Up@dawn 2.0

Friday, October 18, 2013

Nameless Wanderers, Group 3 Honors 3

Bit behind on posting stuff for our group. Yesterday in class we discussed a bit about Descartes after Dr. Phil talked about Descartes, Montaigne, and Rorty at the beginning. Our particular discussion dealt primarily with Descartes's arguments on certainty, particularly our certainty of existence. In between bouts of laughing, I pontificated a bit about the theory of existence that some friends of mine and I came up with declaring that existence is the dream of a sea turtle sleeping at the bottom of a pond. Kayla asked eventually why a sea turtle was in a pond. I told her to ask my friend Chris about that one. At any rate, we had an interesting discussion (when it happened).


  1. Comment: I believe I have previously given my comment; I refer you all to the above post.

    Factual: Who was one of the first pantheists who was excommunicated for his pantheism? (Baruch Spinoza.)

    Discussion: How might one make sense of Spinoza's explanation of pantheism? It seems self-contradictory at some points. What about his presupposition that the physical world is infinite? Does that ring true for you? On his determinism: Can you reconcile in your mind the fact that he maintained no one makes any decisions that aren't pre-determined by someone else's actions, and yet he says we react to emotion? If that is true, how can we then say no one makes their own decisions when they decide how to react to emotion? Moreover, what was the first action which set off the chain of actions and reactions which have bound the rest of humanity?

  2. (16-3)
    The way I would interpret it is that since God is nature, he is both everywhere in nature, and he's also the underlying principles of nature that form it. Since the underlying principles of nature can be found through reasoning and logic, those traits are also linked with God. What I think Spinoza was trying to get at by saying we can react to emotion is basically that the emotions we have and our natural reaction caused by them are "pre-determined," but we can sort of free ourselves from that pre-determinism by using reason and logic instead of instinct and emotion. Since God is supposed to be the logical workings of the universe, seeking understanding of those things is a way of worshipping him. That's how I took it.

  3. Comment: Sorry that I can't be sorry about my lack of ability to keep a straight face...

    Fact: How did Spinoza die? (Lung disease.)

    Discussion: Spinoza said humans strive for more joy and avoid sadness. Freud said that humans will naturally seek pleasure and avoid pain, and Epicureans hold a similar view. If this is such a common sense thing, why do multiple philosophers talk about it?

    1. Ha, you are partially exonerated from your natural hilarity since you bring it out in us, too.

  4. Forgot my link. I thought it was cool that Spinoza was on the Dutch banknote before the Euro. See here: http://www.yoism.org/images/SpinozaBanknote.JPG

  5. Comment:I think that last class was the best one. Thanks Kayla for keeping everyone laughing

    Fact: Who wrote Ethics? Baruch Spinoza

    Discussion: Do you agree with Spinoza that limited human freedom is possible and desirable? Why or why not?


  6. Fact: What was Thomas Reid's philosophy? "common sense".

    Discussion: Do you agree with Reid that our senses make us aware of reality without any intervening medium?

    Comment: Sorry about the laughter the other day.

    Link: Thomas Reid quotes.

  7. FACT: what did Spinoza believe in? (God of Nature)
    DISCUSS: do you believe nature is a "god"?
    COMMENT: loved our "discussion" [of laughter]; maybe Tuesday will be a bit more productive
    LINK: "Laughter is the best medicine."

  8. It was funny to hear y'all laughing so much :) And your discussion sounded interesting!

  9. Olivia (The Highlanders)10:22 AM CDT

    We talked about Descartes as well! It seems that both of our groups found the idea of living life as if we were dreaming a little ridiculous.

  10. For the record, I don't mind the laughter as much as I may let on. It made our discussion one of the more esoteric ones we've had, to put it one way. Either way, I don't really mind it.