Up@dawn 2.0

Friday, October 21, 2016

Quiz Oct 24/25

Utilitarians & Marx, HP 773-790; PW 23

1. How did Bentham define good and bad?

2. What fallacious argument does Russell attribute to John Stuart Mill?

3. How does Nietzsche's ethic differ from utilitarianism?

4. What was Hegel's influence on Marx, and how did Marx totally disagree with Hegel?

5. What did Marx say is philosophy's real task?

6. What does walking sometimes let you feel, momentarily?


DQ

  • Do people always pursue their own pleasure? Should they? Is there a conflict between personal happiness and the greater good?
  • Does "ought" imply "can"? 778
  • Do our desires, for example the desire for food, come before or after "the calculation of pleasures and pains"? 779
  • Darwin was a liberal, implying that he was not a Social Darwinist in favor of a "survival of the fittest" approach to society and ethics. Why do you think so many people still think he was?
  • Do you expect to see a social revolution on behalf of "wage-earners" in America in your lifetime? Why or why not?
  • Do you believe progress is human affairs is inevitable? Is it possible? Is it possible that future humans will regress to a more primitive and less ethical way of life? What factors do you think will determine the future of humanity?
  • Do you agree with Russell that questions concerning competition, property, and state ownership of land and capital are not "matters for philosopihy"? 789
  • What did Thoreau mean about "killing time"? Do you kill time? 190

Old post-
Mill, Darwin (LH); WATCH: Mill's harm principlePaley & the divine watchmaker (HI); LISTEN:Richard Reeves on Mill's On Liberty (PB); Humans, Apes, & Linnaeus; Evolution & Beauty(HI)... Podcast... Mill on happiness: excerpts from Autobiography, On Liberty, & Utilitarianism



1. John Stuart Mill criticized his father's friend _____'s version of Utilitarianism, saying it failed to distinguish higher and lower _____ of pleasure. (quantities, qualities) 

2. What was the title of Mill's 1859 defense of "giving each person space to develop as they saw fit" so long as they do no harm in the process? 

3. What did Mill think happens to views and opinions that go unchallenged? What do they turn into? 


4. (T/F) Charles Darwin defended evolution by natural selection in a debate at the Oxford Museum of Natural History in 1860. 

5. (T/F) Darwin called evolution by natural selection "the single best idea anyone has ever had." 

6. What do we know that Darwin didn't, that makes evolution more than "just a hypothesis"? 

BONUS: Who said "What do I care about J.S. Mill? I only want to lead a quiet life." 

DQ
1. Is it better to be a contented "piggish" person, or a discontented intellectual? Better Socrates dissatisfied or a pig satisfied? Are some pleasures inherently higher in quality than others? Which ones?

2. Mill would say we don't have a right to interfere with others' preferred pleasures, though we may have a duty to criticize them. Might such criticism encroach on someone's "space," should they "see fit" to live a life of slovenly pleasure?

3. Do you ever conclude a statement of belief with the caveat that it's "just my opinion"? What do you think Mill would say about that?

4. How do you respond to the idea that our humanity is demeaned by biological association with other species? What do you think of Bishop Wilberforce's rhetorical debate question? What's your answer to those who ask "why are there still monkeys"?

5. What do you think is the best idea of all time?

6. "The whole subject of God is too profound for the human intellect." Agree or disagree? Should everybody just stop talking about it?
==
*Mill & Darwin quotes

Mill and Darwin, both on Team Aristotle, look more on the bright side of life than old Schopenhauer. (But you'd be surprised how sunny Schopenhauer sounds in his "Wisdom of Life" essay.)


“He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion... Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them...he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.” 

“Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.” 

It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to beSocrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is only because they only know their own side of the question.” 

“In this age, the mere example of non-conformity, the mere refusal to bend the knee to custom, is itself a service... That so few now dare to be eccentric, marks the chief danger of the time.” 

“The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.” 


“If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.” 

“...But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidæ with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice... I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind ofNewtonLet each man hope and believe what he can.” 

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” 


“The love for all living creatures is the most noble attribute of man.” 

“Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected with the social instincts which in us would be called moral.” 

“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” 

The vigorous, the healthy, and the happy survive and multiply.

An old post;
Tuesday, April 14, 2015

“I have learned to seek my happiness by limiting my desires, rather than in attempting to satisfy them.” J.S. Mill‘s statement sounds surprisingly Buddhist/ascetic, for a philosopher whose name has come to be associated with libertarian self-actualization and (later) Jamesian liberalism. Understandable, perhaps, after an execrable childhood when his father pushed him much too hard to excel. He had a nervous breakdown at twenty. Cautionary tale, young scholars? [Mill'sAutobiography]

But he rebounded impressively, going on to become one of the most popular philosophers in the western world (definitely one of my personal favorites), an early champion of feminism, and a friend of personal freedom in general.

