Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


1. Reading whose autobiography led young Bertrand Russell to reject God? OR, What did he see as the logical problem with the First Cause Argument? LH 185

2. The idea of a barber who shaves all who don't shave themselves is a logical ______, a seeming contradiction that is both true and false. Another example of the same thing would be a statement like "This sentence is ___." LH 186

3. A.J. Ayer's ______ Principle, stated in his 1936 book Language, Truth and Logic, was part of the movement known as _____ ______. LH 190

4. Jean-Paul Sartre's philosophy of freedom and personal responsibility, which denied that humans possess a common essence, was called ________. LH 200

5. When Simone de Beauvoir said women are not born that way, she meant that they tend to accept what? LH 200

6. Which Greek myth did Albert Camus use to illustrate human absurdity, as he saw it? LH 200

BONUS: Which young mathematical prodigy created the Redundancy Theory of Truth, according to which a theory is unnecessary? PB 216 

BONUS+: Who had a Near Death Experience his youthful philosophy would have declared "nonsense"?

BONUS++: Name the faux English matrons who crossed the channel to ask Sartre about his views on freedom?


1. Have you ever read a book that changed your mind about something important to you? What would you say to Bertrand Russell and J.S. Mill about the First Cause Argument?

2. Are linguistic paradoxes a philosophical problem, or just an amusing quirk of language?

3. Can you give an example of an unverifiable statement that you consider meaningful?

4. What's your "essence" or specific human nature? Did you construct it, or were you born into it? Can your essence change?

5. What does it mean to say that women are made, not born? Do you have particular ideas about what it means to be a man or a woman? Where did those ideas come from? Are there any professions or occupations you think no women or men should enter?

6. Are there any Sisyphean aspects to your daily life? Do they make you unhappy? Do you imagine you'll someday escape them? How?


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