Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, March 28, 2016

Quiz March 29

Kant & Bentham
 1. Kant said we can't know the _______ world of things-in-themselves, but we can know the _______ world of appearances as presented by our mental "spectacles."

2. If (and only if) you help an injured stranger because _________ (it's your duty, you feel sorry for him), Kant says, you've acted morally.







3. Jeremy Bentham's utilitarianism affirms the Greatest ______ Principle, defining _____ as pleasure and the absence of pain.



4. According to Nigel, the best way for a Benthamite to maximize pleasure and minimize pain would be to plug into what? OR, who was Bentham's famous pupil and critic, who said maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain is not all there is to the good life?

5. What's the difference between analytic and synthetic knowledge, and what does a priori mean?

6. According to Moore, where does Kant rank among philosophers?


BONUS: Who said “
Immanuel Kant was a real pissant who was very rarely stable"?

BONUS+: Who did Kant say "awakened [him] from his dogmatic slumbers”?

BONUS++: Who had a walking stick he called "Dapple" and a teapot called "Dick"?


BONUS: What Irish-born critic of the French Revolution said it was a sham, proclaiming equality as a pretext for redistributing property?

DQ:

  • Do you think it would be possible to communicate with an intelligent alien, whose mental "spectacles" might not perceive space, time, cause-and-effect, etc., as we do? How? Or do you think such categories must be universal among all forms of intelligence? Why?
  • Have you ever gone out of your way to help a stranger? Did you do so because you thought it was the right thing to do, because you felt sympathetic for the stranger's plight, or for some other reason? Do you agree with Kant that dutifulness alone is morally relevant to such acts?
  • Is it better to "do unto others as you would have them do unto you," or as they would have you do...?
  • What does it mean to you to "use your reason" and think for yourself? Does that require a particular form of courage? (Kant: "Sapere Aude," have the courage to use your reason...)
  • Do you agree that maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain are the main (if not exclusive) criteria of ethical action? Why or why not?
  • There's a (false) old saying that he or she who finishes the game with the most toys wins. What about finishing with the most blissful experiences? Would that make you a winner? Would a lifetime of blissful experiences, "real" or not, be tempting to you?
  • What's so funny about liberty, equality, and fraternity? (An Elvis Costello question) 
  • OR, Is redistributivist activism a pretext, or a legitimate political program?
  • Who, in your opinion at this stage of your philosophical education, is #1 (in terms of insight, influence, wit and charm or whatever)?



“Dare to think!”

“He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”

“Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.”

“Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the more often and the more intensely the mind of thought is drawn to them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.”

“Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.”

“For peace to reign on Earth, humans must evolve into new beings who have learned to see the whole first.”


"The day may come when the rest of animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may one day come to be recognized that the number of legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month old. But suppose they were otherwise, what would it avail?" 

“Every day will allow you, --will invite you to add something to the pleasure of others, --or to diminish something of their pains.”

“No power of government ought to be employed in the endeavor to establish any system or article of belief on the subject of religion.”

“What is the source of this premature anxiety to establish fundamental laws? It is the old conceit of being wiser than all posterity—wiser than those who will have had more experience,—the old desire of ruling over posterity—the old recipe for enabling the dead to chain down the living.”

“The quantity of pleasure being equal, push-pin is as good as poetry.”

==
An old post-
Today in CoPhi we'll talk Immanuel Kant, who said the starry heavens struck him with awe (and Adrian Moore on Kant's metaphysics), Jeremy Bentham, and Richard Bourke on ancestral conservative Edmund Burke. [Kant & Bentham quote gallery]

Immanuel Kant was a real pissant who was very rarely stable.”*

No, he wasn’t. Not at all. But that’s still the first thought that ever pops into my head when I hear his name, thanks to the Bruces, and my old Kant professor from grad school whose Brooklynese made his “how I met my wife” story downright vulgar.

Kant was actually the most soberly stable and fastidious of men. They “set their watches by him as he went on his daily walk” in 18th-century Konigsberg, Prussia. That’s probably the thing about him I like most. He well knew the truth of William James’s later observation that steady habits are our greatest productive ally. Kant was as productive, eventually, as he was un-flashy.“Awakened from his dogmatic slumbers” and his romantic dalliance withRousseau and Leibniz by David Hume’s dash of cold water skepticism, he assigned appearance and reality to the phenomenal and noumenal worlds, respectively. He didn’t mean that phenomena are unreal or unknowable, just that we know them through the categorical spectacles of our projective understanding. We don’t know them “in themselves,” the “ding-an-sich” is a non-starter.Russell: "The 'thing-in-itself' was an awkward element in Kant's philosophy, and was abandoned by his immediate successors, who accordingly fell into something very like solipsism." Or what may be worse, into the conceit of thinking they had themselves discovered the things-in-themselves: for Hegel, History, for Schopenhauer, Will, etc.

"It's as if we have innate spectacles through which we look at reality," and knowledge is what we get from "reflecting on the nature of our own spectacles." The spectacles give us categorical knowledge of space and time, causality, and all the other things Hume called mere habituation and custom, or constant conjunctions. "Science is concerned with how things appear to us through the spectacles," continues Adrian Moore, and the result (nicely summarized by Nigel) is supposed to be the protection of the possibility of God, free will, the moral law, etc., "even though we can't be absolutely sure about these things."

But Kant knew what he knew. The stars are awesome, and so is a dutiful conscience (“the moral law within”). Fealty to the latter led him to his “Categorical Imperative” and its “silly” obsession with inflexibly rational consistency.Kant. Obsessive, punctual of habit, semi-gregarious, a mouth-breather, fond of Cicero, and also a philosophical walker (but with a weird aversion to sweat). Famous last word: “Sufficit.” Enough. (I like his countryman Goethe’s better: “Mehr licht.” More light. (Or was it “Mehr nicht,” No more?) Famous living words: “Sapere aude.” Have the courage to reason and think.Kant & Hegel from Osopher [Kant/Hegel slides]

What I love most about my teaching job is that it keeps teaching me new things about our subjects. Utilitarian pioneer Jeremy Bentham is a good example.

It should come as no surprise that the philosopher who had his body preserved and housed for public display (though he keeps losing his head) in University College London had other charms and quirks, but I learned of them only recently. The first volume of Parekh’s Critical Assessments reports that (like Kant and Rousseau) Bentham also was a walker and an eccentric, an understatedly “amusing” man.


