Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Yet Unnamed Group 3 (H)

Seriously, guys, we have to do something about that. Anyway, here follows my synopsis of our conversation:

We began with talking about why America is considered unphilosophical. Our general conclusion was that America has failed to create a particular identity for itself because of apathy on the part of our inhabitants, which causes them to reject most ideas but not form any on their own. Moreover, no particular identity can be assigned to America as a whole, which reduces in the eyes of the world its philosophical contributions.

After spending just a few minutes on that, Shannon pointed out we had failed to deal much with definitions of philosophy the previous week, so we rewound to that topic, where we spent most of the remainder of our time. On the whole, we came to the conclusion that philosophy is the quest to answer the question "Why am I here?" Seneca mentioned the search for truth as well, which I think serves well to make our general definition a little more specific and serviceable. Therefore, philosophy might be defined thus: "The attempt of people to find truth and discover why they live." Our conversation became a discussion of what we strive for, with me asking the question of what is worth dying for. That began our primary discussion about love and whether or not love is worth dying for, why it is, what true love is, and eventually what is right and wrong.

Our last question we dealt with was whether or not modern talk show hosts practice rhetoric in the same way as the ancient rhetoricians. After comparing for a few minutes the methods of each group, we came to the conclusion that no, modern talk show hosts don't hold a candle to the ancient rhetoricians.


  1. Can't help myself. Factual Question: On what charge was Socrates convicted and then executed? (Corrupting the youth of Athens.) Discussion Question: Why is it that the Socratic method is so irritating to people? What is so offensive about someone questioning them about their views?

    I think our discussion today about love exemplifies the way Seneca defined philosophy: the pursuit of truth. Every serious question we pose about the nature of reality and the way people think comes back to the issue of what truth is (which touches a bit on our discussion for next week) Just as each person asks, at some point, what true love is, every person asks, in some form or another, what truth is. It seems to me that every person wants to know what reason they have to live and why the world even exists in the first place. That's where I hope we get to in this class: what is truth and why is it true? (I, for one, recommend CS Lewis. He is unparalleled, in my opinion.) That is, after all, the central question of human existence.

    Besides thinking, debating, speaking, and asking questions, I enjoy quotations by people who have an excellent way of putting an issue and/or have thought through the issue more than I have. Therefore, my "classly" quotation link: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/b/brucelee137154.html Not that he quite hits what love is, but he is, nevertheless, right. What the heck, here's another one (this one is more of a pick-up line than anything else): http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/a/aamilne163067.html And another link to a poem: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174151 Unfortunately, none of these really hit what love is intrinsically, but each has an element of truth to it. Aristotle also said, "Love is one soul in two bodies," if I remember correctly. That's the closest one I found.

    There, that is my second pontification for the day.

  2. Factual Question: Who was sentenced to death through the drinking of hemlock? - Socrates because he was found guilty of corrupting young minds.
    Discussion Question: Do you agree with Socrates that what we tend to value most (success, achievement, and family) is driven by a love of beauty? Why or why not?
    Comment: I have to agree with Shannon and Kayla that love is worth dying for because if you love someone and feel that strong about somebody you cannot imagine life without that person.
    Link:I found this online biography of Plato http://www.egs.edu/library/plato/biography/

  3. COMMENT: I loved the perfect simplicity (yet depth) to which you phrased our answer to "What is philosophy?" I also enjoyed talking about truth, love, and our ongoing search for a witty group name!

    FACTUAL: What does "philosopher" translate into in Greek? ("Love of wisdom")

    DISCUSSION: Do you agree with Plato's Theory of Forms?

    QUOTE: Socrates said, "Be as you wish to seem." --> agree or disagree? some more food for thought!!!

  4. Andrew 16-110:58 AM CDT

    I would agree with your group that ancient rhetoricians certainly did it best when comparing them with modern talk show host.

  5. COMMENT: Our discussions are more fun than I thought they’d be! And Mitchell, you are the master of the Socratic method. Endless questions. I have a better understanding of it now than I would have simply reading about it.

