Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Do trees exist? (Philosoraptors 17,3)

Hey dudes,

Yesterday in class Dr. Phil lectured over Montaigne (a kind of skeptic), Descartes ("I think therefore I am"), Pascal (Penses and science-y things), and Rorty (American, conversation of mankind).

Our discussion was more or less Nathan and John agreeing to disagree on the following topics:

Descartes- "I think therefore I am"
No rational thought in dreams
Can trees really exist?
Do atoms really not touch?
String theory
Atoms again
Then back to trees
And Plato

Also Anthony threw in some witty comments on the existence of trees, and we sort of welcomed our new member to the group. Sorry for the late post!


  1. FQ: What "neopragmatist" was described as the "Modern, Red-White-And-Blue Nietzsche"?
    Richard Rorty

    DQ: I think it would be fair to describe Rorty as the "anti-Philosophy" philosopher. He attempts to completely negate the importance of any study into the theory of knowledge and the pursuit of universal truths. Instead, he contends the true purpose of a philosopher is to act as a catalyst for the betterment of society, either by introducing new ideas or inducing society to question its previously held beliefs. Do you agree with Rorty? Is the search for an ultimate truth a wasted mental exercise?

    As far as to whether or not trees exist, I'll leave that question to Descartes and the trees themselves. Its unimportant to me whether or not the tree exists, as long as my concept of "tree" continues to provide me with my concept of "oxygen" and I continue to live my concept of "life". I'll take Rorty's side here, and ask what usefulness might be gained by wondering to myself if anything besides myself truly exists. Nothing, or as close to nothing as makes no matter.

    But then again, such is the nature of discovery. Maybe "cogito, ergo sum" will be the foundation for some breakthrough in neuroscience. That's the tricky thing about ideas, they're hard to value until their full potential is realized. That may be right before the universe slides out into thermodynamic equilibrium, at which point it will, most likely, be a moot point.

    Relevant xkcd

  2. I would think that atoms touch, how do they form together to make compounds?

    Factual Question (PB)- What philosopher wrote his book "the Ethics" in geometrical style?

    Discussion Question (PB)- Locke believed that one might do anything they felt like if they didn't believe in God and wouldn't keep their promises either. Do you agree with this?
    I would say no. I use to know a guy and his family that did not believe in God but they had good morals. They were good standing citizens, kind to everyone and kept their promises (far as I know). So just because someone doesn't believe in God doesn't make them a bad person, it just depends on how you were raised. If you were raised to have good morals then it will carry over into adulthood. I know plenty of so called "saints" that do not live by every word in the Bible and still do what they want.

    A little history on Spinoza

  3. FQ: Who said " Treat thugs as thugs and theorists as theorists, rather than worrying about theorists to pair off with which theorists"? Answer, Rorty.

    DQ: I agree with Anthony Rorty does not desire to gain any knowledge of his outside world. He simply tries to decide what exists and what does not. He ultimately concludes that he exists after he concludes i think therefor i am. do you think that this type of philosophy is helpful to the philosophical community?


  4. To answer a previous question about atoms bonding, atoms bond through the overlapping of electron fields/clouds. An atom does not have a definitive boundary that constrains it, which is why the grade-school model that is taught about the shape and size of atoms and their individual particles is incorrect. All an atom is are areas of high density and low density "clouds" of positive or negative charge. Positive and negative residing in the highest concentration/density in the "middle" of the atom, known as the nucleus, and then negative being the electron cloud surrounding the nucleus. And as we know happens with magnets, areas of negative charge repel other areas of negative charge. This is what I meant when I stated that atoms never truly "touch", outside of nuclear fusion. All you are feeling when you "touch" something is two areas of negative charge repelling each other.

    As since our discussion was heavily focused on this last time we met, I'm going to go ahead and count this for my link:


    Definitely worth the watch, it's only a few minutes long, and it'll help you learn something interesting today, cause knowledge is power!

    FQ: Why was Spinoza excommunicated from the Jewish church? - He believed that God and Nature were one in the same, and that God does not care about anything or anyone, because that would be assigning human-like characteristics to an unhuman entity.

    DC: For the most part, I agree with John Locke's views on religious tolerance. I think that, as long as you are not being rude and trying to force me to believe a certain way, I am more than willing to have a civil discussion about your beliefs and my beliefs. My issue with his view is that he only applies religious tolerance to include people that believe in God. People who subscribe to atheistic views, or rather, anything that does not conform to a singular higher power, cannot be included in the group of those who's views are tolerated. Do you guys agree with his assertion that religious tolerance only applies to those who subscribe to a religion?

  5. In response to Anthony's discussion question, no, I do not agree with Rorty. As Pascal said, "The only thing that gives rest is the sincere search for Truth." That quote is a saying that I live by. As Nathan said earlier, "Knowledge is Power," and I firmly belief that. The only true purpose that we have in this life is to seek the Truth. We all desire to know it, and we all hunger for its revelation. As Mulder so succinctly puts it, "The Truth is out there..."

    FQ (LH): Although Spinoza was a determinist, he believed in some sort of freedom was possible, and that the worst way to live was in a state of being controlled by your emotions called...?

    Answer: Bondage

    DQ (LH): Do you agree with Locke's view of how a "person" changes over time?

    Since Locke discussed the Christian theology concept of the "Resurrection of the Body," here's a link to a website that discusses it more fully.


    1. Anonymous12:09 PM CDT

      A person may change physically over time, but if the consciousness is the only part that stays the same then they would be the same. But if a newborn has a blank slate for a mind then surely it changes as it grows, leaving a different mind, hence a different person.

  6. I really enjoy how that turned into a science lesson. Props to Nathan.

    FQ: What book did Spinoza write that was not published until after his death? Answer: Ethics

    DQ: Do you agree with Spinoza's idea that "God is nature and nature is God"? If so, what's your reasoning?

    Here's a link with some outside information on Spinoza as well as some quotes: