Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, October 24, 2016

Quiz Oct 26/27

James & Dewey, HP 811-828; PW 25

1. Russell credits James's book on what subject with "the highest possible excellence"? 

2. Russell says James persuaded him of the truth of what doctrine?

3. What is the function of philosophy, according to James?

4. In what area does Russell say Dewey's influence was profound?

5. Whose philosophy influenced Dewey in his youth, and how did he move away from it?

6. What was Peirce's definition of truth? What concept did Dewey substitute for truth?

7. What did Montaigne say the mind needs for stimulation?

8. What is a lung-gom-pa?

DQ
  • COMMENT: “The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way. Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct..." William James, Principles of Psychology
  • What do you think James meant when he said consciousness "is the name of a nonentity"?
  • Do you think it's ever acceptable to believe something for which there is no compelling evidence or demonstrable probability? Can you give an example of something you believe without such evidence or probability? Why do you believe it? What would James and Russell say?
  • Do you agree or disagree with Russell's view that James's position on religious belief is "only benevolence, not philosophy"? Why?
  • Do you agree with Russell's claim that Peirce's definition of truth "leaves us in the dark"?  Why do you think Peirce introduced this definition? 824
  • Do you think Russell is fair to Dewey in his surmise about how Dewey would answer a question like "Did you have coffee with your breakfast this morning?" 825
  • What do you do when your thoughts are blocked?
Old post-
Peirce & James, LISTEN: Robert Talisse on Pragmatism (PB)... Podcast... Also see "On a Certain Blindness in Human Beings" and "Sentiment of Rationality/Dilemma of Determinism"

1. Charles Sanders Peirce said truth is what we would end up with if we could what?
The essence of belief is the establishment of a habit; and different beliefs are distinguished by the different modes of action to which they give rise.
Charles Sanders Peirce's quote #1 
2. William James gave an example of the pragmatic approach to philosophical questions by discussing what scenario (or what dispute)?

3. Who made fun of James's theory of truth by saying it meant he had to believe in Santa Claus?
Image result for william james quotes

4. What 20th century pragmatist said words are for coping with the world, not copying it?

5. What does "cash value" mean for a pragmatist?

6. Who was William James's famous brother?


 BONUS:Rob Talisse says religious belief for James has nothing to do with what? 195

DQ
1. Will there ever be an end of science, or a complete catalog of truths?

2. Do you agree that a "distinction without a (practical) difference" is irrelevant, and that truth and falsehood are practically the same if you can't specify the difference? 

3. When James said truth is what works, did he mean what works for me, now? Or for us, on the whole and in the long run? Does this matter, practically? Does it bear on Bertrand Russell's criticism?

4. Do you think of words as tools for expressing your ideas and feelings, communicating with yourself and others, and generally "coping"... or as mental photographs that copy the world? Could they be both? What would it be like to have no words? (Could you even think about that, or about anything?) Do words ever get in the way of thought, or distort it?

5. What makes an idea valuable to you?

6. What's the difference between a fiction and a lie? Can fiction convey truth?
==
William James would agree:



Marco Rubio said in last night's (11.10/15) GOP debate: "Welders make more money than philosophers. We need more welders and less philosophers." William James would disagree. We need more philosophical welders, business-people, people generally... so we need more philosophers.

An old post-
April 21, 2015
It's Peirce and James (and Vandy's Robert Talisse on the pragmatists and truth)...

Through the years I've written repeatedly and delightedly on PeirceJames, and Nietzsche@dawn, especially WJ.


I’m not especially pleased with Nigel Warburton’s take on James, true enough to the letter but not at all to the spirit of his pragmatic conception of truth. More on that later. At least he gets thesquirrel right.



