Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Lots of reading assigned today.  I think we should try to focus on America the Philosophical a little more, even though it is a pretty thick read.

Some of the things we talked about on what to be researching about for our group project are:
1) How social media helps to spread the ideas of philosophy
2) Reasons or ways social media does not always help spread ideas, as people subscribe to things they already somewhat agree with (or are only friends with like-minded people)
3) Any other connections in general, or specifically relating to Facebook, Tumblr, and  ..was it Imgur?

The readings assigned, as a recap were

-Augustine, Boethius (Little History)
-Santayana, Dewey, Quine (America the Philosophical 78-97)


  1. "Thick"? Only by comparison with Little History, which I agree is a model of simplicity. But frankly, it was originally written to introduce our subject to middle and high schoolers. There are more words in AtP, but they're aimed at college level readers. I worry that college students are losing the ability to absorb standard text.

    That's a challenge. I hope you'll all rise to meet it.

    1. Hah! I am surprised and pleased to see you posting in our group! Had I thought you would read that I might not have said it, though I don't think there is anything wrong with my saying it. I have to say Little History is a very light read, though not a bad introduction to philosophy. It is not that America the Philosophical is hard to absorb per se, but that it is hard to remember so many names of philosophers thrown out so suddenly. The text is not hard to understand, but I don't have any background in philosophy, save a few very famous people, so remembering all the names takes a significant amount of focus. It is not undo-able haha but it does take more effort.
      This is coming from a student who would avoid "wordy" classes altogether if they could, and focus all on math :).

    2. There are a lot of names, and words. I don't expect anyone to remember all or even most of them, but I do hope Carlin Romano's point is coming across: America has had a lot of "philosophers" - whether they or we knew it or not.

  2. In that case reading from the AP book will be my first assignment this weekend, but in the meantime I read Augustine in the LH book before going to bed last night.

    Who Is Pulling Our String? Augustine:
    I was intrigued, due to the fact it's some of what I'm going through right now. When talking to family and friends that believe deeply they would get upset when I would questions things about God. But, I thought we suppose to ask question especially if we truly didn't understand. I could agree with Augustine in some of his views, being a Christian believing that God is the almighty that can do the impossible, but yet so much evil in the world is confusing to me. Like Augustine I want answer, if God is so powerful why so much evil why he don't control it from happening. I was told in difference words of course the same as what Augustine states it's FREE WILL!
    I think he was saying that we are pulling our own string, not anyone else because we were left to be in control of our own thoughts, feelings, and action.

    FQ: What is a Manichaean? LH p. 36-37
    DQ: Do you pull your one strings in this life journey?

    I will be back on for AP reading by Sunday.

    1. I'm not really sure how I feel about Augustine. His assertion that the bad in the world is partly due to Adam and Eve and the Original Sin just doesn't sit right with me. If God is as fair and just as the Christian faith would have described, then why would all humans be made to carry the blame for a sin that only two committed? And why would there be so much suffering because of it? It just doesn't make any sense.
      Free will and choices does have a lot to do with the, as Augustine called, moral evils in the world. I do think it goes a little deeper than that, though.
      I feel as though the perceived evils in the world are not the result of some uncaring God, or lack of an all powerful God, but yet, a reason for God to be accepted. If there was absolutely no evil in the world, be it natural disaster, sickness, murder, or what have you, then why would anyone have any faith? And it's not like catastrophic evils plague everyone at every given time, or surely there wouldn't be any of us left to have faith. Rather, the balance of good and evil in the world is something that reflects our own human nature and a necessity for faith. Without this balance, we would have little reason to believe in God at all.

  3. The writing style of America the Philosophical makes it very difficult for me to absorb everything. I did find an interest in what I read about Dewey that I didn't quite feel for Santayana or Quine. I did a little more digging about Dewey and really like the short biography on this site.

    FQ: Who wrote the first biography of Santayana in several decades, promising to "restore its subject to his rightful place in the intellectual history of our times"? - John McCormick

    FQ: Who, according to America the Philosophical, "wed philosophical pragmatism to social and political activism" and "approached philosophy with the common man's touch"? - John Dewey

    DQ: What do you think of Dewey's more instrumental approach to philosophy and human experience?

  4. I do not believe that social media helps much. When you mix social media with philosophy many times you will end up with confused viewers. The average person may be in awe with a philosophical quote. While it may simply sail over the heads of others. With the simple fact of people not talking that way in there modern everyday language.

    1. It's not meaning sharing philosophical facts and quotes through social media. At least, the direction I was taking it for the project, was the idea that we can share philosophical ideas that most people wouldn't realize are philosophical at all. We share ideas and beliefs and the ways that we think with the people in our social media network.

