Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Wanted to also knock out posting about my subgroup's different jobs.
Topic: What makes something beautiful?
Jenna Jackley, Joshua Pereira, and Megan Fischer
Jenna will be taking a look at the scientific aspect.
Joshua will be looking at the theological and non-theological aspects.
And Megan will look into Plato's Form of Beauty and his perspective on it.
Then we went into our philosophical discussions for the day. Topics included the moral justification for restriction of freedoms- specifically prison and taking away the right to vote, what types of civil disobedience are acceptable and which aren't and the free speech zones used to corral political protests. Opinions were varied, and debate thoughtful, as per usual.
No, he did not.
2. Niccolo Machiavelli believed it was best to always tell the truth as a leader. (T/F)
3. What is virtú?
Boldness, willingness to act; the ability to be a leader
4. What was the book Machiavelli wrote?
5. Finish this sentence. "Machiavelli stresses that it is better as a leader to be ____ than be ____.
6. What famous article did Isaiah Berlin write?
Two Concepts of Liberty
Monday, September 29, 2014
2. Does Nigel think the adjective "machiavellian" correctly implies that the politicians it describes are simply evil or self-serving? LH 55-6
3. Name one of the qualities Cicero and Seneca thought a politician should have, that Machiavelli rejected. PB 46
4. What famous English utilitarian argued in On Liberty that individuals should be free to conduct their own "experiments of living" so long as they harm no one else? P 89
5. What difficult philosophical question is raised by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? P 92
6. Name a famous advocate of civil disobedience. P 98
BONUS: What kind of argument is the objection to civil disobedience that it encourages law-breaking? P100
BONUS+: Name the English philosopher I frequently mention who supported and practiced civil disobedience.
1. What qualities do you value in politicians? Do you always vote according to party allegiance, or for the "best" candidate regardless of party?
2. Do you think our current leaders (in all branches of government) are "machiavellian"? How so? Do you approve or disapprove of their quality of leadership?
3. Who do you think have been our best leaders? Why? Were they also the most successful politicians? If not, why not? Who are the best leaders in the world today, in your judgment? Why?
4. Are you a libertarian? What role do you think government should play in regulating people's personal habits with respect to the consumption of dangerous or habit-forming drugs, personal safety, and other "self-regarding" behaviors?
5. Do you believe there is a human right to free speech? Or to anything else (including FDR's "Four Freedoms" - freedom of worship and expression, f. from want & fear)? Can you prove it?
6. Have you ever engaged in an act of deliberate law-breaking, in order to challenge what you considered an unjust law? Are there circumstances in which you would do so? Would you risk arrest on behalf of social justice, climate change, or anything else?
Saturday, September 27, 2014
Friday, September 26, 2014
#13 - 1. "This I Believe" (Caroline, Savannah, McKayla, John)
2. Favorite songs analyzed philosophically (Derek, Christina, Camden, Sam)
Thursday, Oct. 2
#9 - 1. "This I Believe" (Charles, Qatie, Landon, Evan)
2. Superheroes & philosophy (Yoan, Jeff, Nick, Caitlin)
#10 - 1. Disney & philosophy (Francisco, Rachel, Russell, Katherine)
2. Robin Williams (Dustin, David, Jonathan)
#14 - 1. Quentin Tarantino (Adam, Mallory, Carlyn, Jessika, Garret)
2. Monty Python (Cody, Josiah,
#13 - 1. Aristotle (HP, TJ, Cheyenne, Daniel)
2. Animals, morality, & complex emotions (Megan, Jack, Dylan)
Tuesday, Oct.7 -
#9 - 1. The Matrix & Philosophy (Paige, Abriana, William, Madison, Adaysha)
#10 - 1 & 2. Philosophy in & thru comedy (Matt, Billy, Teddy, Christa, Hunter, Joel, Summer)
