Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Carl Sagan on Moving Beyond Us vs. Them...

...Bridging Conviction with Compassion, and Meeting Ignorance with Kindness

“In the course of looking deeply within ourselves, we may challenge notions that give comfort before the terrors of the world.”

“Unless we are very, very careful,” wrote psychologist-turned-artist Anne Truitt in contemplating compassion and the cure for our chronic self-righteousness, “we doom each other by holding onto images of one another based on preconceptions that are in turn based on indifference to what is other than ourselves.” She urged for “the honoring of others in a way that grants them the grace of their own autonomy and allows mutual discovery.” But how are we to find in ourselves the capacity — the willingness — to honor otherness where we see only ignorance and bigotry in beliefs not only diametrically opposed to our own but dangerous to the very fabric of society?

That’s what Carl Sagan (November 9, 1934–December 20, 1996) explores with characteristic intelligence and generosity of spirit in the seventeenth chapter of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (public library) — the masterwork published shortly before his death, which gave us Sagan on science as a tool of democracy and his indispensable Baloney Detection Kit.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

No posts after Dec.13

If you haven't posted your last final report installment, send to me directly ASAP.

If you wish to receive my comments on your 2d installment, or have specific questions about your grade, check with me after 9 am on Dec. 18.

Happy holidays.


Image result for charlie brown christmas tree

#6 Alain Locke Installment 2

Harlem Renaissance

The Harlem Renaissance is considered one of the most important eras in African American history. This renaissance is complied of many pieces of writing, art, music, and social movements mainly in the Harlem, New York area during the 1920s. Also known as the “Negro Movement”, the Harlem Renaissance is deemed important because this was a time that black Americans were showing pride in blackness and were seeking better lives for themselves.  While there were a vast amount of factories and industrialization growing in the north, a mass amount of black people were moving there. Not only because of the fast growth, but people were also getting fed up with the south and living the same agricultural life that their ancestors had. The artwork during this time also represented the desperate need to want to find job opportunities and the motivation that people began to feel.


In 1925, Dr. Locke published the book The New Negro that was very influential to the African American community, being composed of many pieces of fiction and poetry. With this book, Locke examined all the achievements of Africans and African Americans and what makes this so influential is taking into consideration the time period at which it was published. During the 1920s, there was an immense amount of white supremacy throughout the United States, while Black American contributions were being ignored. Along with this, Locke was known to have collected many pieces of African art which he felt very passionately about.

Because of his contributions to this time, Alain Locke is considered the “Father of the Harlem  Renaissance” for of his stress of social issues, the importance of knowing your culture and embracing diversity.  Some of Locke’s other works include Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro in 1925,  A Decade of Negro Self-Expression in 1928 and When Peoples Meet: A Study of Race and Culture Contacts published in 1942. 

Along with all of the works that Locke produced, he worked very closely with many other authors, actors, and artists whom he mentored and help mold. Some of these people include Langston Hughes, Ossie Davis, and Zora Neale Hurston. Like Locke, these influential also seen the importance in embracing black culture and African roots and created works that reflected that idea and spoke out against discrimination.

Philosophy of Ethics

Katelynn Hill #10

Within every society ethics play a major role in individual decision making and in order to maintain structure, ethical principles are developed through individual experience, laws, and religion. Choices, whether ethical or not, can impact one’s development of relationships, success in any career fields, the overall feeling of happiness. In attempt to understand the concept of ethics, philosophers have spent much time questioning how people ought to act in order to live in the best way possible.
Well before any concepts of ethics had been unveiled, the early philosopher Socrates, found himself fascinated with human behavior and morals. As Plato’s writing suggests, Socrates is understood to be the father of Western ethics and according to him,”people will naturally do what is good provided that they know what is right, and that evil or bad actions are purely the result of ignorance,” (“Ethics - By Branch / Doctrine”, 2008). Socrates believed that knowledge and wisdom could lead a person to undoubted happiness, and those who are truthfully wise will be the ones to understand how to do what is right. Essentially, ethically sufficient behavior, according to Socrates, can only be achieved by those who understand themselves, and are knowledgeable about what brings true happiness. 

“There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance”. -Socrates 

While attempting to uncover the meaning of ethical behavior, it is important to understand that ethics is sectioned into four branches: Normative Ethics, Descriptive Ethics, Applied Ethics, and Meta-Ethics. Each branch is used to explain various questions pertaining to proper behavior, general thoughts on what is correct, how morals are use and what it means to do the ‘right’ thing.

