Up@dawn 2.0

Friday, September 9, 2016

Quiz Sep12/13

Aristotle, HP 159-184 (Ch XIX-XX); PG 38-58

1. What does Russell think Aristotle's influence on Alexander was?

2. Why does Russell call Aristotle's doctrine optimistic and teleological?

3. What is "the good," for Aristotle?

4. Aristotle mainly agrees with those who define "virtue" how?

PG
5. Progress in philosophy consists partly in bringing what to light?

6. "Platonism" is often expressed in what assertion?

7. What is the Sublime Braid?

8. What kind of piety results from coming to understand our real place in the larger scheme? 

DQ

  • If Aristotle's metaphysics is Plato diluted by common sense, what's common about it? 162
  • Does each of us have an "essence"? 164
  • What do you think of Aristotle's God? 167f.
  • Is happiness the only thing in the world that's intrinsically good, for its own sake?
  • What do you think of Aristotle's doctrine of the golden mean? 173f.
  • What do you think of the relativism debate between Boghossian and Fish, and specifically Fish's statement that philosophical conclusions "do not travel"?
  • Is mathetmatics the uniquely "right form" for explaining the world? 50  
  • Post your DQs please
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An old post-

1. Complete the statement, identify the source, and explain the meaning of "One swallow..."

2. What was Aristotle's word for happiness, success, or flourishing?

3. Did Aristotle think we could learn to live a good life? Did he think it virtuous for individuals to focus exclusively on the pursuit of their own self-interest?*

4. In the Raphael painting School of Athens, what does Aristotle's body language imply about his philosophy (and Plato's)? 

5. What did Aristotle think we could do to increase our chance of flourishing or succeeding as human beings?

6. What reliance, ironically invoked by some Aristotelian scholars for centuries after his death,  is contrary to the spirit of philosophy?

DQs:


  • What do you think Aristotle's body language in School of Athens means? Which side of the painting, his or Plato's, would you be on?
  • Why didn't Aristotle think children could be fully happy, fully "eudaimon"? Who are the happiest young and old people you know? Are their forms of happiness different? 
  • What's been the happiest moment of your life, so far? Or the least happy? At the time, would you have said that your life was happy? 
  • What's your idea of "the good life"? Do you consider other people's well-being to be any concern of yours? Is it a neglect of human potential to live merely for material values?
  • What is "the right kind of character"? What does it mean to you to "become a better person"? Is that something you actively strive for? Do you think everyone can, and should? 
  • Do you recall a time in childhood when you asked, a parent, a Sunday School teacher, or some other adult the question "Who or what made God?" Did you receive a satisfactory response (from your present point of view)? Was the response an appeal to authority  - the authority of the Bible or some other sacred text, the interpreters of your faith, or of your parents?



==



An old post-
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 - Aristotle & God

We have Aristotle on two tracks (the Little History and Philosophy Bites) today in CoPhi. God's* on 3d (pinch-hitting for Lucius Outlaw and last year's America the Philosophical* discussion of the historical role of African-Americans in philosophy, if you're interested).

(*The God, or a god? An important distinction, as Bill Murray noted in Groundhog Day: scroll down...)

Aristotle‘s in the Pythons' philosopher's song too, though he's even more sober than his Ionian predecessors. He rejected his teacher Plato’s metaphysics, returned to the cave of the phenomenal world to take a closer look, avoided universalizing abstractions and CAPS (preferring forms in things to transcendent and remote FORMS "above"), and inspired the name of our annualSpring speaker series in the philosophy department at MTSU, the Lyceum.

(We actually now also have a *Fall Lyceum at MTSU, inaugurated last year by Carlin Romano.)

The best quick & graphic way of illustrating the difference between Plato and his student Aristotle, I’ve found, is by pondering Raphael’s famous painting School of Athens [annotated]. Pay close attention to the hands. "On the other side [of Plato] stands Aristotle, the man of science and common sense, who points earthward in contrast with Plato's gesture toward the heavens. In Aristotle's arms Raphael put Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics..."

