Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, February 26, 2015

"What is my purpose?"

The engrossing report on scifi this afternoon, and our talk of toaster-bots etc., reminded me of this little scene. (Toast, butter, robots... the connections are obvious, right?)

For what it's worth:

All of our reports today were good: Comics, God, Socrates/Plato, Thomas More, scifi. Can't wait for next week's!
Postscript. We'll return to the subject of AI at semester's end, when we discuss Alan Turing and his intelligence "test." This might be worth a look:
It is not often that you are obliged to proclaim a much-loved international genius wrong, but in the alarming prediction made recently regarding Artificial Intelligence and the future of humankind, I believe Professor Stephen Hawking is. Well to be precise, being a theoretical physicist — in an echo of Schrödinger’s cat, famously both dead and alive at the same time — I believe the Professor is both wrong and right at the same time.
Wrong because there are strong grounds for believing that computers will never be able to replicate all human cognitive faculties and right because even such emasculated machines may still pose a threat to humanity’s future existence; an existential threat, so to speak.
In an interview on December 2, 2014 Rory Cellan-Jones asked how far engineers had come along the path towards creating artificial intelligence, and slightly worryingly Professor Hawking, replied “Once humans develop artificial intelligence it would take off on its own and redesign itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”
Although grabbing headlines, such predictions are not new in the world of science and science fiction.. (The danger of artificial stupidity, continues) 

H1 - Sarah Anderson, Evan Conley, and Bryce Marrion - Animal Cruelty

Our group can post summaries of our presentations here.

Sec. 8/3 "Philthy Philosophers" Group Discussion for 26th Feb Reports

This is a placeholder for our group to talk about the midterm reports presented today. Post your thoughts, questions, or add to the discussion here.

Sec. 8 / Grp. 3 - Philthy Philosophers: Group Article

Our group article is on intelligence; our goal is to analyze what the term consists of. 
My contribution to our group focuses on how pattern recognition enhances intelligence, allowing us to make predictions/projections (prospective).

     Here, I define intelligence on a scale of pattern recognition- the ability to understand and identify regularities from sources of data, establish a pattern of consistency through isolated criteria, and filter the irregularities of data that do not fit within the isolated criteria. 
     We use this "mechanistic" style of intelligence to gather information about the environment. Humans- compared to primitive life-forms- have developed the ability to further identify complexity within patterns. For example, suppose we are given a scrambled puzzle. To make any progress, we need to understand how each piece fits together. You may notice the piece with 2 flat edges creates an "L" and must belong in the corner. Maybe you know this because you have only 4 pieces that meet this criteria, and there can only be 4 corners in a square puzzle. This is an act of pattern recognition: Identifying data about the puzzle through a visual source of information, establishing a pattern of consistency through "L" shaped pieces, and distinguishing the irregularities of data that do not fit within this criterion.

     As pattern recognition increases from person to person, so does their categorization of data into separate groups. If someone is sorting food by shape, they may categorize all round objects, accordingly. However, if someone knows which spherical-shaped food is a fruit or a vegetable, this will add 2 more categories to their method of filtration. Furthermore, if someone recognizes a difference in texture, they may classify each spherically-shaped fruit and vegetable as smooth, rough, or prickly.

     The prospective use of pattern recognition allows us to make predictions about future events. We are able to make forecasts about the weather, celestial movements, and even fashion trends due to this fact. Once we understand enough about a subject, not only can we replicate it: We can improve it. The ability to make these predictions is what defines our level of intelligence.

Pyrrho (Group 3 Section 8)

Leo, Dwight, Nathan, Wes, Ashley. (I do hope that I am correct on your names as it is late and I am exhausted.) I apologize for this being later than i first assumed. I could not connect to the internet for several hours.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Quentin Tarantino and Philosophy

This post is for Daniel Knickerbocker, Drew Huff, and Ben Burton to post their contributions to the philosophy project. 

Midterm Group about Religion and God (Section 8)

Midterm group can post their summaries in the comments here.