Mill tried to correct Bentham’s indiscriminate “happiness” by introducing a quality distinction among pleasures. I’d love to endorse this move, and say things like: unit for unit, an inning of baseball is far superior to a quarter of football. (We might agree, though, that both are superior to “push-pin” and some poetry.) But happiness, pleasure, satisfaction et al have to be left to the judgment of the beholder if they’re to be actual motivators of conduct. So, I agree with Mill in principle and in conscience, but must stick with Bentham in practice. [J.S. Mill up@dawn]


But the harm principle, and On Liberty (1859) in general? I’m with him.
The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.

I love too what he says about Socrates and truth. In Utilitarianism (1861) he adds,
It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, are of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. [JSM]

And remember this, when we discuss William James and “what works”: “The truth of an opinion is part of its utility. If we would know whether or not it is desirable that a proposition should be believed, is it possible to exclude the consideration of whether or not it is true? In the opinion, not of bad men, but of the best men, no belief which is contrary to truth can be really useful.”

Mill says we all know that some of our opinions are untrue, but must seek out or even invent the dissenting opinions that will correct them. But many or even most people are more like Thomas Hardy's "Phillotson," aren't they? They don't want to question everything, they don't really want to question much of anything. They only "want to lead a quiet life." Is that liberty? Or is it intellectual death?

Richard Reeves notes that Mill has by now become an English "national treasure," losing some of the dangerous edge that made him relevant in the first place. But his message still resonates for many, right Brian? We must take responsibility for our own beliefs, actions, and lives, and for our unique personal potential. We're all individuals. We don't have to follow anybody. We can be "self-made." (Hear that, B.F. Skinner?)

On Liberty wasn't the only groundbreaking, earthshaking, worldview-making publication of 1859. What was the best mindless eye-opening idea anybody ever had, Dan Dennett?
If I were to give an award for the single best idea anyone has ever had, I’d give it to Darwin, ahead of Newton and Einstein and everyone else. In a single stroke, the idea of evolution by natural selection unifies the realm of life, meaning, and purpose with the realm of space and time, cause and effect, mechanism and physical law. Darwin’s Dangerous Idea [Darwin and philosophy... Darwin@dawn... evolution... Dennett...Matthew Chapman... Scopes Trial... Loyal Rue]





We were talking about Hegel’s idea of history as a progressive march to expanded human consciousness of reason and freedom, driven by ideas in conflict (“thesis-antithesis”). I think we all have to admit (though of course we-all don’t, in these environs) that Darwin’s discoveries were a big hitch ahead on that road. His autobiographical account of an argument he had with the Captain of his storied ship (the Beagle) over slavery is instructive in this regard:
In the voyage at Bahia in Brazil he defended and praised slavery, which I abominated, and told me that he had just visited a great slave-owner, who had called up many of his slaves and asked them whether they were happy, and whether they wished to be free, and all answered “No.” I then asked him, perhaps with a sneer, whether he thought that the answers of slaves in the presence of their master was worth anything. This made him excessively angry, and he said that as I doubted his word, we could not live any longer together.
Darwin and Fitzroy patched that one up, and history is now clear about the winner of that debate. Progress, right? Fitzroy would later regret his role in Darwin’s saga, and our species’ climb up the tree of life from ignorance and superstition. But Darwin’s big idea, like Lincoln’s, was a great emancipator of the human spirit. They shared a birthday, curiously, and (as Hegel might have said) a zeitgeist.

So Darwin offered an account of our proximate origins that does not require the theistic hypothesis. He himself remained agnostic on the question, unlike our contemporary Richard Dawkins. He’s reviled by many Americans (deluded or not), but I can only envy the “popular understanding of science” he and others have proffered students in the U.K. and that our public schools continue to neglect.

Revisiting Darwin’s autobiography, and one of his more sagacious but plaintive reflections:
If I had to live my life again I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied could thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.
Don’t let it happen to you, kids. And remember: “the vigorous, the healthy, and the happy survive and flourish.” Actually he said they "multiply," but I think he'd be okay with my revision. Maybe that will help answer the student’s question that caught me so flat-footed one day in CoPhi: “What does any of this evolution stuff have to do with philosophy?”

Only everything, on my reading. Evolution by natural selection is possibly the best idea anyone ever had, as Dennett says. It brings our quest for meaning into meaningful harness with the rest of nature and life, provides the widest available perspective on our origins and destiny, links us to the primordial past and the possibility of a wondrous future for our species, and replaces disingenuous skepticism (a topic that came up in connection with scientific realism: can any reasonable person really doubt the existence of atoms etc.?) with a promising conceptual framework to unite all the disciplines of learning.

And as John Dewey said, in “The Influence of Darwinism on Philosophy“:
Origin of Species introduced a mode of thinking that in the end was bound to transform the logic of knowledge, and hence the treatment of morals, politics, and religion… making many sincere and vital efforts to revise our traditional philosophic conceptions in accordance with its demands.
Darwin helped us understand that the world and all its species, and possibly the entire universe, are in dynamic and mutually-formative relations with one another and with their respective environments. Those in closest proximity are vital environing influences themselves, competitors for existence and co-creators of life. They are change-agents, in perpetual process of growth and adaptation (or demise). Nothing is fixed and final and forever. Our thinking must be flexible and adaptive too.
But maybe the best answer to what’s philosophical about evolution can be explained in simpler terms still. I’ll visit the kids’ section and get back to you. Meanwhile here’s a start:

The Tree of Life begins with Darwin’s childhood and traces the arc of his life through university and career, following him around the globe on the voyage of the Beagle, and home to a quiet but momentous life devoted to science and family… a gloriously detailed panorama of a genius’s trajectory through investigating and understanding the mysteries of nature.

