Up@dawn 2.0

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Devin Mahoney (6)

"This I Believe"

  I believe. I believe in believing. I believe that within us all is the need to believe. I do believe what you may and you may not believe what they believe. But in our hearts, our minds and at our core we as beings need to believe. We need to have a magnetic pull towards a better tomorrow that is part of our very intricate fabric. I do not mean to state that we all must believe in something specific, something tangible or even something that can fully be explained or comprehended. I simply believe that what allows true beauty in this world, true moments of bliss and cosmic completion are founded on beliefs. Founded on what makes you unique and happy. Whatever it is that you believe, whatever it is that keeps you going, embrace it. Hold it close to  your heart and never let go. Let it carry you through the trials and hardships that this life so frequently lays at your feet. 
  I believe in happiness. I believe as Benjamin Franklin once proclaimed, "happiness depends more on the inward disposition of mind than on outward circumstances. My ability to find my happiness, to create my own beauty and joy is a necessity for survival. The world can only drag you down as far as you will let it. Every road, every step, every mile, every decision is a beautiful one. If you believe it will be. 

"Every street is an adventure and every road becomes a trip.
Every turn we take and every decision we don't make,
even the decision we don't make, will bring us into the secrets of their town.
Every corner we turn will lead us, every corner we turn will lead us down the labyrinths,
and every desire that we earn will guide us alive, living, loving & searching."
"Tannhauser/Derive" - The Refused.

  Many philosophers have spent their entire lives questioning and debating the way to be truly happy. The way to find the answers we as humans so desperately seek. Why are we here? What is this all about? I believe the answer is in the action. The belief that we can find these answers. The thought that we can be better and happier by exploring the workings of all we can conceive is in its self beautiful. It is a reason to be and to exist. The answer is not what we seek. It is what we have convinced ourselves is the reason, but it is the journey of life that is the answer. Why are we here? To live. To exist. To believe we can be anything we want to be, anything we need to be. We are here to be alone and to be together. To share in these cosmos as fibers intertwined in a cosmic tapestry ever unfolding.

According to existentialism, each man and each woman creates the essence (meaning) of their life; life is not determined by a supernatural god or an earthly authority, one is free. As such, one's ethical prime directives are action, freedom, and decision. There is a beauty in freedom as much as there is a fear. But even fear forces us to appreciate beauty and synchronicity. 

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Socrates on Love continued.... 2nd report. Section 4
In my last post, I briefly stated my views about love and why I do not agree with Socrates. To dig a bit deeper into that, I consider Socrates' view to be greatly influenced by Diotama's views. It seems as though her beliefs morphed into his. It's hard to say whether this is what Socrates actually believed about love or if his ideas were influenced by Diotama's views. Regardless, I do not agree with either of them. 

Setting aside my religious beliefs, I still not think that love falls between good and evil, a god and human, wisdom and ignorance, ugly and beautiful. I think love itself is beautiful. When people love someone or something, they are positively affected. I believe love in itself is a beautiful and good thing, without striving for it.

Favorite Philosopher
My favorite present day philosopher is Gretchen Rubin. She wrote a book called The Happiness Project that completely blew me away. She provided her opinions on what it takes to be happy and she gives a step by step guide on how to better yourself and choose happiness. She pieces together different philosophies that she used in order to create this incredible self help book. I took every word of it to heart and practiced some of the steps she provided, and it helped tremendously. In her book, not only does she provide step by step guide, but she also provides her own story and what makes her happy, regardless if it would work for the reader. 

She set aside time in her busy life to truly sit down and analyze happiness. She wondered what it actually takes to be happy, if it is something that someone can choose to be, if circumstances are a factor etc. Due to this, she found answers and shared these answers with the world. I think she is not only a magnificent philosopher, but also a magnificent author. To anyone reading this, I highly suggest reading her work It is wonderful.
Socrates on Love (Plato's Symposium) 1st Report. Section 4 (9:40 am TTR)
Socrates believed love was the desire for things that cannot be possessed. He did not believe that love in itself was a good or even beautiful. Although he believed this, he did not think it was bad or evil either. Rather than love being beautiful or good, he believed love was a desire for those things. He also believed that "loving" someone or something brought him closer to immortality. This is because he was taught that love is neither mortal or immortal, rather, a spirit rested between God and human. 