A new history of western philosophy takes that painting to heart. The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization, by Arthur Herman, traces its implications for centuries of philosophers who lined up to squeeze into the School behind either Plato or Aristotle.
They began as student and master. They ended as rivals. Plato is supposed to have said, “Aristotle kicked me,as foals do their mothers when they are born.”All the evidence, however, suggests the crucial break between them came after Plato's death. Aristotle entered Plato's Academy in Athens at age seventeen, probably in 367 BCE. When he left, he was in his forties...
Why they broke is a fascinating story reflected in centuries of divergent influence. If I were going to have to line up in that painting I'd have to pick Aristotle's side.

"How Aristotle Invented Science"-a slight overstatement, but not compared to Plato the armchair philosopher.

Aristotle was more eloquently poetic than scientific, though, when he said one swallow doesn't make a summer, and a few moments of pleasure don't add up to a happy life. Nor does a "happy childhood." We must be in it for the long haul, and must see our good as coordinate with that of others including those who'll succeed us after we're gone. It's all about eudaimonia ("you die" is a helpful mnemonic, aggressive and hostile though it sounds, and though it really means you live.)

It's probably for his ethics that Aristotle is most widely renowned, but Bertrand Russell for one was unimpressed. "There is in Aristotle an almost complete absence of what may be called benevolence or philanthropy. The sufferings of mankind, in so far as he is aware of them, do not move him emotionally." (Hold that thought, when we talk about the problem of evil.)

(Yesterday was the anniversary of Russell's death, btw. Strange occasion to mark, I suppose, but any excuse to check out Maria Popova's brainpickings is worthwhile.)


Aristotle was a naturalist, noticing our continuity with the rest of nature. Like trees and plants we flourish when well-nurtured. Unlike them, we must take charge of our own nurture in order to reach our potential and achieve The Good Life in tandem with our peers.


It's so ironic that the middle ages made Aristotle "The Philosopher," i.e. the unquestioned Authority. That was indeed "against the spirit of philosophy."

Terence Irwin's podcast interview is compelling listening, for those unaccustomed to a Yorkshire accent (or whatever it is). He makes the same point I just did about coordinating the personal and the public good, and "identifying one's own interest with other people's interest" etc.

He also helpfully corrects overly-simple reductions of Aristotle's ethics to a dogged middle-of-the-roadism. Avoiding extremes doesn't mean choosing the blandest, milk-toastiest possibility. No, hisGolden Mean means doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason etc., and that could very well turn out to be something exciting. Or scary. (Like going after ISIS? What would Aristotle say?)

Don't confuse the ethical Golden Mean with the geometrical Golden Ratio. "The golden ratio, also known as the divine proportion, golden mean, or golden section, is a number often encountered when taking the ratios of distances..."

Aristotle's version of God, on the other hand, may just be too bland for your taste. It's not a he or she, or really even an it as we typically understand things.

To Aristotle, God is the first of all substances, the necessary first source of movement who is himself unmoved. God is a being with everlasting life, and perfect blessedness, engaged in never-ending contemplation. IEPThis is a remote and impersonal God, who won't intervene in our affairs and could really care less about them.

The God implied in the Hebrew Bible book of Ecclesiastes seems fairly indifferent to human suffering & flourishing too, and unpromising with respect to the old dream of Sunday School heaven and immortality. Jennifer Hecht glosses it smartly in Doubt:

Koheleth brushed aside the dream of an afterlife with a simple appeal to reason--Who knows this?--and the conclusion that humans have nothing above the beasts in this regard...But it doesn't follow that simple happiness is unavailable in this life. The recipe's pretty simple too.

Love your spouse. Get some work to do, do it with all your might; enjoy the simple pleasures of food, drink, and love. Everything else is vanity. But, it's a form of vanity we can live with. The search for true love, solid friendship, good work, and daily delight might just be enough. Enjoy your life. A person could do worse. The search for happiness on this orb is anything but a "dismal" undertaking, as someone sadly suggested. You could ask Aristotle. It's the end and aim of life.

Not everyone agrees with Aristotle about that, of course. For some, the end and aim is to serve and glorify God (and maybe reap the reward of that elusive afterlife after all). Their god knows and cares about human striving, and presumably abhors gratuitous suffering.

