Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill

Section #10  First Installment

Morality has been one of the major topics that have divided philosophers. The struggle to come up with a definition for what is right and wrong that works in every condition continue. John Stuart Mill starts his book Utilitarianism with making the point that “…neither thinkers nor mankind…” has made any progress to improve the definitions since the time of Socrates. He made the argument that one would think that morality would follow the rule that governs science in ways that truth comes before theory. Based on that argument he deduced, “A test of right and wrong must be the means of ascertaining what is right or wrong, and not a consequence of having already ascertained it.” This raises the question what about instinct? He responds to that question by reminding us that the existence of instinct is also a question that still has not been accepted by all philosophers as truth. The “thinkers” that interpret the moral faculty believe “…the general principles of moral judgments…” is part of our reason and not our senses. Mill explains there are two schools of morality. Both schools agree on that “… morality must be deduced from principles”. Although that seems like an attractive idea, things get foggy when we try to find out what exactly are those principles? The book continues to explain that neither school have come up with “a list of the a priori principles”. One thing the intuitive school of ethics teaches is that there must be a general law to apply to individual cases. Mill explained that in order to do so, they need to come up with one fundamental law to be a root for several other laws. This principle will sort out any “conflicts” that may arise between other principles. Even though there is no one principle is stated to be root for others, Mill explains that the consistency of mankind’s moral belief is due to a “… standard not recognized.” He believed that this unrecognized standard has a great link with “the principle of utility, or, as Bentham latterly called it, the greatest happiness principle”. He even goes on to say that there is no school of thought that would reject the thought that happiness plays a great role to decide moral values and obligations. Thus, he continues his study towards "utilitarian" or " happiness" theory.

He defines the theory of utility (passed down from Epicurus and Bentham) as “… pleasure itself, together with exemption from pain…”. And it is very important to know the difference between right and wrong in terms of “greatest happiness principle” that right promotes happiness and wrong reverse happiness. Happiness here is defined as pleasure and the absence of pain. Mill continues to say that not all happiness is equal. And he clearly disagrees with Bentham on that note because Bentham said that animals’ feel happiness too and it would measure the same as humans. Mill proposed the idea that “few human creatures would consent to be changed into any of the lower animals for a promise of the fullest allowance of a beast’s pleasures”. This introduced higher and lower happiness.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Leah Magdal 2nd Installment
Karl Marx part 2

In my previous installment I talked about the reasoning behind why Karl Marx supported communism and how certain communist policies are utilized today. These examples include free healthcare, free education, and other things that are considered necessities for consumers such as food stamps for lower class people. These policies are becoming quite popular in certain countries because of how it can benefit their society. We have seen politians that try to run for office that support socialist policies. Many people get confused about the difference between socialist and communist policies, and that’s understandable because the terms haven’t really been used correctly all the time. In a communist society the workers are supposed to be in charge and own the businesses and people get what they need through there work, but we’ve seen that many countries that have called themselves communist didn’t do this but had more of a very extreme dictatorship like Russia. Then there are countries that allow free education and free healthcare because it’s considered a need for the functioning society, but the government is in charge, so there is a bit of a communist/socialist overlap. So you can see that in a capitalist society you are more likely to also a develop a mix of socialist and communist policies because there is enough money in the economy to allocate money to education and healthcare for people that can’t afford it without assistance, but it is regulated by the government in order to hold businesses accountable of standards they need to meet.
Getting back to politicians, a very popular advocate of socialism is Bernie Sanders, who had many votes during the 2016 presidential primaries from the younger generation because of his support for free education. Among the other things he supports is regulation of corporations, raising the minimum wage to a living wage, and to raise taxes of the upper class. All of these policies are to strengthen society as a whole, and not just of the upper class. As a broke full time college student I support these ideas because I have seen how hard the struggle can be for the hard working lower class. Many people are on edge about this new way of doing things, because we are used to living in a society with a very divided class system, and popular stigmas such as: "if you can’t afford something it’s because you don’t work hard enough.” A lot of people are against raising the minimum wage because jobs with minimum wage “are meant to be for high school students”, and “you should go to college if you want a living wage.” The list goes on.  The whole reason the minimum wage was created in the first place was to give people a living wage. This was done by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1938 during the depression because he saw how little companies were paying their workers and how much profit the people in charge were getting. Companies are supposed to be held liable for training their workers and paying them a living wage. This has become stigmatized by companies though over the years and many will convince people that they should pay for another business to get their training, and that is college which most people pay massive amounts to go to, in the hope of being accepted to work for companies and being paid a decent wage for their work. Many people think that raising the minimum wage would take money out of the economy, but this has already been tested after Roosevelt passed a law to raise the minimum wage and decrease unemployment and this was called the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. This new law led to fair competition between companies, because companies wanted to be able to offer better wages to be more popular to gain more employees. People were being paid more and therefore spending more, which led to businesses hiring more people to increase productivity. This was a policy that was put in place that was very successful until the price of living and food went up years later due to companies trying to gain more profit.
The point of all of this is that many socialist policies that have proven to be successful are still being stigmatized so people will feel that they deserve less. This is wrong. Both companies and the Government should be held accountable for how they treat people and spend their money so our society can be improved.