Bentham was an extremely amusing man, and in many respects rather boyish. Most of his life he retained an instinctive horror of being left alone… He had a large black tom cat of an ‘uncommonly serious temperament’ which he nicknamed the ‘Doctor’ and ‘The Reverend Doctor Langborn’… He had amusing names for his daily activities and favourite objects. His favourite walking stick was called Dapple, after Sancho Panza’s mule, and his ‘sacred tea-pot’ was called Dick. His daily routine included ‘antejentacular circumgyration’ or a walk before breakfast, an ‘anteprandial circumgyration’ before dinner, and an ‘ignominious expulsion’ at midnight accompanied by the ‘putter-to-bed’, the ‘asportation of the candle’ and the ‘transportation of the window.’So yes, he was weird. But also “basically a warm, generous, and kind” man. He wanted to reform the misery-inducing industrial culture of his time and place, and to improve the basic quality of life of his fellow human beings. So, this cartoon featuring Bentham's zombie auto-icon confronting Phillipa Foot is unfair. But not unfunny.

Create all the happiness you are able to create: remove all the misery you are able to remove. Every day will allow you, will invite you, to add something to the pleasure of others, or to diminish something of their pains. And for every grain of enjoyment you sow in the bosom of another, you shall find a harvest in your own…

Sorry, Mr. Mill, that’s just not what I’d call a “pig philosophy.” It’s humane and compassionate, and it deserves a hearing too.Russell says Bentham was nicer than his philosophy per se encourages people to be, "seduced by his own kindly and affectionate nature" into expecting everyone to pursue not only their own pleasure but to seek to maximize others' as well. I think that's an unduly (but not uncommonly) literalist reading of "greatest happiness for the greatest number." The greatest number would be wholly inclusive. The trouble comes when he dismisses individuals' rights, our ultimate safeguard against unjust discriminatory exclusion, as "nonsense on stilts." A utilitarian need not endorse that dismissal.

A note from a friend currently in painful convalescence from surgery says Bentham was right, the Stoics were wrong: ignoring pain does not work, we've got to work actively to replace it with pleasure.

And following up on Rousseau and Kant and the mystery of what it was about the former’s Emile that kept the latter off the streets– “Everybody who does Education has to read Emile cover-to-cover,” says this jet-lagged Yale lecturer– Rousseau’s Dog is instructive:

According to one anecdote, the fastidious Immanuel Kant, whose daily routine was so rigid and undeviating that people set their watches by him, became so absorbed in Émile that he bewildered his neighbors by forgetting to take his usual post-lunch constitutional… Rousseau understood, he thought, the paradox of autonomy—that freedom meant conformity to a rule. As he was writing his own masterpiece, the Critique of Pure Reason, he had a single portrait in his house—of Jean- Jacques Rousseau. Rousseau’s Dog

So while it was Hume whom he credited with waking him from his “dogmatic slumber,” it was the somber Swiss who really inspired his work and set his Copernican Revolution spinning.

But, Kant "realized that Rousseau's picture of the noble savage was an ideal construct:'This wish for a return to an age of simplicity and innocence is futile.'" (Cave&Light)

In other words: we must live in our own age, not retreat to a romantic and probably false dream of an idyllic Eden. We must continually work to make our complex and "civilized" arrangements and institutions genuinely civilizing. The melioristic impulse is also in our nature.

But I still wonder what the dog thought. [Chains, laws, stars, push-pin & poetry]

I'm not a big fan of Burke, with his defense of aristocracy and the 1% solution. But I do love the quote from him that most everybody knows: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” If he said it. I know he didn't say one of the other things commonly and falsely attributed to him on the Internet: “Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.”

That last is actually a misquotation of Santayana. Or maybe Abe Lincoln. But don't believe everything you read on the Internet.

For discussion. The Kantian mental spectacles that allegedly give us our phenomenal world might very well also prevent us from seeing someone else's. Imagine an alien intelligence, whose world must look very different. Could it be that, on Kantian grounds, the search for ET is doomed? Or are the languages of math and physics literally universal?

Kant's commitment to dutifulness as the sole determinant of correct moral action is distressing to most of us, who want to feel virtuous in our sympathies and not deflected from the paths of righteousness. Why can't solicitude for strangers be dutiful and compassionate, and moral in equal measures?

Is there any reason why the impulse to maximize pleasure and minimize pain must be strictly egotistical? Why do critics of utilitarian ethics make this assumption?

There's a (false) old saying that he or she who finishes the game with the most toys wins. What about finishing with the most blissful experiences? Would that make you a winner? Would a lifetime of blissful experiences, "real" or not, be enviable or pitiable? (What would Neo or Professor Nozick say?)

An Elvis Costello question: What's so funny about liberty, equality, and fraternity? OR, Is redistributivist activism a pretext, or a legitimate political program?

Finally, and in anticipation of next week's exam extra credit discussion prompt: Who, in your opinion at this stage of your philosophical education, is #1 (in terms of insight, influence, wit and charm or whatever)? Moore says Kant. I can't agree. I do love Russell's impish question concerning the Sage's bachelorhood:

The Encyclopaedia Britannica remarks that 'as he never married, he kept the habits of his studious youth to old age'. I wonder whether the author of this article was a bachelor or a married man.You probably have to be married (though not necessarily male) to get what's impish about that.

52 comments:

  1. karol saleh section 8
    according to Nigel he asked, what is happiness? and then he answer it's all about how you feel. and i totally agree with him.

    ReplyDelete
  2. karol saleh section 8
    EXTRA CREDIT EXAM 2
    At what age do you hope to retire? What will you do with yourself then? Will you plan to spend more time thinking?
    Today when I am thinking about retire from my work that I always dreaming about, will be hard to decide if I will like it to continue to work on it or do I will retire at the age between 60 to 70. But I can say maybe I will keep working until if I have any health problems, but if I am in a good healthy shape, why do I need to retire. If one day, I get retire from work, I would to spend my time in my country Egypt, that I always wished that I never came to U.S.A. but it’s too late to go back to their because of my education. I am planning to open a factory of medicine in my country and sell medicine for free for the poor people in my country. I can say that I will retire from working in here but not retire form my country. Once I have my education and children start to grow up and have their own life by marrying, I will retire from U.S.A. and I will go to my country, who needs more help from me. When I get retire and I choose to live in U.S.A, I will have to set up with planning and need to account for basic living expenses, from food to utilities to transportation. From now and going on, I have to work hard to have a better life and enough money to spend it when I will retire from work. And finally, all I can say that we don’t live to work but, we work to live.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sierra Cox #11 extra credit for exam
    I believe that the term miracle is misused by almost everyone today, and due to this misuse the meaning of what a miracle truly is will be lost over time. in order to preserve the beauty of true miracle term we as a society need to create new words to describe the everyday "miracles." So instead of saying "it was a miracle I passed my math test" or "it was a miracle that the U.S. beat the U.S.S.R in 1986" we should instead transfer the "miracle" to a better suited sentence such as, "the act of birthing another being is a miracle" or "it was a miracle to be able to walk again after my accident." by changing the way we say and view this term I believe that it will eventually regain its full strength and meaning.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Megan Cortes (Section 12)
    DQ: Why do you think people who survive earthquakes, floods, tornadoes etc. so frequently praise god for sparing them, even or especially when their neighbors are not so fortunate? What does this say about human nature and religion focused on personal salvation?