Normative Ethics (or Prescriptive Ethics) “How should people act?”
Normative ethics is concerned with assessing how things should be, which things are good or bad, and which actions are right or wrong. In attempts to develop a set of rules for how people should act, the normative theories are split into three categories: Consequentialism, Deontology and Virtue Ethics.

Consequentialism- The morality of an action can be determined based on the action’s outcome. Theories according to this idea are:
-Utilitarianism- an action is right if it leads to the most happiness for the greatest number of people 
-Hedonism- pleasure is most important, and people should act in order to maximize theirown pleasure
-Egoism- an action is right if it is good for one’s general welfare
-Asceticism- it is important to life a life of abstinence from pleasure
-Altruism- make decisions that betters others rather than themselves
-Rule Consequentialism- moral behavior requires following a set rules based off consequences 
-Negative Consequentialism- Minimizing bad consequences (not necessarily promoting good consequences)

Deontology- Focusing on the rightness or wrongness of actions rather than their consequences,these theories include: 
-Divine Command Theory- an action is right if God says it is right
-Natural Rights Theory- humans have natural rights
-Categorica Imperative- people must act according to their duty
-Pluralistic Deontology- seven prima facie duties which need to be taken into consideration when deciding what actions should be made
-Contractarian Ethics- moral acts are constructed from social agreements in order to maintain social order

Virtue Ethics- Focuses on the character of a person rather than the nature of their consequences. 
-Eudaimonism- the well being of a person can only be achieved by their actions
-Agent-Based Theories- common sense is the main indicator of moral acts
-Ethics of Care- taking care of others, being patient, nurture others, and be able to self sacrifice 

Descriptive Ethics- “What do people think is right?”
This approach observes the choices made by individuals, while also studying general beliefs about moral behavior. Though this concept can be used to argue philosophical ethical arguments, it is not intended to guide other’s behavior. It is sometimes referred to as “comparative ethics” because it compares the ethics of different societies

Applied Ethics- “How do we take moral knowledge and put it into practice?”
This discipline considers real-life situations and includes ideas from psychology, sociology, and similar areas. 
-Medical Ethics- study of moral values and medicine
-Bioethics- ethics considered in biology as well as medicine
Legal ethics- studying code used in law
Business ethics- ethical issues in a business environment
environmental ethics- responsibilities of humans and the natural environment 
information ethics- ethical issues in developing computers and technology
Media ethics- ethics in media

Meta-Ethics- “What does ‘right’ even mean?”
Meta-Ethics is concerned with the meaning of ethical judgements in addition to “understanding ethical properties, statements, attitudes and judgements,” (“Ethics - By Branch / Doctrine”, 2008). Moral realism and moral anti-realism are the two major meta-ethical views:

-Moral Realism- all moral values are objective and that is independent of individual beliefs
-Moral Anti-Realism- there are no objective moral values 

Website Used:

Joram Hardin #10 Installment #2 in Final Project

Installment #1: http://cophilosophy.blogspot.com/2017/12/10-hegel-who-when-and-most-importantly.html