               
Here's what James actually said, about the squirrel and about pragmatism's conception of truth:
...Mindful of the scholastic adage that whenever you meet a contradiction you must make a distinction, I immediately sought and found one, as follows: "Which party is right," I said, "depends on what you PRACTICALLY MEAN by 'going round' the squirrel. If you mean passing from the north of him to the east, then to the south, then to the west, and then to the north of him again, obviously the man does go round him, for he occupies these successive positions. But if on the contrary you mean being first in front of him, then on the right of him, then behind him, then on his left, and finally in front again, it is quite as obvious that the man fails to go round him, for by the compensating movements the squirrel makes, he keeps his belly turned towards the man all the time, and his back turned away. Make the distinction, and there is no occasion for any farther dispute. You are both right and both wrong according as you conceive the verb 'to go round' in one practical fashion or the other."
Altho one or two of the hotter disputants called my speech a shuffling evasion, saying they wanted no quibbling or scholastic hair-splitting, but meant just plain honest English 'round,' the majority seemed to think that the distinction had assuaged the dispute.



I tell this trivial anecdote because it is a peculiarly simple example of what I wish now to speak of as THE PRAGMATIC METHOD. The pragmatic method is primarily a method of settling metaphysical disputes that otherwise might be interminable. Is the world one or many?—fated or free?—material or spiritual?—here are notions either of which may or may not hold good of the world; and disputes over such notions are unending. The pragmatic method in such cases is to try to interpret each notion by tracing its respective practical consequences. What difference would it practically make to anyone if this notion rather than that notion were true? If no practical difference whatever can be traced, then the alternatives mean practically the same thing, and all dispute is idle. Whenever a dispute is serious, we ought to be able to show some practical difference that must follow from one side or the other's being right... Pragmatism, Lecture II
==
Truth, as any dictionary will tell you, is a property of certain of our ideas. It means their 'agreement,' as falsity means their disagreement, with 'reality.' Pragmatists and intellectualists both accept this definition as a matter of course. They begin to quarrel only after the question is raised as to what may precisely be meant by the term 'agreement,' and what by the term 'reality,' when reality is taken as something for our ideas to agree with...
Pragmatism asks its usual question. "Grant an idea or belief to be true," it says, "what concrete difference will its being true make in anyone's actual life? How will the truth be realized? What experiences will be different from those which would obtain if the belief were false? What, in short, is the truth's cash-value in experiential terms?"
The moment pragmatism asks this question, it sees the answer: TRUE IDEAS ARE THOSE THAT WE CAN ASSIMILATE, VALIDATE, CORROBORATE AND VERIFY. FALSE IDEAS ARE THOSE THAT WE CANNOT. That is the practical difference it makes to us to have true ideas; that, therefore, is the meaning of truth, for it is all that truth is known-as...
...truth is ONE SPECIES OF GOOD, and not, as is usually supposed, a category distinct from good, and co-ordinate with it. THE TRUE IS THE NAME OF WHATEVER PROVES ITSELF TO BE GOOD IN THE WAY OF BELIEF, AND GOOD, TOO, FOR DEFINITE, ASSIGNABLE REASONS... 
Certain ideas are not only agreeable to think about, or agreeable as supporting other ideas that we are fond of, but they are also helpful in life's practical struggles. If there be any life that it is really better we should lead, and if there be any idea which, if believed in, would help us to lead that life, then it would be really BETTER FOR US to believe in that idea, UNLESS, INDEED, BELIEF IN IT INCIDENTALLY CLASHED WITH OTHER GREATER VITAL BENEFITS.
'What would be better for us to believe'! This sounds very like a definition of truth. It comes very near to saying 'what we OUGHT to believe': and in THAT definition none of you would find any oddity. Ought we ever not to believe what it is BETTER FOR US to believe? And can we then keep the notion of what is better for us, and what is true for us, permanently apart?
Pragmatism says no... Pragmatism, Lec. VI

This is a contentious and contestable view, admittedly, but it is not the caricatured reduction to whatever is "expedient" in a situation James's critics (like Bertrand Russell) made it out to be. It's more like Richard Rorty's invitation to an open and ongoing conversation between all comers with something to contribute. It is decidedly not a "Santa Claus" philosophy of truth.

James may have been wrong about truth, but (to paraphrase A.C. Grayling's comment on Descartes) if he was, he was interestingly, constructively, engagingly, entertainingly, provocatively wrong.

Besides, he's the best writer in the James family (sorry, Henry) and possibly the best writer in the entire stable of American philosophers. I call him my favorite because he's the one I'd most like to invite to the Boulevard for a beer. Unfortunately he didn't drink. (Too bad they don't serve nitrous oxide.) Also, unfortunately, he died in 1910. Read his letters and correspondence, they humanize his philosophy and place his "radical" views in the context of their genesis: the context of experience, and of life.