    I can understand why people that have gone through a natural disaster and survived might feel like they have been saved through a god. I think the reason why most people believe in this is ,because their is no answer to why they survived, so its easier to believe that some higher power might have something to do with them surviving. Just like it might be easier for people to believe that god created us rather than some cosmic like the Big Bang. At the end of the day no one has the answers to these questions. No one will ever know who's right or wrong.

    Just like their answer on god saved them from a hurricane might be wrong. My answer could be wrong as well. I do not know how it feels like to be in natural disaster, and survive because this has never happened to me. But if it did there is a possibility for my answer to change. Everyones view of salvation is very different with god or without god.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sierra Cox #11 if we can not see the noumenal world but it lies behind all our experiences would that make this noumenal a higher being such as a god or goddess? I believe it would.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mariem Farag #12
    EXAM 2 EXTRA CREDIT
    There's a (false) old saying that he or she who finishes the game with the most toys wins. What about finishing with the most blissful experiences? Would that make you a winner? Would a lifetime of blissful experiences, "real" or not, be tempting to you?
    It is not about winning everything, but rather about enjoying the simplest things that life has to offer. If one has a mindset focused on just winning materialistic matters, life would be so empty and meaningless. I think the best way to live life is to just let go of that urge to win all the time. Letting go of that feeling is the most freeing feeling. Learning to enjoy present experiences is a true deal breaker, and the most rewarding of all rewards. A lifetime full of blissful experiences would be tempting to me. Winning is about embracing hard work with joy, even if you don’t win any physical thing.
    Have you ever gone out of your way to help a stranger? Did you do so because you thought it was the right thing to do, because you felt sympathetic for the stranger's plight, or for some other reason? Do you agree with Kant that dutifulness alone is morally relevant to such acts?
    Reaching out to a stranger can be the most rewarding experience one can have. You can never really know what to expect. It becomes fairly easy when one begins to understand that the world does not revolve around him/her. Thinking selflessly makes it easy to approach a stranger in need of help, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because it gives you the best feeling knowing that you had a hand in changing someone’s life. I don’t agree with Kant that dutifulness alone is morally relevant to such acts.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Monee' Preston (#12)
    Extra Credit Essay

    DQ: At what age do you hope to retire? What will you do with yourself then? Will you plan to spend more time thinking?

    Answer: I hope to retire at the age of 65 only because I believe I would be old enough to say that I have worked long enough and have accomplished enough community service for them to repay me back. With my retired time I will travel at an older age the places I didn't get to travel too and I will also plan out my funeral, will and things in that nature to be on the safe side, Although, I say this now I hopefully in the long run will stick by it and follow it. Praying that I make it to see 65 I plan to accomplish many life long goals. But if I don't then I would like to think I lived a magnificent life and all was well in it.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Lucas Rogers (12)10:33 AM CDT

    Lucas Rogers-12
    Extra Credit Essay

    DQ:Have you ever gone out of your way to help a stranger? Did you do so because you thought it was the right thing to do, because you felt sympathetic for the stranger's plight, or for some other reason? Do you agree with Kant that dutifulness alone is morally relevant to such acts?

    I have definitely gone out of way to help people. I have done it for both reasons though. Sometimes I do things because I feel like it is the right thing to do, but sometimes I do it just because I felt bad for them. I believe the 2 kinds of reasons go with each other though. While helping someone because it is the right thing to do, people may feel like it is right thing to do just because they are sympathetic. For example, if someone misses math class for some reason and they ask me to send them the notes, I will do it because I feel bad that they don’t have them. At the same time though, I feel like it is the right thing to do, because they most likely would send them to me if I missed class. I do agree though, that sometimes actions should be done on pure. I do believe that people should help people because it is the right thing to do, and not because of your emotions. I personally don’t like thinking with emotions involved, because it causes you to not think properly. I still think with my emotions a lot though, just because it is hard to stop.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Justin Fox11:04 AM CDT

    (#12)In Kant's example of morality(the possible killer and your best friend), do you agree with him and believe that lying is the immoral action or that the immoral thing to do would be to not help your friend?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Katelin Simmons (12)12:21 PM CDT

    Extra Credit Exam #2
    What's your reaction to the claim that nature is full of design without a designer (as reflected in the eye), complexity without a goal, adaptation and survival without any ulterior purpose? Is this marvelous or weird or grand (as in "grandeur") or what?


    All across the world, people are being informed about the theory of Intelligent Design. In contrast to biological evolution, this is a way to attempt to explain the origin of earth. In America, it is an ever-increasing debate between supporters of Intelligent Design, and proponents of biological evolution. Supporters of the theory of Intelligent Design (the theory that someone or something, such as a higher power or “supreme being”, must have created the universe and everything in it) believe that evolution cannot explain the intricacy of living things, and consequently it is a belief only, regardless of how much scientific evidence is present. Evolution is based on two primary notions: the notion that all life forms present today are descended from primitive ancestors, and secondly, the notion that the process of evolution was guided by natural selection. In order to lend any credibility to their theory of intelligent design, its supporters must establish that natural selection rules out any possibility of a designer, and as of the current time, they have not done this. Supporters of the Intelligent Design theory focus on the point that, they say, all living things are designed perfectly and specifically for their “intended” purpose(s), and there is no useful things that are or were created by mutation(s). The evidence that the Intelligent Design supporters bring up do not support this idea that mutations never create any useful modifications. For example, In a variety of studies, individuals have observed that different bacteria that have components with no apparent useful function can use that “non-useful” function to the bacteria’s advantage under diverse environmental conditions.


    Interesting link on Intelligent Design and its inclusion into school curricula. (2002)
    http://www.aaas.org/news/aaas-board-resolution-intelligent-design-theory

    ReplyDelete
  11. Exam 2 extra credit: Does watching other people destroy their lives make you feel better about yours?