When science goes too far, and man “kills God”

Many of us get excited when we hear about the newest scientific enhancements that are supposed to improve our world, and many of these do. However, many of us also accept that sometimes science goes too far. In our modern culture we see several examples where people use their imaginations to present situations where the science has, in some people’s eyes, overstepped our mortal boundaries and trespassed into the territory or playing God, often with disastrous results upon the offenders.
               The first example would be in the book Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Dr. Frankenstein was obsessed with finding the components of life, and thanks to dark experimentation he created a grotesque monster. This creation spent its life in terrible loneliness, for he was never referred to as a human or treated humanely, even by his creator. The monster ended up going mad, stalking Frankenstein and, after Frankenstein continued to reject his own creation, killing several of Dr. Frankenstein’s loved ones. Dr. Frankenstein asked the monster what it would take to get him to stop. The monster simply asks for a female companion so that he would not be alone. Before Frankenstein grants his wish, however, he becomes fearful of bringing another creature into the world and destroys her, sealing both his and the monster’s fate of destruction.
 Thanks to Frankenstein’s act of playing God and his lack of compassion he was left with a creature that had no place in the world, leading to the destruction of them both. The creation of new life cannot be taken lightly. If such a situation were to happen, where an intelligent being was created, it creates the problems of deciding whether the creation should have human rights and how we should treat it. Also this creature would be stuck in the terrible place of not belonging, leading to the same mental anguish as Frankenstein’s monster. The monster’s personality was darkened by lack of love and a sense of belonging. Tampering with intelligent life can be seen to create more suffering than good.
               The creation of life that no longer exists on Earth can be equally controversial. In the case of Jurassic Park, a book by Michael Chrichton and its film adaptation directed by Steven Spielberg, dinosaurs are resurrected to be displayed and studied within an island resort. The owner John Hammond believes they are under his control. As pointed out by the character Ian Malcom though, “life finds a way.” After several disastrous events one after the other it is clear that this ancient nature cannot be controlled. Toying with de-extinction is risky. In the case of dinosaurs, the Earth’s environment no longer supports these organisms which have been extinct for millions of years.
 It is also unclear whether or not these animals could even be considered actual dinosaurs. The DNA of the animals of Jurassic Park was patched and modified. Empty spaces were filled with the DNA of frogs (part of the reason why the island spires out of control), and in the book the animals’ genetic code was tampered with to make the dinosaurs more docile. These changes where to not only enable the creatures to exist in the first place, but to also be under the control of man. However, in the book Hammond expresses concerns over the fact that he thinks guests would be happier seeing ‘real’ dinosaurs, animals as close to the original as possible, without the traits causing them to be less ‘wild’. But even if the animals were tampered with as little as possible, it could be argued still that, even though we think they look like dinosaurs, they cannot be considered dinosaurs. The problem is the limitation of man’s knowledge. We cannot know for certain how the dinosaurs behaved or looked like millions of years ago. However, the scientists of Jurassic Park attempt to play God and eventually suffer for the results. The scientists assume that they know what could go wrong, that they understood these animals because they created them, and that they had placed the appropriate measures to control their miniature ecosystem. They with their limited knowledge were not prepared for the chaos. Dinosaurs would catch mysterious illnesses, a disgruntled worker would shut off the electric fences, the frog DNA caused some of the animals to become male allowing them to breed, and deadly predators hunted the island’s visitors and workers. The animals prove to be beyond their control, and the island resort is evacuated, but not before several people were killed.
 Mankind often assumes that with the technology we have we are above nature and thus command the Earth and its life. What is important to realize is that we do not have control. Natural disasters occur constantly, and slowly we begin to realize that we are not all powerful. Stories like Jurassic Park are there to remind us of our own mortal limitations, that mankind was never meant to play God. As said by the character Ian Malcom, “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, that they didn’t stop to think if they should.” “God creates dinosaurs, God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs.”

Charlie Hebdo (Section 8)

              Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly) is a French satirical weekly magazine. As you might have heard from the news, it was recently the target of a terrorist attack in Paris, which left 12 dead, including Stéphane Charbonnier, who was the director of publication.

             Charlie Hebdo was always provocative, but it was provocative to everyone. Part of the reason this attack caught so much attention from world media is because Charb and his mates where the equivalent to the Jon Stewarts and Stephen Colbert of the U.S.A. Stéphane Charbonnier and his crew were public figures who often appeared on television sets and were widely loved. The magazine was a strong symbol of freedom of speech, not just in France, but in the world.

             As a kid I would secretly take my uncles copies of the magazine and surreptitiously read through them. The harsh humor was a tool that helped me mature at a young age, and the far left, anti-theologian, and anti-racism, magazine helped shape my values as a young person. The news of the attack was a tough personal blow.

             What makes me most angry at the action of these people is that it gives validity to the ideology of France’s very racist extreme right party, “Le Front-National”.

            The cartoons that came soon after the attacks show the true character of the men and women of the Charlie Hebdo organization. I am sure that Stéphane Charbonnier and his team would be very proud to know that they died for the cause that they have supported their entire lives.

