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Thursday, November 26, 2015

3rd installment demi rothberg

link to 2nd installment http://cophilosophy.blogspot.com/2015/11/2nd-installment-demi-rothberg.html
link to 1st installment http://cophilosophy.blogspot.com/2015/11/part-1-final-exam.html


The significance of death is a great theme in Harry Potter. In the Order of the Phoneix there is an encounter between Voldemort and Dumbledore where Dumbledore chooses not to take Voldermorts life while voldemort claims that there is nothing worse than death dumbledore responds like socrates stating “Your failure to understand that there are things much worse than death has always been your greatest weakness”  Dubmbledore also tells Harry in The Socerers Stone that “Death is the next great adventure” A common conception of happiness is getting what you want. While most people's go to is money Dumbledore warns against that and many philosophers claim that money is the root of all evil. Dumbledore's challenge and belief is true happiness is getting and wanting the right things. Leading into religion, love of the wrong things such as money the authors claim that this is an evil precisely because it keeps us from loving eternal things. Naturalism claims that we die without experiencing it putting a positive spin on a negative situation.
Question of morality often pops up in Harry Potter the first one that comes to mind is why Harry would save Dudley in the beginning of the Order of the Phoneix after the way Dudley treated him. J.L Mackie, an atheist, denies the theory that there is an odd moral obligation to sacrifice ourselves for the good of others without the existence of an all-powerful God. Jean Paul Satre also thought moral philosophy was affected if there is no God. Immanuel Kant argues as well that Gods existence is essential for morality. Christianity statement “God is love” and the sacrafice of Christ is compared to the death of Harry's mother and is agreed that “love is a greater and more powerful thing than evil and death”. In philosophy it is a dilemma to choose to act in self interest or being moral while in Christianity being moral is always of self-interest. To act immorally is to cut ourselves off from God which is hell, like living a cursed life as Voldemort.



So the mirror of desire scene is where Harry finds this mirror in a far off room and when he looks into it he sees him and surrounding him is his parents waving and smiling but when he looks around they aren't really there. This mirror portrays one's deepest desires. In Harry's excitement, he even brings Ron to come see it. Finally the third time, Dumbledore awaits Harry, and tells him that the mirror is only there to show him what he wants and warns harry not to “dwell on dreams and forget to live” This scene brings up the debate for danger of losing ourselves in our own false reality. The authors state that philosophers worry about us being able to distinguish between appearance and reality.  Rene descartes, who strives to defeat skepticism, tells us not to trust those who deceive us even once and that the foundation of knowledge is knowledge of one owns existence.
A distinction that the authors discuss is between being and becoming.  They  use the example in Order of the Phoneix when Harry watches his father through Snape's pensieve and James is bullying snape. James wasn't instantly good, he had to work on becoming a good person. Moral maturity requires work. This is similar to Aristotle's view Eudaimonia or long-term deep happiness. Where happiness is not a feeling or instant it is an accumulated achievement.  



The authors stir up the question why is there evil in the world? They first say they need to define what evil is. Rowling's books portray evil by privation, parasitic on something good, evil due to weakness, and evil by free choice. To do evil, the authors claim, is a failure to do, love, or care for the right things. The books show that evil is a lack of something good through boggarts which take on the shape on an individuals personal biggest fear, dementors which suck souls by taking every ounce of happiness out of a persons mind, and voldemort, who chooses evil freely. Voldemort is able to convince people that there is no hope but to choose him in order to gain acquaintances. Voldemmort tries to acknowledge himself as something more than human but has no hope for the future in that he has no wife or children. He has a name that means will to death, will do anything to avoid it including taking the life of others.  In conclusion from the example of voldemort there is evil in this world because of free choice. The authors point out that the characters are not all good or all bad for example, professor snape, a former death eater who hates harrys father and dislikes association with harry renounces past ties to fight along side dumbledore against voldemort. .

Production of the Harry Potter series did indeed stir up controversy in many ways. The first argument against this piece of literature is that it was exposing kids to satanism in witchcraft. Also in this series rule breaking goes unpunished such as smuggling illegal dragons in and out of hogwarts or Hagrid sneaking practicing magic when he was forbidden from it, lying is acceptable as use of cover-up stories, and the distinction between good and evil is often blurred. Abanes suggest that rowling's characters are egoistically motivated good characters and bad alike and argues that hermoral universe has no firm rules of right and wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Lotsa good philosophy in Harry Potter, and I'm sure JKR is simply amused by all the nonsense about "satanism" etc. My favorite Dumbledore line: "Happiness is always possible, as long as you remember to turn on the light." But that's also a good one, about not obsessing on dreams to the exclusion of present possibilities.

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