But there's the rub that's rubbed raw in our Philosophy: The Basics reading today: the perennial problem of evil or suffering, or the worry that our world is too full of woe to lay at the figurative feet of an omni-being. And even if we think we can disarm some of the problem by deploying the timeworn Free Will Defense, we leave "natural" evil (killer storms, quakes, disease) unaccounted for.
We also read today of David Hume's posthumous objections to weakly-analogical Paley-ish Design Arguments. Human artifacts are one thing, the products of complex time-borne natural phenomena seem to be something very different.

But natural selection, the "blind" and unpremeditated evolutionary process whereby organisms thrive when they develop adaptations suitable to the conditions of their environment, can be considered a form of Design without a Designer. We should ask and try to answer: Is there an important difference between intelligent design and natural complexity?

Must there have been a universal First Cause? But what caused the cause? That question is neck-and-neck with the problem of evil, in turning out many a young non-theist. J.S. Mill and Bertrand Russell, for instance.

[T]the argument that there must be a First Cause is one that cannot have any validity. I may say that when I was a young man and was debating these questions very seriously in my mind, I for a long time accepted the argument of the First Cause, until one day, at the age of eighteen, I read John Stuart Mill's Autobiography, and I there found this sentence: "My father taught me that the question 'Who made me?' cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question `Who made god?'" That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause. If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument. Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not A Christian
I think I've heard just about every imaginable response to this question, through the years in my classrooms, but I'll ask it again:

If you believe in God, how do you attempt to reconcile or understand the full extent of human suffering? (Think of particular instances such as the "agony of a young child dying of an incurable disease," or an innocent gunshot or terror victim, or someone killed in a storm and their survivors.) Do you see it as part of a divine plan we just have to trust, or a deep mystery we shouldn't think too much about? Or do you believe in a God who is less than omnipotent and is just doing the best He/She/It can to bring about a harmonious and just Creation?

If you don't believe in God, is that in whole or in part because of the Problem of Evil? Or something else?

Or maybe you're like Charlie Brown's antagonist Lucy, who once responded to his Socratic query about the meaning of it all that "I just don't think about things I don't think about." Didn't seem to make her any happier, not thinking. Did it?


Walk Magazine (@WalkMagazine)
'You get close quickly when you walk side by side' says Clare Balding - we could not agree more! #walking ow.ly/He3Jg

Aristotle would like this:
In a hut in southern Germany and an apartment in New York City, about ninety years ago, two philosophers tried to sort out a family of ancient problems concerning experience, knowledge, and our place in the world. Working independently, they developed a similar idea and used it as a launching pad for more.
The way to make progress on those problems, they thought, is to treat our practical engagement with the environment as primary. “In our dealings we come across equipment for writing, sewing, working, transportation, measurement.” We encounter ordinary objects “as things of doing, suffering, contact, possession and use.” When we engage with such things, they are “not thereby objects for knowing the ‘world’ theoretically; they are simply what gets used, what gets produced, and so on.” “They are things had before they are things cognized.” The move to understand things theoretically only comes about when there is some interruption or “deficiency” in our ordinary dealings. A common error in philosophy, however, has been a kind of “intellectualism,” treating all our contact with the world in terms of concepts and representations, assuming that “knowledge is the only mode of experience that grasps things.” The irony is that such intellectualism makes knowledge itself impossible to understand. If we forget that knowledge is derivative from more basic kinds of engagement with the world, we end up “making knowledge, conceived as ubiquitous, itself inexplicable.”
These are central themes also in Hubert Dreyfus and Charles Taylor’s new book,Retrieving Realism. As Dreyfus and Taylor see it, philosophical work in the modern period (in the philosopher’s sense of “modern,” which starts around 1600) has been plagued by a mediational view of how we relate to the world. “Only through” intermediaries can we have contact with things outside us. A few hundred years ago the mediators were supposed to be image-like sensations or ideas. Now they are often sentences, or internal representations of the kind envisaged in artificial intelligence and cognitive science. The mediational approach, for Dreyfus and Taylor, is one that people adopt without entirely realizing it. Working within it, however, leads to many errors and misguided debates. It leads to a dualistic sorting of the world’s contents into mental and physical, and with this comes an acute problem of how the two sides could be related. But from the early twentieth century, a better view has slowly developed, according to Dreyfus and Taylor, especially through the work of Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. They show us how to have a theory of contact with the world without mediators, through a “reembedding of thought and knowledge in the bodily and social-cultural contexts in which it takes place.”
Compact and engaging, Retrieving Realism is more approachable than its weighty subject matter might predict. The book begins from an assertion of the “embedding” of thought and knowledge in its bodily and practical contexts, and then argues against a range of views that try to insist that our contact with the world must somehow run through representations, language, or concepts. Instead, our basic contact with the world involves a kind of “absorbed coping.” The authors are not entirely hostile to the idea of representation of the world in our minds and in language, but those phenomena are secondary. Recognizing this, for Dreyfus and Taylor, enables us to recover from the morass of mediationism the idea that we live in, and can know about, a world that exists independently of us. That is the realism that is being “retrieved.”
The point that not everything we do makes use of theories and concepts might seem obvious—clearly we also eat and drink and walk on things. But Dreyfus and Taylor think that philosophy constantly invents new ways to falsely intellectualize our relationship to things that we do. Philosophy itself does not subside once we see these issues clearly; philosophy has tasks beyond merely diagnosing errors. We have to work out how to negotiate differences between cultures and between different methods of knowing the world. This work will go better when those differences are understood against a common background of dealing with the world that we all, as humans, engage in.
• • •
The early twentieth century was indeed a time when the philosophical landscape shifted, but Dreyfus and Taylor give a one-sided account of the events of this period. The two figures at work in my opening vignette were Heidegger, in the hut, and John Dewey, in New York. Heidegger’s Being and Time was published in 1927. A few years earlier, Dewey published Experience and Nature, revising it in 1929. This was not Dewey’s first book, as in Heidegger’s case, but the fourteenth of (too) many, containing ideas that had developed from Dewey’s first years as an “idealist” philosopher, through the classic debates over pragmatism in the first years of the new century, to this mature position... (continues)