Hegel's Ideas and Contributions to Philosophy

            To recap what we discussed in the previous installation of our discussion upon Hegel, Hegel led a long and prolific life. He was greatly influenced in his philosophical works from the broiling political events that surrounded him in his early life. He transitioned from student to professor eventually landing careers at various Universities all within Germany, where he was born. Concluding the history lesson on Georg W. F. Hegel’s life now we transition to his philosophical contributions to the world, who he influenced throughout history, and why his convoluted writings are still held in high regard by many.
            Beginning with the major concept in Hegel’s writings, we have his concept of the ‘Geist’. Geist is a German word that can translate to ‘spirit’ or ‘mind’. I think this is an important translation in that both ‘spirit’ and ‘mind’ can be used here. Hegel’s geist was more concept than actual, ephemeral being. “Geist referred broadly to the consciousness of a people of itself and the world in which they lived. It referred to a people’s self-understanding,” as Anthony King puts it.1
Hegel’s geist ties in very nicely with his fascination with history and strong, political figures. Throughout history, the universe’s geist is continually learning from itself, or better yet, learning from those within itself. History is one event after another that continually becomes more self-aware and ‘enlightened’ simply because, one learns from their mistakes. Extremely, influential political figures (like Napoleon Bonaparte as discussed in Installation #1) shake the geist to its core. They come along and radically change the way the universe views itself, changing entire cultures within their lifetimes. This line of thinking also encourages cultural change. It gives hope to revolutionizers that they are fighting for more than just the change they want to see in their culture; they are fighting for the fundamental betterment of humanity.
His philosophical writings extend much past this one concept but, sadly I do not have the room here. For now, we will settle with the big question: Why was/still is Hegel adored by many? In my opinion, the answer based only upon the concept of the geist is obvious. The geist provides an optimistic view of the world. It proves that all events in the world serve a purpose and that purpose is one of enlightenment. This was inspirational for many after Hegel.
Perhaps the most prominent Hegelian, Karl Marx was greatly moved by Hegel’s work. The concepts of cultural change being natural and necessary, must have resonated with a young Marx. Karl Marx, the progenitor of Marxism, had a profound impact on the 1900s political climate. Marx’s work The Communist Manifesto is debatably the most influential piece of literature in modern recollection. Others influenced by Hegel include Schopenhauer, John Dewey, and Martin Heidegger, another German philosopher. Even with this list of Hegelians, Hegel is not without his critics. From beloved Bertrand Russel, to Nietzsche, to more than likely one-to-many budding philosophers stumbling upon his work without proper warning, Hegel’s cryptic way of writing has always landed him in hot water.
In conclusion, Hegel was an enigmatic figure. His love for history and change created a way of thinking that offered an optimistic and hopeful view of the universe and its future. Hegel is not the best understood philosopher but his ideas, though deeply buried, are ones to be treasured in my opinion.

3 - http://www.philosophybasics.com/philosophers_hegel.html (more info on Hegel’s influences)

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Life After Death Installment #2

Life After Death Installment #1           

  In my first installment I spoke about what I believed in spiritually involving the afterlife. I have that post linked above. For this installment I will speak about the afterlife in general, and what other people believe happens when you die.  There are people who believe in ghosts, souls who do not leave earth and wonder forever. There are people who believe in a version of Heaven, each have a different idea. Some stay you'll be reunited with you loved ones who have passed, others say Heaven is a place where anything you could every want will happen there after death. Then there are people who think nothing happens when you died, your body just gets added to the circle of life.
Bertrand Russell stated that he did not understand how people could believe in Hell, a place of dread and despair, and be accepted into Heaven. Which I hope I understood that correctly. I do understand, it goes into account that the job or role of a Christian is to lead people to Christ not judge them or decide what path they will go down. That is how I've always took that concept, because it is concerning to believe in both. But to believe in God you have to believe in Judas, they are two side of the same coin, and there can not be one without the other. The souls that do not go to Heaven fell into the arms of Judas and did not accept Jesus into their hearts. Which does make me feel guilty, but I have to remind myself, that decision is not mine to make it is the other person's. I do find comfort in being with my family one day when we all pass. I do not know of someone who would not. People need to have some short of faith that they believe in, it does not need to be Christianity, but something to bring them hope in life or something to turn to in the good and bad times during their lifetime.
Installment I:Image result for fur coat

