living. In a similar vein, were other thinkers who were put in a similar situation to Socrates's and ended up denouncing their views (Galileo comes to mind) living an examined life?

    I suppose one of the reasons that I said that France was the most philosophical nations was that France produced some of the bigger names in philosophy, like Descartes, Sartre, Camus, Rousseau, and Foucault, and because, in a way similar to why Romano claims that America is philisophical, France started to break down the rigid philisophical norm by having "cafe philosophers".

    This is a shortish video about Pythagrius. He was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher. It gives you a small look at the philisophical climate Socrates came into, although, I imagine Pythagrius's cult was seen as a bit crazy. Also, the video has a bit of language in it.

    1. Draven Brew2:41 AM CDT


  6. Factual Question: Who wrote "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free"? (Charles Pierce)

    Discussion Question: Is it better to be stupid and elated or intelligent and depressed?

    Comment: I wonder why the stereotypical culture capitals are what they are. Capitals shift at times; America alone has had about three in its relatively short lifespan. So why is Rome still a culture capital? Sure, there was a lot of culture there, but most of that is ruins covered in burned cigarettes. Compare that to America, which puts out new culture on a daily basis that is eaten up like candy by the rest of the world.

    Link: Behold, Philoshiraptor! One of the most popular memes and proof that the internet is a fine tool for philosophy! http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/philosoraptor

  7. Factual Question:Who said "Conclusive refutations of philosophical positions are about as rare as sightings of the ivory-billed woodpecker"?(MIT Philosopher Alex Byrne)
    Discussion Question:Why is Philosophy such a White, male dominated feild, and how will this change?(In reference to page 19 in AP)
    Comment:I really enjoyed our discussion on Tuesday. I think that Kyle's comparison to Video Games was an interesting concept, and something that would be a good topic to explore for the 10-Page Paper(Kyle, I won't be taking your idea). I think Tuesday was also a good demonstration of how our group responds when we have differences in opinions. Evan, I think your comment on quantifying how philosophical a nation or culture is would be really interesting and also very difficult. But if you figure out a way to do it, let me know :)
    Link:To end with a quote from on of my favorite movies :) http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3pexo2/

    1. And I commented on Group 3(H)'s post

  8. Jennifer (H1)11:47 AM CDT

    I think it's very cool that your group talked about the philosophical undertones of pop culture! While I think a lot of music/movies/tv/etc is lacking much philosophical thought, there are definitely exceptions to this, and I think these mediums are good ways to get philosophical ideas out to a mass audience.

  9. Factual Question: How many literary works and teachings did Socrates write? (Absolutely nothing, Socrates himself never wrote down anything, most of what we have is from Plato).

    Discussion Question: Do you think that the Socratic Method of questioning others and mutually benefitting is more philosophical than that of person reflection?

    Comment: On the subject of how philosophical any one nation is, I think it is truly impossible to quantify that in any way. Philosophy can be a deeply personal thing, and countries who tend to be "philosophical" just seem to have more people who are willing to discuss their personal philosophies with others. One could say, however, that our freedom of speech fosters such discussion, and therefore promotes more philosophical discussion.

    Link: I saw Kyle's question on ignorance, happiness, intelligence, and depression, and it made me think of Ernest Hemingway's theory that the pursuit of knowledge leads to depression or suicide.
    "Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know." - Ernest Hemingway


  10. Philosophical-ness...I like that term and will have to add it to my vocabulary. I kind of agree with Graham...I feel that it would be very difficult (if not impossible) to quantify the Philosophical-ness of a country or people (already putting my new favorite word to use lol).