They also counter my friend Talisse's hasty semi-assent to Nigel's outrageous misreading of the pragmatists as missing "a sense of awe and wonder." James had it in spades, and so did Dewey and Peirce in their own ways. Likewise Rorty, who did not like being called a "relativist" and who would not agree that "Nazism and western liberal democracy are the same." Not at all.

But, I do think Talisse does a good job of summarizing James's rejection of "truth-as-correspondence" as an unhelpful formula, once you move past trivial matters like catching the bus. He's also correct in pointing out James's interest in religion as rooted in the lives and experience of individuals, not particularly in God, heaven, the afterlife and so on. He psychologizes and naturalizes religion. It's mostly about life on earth, for Jamesians, not (again) about Santa.

92 comments:

  1. (H3) I believe it is acceptable to believe in something that does not have compelling evidence. Many people believe in the Loch Ness monster or Big Foot but on a larger scale many people (including me) believe in Jesus, and many people would argue that there is compelling evidence against his existence as Savior and Creator.

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    1. So then do you believe that there is compelling evidence or there isn't? because if not isn't against what the bible says?

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  2. (H3) I believe in God because I have faith. While people say there may not be physical evidence, I see physical evidence everyday in people whom Jesus shines through and through all the nature around me. Although I cannot see God, it does not mean that I can't feel Him.

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    1. Martin Davies (H3)10:48 PM CDT

      I have the exact same standpoint, but without going into a theological debate, what is to say that the physical evidence doesn't point towards my gods instead?

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    2. That question is one of my favorites. Many religions see others as 'wrong,' so it creates an interesting dynamic.

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    3. I’m not an expert on every religion, so I have a question. What other religion besides Judaism and Christianity have a step by step creation story written down or passed from generation to generation. Not like how almost every religion says their god created everything, but like an actual step by step, how it happened kind of thing. Wouldn’t that be more of a reason to say that those two religions’ God is the creator?

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    4. H1
      Every belief depends on faith and understanding, whether the belief is that electricity charges your phone, or that the Christian God rules the universe. However, using faith as the only proof for something isn't convincing to people of different standpoints; their faith in their own beliefs can be just as strong. People arguing based off of their opposing faiths seem as legitimate as people arguing whether vanilla or chocolate ice cream tastes better. I am a christian, but I think that basing my beliefs off of my feelings and "faith" alone is illogical. A belief in a specific religion should be based off of deliberate thought and constant investigation.

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    5. @Arieanne Yates
      Similar story to Christ:

      -Buddha
      -Krishna
      -Mithra
      -Horus
      -Osiris

      Creation Stories:

      -Sikhism.
      -Judaism.
      -Islam.
      -Hinduism.
      -Buddhism.
      -Possibly Zoroastrianism through Judaism.
      -Paganism.

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  3. (H3) When my thoughts are blocked I take time to just go out on my own and have time to myself or I try to write or play music in order to get the thoughts unblocked.

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    1. Same here, I get away from the rest of the world and listen to music and/or write music. I also do some sort of physical activity while listening to music, whether it's dancing, or working... that always seems to help me.

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    2. H1
      When my thoughts are blocked, I usually turn to another task at hand. Usually I'll experience a block when I've been studying a subject for a long time, and I need a break. Deciding to take a break and read, or simply working on a different type of homework has helped me.

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    3. (h1) I also believe if you are experiencing a thought block that the best method to progress is by beginning a new topic. I think it has something to do with when your brain is narrowing down on something it stops focusing on matters it decides are unrelated and narrows down onto topics. However, by stopping and coming back, you re-shuffle what your mind focuses on and maybe discover whatever you desired.

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  4. (H2) I believe that James believed that the idea of Consciousness is something that is merely created out of what people presume to be there. What i mean is he sees it as, as stated in the text, "a mere echo, the faint rumor let behind..." I do not agree with him, i believe consciousness is more then just some echo in the back of our mind. It is what establishes part of our being.