69 comments:

  1. (H3)
    Whats so Common about Aristotle's Meta? I think nothing. Adding common sense to Plato is like adding tin to brass, which makes bronze. It makes something completely different, and no more common than the base elements.

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  2. (H3)

    I think Aristotle's god sounds rather boring and impersonal. From a modern perspective he sounds thoroughly imperfect. From the classical one though I am not sure his self obsession makes him free of the Imperfection of Narcissus either.

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  3. (H3)

    No, as human beings can derive happiness from things even Aristotle would say we should not, even in the short term. For example. If a child if a person is being very loud. I would derive short term happiness by using violence to silence them. In the long term though this act of murder would bring me unhappiness.

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  4. (H3) Philosophical Conclusions do not travel? I disagree and agree. In the physical sense, they certainly do not travel fast. In a more metaphysical sense I believe they do, as these philosophical conclusions do slowly reach the masses through one means or another they do disseminate out and have an affect on our moral, ethical, and social behavior. Whether we are aware or not.

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  5. (H3) Can mathematics explain the World? I think the can explain the physical world, bu the human mind, and the realms belonging to thought and imagination, I do not think anything can explain them empirically.

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    1. I agree, mathematics does a great job in explaining the physical world; however, it does not explain the our thoughts, ideas, and what we do imagine. That cannot be explained by numbers and equations. Knowing this, how can we explain those realms belonging to thought and imagination.

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  6. (H3) Do we have an essence? I think so. though I think there is some flexibility to our essence. Knowledge and wisdom can be attained or fade. Faith can be gained or lost. Many of the things we might consider integral to our being are flexible but I think our core moral character, whether we are what our modern sense of ethics would consider a good or bad person, is ingrained inside us, it in unchangeable and inescapable. I believe we are what we choose to be.

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  7. (H3) What do I think of the Golden Mean? I agree, however, I think that mean is a narrow margin. For example, It can be very hard to tell the difference between a man who is to brash to consider being a cowered, someone who is to cowardly to risk being exposed as one, and someone who has true courage

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    1. H1
      The idea of the Golden Mean is a new concept for me. I view it as strange; I had been lead to understand virtue as the original; vice is only a twisting or lack of that virtue; courage leading to rashness, lack of courage leading to cowardice. I think that makes more sense, especially after Bertram Russell pointed out some of the fallacies involved in the Golden Mean.

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    2. My personal opinion of the Golden Mean is that it a base guideline to leading a mediocre, safe life in which one does not truly live because they don't take risks.