#14 - 1. "This I Believe: Relationships" (Justin, Cassie, John, Talia, Kylee)
Wednesday, Oct.8 -
#13 - 1. "This I Believe" (Peyton, Kyle, Nathan, Jim, Nikki)
2. Pop culture (Melissa, Patty, Shania, Amanda, Alex)
#9 - 1. Should we philosophize? (Alex T., Warren, Tala, Damon, Colin)
2. Socrates (Alex F., Pola, Jesse, Katherine)
#10 - 1. Beauty ( Megan, Jenna, Joshua)
2. Karl Marx (Abbie, Aubrey, Hayley, Val)
#14 - 1. "This I Believe: Religion" (Jordan, David, Tyler, Blake, Joseph)
2. "This I Believe" (Ebone', Kaitlynn, Ciera)
3. The Matrix (Andrew, Ethan, Aaron)
Wednesday, Oct. 15
#13 - Pop Culture (conclusion); 1 & 2. SpongeBob (Clarissa, Shorouq, Breanna, David, David, Victoria, Jasmine, Sara)
Thursday, Oct. 16
#9 - 1. Psychology and mental health (
#10 - 1. Karl Marx (Abbie, Aubrey, Hayley, Val)
#14 - 1. [TOPIC?] (John, Timmothy, Kelton, DeAnthony, Jordan)
Monday, Oct. 20
#13 - Pop Culture (conclusion)
Tuesday, Oct. 21
#9 - 1. Music Video (Jason, Jordan, Seta, Katie)
2. [TOPIC?] (Jesse, Sam, Marie) [Re-scheduled from Oct.7]
#10 - 1. Machiavelli (Kristopher, Max, Jemelia)
2. Aquinas (Brittney, Kayla, Caitlin, Ryan)
Thursday, Oct. 23
#10 1. Morality (Peyton)
2. Plato, Kant, & Nietzsche on metaphysics (Brianna, William, Markia)
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Billy shared his advice on why we should be registered to vote and why our vote actually does count. Now we're all going to register and vote. So yay!
2. Those who argue for some form of equality are known as what?
3. Who combined Aristotelian philosophy with Christian theology?
Aquinas for sure
4. Aquinas stated that belief in Christian theology can be proved by reason without any appeal to an alleged revelation. What did he call this?
5. (T/F) Gaunilo argued with Anselm's argument about the existence of God.
6. (T/F) Aquinas is best known as a theologian.
- (T/F) Anslem would agree that the idea of god proves his existence. True
- According to Samuel Scheffier, what has more meaning to us than our continual survival and the survival of our loved one? Continued existence of life on earth
- Did Guanilo agree with Anselm's reasoning of why God exists? No
- Those who argue for some form of equality are know as? Egalitarians
- The name of Anselm's (depending on who you ask) ridiculous argument is? Ontological argument
- Name a philosopher critical of democracy for not fostering genuine popular participation Karl Marx
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
*Sorry this is a late post, but I realized that our group failed to post, and I felt the obligation to post for us! I guess it is better late than never, although we should have posted something in the beginning.
2. (T/F) An objection to Aquinas' argument against an infinite regress of causes is that an Uncaused Cause is not necessarily God-like in relevant respects (power, knowledge, goodness). LH 50
3. In contrast to utilitarians like Bentham, says Anthony Kenny, Aquinas agreed with Aristotle that happiness is not a _______ but an activity or way of life. PB 31
4. Because political philosophers typically write in response to the actual situations they find themselves in, knowledge of _______ is especially important when studying political philosophy. P 78
5. ________, author of Anarchy, State, and Utopia, argued that ______ always trump every other consideration including utililty. (Fill in one blank for full credit.) P81
6. Name a philosopher critical of democracies for not fostering genuine popular participation. P 86
BONUS: What kind of conflict or paradox confronts anyone committed to democratic principles? P 88
BONUS+: Who's the most important political philosopher of the 20th century, strangely omitted from our chapter? U@d
1. Do you think not existing is an imperfection? What, exactly, is made less perfect by its failure to actually exist? Can we think our way to an understanding of what must be real, and what is merely imaginary?