A personal connection: my first landlord - that is, the owner of my parents' first brick-and-mortar free-standing home, when I was a small child, was famed zoologist and Scopes witness Winterton Curtis. He used to pull dollars from my ear. Very cool guy.

As we noted recently, when discussing David Hume’s rejection of intelligent design, it’s all really pretty simple, and wondrous, and beautiful.



Carl Sagan’s version of the story is very good.


But maybe you’ll find Eric Idle’s easier to hum. Listen to this:



It’s the sun and you and me, and all the stars that we can see, and life, and everything in this amazing and expanding universe that philosophers are trying to understand. Makes you feel kinda small, but also kinda special. We’re the ones who get to be here and sing along.

115 comments:

  1. (H30 Pleasure? I would say they don't as people often subject themselves to things that make them unhappy for the good of others or their long term good. For example. If you go to the doctor to get a flu shot that does not bring you pleasure, it is a painful experience actually. But you do it because you don't want to get sick. There will always be conflict in general between personal and collective good. For example, if a country goes to war it is in the collective good for young men and women to join the military, but the individual might not find it in their best interest to join the military.

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  2. (H3) Desire for food? I can say from a personal experience that base level desires, such as food, shelter, clothing, etc. come before a pleasure pain calculation. About a month ago I contracted esophogites for a week. Although I desired food quite a good bit, the pain I received from eating, or even drinking really, was so much that it completely overrode the pleasure I received from eating to quite my hunger.

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    1. Agreed. Basic survival needs always come before pleasure/pain calculations

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    2. I don't quite agree with you, when I get really sick or am in extreme pain the desire to eat goes out the window. The only way I eat is if I'm forced to, but if it were up to me I just wouldn't.

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  3. (H3) Darwin? Well because he came up with the theory its not that hard to think, "well he was the first to theories this and since his name is in Social Darwinism he must have invented it to and believed in it."

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    1. I agree with you. That is how I would think about it.

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  4. (H3) Revolution? No for a few reasons, 1) despite what you might think America is actually a pretty stable socially and in it's government. 2) the wage gap is not so great as to facilitate it. 3) I do not see any political ro social forces with enough influence to generate one going around. 4) monopoly of Violence. Between Police, National Guard, and regular military forces the US government has a complete monopoly of force, one that would not easily be broken and since America has an all volunteer force with no conscription there is not a disgruntle class of soldiers from the lower classes just waiting for a chance to vent their frustration. There are no Battleship Potemkin's in America to my knowledge.

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  5. (h3) Human progress. I think long term progress is inevitable though in the short term (in the context of the grand scale that is history) falling back is very possible. An appropriate though fanciful example is in star trek. The humanity we see in Star Trek, I think most would agree, is a rather advanced and hopeful one. Before that though they had to go through the Decades of kangaroo courts, warlords, nuclear war, and planetary infighting through the Eugenics Wars and the Third World War before they could become what they are in the Star Trek movies and shows.

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  6. (h3) Matters for Philosophy? I do not completely disagree with him, that is more the realm of politics though philosophy can certainly help dealing with the many problems that arise form these questions.

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  7. (h3) Kill Time? I think he means to imply that the phrase is literal, and that we could actually burn up or destroy sections of time to move more quickly toward the events we wish to transpire.

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  8. Here's a question, is it really the job of philosophy to alter the world? or is it just the job of philosophy to comprehend it?

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    1. (H3) My impression was that philosophy is meant to help us comprehend and make sense of the world. Perhaps with a better understanding, one can alter the world. However, I don't think philosophy's job is to alter the world.

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    2. (H3) Definitely comprehend it. I feel like the world alters us more than we alter it.

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    3. Or, just to provide an alternative option to chew on; maybe philosophy exists to help us comprehend the world, and we as individuals, to the best of our abilities, alter the world based on our comprehension.

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    4. Philosophy is more of a means to understand the world, not alter it.

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    5. I think both. What good is comprehension if it does nothing to better the world?

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  9. (H3) When Thoreau advises us not to kill time, I think he means not to waste it or treat time like it is not valuable. For Thoreau, time is precious and should not be abused.

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  10. (H3) I guess I do kill time, though I like to think of it more like I waste time. My intent is not to fill in space between one event and another, it is more to relax and not think. Either way, I believe Thoreau would be disappointed in my lack of appreciation for time, sometimes.

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  11. (H3) I think people do mainly pursue their own happiness/pleasure. For some, others' happiness make them happy, indirectly satisfying their own pleasure. For others, it is about instant gratification and, for others, it is about long term happiness. Just because we are each seeking our own happiness doesn't mean we don't care about those around us. It is not necessarily bad until you hurt someone else, mentally or physically, to get what you want.

