Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The A Team (16-1)

In class on Monday we started with Though Experiment. We discussed Phillipa Foot's runaway trolley. If you were the driver, which track would you take? What if you were an onlooker, able to hit a switch and change tracks? We talked about pushing the fat man onto the tracks. Why are men more likely to push the fat man compared to women? The answer is...its complicated.

We also talked about the unwanted violinist and abortion and the thousand variations that one could apply to make it right or wrong. I agree with Dr. Oliver in that we need to keep the scenario settings minimal. One could waste all day with the "what ifs".

We talked a bit about John Rawl's veil of ignorance. I personally do not believe it works because your previous life experiences will shape decisions made under the veil of ignorance. For example, someone who is rich because he worked hard his life may not see the benefit of taxing the rich more to benefit the worse off.  What if that person that is worse off is a drug addict and giving him/her more money is just going to fuel his addiction. Someone that has lived in poverty his/her whole life may never understand the principles of capitalism, so he may believe it is right that everyone splits their money with everyone, regardless how hard they work or if they work at all.

In America the philosophical, Carlin Romano sees Obama as a philosopher. I do no disagree that he is a philosopher, but many examples that Romano gives makes Obama seem like a hypocrite. Obama declares that we need to lead through ideas and conversation, yet he has order hundreds of drone strikes killing thousands of  innocent people. Obama states "No person wants to live in a society where the rule of law gives way to the rule of brutality and bribery, that is not a democracy, that is a tyranny", yet he orders drone strikes on American citizens, without a proper trial. What happen to our 6th amendment? Do we not get a speedy and public trial. We did it become common place to assassinate American citizens? Obama stated "the holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind". I agree that Obama was a philosopher, i just think he is a hypocritical one.

See you guys in class!

Damon McCook


  1. Andrew 16-111:05 AM CST

    FQ: New York Times called Obama what because of his speeches? (Professor in Chief)
    DQ:Can anyone really be a philosopher?

    Coming to the end of this class, I find myself thinking about America the Philosophical, the book I have been reading. I think I've come to the conclusion that even though there are some influential American philosophers, I think it's going to far to say anyone or everyone can be or is a philospher. For instance, outside of this class I never philosophize and can't see myself doing so for I just don't like thinking to deeply into things. And although Hefner and perhaps Obama had decent contributions to philosophy I wouldn't really call either a philosopher.


  2. Taylore (16-2)11:24 AM CST

    Regardless if we increase taxes those at the bottom on the socioeconomic ladder will always be below individuals that have a better start. Whether we know it or not poverty is apart of the function of society, if poverty didn't exist we wouldn't need case workers thus decreasing the availability of certain jobs...

  3. I agree with Singer's philosophies about how we should live and treat others. And poverty will always be there as long as there are those who want more power and money.

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  5. FQ Who was a Cambridge mathematician who helped invent the modern day computer?

    A: Alan Turning

    DQ:Who is considered a philiopher to you / who is not?

    The discussion on monday opened my eyes to the idea of not choosing/ acting still being a choice is saying that if you are in a situation that calls for a immediate decision


  6. I did not think the violinist was a good comparison to abortion when we talked about it in class. I can however see the logic in it slightly.
    FQ: Which Australian philosopher argued that a drowning child in front of you is as bad as the starving children in Africa? (Peter Singer)
    DQ: Do you guys agree with this statement?
    Here's a link to more information on Singer: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/may/23/peter-singer-philosophy-animal-welfare

  7. Courtney 16-312:40 PM CST

    I couldn't find my group post, but I really enjoyed thinking about these different experiments. I personally would have never really given much thought to any of these problems. I usually try to avoid such thoughts to be honest.
    FQ: Who challenges the way we live in the relatively prosperous western world?-Peter Singer
    DQ: How do you believe we treat animals?
    Link: http://www.thelifeyoucansave.org/AboutUs/PeterSinger.aspxI agree with your group about the abortion idea, I think that is definitely a bit of a stretch.

  8. Chelsea 16-112:44 PM CST

    I think that for the trolley discussion, that in both ways with the lever or with the fat man, you are still using 1 person to save the other people. In the first scenario you switch the lever to go on the track to kill that one person on the other set of tracks to save the 5 on the other side. People want to call it murder for pushing the fat man because your hands actually touch that person and cause them to die. I think it is equal when you switch the train to the track with only one person. People just feel better about that scenario because they feel a disconnect because they are simply touching the lever to kill and not directly the person.

    I don't see my group's post yet...

    DQ: What philosopher was a mathematician and helped invent the modern computer? ( Alan Turing)

    FQ: Do you think, like a few philosophers believe today, that the human mind is just like a computer program?

    Link: Alan Turing short vid

    I had already posted this , this morning on 16-2 but here is a copy now that my group has posted their thread.

  9. Ricky (16-3)12:49 PM CST

    With the train tracks, I think it depends on the people. For example. Let's say you have 3 people. 2 on 1 track and 1 on the other. Not knowing their personal characteristics most people would pick to save the 2 people on 1 track. But what if they were serial killers? It all changes