    Yes it does. It's human nature, we all mess up at some point. We forget to write someone back, we lie to get what we want, we steal the ideas of others and claim them for our own. We want glory and praise, and we will do what it takes to be perceived well. I think whether you do something that doesn't line up with your own moral compass or do something society has deemed immoral, it still leaves you with a stain of guilt on your conscience. Watching "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" makes me feel like I have my life together. I may not always act in a way that lines up with my Rogerian "ideal self," I know at the end of the episode I will never be as crude, depraved, or self-centered as the gang. It may sound unappealing to watch people destroy their lives in the search for happiness, success, and fame, but it is quite relaxing for me.

    ReplyDelete
  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Reporter: Last class our group discussed how ridiculous the concept of freedom is. No one will ever be one hundred percent free, because it would be at the cost of everyone else's freedom. There's a give and take. If a person wants more personal freedom, they also want less freedom for others. For this reason, we have government programs that help everyone a little rather than programs that give one person (like the president) a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Zachary Cavaness2:00 PM CDT

    Zachary Cavaness (Section 12)
    Extra Credit Exam 2: The Legend of Zelda and Philosophy

    One of the discussion questions I had in my presentation was "Can philosophy truly be applied to video games?" I think the answer is yes and here's why! When a game is being created an entirely new universe is being created. As the player you get to not only experience this new universe, but you also get to interact with it (normally through a character that the player takes control of). In games like Skyrim, Far Cry 4, and of course The Legend of Zelda we are introduced to a character that we know nothing about. Then, in typical adventure game fashion we are tasked with an epic task (normally to save the world). Along the way you can interact with this world and place a little bit of personality into your character. Especially in games like Skyrim were you can even choose what you say to people. As we complete our journey we learn not only more about our character, but we also learn a little bit about ourselves. I believe that video games are such a big cultural phenomenon that to truly understand today's culture a study on video games is a must!

    ReplyDelete
  15. EXTRA CREDIT EXTRA CREDIT.

    Jeri Radford #12.


    I have helped out a homeless person before, more than once. I believe I do this because I hurt for that person. I feel like someone needs to help them in some way and give them a boost. I don't think I help the homeless because I feel like it is right, I feel like I do it just as a helping hand.

    I also don't agree with maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain is the criteria for ethical action. For instance, when you lie, many times it's for your own good and own pleasure, and while it does minimize pain, later this lie can cause more pain than it could have before. Also, lying is not ethical, so I don't believe this idea is true.

    ReplyDelete
  16. EXTRA CREDIT: Nicholas bilavarn(#11)

    DQ: At what age do you hope to retire? What will you do with yourself then? Will you plan to spend more time thinking?

    Sometimes I wonder if retirement is even an option. I feel as if i work during the years in which I supposed to retire, it would give me something to occupy my while the grains in an hourglass is running out. If I choose to retire I would at around 65ish. During that time I would honestly settle down maybe do a little traveling. I feel as if I will do a little more thinking here and there just because its at an age group to where you are keeping to yourself more often and laying low.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  18. (#8) EXTRA CREDIT EXAM 2:

    DQ: Have you ever gone out of your way to help a stranger? Did you do so because you thought it was the right thing to do, because you felt sympathetic for the stranger's plight, or for some other reason? Do you agree with Kant that dutifulness alone is morally relevant to such acts?

    Over the span of everyone's lifetime, I believe that we are all presented with situations that require us to make a decision on whether or not we should go out of our way and help this other person whether he/she is a stranger or a friend. Through my personal experience(s), I have had several opportunities that I actually did engage in assisting a completely random stranger; needless to say, there were even more instances when I felt it to be none of my business to interfere with the matters of others. The reason behind actually feeling the urge to assist and follow through with a stranger, in my opinion, would be through this idea of "civic duty" (as Kant theorized). Now, there are definitely circumstances in which an individual may feel deep, sympathetic concern to help a stranger; but, when it comes down to the matter of fact, this "feeling" can be boiled down to the feeling of responsibility of needing to help this person out.

    I mentioned earlier that I believe that the ultimate driving force behind wanting to aid in the stranger's plight is by this urge to fulfill a duty. As Kant expresses, I do agree that our moral acts are linked to dutifulness and not necessarily the emotion behind it (not to say that the two are not interlinked with each other). All in all, I do agree with Kant and his theory that dutifulness is the major force behind our moral actions; but, it is not the only factor that determines our motivation for these acts.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Imran Khan Section 89:29 PM CDT

    (#8) Extra Credit Exam 2
    Imran Khan

    DQ: At what age do you hope to retire? What will you do with yourself then? Will you plan to spend more time thinking?

    I do not have a specific age that I would like to retire at. I feel like I will get to a certain point in my life when I know it is the right time to retire I can not just set a certain date or age at which I will do so. I think after I retire I would like to just travel the world and see and experience people and cultures from all over the world while I am still alive. This will be a great opportunity to think more and ponder on life's mysteries. So I believe I would think more, but also enjoy the first time in my life where I can just relax and not have to worry about going to work or school. Retirement in my opinion should be a time where you can look back on your life and see how far you have come.

    ReplyDelete
  20. (8) Janet Peoples
    DQ: At what age do you hope to retire? What will you do with yourself then? Will you plan to spend more time thinking?

    I hope to retire in my early 60's or late 60's, I want to be in a career i love but i don't want to spend my whole life working. I want to be able to enjoy my life and be able to go out and see the world with my family I hope to have someday. When i retire i want to spend a lot of time with my family, going on many trips and just enjoying life. When i retire i will be able to just relax and not have to worry about work and struggling with everyday life, i will be able to wake up and sit on the porch drinking my coffee. I want to be able to look back at what i have done and be proud and happy with everything i have done. I want to be able to tell many stories of all the crazy criminals ive caught over the years to my grand-kids. Being happy with myself and my life in general will be the greatest feeling in the world to have when i retire.

    ReplyDelete
  21. (8) Janet Peoples
    DQ: At what age do you hope to retire? What will you do with yourself then? Will you plan to spend more time thinking?

    I hope to retire in my early 60's or late 60's, I want to be in a career i love but i don't want to spend my whole life working. I want to be able to enjoy my life and be able to go out and see the world with my family I hope to have someday. When i retire i want to spend a lot of time with my family, going on many trips and just enjoying life. When i retire i will be able to just relax and not have to worry about work and struggling with everyday life, i will be able to wake up and sit on the porch drinking my coffee. I want to be able to look back at what i have done and be proud and happy with everything i have done. I want to be able to tell many stories of all the crazy criminals ive caught over the years to my grand-kids. Being happy with myself and my life in general will be the greatest feeling in the world to have when i retire.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Anonymous11:09 PM CDT

    (8) Morgan Massey

    EXTRA CREDIT:

    6. Who, in your opinion at this stage of your philosophical education, is #1 (in terms of insight, influence, wit and charm or whatever)?