To dive a little more deeply into what Socrates talked about in Plato's Symposium, love is described in four different contexts. The first description of love is Eros which is another word for "intermediate." According to this context, love falls somewhere between God and human, wisdom and ignorance, ugly and bad, good and evil. It is secondly described as not being a god, being that if it were, it would be good and beautiful. This description more specifically states these things are what love lacks and what is also strives for. It is considered to be a diamon or "the very image of something intermediate." The third description given in Plato's symposium is love being the son of the gods Resource and Poverty. This is due to the fact that from these two gods is Eros. According to this belief, it because love lacks that it is striving. The fourth description focuses more on the human condition and where love falls between wisdom and ignorance. 

I believe Socrates' analysis of love is wildly overthought (much like many philosophers'.) I suppose there is no correct answer considering love is not something that we can see with our eyes. Because I am a Christian, I believe true and genuine love is something that only God can understand. And what we as humans know to be love IS God. This does not mean that my beliefs are right, I think love leans more towards subjectivity because people love in different ways. However, I do not believe that love is a spirit that falls between God and human and I do not believe that it is not beautiful or good. In my opinion, love is already good. Socrates' analysis of love is interesting; however, it seems a bit nonsensical. There is no real proof or reason for him and Diotama to believe what they believed about love. At least there is no real reason given. 

Did Voltaire Hate God? Part II

Posted for Harrison Matteau, #6

Did Voltaire hate god? I personally think that Voltaire did not hate God

himself, so much as organized religion. I think that growing up and seeing the

anarchy of government and the protestant revolution in France during that time,

Voltaire simply grew away from religion as a whole and began to simply doubt

everything he saw before him. So is it hate or simply pessimism that drove his

satirical rampage that was Candide?

I think more of the later, Voltaire reminds me a lot of a modern day news

comedians such as John Stewart or Stephen Colbert, simply providing a vent to

everything they see, rather than holding actual resentment. So it was not more of a

hate, rather than a satirical observation of his surroundings, after all, he doubted

everything, why not doubt life and what he saw around him?

Another reason why I feel that he is simply being satirical is because of his

love of Locke and Bacon’s teachings as a boy, often lamenting at their influence on

his work and teachings. Taking into account Locke’s teachings on God as shown


Locke’s contention is that the existence of God follows logically from the fact that we

exist and think. (Cogito sumque. Unlike Descartes, Locke sees these as two facts as equally

self-evident and therefore feels no need to derive one from the other.)

1. Something exists now; if nothing else, each person can be sure that he himself exists.

2. We intuitively believe that it is impossible for something to “come from” — that is, to

be temporally preceded by — nothing.

3. Therefore, since something exists now, there never was a time when nothing at all

existed. Something has always existed.

we can see that Locke has proved the existence of God through his logic and

reasoning, and if Voltaire is a true admirer of Locke and his teachings, he would

have taken this into consideration, even with this empiricism way of thinking,

because Locke’s views are strictly logical.

Finally, I feel that Voltaire, hard as he might try to get away from his

childhood influences, never fully broke ties with his childhood religion. Many times

we see people acting out in mockery to something they do not fully understand, and

I feel that Voltaire’s Candide did just that. By writing his book in a comedic fashion,

Voltaire is less to anger, and more to comedic relief, using this book as an outflow to

his thinking and philosophy. Something everyone, even devote Christians, do

almost every day.

Karl Marx

Posted for Cortney Johnson, #6

The worker becomes all the poorer the more wealth he produces, the more his

production increases in power and range. The worker becomes an ever cheaper

commodity the more commodities he creates. With the increasing value of the world

of things proceeds in direct proportion to the devaluation of the world of men.

Labour produces not only commodities; it produces itself and the worker as a

commodity -- and does so in the proportion in which it produces commodities


Marx, Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts (1844)

Karl Marx’s radical ideas on political establishments got him expelled from the

governments of Germany, France, and Belgium. In 1848, he published “The

Communist Manifesto” which introduced his concept of socialism being the product

of capitalist society. Marx believed capitalism was a path towards self destruction.

He viewed all of history as a series of class struggles and laid out a revolution where

the working man would become the new upper class.

He felt that the structure of human nature was largely perverted by economic

foundations. Marx also argued that capitalism had a big impact on social relations,

inequality, and the exploiting of labor. His work in economics has laid ground work

for today’s labor and it’s coexistence with capital. Many labor unions and political

parties worldwide have been influenced by Marx and adopted his economic ideas.

To each according to his ability, to each according to his need.