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    3. I agree on how difficult it is to discern on what spectrum of the Golden Mean one is on. I could be seen within two extremes- stubbornness or enduring. Even different people will have varying answers.

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    4. My personal opinion of the Golden Mean is that it a base guideline to leading a mediocre, safe life in which one does not truly live because they don't take risks.

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  8. (H3) Here is a question. Is beauty truly our most "sure footed guide" to truth?

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    1. H1
      Good question. I think that answer would only make sense if you believed that beauty was objective, and there could be no subjectivity when it came to an aspect of beauty.

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    2. I believe that beauty is definitely not the "sure footed guide" to truth. Truth comes in many forms and sometimes they may be beautiful, sometimes they're not, hence the phrase "the ugly truth".

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    3. Beauty can surely be deceiving. One can easily be fooled by a "beautiful lie". (H3)

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    4. H1 I agree with you Terry, take a femme fatal in stories, for example. She portrays this sense of beauty and seduction, but in the end lures characters into dangerous situations. So yes, beauty perceived can be heavily deceived.

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  9. (H3) I guess, when it is suggested that Aristotle's metaphysics is Plato diluted by common sense, the common sense aspect is attributed to the logical deductions Aristotle produced. The simpleness of his categories and categorization make it interpretable by anyone. They follow a system with rules, like simple grammar and mathematics.

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  10. (H3) I believe we all do have an essence, at least by Aristotle's definition. He says, "Your "essence" is "what you are by your very nature." It is, one may say, those of your properties which you cannot lose without ceasing to be yourself." As Bryce B. states, there are some qualities and beliefs that change over time. But I believe there are also some core, fundamental qualities that withstand the test of time and different experiences.

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  11. (H3) I think Aristotle's God is less of a divine entity and more of a unreachable goal for humanity. He is the perfect model of what Humanity should strive to be. He is a fixed point, an unquestionable doctrine. I think his unreachable status gives some an ideal to strive for but in the end it is impossible.

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    1. My English teacher once posed a question regarding religion: is religion constructed to allow people to strive for virtue? I think it's fascinating to think that Aristotle's God is an unreachable goal. It is very reflective on the nature of human beings. Unlike God, we are fallible. Yet, we still strive toward something better than ourselves.

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  12. (H3) Do I think we have an essence? Very much so. A set of ideas or characteristics that explain who we are as people, however constantly changing. If you agree with Pythagoras' idea on the transmigration of the soul, then you'll understand that everything in this universe is constantly moving and changing with one another. We trade our essences, in a sense, yet are still able to keep them personal because of the addition of our mind and body.

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  13. (H3) I would say that each one of has a unique essence about us. I have a different essence than the person sitting next to me.

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    1. Agreed. I believe that our essence helps define who we are. If we had the same essence as the person next to us, wouldn't we be the same as the person sitting next to us and in no way unique?

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    2. I agree with you. It's a generally accepted idea that individuals are unique and different in their own ways and that not two people are exactly the same. With that in mind, it makes sense to conclude that each persons essence is, in turn, as truly unique as they are.
      H1

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  14. (H3) I think Aristotle's God is extremely incorrect. God is the very definition of love. God is not unable to love us, on the contrary God loves us more than anyone else could ever fathom.

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    1. If God is love why did He destroy entire nations (assuming you mean the God of the Christians/Jews)? If god is love, why does he command his followers to kill the infidels (just in case you mean the God of the Muslims)? Would these be defined as acts of a loving God?

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  15. (H3) DQ: Happiness is circumstantial while joy is not circumstantial. If Aristotle is saying that "the good" is happiness, then is he saying that "the good" depends on your current circumstance?

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    1. I couldn't agree more with your definitions of happiness and joy. I think Aristotle would say "the good" is bringing about circumstances that make everyone happy. This of course ignores the fact that something that makes one happy could have the opposite effect on someone else.

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  16. (H3) I thought the golden mean was a good view. Everything in moderation is a proverb which I believe is a proverb to live by, an excess of anything is not good for you so a golden mean is a nice balance.

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    1. I agree, using the golden mean is a good way to go through life. However, i think that moderation is not always the best way to go because sometimes in order to progress as a human being or even as a society, is to go towards the extremes.