    I really love Voltaire and his very bold way of approaching sensitive topics. He is almost fearless as he discusses things like life, death, religions, what is good, what is evil, and love. He didn’t simply believe in what everyone else believed in (which was mainly Christianity), but instead questioned these things. His questioning got him in to quite a bit of trouble, as well as made it difficult to share his work, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to stand with what he believed. I read Voltaire’s Candide for a literature class last year, and never really spent much time thinking of Voltaire as a philosopher until now. Although Candide was a difficult read, and I don’t believe I would ever read it again for pleasure, I did really enjoy and relate to the main point of the story. It is very relevant even today with how people can get so caught up in claiming that everything happens for a reason. People will believe everything is good because their religious belief told them it was good, which in turn can hinder them from challenging if it really is “good” or not. Are earthquakes, deaths, cancer, etc good and supposed to happen? Or do they just happen? I really agree with how Voltaire makes it seem as though a more logical answer to these questions id that things just happen, and it isn’t necessarily “good” and it isn’t a predestined happening. I love how Voltaire ends Candid with discussing how we should “cultivate our own garden” and do good things for humanity and not just talk about them. I think it’s important for all humans, no matter their religion, gender, or age to do something to help their fellow humans.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Steven Sheffey
    Section 8
    Extra Credit

    I, along with much of the scientific community, believe in a sort of structured randomness to the universe. I often am struck by awe as I think about the creation of the universe, the formation of earth, the beginning of life, and the evolution of species, all leading to my existence. The fact that I am able to think about all this on such an abstract level seems beyond the machinations of the complex computer that is my brain, but I'm again astounded by the fact that there exists within every human being, a complex computer with the theoretical computing power equivalent to the sum of every digital computer on the planet. And yet, the brain is only one example of nature's beautifully accidental complexity. Everything around us is composed of a quantity of elementary seemingly incomprehensible to our minds, all interacting, following the laws of physics, with subatomic particles merely part of atoms, atoms parts of molecules and compounds, molecules forming together to form the tiny machines that create our cells. Everything in the universe is a complex machine composed of slightly less complex machines. It's amazing to think of the existence of a species of self-aware intelligent beings as the result of chance and adaptation. To attribute some sort of reason to this seems almost like a semantic mistake in which one implies that because something caused, there must be some cosmic reason behind it. I suppose I'm criticizing Leibnitz's Principle of Sufficient Reason here, but I believe that to assign a human concept like “reasoning” to what is as far as we know, just natural occurrences is to claim that the universe has a consciousness very similar to that of humans, which is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  24. EXTRA CREDIT
    Whitney Ingle
    #8 TR

    Have you ever gone out of your way to help a stranger? Did you do so because you thought it was the right thing to do, because you felt sympathetic for the stranger's plight, or for some other reason? Do you agree with Kant that dutifulness alone is morally relevant to such acts?

    I have gone out of my way for other people numerous times. I used to feel like it was my duty as a Christian to be Christ-like. I felt like we were called to help people who need it. Of course like many people, there are many times where I did something because of how I felt and my emotions towards that person or situation, and I am a people person, so I find it difficult at times to say no. When I was reading the chapter in the book about Kant, I did think that his reasoning made sense. If you help others just because you feel sympathetic towards a person, then you are helping them because of yourself. However, the person that helps the old lady on the side of the road not because of how his/her emotions are making them feel but instead by his/her duty and obligation to do the right thing, he/she has strong moral qualities.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Section 4, Danielle Bonner

    Quiz questions
    What did Kant say you should never do?

    What did kant think should be asked instead of "why did you do that?"

    What did Bentham believe mattered over morality?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen Martin (4)
      1. Never Deceive
      2. What if everyone did that?
      3. Happiness

      Delete
  26. Sterling Smith (#6)9:35 PM CDT

    Quiz Question: (T/F) Kant thought the mind worked like a filter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen Martin (4)
      True. Like rose-tinted spectacles that would cover every aspect of our experiences.

      Delete
  27. Sterling Smith (#6)9:38 PM CDT

    Discussion Question: Do you think a "Great Happiness" can be achieved?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Emily Blalock
    Section4
    Quiz Question

    According to Kant, morality was a system of what?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen Martin (4)
      Categorical Imperatives

      Delete
  29. Lucas Futrell (6)

    Additional Questions:
    1. What was Bentham's method for calculation happiness called?
    2. Where is Jeremy Bentham's head?
    3. (T/F) Kant thought it was only acceptable to lie in life or death situations.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Adam Martin Section 4

    1. Unless great technological achievements are made which allow us to communicate past our senses, I do not believe we can communicate with beings that exist outside of our realm of understanding.
    2. I believe that our desire to help other people is grounded in our nature as a species.
    3. Maximizing pleasure is important for a society as long as it is not exclusive. We cannot support American happiness at the expense of people in other countries. At the same time, things that are typically considered unenjoyable should be changed, if possible, to be made pleasurable.
    4. Material wealth is not, and has never been, living life to the fullest. An easy way of explaining this is that given that we are mortal beings, there is no possible way we can fulfill all possibilities of material use from birth to death. However, the impact we have on others can be enough to be happy with one's life. Hundreds of years ago, a member of the nobility could very well be poor, but would still be favored because of their birth status. The idea that the way to achieve greatest happiness is to acquire the most "stuff" is a recent idea.
    5. Redistribution can only work if it is the redistribution of the ways of acquiring wealth, not the wealth itself. People who are born without any kind of economic power are automatically set at the mercy of those born into a system that favors them. To redistribute the wealth gained from such a system would only cause the system to cease to function. However, if the balance of power and influence were redistributed fairly, wealth would not need redistribution.
    6. Of the philosophers I am familiar with, I know the most about Marx. My last answer should make that obvious.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Section 4, Danielle Bonner

    Quiz questions
    What did Kant say you should never do?

    What did kant think should be asked instead of "why did you do that?"

    What did Bentham believe mattered over morality?

    ReplyDelete
  32. Section 6

    Quiz Question:
    Whose body has been mummified and is on display at University College London?