Karl Marx Opinion

I applaud Marx for his ideas. His intentions were admirable, but

unfortunately, un-realistic. Marxism and its original intent were perverted by

greedy and corrupt politic leaders. Capitalism is far too strong to conquer and

dissolve. I believe that it is human nature to want to be self-sufficient and successful.

That being said, those having wealth will not simply turn over their wealth to the

government to divide amongst the entire country. Those that are wealthy feel

entitled to it. They feel as though they worked for it, and earned it. I believe Marx’s

opinion is spot when he says the leaders at the top of the food chain reap the

benefits from the smaller workers whose hard work earns them the money. Today,

many American workers are boycotting businesses just for that reason. Take for

instance what is happening with Verizon and their employees fighting for what they

feel they’ve earned. As I said before, capitalism is far too big to completely crush, but

some of Marx’s ideas can be implemented into policy with cutting the ever growing

gap between the wealthy and the poor.

Life's Decisions and Sacrifice/Artificial Inelegance-Alan Turing and John Searle

Posted for Alexis Patrykus, Section #4

Soren Kierkegaard lived an interesting, agonizing life who was all too familiar with sacrifice. He had to make a choice as to whether or not he would be married. He loved a girl named Regine Olsen, but was afraid that he would be too gloomy and religious for her. In the end, he sacrificed his happiness for not only what he thought would make Regine happier, but also, he put his religion above himself. Because of this difficult personal decision, he wrote a book called Either/Or. In the book, he raises an intriguing thought about decision making: One has to choose a life of pleasure and chase after beauty or a life based on conventional moral rules. One choice leads a life of happiness but perhaps illogical at times. The other choice might be more tragic but rational. A great example of this conundrum that was used is from the Old Testament of the Bible. Abraham was told by God to kill his only son. Now of course Abraham would never want to do that because he loved his son. That would be a gravely unfortunate sacrifice, let alone a morally wrong choice. Abraham knew that, but because of his intense faith in God, he ties up Isaac and goes in for the kill. Right as he was about to cut him an angel stops Abraham. The moral of the story is that God wants us to trust Him and obey Him. If we do, God will meet our needs; or in this case, you will not have to kill your only son. Abraham is seen as admirable because of this illogical faith. He was willing to ignore ethics for his religion. As the book A Little History of Philosophy states, “There is no higher card in the pack, and so human ethics are no longer relevant. Yet the person who abandons ethics in favor of faith makes an agonizing decision, risking everything, not knowing what will happen; not knowing for sure that the message is truly from God.”

In these cases, the man sacrifices what he loves for his religion. Kierkegaard did not just merely believe in God. His philosophy was that one must fully commit to God and take the leap of faith into the unknown, even if it means going against conventional ideas of what one should do. But, doing so, is this rational? Ultimately the bottom line is what the highest calling is. To each person it is different. Some would say that being a good person is the highest duty. So naturally that person would tend to follow conventional moral values. Some people are religious and put God first.

Doing that calls for some illogical moves when looking at it from a logical or ethical perspective. Kierkegaard never married, showing that throughout his life he kept choosing religion over his own happiness. Abraham had a better outcome: he obeyed God and did not have to actually sacrifice his son.

Computers and brains are a lot alike. In fact, computers can do many things brains can

do. They both process and think. Alan Turing believed that what was “interesting about the brain

isn’t that it has the consistency of cold porridge. Its function matters more than the way it

wobbles when removed from the head, or the fact that it is gray.” When we judge a person’s

intelligence, we don’t open up their brain to see how the neurons join together, we focus on their

answer to a question. Yet, when one judges a computer, they look on the inward workings of it.

This is what spurred Alan Turing to create the Turing Test. This test consists of an individual

typing on a computer and having a conversation with either another person or a computer that

generates responces. The individual does not know whether it is a person or a computer. If the

individual cannot tell the difference between the person and the computer, then the computer

passes the Turing Test. It is also reasonable to say that the computer is intelligent and can be

compared to a human being.

Other philosophers had opposing views. John Searle is one who believed that computers

did not think, and are completely different than the human mind. Computers just do what they

are programmed to do and do not have genuine intelligence. Searle put it this way: a computer

that is programmed a certain way is syntax. “They provide rules in the correct order in which to

process the symbols, but they do not provide it with a semantics.” There is no meaning to the

symbols. Using this perspective and channeling it towards the human mind, people actually

mean what they say. Computers only imitate the human thought, but it is not genuine. Searle

demonstrated his belief- that computers do not actually think even if it appears to- by creating a

thought experiment. Both a programmed computer and an individual are tested in this scenario.