Mikaela Miller
Dr. Oliver
13 December 2017

Philosophy of Veganism: Installment II
            It’s very interesting to see that what we now consider veganism didn’t even exist until 1944. When I look to see how far we’ve come, I personally don’t believe that the definition The Vegan Society gave veganism captures what being vegan is. There are plenty of vegans that don’t consume animal product, but don’t go to the extent to have all cruelty free toiletries. Some may even where a fur coat in the winter! Many people are vegan because it can be viewed as barbaric, and others because of simple health concerns.
            There is a very common stereotype on vegans and vegetarians that they’re “ die-hard animal lovers.” Which plenty are, some less or more than others, and they view animal consumption as simply barbaric.  Vegan SA states, “ Veganism acknowledges the intrinsic legitimacy of all life. It rejects any hierarchy of acceptable suffering among sentient creatures. It is no more acceptable to torment or kill creatures with "primitive nervous systems" than those with "highly developed nervous systems". The value of life to its possessor is the same, whether it be the life of a clam, a crayfish, a carp, a cockroach, a cow, a chicken, or a child.” Vegans also believe that harmony can not be a product of strife. Many vegan beliefs can also identify in Buddhism because they strive to be mindful and aware of the impact of their choices. Vegan SA also states that through this awareness, comes inner-peace and self-fulfillment. With this, vegans see themselves as part of Earth, as opposed to owners of it. Because of these beliefs, vegans are not far from being environmentalists. In fact, vegans actually could be defined as environmentalists. They both see that society overextends their authority into an unnatural state, and both try to correct it with their way of living.
            Vegans are essentially rooted in normative ethics because they share some common ground with utilitarianism, virtue ethics, and egoism. Egoism is defined as “individual self-interest is the actual motive of all conscious action.”  Egoist do what they feel is right, and what is right is what is best for themselves. Oh My Vegan states, “...a vegan would argue that the human being doesn’t have an inherent right to instrumentally use animals or other resources as they see fit. Furthermore, the ability to manipulate and control environments does not justify the action of doing so; just because we can, doesn’t mean we ought to.” Image result for vegan
            There are also people that identify simply as “dietary vegans.” Many have chose to exclude all animal product from their diet, but use products that were tested on animals. This doesn’t mean that it’s what they prefer, but that their main concern is their health. Harvard Magazine states, Veganism was at first closely bound to the ideology of the animal-rights movement, she explains, which initially aimed at a range of targets, like wearing fur and testing products on animals. Once activists shifted focus to farm conditions and food, veganism took on the features of what scholars call a “lifestyle movement.” Over time, it’s become more closely associated with general environmental concerns and a “healthism” mentality, bound up with notions of perfecting the body.” Veganism has grown almost 500 times more popular than it was just a few years ago, and this is due to the idea that this diet has many healing properties. I personally have spoken with many people that watched “What the Health” on Netflix, and that was enough to convince them! PETA has also stated that veganism helps to slim down and become energized.
            While these two types of vegans may not see eye to eye on everything, they can both agree that they feel happy and healthy!
Image result for vegan

Works Cited


The Meaning of Life (J.A. Parkey #10)

What is the meaning of life? Does life even have any meaning? This is an age old question that has crossed everyones mind at some point or another. Thinking that there is higher purpose in life, or even a purpose at all, is a common consensus among people. Even if you may not think that life has meaning yourself, you have at least heard of the idea.

Many historical figures in philosophy have provided answers to the question of what makes life worth living and meaningful, although they typically have not put it in these terms. Some examples of these philosophers are Aristotle on the human function and Kant on the highest good. While both of these concepts have some idea on happiness and morality, they can be directly interpreted as different ways of how a person could have a life that provides meaning and seems to actually matter. Despite these admired nobles, it is only in the last half century or so that a distinct field on the meaning of life has been properly established in American philosophy, and it is only in the last 30 years has debate with real depth appeared. This would be that the meaning i life can be divided into two reasons: religion and modern science. Religion granted us a true meaning of life because it was made clear and given to us by a god or gods.  It was about worshiping a higher entity and living according to what the entity dictates is wrong and right. But as religious belief has seemed to declined, the god has supposedly died and the meaning he once guaranteed along with him. The second cause of the current crisis of meaning being modern science. Scientists tell us that existence emerged from a random interplay of chemicals and gases, and the meaning that comes along with that is rather bleak and not very forthcoming. According to scientists, for humans the meaning of life is survival and the spread of one’s genetic material; like most other living things. It sounds very true and at the same time, distinctly boring and futile.

da menin o li

But in the end, the meaning of life is what you make of it. It is your choice on whether or not your life has a higher meaning, or is completely pointless. I just hope that everyone strives to be the best that they can be in whatever it is that makes you happy. 

“What is the meaning of human life, or, for that matter, of the life of any creature? To know an answer to this question means to be religious. You ask: Does it make any sense, then, to pose this question? I answer: The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life.”  
- Albert Einstein

This is just something I found that I thought was funny:

"You are at university studying for a degree. You signed up for the course in part because you often feel confused about who you are and what you want. You thought that reading books and going to lectures would shine a light on things, but the topics are dull and disconnected from your confusion. You complain it feels meaningless."

Here are some interesting videos about the meaning of life:

Aristotle on the Purpose of Life

Dogs and Grief...but with good news and a happy ending

In my last post, I discussed how experiencing the loss of a pet, more specifically a dog because that's where my expertise lies, helps us later deal with the loss of a humanoid loved one. Which is extremely ironic because I've been to hell and back this week to something very similar, and I'm going to be discussing what I've personally learned from it. That being said, I will be lacking sources, but it's for a good cause.