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  17. (H3) I find it interesting in saying that "philosophical conclusions do not travel" because it seems to be true due to the fact that many of the same questions that were asked centuries ago are still being pondered today.

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    1. One reason i think that these conclusions do not travel is that in philosophy, every question has a different meaning to every person, meaning that every question has a different conclusion, depending on who is asking this.

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  18. (H3) I'm not sure mathematics is the "right form" for explaining the world but I don't think there's exactly any "right form" for how to explain the world, there are a million different ways to explain the world.

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    1. H1
      I agree with you. Mathematics can explain physics and architecture, but I don't see how it could explain morality or art or people.

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    2. Mathematics can explain everything physical in our world using equations and numbers, but what is it that can explain everything non-physical?

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  19. (H3) DQ: Since "philosophical conclusions do not travel," why is it in philosophy that there are always more questions than answers?

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    1. Isn’t the answer in the question? Philosophical conclusions (answers) do not travel, so wouldn't there be more questions than we have answers for, because they haven’t been passed on?

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  20. DQ: Why is it that Aristotle believes that "superiors" deserve more love than "inferiors"?

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    1. H1
      I think it's a mixture of admiration (we are prone to love the people we admire) and an aristocratical view of superiority.

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    2. I think Aristotle's view on love is distorted because his view on God is distorted as well. Since Aristotle thinks that God is a judgmental, unloving god, he pushes his view that only those who earn love through certain works deserve love.

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  21. H1
    DQ: Is it a neglect of human potential to live merely for material values?
    I say it is. I believe all humans have a purpose. To live merely for stuff would be to concentrate on the most meaningless objects in our lives. Any sort of happiness derived from that would be for a shallow and selfish person.

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    1. I agree with you to some extent, but what if you’ve been poor your entire life? Your one goal in life is to never allow yourself to become poor ever again, to never have to wonder if you would eat that day, and when you achieve that you become happy. Is it selfish and shallow for that person to desire to have money? Is it selfish and shallow for that person to be happy when they get money?

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    2. Take Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs into account. The first level is Physiological Needs: food, water, warmth and rest. If you're referring to a level of poor that doesn't have that, then achieving this level of security would not be considered to be shallow, it would be this individual reaching the first level of basic necessities in life. This individual is not living for solely material values, but for basic needs in life to survive.

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  22. H1
    In the Raphael painting School of Athens, what does Aristotle's body language imply about his philosophy (and Plato's)?
    Plato is pointing upward, as if towards his abstract and otherworldly ideals. Aristotle is gesturing toward the ground, symbolizing his goal of happiness and focusing on the world around us.

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  23. H1
    DQ: Do you recall a time in childhood when you asked, a parent, a Sunday School teacher, or some other adult the question "Who or what made God?" Did you receive a satisfactory response (from your present point of view)? Was the response an appeal to authority - the authority of the Bible or some other sacred text, the interpreters of your faith, or of your parents?
    I did ask that question, and received a satisfactory response. They answered that existence had to be caused; matter and meaning and souls just don't appear out of nothingness. They pointed out that someone had to have created all of it, and that creator would have to be incredibly powerful and intelligent: God.

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    1. Christian Brooks (H3)12:32 PM CDT

      I have asked that question, and I always get a similar answer: He just sort of is and always has been.
      I have found this answer highly unsatisfactory, and I made this known regardless of the person who gave me that answer.

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    2. So then who created God? If matter and meaning and souls just don’t appear out of nothingness, where did God come from? Wouldn’t that in a way mean He appeared out of nothingness, so then wouldn’t that contradict their answer?

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  24. H1
    DQ: What do you think of the relativism debate between Boghossian and Fish, and specifically Fish's statement that philosophical conclusions "do not travel"?
    I think Fish is inconsistent: to say there is no such thing as truth would require him to believe that that statement is a truth... which, according to his previous logic, would mean that it wasn't true... so then truth would be real. It's a circle. Philosophical conclusions that do not lead to actions or lifestyle changes are much less likely to travel, but I do believe that philosophical conclusions change the world.

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  25. In general, would it be better to follow the golden mean or to go by extremes?