H01 Group Three "matters of the soul"

H01 Psychology and Ancient Greek Philosophy

 Janie Kullmar, Epicurus and Stoics

Epicurus and psychology. What we would call psychology he called 
            Psychology regularly addresses matters of how to make people happy or content. This was Epicurus's lasting impression on the world. In both what Epicurean had come to mean and what it actually meant. He believed that happiness stems from three things " peace of mind; bodily health and comfort; and the exigencies of life itself." This is interesting because Epicurus died from kidney stones that are today one of the most painful ways to die. These three things are hotly contested in modern psychology. His address of the issue could be seen as a simplification of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Shortly before his death he wrote "I have written this letter to you on a happy day to me, which is also the last day of my life. For I have been attacked by a painful inability to urinate, and also dysentery, so violent that nothing can be added to the violence of my sufferings. But the cheerfulness of my mind, which comes from the recollection of all my philosophical contemplation, counterbalances all these afflictions." This is indicative that he considered the mind capable of happiness in all circumstances.
            Modern psychology recognizes that interpersonal relationships merit attention. In fact he is quoted as saying " Of all the things which wisdom provides to make us entirely happy, much the greatest is the possession of friendship."
            Epicurus believed many matters of the soul were located on the chest as opposed to the head and brain. In many ways Epicurus has a very naturalistic viewpoint. He did not believe in an eternal soul, which is a central view for the modern understandings of psychology and neurology. He believed that the world was entirely physical, including our soul. However he viewed the soul as something that rested in the body. His view was naturalistic in that he didn't believe in an eternal soul but he did believe in a soul separate from the body.
            Epicurus believed that in the right state of mind anyone could enjoy life, which subtly indicates that he believed that people could be taught how to enjoy life. This is a hugely foundational belief for therapies.


In general the Greek concept of the mind was actually more connected to the body than modern values.  Stoics were concurrent with modern psychology in that they separated experience from the body. We see the brain as the processing system and it is frequently taught now that it isn't the eyes that see but the mind. Stoics held a system that was similar to this.  They believed that the soul truly perceives and therefore cannot be trusted.

The stoics believed that despite experiences people are in fact innately born with characteristics but that these were very simple such as self -regard and the usage of limbs. Stoics wrote about childhood development as well which is an enormous area of research in modern psychology. They believed that as children grew they developed rationality and they believed that impulse was the opposite of rationality. Their ideas of impulse opposed those of Euripides, who shared many characteristics with stoics. He thought that our main impulse was satisfaction or happiness. Therefore Stoics believed impulse was usually bad and Epicureans believed that impulse was usually good. Stoics believed that one chose their emotions wisely and dispassionately. Epicureans actually could be more suppressive of emotion as they usually stated that sensual desires were incorrect no order to have long-term pleasure. Stoics seemed to be less interested in labeling as wrong and right emotions but observed emotions from afar.  They also noted that the primary difference between However they considered the soul as a blank slate.  Today they were addressing a psychological issue, which we now refer to as nature over nurtured an issue that is still debated.


Group 1 shall post their group presentation contributions in the comments of this post!

Group Project Section 12 (Tyler Wren, Zach Byrn, Dallas Barrett, Anne Gillcrist)

Our group chose to individually write our own This I Believe essay. The essays must be accepted by the website, but we will share our essays on presentation day. This project gave each of our group members to write about something they feel passionate about. 

My contribution to the project was writing about true happiness. I mentioned Aristotle's idea that children can not be truly happy. Unlike the ideals of Aristotle I believe that true happiness can be best depicted in children and their behaviors and attitudes. Children can be made happy with the simplest of things. Aristotle explains that children have not lived a long enough life to know true happiness, but I believe that childhood is when you experience the truest of all happiness. Children do not know the stresses of finance or time, and they are made happy by imagination and intrigued by new things. I maybe could have agreed with Aristotle if it were not for my eight-year-old niece and three-year-old nephew. I will better explain on presentation day!(:
I just wanted to let those who didn't know about the typo in the study guide. On number 6 in the last set, Aristotle is pointing down. Plato is pointing up.

