Up@dawn 2.0

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What the Good Life is to Me

Exam One Extra Credit
Kaylee Herrington (#8)

                What the good life is to me is simply living the life you have, and being grateful for what God has blessed you with. I try to live my life to the fullest, and I try really hard not to take it for granted. Life is full of struggles and pain, but it’s also full of happiness and beauty. Living the good life is being thankful for what you have but always working hard to achieve what you want and striving to be your very best. I strive to be a Christian and I try to live my life according to God’s will, and in my opinion that’s all it takes to live a good life. Living for God and always treating others with kindness truly makes me happy. God blesses me tremendously, even when I do not deserve it. Life definitely isn’t always easy, but it always seems to find a way to work itself out. I have chosen to live my life as a Christian, and that works for me. It makes me happy and proud, and in the end I know it will all be worth it and I know God will be proud of me. This life is the life I was meant for and it makes me happy, but I know not everyone lives this life. Not everyone is a Christian, and that’s their decision. I truly hope they find happiness in however they decide to choose to live, like I have found in my life. So I guess to me, living the good life is living the life you feel like you should and making the most of it. 
     Alek, Keli, and I will are reporting on Frankenstein and Philosophy. Frankenstein opens a wide range of topics to talk and think about. Does society assume ugly is evil? How is science fiction so relateable to reality? Can man ever take the role of God? We will answer every single one of those questions.
     Society naturally fails to accept what is out of the norm. Ugly is evil. Anything different is untouchable. But from where do we form our guidelines for beauty? How can we be so quick to assume evil based on an outer appearance that means absolutely nothing? The creature’s actions were a mere reflection of society’s ignorance toward his outer appearance. This innocent creature turns from one full of love to a monster full of hate; he was rejected for no reason other than looking “ugly”. He was created that way, and had no control over how he was formed. He was a naturally nonviolent creature that became violent as a result of society’s ignorance. We will give examples of how society turned this harmless creature into a monster.
     Science fiction is grounded in valid scientific research, predicts what might be possible in the future, and offers view on a specific technological inventions or scientific thinking. One of those views is about how Frankenstein was not created naturally, and how he couldn’t be human in the human eye.
     The creation of a creature without a natural birth played another huge role in Frankenstein. Taking body parts from different corpses and making into one then making it come to life was frowned upon apparently. Do to the Frankenstein's Monster unnatural exists on this Earth, which at the time, had a strong hold with religion and god at the time, caused a disturbance within society. A disturbance for a man made creature that was deamed unholy and damned.

My idea of the good life

My idea of the good life is being happy with the hand life has dealt, and living life like it's my last day on earth.  People are amazed at my age and me continuing my education, but I hold to the hypothesis "You're only as old as you feel".  Society has so many unwritten rules, but do we really have to follow them?  12 years of school to 4 more years of college to a life in a cookie cutter house with 2.4 children.  Women are pressured into finding the best mate, having children and being the center of the home.  I live life to make enough money so I can travel.  I’m in school to make more money so I can extend my travels and time off.  Making more can mean working less and traveling more...  Everyone has to find the good life for them.  My life is only for me.  If a husband finds me on my endeavors, so be it, but if I'm having too much fun, then I will have no problems saying I lived the good life.  Some people have the idea that the cookie cutter life is for them.  It’s not wrong, but this life would be so boring if everyone did everything the same everyday.  Jumping out of a plane is not my cup of tea, but swimming with the whales would bring me so much joy.  Oprah's money comes with Oprah sized headaches.  I'm just fine with no headaches other than a few tests and a little poop to clean up. The life of the traveling nurse is not for everyone, but it’s just perfect for me.
Joseph Sasraku
Matt Drescher
Lucas Wharton
            When you first hear name Pythagoras, you quickly think, “Where exactly have I heard that before?” And then you might recall the Pythagorean Theorem. Well that is right but that’s not all we are going to be talking about. We choose to make our presentation to the class about Pythagoras not only as a philosopher but about his philosophies and mathematics and their correlation to each other, as well as how they are applied and can be noticed in our everyday lives. Joseph will start us of by giving a brief introduction/ background about Pythagoras.
            Mathew will then talk the Pythagorean theory of numbers. Also he will talk about Pythagoras’s belief that words have numerical value, and associated meaning. Then he will cross-reference this with a few passages from the biblical book of revelations.