Here are some charts to show how minimum wage was increased and unemployment decreased soon after 1938 
Other References:
my 1st installment (more information about Marx and references in comment section):
Final Report Installment 1

Karl Marx

Other installments I have commented on:
Immanuel Kant -- Blog Post #1 (Lucy Haston, Section 8)

#10 Installment 1- Feminist existentialism.

First Installment Coaching Philosophy

Philosophy: as Seen in Sports

                When it comes to sports different coaches employ different strategies and philosophies when it comes to leading their teams to wins and championships.   Whether it be in basketball, football, or other sports the goal should be the same and that is to win a championship.   One of the hardest tasks is trying to incorporate a group of people with different aspirations and attitudes into one cohesive unit that has the ability to be a great team.  Molding and leading individuals is one the hardest tasks for a person to have.  Phil Jackson, former coach of the Los Angeles Lakers was tasked with trying to get strong minded strong minded individuals such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’neal  to buy into his system of the triangle offense and  also trust their teammates by not only relying on their individual greatness to win. 

                 Phil Jackson preferred a more laid back approach to leadership.   In his book Eleven Rings he stated, “As a leader your job is to do everything in your power to create the perfect conditions for success by benching your ego and inspiring your team to play the game the right way. But at some point, you need to let go and turn yourself over to the basketball gods. The soul of success is surrendering to what is.”  Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors and former player under Phil Jackson, uses a similar strategy by allowing his players to play freely and be themselves on the court, which is one of the key reasons that they have become one of the best teams of all time.  His free flowing offense allows his players to not be bound by stiff and rigid plays that leave few options, and instead chooses to let his players make decisions based on how they see things happening on the court.  Also his laid back style of leadership allows a fun atmosphere to be around and have caused his team to gravitate around him be successful.  

                Coaches who allow their players to play freely usually have the most success.  A “team first” philosophy is essential when managing a team and getting everyone to trust one another and not allow outside forces to become a distraction are usually the best teams.  Creating a winning atmosphere is based on basic principles such as having no egos, recognizing a common goal, and pulling together through adversity.  Although, there are many different philosophies when it comes to coaching or leading, in my experience the best results come when a team is allowed to make mistakes and play in loose atmosphere that is also fun. 

Life is too short not to live (SECTION 9)

Some believe life is too short, some believe it isn’t long enough… but why? Life comes and it goes, and should always be viewed as sacred and special. Life demonstrates to you that individuals come and individuals go. Life is about making something out of yourself before you leave Earth. I adore having the capacity to help somebody in improving their life. Seeing a basic grin on a man's face, fills my heart with joy. You need to live realizing that everything wont run smooothly, or treat you right. We live with loaded with sins, which means we will battle paying little heed to the kind of individual we are. Be that as it may, the best way to have faith in yourself is to run regular with an uplifting state of mind and prepared to vanquish the world. The philosophy of life can be described differently among all types of people. I believe life is what you make it and everyday should be treated like your last. I grew up alone, no sisters and no brothers. Being that I was the only child it made me appreciate friendships, relationships and family more than most people. Life is love as it was given to us by someone who loves us more than we can ever express. We were brought into this world for a purpose, meaning life is meant to have a purpose. We are meant to leave a mark on earth before we die. Living life with no regrets, understanding that mistakes happen, but also learning from them is something everyone should live by. Some people don’t understand the value of life, or how quick you can be dismissed from earth. Living one more day out the year shows me how God sees a purpose in me to be here. Life is too short to waste time on people who care about nothing but themselves. I learned years ago, that some people only surround their self around you when it is beneficial to them, meaning you can go months maybe even years caring for a person and they will only stick around if you are perfecting their life in some way. Being used is not a good feeling, but feeling lonely is not as well. So if you aren't careful, sometimes in life you can confuse happiness and being used very often when you are in love with someone. Life shows you that people come and people go. Life is all about making something out of yourself before you leave Earth. I love being able to help someone in making their life better. Seeing a simple smile on a person’s face, makes my day. You have to live life knowing that everything wont run smooothly, or treat you right. We live life with full of sins, meaning we are going to struggle regardless of the type of person we are. But the only way to believe in yourself is to go everyday with a positive attitude and ready to conquer the world.

