Monday, December 2, 2013
At the beginning of class, Dr. Oliver discussed with us how we could make his class better for next time. Several ideas were offered, including quizzes and rewards for acing said quizzes. Then after being told to fix his collar, and a short brief on the exam, we moved on to the material for the day.
The first topic was the language debate in philosophy and the problems that language gives us in philosophy. Was it really "hailing?" Does it matter? These were the questions… Then NO SOX said they were philosophical because they take life as it is. Nathan then summarized his previous post by saying that religious belief and a thirst for knowledge ARE NOT mutually exclusive. Going back to the language debate, a comment on Nathan's post by another class member caused some confusion in the philosophical debate, leading Nathan to go back and clarify with another wall of text. This section of class was an experiment for what Dr. Oliver might do next time, and I think it went rather well.
IT'S THOUGHT EXPERIMENT DAY!!!
(apparently that's a thing…)
All of our philosophers today present somewhat of a thought experiment for us to consider, including John Rawls' "Original Position." The first thought experiment discussed was "the Trolley Problem." It doesn't seem like a problem at all to me. You aren't choosing to kill one person, you are choosing to save five people. Same exact thought process for Trolley #2. Although it may be easier to do one than the other, logically, it is the same thing (not morally or ethically of course). Anthony discussed the psychology of combat training, and how the purpose of combat training is to override that impulse to not kill someone directly. He recommended the book "On Killing" as a good explanation of this. The next thought experiment involves some creepy surgery by some strange doctors, but nonetheless, should you be allowed to remove the violinist if it will kill him? Is it wrong, either morally, ethically, or logically? It's a touchy subject (being related to abortion), but I will leave you with this: where do you draw the line as to when murder is actually wrong? Then we moved on to John Rawls and his "Original Position." His basic thought was the bias caused too much trouble when discussing politics in the social contract. When this bias is eliminated, true discussion can take place. This kind of discussion can only happen under the "Veil of Ignorance," where no one knows what they believe. It's a nice idea, but how do we obtain this state naturally? I don't think we are meant to. I believe, that just like any ideal, it is something that we are supposed to work towards in order to grow closer to perfection.
After discussion of the readings, Anthony began his presentation about cyber-politics. Carlin Romano presents the claim that with advances in the internet, some people are troubled with how this would change politics. According to Anthony, Romano has glaring omissions (we'll get to that later). Romano says that the internet changes the way in which politicians campaign because of the ease of using the internet, the speed at which the information is disseminated, and the amount of people that the internet can reach. There is also a possibility that we will move from a representative democracy to a more true democracy with the existence of online voting. Some problems do exist, like the ability of the internet to handle mass submissions. The instant response capability of the internet was provided as a positive quality that the internet can provide. Since people know more, they have more power, and politicians are forced to quickly decide where they stand and what they are going to do about the issues. Anthony described the cons of the internet as "a carbon copy of the good." Hate groups have access to the internet, and therefore, its power. Also, the "mob" doesn't always make the best decisions. Anthony then stresses how privacy will be very important to our generation. We always have something to hide. Anthony says that we should not legislate the internet, but we should instead legislate privacy. Again, "privacy and security are the greatest challenges facing out country."
Well, even though we have one more class, I think that this is the last post…