H01 Midterm Group (Jeanette, Josh, and Austin) Jeanette's Part

My part in the group was spent analyzing the parallels between the movie Inception and the idea that the movie itself is a type of inception. Each member of Cobb’s team in the movie can be compared to a person in the moviemaking process; Cobb is the director. Arthur, who plans things and sets it into motion, is the producer. Saito would be considered the bankroller- he’s putting money in and stands to gain money from the heist. Ariadne designs the dream and could be compared to a screenwriter. Yusuf created the powerful sedative that will allow the team to delve down into so many layers of dreams: he provides special effects. Eames takes forms of other people in the target’s life, so we could consider him the actor. Fischer, the target, is the audience, the one the idea is trying to be incepted into.
Plato would have found this worrisome. Philosophers focus on ideas, where they come from, and the justifications of them. Could Inception, or any film in general, be planting an idea in our minds? After watching the film, are we more likely to pull off a heist? For this to be justified by Plato, there would have to be an instructive moral in the story. But, in the case of Inception, the protagonists are the ones committing the crime! We see them paying no price for their sin at the end, so Plato would find this very bad. Now, Plato may not worry that after watching it we will all go out and pull of an elaborate heist by forging our way into someone’s mind, but he may argue that it could influence us to invade the privacy of others.
We can compare Inception to Plato’s story of the cave by imagining ourselves as the cave dwellers. We are watching a film played to us on the screen and find ourselves getting caught up in and feeling true emotional feelings towards it. Plato believed that our world was already a smoke-screen to the true Forms that we should be paying attention to. Plato would say this is bad because we are drawing our attention away from the Forms and focusing on fairytales. Another problem Plato would see is that once the characters reach the deepness of the third level, they really aren’t there at all. It’s all just a perception in a mind. By delving deeper into these dream worlds, the characters are falling even farther away from the truth.

            Aristotle would counter this by saying: By watching the film, you’re getting to do these actions vicariously. So, by feeling the emotions and excitement of a heist film, you’re becoming less likely to actually go out and do it. Most people today fall somewhere in the middle of the extremes of Plato and Aristotle. We may feel that we are just being harmlessly entertained by a story such as this. But, it is always good to analyze the thoughts and words that enter our minds so we don’t let little ideas sneak into our subconscious.  

Group 2 Section 8 Midterm Report

Group members doing their report on Henry David Thoreau can post it here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Group 1 Section 8- Breanna

Group 1 Section 8 chose to decipher the philiosophy of comic strips.

Breanna Martin

                For mine, I chose Popeye, the brave and strong salior man. In the comic he is fish, along with his love interest Olyve Oyl, He then proceeds to catch a “whale” and insists on taking it back home. It is clear that there is no room for the fish on the boat, but he doesn’t let that stop him. Olyve refuses for her seat to be taken by the fish, so Popeye makes a last resort choice. At the end of the comic , Olyve and the fish are in the boat while Popeye pulls the boat by hand. He shows true determination.

                This comic shows that anything can be accomplished with improvision. Popeye seems to be a man of reason, but all reasonable men may make irrational choices. This just goes to show that anything can be done with reason. Popeyes philosophy is just that. He uses his body , mind , (and spinach ) to make sure anything he needs done, gets done. Of course spinach can’t give everyone motivation , but something can. We should all find our motivation to set priorities and accomplish goals, like popeye and his fish. He never gave up. Even when Olyve Oyl had her doubts (which im sure philosophers get doubted.. a lot) . He uses pure determiation. He adressed the situation, came up with a plan , and executed it. He was a wise sailor if you ask me .

Group 8, Section 1 Midterm Post - Philosophy in Comics: Madi Stephens

For our group’s midterm project I choose this Peanuts comic because I think it relates to most college students.  With such busy schedules I think we get caught up on the little things in life and lose focus on the big picture. Charlie Brown is sitting in a class with a stomach ache and here he realizes that he worries too much but when he does that he begins to get stressed out about his stomach hurting which cause it to hurt more – which causes him to worry more.  This starts an endless cycle of worry and stress.
              I think this is the mindset of most college students especially during stressful times like finals or midterm weeks.  We start to stress about one test and worry ourselves sick about it so we begin to stress even more.  I think this cartoon demonstrates the occasional need for Stoicism.  The Stoics did not fret about minor things, they believed there was more to life than little everyday stressors.  Like the famous Stoics, Epictetus and Seneca, I also believe that life is short and we should not spend our time worrying.  Things that we cannot control come in and out of our lives daily and there is nothing we can do about it.  We need to focus on things that hold weight in our lives like morals and relationships with other people.  If Charlie Brown was to not worry so much his stomach would probably not hurt as bad and he would live a much more fulfilling life. 