2. Can you infer from a (hypothetically-) necessary First Cause to an omnipotent, omniscient, omni-benevolent God? Can you rule out the possibility that a First Cause might be malevolent or Satanic?
3. What is the relevance of feelings to happiness? If you never feel good, can you still be happy?
4. What is politics for? What does it accomplish? (If you watched The Roosevelts: what did TR, FDR, & ER accomplish?)
5. Does anything trump utility?
6. Is American democracy really inclusive? Does your vote matter? Can one citizen make a difference?
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
We wrapped up our discussion with the powerful question, "If God is all-knowing, is free will then an illusion?" The views varied. We decided it all really depends on how you view God and your perspective on the "all-knowing" aspect. All in all, we had a really productive and awesome discussion today!
The subgroup I am in for our group project is doing This I Believe as our group project. The overarching theme we are trying to keep with is relationships. I am doing the topic of forgiveness, John is doing peace, Talia is doing respect, Justin is doing fortitude, and Cassie is covering trust.
2. What was the name of Boethius's most popular book?
The Consolation of Philosophy
3. Boethius died 20 years before what?
The barbarians took over/ the fall of Rome
4. Because Descartes believed animals had no souls therefore couldn't experience pain. What did he do to the animals?
He cut them up in a live dissection...
5. Who was the lady in Boethius' cell?
6. What does speciesism imply?
That your being un justifiably true to your species.
Monday, September 22, 2014
2. (T/F) Nigel writes that if you believe in an omniscient God it's also plausible to believe your choices are free, despite the seeming paradox. LH 44
3. How does Lady Philosophy resolve the paradox of divine omniscience coupled with human free will? (OR: How, according to her, does God see things?) LH 44/45
4. Name an important philosopher who denied that animals are capable of feeling pain. P 68
5. (T/F) "Speciesism" is a neutral, non-pejorative term. P 71
6.(T/F) For Kant, harming animals is wrong because it damages OUR character and relationships. P 75
BONUS: Which utilitarian is cited as disagreeing with Kant's view of animal suffering? P76
BONUS+: How many people participated in the Climate March in Manhattan yesterday?
1. How hard would you find it to take consolation from Philosophy, if you were awaiting your execution? Do you think you could become more "mindful" and less fearful, by studying and reflecting philosophically on the vicissitudes and randomness of fortune?
2. Is it in fact plausible to believe that your choices are both free and determined?
3. What's your definition of free will? Even if you could not have acted otherwise, in any particular situation, are you still free just because you did not know that?
4. If you agree that animals can feel pain, do you think it matters ethically how they process those feelings (or if they process them differently than the way humans do), or that they don't treat one another with a human form of regard?
5. Are you a speciesist? Why or why not?
6. Why do you think it's wrong to harm animals? Why do you think some people engage in blood sport with animals (cockfighting, dogfighting)?
Friday, September 19, 2014
The first walking group was the larger one, and we discussed our group project instead of a philosophical topic. Headway on that was, lacking to use a kind term. We need to get it hashed out on Tuesday.
On a plus note, the weather is getting beautiful and being able to get out of the classroom and enjoy the fresh air was well worth it. I hope to do it again as weather permits.
As we walked around to different places we spoke of rather odd topics, but thought provoking nonetheless. As we approached the library we talked of social perceptions of individually made decisions, such as clothing, tattoos and piercings among other things. The KayS brought discussions of freedom of speech and the pros and cons of such a freedom. The BAS brought up conversations about hunger in the world, mainly because someone said they were hungry and we decided to use it as an opprotunity to discuss.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
1. T/F Manichaeans believed that God was not all powerful.
2. What's Augustine's defense against moral evil?
Free Will Defense
3. Augustine was originally a ________ but later converted to _______?
4. What is also know as neo-aristotelianism?
Virtue Ethics or "How to live"
5. The theorizing of ethical theories is known as?
6. The type of euthanasia that is described when the patient is unconscious or in no position to express a wish is which type?