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    1. It would be healthier for the humans to follow the golden mean; however, the human condition seems to point us to extremes. Extremes lead to passion, risk, and excitement. The golden mean leads to safety and moderation. So, I suppose it depends on what one wants out of life.
      (H3)

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    2. In general, definitely the golden mean, but in some cases extremes are necessary. When it comes to things like seeking justice (in the modern sense of the word) for the defenseless, I think the moderate approach is wrong. Never let seeking moderation become an excuse for inaction in the face of evil.

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    3. Christian Brooks (H3)12:27 PM CDT

      Stability would come from the golden mean, but extremes are what makes humans exciting and innovative. The extremes are eventually necessary for us as a society, but the golden mean is a good safety net for us to reference.

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  26. DQ: I believe it was Russell who said Plato was mathematical, while Aristotle was biological. Do you think either approach is superior to the other when used in the study of philosophy? I would say I prefer Aristotle's Biological approach. Philosophy so often involves questions concerning man, and I believe man is more biological than mathematical.

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    1. Christian Brooks (H3)12:30 PM CDT

      It is true that man brings along the biological aspect, but in most cases a mathematical approach is necessary to bring evidence to the table and prove one's point of view. Mathematics can explain most aspects, or at least define them, in the universe; biology is more like a conduit for us to use in which to arrive at those conclusions.

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  27. Christian Brooks (H3)12:25 PM CDT

    "Is happiness the only thing in the world that's intrinsically good, for its own sake?"
    Due to the nature of happiness, the cause is often exclusive to the emotion itself. One person may find happiness from seeing puppies; however, another may find happiness in killing puppies. Because of this, do not believe happiness is intrinsically good.

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  28. (H01) I do not believe that happiness is intrinsically good, because as Christian previously said what can cause happiness for one can cause absolute horror for another. Happiness is not something that is flat across the border for every single person and it never will be. That's why I don't think it is or ever will be.

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  29. Quiz Question:
    If happiness lies in virtuous activity, what does perfect happiness lie in?

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  30. Quiz Question:
    Why does the Stoic-Christian view require a conception of virtue very different than that of Aristotle’s?

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  31. Quiz Question:
    Who had the view that “the highest virtue is for the few”?

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  32. Quiz Question:
    What was Aristotle indicted for?

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  33. Quiz Question:
    According to Aristotle’s metaphysics what is the distinction of “matter” and “form”?

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  34. Quiz Question:
    Even Aristotle’s account of what is tepid?

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  35. Quiz Question:
    How do Bentham and the utilitarians interpret “justice” as “equality”?

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  36. I do not believe happiness is intrinsically good, it’s a relative term. What we find happiness in others may find horror in, for instance people find happiness and excitement when in high jumping off of high place, for me it’s like committing suicide because I would die of fear before I even reach the bottom. I think Morticia Addams, in a way, said it the best with “Normal is an illusion. what is normal to the spider is chaos to the fly.” Normal and happiness are both things that are derived from our own perspective on life, so it cannot be intrinsic.

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  37. DQ: Does each of us have an "essence"?
    Answer: I think everyone has something that makes them THEM. Whether you want to call it a soul, or essence, or even patronus, I don't really care, I just know there's something more to us than just the science.

    DQ: Is happiness the only thing in the world that's intrinsically good, for its own sake?
    Answer: Sometimes happiness seems to be the only reason to do things. Dust will return to dust, so the only thing we take with us is memories- including memories of happiness. So no, happiness is not the only thing, but it is included- through memories.

    DQ: Is mathematics the uniquely "right form" for explaining the world?
    Answer: Even though mathematics was technically created by Man, it's 'essence' was present way before man existed. However, I don't think math, science, or religion can explain the world. There are exceptions to everything. Well, in my eyes, if there are exceptions, then the rule or law or whatever isn't right.

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  38. DQ: What do you think of time? Is it man-made, or is it similar to mathematics in that it's 'essence' existed long before man? Why?

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  39. Today in our peripatetic walk we discussed our beliefs on human essence, and the contrasting view of Camus and Aristotle. We concluded that while there isn't an inherit essence born in human, there is an essence that you create in yourself. This essence is heavily influence by outside sources, but one can also, like Camus' anti-hero Meursalt, ignore such influence, and have no essence what so ever.

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  40. Christian Brooks (H3)12:21 PM CDT

    Our peripatetic conversation consisted of what makes things 'good' and whether good actions mean good intentions.

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