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  12. (H3) I don't think there's a conflict between personal happiness and the greater good when what you are seeking doesn't prevent others from achieving their happiness. If you are concerned with the greater good, chances are your happiness ties into theirs. If you are not concerned with the greater good, perhaps your search for personal happiness is more selfish than it is righteous.

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  13. (H3) "Ought" and "can" are two separate things. "Ought" is used to indicate duty or correctness. "Can' means able or permitted to. In court cases, the police and D.A. ought to lock away criminals, however, based on evidence, they are not always able to.

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    1. But sometimes ought does imply something that we can do even if it's something that we don't, it implies something we can.

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  14. (H3) There have been many studies that stratify human needs. At the base we have necessities required to live: food, water, air, etc. Then other needs are categorized, with the final tier being self-actualization, according to Maslow's hierarchy. Basically, it is more accurate to say our "basic needs" come before "the calculation of pleasures and pains".

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  15. (H3) Due to his name being part of the phrase it is not difficult to see why some would associate him with Social Darwinism. There is all his studies and data to back up this assumption.

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  16. (H3) I would probably agree with Russell that competition, property, and state ownership of land and capital are not necessarily matters of philosophy. However, if philosophy is defined as the questioning of life, than technically philosophy is pretty all-encompassing.

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  17. (H3) What did Thoreau mean about "killing time"? Do you kill time?
    Thoreau is referring to counteracting boredom. I'm always killing time, moving from one spontaneous event to another. I can't stand boredom.

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  18. (H3) Do you agree with Russell that questions concerning competition, property, and state ownership of land and capital are not "matters for philosophy"?
    No these are more matters of politics and are less abstract than for philosophy.

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  19. (H3) Do you believe progress is human affairs is inevitable? Is it possible? Is it possible that future humans will regress to a more primitive and less ethical way of life? What factors do you think will determine the future of humanity?
    To say we will regress because future humans will not think like us is cynical. We've only gotten less primitive as time goes on. I have no doubt in a few hundred years humans will wonder how we managed to survive so long.

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  20. (H3) Do our desires, for example the desire for food, come before or after "the calculation of pleasures and pains"?
    Before. Calculation seems to imply control, and we have no control over our desire for food.

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    1. Well, we have no desire over the food needed to survive. We have desire for specific types of food and the amount we wish to consume.p

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  21. (H3) Do people always pursue their own pleasure? Should they? Is there a conflict between personal happiness and the greater good?
    Pleasure is subjective. People are always pursuing what they consider the best for them, even if the gratification is not instant. Like Bryce's flu shot comment, it makes me happier to not get sick than the pain of getting the shot. As people are complex, conflicts between personal happiness and the greater good will always exist.

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  22. (H3) People don't always pursue their own pleasures, sometimes they pursue things for others pleasure.

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    1. However, when people pursue other things, they could be pursuing pleasure, just not immediate pleasure

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  23. (H3) People should not always pursue their own pleasures.

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  24. (H3) Personal happiness and the greater good can coincide with one another, they don't have to conflict one another.

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    1. Sometimes they do coincide, but depending on the person, Sometimes the greater good is the opposite of pleasure.

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  25. (H3) "Ought" does not always imply "can".

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  26. (H3) Our "desire" for food comes before other things because it is a need, not a desire.

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  27. (H3) I think we could see a revolution of wage earners in our generation because many people are unsatisfied.

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  28. (H3) I think change is inevitable so I believe that progress is inevitable.

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  29. (H3) I don't think future humans will be more primitive but they may be less ethical.

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  30. (H3) I believe that property and competition could be matters of philosophy, genuinely anything could be a matter of philosophy.

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    1. True, sometimes I think philosophy is far too inclusive of a field. All one has to do to add an idea to philosophy is convince others that the idea has notable implications beyond itself.

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  31. Darwin was a liberal, implying that he was not a Social Darwinist in favor of a "survival of the fittest" approach to society and ethics. Why do you think so many people still think he was?

    It's hard to separate one's name from such a theory and its implications. Darwin would probably say his theory is meant only to solve the question of how life exists in its present form, not serve as a bible to those looking for a method of government and/or society in general. Once your ideas are in the world, you have no control over how they are implemented.

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  32. Do you expect to see a social revolution on behalf of "wage-earners" in America in your lifetime? Why or why not?

    I hope not. At least not in the way it has happened throughout history in Europe. I'm always a fan of an improved life for wage-earner; I've been one myself and know they deserve it! But let's do this thing right and take the slower approach to keep our stability as a nation. Let's not trade one evil for another. As for the question of will I see a revolution in my lifetime, I can hardly say. Ask me after election day.

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  33. Do you believe progress is human affairs is inevitable? Is it possible? Is it possible that future humans will regress to a more primitive and less ethical way of life? What factors do you think will determine the future of humanity?

    Humans prove time and time again their incapability to progress as a species without setbacks. I see no reason for the pattern not to continue. Perhaps we are due for another setback in this region of the world... The future of humanity depends on our acceptance of, and agreement on, certain moral and common sense values.

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  34. People tend to pursue their own personal pleasure and with many, their own pleasure preceeds the greater good. So in a sense, there is a conflict between personal pleasure and the greater good because many would rather their own personal pleasure first and foremost.

