Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Unnamed Group 3 (HNRS)

I will keep this brief, because I am terrible at summaries.  Our group talked about many things- ranging from existentialism, pragmatism, selfishness, virtues, the Golden Mean, and what is right and wrong.  Please add to this very "surfacy" description of our conversation to help it along!
~Yours truly,
   Seneca (HNR, grp 3)


  1. Eh, I'm the one who's terrible at summaries in the sense of keeping them short.

    Factual: What was the name of Epicurus's philosophy school? (The Garden [LH], due to the school's location in a house with a garden.)

    Discussion: This was sparked by the explanation in LH of Pyrrho's ideas. If the world has no meaning and we can't even know if it is real, why do we bother to look for pleasure in it? Why do we even bother to live if there is no meaning? (I know we touched on this today, but it seems to me we could flesh the discussion out a little more. That's just me, though.)

    Comment: I liked your line of questions you addressed to me over the Golden Mean, Seneca. While walking to my next class, I thought of a better explanation: Extremity, as I said earlier, is only extreme in comparison to something else. Thus, if we observe an idea in a vacuum--that is, by itself, with nothing else, including our own ideas, influencing it or our thought about it--we cannot say it is extreme, for there is nothing to foil it and show that it is far beyond what is reasonable. When determining what is right, then, we cannot judge the rectitude of an action by whether or not it falls between two extremes. In fact, two extremes presented in a situation are always found to be opposites. Considering again your example of provocation vs. prudery, I maintain that those are only considered extremes because they are opposites--that is, they are located at two different ends of a scale, which happens to be how one exhibits one's sexual attitude. Moreover, those two things involve diametrically opposed mindsets. If we attempt to achieve a balance between those two things, we are essentially saying that we can balance maintaining an outlook of modesty and maintaining an outlook of lust. Those two things can't be reconciled to each other because they are inherently contradictory--not without rejecting truth. But then, if we reject truth, then we have to reject the idea of either one of those two extremes being wrong. Indeed, the whole idea of an extreme is predicated on the idea that there is some kind of objective truth, which brings me to my ultimate point: The only way we can judge which course of action/mindset is right is on truth. Which in turn means that judging which extreme is right depends on truth. Which means, that the "extreme" course (ie, the not wish-washy one, in my opinion) may very well be the right course because it is in line with truth. But, we must first have truth.

    Link: In slightly unrelated news, I offer this CS Lewis quote about atheism: http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/4872-atheism-turns-out-to-be-too-simple-if-the-whole

  2. Back with another discussion idea: Why do people fear death?

    1. I think people fear death because they may just not be ready to face it, or may be worried about afterlife.

    2. I think people fear death because they do not have firm belief in an afterlife, and are afraid of what might happen. And for someone who is confident in their beliefs, this fear is nonexistent.

    3. (Highlanders)

      While I do think that would be a nice idea, for someone with true confidence in their beliefs, to be unafraid of death, I'm not sure it's entirely true. I think even the most devout have, at the very least, reservations about death.

      I think it has less to do with a belief system and more to do with the concept of potential. Even if a person believes in an afterlife, there is the hesitance to leave what they have in this life: family, friends, etc, and the fear of leaving behind what could have been. The grandparent that doesn't want to die before their grandchild graduates; the mother that doesn't want to die before she sees her grandchildren. I for one am very secure in my beliefs, and I know I would very much like to avoid dying for a good long while. There are so many things in THIS life that I believe I have yet to experience, and I think the same goes for a lot of people (thus, the infamous "Bucket List"), who just don't want to leave behind stones unturned and a life not lived.

    4. Andrew 16-111:09 AM CDT

      Because what's after death will never be known by anyone until they die. There is no proof for or against an afterlife.

    5. Evan Mason6:25 PM CDT

      People fear what they do not know, truthfully the only thing to fear is fear itself.

    6. Kevin,
      I agree with you completely. Leigh. There is a difference in fearing death, and wanting it to come later in life. I think even the most devout believers still want to see their children grow up or their grandchildren born etc. If you don't want that what would hold you back from just letting yourself die quickly to get to the afterlife sooner. But If someone fears death, their reasons for staying alive are not the reasons you mentioned (Bucket list, family and friends, etc.). Their reason for avoiding death is death itself. So, I guess what I am saying is that, if you are a devout believer in something(I am trying in allow several religions in here) that doesn't mean you are trying to die because it doesn't scare you. But you may not be afraid of death or what comes after.

  3. Comment: Thank you guys for explaining the Golden Mean to me, though I'm still a little unclear. I find existentialism and pragmatism interesting and maybe even identify with them a little bit.

