Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, September 30, 2013

Philosopher's Guild Project Thread

Yo guys!
Thought I would finally start the thread. Here is my outline and then list of presentations. Whenever you collect your notes from your sections, post them here so we can be organized and so Jody can place everything into the powerpoint. Thanks! Savannah. :)

Intro to Monty Python and Philosophy

Chapter 2: Philosophical Aspects of Monty Python

-After the success of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, the crew was uncertain about what to do for their next project
-They decided on Biblical humor (soon to be Life of Brian) but decided that they all basically liked Jesus and did not necessarily want to make fun of him; instead, they decided to make fun of..
---people's eagerness to believe
---religious smugness
---justified violence
---anthropomorphism (belief in a human-like god)
-They stressed the importance of
---healthy skepticism
---individual decision making

-The importance of individual thought is also highlighted in Life of Brian
-Brian's philosophy can even be seen as a kind of existentialism (the belief that humans have no intrinsic purpose and must instead find or make their own)
---other philosopher's who support this view are Nietzsche, Sartre, Kierkegaard, and Kant
-Brian's teachings also comment that improving the lives of other humans around his should also be a main focus in life--this is the philosophy of humanism
-Main Idea: "Think for yourselves, don't blindly follow."

-Relies heavily on Camus
---one should not wait for a God-given purpose but find their own purpose in life
-Life is hopeless at times, so humor acts as "a counterweight to nihilism"
-Brian acts as a hero as he laughs at the absurd and "tries to do good" despite all the odds stacked against him--"he is sincere, and he makes for himself a life that gains meaning through his own decisions," reflecting heroism in the face of adversity

Here are the list of essays which will be discussed during the presentation:

Anna-- Essay 6: "A Very Naughty Boy: Getting Right with Brian"
Jody-- Essay 13: "Monty Python and the Search for the Meaning of Life"
Evan-- Essay 7: "Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Philosophy, Gender, and Society"
Kyle-- Essay 12: "Madness in Monty Python's Flying Circus"
Dravin--Essay 14: "Existentialism in Monty Python: Kafka, Camus, Nietzsche, and Sartre
Graham-- Essay 11: "Monty Python and David Hume on Religion"


  1. Just in case you still need it folks, here is the link to the online book :)

    Nietzsche is the Philosopher being studied in this section
    Pg. 65-66 Has some good ideas for heresy topic as it is making fun of several prominent religious denominations as well as introducing the idea that God is Dead and that we have killed him
    Pg. 67-68 discuss the idea of a different God then the traditional one (references Monty Python scene, potential video!)
    Pg 70-71 (includes life of Brian video idea) Points out that the main idea isn't mocking God but staying at a distance from him
    Pg. 71 also points out that Nietzsche's denial of a God leaves a heavy burden on the Human race, but also points out that we are up for the task.

    I will post more later when I finish reading the article

  2. Let's start posting videos...

    Here is the argument clinic. This seems like a good clip to introduce people to Monty Python, so maybe it would be good in my intro. Tell me if someone else thinks it will fit better with what they are talking about though.
    Here it is!

  3. Here is a link for one of our videos

  4. Monty Python and Madness

    -Most Comprehensive: The Town Idiot
    -Defined Town Idiot:
    --Did not get married
    --Did not participate in games
    --Was fed and supported by others
    -Python Town Idiots:
    --Necessary laughing point
    --Is not actually mad
    -Madness is a fluid sociological construct
    -No raw madness
    -Village idiot and psych inmate different
    -Western madness history one of exclusion
    -Madness was allowed until mid 17th century
    -fools were important in literature
    -Pythons inflate stereotypes to show how they are wrong
    -Social Hermit sketch shows how our ideas are incorrect
    -Typical hermit idea one of madness
    -Village Idiot sketch shows a rational and collected typical madman
    Pages are missing from this preview.
    -Village Idiot becomes a profession
    -Idiot has colleagues
    -Madness not dominated/controlled by society
    -Urban idiots look like businessmen
    -Surface madness is invisible in urban environs
    -Asylum-like posh area where idiots interact
    -Visible idiots are well integrated
    -Invisible idiots clearly mad