H01 Philosorapters Discussion Post

Our group continued the class discussion, at first, asking if anyone had broken any laws or rules in the name of civil disobedience. Although none of us have ever actually been to jail for civil disobedience, we all agreed that we would if the issue was important enough to us. We then moved on to one of Evan's DQ's, which asked whether or not, in a democracy, the laws dictated by the majority were more important than the minority who were more greatly effected by said laws. We all agreed that the U.S.'s form of representative democracy was fundamentally flawed, and that the legislator's making the laws should think more about what demographic the law would effect the most. Daniel stated that, due to the wording of the question, it essentially answered itself by saying that the minority was more greatly effected by the laws. We then moved on to the nature of democracies, saying that all true democracies have failed, with one exception. This exception is Switzerland. We then fangirled over Switzerland for a hot minute.

Phellow Philosoraptors, please comment and augment/correct any information that may be absent or misconstrued.

Group 8, 008-01 The Comic Strip Philosophy Group – Shonda’s Contribution

My group is analyzing the philosophy found in comic strips. The comic that I have chosen is Andy Capp, which focuses on the life of a cartoon character and his interactions with his family and community.
The specific strip that I have chosen depicts a local politician knocking on doors, asking for votes. Andy asks him why he should vote for him and the M.P. replies that he is interested in reforming the justice system. It then shows Andy walking through his living room and telling his wife who was at the door, to which she replies “Oh, have they let him out on bail?”
This specific strip speaks to Machiavellian leadership and self-interest, both of which are common in today’s society.
The M.P. clearly shows little regard for the justice system and only seeks to reform it to his benefit. He wants to appear likeable and concerned with the wants and needs of the citizens, but only in so far as it wins him votes and gets him to where he wants to be. He seeks to lead, but does not hold himself to the same ethical standards of those around him. He sees no harm in seeking votes on the ethical grounds of reforming the justice system, even though he was just let out on bail for an offense of some sort.
The wife’s response shows us the general attitude of society, in accepting that this sort of behavior is common place with our leaders. She is not depicted as being upset by this at all, or shocked, showing us that most are resigned to the fact that this is how things are. Our society does not demand or force change upon its leaders. We seem to have forgotten that our votes change laws, change the way that things are and in fact, that we as the people set the standards for what is allowable and what is not in our countries and in our governments.

The Machiavellian leadership that exists, only exists because we as a society allow it to. Which raises the question, is this acceptable and why have we become so ok with it? Why are we not shocked by this sort of behavior from our local officials and why aren’t we doing something about it?

Group H01 3: DQ's and FQ's (feel free to add)

FQ: Does Machiavelli believe that humans are inherently selfish?
DQ: Would you believe in leaders being unpredictable? For them to be kind or heartless as it benefits them? Would it be worth it to mercilessly murder suspicious persons if it stopped potentially harmful people like Hitler?

Sec.12/1 Author post

group one. we discussed the Machiavellian tendencies of todays leaders. how our government has had many enemies killed and our authority imposed. we asked if this was a good or bad thing in the long run and what would happen if another country tried this on us.

team ball is lyfe section 12

Today we talked about civil disobedience and if we have ever been arrested for them. We decided that most of us Would not risk going to jail for the laws we have right now. We have no reason to fight it and if we do disrespect the laws we would take the penalties for it. We also talked about how the government does not want to legalize weed because they can not tax it and we can make it ourselves.

Section 12 Team Ball Is Lyfe

FQ: (T/F) Machiavelli wrote "The Prince" while living in the city of Florence.

DQ: Do the ends justify the means when you seem honest instead of truly being honest?

"Philthy Philosophers" Group Presentation Contributions - Section 8 Group 3

Philthy Philosophers, we've made this post in order for the five of us to post our 250 word contributions for the Group Presentations, scheduled for February 26.

Quiz Feb.24

1. Machiavelli's key idea was that a politician ("prince") needs to have what quality?  LH 53

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?

Section 8 Group 3 FQ's and DQ's

1. Machiavelli believed that sometimes it was better to murder your enemies and tell lies. T/F LH 51
2. Machiavelli thought that human beings were reliable and trustworthy. T/F LH 54

1.Is perception reality and nothing more?
2. Does civil disobedience justify law breaking?