This week has been a week from hell for me. On top of it being finals week, I got the phone call that I had been scared of since I started my job. This was the phone call that told me they had decided to put down my most favorite dog. The dog I've spend 8 months rehabilitating all on my own despite never once being told to. The dog that has inspired this dog theme I have going on right now.

When I met Zero, I about died at how gorgeous he was, but he quickly showed me that he was far more that gorgeous -- he was also an ass. Therefore I, being the person that I am, immediately began teasing him on his name. It was all out of love and jokes of course, but whenever he got mad I would say things like "Aww, are you just upset cause they named you Zero?" and general other things. Fast forward to maybe a month into my job, and no one's working with this dog and I couldn't grasp why. I get it now that I've been employed for so long, but here was this dog, who needed some love and attention, and yet no one was willing to give it. That's where stupid me wanted to do some good at this place, and I stepped up and took on the role of a lifetime.

Long story short, me and Zero became super bonded during this time. I spent any free time I had helping him, loving him, sitting with him, and working on his aggression until it stopped. And it stopped -- for me at least. For everyone else, it made it much more manageable. Apparently, my job decided it wasn't manageable enough and decided that he should be put down. Once again I, being the person I am, opened my big mouth and told them that I wasn't going to let that happen and that I would bring my dog home with me.

For the past four days, I've sat in utter turmoil over whether or not my souldog would live until the next day. For the past four days, I've been in a near constant anxiety attack ready for a crying fit because I wasn't sure whether or not I could make this happen. I still don't know. But boy, this grief has been hitting me hard. Just the thought of Zero not being in my life throws me for a loop, but the fact that they wanted to straight up kill him? No, I can't even imagine.

What has this done for me, though? How is this relevant? This grief was different from what I originally wanted to discuss. However, what this showed me is that I'm stronger than I know. In the past four days my family and I have managed to catch up our dog's vaccinations, create a plan for bringing in a new dog with issues, and set up an appointment with a behaviorist. Meanwhile, I've managed to still stay up to date and ready to go with what schoolwork I've had left, go to work like everything is normal and still kick ass at my job, and still make time for a social life. What this has taught me is exactly what grief can teach anybody. Life doesn't stop. You take what you want, what you don't want, and what you need out of every situation you are placed under. And you are meant to outlive it because life keeps going even when it feels like it shouldn't.

Today, I got the phone call that said I'm going to be allowed to take Zero home with me. It's going to be an uphill battle, but I got to keep my dog. My grief is over for the moment, and if you're grieving, I hope yours will be over soon too.

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Pessimism 2nd Installment (#10)

FIRST INSTALLMENT: http://cophilosophy.blogspot.com/2017/12/pessimism-10.html

So in my last post, I talked about society and how it wants us to look at the world from the bright side when we really should be looking at it from a more pessimistic perspective. This post will talk a little on Leibniz and his optimism perspective not being entirely true and how pessimism can help in the long run.

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a philosopher and polymath. He is also the creator of optimism. His famous quote for optimism is that "we live in the best of all possible worlds." It is entirely true to say that we live in the best world though? With the time era we live in now, the world is not at its best at the moment, nor has it really ever been at its best. Yes optimism is good, but it blinds us from real situations at hand. 

I read the comments under my first post and became aware of how a lot of people believe that we should be neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but realistic. With that being said, pessimism leans more toward realism than optimism does. Thinking negative about a situation doesn't always make you a bad person, it makes you more prepared for an opposing outcome. Just as optimism is beneficial in life, pessimism is as well. They balance each other in a way. Which is where the realism comes into play. You can always be 50% pessimistic and 50% optimistic, or 75% pessimistic and 25% optimistic. It all depends on your mental state and the way you handle situations.
Being blinding optimism could take you by surprise and have a big affect on you. Not ever circumstance is going to come out positive, life wasn't made like that. 

As for pessimism, there are some benefits to it. You are more well prepared for the future because you have thought out possible scenarios to situations. It is possible for you to live longer for being pessimistic because you wont be that big of a risk taker and think more carefully about your life. Your productivity is also finer because you will think the worse of your actions which will make you want to do even better. So thinking wrong does not mean that the outcome will be flawed, it might actually come out ok.

Getting personal now; I am more of a realist. I don't care to look at the bright side but more of the side with logic. Everything has reasoning behind it. I can look at something from a negative point of view or a positive one. Either way, its the logical result that matters the most.