The person (or computer) is in a room and has to pair a card with a Chinese symbol on it with

another Chinese symbol in a book. Once the person/computer matches the card, they push it

through a letterbox. The criticism of his experiment is that a person can conduct the experiment

and not actually know what is going on just as much as a computer. True understanding is not

just blindly giving the right answers.

So which idea is right? Or are they both wrong? Humans are the ones who created

computers, so is it even possible that man can create something bigger and smarter than itself?


Posted for Dina Assad, Section 6

Happiness is being described in different ways depending on who defines it. People can explain that happiness comes from money and wealth, others might describe happiness is being with family, and many other definitions can be used to describe happiness. Being happy is a goal that everyone tries to reach in life. It is known that happy people live longer and those who are mostly upset live in pain.

Aristotle is one of the philosophers that is known to talk a lot about happiness and the ultimate goal of human existence. “One of Aristotle’s most influential works is the Nicomachean Ethics, where he presents a theory of happiness that is still relevant today.” What is the main goal in life? What do we strive for? People work hard for good reputation and wealth, but no one works hard for happiness. Aristotle is one of the people that connected happiness in everything that he worked for. For Aristotle, however, happiness is a final end or goal that encompasses the totality of one’s life. Happiness is not something that cannot be gained in a second or lost very quickly, it is something that we have to strive for and earn. As Aristotle says, “for as it is not one swallow or one fine day that makes a spring, so it is not one day or a short time that makes a man blessed and happy” (Nicomachean Ethics, 1098a18).

The way I see happiness is by seeing my parents happy and through success. Anything else in life would not bring happiness to me. One of my favorite quotes from Aristotle is “Happiness depends upon ourselves.” We chose to either be happy or upset the whole time. Those that chose to be happy are the ones that tend to seek for happiness all the time and avoid anything that would ruin their happiness. I always try to find happiness in life and try to always stay happy!

Rene and The Matrix (Courtney Manns #6)

Rene Descartes (1596-1650) is a French mathematician and philosopher. He is as well known for his contribution to mathematics as he is for his contributions to philosophy. He developed Cartesian coordinates system where a point of reference can be determined as two sets of numbers. Ironically, he was treated relatively unfairly in life. Since he was a catholic in a protestant nation, he was buried in a graveyard with orphans. Although his skull remains in the orphan graveyard, the rest of him was reburied in the Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Pres in 1819.

If you've ever heard the phrase, "beyond the shadow of doubt" then its likely that the origins of this belief stemmed from Rene Descartes philosophy. Rene was indeed a skeptic, but he was not as extreme in his skepticism as Phyrro was. His stance on skepticism is more like our view of skepticism today, like when we say "I'll believe it when I see it". Descartes philosophy, referred to as Cartesian doubt, is based upon doubting everything at first and testing those things which we doubt, if it fails the test, that belief is thrown out. If it passes the test we can be sure it is true. So basically we get to the truth, after we've weeded out all of the things that we doubt. This method is much like the act of picking out all of the bad apples from a bunch and being left with only the good apples.
Descartes is famous for the quote "Cogito ergo sum" or "I think, therfore I am". Often it is taken out of context and used as a simple phrase, however this summation derived from his rather complicated dream theory. In Rene Descartes' dream theory, he attempted to tackle the idea of whether or not we actually exist. If you asked Phyrro, he would doubt that we even existed at all, as he walked off a cliff because he denied the existence of it. But Descartes based his argument on a dream, imagining that we are all just dreaming. Furthermore, he imagined us being tricked by a malicious demon. So, everything that we imagined to be true wasn’t really true, but a devious trick of a demon. Therefore, what we think is 2+2=4 could actually be 5 and the demon keeps tricking us into believing the answer is 4, no matter how hard we try. But he came to the conclusion that if we are even thinking about what's real or not, if we are thinking whether or not we exist and we cannot trust our own senses, the mere fact that we are thinking is proof that we exist at all! So goes the saying, "I think, therefore I am". Even if we were all trapped in the Matrix, and we were in an induced dream state our whole lives where everything we're "living" out is nothing but a computer program, we still exist because we're here....thinking.  

Free Will and God Part 2 section 6.