           Pythagoras was influential on, most famously Math, aforementioned, but his impact on Astrology and Music were at an equal importance. From developing the basis of music theory in the form of the seven note tonal scale that rounded on the eighth note to create the octave; and to introducing the idea that the earth circled the center of the universe which he believed to be fire. All-in-all, we can gather from his notions about life, math, music, and the universe is that thinking logically, versus rationally, is one major way to philosophize. Though it’s non-conventional to approach psychology in this manner it produced many fruitful philosophical and scientific ideas that cannot be ignored. These accomplishments are, in my analysis, are stemming from one of his basic philosophical ideas, that is, and the limited and unlimited forces of nature that shape our ability to look at the world. Lucas will then finish off with this and that would conclude our presentation.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Buddha and Philosophy:


Jeri Radford

Alexis Arriaga

Lucas Rogers

Siddhartha Gautama was a very wealthy prince. He saw sufferings from around his kingdom, which made him question why suffering happened. He was so interested by the suffering he decided. To leave his wealthy life, to search for an answer to his question. The learnings from process of finding the answer to his question, is how Buddha came to be.

Buddha’s metaphysics include a few teachings. Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that deals with first principles of things; it is the abstract concepts about a topic or idea. There are a few teachings involved in Buddhism. The most popular include The Four Noble Truths and the Three Marks of Existence. Buddhism also focuses more on a person’s state of mind and not his or her actions. When people practice Buddhism, they usually are very aware of their mind and soul. They do this in many ways, but one way is by meditation. This way, they become one with his or herself.

The Buddha did not want people to believe his metaphysics out of pure faith, instead he wanted for people to verify his teachings for themselves. The core of the Buddha's teachings are contained in the Noble Eightfold Path, which are Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration. The Noble Eightfold Path can be further divided into 3 groups of Buddhist practices which are ethical conduct, mental discipline, and wisdom. The ultimate end goal of all of this was to achieve Nirvana (or enlightenment) which is a transcendent state in which there is no suffering, desire, or sense of self and one is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth.
EXTRA CREDIT EXAM POST - What's your idea of "the good life"? Do you consider other people's well-being to be any concern of yours? My idea of the good life would first involve coming to peaceful terms with myself. Being able to accept who I am including the way I think, look, and act. I want to be able to live life without having to question or regret or feel self-conscious about everything I do. Once I am able to be at peace with myself I'd like to be able to make connections with others. The general well being of other people does matter to me because it affects my mood, but being able to have a deeper connection with my friends matters even more. After this I'd like to set goals for myself including obtaining a stable job, saving up for a house, and having a decent car. Even if I don't achieve all these goals the fact that I had the opportunity to attempt them is what would bring joy to my life. It's more about the journey before the destination.

(#8) Philip Giguere & Imran Khan- Aristotle

LIFE Aristotle was not just a philosopher but a Scientist in the subject of Physics and Astronomy and even some Psychology and Biology. Aristotle set up his own school at a place called the Lyceum. He had a habit of walking around and about when he was teaching or talking and his followers later become known as peripatetics which means “to walk about”. For the next thirteen years he had two kinds of lectures: extremely detailed ones in the mornings with his advanced students and more generic ones in the afternoons with people who were just lovers of knowledge. Athens was the city in which he set up his school and was later overthrown. When this happened a charge of impiety was trumped against him and in order to escape prosecution he fled to Chalcis in Euboea where he later dies a year later. Throughout his life he made many contributions to other sciences especially physics explaining change, motion, void, and time. Aristotle also had a major fascination with animals and said that they related to humans in many ways.

ETHICS Aristotle viewed ethics as the attempt to find our end goal in life to basically achieve our own happiness. Aristotle believes that happiness can only be achieved through personal experience and facts, not in abstract ideas or things. He further breaks down happiness in an analysis of the human soul which can be broken into three virtues that make up the human soul. The first being intellectual virtue he calls this a rational element of the human soul. This part of the human soul is responsible for giving us humans the ability to reason logically and formulate scientific principles. The second part of the human soul is our moral virtue this part of the soul is responsible for all of our emotions and desires. He claims this to be a fully rational part of the soul. Lastly we have the nutritional virtue which is solely responsible for nutrition and growth. So it is basically about eating healthy foods so you can live long and prosper. Someone who does this well is referred to as some who has a nutritional virtue Aristotle refers to this part of the soul as a completely irrational element. Aristotle also formulated several general points about the nature of moral virtues. First he says that our skill in regulating desires is not instinctive but learned throughout our lives from our families, teachers, and so on. Second he says that if we stop these desires too much or too little this can also create problems. Lastly he said that regulating our virtues are character traits and are not to be interpreted as emotions.