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  35. When used in the present tense, ought does sometimes imply can. Sometimes ought Does not imply can because it is not within our bounds at the time
    . When in the past, it means something we could have done but no longer can do.

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  36. Some desires do come before pleasure and pain because we will first and foremost desire what is necessary to surviv

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    1. I don't agree with you there. If that were true people wouldn't commit suicide when things get overwhelming, like being diagnosed with cancer, dementia, etc.

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  37. Possibly people see Darwin as a social Darwinist because he created the doctrines for them even though he does not follow them.

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  38. If economics continue as it is, I believe there may be a social revolution on behalf of wage earners because it is getting harder and harder for wage earners to make a living with their wages.

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  39. I believe progress in human affairs will occur in the future and that humans will eventually improve because I have to look at the more positive side of it and hope for the best.

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  40. I believe that everything concerning humans and their affairs is a matter of philosophy because we have to discern what is right, what is wrong, and what is the best thing that we could do

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  41. What Thoreau meant by killing time was simply by wasting it, not appreciating time, trying to speed it up instead of enjoying it. In this world, everyone kills time at some point because we are always doing something or have something to do and never time to just enjoyeverything

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  42. People don't always pursue their personal pleasure. They can put other's interests before theirs to help them. I don't think you can say every action is influenced by trying to achieve pleasure

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    1. H1
      I guess that's when you get to talk about the definition of personal pleasure; does sacrificing for your loved ones count as a pleasure?

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  43. I think there is a conflict between personal happiness and the greater good. But not all situations are distinctly one or the other. If you do something for happiness, it might not even affect other people at all. But in extreme cases, like choosing between family and the majority, how can you make someone obligated to choosing the majority for the greater good

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  44. Desire for food comes before calculating. You won't think well or even calculate well if your body needs food.

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  45. People may think Darwin believes the survival of the fittest mentality just because his name is attached to the very influential idea he introduced. When you think of a person and his work, you would assume he believed and would apply his ideas

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  46. I think progress in human affairs is inevitable. In human history, people have progressed in terms of how we treat and accept others of difference, although it has taken a long time

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  47. I don't think people will really regress to a more primitive way of life unless for some reason government and order are destroyed

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    1. Many have already regressed, that's why there are serial killers and cannibals, etc.

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    2. I mean as a whole people won't regress. There are serial killers and cannibals but not everyone is one. They are the exceptions within society, but not the entire society are killers or cannibals.

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  48. (H3) Sometimes I kill time like when I am at work or have small periods of time in between things I have to do.

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    1. Would that be killing time or using your time wisely.

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  49. By killing time, Thoreau meant anything done to speed up time. I've definitely tried to kill time on my phone. I kill time because I have something to do later, but I have nothing to do now. I try to speed up time so I can jump to when I can do my task. The negative side is being unable to appreciate the now and realizing at the end of the day that that time is gone.

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    1. Christian Brooks (H3)12:36 PM CDT

      In a society run by schedules, such as America, most people will need to kill time at some point. Unless one is late to most things, or if your culture prefers it that way, it is likely everyone will kill time on their phone or what have you.

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    2. H1
      Maybe the key is to find a way to spend the time in-between appointments, etc in a productive and enjoyable manner. I almost always have a book with me, and when I read that while waiting for class to begin, I'm experiencing active pleasure in something I love. I think of that as a little break for reading, rather than some activity scrounged up to make the clock go faster.

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  50. Factors that influence humanity in the future could be things like war, human relations, and scientific advancements.

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  51. Christian Brooks (H3)12:34 PM CDT

    “Do people always pursue their own pleasure?”
    I believe many people are driven to pursue their own pleasure, but that is not always a selfish thing. In many cases, people derive their pleasure from helping others. Selflessness, which has a connotation to be ‘above’ pleasure, can mean pleasure for both parties. In some cases, the person driven does not receive pleasure at all, but does the action because it is the ‘right’ thing to do. As with most things in philosophy, it comes down to the particular instance.

    “Does ‘ought’ imply ‘can’?”
    Like above, it depends on the circumstances. In general, many people should do things differently, but few have the self-discipline to do what they should because they cannot. In a more typical sense, many people advise another by saying what they believe the other’s best option is; this implies they can do the action, because it would not be recommended to them otherwise.

    “Do our desires, for example the desire for food, come before or after ‘the calculation of pleasures and pains’?”
    Many desires incorporate ‘the calculation of pleasures and pains’ in a base, physiological sense. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, for example, is to avoid all kinds of ‘pains’. However, ‘pleasures and pains’ can be interpreted as Self-Actualization because of its role in society and culture, as well as on an individual level.
    [Maslow’s Hierarchy: http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow-pyramid.jpg]

    “Darwin was a liberal, implying that he was not a Social Darwinist in favor of a ‘survival of the fittest’ approach to society and ethics. Why do you think so many people still think he was?”
    The most likely correct answer is that most people see his name in the term and assume it was named after him, rather than his observations and extrapolations.