My previous post exploited the views of St.Augustine and different questions raised about free will, however, on this post i will explore my views on Free Will. .I strongly believe that God is something that is divinely embodied in us all, and bring us to being with the purpose to fulfill different experiences. I believe the physical body isn't put here for any specific purpose, just our soul to live earthly experiences. We dont live by rules or guidelines because we are granted free will, the ability to make mistakes and learn from them. These create the experiences we are meant to achieve for the purpose of the soul. Some view free will as an illusion, and believe in predeterminism, however I beg to differ. If everything was predetermined, then life would be purposeless. It can be viewed as a matter of perspective. It's free will from our point of view because we exist in the present, have knowledge of the past, but the future is unknown to us. God is not limited by time. You don't know your own fate...you still have to make the decisions that lead up to your destiny until the end of your life. Each point along your timeline you can make any choice you wish disregarding external circumstances beyond your own control, without knowing the outcome for certain. The evolution of free will began when living things began to make choices. The difference between plants and animals illustrates an important early step. Plants don’t change their location and don’t need brains to help them decide where to go. Animals do. Free will is an advanced form of the simple process of controlling oneself, called agency.But does modern science really prove that we live in a clockwork universe? Some scientists interpret Quantum Physics as showing the exact opposite, that some events at the subatomic level are truly random and undetermined. Particles may even pop into existence for no reason. Others interpret the same fundamental equations differently, supposing that there are hidden variables which do reveal the apparently random to have been determined all along. The first group then accuses the second of groundlessly assuming that "God does not play dice", in Einstein's famous (notorious?) phrase; the implication is that they can't get out of the old, Newtonian way of thinking.

After stating the above, i believe we all have the means of free will. Jumping to a different topic, i have to say my favorite philospher has to be socrates because of his ability to question everything with out second thoughts. He kind of reminds me of myself because whatever comes to my mind im sure to express it. His curiousity with love and deep concern with it also sticks with me as well because to me love is an imporatant aspect of life. Because i feel strongly that God is attached to love and God is love, the experience of love is essential. I ultimately think God presumes every living thing and through that experience, we experience he/she fully.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Lace Wilson
Section 6
Second Installment
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist and the father of psychoanalysis. Although he is known more in psychology, he also had an impact on the philosophy world as well. Many scholars see Freud as a parallel to Plato. Freud elaborated the theory that the mind is a complex energy-system, the structural investigation of which is the proper province of psychology. I have also been taking a Psychology course along with Anthropology so Sigmund Freud is a name I have gotten used to hearing.

Freud’s theory of infantile sexuality must be seen as an integral part of a broader developmental theory of human personality. This had its origins in, and was a generalization of, Breuer’s earlier discovery that traumatic childhood events could have devastating negative effects upon the adult individual, and took the form of the general thesis that early childhood sexual experiences were the crucial factors in the determination of the adult personality. Freud’s ways of his work were quite normal in his day but now we think of him as kind of perverted and overly sexual.

“All of his main hypotheses, every single one of them, from the Oedipal Complex, to penis envy, castration anxiety, and his obsession with sexual repression -- are just wrong.  Some people even see his views as mere pseudo-science. Early feminists thought that his views were shot through with patriarchal and sexist dogma.” - See more at: http://www.philosophytalk.org/community/blog/ken-taylor/2015/04/legacy-freud#sthash.esj2gb2E.dpuf But I do have to input that a theory is not wrong till it is proven wrong. But in this website article I am sure they are mentioning that it is just morally wrong.
Freud also followed Plato in his account of the nature of mental health or psychological well-being, which he saw as the establishment of a harmonious relationship between the three elements which constitute the mind. These three elements are known as fixation, repression, and sublimation. Freud describes himself as "an author who is ignorant of the language of holy writ, who is completely estranged from the religion of his fathers—as well as from every other religion"

“If one wishes to form a true estimate of the full grandeur of religion, one must keep in mind what it undertakes to do for men. It gives them information about the source and origin of the universe, it assures them of protection and final happiness amid the changing vicissitudes of life, and it guides their thoughts and motions by means of precepts which are backed by the whole force of its authority.

