Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Nathan Osborne (Blog Post 2/3) Section 12, Group 3

Now that we have gotten a brief overview of the elements of the force, we need to go deeper so we can understand how the three philosophies of taoism, zoroastrianism, and buddhism are used in George Lucas’s films Star Wars, and just how they may be relevant to a personal philosophy. Therefore we need to begin with Taoism.
Taoism is an ancient philosophy which dates back to China over 2,000 years ago. Tao roughly translates to the Way, and it is actually hard to understand the exact manner in which it originally was used. The main principles of Taoism show in a manner of living through a sense of connection. A basic glance at Taoism will show you that all things are connected and unified in the universe. The energy flowing through everything, chi or qigong (Anyone remember Qui Gon Jinn?), is what holds us all together. Therefore it is very important in this belief to understand that your actions affect everything around you, and balance is needed in life. For every action there is a complementary opposite balance in respect. This is the ideal of yin yang. Taoism can be seen in Star Wars in many various aspects, but one of which would be the manner of balance that a jedi must have in living. The other way is seen in the Force itself. The force is described as a life energy moving through all. I believe Yoda says it best: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMUKGTkiWik
Practically we may also use this ideal of connectedness in our daily lives. The world would be a much better place if we all attempted to live life with a sense of unity, and were more intentional about all that we fill our lives with. If everyone would think about the consequences of their actions or non-actions then the world that we live in would be an radically different place. If individuals adopt this separately it can still have a great effect in his or her sphere of influence. More information on Taoism can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/taoism/ataglance/glance.shtml.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Coltin Griffith - Section 008 - Post #3 - Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher and avid scholar. He wrote several critical, metaphorical, and ironic texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy and science. Nietzsche's key ideas include perspectivism and the death of God. He embraces the realities of the world in which we live over the idea of a world beyond. He radically questioned the value and objectivity of truth. In 1889, he suffered a collapse and a complete loss of his mental faculties. His breakdown led his to live the rest of his life under the care of his mother and sister, until his death.

Nietzsche was a very intelligent man who was struck by his own psychological health. He looked towards every angle of this situation, unlike Kant’s orderly presentation of ideas. He famously said that “God is dead.”  He believed that if God is truly dead then the ordinary standards of morals were obsolete. Right and wrong make sense in a world with a god, but they don’t in a godless one. He thought we would be beyond morality. The death of God opened new possibilities for humanity. He thought the plus side of this was that individuals could create their own values for themselves. Nietzsche thought that you had to go back and look at the history in which these religious morals brought themselves up. He thought that moralities could easily be changed depending on what that individual wants. He thought that if you hold back traditional moral codes you can surpass the normal human and create a better one. However, the Nazi’s took this in a different light and rolled with a pure race should dominate all others. His work was taken over by his sister once he was emitted into an asylum, His sister pulled and added things to Nietzsche’s work and made it further support the Nazi party.

                I admired a lot of Nietzsche’s points and ideals. His ideas on religion and morals spoke to me. I agree that maybe we should overlook the traditional views on what is right and what is wrong and define our own morals. It’s a tad bit selfish, but I still agree with this ideology. However, I cannot agree with his crazy sexist views on the world and his disproval of subjects. His works supported Nazi establishments. It may have been due to his sisters further editing of his works that made it so well known by the Nazi party, but the fact that it helped Hitler and his awful view on the world makes me hate it even more.


"A yes, a no, a straight line, a goal," Nietzsche's "formula" of happinessNot that it worked out all that well for him... but you'll do better, you're less misanthropic and more committed to human flourishing for all. And you've learned to include, with your yes and your no, a possibly and an I don't know

Also, you do realize that yesterday was not your last day of philosophizing.

Get those last installments posted (you don't have to wait for Tuesday's deadline), and please comment on your classmates' reports.

Again: keep your health. Be happy. (I look forward to seeing some of you in Happiness class in the Fall.) Good luck and farewell, 'til we meet again.


Jeffrey LaPorte- H01- Final Blog Post #2

Unlike the other philosophies of the time legalism has no one founder nor was there ever even a formal school of legalist teaching. Instead legalism is a name used by later scholars to apply to the teachings of several warring states philosophers that were eventually adopted by the Qin dynasty.
While other schools said that the fractured conditions of the warring states came about because former rulers disregarded the gods, the poor, or tradition legalists saw the chaos as merely a result of the weakness of those in power. Just as the English civil war inspired Hobbes idea of the ‘leviathan’ state the legalists supported the idea of a centralized code of law and a powerful autocrat. Shang Yang, an advisor to the kings of Qin, quite literally wrote the book on legalism when he codified it for use by the Qin kings. He said if the laws were clear and strong then even a weaker ruler could be affective. He also had little use for morality or mercy seeing them as impediments to the rule of law. Legalism did have its merits however. Under Qin legalism anyone could rise to a high position through merit as exemplified by Lu Buwei a merchant who rose to become the chancellor Qin. Also legalisms emphasis on standardization and simplification led to the creation of a system of measurements still used today and a large efficient bureaucracy, which would influence all later Chinese governments. However the benefits of legalistic government could not out way the growing tyranny and madness of the Qin emperor and shortly after his death the dynasty was overthrown.
Emperor Qin Shi Huang, 1st (and last) emperor of the Qin dynasty who instituted legalism throughout his united China.