    “Do you expect to see a social revolution on behalf of ‘wage-earners’ in America in your lifetime? Why or why not?”
    America has seen a lot of change in recent years, and more is sure to come. Not all will be focused on culture; economic revolution has already been discussed in the change of minimum wage. California was the site for a proposed plan to increase the minimum wage significantly over the course of incremental increases in a small number of years.
    [Article on CA’s minimum wage: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/03/28/california-raises-minimum-wage-15-hour/82348622/]

    Older DQs:
    “Do you ever conclude a statement of belief with the caveat that it's ‘just my opinion’?”
    My beliefs ARE just my opinions, so I often preface what I’m explaining with the caveat. Many of my opinions stir up confrontation or are at least in the minority, so the phrase ‘just my opinion’ is often a safety net to convey, “if you don’t like it or disagree, that’s fine. My opinion is no more correct than yours.”

    “How do you respond to the idea that our humanity is demeaned by biological association with other species?”
    I think it is rather rudimentary to have such a view. Most life on Earth shares a significant amount of DNA, most of which has been tagged as superfluous biological baggage. To think that humans should be insulted to share the biological association with other species is incredibly naïve.

    “’The whole subject of God is too profound for the human intellect.’ Agree or disagree?”
    Most religions view other religions as incorrect, so regardless of your religion, if you fall within the general ideology, most if not all religions were invented at some point. This causes anything/anyone within the religion, whether that be exemplary figures or a pantheon, to be within a human’s range of intellect. In addition, even if one believes that their religion is the correct one, there is some religion out there that mimics or idealizes what their god is. Therefore, no subject of God or religion is beyond or too profound for human intellect.

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  52. Ought means something that you can do, or it could imply something you should do. Can only means something that you are capable of doing

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    1. So then ought, can, and should all mean the same thing?

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    2. H1
      I don't think can means the same as ought and should. I can throw my computer across the room and hit the person across from me, but I don't think I ever ought (or should) do that.

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    3. I don't mean that they all mean the same thing. Ought may encompass something you are capable of doing and something you might be obligated to do. Again, can only means something you are capable of doing.

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  53. People usually seek their own pleasure in life. That pleasure may come from helping other people achieve pleasure or seeking the common good. So, seeking one's own pleasure is good to an extent. (H3)

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  54. Ought does not mean can. Just because we ought to have a perfect world, does not mean humans can ever actually achieve it. (H3)

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    1. H1
      If every inhabitant of the world decided to do what they ought to do (and every person has this ability to make this choice), then the world could become a perfect world. It's only through people choosing to do what they ought not, that the world is made dangerous.

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    2. I agree with Grace on this one, if everyone just did what they ought to do, we would have a perfect world.

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  55. Our desires do naturally come before the calculation of pleasure and pain. Often times people will make a decision that will harm them longterm and cause pain but they desire it in the moment, so they do it. (H3)

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  56. I don't know if it is likely I will see a social "revolution" in my lifetime. Berne Sanders tried, and was fairly effective, to start a revolution of that sort in the democratic primary this year. He did not win the nomination, so it is put off for at least awhile. It could be leading America in that direction though. (H3)

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  57. DQ: Do people always pursue their own pleasure?
    I don't think people always pursue their own pleasure. My father has always worked hard and long hours to take care of his children; I know that many of those hours were unpleasant and difficult, but he worked them because he believed it was right. But of course this comes to a difficulty; what is meant by "pleasure?" If it gave him joy to take care of us, and satisfy his understanding of his moral obligations, perhaps you can say that it was a pleasure, and that he was simply pursuing pleasure.

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  58. DQ: Is there a conflict between personal happiness and the greater good?
    I think that depends on the person, and the boundaries they are willing to cross. If their personal happiness is harming others, then that goes against the greater good.

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  59. I think some may believe that darwin was a social Darwinist because people tend to believe what they want without looking at the facts. His evidence is support of capitalism, if you think of humans as simple as animals. I suppose capitalism may bring out the animalistic nature in us anyway. (H3)

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  60. H1
    DQ: Darwin was a liberal, implying that he was not a Social Darwinist in favor of a "survival of the fittest" approach to society and ethics. Why do you think so many people still think he was?
    The majority of people know very little about Darwin (I hadn't known Anaximander came up with a theory of evolution in ancient Greece). The facts people know about Darwin are vague and simplistic. He came up with the theory of the survival of the fittest, so people assume that he applied it to everything.

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  61. H1
    DQ: Do you agree with Russell that questions concerning competition, property, and state ownership of land and capital are not "matters for philosopihy"?
    I think that every endeavor can have it's own philosophy (philosophy of music, of making furniture, etc), but that those don't necessarily have to fall into the broad field of philosophy on its own. Thinking about the meaning of life and the meaning of dominant seventh chords are what I consider to be two different categories.

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  62. H1
    DQ: What did Thoreau mean about "killing time"? Do you kill time?
    People who do their best to find things to do to make time pass quickly are damaging their life's time. Having time pass as you do things, and doing things to make time pass are very different, and to Thoreau that difference was very important.

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  63. H1
    DQ: What did Thoreau mean about "killing time"? Do you kill time?