We also talked about whether God created more goodness in our world. We agreed that this is so subjective and it depends. The place where you live, or the kind of life that one lives are important factors in defining whether there is more goodness or evil around us.
On a totally different note, if you're a geek like me, you might enjoy this RadioLab podcast (download the app, then listen). This one is short and gets kind of philosophical... Easy to listen to! Enjoy, and have an awesome weekend!
2. How old (relatively) was Augustine when he converted to Christianity?
30 something... middle aged
3. After converting to Christianity, what did Augustine eventually become?
4. Who was one of the most popular writers of the Middle Ages that believed in an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good God?
Boethius or Augustine
5. Who wrote the book "Confessions, the City of God?"
6. Who wrote the book about emotive title "Language, Truth, & Logic"?
Today we talked about the age at which we should establish our faith, and most of us agreed that we should wait until we are older. Then, we talked about if we should be struck by lightening for every time we sin...even lying. Lastly, we touched on the subject of how everyone views God differently.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
We've came up with new groups for our midterm project
3. Ricardo will be a floater with another group in the section for this project.
2. Augustine's early "Manicheaean" solution to the problem of suffering was to claim what about God? LH 37
3. Augustine's later solutions were the Free Will Defense and what? LH 39
4. In contrast to Kantian deontologists and utilitarian consequentialists (concerned mainly with the rightness or wrongness of particular acts) what do Aristotelian virtue theorists focus on? P 53
5. A Christian moralist inclined to follow the Commandments without exception might nonetheless feel conflicted about "lov[ing] thy neighbor" in the event of what end-of-life situation? (That is, what scenario or possible action might create a conflict?) P 56
6. The view that facts and values are distinct and separate is associated with ____'s Law and _____'s Fallacy (name at least one, for full credit). P 59
BONUS: ______s are sometimes accused of inconsistency, claiming absolute truth for the view that all judgments are relative, while ______s say all ethical statements are literally meaningless. (Name at least one.) P 63
BONUS+: Which cartoon character (in my dawn blog post on Augustine) says free will is an illusion?
1. Is it better to embrace (or renounce) religious faith early in life, or to "sow your wild oats" and enjoy a wide experience of the world before committing to any particular tradition or belief? Were you encouraged by adults, in childhood, to make a public profession of faith? If so, did you understand what that meant or entailed?
2. Does the concept of a never-ending struggle between good and evil appeal to you? Does it make sense, in the light of whatever else you believe? Would there be anything "wrong" with a world in which good was already triumphant, happiness for all already secured, kindness and compassion unrivaled by hatred and cruelty?
3. Do you find the concept of Original Sin compelling, difficult, unfair, or dubious? In general, do we "inherit the sins of our fathers (and mothers)"? If yes, give examples and explain.
4. Is it more important to you always to do the right thing, or always to act consistently with your values? Do those always coincide?
5. What's your view of euthanasia? Would you ever seek to end a loved one's physical suffering if they were dying painfully of an untreatable condition, with or without their instruction?
6. Can you get an "ought" from an "is"? Why or why not? If yes, give an example.
On Old Age
2. In Utilitarianism, what is the ultimate aim of human activity?
3. T/F Stoics believe that emotions cloud reasoning and damage judgement.
4. What is the Euthyphro dilemma?
Is what is morally good commanded by God because it is morally good, or is it morally good because it is commanded by God
5. T/F Utilitarianism is the best known type of consequentialist theory.
6. Who were the two main philosophers that spread Stoicism in the Roman Empire?
Cicero & Seneca
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Sorry for lateness guys and hope to see you on Thursday
We discussed whether we believed morals came from some sort of higher power or just "good is good".
Does morality come from authority?
People take morality from religion is a common connection, we mentioned. Our laws came about from religion. If you considered law authority, then what if it is not morally right? I.E. Jim Crow laws.
We don't care to steal music online, but we obviously care if someone is murders.