SIGMUND FREUD, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis

CoPhilosophy: 2nd report " Happiness"

CoPhilosophy: 2nd report " Happiness"

2nd report " Happiness"

Fatmah Altaleb

Dr. Oliver

Section 6

29 April, 2016


I recently heard an AM radio host who talked about how important it is for people to try and be happy. He said that human beings have a moral obligation to be happy. Happy people make life better for everybody else. Unhappy people make life worse for everybody else. Therefore, people should always try be happy (or at least act happy). This is for the same reason that people should always be kind to other people and not hurt them.
This idea of happiness—a choice we make—sounds a lot like Aristotle’s idea of happiness.  Aristotle said happiness comes partly from our circumstances (like being wealthy or having a good spouse) and partly from the choice we make to be happy. He says that if we lead a virtuous life, this will bring us happiness. Living a virtuous life is a matter of choice. If we practice living in a virtuous way (moderation, courage), we will become virtuous and therefore happy. Therefore, happiness is a choice we make.
Plato had similar ideas about happiness. In the Republic, he said that living a moral life is done by following the cardinal virtues—moderation, courage, wisdom, justice. Live a moral life is necessary to bring us happiness. If we don’t live by the virtues, we cannot be happy. Therefore, happiness comes from living a good and moral life.

I think it is interesting that, in all these ideas of happiness, happiness doesn’t come from having pleasure. Pleasure might make us feel good for a moment, but it is not deep and lasting. It goes away and then has to be recreated over and over. This addictive cycle is not the same as happiness, but actually the opposite—misery. A person has to work hard and live a life of virtue in order to be happy. It is strange, but it seems like forgoing short-term pleasure and sacrificing to lead a virtuous life actually makes you happier. I think Plato and Aristotle understood this truth.
Anthony Hutchings
Dr. Oliver
I did my essay on the first discussion question from April Seventh. 
  I believe history is very important to know. Knowing your own history is a luxury that not everyone gets so I believe we should enjoy our memories while we can, and that we should make every attempt to document our history so that we can always look back on our past. Social Medias aid our more tech blessed generation. Social Medias like Facebook and time hop show us things we have done on this day in the past. They show us old pictures, old status updates, and things that we have shared.
            I also believe it is very important that we try and learn the history in at least the nation that we reside. Knowing the nation’s history can shed light on why we went to wars, why we have customs that we do, and why some people act the way they do. Knowing the history of the U.S. will help shed some light on why your grandparents are a bit racist. They most likely grew up in a very bad time. They probably were raised in a time where it was more acceptable to discriminate. They also most likely learned their behaviors, and beliefs from their parents. Knowing this can help you understand that they are not the problem, but the way they were taught is.
            Knowing the customs of other countries besides your own makes you seem like a much better person in my book. To take the time to learn the history of another country, and understanding their culture and beliefs is something that we all should try and practice. Learning and knowing ones past is the only way that we can understand their present.
            I would have to say that I do not believe that history has a spirit. I would have to say that the only thing that has a spirit, and is getting smarter is the human race. I definitely believe that humans have evolved over time. I am not certain if we have evolved from monkeys but I cannot deny the fact of skeletal remains of beings very human like. We have developed more brain power, and an overall better understanding of this existence we call life. History isn’t getting smarter. Humans are the ones that are changing and learning new things.
            I would have to say that history has taught me to always plan for the worst. That way regardless of what happens I will be prepared. I have learned from history to never invade Russia during the winter. That is how you lose wars. History is an excellent insight into how one might react to certain stimuli. If you know your best friend has a severe depression or anxiety; then you might know that they may be prone not being able to function in ways that society consider “normal”.
            I believe those who do not learn from the past will be more inclined to repeat it than those who know of past events. If history shows that it is a bad idea to attack Russia during the middle of the winter, and you decide to attack anyways then you have truly goofed. You should have looked to the past to see where they went wrong, and tried to improve and succeed where they fail.

            Ultimately I believe that knowing as much as you can about the past can help you have a better insight as to what might happen in the future. I don’t believe in destiny. I believe we all have direct influence on our direct lives. 
Akmal Ishmetov
Dr. Oliver
Section 4
Blog #2: Why I Question Everything
            Now days there are several debates, arguments about whether there is God or not and many people ask my opinion on that and it is very hard to respond to that question because I like to question everything and anything. I was raised in the Muslim environment and when I came to United States I have also experienced Christianity. All the things that people talked to me about whether it was in the Musk or Church, people still did not answer my questions so later on in life I started questioning of God existence. For example in the story “There Is No God” by Penn Jillette he stated basic facts like for example how can you prove existence of the God, he states you cannot prove that there is not an elephant inside the trunk of my car. Then he talks about that there is no evidence of God. I am personally look beyond that, I did not think on basic level of whether God exist or not, I was thinking more on why things like rape, murder, child abuse and all other horrible things happen. If there is a God why do things like that happen to people? People say everything that happens, happens for a reason. To be honest, I do not understand that, if there is a person about to get murder in the middle of the street, what exactly the reason of that? If a God is all powerful why can’t he stop rape, child abuse or other hundreds horrible things? One of my teachers that I had in high school just was diagnosed with cancer, the cancer started in lungs and it slowly moved to the spine and now it is in the brain. This teacher has three daughters and a wife who now works two jobs in order to support her kids and pay chemotherapy of her husband. Things like that make me question, if God is so great, why does he put people through things like that? People dying every day in the war, people blowing themselves up in Iraq and Afghanistan and there is nothing that God can do? Things like that make me question of his existence. I really want to find out all the answer and so many people in the world I am sure. That’s my point of view of God existence.

