Up@dawn 2.0

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.

Reflection on the Lecture

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.

Group Discussion

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.

The Reading

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.


  1. I have taken care of our study guide questions:

    Study Guide Questions
    1. Machiavelli said a prince needs ______, the Italian word for manliness. (Virtu)
    2. What 18th century skeptical Scottish Empiricist rejected the Design Argument (aka Teleological Argument) for the existence of God? (David Hume)
    3. What does cogito ergo sum mean? (“I Think, Therefore I Am”)
    4. Which French philosopher wrote a play parodying the idea that everything (including devastating earthquakes, disease, rape, murder, torture,...) always works out for the best in our "best of all possible worlds," and said we must each "cultivate our garden"? (Voltaire)
    5. What recently-deceased legal scholar rejected the separation of law and morality, and said only conscious beings have "interests"? (Ronald Dworkin)
    6. What's the all-time Philosophy best-seller (excluding the Bible). (Durant’s Story of Philosophy)
    7. What 18th century Irish philosopher/bishop denied the existence of matter and said that, in a world consisting of nothing but ideas, "to be is to be perceived"? (George Berkeley)
    8. Was Hume unworried about dying because he'd publicly declared himself an atheist? (No-He never publicly declared it)
    9. What did Richard Rorty think we understand better when we abandon notions such as "the intrinsic nature of reality" and "correspondence to reality"? (Truth)
    10. Who invented Cartesian coordinates and invented the Cartesian method of doubt? (How many syllables in his name? What's it rhyme with?) (Descartes)

  2. (PB) Bourke (p. 124-131)

    FQ: What was the major issue of the day when Burke entered Parliament in 1766?
    FQ: In regards to the breakaway of the colonies, Burke was opposed to this person: _____ ______ __
    FQ: Because of his reaction to the Revolution of France, Burke was regarded as _______.
    FQ: Who does Richard Bourke say Burke had a lot in common with?

    DQ: What kind of political system of organization do you think is necessary for a society to be stable?

    LINK: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/edmund_burke.html
    This is just a link to some awesome quotes from Edmund Burke.

  3. FQ: What was Kant's famous last word? : Sufficit
    DQ: Why was Kant so famous back then, what ethics was he famous for?
    Link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwOCmJevigw

  4. Dylan Aycock3:29 PM CDT

    FQ: What philosopher believed you should never lie under any circumstances?
    FQ: Who developed The Felicific Calculus method and how was it used?
    DQ: Kant believed that we can never have a complete picture of the way things are. Do you agree?
    Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8iygKLQsinU
    The above link is a brief introduction to the Utilitarian ethics of Jeremy Bentham as discussed in Little History.

  5. FQ: Who said the human mind is a filter? A: Kant
    DQ: Would you rather have your actual body on a display, like Bentham, or statue commemorating you?

    Link: Betham's auto-icon: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/Bentham-Project/who/autoicon