    Thoreau's statement, "as if one could kill time without injuring eternity," is one of my favorite quotes in general. The short period in which we exist should not be wasted in any way. Every moment we waste in an attempt to just get to the next day is a moment lost to the ever-flowing river of the past, a moment we will never get back.

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    1. H1
      I like that. I remember reading a short story in which a man had the ability to skip boring parts of his life. He ends up moving through life pretty quickly, and realizing at the end that by missing the small moments, he missed his Life.

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  64. H1
    DQ:Is it better to be a contented "piggish" person, or a discontented intellectual? Better Socrates dissatisfied or a pig satisfied? Are some pleasures inherently higher in quality than others? Which ones?


    When concerning oneself with what pleasures are higher or lower than others, I think it is more intuitive to ask the individual than the population. How, you may ask, can we structure a society around the pleasures of an individual? I believe if we structure a society with liberty in fore front, much like how America is romanticized to be, then we are maximizing the pleasure of the whole. By doing this, we allot every pleasure a fair place. Therefore the pleasure of the individual is maximized.

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    1. H1
      I think trying to discern better and worse pleasures can only be determined by referencing an objective standard of morality; only by comparing things to a standard can they be considered "better" or "worse."

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  65. (H1) Do people always pursue their own pleasure? Should they? Is there a conflict between personal happiness and the greater good?

    I don't think people always pursue their own pleasure as evidenced by the amount of people stuck in unhappy jobs and living situations - sometimes they just do what they have to do. If it doesn't hurt anyone else, I think people should pursue their own pleasure if they are able, as happiness is a good goal to strive for. Occasionally this can cause conflict with the greater good depending on exactly what the person's personal pleasure is, and it is only in these instances in which someone should place others before themselves.

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  66. (H1) Does "ought" imply "can"?

    I believe "ought" implies "should" rather than "can." Just because someone "ought" to do something or something "ought" to be achieved does not mean it is possible, at least not in the moment. However, this does not mean that that something shouldn't be strived for, hence the "should."

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    1. If it is not possible then why is it an ought? To me that doesn't make sense. If you ought to do something you should be capable of doing it.

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  67. (H1) Do our desires, for example the desire for food, come before or after "the calculation of pleasures and pains"?

    I believe base desires such as the desire for food come before the calculation of pleasure and pain, and everything after what is necessary for survival and living comes after.

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  68. (H1) Do you expect to see a social revolution on behalf of "wage-earners" in America in your lifetime? Why or why not?

    I believe we have been on the edge of a social revolution like this for some time, just look at the 99% Wall Street movement. However, whether or not we will see heavy change is debatable.

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  69. (H1) Do you believe progress is human affairs is inevitable? Is it possible? Is it possible that future humans will regress to a more primitive and less ethical way of life? What factors do you think will determine the future of humanity?

    I believe that unless something major happens to set us back, progress is inevitable. Little movements are made every day towards a different future. No, whether or not the future is less ethical or more primitive than today will remain to be seen, but maybe after progressing to that point that will be seen as the epitome of progress and what we have now will be seen as primitive.

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  70. I think that Thoreau meant wasting time, when he said killing time. Anything idle would be killing time.

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  71. I do kill time a lot, whether it's napping, on Instagram, snap chat, etc. I think it's a way to just get through something boring or something you don't want to do.

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  72. People link Social Darwinism and Darwin because his name is in the title.

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  73. I think that, ought" implies "can" because if you should do something, you should also have the ability to do so.

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  74. I think there is a conflict between personal happiness and the greater good. That's why we have the poor and starving people everywhere.

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  75. to some extent people do always follow there own pleasure but not entirely for instance people continue to do what is right even if they would find pleasure in wrongness however this could then lead back that they are satisfying there desire for self righteousness there is a constant conflict between people little goods and the greater goods.

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  76. Almost never does the word ought imply can because if it did then it wouldn't be can it would be did because if you ought to do something and are capable of doing it then it is usually done.

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  77. desires come before pleasures because until you desire someing it is impossible to find pleasure in the thing you desire for instance when I hunger I need to hunger in order to find pleasure in food in order to receive pleasure from it when someone offers me food and I am not hungry then the food offers me no pleasure.

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  78. I do not expect to see a revolt of the age earners of America in todays society I don't believe that people are strong willed enough to rise up there is also not of yet a common goal if the American people could somehow band together and find a common goal then and only then would there be a real revolution.

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  79. The human race has been constantly evolving for thousands of years constantly finding improvements on humans of the past by societal standards however many will argue that society is in fact evolutionizing to a destruction if one nation where to create nuclear fall out then we devolve instantly.

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  80. Not hardly every day life is in essence the reason for philosophy political views is one of the most interjected part of philosophy and I like to think that the ability to think (philosophy) will substantiate your wealth giving you all of the above.

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  81. I wish that I had time to kill unfortunately this is not a major luxury of mine but I do find time to kill specifically because I find pleasure in it and I would prefer to indulge in pleasure if given the option.

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  82. H2

    DQ: Do people always pursue their own pleasure? Should they? Is there a conflict between personal happiness and the greater good?
    Answer: I’m a natural cynic, so I tend to believe that people are always acting for their own gain, even at the expense of others or the ‘greater good.’ However, I’m willing to admit my biased or clouded view isn’t always accurate, though I can very rarely change my view.