    ReplyDelete
  33. Section 6

    DQ #3
    Maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain are not exclusive nor are they the main criteria for ethical action. I am a firm believer in "no pain, no gain." Sure, some decisions can lead to pleasure very easily, but hardly ever do those paths lead to long lasting prosperity. I have found through my experiences that the most rewarding pathways usually include some pain and stress, but will end in rewards in multiple areas of life. Even with making moral decisions, the harder paths will probably end the best in the long run. It ties into the political philosophy of working for the greater good. We as individuals may not want to pay taxes (pain), but that money will ultimately come back in the form of infrastructure, education, and other programs (long term prosperity).

    ReplyDelete
  34. Section 4. Preston Wilkey.
    I agree with Kant to a degree. I have personally gone out of my way to help a stranger. I did this because I thought it was the right thing to do, but also because I felt sympathy for that person and I felt like it was my duty to help them. I think all three of these have a role to play in when I make decisions to help people. I do not make decisions based on just one of these reasons rather a combination of all of them. When I see someone in need most of the time I feel bad for them. I try and picture myself in that situation and how I would feel. This leads me to think of how I would feel if all these able bodied people could help me but chose not to because they were too selfish to spare their precious time. This is where I agree with Kant and think it is our duty to help those that are less fortunate or need help. I think people try and avoid thinking about what their life would be like if they were born in a different time or place. I think it hits us hard to think that a lot of what we have was not our own doing. There are people that are born in third world countries and do not have all the blessings that we as Americans have. We think the Flint water crisis is absurd and that the fact that the government wouldn’t provide us with clean water is an attack against our rights. People in other places have to go out and provide water for themselves. We are so blessed and to think we are to selfish to help others is crazy. I think as fellow humans it is our duty to help those that are in need. Whether you feel it is right or you sympathize for them or not, we still need to help. I do disagree with Kant and his view that if you help someone out based on your feeling that is not moral. I believe that is one of the most moral things you can do because you are helping someone out of the kindness of your heart and your heart is in the right place. I understand where he was coming from with comparing it to the whole world and what if everyone did that, but if all of our actions of kindness were done out of requirement and duty, then we would lose kindness. I feel like the world would be a cold place, it may be a good place but it would have no emotional connection to those that are not in relationships with you.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Yes, they just live to live and don’t question what’s right or wrong they just do. Even though I believe this would be extremely difficult in terms of things like travel. “How long will this much fuel or whatever last us?” It would seem almost impossible to go without time. School, work, etc. would be difficult if we didn’t have time although I suppose we could use some other method as long as everyone was capable and understood it. Such as when you hear a bull horn I’ll be holding a meeting to discuss philosophy. As far as carrying on a conversation with an alien that had no sense of everything we have been accustom to for years would be very interesting and I think possible just to see how their system works if they have one. This question is kind of hard to answer because I am not sure if you’re asking if the alien has no aspect of these things or would he have to carry on a conversation. I’ll discuss if they had no sense of these things and see if it would work. So they pretty much just hopped in their spaceship and was flying around and just happen to land in my back yard. I think we could talk about how they built their space ship and how did they know how far it would travel before dying or running out of gas or maybe they bought this from a space ship dealer ship. If this was the case I would ask how they knew when to meet him to get this space ship and what did they have to do or pay to get it. I would ask what they thought of the ride over here and have they been anywhere else. Maybe if they eat and what. I would ask if they have water or do they want to try some. I guess their plans of what they were going to do while they were here would be out the window sense “they simply don’t grasp time or cares for that matter.” I would ask if they ever rest. I don’t really know what else I could ask them and not relate to time or space. So I would say it is possible but would be extremely difficult to communicate or live without some sort of time. For that reason I believe if aliens showed up in my back yard they would no doubt have some sort of sense about time, space, and cause and effect. If they were to just hop in the ship and head this way when would the other aliens expect them back or would when they leave wherever they are from that’s it. How would they manage the trip without knowing how long it would take and what it would take to get there. And cause and effect they would have to study and know the risks with flying here. That’s like buying a brand new car and just driving it into the ocean.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Lucas Futrell (6)

    My answer to whether or not I agree with the statement he or she who finishes the game with the most toys wins, the answer is no I don’t. First of all it is a silly metaphor because there are games like golf or Uno where the goal is to finish with as few points as possible. In that sense you would count the toys as possible negatives maybe bad life experiences or dept or whatever, but that has nothing to do with the point I am trying to make. I don’t think there is a winning or losing in life I think that life is just that and I think everything is relative to what you, the person living it, makes of it. A person with a lot of money and even friends can still be unhappy, if happiness is the end goal of life, just as a poor loner can still maintain a sunny disposition about things. I agree with the stoics and their idea of hedonic adaptation. What that basically says is that no matter how much money and stuff you may acquire in life it will not in the long run make you a happier person. The point being humans adjust to their surroundings and an increase in wealth would probably make most of happy for a short time but then we would no longer think of our new wealth as new wealth but instead as our current standard of living, and in all likely hood revert back to the state of mind we were in before our ship came in. Instead it is important to appreciate what you have and not lust for what you do not. I don’t necessarily think that means we should not seek self-improvement, because at least from my perspective that is the main focus of our lives. If not for the forward momentum of our set goals life would be more just about surviving than anything, and as I said before all this is following the assumption the way to “win” life is to be happy. What I try to do is keep an outward perspective. If I find myself having a bad night and I am feeling low I think to myself “this sucks but what does being shitty help,” and I think about how when I was younger I may have been sad about something else and that thing that I was sad about is a distant memory now and doesn’t bother me anymore. So when I find myself in a bad place now I just remember that it will pass too and one day it will no longer make me sad. That generally helps me get over whatever it is. Another thing is just think of whatever I have in my life that I do like and focus more on that and without the crappy stuff maybe I would forget to remember how much I like other aspects of my life. My point is we should learn to appreciate the journey to becoming who you want to be, and in the end if you don’t hit whatever wickets you may have been aiming for than you will most likely be ok with it because you have had a life full of meaningful experiences to enjoy and that you don't need any more toys.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Section 4
    I have been in situations where I have helped strangers before, even if it is just helping them out little bit. However, I disagree with Kant that solely helping them out of a feeling of duty or obligation is as good as helping someone out of empathy or compassion. I think that it is reasonable to feel the need to help someone both out of a sense of duty as well as compassion. Although it is better to help someone out of reason than to not help them at all, I think it is most beneficial if you can help both out of duty and out of compassion at the same time.
    I think that doing a good or helpful deed for someone means less when you feel bitter about it, or have a bad attitude. I think that helping people who need help is more about the heart and feeling compassionate, rather then relying on head and using logic and reason to feel obligated to do something.
    I also think that if the roles were reversed, and someone else was offering their help to you, you would feel much more thankful and content knowing that you weren’t helped out of duty or obligation, or that you were a bother or nuisance to someone who felt like they had to help you, but rather someone who felt compassion towards you and honestly wanted to help improve your situation. I think that has more of an impact on people. Kant’s reasoning, that you must help people out of duty and can feel no compassion or empathy while doing so, just seems kind of cold and heartless in my opinion.
    Although I do agree that, because some people are simply more empathetic and compassionate than others, it provides the people who don’t feel these feelings as easily a chance for morality. However, I feel as if it could also be used as an excuse to not feel sympathy for fellow people. I personally wouldn’t want to live in a world where human beings didn’t feel compassion and empathy for each other.
    So although it is good to help someone in need, no matter what your reasons for helping them are, rather than not helping them at all, I still think that it would mean more to help someone out of compassion than out of pure logic and reason and a sense of duty.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Ian Law section 4 3-29 DQ question 1