  5. Zachary VanDusen3:19 PM CST

    Very intrigued by Augustine of Hippo, the ancient Tagaste philosopher, as well as Boethius. As I was reading about them, I noticed that his views on religion and God were very similar to those of mine. I, since an early age, have asked myself if I was living a predestined life. A life that God knew everything about. Everything about the past, present, and especially the future. I felt like there was no tricking God into what I was going to do next. He knew either way. This is how Boethius also felt. I also never understood why he let such evil occur throughout the world if he was "all-knowing". Augustine felt in a similar way as I did, in this instance. Both of these philosophers questioned "free-will" of us humans. Do we really have free-will? Or are our lives predestined and follow a course that is mapped out by God himself? Augustine believed that God has granted us free-will. However, free-will can be a good thing as well as a bad thing. The "bad choices" (murder, lying, adultry, etc.) are all choices that we make through our own free-will. This has nothing to do with God. He granted us free-will and we abused it. If this is the case, then the evil in the world is a result of us humans, not Him. Overall it was a great couple chapters and probably the two most influential to me.

    FQ: What did the Manchaeans believe about God? LH 36-37

    FQ: What did Augustine believe that every child beared traces of from birth? LH 39

    FQ: Who was the woman that Boethius saw in his jail cell while awaiting his death? Why was she angry with him? LH 41

    DQ: Do you believe we are all living a predestined life? Or are we truly granted free-will?


  6. This week I actually found the reading in AtP very interesting. The "key" philosopher of American's philosophy golden age was Santayana. The great philosopher grew up in a difficult life from what I understand. His parents had deserted him by the age of eight, but he eventually graduated from Harvard so I assume maybe it wasn't that bad(wish I was graduating from Harvard ha). His style of of teaching and flamboyancy earned him not only a reputation, but a top teaching job at one of the best schools in the country(Harvard). He then stunned the world by resigning from his job at Harvard because he never felt comfortable there. Santayana left to go over seas and never returned to America again. He seemed like an interesting guy so I figured I would blog about him this week.

    FQ: Who said American life "seems to neutralize every intellectual element"? AtP 82

    DQ: Why do you believe that Santayana said he should not have lived in America?

    Link: Here is a link to some quotes by George Santayana. This will give you guys an idea of his "style"


  7. Posting here because my group's author hadn't posted all weekend:
    I could really relate to the American the Philosophical's reading because like Santayana, I also grew up in some pretty harsh conditions: poverty, single-parent "household", unloved because of the way I was born, and no figures to guide me down the right path in life. But in the end I am here college, not Harvard by any means, but it is college none the less. It was assuring to see someone with sorta similar conditions and look at his life.

    FQ: " Skepticism is the _________ of the________.
    Answer: chastity, intellect

    DQ: What is meant by Santayana saying "American life seems to neutralize every intellectual element, however tough and alien it may be, and to fuse it in the native good will, complacency, thoughtlessness, and optimism."?

    Link: here are some great quotes by George Santayana. http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/g/george_santayana.html

  8. After reading from AP I found that Santayana was the most interesting one. Santayana life was a bit rough. His mother left him with his father and by age eight was sent to his mother. Despite the shifting around he made it. He went to Harvard and studied under giants. After graduating Santayana he left for a brief moment and returned to be an instructor having many students idolizing him. But, after his mother's death he proposed to never have been happy there. He left America never to return wishing that he never had anything to do with America if he had had his way about it.
    Santayana had many works, some were: Persons and Places, The Middle Span, My Host the World, Realms of Being, and Life of Reasons. That's just to name a few.

    FQ: McCormick acknowledged that Santayana "___________, and argument is the staff of life of academic philosophy." p85 AP refuse to argue

    FQ: Why did Santayana say he was never really comfortable at Harvard? p81 AP
    The atmosphere was "an unintelligible, sanctimonious and often disingenuous Protestantism." Meaning they were impossible to understand acting morally superior to others and not being sincere forms of Christian.

    Here is a video on some of Santayana quotes:

    FQ: John Dewey being a "non-social individual what was his warning? p89 AP "is an abstraction arrived at by imagining what man would be if all his human qualities were taken away."

  9. FQ: The Manichaeans believed that goodness came from the ________ and evil came from the ________. - soul; body (LH, 37).

    DQ: Do you think we have Free Will, or the ability to make our own choices? Or do you think that external and supernatural elements chose our paths for us?

    Link: http://freevideolectures.com/Course/3225/Philosophy-and-the-Science-of-Human-Nature

  10. Aaron Caveny3:59 PM CST

    DQ: Are we pre-determined to either go to heaven or hell?

    DQ: Do you believe there is a heaven or hell to begin with?

    1. Aaron Caveny4:04 PM CST

      FQ: According to the Manichaeans, where did good and evil come from?

      -Good came from the soul and evil came from the body.

      Link: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/09/free_will_debate_what_does_free_will_mean_and_how_did_it_evolve.html

  11. FQ- What did Augustine as of God?(To make him stop having sexual desires'but not yet')

    DQ- What would you do if you were awaiting an execution date? How woud you spend your time?
    DQ- Do you believe that without suffering humans would not know their full potential?