Confucius-sierra, rushdi, yada

Sierra Cox

Yada Ahmed

Rushdi Al-Hasan


#11 4:10-5:35

Our group has chosen to do our report on the eastern philosopher known as Confucius. We have broken down his life into three major topics: Ethics, Education, and his life

  • Confucius and his ethics: Confucius had a large impact on the Chinese, Korean, Japanese, and Vietnamese culture. His ethical writings within the analects contain work that was original to him and represented a radical departure from the ideas and practice of his day. Confucius focused on creating ethical models of family and public interactions, and setting educational standards. Some of his teachings are still used today and have had a great impact on Chinese culture and family life.

  • Confucius and his education: Confucius was the founder of Confucianism. Confucius focused on teaching ethics and self-discipline. He also focused on everyday concerns. One of his goals was to create gentlemen who carry themselves with grace, speak correctly and show integrity. He valued moral education and believed that the real understanding of something comes from long and careful studying. He believed that a good teacher is someone familiar with the ways of the past and the practices of the ancients. He believed that a leader needed to exercise good discipline in order to lead and remain humble. And he was against the idea that some men were born superior to others.

  • Confucius lived for 72 years. He was born in 551 B.C. and passed away 479 B.C.. He lost his father at a very young age and had to live without him from the age of 3.Twenty years later, his mother also passed away, leaving him in great grief. Confucius spent the majority of his life teaching his principles of life. His success only took place much after his death, preventing him from witnessing his accomplishment of being one of the most influencing philosopher of his times.

Quiz Sep30/Oct1

W 30/Th OCT 1 - Anselm & Aquinas (LH); WATCH: Aquinas & 1st Cause (HI) LISTEN:Anthony Kenny on Aquinas' Ethics (PB); Exam 1; Midterm report presentations begin, starting with Blake and Axle on Harry Potter (#8), Misha, Krystal, and Justin on Bullshit (#12), and Matthew, Joseph, and Lucas on Pythagoras (#11).


1. (T/F) Anselm said God, "the being than which none greater can be conceived," must exist because otherwise He'd be imperfect (and not The Greatest).

2. The _____ argument says that merely having an idea of God proves God's existence.
3. What was Anselm's reply to Gaunilo?

4. Why did Aquinas think there couldn't be an infinite regress of causes?

5. (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.

6. Is "Nothing" uncontestably the best answer to "What caused the cosmos?"
Bonus:  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.

Image result for aristotle on happiness quotes

Image result for aristotle on happiness quotes


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. Bertrand Russell said he gave up belief in God when he encountered J.S. Mill's Autobiography account of not getting a satisfactory answer to the question "What caused God?" Is that a good question, and a good response?

An old post-

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Anselm, Aquinas, & politics

It's more Saints today in CoPhi, and more Harvards: Anselm & Aquinas (with commentary on the latter from Anthony Kenny), Robert Nozick and political philosophy. Inexplicably, our politics chapter omits discussion of the most important political philosopher of the 20th century, John Rawls. We'll rectify that in class.

Anselm stumped for the divine moral perfection (and omnipotence and omniscience) of a being “than which none greater could be conceived.” His Ontological Argumentis either ingenious or ridiculous, depending on who you ask. But it rarely persuades those who do not come at it armed with antecedent faith. "Faith seeking understanding," or maybe just the appearance of rational cover.

Anselm considers reason subordinate to faith. 'I believe in order to understand,' he says; following Augustine, he holds that without belief it is impossible to understand. God, he says, is not just... St Anselm, like his predecessors in Christian philosophy, is in the Platonic rather than the Aristotelian tradition. For this reason, he has not the distinctive characteristics of the philosophy which is called "scholastic," which culminated in Thomas Aquinas. Russell

In the time of Aquinas, the battle for Aristotle, as against Plato, still had to be fought. The influence of Aquinas secured the victory [for Aristotle] until the Renaissance; then Plato, who became better known than in the Middle Ages, again aquired supremacy... Russell
 Indeed, "Aquinas fully endorsed Aristotle..." (Cave & Light)

 Aquinas was sure there had to be an uncaused cause in back of everything, or else we’d never get to an end of explaining. Well, we probably won’t. Not ’til the would-be explainers themselves are gone. But is an uncaused cause really a step forward, explanatorily speaking?