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  5. (H2) I believe there is a fine line of what is acceptable and what is not. Religion has its own arguments but then you have some people who want to believe the world is flat or something that is quite ludicrous for science, philosophy, or religion. But even my own religious beliefs that mix in reincarnation with heaven and hell cannot be proven or explained really but i dont think i shouldnt be aloud to believe in them. James probably would find most of my beliefs to be absurd or borderline at best and i have no idea what Russell would say but he tries to be open sometimes.

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  6. When my thoughts are blocked I go for a drive, hang out with some buddies, or even just sit in one place long enough to enter a blank slate. More recently i have started biking around where i live to exercise my body and push out the empty or trashed ideas and thoughts that have clogged my brain.

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  7. (H3) evidence? Yes I believe, if temepered with common sense it is good to believe in things where acceptable proof cannot be offered. For example, I think the people who believe that their are Nazi's living on the moon are crazy. I myself though believe one day humankind will be able to streach out across space so thoroughly you will be able to look u at every star you can see in the sky and those you cant and think that someone is around one of those stars looking back.

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  8. (H3) Pierce truth? Yes I do think it lees us in the dark because honestly I do not think you can have one truth that ever person who here's it will accept. If for no other reason their will always be conditions.

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    1. I am in agreement with you Bryce. Everyone does not ever tend to agree with one thing and there will never be an instance where everyone will accept a single thing unanimously.

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  9. (H3) Dewy's coffee? I do think he is being fare but only because I believe he is using this as an example to explain an element of Dewy's philosophy and not in a literal sense.

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  10. (H3) When my thoughts are blocked? That depends what thought are blocked? For example. If I am writing a short story and I get writers block I reread old work. If I am writing a paper and I get stuck I take a break and come back, (or just stare at it until something hits me either way.) If I am playing a video game and I get stuck I back track until I find something I missed. It depends on the circumstances.

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  11. In my peripatetic group, we discussed how we admired utilitarians for taking philosophy "off the bookshelf" and applying it to everyday life, insisting that it change our lives. We disagreed amongst ourselves as to whether or not they were right in claiming "good" to be the equivalent of happiness.

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  12. Martin Davies11:15 PM CDT

    (H3) What do you do when your thoughts are blocked?
    Depending on the deadline of when my thoughts need to be put down on paper, I will either take a break and go on a walk in search of inspiration or as an escape from responsibility, or I will just start spouting out the first thing that comes to mind until some of it is not nonsense. Sometimes you just have to force ideas until you get through the block.

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  13. Martin Davies11:18 PM CDT

    (H3) Will there ever be an end of science, or a complete catalog of truths?
    Definitely not. We will always be pushing the boundaries of nature's questions and the ethics of man. Who knows what we will be trying to discover in the next few hundred years.

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    1. Agreed, as far as we know, there is no limit to what we can discover. There is always something new to be found out so there will never be an end to science.

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  14. Martin Davies11:25 PM CDT

    (H3) COMMENT: “The hell to be endured hereafter, of which theology tells, is no worse than the hell we make for ourselves in this world by habitually fashioning our characters in the wrong way. Could the young but realize how soon they will become mere walking bundles of habits, they would give more heed to their conduct..." William James, Principles of Psychology.

    I feel like this quote is talking about how we basbasically create our own versions of hell on earth, and then instead of trying to escape it we let ourselves get consumed by it and become what we feared the most.

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  15. (H3) In James saying that consciousness is a nonentity, he is stating that it is not important. Consciousness is what truly lets us know we are still alive though and aware of the things around us.

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    1. But even in your statement, you refer to conciousness as a thing. Does James insist on us finding a way to avoid that?

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    2. (H3) I don't think James insists on finding a way to avoid it because there really isn't a way to avoid it.

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  16. (H3) Peirce's definition of truth is very vague. It leaves people in the dark because who is seeking the truth and what do they discover.

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  17. (H3) I don't believe there will ever be a complete catalogue of truths. We continue to discover new truths throughout history.

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    1. And sometimes those truths apparently disprove what we had thought were truths previously.

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    2. And the evolution of knowledge continues to shape those truths. Theoretically, all knowledge could eventually be gained, but I think the scope of the undertaking compared to the attention span of humans is a much larger deterrent.