Previous Blog

Free Will Continued...

Brian Sally
Section 4

Free Will continued....

     As stated before in the past entry of free will, the subject is a complex one. Many of the questions brought up by philosophers are ones that cant be answered. Free will is no exception, between the scientific evidence pointing towards us not having free will and religious views posting towards us having free will its hard to decide for yourself. I’m a man of science but also a religious one. I believe that God uses science to explain His great power. For example, most people ignorant to evolution would say that we, humans, were directly evolved from monkeys (which isn't true). I think that evolution is God’s explanation. I also believe free will is something God gave us. The bible states that God gave us free will so we have the decision to follow Him or not. Unfortunately, we are born as a sinner so we are inherently going to run away form God rather than towards. To link this back up to free will, from a religious standpoint, without our free will we would not have a chance to turn towards God because we wouldn't be able to turn around.

     Saint Augustine spoke of both free will and predestination. Predestination made free will nothing. It basically means how it sounds, one doesn't have free will they have a destiny that is already determined. So in the same religious, christian example God has everything planned out for you in your life. If God had everything planned for you then there’s no possible way you could have free will. This is strange stance Saint Augustine takes since he was seen as a religious man. I really think he was foolishly believing that although we might have free will that God wouldn't let us stray. We have the freedom to choose and therefore have the freedom to stray. I believe God wants all his children to join him in heaven one day and will pose many, many situations to bring Himself to people’s attention. Ultimately, we have the freedom to choose to follow that call. To wrap up my final thoughts on free will, I believe God gave us the gift and although He might pose the opportunities for us to follow Him, we have the freedom to choose. 

     I’ve gotten the marvelous chance to learn about some of the greatest philosophers thanks to Dr. Oliver and I’d have to say that Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was the one I enjoyed the most learning about. His Principle of Sufficient Reason is very interesting to me. The theory using logic to explain everything is an interesting concept to me. The theory is interesting to me because he links it to God. He thinks that since God made the earth the way it is that’s exactly how it should be. I also enjoy Leibniz because he’s an optimist like myself. Without optimism achieving happiness is a difficult thing and happiness is one of the greatest values one should cherish.

Link to previous post....

Helping others

Should We Help Other People? (cont)

Section 6

Robert Miller


What would some of the great philosophers of the past think? Without assuming that helping other people is generally good, would a stoic go out of his way to help other people or would he not? Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus once said, “Judge every word and deed which are according to nature to be fit for thee; and be not diverted by the blame which follows from any people nor by their words, but if a thing is good to be done or said, do not consider it unworthy of thee. For those persons have their peculiar leading principle and follow their peculiar movement; which things do not thou regard, but go straight on, following thy own nature and the common nature; and the way of both is one.” From this we can understand that, for him, any act that was “good” ought to be done. We also can see that “good” is relative. It may be that for one man helping others is good and thus should be done while at the same time helping others is not worthwhile for a different man. For Marcus Aurelius, we should each do things according to our own values which themselves come from our experiences.

Marcus Aurelius and the stoics might leave us to decide whether helping other people is something we should or should not do, other philosophers may believe differently. Ralph Waldo Emerson, who was influential in the transcendentalist movement, said, The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” For Emerson, helping people not only appears to be worth doing but also something that is an important part of life. Emerson sees helping people, being kind, and generally being good as the building blocks of having a good life. This is a different stance than the one the Marcus Aurelius takes. In a way, Emerson puts forward established morality. He does not allow the individual to decide what is good or not good. Marcus Aurelius fully leaves morality in the hands of the individual. The individual decides what is good and not good, but Marcus Aurelius considers good to be the thing that should be pursued whatever it happens to be.