    FACTUAL: How was Socrates executed? (He was forced to drink hemlock.)

    DISCUSSION: In the story from Plato’s The Symposium, three different ideas of “erotic love” were discussed. For me, Aristophanes’ and Socrates’ stories brought up the idea of “soul mates”. Do you believe there is one person meant for you, or do you believe that you fall in love with the “good” in a person, and that a beloved is replaceable?

    LINK: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-949-HEMLOCK.aspx?activeIngredientId=949&activeIngredientName=HEMLOCK Here’s some information about hemlock, and how terrible death-by-hemlock would be.

  6. Thank you to both Seneca and Kayla. I am glad to hear that I put something with beautiful simplicity, as I am generally known for my more expansive style. As to being a master of the Socratic method, thank you for the compliment to my curiosity. I know others who practice the art much more effectively than I do, but I'm glad to know that my way of employing it is effective in its own right, not the least in helping you understand better how it works.

    Ooh, I love Kayla's question for discussion. We shall have to spend some time on that next class.

  7. Your summary, Mitchell, about our "What is philosophy?" discussion is very clear. I was still a little fuzzy in class about what we decided. I think a good thing to add to it is that philosophy is sort of the need for more knowledge and explanations.

    Factual Question: What are experimental philosophers called? (x-phi'ers)

    Discussion: My focus was on pages 13-23 of America the Philosophical (the rest of the intro). In the beginning of the intro, Romano argues for America the unphilosophical, but halfway through, he argues for the opposite. There were so many things that I highlighted for discussion. One was that in France, all students are required to take philosophy and pass a national exam. Do you think this should be true in America too? Page 17 offers a good argument that philosophy majors scored higher than any other major on the analytical and verbal part of the GRE in 2001-2004. Adding philosophy to earlier education along with math, english, and science sounds like a good idea to me. On the contrary, I don't believe in "gen eds" at all in the first place, so I don't think we should be required to take it in college if it is not what we want to pursue.

    Link: This goes along with my discussion question. My grandfather is, I guess, a French immigrant (he's lived in Russia, China, and Vietnam). He went to a prep school in France. From what I understand, prep school is a 2 year version of the ACT or SAT. How well you do determines whether and where you go to college. My grandfather has told me stories about it, some including philosophy. I don't think this really counts as a conversation because I cannot recall the actual conversation, so I will also find a link.
    This link poses a good argument on why high schools should teach philosophy.

  8. Wow, I also think Kayla's discussion question should be first on the list.

  9. Olivia (The Highlanders)11:44 PM CDT

    I find it interesting that the American "identity", or lack of one, was brought up.I would be interested in knowing how you would have defined identity and if it was a generalization for the American thought process. I agree with the idea that many people reject ideas they don't like but fail to come up with their own.

  10. I think that America's inability to create a personal identity is debatable. America is identified as the Melting Pot of cultures. This should cause them to grow in eyes of the philosophical world, due to the fact that the ideals and beliefs stem not only from one culture and idea but from many.

  11. That is something to think about, but from the world's view point that would be America just taking their views and using them as our own. We also have to realize that the rest of the world wants to be on top, so they are naturally going to be more critical towards anyone they feel might be a threat. Food for thought.

  12. I found the discussion about "talk stars" vs ancient rhetoricians very refreshing and even though we all reached the same consensus, the input from each individual group member was very interesting and expanded my views on the topic.

    I also think Kayla's discussion question is very interesting and should definitely be explored further in the next discussion.

    Factual Question: What is one example of a philosophical trend with links to empirical disciplines like psychology and cognitive science? Answer - Experimental Philosophy or the X-Phi movement.

    Discussion Question: Do you think that philosophy that acts as a replacement for psychology when it comes to the treatment of mental problems has any merit, or is it best left to the empirical disciplines?

    Link: Plato's allegory of the cave

  13. Gavin (The Highlanders)12:55 PM CDT

    I believe that America is indeed philosophical. However, I don't believe that modern american philosophy fits the mold of older philosophy definitions.