    Attempting to communicate with other intelligences sounds like an intractable problem at first blush. Considering the innumerable arrangements of matter, we have no idea exactly how an alien intellect would interpret the world, or even what the being who possesses such a mind would look like. A truly different thinker could be unrecognizable to us, existing in a state that we might think of as non-living—a “super-intelligent shade of blue”, as Douglas Adams once humorously proposed in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. This debate is central to fields such as astrobiology and computing. When does artificial intelligence surpass its creators? Maybe the so-called “singularity” has already arrived and we’re simply too complacent to notice. With such entities the potential for communication may truly be impossible.

    However, when we think of an intelligent being, we generally imagine something approaching ordinary human thought processes. The stereotypical extraterrestrial is no more different than someone from a distinctly foreign culture. These are the types of figures we look for in pursuit of “the other.” We only really consider something as possessing intelligence when it already comes packaged in a familiar form. In this case, we expect there to be some kind of common ground with which to establish a dialogue. With a common frame of reference, we can begin to talk with ET or Data, and while we may not share identical worldviews, we hope to find the areas where our perceptions converge.

    This kind of interaction should already be familiar, as other recognized intelligences have inhabited this planet with us from the beginning. Animals possess a unique sensibility, and many are considered not far removed from humans in terms of basic levels of perception. Besides our close relatives, the apes, dolphins are also considered highly intelligent. Ravens and octopi have also been proven to have problem-solving capabilities. This means they must be able to reason about things in a manner similar to us. Some animals such as elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror, showing a capacity for self-reflection that we might consider borderline sentient. But probably the most common alien thinkers we meet with are pets. Dogs don’t really think like people, and yet we are able to communicate with them to some degree. Whether or not Fido understands the importance of a thrown stick, he does know that we want it returned. And many people consider their bonds with their pet to be their most significant emotional relationship. Clearly, we don’t need to meet eye-to-eye on everything to have a meaningful interaction with other minds.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Danielle Bonner Section 4
    March 31 retrieval points
    In response to the fourth discussion question regarding whether or not the “he or she who finishes the game with the most toys wins,” I don’t agree with the sentiment. It sounds really hollow, and kind of sad to me. “The only way you win at life is by having the most success,” is kind of what I feel like it is saying, and I know plenty of successful people who are very upset with their lives; and I know really happy people who love their lives, who aren’t incredibly successful. Now, blissful experiences, I don’t think equate to happiness. If we’re taking “toys” to be blissful experiences I don’t think that person would be a “winner” either, assuming that we say there is a way to “win” the game of life… actual life not the board game. Now that too is an issue with this argument is there a way to win life, like a game? I really don’t think there is. I think you can be happy, but I don’t think that that’s some sort of end game, or that there is an end game at all. I don’t know what makes someone happy, whether it is moments of bliss, doing good for your fellow man, or getting rid of all worldly possessions; but regardless I don’t think humans should be working for an end game of happiness I think humans should just live and do what makes them feel happy and accomplished in the moment regardless of the so called “end game” being an afterlife or whatever else you believe.
    In response to the third discussion question I think maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain could be a criterion for ethical behavior, if it’s not just your pleasure and pain that you consider. By that, I mean, be sympathetic and empathetic to other people whenever possible, while making decisions. Although many people think about themselves when it comes to happiness and pleasure I think it’s really important to consider other people. When you help someone it can be taken to mean that you are minimizing their pain, so I feel that it can fall under the category of the idea of increasing pleasure and decreasing pain, even though it is talking about the people that you are helping and not the person who is aiding another person. Now, do I think that that this should be the defining principle of ethical behavior? I really don’t. There are some decisions that actually do increase the pain of others. Because of this, decisions that might affect one person negatively and one person positively, can’t fairly be decided on the principle of maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. Because of this I think logic and debate should be used to solve issues like these, regardless of the pleasure each decision might bring either side. Ethical decisions are very hard to define, especially in places like medicine, I think measuring and weighing the difference in the amount of pain that it might bring the sides of the argument could be extremely helpful in trying to make hard decisions.

    ReplyDelete
  40. E.C. from no class on THURS.
    SECTION 6
    My mother was the high school boys’ soccer coach. She was the coach for 13 years, and in all her time there she had generations of high schoolers who were like her kids. Mom and I always made a point to take people home if they needed a ride, or feed them before games if they had nothing to eat that day. She was always doing the typical mom thing taking care of everyone.
    It was one day after practice, and we were taking one of the boys home, when mom brought up small talk in the car. The conversation got serious when the boy started talking about his journey. He had come here illegally from Mexico after running away from abusive parents. He lived with his brother, who also abused and harassed him. He also took on the responsibility of 2 jobs, while also being in school, and playing on the soccer team. Soccer was his break, his outlet, he told us. It was surprising to think that another kid, like me, had to do this by himself. He literally had no one to encourage him, or care for him, and he was just 4 years older than me.
    After we dropped him off a small old house in the poorest neighborhood in our small town, we both looked at eachother and decided we would help him, at least with monetary things like groceries and clothes. He was basically all on his own, with no parents to help support him as a 15 year old. It was crazy to think of not having my mom there to help me growing up. It made me realize that I shouldn’t take things for granted.
    So, in the following months we kind of adopted this boy. He would come help dad do jobs around the house, and we fed, clothed, and loved him as if he were part of our family... because he was. As he grew older, he didn’t need our help as much because he had learned how to be an adult and moved away from his abusive brother. He still comes over sometimes during the holidays, and he has a good job to support himself. We made all the difference in his life on that one ride home.
    I believe you should help people from the goodness of your heart. Of course, you can say it’s morally correct, or dutifully correct, yet there is always that emotion tied into it. It’s that feeling of pride when you see that person who had nothing become successful and happy. It’s a feeling of hope- hope that other people will find it within themselves and their humanity to help others in need. If I had been in that situation, I would hope that someone would help me. It takes courage, but it also takes compassion. I continue to have the outlook on life, that we should care for eachother in order to make the world a better place. If people just took time to care for eachother, there would be less war, less hate, and less argument.