  5. Monty Python and Existentialism
    • The origins of existentialism can be traced back to the 19th century.
    • Existentialism had a diverse mix of philosophers and philosophies.
    • It is defined as, “The individual, the experience of choice, and the absence of rational understanding of the universe with a consequent dread or sense of absurdity in life”.
    Kafka, Camus, and the “Absurd”
    • Kafka
    o In Kafka’s stories, the protagonists are normal people.
    o These characters are thrust into absurd situations that they try to overcome rationally.
    o This absurdity is reinforced by social institutions like the police, or the justice system.
    o Kafka often made use of black humor.
    o Both the concept of the absurd and black humor are common in Monty Python.
    o http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vuW6tQ0218
    • Camus
    o Like Kafka, Camus thought that life is inherently meaningless.
    o Camus coined the term, “absurd,” which is, “the confrontation between a rational person and an indifferent universe.”
    o The concept of the absurd is illustrated by The Myth of Sisyphus.
    o Monty Python illustrates it with “Dull Life of a City Stockbroker.”
    o http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aYO48Vblv0
    • The Individual and the Meaning of Life
    o Many of the existentialists were skeptical of any higher being or universal meaning.
    o Nietzsche declared God dead.
    o If God and the state can provide their own meaning, why can’t the individual?
    o Sartre claimed that, “our existence proceeds our essence.”
    o Nietzsche thought that religious traditions were too rigid and unphilosophical.
    o Monty Python’s Meaning of Life is making fun of religion, among other social institutions, not Jesus himself.
    • Sartre, Bad Faith, and Freedom
    o Existentialists put the burden of the meaning of life on the individual.
    o Not everyone is up to that, a concept Sartre calls, “bad faith.”
    o Fitting into stereotypes is giving away personal freedom.
    o People who follow stereotypes allow social or religious institutions to determine the way they act.
    o Monty Python makes fun of this type of behavior.
    o What we do determines our character.
    o http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnq96W9jtuw
    o However, Sartre did not think of genetics or upbringing.

  6. Monty Python and David Hume on Religion
    Is God Real?
    There have always been Philosophers coming up with arguments for God’s existence, and other Philosophers quickly disproving them.
    The Ontological Argument
    St. Anselm: God is that being than whom no greater being can be conceived
    God must exist if he is the greatest conceivable being, for a camel that exists is greater than a camel that does not exist.
    Hume: But whatever we can conceive as existing, we can also conceive as being nonexistent. Therefore St. Anselm does not prove the existence of God.
    The Argument of Design:
    The Biological Argument: all the natural order in the world cannot be due to chance, thus there must be a Divine Designer who made it.
    This argument was derailed after Darwin’s theory of Evolution, as it explains all the order without the need of a Divine Design. Unless you choose to believe otherwise.
    The Astronomical Argument: All the laws of physics and the law-governed motion of the universe cannot be due to chance, it had to be laid out by some form of Higher Intelligence.
    Einstein and Newton believed in this argument, for the chance gets increasingly smaller as we find out more about the order of the universe.
    Hume, who tremendously respects the two, chooses not to believe in the argument, as it replaces the mystery of the universe with the mystery of a Higher Intelligence. Where did the Higher Intelligence come from?
    Hume dismissed all the Design arguments from the perspective that all those making the arguments are seeing the world through “God-colored glasses,” and cannot see all the ugly in the world, and choose instead to look only at the order and beauty.
    The Argument of Miracles
    Miracles can be defined as events outside the natural order, through the help of the Divine, or by those who are themselves Divine.
    God would only grant miraculous powers to those who wouldn’t misrepresent him, therefore those who perform miracles are representative of His Divine Wisdom.
    But was Brian divine?
    Miracles can sometimes be events that witnesses misinterpret, so the Miracles of some religions may be simple misinterpretations of events that do follow natural order. 

  7. Evan Mason10:12 PM CDT

    Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Philosophy, Gender, and Society
    Main points:
    (Basically what I will need on the power point)
    A short history of King Arthur and his quest
    Chivalric Heroes of Pop culture
    Stories Compiled around 1150 to 1250 AD
    Authors: Chretien de Troyes, Wolfram von Eschenbach, and Sir Thomas Mallorys
    Each had a version of King Arthur and his quest (all quite similar)
    Exemplifies what a man could aspire to be in this time period
    Honor bound, God fearing, Hardworking, and a fair man of his word
    God, Gold, and Glory
    All of this falls in line with most religious standings of the day. Men did the work, and attained all the glory while women were subject to staying in the background.
    Rather silly? Yes I believe it is.
    And here is where Monty Python and their parody comes in
    Patriarchy is ridiculous and unnecessary. King Arthur’s tale is not much more than a collection of blundering oafs with no ability to negotiate or calmly interact with one another. Exemplifies a strong male persona of never giving up. Yet is that not just silly? Tear one another apart because you cannot reasonably talk about things (Black night video here) Talking things out is just too womanly.

    The second relation of Monty python and the Holy grail is the idea that all people are individuals, and seek the individuality within oneself. (Life of Brian clip)
    Each knight is forced to find what they really want or just work listlessly for King Arthur.

  8. I am going to be finishing the power point today. Do we think there is any way we can meet sometime tonight so everyone can make sure their section looks right

  9. Cannot wait to enjoy your presentation tomorrow!!!

  10. Factual question: How many Monty Python Films are there? 5
    Discussion Question: What do we feel as a group we learned through this project?
    Comment: I am really excited about getting this report done :) Yay for Monty Python!
    Link: Here are Youtube Videos galore!! http://www.youtube.com/user/MontyPython

  11. Anonymous11:36 AM CDT

    Michael Anderson H3

    Can't wait for your presentation, sounds like it will be very interesting.