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    3. Doesn't Christianity say that one day everyone will know the truth? So, doesn't that mean that there will be a complete catalogue of truths revealed?

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    4. We have no truths. We merely have attempts at understanding the world surrounding us. When thinking in a whole view of existence we know nothing, especially not the concept of "truth". There is no catalog nor is there any information to catalog, for the fact that we know nothing but what we create ourselves. Our understanding and reasoning doesn't justify itself as truth.

      What do you think?

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  18. (H3) I would say that distinction without difference is irrelevant. If there is nothing different then it clearly is not different.

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  19. (H3) I believe that your personal definition of truth depends upon if it relies on the now or the future, or if it relies on the individual or the whole. Everything seems to rely on the views of each individual.

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    1. Perception is the creation of all thought and view. My perception on a idea will differ entirely from yours, as well as our views completely differing from our peers. The personal definition of truth erupts from the justification of said subject that your perception conjures.

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  20. (H3) I view words as much more of a form of expression. Each person has different definitions for the same words and each person forms their own language through words. They are used for communication with others and as forms of one's one expressions.

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    1. You described connotation, which does differ from person to person. While I agree that words are more than a form of expression, I don't think it's for that reason in particular.

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  21. (H3) Words can get in the way of thought. There are times when my brain can't think of the certain word to describe something or a way I am feeling so words then become a road block.

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    1. This is actually a psychological phenomena, if you're noting what I think you are. When a word is 'on the tip of your tongue' and can't go any further than that is actually because of your brain tricking itself.
      You want to think of the word 'Leopard,' for example. Your brain makes a list of possible words and related words that it then strikes off as they appear incorrect. 'Lion?' No, so that's off the list. So is 'tiger' and 'cub.' 'Panther?' No, so 'panther' and 'leopard' are off the list. Now your word is inaccessible, because you blocked it. A friend may be able to help, but it will come back to you later. Why? Because your brain will no longer need to have that list of eliminated words when suddenly, 'leopard' comes back to you after the conversation is long finished.

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  22. (H3) Almost any idea can be valuable to me. An idea becomes more valuable when it can benefit me or the individuals I care about and it has a greater purpose.

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    1. What if the idea is harmful to you or those you care about? I think ideas like that would be even more valuable. Maybe the definition could be expanded to include everything within an individual's sphere of influence.

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    2. What if the idea benefits you and those you care about, but goes against your core beliefs? Is it valuable?

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  23. No, I don't think there could be an end to science, because every answer we think we find only uncovers another question.

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  24. What makes an idea valuable to me is its significance.

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    1. (H3) The question then is what makes something significant to you?

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  25. DQ: Inside out heads,do we think in words, or simple meanings?

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    1. This was discussed on a podcast in an unfair light, when I first heard it brought up. I think in complete sentences, generally. If something immediate is happening, like I knocked something off a table or something, I don't spend the time to think 'I need to grab that!' Instincts just kick in without the time for thought, though this apparently has a very wide range depending on the individual.

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  26. Is it acceptabble to hold beliefs without evidence? I would argue that no one belives anything without some form of evidence, but that evidence may not be limited to the form of reason. Why has reason come to be so elevated above all other methods of gaining knowledge? "This statement is false" proves to me that reason cannot always discover explaination.

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  27. I'm sure Dewey did not appreciate Russell's coffee illustration. It struck me as a straw man argument. There is no way Dewey would respond in such a ridiculous manner when asked if he had morning coffee.

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  28. Pierce's definition of truth is an accurate description of something else that I would not label as truth. I discussed this on a peripatetic walk in class: whatever opinion has the most significant number of followers in inevitably regarded as true. I believe it does not make it so, however.

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  29. "Will there ever be an end of science, or a complete catalog of truths?"
    There will always be more to learn. By the time we have the resources to engage in exploration and observation, by the time we get anywhere there will already be more on our plates.

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  30. Personally,I don't believe in anything that doesn't have any definite evidence or demonstratable probability

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    1. So then what would your core beliefs be? because whether it's science or religion neither has "definite" evidence or demonstrable probability. Would you agree you don't necessarily need "definite" evidence, but instead faith?

