Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Teenage Mutant Ninja Philosophers
Let me just start us off by bringing our group back to its former glory by starting with an amazing picture.
During class today, Dr. Oliver lectured us on a number of philosophers: David Hume, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Adam Smith. The lecture consisted primarily of answering quiz questions and elaborating on them. To continue on with the topics covered in class, I wanted to talk about the daily post. One of the statements that I want to take note of from the post is from Jennifer Michael Hecht that Dr. Oliver relates to Hume:
“Everyday morality is based on the simple fact that doing good brings you peace of mind and praise from others and doing evil brings rejection and sorrow. We don’t need religion for morality… religion itself got its morality from everyday morality in the first place”
The idea that morality would exist without religion is interesting. Older civilizations based their legal systems upon religious principles (theocracies such as the Massachusetts Bay colony in the Colonial Era). Laws are usually put in place to prevent extremely immoral acts from being committed. Laws based on religious principles, such as laws relating to the biblical commandment “Thou shalt not kill”, are moral because they intend to prevent an evil consequence. However, in both modern times and theocratic civilizations in the past, a law is not necessary to deem killing someone immoral. In no sane society would the intentional killing of another human be deemed moral. This is why we can agree that morality does not have to come from religion, and it can instead be derived from everyday life.
Dr. Oliver elaborated on Hume, saying it was a common belief between Hume and his friends that “morality was available to anyone through reason.” This means that a person who is capable of intelligent thought has an idea of morality. This idea may vary among individuals and societies depending upon cultural traditions and beliefs. However, certain beliefs, such as the belief that murder is immoral, is extremely common. It is not necessarily true for all societies, because some include extremists (typically in the past) that may believe in killing individuals as sacrificial offerings. However, these societies may not be capable of critical thinking and reasoning to allow for their understanding of morality, because primitive notions cloud the reality that is modern society.
Of the philosophers covered today, Hume was personally the most interesting to me.
Though given the opportunity to walk again, we did not decide to go today. We did, however, have a very interesting discussion about various individuals' personal religious beliefs. We all discusses the differing beliefs of heaven and hell, and if they were realistic.
More Walks Please?
I really hope we go on more peripatetic walks. They are very thought-provoking, especially when we are given specific topics we can focus on. That allows us to have a basis for a conversation and build off of it. The walk on Monday had the perfect weather: sunny and cool. I’m not sure how fun the walks would be when it warms up more (which it will eventually if Tennessee’s weather decides it wants to actually be Spring), but they are still an enjoyable experience. It definitely provides a change of environment to promote a much more diversified style of learning and philosophizing.
Read By: Monday, March 31, 2014
-A Little History of Philosophy (LH)
+Kant Part 1 (p. 110-114)
+Kant Part 2 (p. 115-120)
+Bentham (p. 121-126)
-Philosophy Bites Back (PB)
+Bourke (p. 124-131)
+Moore (p. 132-142)
-America the Philosophical (AP)
+”Brows”/Durant (p. 161-172)
So yeah, here's my first author post guys. Hope you like it.