Immanuel Kant believed moral action was not done out of inclination, feelings, or the possibility of some sort of gain, but out of __________ ?
Answer: a sense of duty
Monday, September 15, 2014
As we walked to BAS we discussed if ot trial is possible to waste ones life. Surprisingly, all of us said no. Living is the meaning of life, jewels, honor, justice and life long accomplishments at just things you gain while living. If you didn't live you would be able to gain anything.
2. Which Stoic, a lawyer, politician, and noted orator as well as a philosopher, said experience, friendship, and conversation offset some of the problems associated with growing old? LH 30
3. Which Stoic said our problem is not how short life is, but how badly most of us use the time we do have (and then ironically had his own life shortened at Nero's command)? LH 31
4. Plato's Euthyphro Dilemma implies that either God is not the source of morality, OR morality is ______. P 41
5. For Immanuel Kant, a deontologist in ethics, a moral action is one performed from a sense of ________. (duty, fear, selfishness, inclination, sympathy, compassion) P 42
6. Name one of the two most famous 19th century English Utilitarian philosophers. P47
BONUS: The late 20th century Harvard philosopher Robert Nozick came up with a virtual reality thought experiment he called the _______ Machine. P 50
BONUS+: "It is the great arrogance of the present to forget the past," said _______.
1. Do you think you could effectively adopt a Stoic mindset ("Our thoughts are up to us," we shouldn't be affected by circumstances beyond our control, etc.) that would enable you to endure captivity and torture? IDo you attempt to adopt that mindset in less extreme everyday circumstances (like a rainstorm just before class)?
2. Do you "hope [you] die before you get old" or do you look forward to the compensations of old age (memories, old friends, grandchildren etc.)? Do you think 100 become the new 65, in your lifetime? How long do you hope to live? If cryonics ever becomes plausible would you want to use it?
3. Are you a good time-manager, or a procrastinator? Do you usually approach life as if you had "all the time in the world"? If Nero ordered YOU to take your own life, would you resist or comply? Why?
4. Do you agree with Dostoevsky?: "If God doesn't exist, anything is permitted." Why or why not? Do you think the only thing preventing you from being good is the fear of divine retribution for being bad? Or do you think that to be good one must simply believe in goodness and reciprocity ("Do unto others" etc.)?
5. Do you consider yourself a good person? If so, what motivates your goodness? If not, why not?
6. Should we always try to "maximize the greatest happiness of the greatest number"? Does it matter what kind of happiness we maximize? Are some pleasures just intrinsically higher and better than others? Is it "preferable to be a sad but wise Socrates than to be a happy but ignorant fool"? P 49
Sunday, September 14, 2014
[1:32]…Let’s just try on the not-believing-in-God glasses for a moment, just for a second. Just put on the no-God glasses and take a quick look around and then immediately throw them off. So I put them on and I looked around.
I’m embarrassed to report that I initially felt dizzy. I actually had the thought, “Well, how does the Earth stay up in the sky? You mean, we’re just hurtling through space? That’s so vulnerable!” I wanted to run out and catch the earth as it fell out of space into my hands.
And then I thought, “Oh yeah, gravity and angular momentum is gonna keep us revolving around the sun for probably a really long time.” Then I thought, “What’s going to stop me from just, rushing out and murdering people?”