Legalism was shunned by later dynasties for it association with the rule of Qin and it was vilified by Confucian scholars who had face severe persecution under that dynasty.

Dylan Smith Final Post #2, Voltaire's ideas and Philosophy

In this second installment on Voltaire, I will discuss his core beliefs, as well as his most famous work (which is coincidentally one of my favorite philosophical pieces, but more on that in post #3).

Voltaire’s philosophy mainly deals with personal freedom, the role of government, and the role of religion in people’s lives. He was widely known for his criticisms of the government and church, which also led to his trouble with both and multiple imprisonments. He spoke out with great passion and unbridled speech against the controlling tendencies and unfair acts of the government. In much of the same way, he was outspoken against the use of religion to control people as well. It is not to be assumed that Voltaire was against religion. To the contrary, Voltaire was by many accounts a devout Christian. However, he was against hierarchy of the church and the rule that it imposed over people, as well as its involvement in government. Another interesting note was that Voltaire was an early advocate for civil rights, maintaining that all people deserved to be treated fairly and equally. He believed that personal liberty was a key ingredient to a happy life and a functional society.

Voltaire perceived the French bourgeoisie to be too small and ineffective, the aristocracy to be parasitic and corrupt, the commoners as ignorant and superstitious, and the church as a static force only useful as a counterbalance since its "religious tax", or the tithe, helped to cement a powerbase against the monarchy. He distrusted democracy, which he saw as propagating the idiocy of the masses. To Voltaire only an enlightened monarch, advised by philosophers like himself, could bring about change as it was in the king's rational interest to improve the power and wealth of France in the world. Voltaire is quoted as saying that he "would rather obey one lion, than 200 rats of (his own) species". Voltaire essentially believed monarchy to be the key to progress and change.

He is best known in this day and age for his novel, Candide ou l'Optimisme, first published in 1759, which satirizes the philosophy of Gottfried Leibniz. Voltaire criticizes Leibniz’s optimistic views through the characters maintaining that this is “the best of all possible worlds” even through many consecutive horrible events that seemed to have no practical reason for happening. At the same time, Voltaire seems to emphasize the importance of remaining practical and rooted in the real world. By the end of the book, the main character, Candide, has renounced idly philosophizing and committed to working with his hands. This does not seem to be a denunciation of philosophy in general, but a warning against unrestrained optimism and failing to care for your worldly well-being and responsibilities. Voltaire is also known for many memorable aphorisms, like Si Dieu n'existait pas, il faudrait l'inventer ("If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him").  

Today, Voltaire is remembered and honored in France as a courageous polemicist, who indefatigably fought for civil rights, the right to a fair trial and freedom of religion, and who denounced the hypocrisies and injustices of the ancient régime. But some of his critics, like Thomas Carlyle, argue that while he was unsurpassed in literary form, not even the most elaborate of his works was of much value for matter, and that he has never uttered any significant idea of his own.


Dylan Smith, Sec H01 Installment #1 Voltaire

After a battle with technological woes and pure exhaustion, I finally have the ability to post my report! My posts are going to be over a philosopher that I enjoy reading, and truly take to heart: Voltaire. This first post will contain mainly biographical information and background.