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    2. Perhaps your beliefs and morals can be extracted from the definite reactions of those in response of conditions presented. Seeing one person becoming definitely sad would provide proof that harming them is wrong.

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  31. When my thoughts are blocked, I either sit and think about it, going through different things in my mind, or do aomethig else only to come back to it later.

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  32. It's pretty frustrating when my thoughts are block, especially when I'm trying to write a paper. Usually I try to avoid thinking about it for a few days. Within this time, I go about my usual day of eating, walking, going to school, sleeping, etc. By the time I get back to thinking about the particular topic, I have forgotten my original approach to the idea and go about it in new way

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  33. I don't think there will ever be an end of science or a complete catalog of truths. I think people are made to be imperfect. Humans are not all-knowing, although we might like to be. And even if we continue to research, there's no way we will have found out everything.

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  34. "What's the difference between a fiction and a lie? Can fiction convey truth?"
    What separates a lie and fiction is that a lie intentionally distorts truth. Fiction is made up but it can be a mode to convey truth. For example, literature is fiction. Although it may be interpreted differently, it still presents ideas to be discussed

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  35. I don't think it's ever acceptable to believe something for which there is no compelling evidence or demonstrable probability. I believe in God, which some might think has no evidence or probability; however, the bible is evidence that correlates with history, and the feeling I get when praying matched with the evidence of life change allows me to believe in God confidently. (H3)

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  36. Samantha Eisenberg (H3)1:04 PM CDT

    When my thoughts are blocked, I take a nap or clean. I have to momentarily distract myself either by doing busywork or rest to give my mind a break so the ideas become more clear when I return to my work.

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  37. I don't think there will ever be an end to science. The more we learn, the more we question. That cycle tends to continue, so we will eternally be learning more and adding to science. (H3)

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    1. (H1) I believe science is infinite as after every discovery, comes the comparison of that discovery with everything already discovered. And from that come new discoveries which then must be compared with everything and so on.

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  38. (H3) When my thoughts are blocked, I usually take a step back and review different perspectives on the topic. Sometimes, I take a short break, but I try to channel my frustrations into the work. It fuels my drive to solidify my ideas, if that makes sense.

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  39. An idea is valuable, to me, if it benefits someone in some way. An invention that helps one person is a valuable idea, just as an invention that helps millions is valuable. (H3)

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    1. Is an invention that helps one, but hurts many, valuable? Is an invention that helps many, but hurts one, valuable?

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  40. Samantha Eisenberg (H3)1:12 PM CDT

    I do not believe there can ever be a complete catalog of truths. There will always be things that we cannot empirically prove. Even as our technology improves and evidence gets stronger. Scientifically, there will always be things that we cannot prove.

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  41. (H3) I completely believe it is acceptable to believe something for which there is no compelling evidence or demonstrable probability. I think that is how most people believe in God. Some say there is hard evidence, the Bible and other artifacts, but in the end, it is about blind faith; having no evidence but believing despite the doubt.

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    1. I agree with you a hundred percent. I feel like the entire world lives a life of blind faith. For instance, evolution has never been proven, neither has the big bang theory, yet we teach it in schools as fact. There is no evidence for it, it's pure blind faith. So, yeah the world lives a life of blind faith.

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  42. When my thoughts are blocked, I like to do things that tend to inspire me. I watch a new, fresh tv show, or I clean my room, water plants, read a good book, take time for my self care, or take a nice walk in nature. I find just dwelling on blocked thoughts does more harm than good. Getting away from the problem tends to solve it. (H3)

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  43. Samantha Eisenberg (H3)1:17 PM CDT

    An idea is valuable if it accomplishes something in the end. Even if it doesn't accomplish what it may intend to in the beginning. An idea is important if it leads to action for purpose.

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    1. I don't believe that an idea must always lead to the creation of action. Sometimes ideas must simply be compiled in order to create intelligence or believes but not be acted upon.

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  44. The difference between fiction and a lie is that fiction does not pretend to be truth. Fiction can hold truth inside of it. It's intention is not to deceive. Lies can be malicious and rarely if ever lead to truth. (H3)

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    1. But doesn't every good lie have a little truth in it, so that's kind of like a lie in a sense. But overall I agree with you. A lie is completely different from fiction.