Both of those guys were committed, of course, to belief in a heavenly afterlife. Samuel Scheffler, in the Stone recently, wrote of the afterlife here. Here, of course, is where people live the lives their beliefs inform. Life, not god or supernaturalism, is the natural impulse behind religion. Dewey's continuous human community is another way of naming nature's afterlife.
But what if you learned that the species would expire within a month of your own passing? That's Scheffler's thought experiment. He thinks he and we would be profoundly unsettled, that life would suffer an instant meaning collapse, and that this shows how invested we all are in a natural afterlife for humans (though not each of us in particular) on earth. He thinks "the continuing existence of other people after our deaths -- even that of complete strangers -- matters more to us than does our own survival and that of our loved ones." That's what he means when he begins his essay: "I believe in life after death."
He also explained his view on Philosophy Bites.
Our old dead Italian Saints said nothing about this, so far as I'm aware. Anthony Kenny does say Aquinas still agreed with Aristotle about "the best way to spend your lifetime down here on Earth," that happiness is ultimately an activity rather than a feeling, and that "the supreme happiness for rational beings was an intellectual activity." To Aristotle's standard "pagan virtues" he added faith (in Christian revelation), hope (for heavenly ascent), and charity (toward god and neighbor).

But the charity he seems to admire most in Aquinas is of the intellectual variety, "always trying to balance arguments from both sides" and treat those whose conclusions he disputes with civility.

Neither of today's 20th century Harvard philosophers was a Saint, but both were civil.
Robert Nozick began his academic career as a narrow analyst and wunderkind libertarian, but evolved well beyond his starting place. He came to realize that astringent libertarianism neglects "the reality of our social solidarity and humane concern for others." He came also to the view that "thinking about life is more like mulling it over" than like pinning it with a syllogism. "It feels like growing up more." He kept growing, 'til stomach cancer took him at age 63.

Nozick's chapter on dying in The Examined Life begins,

THEY SAY NO ONE is able to take seriously the possibility of his or her own death, but this does not get it exactly right. (Does everyone take seriously the possibility of his or her own life?) A person's own death does become real to him after the death of both parents.
He's right about that, in my experience.

Before his death (as Yogi Berra might have said) Nozick gave us the good oldExperience Machine. We just talked about this the other day. Here's a Yalie to talk about it too.

John Rawls, says Carlin Romano, wrote "the most important book of English-language political theory since Mill's On Liberty. His goal was a coherent theory of "justice as fairness" whose appeal would span the spectrum, after emerging from behind a "Veil of Ignorance." Not everyone buys it, but we all talk about it. Michael Sandel does too, to a much bigger class than ours, albeit mostly virtual & MOOCy.

And now there's a musical stage show. How many political philosophers can say that?! Rawls@dawn

Also a propos of politics, happily included in our chapter today: historicity, Kantian respect, egalitarianism, libertarianism, affirmative action ("reverse discrimination"), the Marxist critique of sham democracy, and paradoxes of conscience. Plenty, as usual, on our plates.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Blake Owens, and I Axle Rothberg are doing a report on Harry Potter and Philosophy, If  Aristotle Ran Hogwarts by David Bagget and Shawn E. Klein. The Harry Potter series seems to spark imagination for people all ages and also helps broaden peoples spectrum and perception on life leading to altercation in lifestyle such as questioning reality daily or making different style choices. Harry potter and the Sorcerers Stone was originally going to be called Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone but the thought was Americans would be put off by the reference to philosophy. Bagget and Klein quoted Plato “Philosophy begins in wonder” which they agreed that philosophical curiosity comes natural in a child. The Harry Potter series is perfect for this testimony in which it creates a world for a child to open their mind up to and escape and explore all sorts of possibilities and in relations to Plato wonder what's going to happen next. The authors state that Rowling's works are not filled with philosophical treatises, therefore their arguments will be based off its philosophical significance. And it is indeed philosophically significant because it is so engaging emotionally, imaginatively, and intellectually. The authors claim things such as Aristotle would act a lot like Dumbledore and there is a parallel between Harry's invisibility cloak and Plato's ring of Gyges.  We will discusses various topics including evil, death, ethics in technology and magic, and materialism.

    One very interesting idea presented in Harry Potter is the unforgivable curses. In my part of the presentation, I, Blake Owens, will aim to discuss what makes these particular curses “unforgivable”. through this we will be able to analyze what Rowling is suggesting about morality through these curses, and how the world of magic in Harry Potter relates to real world technology and the moral problems they create. I will examine different technologies such as human genome mapping and genetic modification and discuss how these very real scientifically concepts relate to the magic in the world of Harry Potter. Also being discussed will be the ideas of materialism and naturalism. These are beliefs that are held in some way, shape, or form, by almost everyone, whether they be real or fictional. However, it is important to question whether what we desire is actually what we need, and if these desires themselves are actually harmful to the growth of an individual.  

And I Axle Rothberg will aim to discuss if there is evil in this world and the source of it while debating free will over the choice of moral standing. How this relates to philosophy and Christianity comparing sacrafice. The ultimate goal of achieving bliss or happiness the right way. The sorrows of self deception relating to the dursley's particulary petunia and uncle vernon and psychology. As well as the controversy Harry Potter production stirred up.