François-Marie Arouet, better known by his pen name, Voltaire, was born in Paris on November 21, 1694. He was the youngest of the five children, only three of whom survived, of François Arouet, a lawyer who was a minor treasury official, and his wife, Marie Marguerite d'Aumart, from a noble family of the province of Poitou. Some sources claim that his date of birth was February 20, 1694, but the November 21 date is the one that is generally accepted by most historians. Voltaire was educated by the Jesuits at the Collège Louis-le-Grand, attending from 1704 to 1711, where he learned Latin and Greek. Later in life he became fluent in Italian, Spanish and English.
By the time he left school, Voltaire had decided he wanted to be a writer, against the wishes of his father, who wanted him to become a lawyer. He pretended to work in Paris as an assistant to a notary, but spent much of his time writing poetry. When his father found out, he sent Voltaire to study law, this time in Caen, Normandy. Nevertheless, he continued to write essays and historical studies. Voltaire's wit in his writing made him popular among some of the aristocratic families with whom he mingled. His father then managed to secure a job for him as a secretary to a French ambassador in the Netherlands. There, Voltaire fell in love with a French Protestant refugee named Catherine Olympe Dunoyer. They decided to elope together, but were soon discovered by Voltaire's father, who forced him to return to France.
Most of Voltaire's early life revolved around Paris. From the beginning, Voltaire ran into continuous trouble with the authorities of the government and church for critiques of the government and religious intolerance. These actions resulted in numerous imprisonments and exiles. He wrote one satirical verse about the Régent, in which Voltaire accused the Régent of incest with his own daughter, leading to his imprisonment in the Bastille for eleven months. While there, he wrote his debut play, Œdipe. It was met with great success, and secured his place as a “big name” in literature.
In 1726, Voltaire responded to an insult from the young French nobleman Chevalier de Rohan, whose servants beat him a few days later. Voltaire seeked compensation for this beating, and was made it known that he was willing to fight in a duel with the nobleman. In response, the aristocratic Rohan family obtained a royal lettre de cachet. This was a decree signed by the French King, which, in the time of Voltaire, was Louis XV, that was routinely used to dispose of troublemakers of many kinds, including drunkards, violent people, and marriages between social classes. This warrant caused Voltaire to be imprisoned in the Bastille without a trial and without an opportunity to defend himself. Voltaire was able to suggest that he be exiled to England as an alternative punishment, which he did because he feared receiving an indefinite prison sentence. The French authorities accepted this suggestion, granting him the ability to travel to England. This incident marked the beginning of Voltaire's attempts to reform the French judicial system, which he wrote extensively on in following years.
There is some speculation to were the name "Voltaire", which the author adopted in 1718, came from. One theory is that it is an anagram of "AROVET LI," the Latinized spelling of his surname, Arouet, and the initial letters of "le jeune" ("the young"). The name also echoes in reverse order the syllables of the name of a family château in the Poitou region: "Airvault". The adoption of the name "Voltaire" following his incarceration at the Bastille is seen by many to mark Voltaire's formal separation from his family and his past. It has also been suggested that a writer such as Voltaire would have intended it to also convey its connotations of speed and daring. These come from associations with words such as "voltige" (acrobatics on a trapeze or horse), "volte-face" (a spinning about to face one's enemies), and "volatile" (originally, any winged creature). "Arouet" was not a noble name fit for his growing reputation, especially given that name's resonance with "à rouer" ("to be broken on the wheel" – a form of torture then still prevalent).
In February 1778, Voltaire returned for the first time in 20 years to Paris, among other reasons to see the opening of his latest tragedy, Irene. The five-day journey was too much for the 83-year-old, and he believed he was about to die on 28 February, writing "I die adoring God, loving my friends, not hating my enemies, and detesting superstition." However, he recovered, and in March saw a performance of Irene, where he was treated by the audience as a returning hero. He soon became ill again and died on 30 May 1778. The accounts of his deathbed have been numerous and varying, and it has not been possible to establish the details of what precisely occurred. His enemies related that he repented and accepted the last rites given by a Catholic priest, or that he died under great torment, while his adherents told how he was defiant to his last breath. According to one story, his last words were, "Now is not the time for making new enemies." It was his response to a priest at the side of his deathbed, asking Voltaire to renounce Satan.

Anne Gillcrist Nature installment (2-3)

Anne Gillcrist
Philosophy Section 12, Group 3
Installment (2-3)

                  In my first installment I described nature. I retrieved the dictionary definition and explained my personal ideals and opinions on nature. I described my disagreement with Hobbes idea that living in a state of nature would be dirty and brutish. Unsure of what I was going to write about next I did some research and decided Stoicism has a positive idea about nature and how to live in harmony with nature.
Stoics believe that philosophy is not what a person has said but how they behave and live. Stoics presented their philosophies as a way of life. They believe in human freedom and living in harmony with nature. Living in harmony with nature is what initially interested me in stoicism. But what does this mean? I believe that “living in harmony with nature,” is understanding that everything we do has a direct impact on our environment. In American society we are more worried about new technology and a plethora of artificial things then we are worried about the beauty of nature that surrounds us. We live in a world of wasters!
We build and abandon when things look old and worn out, instead of renovating to save more trees and natural beauty. Humanity fails to emphasize the importance of living in harmony with nature. Animals live in harmony with nature, while humans destroy it. Think about it this way, we hunt to make sure animals do not overpopulate while humans overpopulate and litter the earth.

If we were to live in nature, humans would use their strength and body to its full capacity. Many of us decide that living in nature would be absurd, simply because we have never had to do it. Indian tribes seemed to live in the greatest of harmony, using the earth’s natural goods to their full potential. It is understandable that humans would not want to live as “savages” in this day, but to be resourceful and waste less, the earth would be a better home.

This picture really spoke to me. It shows just how much of an impact humans have on the earth and what lives on it. We have the ability to help or harm what life we coexist with. We must use our abilities in the most positive of ways.