    Question: What was Pyrrho's philosophy? (Pyrrho was a sceptic)

    Discussion question: I have two discussion questions. First, I would like to talk about the "sceptic" philosophy a little bit. What parts do you and don't you agree with? How do you know what is true? Which leads back to the "absolute truth" that we talk about every class. Second, page 25 of LH says "Ludwig Wittgenstein echoed his few when he wrote ... 'Death is not an event in life.'" What do you think happens after death? From what I understand, Epicurus belieed our death is the removal of the possibility of experience, not something we can live through... Meaning there is no afterlife. Is this what you guys took from that?

    This is a youtube video about Epicurean thoughts on death. I found it very interesting. There is also a tidbit of information on the connection between Epicurus, Socrates, and Plato.

  4. "It's like a night of dreamless sleep." Is a quote in that youtube video. How do you feel about that?

  5. Disney actually explained the golden mean rather well with "Donald in Mathmagic Land". I'm fairly certain it's on youtube.

  6. Ah, I like that discussion option. I recommend we adopt that on Thursday. Ha, I'm sure we'll come to absolute truth in one manner or another. In fact, I'd love to talk about how we know what is true. It is, after all, at the core of philosophy. (I wonder what sort of conversations people have about me when I'm not around...I'm something of the loose cannon in CoPhi, I think. It would seem I can't shut up very easily.)

    1. Mitchell, I'm glad you are aware of the fact that you have a lot of opinions and a lot to say, but we are all glad to have you in our group. You have questions and discussion topics that make us really think. Just say what you're thinking whenever you're thinking it. Don't worry if anybody thinks you talk too much or are a "loose cannon," because we wouldn't have it any other way. You're free to speak as much as you want, though I might interrupt you to explain something a little better.

    2. Thanks. I'm glad to know that my questions cause people to think further and that you enjoy having those discussions. Ha, feel free to interrupt me if necessary. I'd rather be cut short in my own explanation in order to be better informed of what someone thinks.

    3. I need a "like" button for Shannon's comment here.

  7. Comment: We look for meaning in life, because we are living it. Our egos will not let us live our life to the fullest if we believe there is no higher purpose to our lives. I believe we look for pleasure because in this life there is pain. You must look for the highs to balance out the lows.

    Factual: Who was the first african american to hold a job in the ivy league? ( AP-48, William Fontaine.)

    Discussion: In America the Philosophical, the book states that CareerCast place Philosopher at the seventh least stressful job in America. Do you agree with that or disagree?

    Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbUcZ5MyabM

  8. Comment: Mitchell's explanation on his opinion of "The Golden Mean" was interesting to me. I feel like often we consider "the middle" to be the "right" thing. Giving thought to it now, I realize that isn't always true.

    Factual: Describe a "dogmatic". (Someone who is very confident that they know the truth.)

    Discussion: In the reading about Epicurus, death is described as "the removal of the possibility of experience". Religious views aside (humor me? :D), does that comfort you as Epicurus intended, or does it disconcert you further?

    Link: Epicurus on praying for misfortune on thine enemy. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/epicurus148968.html

    ... and on words I need to remember in life. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/e/epicurus165203.html

  9. Factual: Who summarized their philosophy by 3 questions: What are things really like?, What attitude should we adopt to them?, What will happen to someone who does adopt that attitude? - Pyrrho

    Discussion: Do you agree with Pyrrho that you should free yourself from desires and not care about how things turn out to be happy?

    Comment: In our group, we were talking about whether anything we do is without a selfish reason. I believe we can do selfless acts. I read a nonfiction book where a plane crashed in the Hudson river. A middle - aged man was able to get out of the plane. He stayed in the freezing water, it was in the middle of winter when this happened, and helped other passengers get out. He lost his life after getting several people out. If he wanted to do this for some kind of recognition, I think he would have stopped helping people out after the first few. So I do think that we are capable of selfless acts.

    Link:http://www.apaonline.org This is the site for the APA

  10. Comment: I think that some people consider the "middle" to be "right" because they think of it as a compromise between two extremes. They don't want to commit to an idea that is seen as radical and they don't want to pick one side over the other, so they try to pick the best of both sides. This works if the person believes that both sides have good arguments supporting their view; however, this is not always the case. Ultimately, I think what is "right" is subjective, and based on how said person defines "right and wrong".

    Factual: What is the APA? American Philosophical Association.

    Discussion: AP discusses how the American Philosophical Association has become more receptive of non-traditional forms of philosophy over the years and improved its job placement program. Do you think that in the future the association will be become more open to the idea of "everyone as a philosopher" and accept people who don't necessarily meet the standards they set now, or do you think the association will remain exclusively in the professional sphere?

    Link: Aristotle quote related to the Golden Mean.

  11. Hm, I like that idea for discussion, Kayla. And sure, we can keep it in a vacuum. ;)