    DQ: Does "ought" imply "can"?
    Answer: By this, do you mean ‘can’ as in physically, or morally? I see that as a very important key. I don’t think there’s a direct correlation between the two words that can be applied to any scenario.

    DQ: Do our desires, for example the desire for food, come before or after "the calculation of pleasures and pains"?
    Answer: I think this depends on a person’s specific view on importance- where they rank earthly and monetary values in accordance to other aspects of life.

    DQ: Darwin was a liberal, implying that he was not a Social Darwinist in favor of a "survival of the fittest" approach to society and ethics. Why do you think so many people still think he was?
    Answer: The way he presented and spoke was not aligned with these claims.

    DQ: Do you expect to see a social revolution on behalf of "wage-earners" in America in your lifetime? Why or why not?
    Answer: I believe it’s happening right now- the fight for $15/hour as minimum wage. And while I do not see this as a reasonable amount in our country’s current financial state, I do feel minimum rage should be raised.

    DQ: Do you believe progress is human affairs is inevitable? Is it possible? Is it possible that future humans will regress to a more primitive and less ethical way of life? What factors do you think will determine the future of humanity?
    Answer: The future of humanity will be based on many factors, but the most important being what we do in the present, whatever time that may be. Actions done for the present are what will push society forward.

    DQ: Do you agree with Russell that questions concerning competition, property, and state ownership of land and capital are not "matters for philosophy"?
    Answer: No, because they are part of everyday life, whether or not we are willing to admit it.

    DQ: What did Thoreau mean about "killing time"? Do you kill time?
    Answer: I view ‘killing time’ as moronic. So often we complain of a lack of time, and yet the lack of time is often due to procrastination, or ‘killing time.’

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  83. DQ: Is it better to be a contented "piggish" person, or a discontented intellectual? Better Socrates dissatisfied or a pig satisfied? Are some pleasures inherently higher in quality than others? Which ones?
    Answer: I say it’s better, overall, to be an educated un-content person than be ignorant and happy. However, there is a point to acknowledge that some do prefer ignorance.

    DQ: Mill would say we don't have a right to interfere with others' preferred pleasures, though we may have a duty to criticize them. Might such criticism encroach on someone's "space," should they "see fit" to live a life of slovenly pleasure?
    Answer: To me, as long as someone’s opinion isn’t harmful to others, then there is no reason to attempt to change it. There’s no justified way to challenge or attack someone’s beliefs when no one is being negatively affected.

    DQ: Do you ever conclude a statement of belief with the caveat that it's "just my opinion"? What do you think Mill would say about that?
    Answer: I do, because I would hate for someone to read my opinions and take my word as an accepted truth, especially since my beliefs are varied, often controversial, and quite unique.

    DQ: What do you think is the best idea of all time?
    Answer: The best idea, in my opinion, is the idea of “not accepting, but respecting.” There doesn’t need to be acceptance of other’s ideas and beliefs, as long as there is a mutual understand and respect.

    DQ: "The whole subject of God is too profound for the human intellect." Agree or disagree? Should everybody just stop talking about it?
    Answer: I believe that some don’t actually ‘believe’ in God, but rather use belief as a purpose for life. Whether or not we can understand the idea of God, there will always be people who attempt to, and trying to tell them otherwise is often unfruitful and pointless.

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  84. H1
    In our discussion group, Stephanie and I discussed utilitarianism, which led to a discussion of the possibility of objective morality by which to judge other cultures.

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  85. My group's peripatetic walk mainly consisted of a history lesson on communism followed by a short debate on its merits.

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  86. DQ Response:Do our desires, for example the desire for food, come before or after "the calculation of pleasures and pains"?

    I Don't believe that desires come before "pleasures and pains" or vice versa. I think that our desires are based on "the calculation of pleasure and pains" and that we almost always put our desires before other things. This is because, as Russell points out on several occasions, humans are naturally egoistic. We always put ourselves first because it is in our basic human nature to do so. John Stuart Mill criticized Bentham's probability-of-pleasure system for it's disregard to another factor that is influential in our decision making process: value. He notes that we should consider the value of actions, rather than just the pleasure of them, when deciding what to do. However, I think that the value is already an implication built into our desire. I think when we value something more, we naturally desire it. Referring to the food example, when you do too many other actions without yielding to your desire for food, you begin to experience pain; your stomach feels empty and sometimes you'll even get dizzy or nauseous. Once you satisfy your food desire, your pain is replaced with pleasure. This is how we have learned to value, or more strongly desire, the action of eating in comparison to other things. Even if we may want to, say, go on a bike ride instead of eat, we will tend to eat first because we know by experience, that the pleasure of not being hungry outweighs the pleasure of riding a bike while hungry. This is how we prioritize.

    (H2)

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  87. DQ: What did Thoreau mean about "killing time"? Do you kill time?
    Answer: I view ‘killing time’ as moronic. So often we complain of a lack of time, and yet the lack of time is often due to procrastination, or ‘killing time.’
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