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  45. I think that truth is absolute and it does not matter how a thing is conceived. Whether people think something is the truth or a lie, the reality of the truth remains the same. (H3)

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    1. I agree. Here's a question though, does it matter what people believe is the truth? because if we all die and there is no after life, then wouldn't everything we've done and believed irrelevant?

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  46. Samantha Eisenberg (H3)1:23 PM CDT

    Fiction is a story made up from people and events that do not exist. A lie is a false statement told with the intent of deception. I believe fiction can convey truth by using the story to tell a story based on truth but with made up elements. They can be used to teach these lessons. Much like Aesop's fables. These are often the more compelling ways to express a lesson of truth.

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  47. I disagree with Russell's view that James's position on religious belief is "only benevolence, not philosophy". Anything that tries to understand the human condition and how we should live life should be considered a philosophy. (H3)

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    1. I agree, religion is a philosophy.

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  48. Samantha Eisenberg (H3)1:29 PM CDT

    DQ: What do you think constitutes evidence to make you believe something? Does it need to be logical and emperical, or is feeling and more subjective thought evident as well?

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  49. Samantha Eisenberg (H3)1:36 PM CDT

    I think what James meant by consciousness being the name of a nonentity is that consciousness is not a thing in itself. It is a state of being. Just as darkness is nothing more than absense of light. Darkness is a nonentity. Consciousness just is. It is the name of a human being aware and existing.

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    Replies
    1. But without that state of being you are nothing, so then wouldn't consciousness have to be something?

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  50. H1
    DQ: Do you agree or disagree with Russell's view that James's position on religious belief is "only benevolence, not philosophy"? Why?
    I agree with Russell's view. The idea that believing in a religion is good if it makes you live a better life entirely negates the purpose of religion. By saying that any religion that makes you live better, is "true," means that religions are meaningless. basically, the impression I get is that "religions are just myths, but if you like the myths and they help you do what I think you should do, then I'll humor you and say they're true." If a religion isn't true, then people shouldn't waste their time on it. If it is true, then they should dedicate their life to it.

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  51. (H1)
    On our walk yesterday, the group I was part of discussed Darwin's lack of Social Darwinism. Is the ability to collaborate and transcend survival of the fittest a mark of higher evolution?

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  52. H2
    I don't think there is any circumstance where you should accept a belief without pulling reason in, not even religion. In my view religion is about what happens after death and what caused creation and in either side of the conversation there has to be facts. Fact Jesus existed; belief he was God. Historians and archeologists both have proved validity in the bible, therefore Christians who know that reasoning can say that their beliefs are I reason. Human kind does rely heavily on emotions in beliefs, but a good scholar always looks at the logic behind their beliefs to determine if they have a box to stand on when they are talking about what they believe in.

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  53. H2
    When my thoughts are blocked I have various paths to go through before I just leave with the possibility of coming back later. My first reaction if they are blocked because of disorganization or I cant figure out where to go next I will write everything down. If that does not work than I will talk to myself out loud and yes I realize that its weird, but we are all a little weird. Last I will just leave it alone. My view of thoughts is if it is important then I will remember it later and might have an experience that changes my thought process or I will realize that my previous thought process was just dumb and revise the previous.

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  54. What do you think James meant when he said consciousness "is the name of a nonentity"?

    In regards to ourselves,our physical bodies, we are entities with form. Our consciousness has no form and in that sense is a nonentity. Consciousness is only part of the whole that we are. We are made of both form and non form as we are an entity subject to nonentity within.

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  55. (H3) I would say that Peirce's definition of truth leaves us in the dark. People can investigate the exact same thing and come to very different conclusions about it so that would leave the truth as a vague idea.

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  56. (H3) Just because something works for you does not make it truth. Truth could work for the minority of the people instead of the majority but truth is the same no matter who you are, that is why it is truth.

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  57. (H3) Fiction can convey truth. The truth could be hidden under layers of fiction sometimes and could be found if we dig for the truth.

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  58. (H3) It would be horrible to have no words. Communication would be immensely more difficult and we would have to get very unique in ways of expressing ourselves.

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