And I had to walk myself through it, why are we ethical? Well, because we have to be. We’re social animals. We’re extremely complex social animals. We evolved a moral sense, like an aversion to wanton murder, in order for communities to exist. Because communities help us survive better in much bigger numbers. And eventually we codified these internal evolved ethics inside of us into laws against things like wanton murder. So… I guess that’s why I won’t be rushing out and murdering people! …
07:36 - The Mormon Boys Arrive
14:59 - My Religious History In A Nutshell
17:47 - I Wish I Were A Nun
23:32 - I Rededicate Myself To The Church
27:48 - Sodom & Gomorrah; Abraham & Issac
32:47 - The Ten Commandments
36:46 - The New Testament
41:38 - St. Paul & The Book Of Revelation
45:34 - Psychologically True
48:21 - Jesus Suffered, But So Did A Lot Of People
50:54 - Father Tom Blesses Me & I Get Out Of There
54:42 - I Begin To Drift East, Spiritually Speaking
1:00:37 - God Is Nature; The Galapagos
1:03:37 - Sister Charatina's Theory Of Evolution
1:08:05 - God Is Love
1:12:39 - Deepak
1:16:09 - I'm Becoming So Cantankerous
1:18:42 - How The Mind Works
1:22:10 - Intelligent Design
1:28:03 - What If It's True
1:34:47 - Good-Bye To God
1:38:24 - So, I'm Just Another Animal
1:42:49 - Mom & Dad Freak
1:50:11 - Mulan Arrives & Dad Is Sick
1:55:42 - A Funeral
2:02:04 - More Mormon Boys
Letting Go of God is a humorous monologue by Julia Sweeney chronicling her search for God. She begins in the Catholic church, the religion her family raised her in, and takes a Bible study class. What she learns there leads her to new questions, and in search for answers she explores meditation, Buddhism and New Age gurus, then describes what she learned from the sciences and from sharpening her critical thinking skills. She discovers that to accept the truth leads to surprising revelations. She concludes by sharing how this effects her family. Many thanks to Julia for this wonderful piece of work and please support her by purchasing her books and DVD's! - YouTube
Saturday, September 13, 2014
Hello all! In class on Thurday, we discussed the difference between death and what happens after. This brought about what we thought of "death" as children and how it related to "the process of leaving" and the afterlife. Most common questions that were raised were "should we be afraid of what we are not sure of?" We mostly agreed that the unknown sometimes frightens us. However, why would you doubt your happiness? If that's where you find most happiness, stay there.
"If you seek to understand you will." We discussed what happens to people who gamble with God. Also known as straddling the fence. When people only say they believe in God ti avoid being punished they're going to be punished anyway. You have to really want a relationship with God, not fake one.
Plan on taking about 20 minutes of class time to present your report. You can all speak, or you can select a presenter to do all the talking (taking care to document everyone's contributions to the project). We'll have our first two reports on Oct.1/2 (two reports per class).
So what are some possible topics?
- You could each write and present your own "This I Believe" essay, following the guidelines suggested at the TIB website, noting points of interesting comparison and contrast amongst you.
- You could pick a pop culture topic and explore its philosophical significance. One way to do it: get hold of a book of essays by contemporary philosophers on your topic, and each of you read and discuss one of those essays. (Open Court and Blackwell are good sources here. But if the bookstore, library, or I don't have the volume you need, you'd best order promptly from Amazon Prime. If none of you is a Prime member I'll order it for you.)
- You could pick one of the philosophers we've discussed so far, or one of the topics in Philosophy: The Basics, and do more in-depth research, each of you exploring a different aspect of the philosopher's life and thought. (Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and other online sources are linked at the bottom of our CoPhi site. And the library has a good philosophy collection up on the 2d floor.)
- You could pick a topic, and take turns rounding the bases with it: one of you discuss what you consider an important fact about your topic, another can address an interesting discussion question, others can present links (text or video).
- You could record, transcribe, edit, and present one of your group discussions. (I think a peripatetic discussion would work best in this format, since you'll actually be able to hear and record yourselves.)
- You could make a video of yourselves impersonating different philosophers in conversation, and perhaps in costume if you're that ambitious (a class did that last year: they were Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Pyrrho, and Epicurus).
- (Your idea here.)
Think about it, talk it over, make plans to get together out of class if you think that'll help. (It probably will.)
Remember, this is a collaborative group report. You don't get individual grades, it's all for one and one for all. So don't be a slacker, and don't indulge a slacker. Again: document your contributions. Post a list of what everyone did to contribute to the project before the day of your presentation.
My main instruction: have fun, learn something, teach the rest of us something worth learning.