    ReplyDelete
  41. DQ: Have you ever been in a situation where you needed help desperately, but no one stopped to help you? Would you expect them to do it out of duty or out of the kindness of your heart? Would that opinion change if it were someone that you knew?

    ReplyDelete
  42. DQ 3: I think you should treat people how you want them to treat you.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Amy Young (4) QQ: What is the correct pronunciation of Kant?

    ReplyDelete
  44. sect 6
    QQ: what is the main question Kant set himself to answer in the Critique of Pure Reason?

    QQ: What was the essence of metaphysics that Kant spent most of his time trying to figure out?

    ReplyDelete
  45. Sec 4, Harrison Matteau

    I think it is possible to communicate because even though there are barriers, communication is still accessible to many people. As someone who has foreign flight students with very little english skills, or American customs, I can tell you that there is always a way to communicate positively and convey your message effectively. I also feel that if they are much smarter than us, then they will figure out a way to essentially "dumb down" their messages so we can comprehend them, much the same as a parent will lower their dictation to communicate with a child.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Courtney Manns-Section 6
    Sophia and I discussed the question of whether or not we've gone out of our way to help a stranger and if we did, why?
    I brought up a time when a former high school classmate that I didn't know too well called late at night, several months after graduation. I'm not sure how she got my number but clearly she was in dire straights, she was stranded and needed a ride home. Without hesitation, I got dressed and got my keys. Sophia described a similar time when her family sort of adopted a young classmate who ran from an abusive situation at home. Her family regularly made sure that he was clothed and fed, and had him over during family holidays. We both came to the conclusion that it's impossible to help someone without feeling some kind of empathy for them, since its what drives us to make those decisions concerning other people.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Section 6 - (Makeup for the day Dr Oliver was ill)


    6. Who, in your opinion at this stage of your philosophical education, is #1 (in terms of insight, influence, wit and charm or whatever)?
    With so many brilliant thinkers and orators and writers among the philosophical sphere, it is difficult if not impossible to choose a number one philosopher for me, especially at this stage of my education. However, if I had to choose one whose influence has been felt through the ages – coloring and shaping rather like an ocean tide – I would have to say Aristotle. Witty and charming? Perhaps not so much. But definitely influential. He was the first to devise a formal system for reasoning, whereby the validity of an argument is determined by its structure rather than its content. Consider the following: All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is mortal.
    Here we can see that as long as the premises are true, the conclusion must also be true, no matter what we substitute for “men or “is mortal.” Aristotle’s brand of logic dominated this area of thought until modern symbolic logic began to dominate in the late 19th Century. One of my favorite twists on this is the Non Sequitur, e.g. "I always think everything could be a trap -- Which is why I'm still alive." (Princess Bride)
    One of Aristotle’s most influential works is the Nicomachean Ethics, where he presents a theory of happiness that is still relevant today, over 2,300 years later. In these lectures, Aristotle seeks to answer the basic question “What is the ultimate purpose of human existence?”
    Every philosopher since then (and perhaps so many before him) have sought the answer to this question. For Aristotle, happiness is a final end or goal that encompasses the totality of one’s life. It is not something that can be gained or lost in a few hours. Pleasurable sensations, pain, heartache, grief, joy, bliss, confusion… those are all responses to temporary circumstances. Happiness, according to Aristotle, is better described as the ultimate value of your life, measuring how well you have lived up to your full potential as a human being. For this reason, one cannot really make any pronouncements about whether one has lived a happy life until it is over. One reason this speaks to me personally is, as someone who has seen family or friends or even strangers grapple with thoughts of suicide, this attitude precludes any notion of ending one’s life based on the ever-evolving, momentary barrage of emotions or situations that parade through our lives. This attitude provides hope, it provides a goal, and it provides an “out” as it were to the futility one sometimes can feel. As Aristotle says, “for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy.” (Nicomachean Ethics, 1098a18)

    ReplyDelete
  48. Section 6 - (Makeup for the day Dr Oliver was ill)


    6. Who, in your opinion at this stage of your philosophical education, is #1 (in terms of insight, influence, wit and charm or whatever)?
    With so many brilliant thinkers and orators and writers among the philosophical sphere, it is difficult if not impossible to choose a number one philosopher for me, especially at this stage of my education. However, if I had to choose one whose influence has been felt through the ages – coloring and shaping rather like an ocean tide – I would have to say Aristotle. Witty and charming? Perhaps not so much. But definitely influential. He was the first to devise a formal system for reasoning, whereby the validity of an argument is determined by its structure rather than its content. Consider the following: All men are mortal; Socrates is a man; therefore, Socrates is mortal.
    Here we can see that as long as the premises are true, the conclusion must also be true, no matter what we substitute for “men or “is mortal.” Aristotle’s brand of logic dominated this area of thought until modern symbolic logic began to dominate in the late 19th Century. One of my favorite twists on this is the Non Sequitur, e.g. "I always think everything could be a trap -- Which is why I'm still alive." (Princess Bride)
    One of Aristotle’s most influential works is the Nicomachean Ethics, where he presents a theory of happiness that is still relevant today, over 2,300 years later. In these lectures, Aristotle seeks to answer the basic question “What is the ultimate purpose of human existence?”
    Every philosopher since then (and perhaps so many before him) have sought the answer to this question. For Aristotle, happiness is a final end or goal that encompasses the totality of one’s life. It is not something that can be gained or lost in a few hours. Pleasurable sensations, pain, heartache, grief, joy, bliss, confusion… those are all responses to temporary circumstances. Happiness, according to Aristotle, is better described as the ultimate value of your life, measuring how well you have lived up to your full potential as a human being. For this reason, one cannot really make any pronouncements about whether one has lived a happy life until it is over. One reason this speaks to me personally is, as someone who has seen family or friends or even strangers grapple with thoughts of suicide, this attitude precludes any notion of ending one’s life based on the ever-evolving, momentary barrage of emotions or situations that parade through our lives. This attitude provides hope, it provides a goal, and it provides an “out” as it were to the futility one sometimes can feel. As Aristotle says, “for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy.” (Nicomachean Ethics, 1098a18)

    ReplyDelete