Should We Help Other People? 1st report

Robert Miller Section 6

Sometimes you get into a situation where you have nothing but a whole lot of needs. You can not do a single thing to pull ourselves into a position where we can meet those needs. That situation requires help from an outside source. Help from someone who is not you. But more often than not, you will not be in that situation. Someone else will be there. Whatever it is, you would be in the position to help them. The question I have to ask is, “Should you help other people?” The immediate response is, of course, yes. You should help other people. It is assumable that human nature would evoke that response no matter what the case is. However, there is more to helping people than just saying you will help them.

First, there is the need. What is that need? Will you help the elderly woman across the street? Certainly. Will go down and feed folks at a soup kitchen? Of course. Will you give the panhandler a dollar for gas money, just enough to get him to the hospital where his pregnant wife is giving birth to twins? Yes? No? Everyone knows not to help panhandlers. They're all just trying to get free money. They're lazy. They want to get high or drunk. But what if they really do need help? My father, for example, will say that he has been burned too many times to give folks on the road or at gas stations help. If everyone subscribed to that view, no one who actually needed just a meal or gas money or lupus medication will actually get the help they need. Then there are the people will help everyone who asks. If we all acted in that manner, everyone who needed only a little help will get help. However, everyone who asked for help when all they wanted was to buy beer also gets help. Is it right to deny someone who needs help on the off chance that you would be helping a person who would just buy drugs or alcohol? It would be better, I think, to help all who we can. But then we might hear the purpose for the help that someone is asking and say, “That's not worth the effort.”

The second thing deals with whether or not we are willing to help. We now recognize, our at least for this purpose, that we should help everyone. Unfortunately, we often might not care. I once had plenty of money and was asked to pay for some medication. The only reason that I did not help that person was that I was hungry. I've been asked to donate a dollar to very good organizations when I had the money to spare, but I again refused. That's my dollar. And it goes on and on, with larger and smaller amounts of help, but I have often refused. But then you might catch me in a good mood and I'll I do it. Obviously, we shouldn't allow our acts of charity to be solely during the good moments. What is it about the good moments that makes me open to charity? The utilitarian thing would be for us all to give help whenever it was needed under any circumstances required. If we are willing to allow pain and suffering that will go unanswered, then we ought to allow ourselves to donate or help others only occasionally. But if we decide that it is better, at least on paper, to try and address every need that comes up we should help everyone who asks us to help them.

Blog Post #2

First Post: http://cophilosophy.blogspot.com/2016/04/kanye-west-moder-day-philosopher.html

Courtney Pouncy
Dr. Oliver
PHIL 1030-006
29 April 2016
What is Kanye?
            Kanye West, arrogant rapper? Yeezus? Jesus? Why is this single man one of the most controversial characters of our generation? Is it because of his vulgar lyrics and even more vulgar song titles for example, Black Skinhead, New Slaves, and many more titles that have really caught the publics attention throughout the years. This man has been voicing his opinions since I can remember whether it be from who we thought should win album of the year in the VMAs to his opinion on George Bush, and even to his opinions on how we can make this world a better place.
            This man has been quoted saying that he’s the Walt Disney of our generation. He has also been quoted saying he’s a god, Steve Jobs, and many more random identities. Aside from his arrogance I believe that Kanye West has an actual place of his own in the world of philosophy. A quote that really stuck out to me by Kanye West was
“I think I do myself a disservice by comparing myself to Steve Jobs and Walt Disney and human beings that we've seen before. It should be more like Willy Wonka... and welcome to my chocolate factory.” – Kanye West

I know that this quote doesn’t really sound like much, but it shows that Kanye West sees himself as a different individual and it makes me think Who am I to discredit this man and say that he is not a philosopher. I am not going to sit here and compare him to Socrates, or Aristotle but if you look at the big picture Kanye West; the man, the rapper, the philanthropist has shown in many occasions that he makes an influence in the world today. I am not able to say that his influences are always in anyways positive, but he honestly brings awareness to many issues that you and I never think about.

            Kanye West’s life is shown to the public almost every single day on multiple platforms, and makes the most of every single appearance by saying what is exactly on his mind. In my personal opinion, Kanye West is a key example of a philosopher in todays world. He may be a jerk, (that’s a compliment) but you have to give him credit when credit is due. Whether people like it or not; this man influences the world on a daily basis and instead of following the status quo that was expected of him he chose to break down barriers and make his own rules. Like I previously said in the paragraphs before, Kanye West is no Socrates, or Aristotle, and he can’t even be compared to Marcus Aurelius but I’ll tell you what. Kanye West throughout his years may have picked up a lot of occupations; rapper, designer, philanthropist, father, husband and philosopher!