Robert Bagwell: Team Ball is Lyfe Contribution

For the presentation with my group, Team Ball if Lyfe in Section 12, we decided to do our presentation on the English lawyer, philosopher, and author Thomas More. My individual contribution for the presentation, is to cover the later/political life of Thomas More and some of his legacy through a couple of PowerPoint slides. I will cover his rise to high ranking member in the court of the infamous King Henry VIII, to his eventual canonization by Pope Pius XI through a series of bullet points and dates and by elaborating on them. In more detail I will cover Thomas More's ascent from a successful under-sheriff of London to a member of the House of Commons to him becoming extremely close to King Henry VIII. I will also delve into how his religious views helped persuade his political actions as his time as Lord Chancellor of England under King Henry VIII. Also, I will be briefly covering the reason why Thomas More had a falling out and was executed by King Henry VIII. My contribution fits into my groups presentation by showing a huge reason why he is still relevant to this day, which is due in part to his high political stature and position and his relationship with the legendary King Henry VIII. My contribution also helps, a little, highlight Thomas More's religious devotion and how it would effect his philosophical ideas and thoughts. As a whole though, my contribution is to briefly detail and envelope on the political life, and slightly into the spiritual part, of his life to show why he is a historically significant individual.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Jacob's Contribution: The Comic Strip Philosophy

My group decided that we would analyze the philosophy within comic strips. The comic I chose is called "Zits." It focuses on the aspects of an average teenager's life. In the specific comic that I chose, the teen is choosing to ignore his own mother in favor for his phone. This is most likely true for a lot of teens today. Society has grown fond of using technology, but we have lost the fundamental communication skills of face-to-face interaction. This will inevitably lead to a society where all social interaction is lost. People will only spend time with their electronic devices and ignore other people completely. Can a society actually function this way? Is it possible to go through your life with little to no social interaction? No matter what occupational field one decides to take, social interaction is a necessity. People of today need to care less about their devices and more about their social skills. It would be much easier on the entire population if everybody stopped caring about their phones so much. Without the distraction of cell phones, people are forced to interact in a healthy and normal way instead of over the Internet. The more face-to-face interaction between people, the better people will become at communicating. The better people get at communicating; fewer problems will be solved with violence. Overall, the phones give people a distraction from dealing with their problems. The blame is not entirely on the device; it is also on the person. We should try to be less like the boy in the comic, and be more like an active member of society.

Group 1 Section 12

This post is for our group to post their contributions to our presentation in the comment section below. Our presentation will be over Augustine and his contributions to Philosophy.

Austin's Contribution to "The Philosophy of Inception" Group Project

So, our group is discussing the philosophy of Inception, the film by Christopher Nolan. I will be talking about the different implications that the movie makes in regards to utopias and dystopias. To start off, one could view the world of Inception as a futuristic utopia. This is supported by the prevalence of the dream-sharing technology and by the strong corporate presence throughout the film. This is a world in which large, conglomerate corporations are striving for world domination. These enterprises employ Dom Cobb to perform services that, in his own words, are not “strictly speaking, legal.” Saito even has the power to completely erase Cobb’s criminal record in America, and he is a foreign businessman with no ties to America. The idea that this is a dystopia is further emphasized by Yusuf’s dream basement. This basement is full of people who go there just to sleep, for 40 dream-hours with the help of Yusuf’s sedative. According to his assistant, “the dream has become their reality.” This suggests that the drudgery of modern life has become too dull, that their only means of escape is to flee to their dreams. These dreams are the opposite of waking life; the dream world is representative of utopia. In the dream world, each subject is capable of creating something from nothing; in the words of Ariadne, the dream world is “pure creation.” Limbo, therefore, is the ultimate utopia, since it allows the dreamer unlimited dream space in which to create, and it allows them to create for very long periods of time. However, where it gets interesting is how different people define utopia. When people attempt to define what a utopia is, they usually resort to sweeping generalizations and broad statements. When you get down to details is when people start to disagree, meaning that everyone’s utopia is different. Furthermore, since people can potentially be trapped in Limbo “until our brains turn to scrambled eggs,” Limbo could be seen as an analogy for Heaven. This begs the question, how long would you spend in your utopia/heaven before you grew tired of it? When the Inception learns that they could potentially be trapped in Limbo during the Fischer operation, Ariadne says, “Who would want to be trapped in a dream that long?” And she has a point. After a while, utopias would become simply boring. Compare utopias to a vacation resort. You wake up as late or early as you want, all food is prepared for you, there are no shortages of activities for you to do or not do, your time is yours to spend as you like. Yet, most people do not vacation for more than a week or two. After this time, they yearn to return to real life, even if it means a desk job or school. Ariadne echoes this tendency with her earlier question. She prefers a dull real life to an exciting fake life. This has some rather disturbing implications about Heaven. Would it always be a paradise, or is it possible to become bored of it? Would people opt to leave to return to “real life,” if given the choice? What would you choose?