Immanuel Kant -- Blog Post #1 (Lucy Haston, Section 8)

Lucy Haston
Dr. Oliver
PHIL 1030
Section 8
Immanuel Kant – Blog Post #1 for Final Report
            I have decided to write my final report blog posts on Immanuel Kant, a philosopher we recently covered in class, and one who is quite intriguing to me. While reading in our book A Little History of Philosophy, I was struck by the fact that Kant believed one should never lie because it is always morally wrong. I can imagine many situations where one might find it better to lie than to tell the truth because the truth will cause more destruction than the lie. To learn more about Kant’s philosophy and his strict beliefs on lying, I consulted a book called Immanuel Kant: Key Concepts. It’s available as an eBook through Walker Library, so check it out if you are interested.
            I figure first I should talk a little bit about Kant’s philosophy in general and some of his works. (You’ll find a more in depth discussion of his stance on lying in part II of this blog post.) The word “critique” is an important word when it comes to Kant’s philosophy, along with the word “reason.” Kant wrote three works pertaining to critiquing reason and judgment. They are Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason, and Critique of the Power of Judgment. According to Immanuel Kant: Key Concepts, the three installments were not all planned; they naturally developed as each previous work was written (14). I think it is crucial to note how Kant is using the words “critique” and “reason.” “Critique” is used to mean, “… a detection of prejudice and error in received views but also assumes the more specific sense of a principled assessment of the extent to which claims in general, or claims of a specific kind, may be justified or justifiable” (14). Critiquing is Kant’s way of figuring things out. He critiqued problems in order to come up with a solution. And for reason, Kant uses it to mean, “… the higher mental powers in their entirety, as opposed to the lower mental powers based on the senses” (14). Kant was a major figure of the Age of Enlightenment, also known as the Age of Reason, so reason is an incredibly important aspect of his philosophy, as it was for many other philosophers and writers of the time (think Voltaire, Rousseau, Swift). Enlightenment thinkers such as Kant relied on reason rather than the senses. (If you’re a fan of literature from around this time and later, you’ll know that where reason was seen as the most important human aspect during the Enlightenment period, Romanticism [end of the 18th century] would reject reason and rely on imagination as the most important human aspect.)
            Now that I’ve established the important of reason in Kant’s philosophy, the second part of my blog post will be a more in depth discussion of specifics, such as his views on lying, and how I believe such strict views on lying can be problematic. Stay tuned.
P.S. – The straightforward essay format of this blog post is the English major coming out in me. This format is so engrained that I can hardly stray from it… but here are some helpful links you can consult relating to Kant and his philosophy:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cdpu58vo3PU ß a nice video on his Critique of Pure Reason

Beyond Good and Evil - William Deaver Section 10, Installment 1

Beyond Good and Evil was written by Friedrich Nietzsche in 1886, a peripatetic philosopher. Nietzsche dives into Morals, virtues, and what good and bad essentially means. He not only tells us about what we have done right but how wrong our perspective can be. Much of the beginning of the book represents an accusatory tone of Nietzsche's viewpoint of other philosophers. However, this is no without reason. Nietzsche claims that this a great way to delve deeper into a both the minds of philosophers and their underlying philosophies. Afterward, Nietzsche moves his topic on to what free spirit, specifically when it comes to religion means. During this, it shows how Nietzsche believes in going against the grain, and not falling into a group and losing your identity. Morals is another topic that Nietzsche touches. He sees morality as something that is constantly changing and evolving, something that he claims that most philosophers do not consider. The time we live in shapes our perspective of morality as much as our core beliefs do. In the same chapter, Nietzsche states that most details are lost when we experience them. By only taking into account the big picture and miss the small fraction of that big picture. This is even more relevant in today’s modern world. If we travel to New York, we don’t stop and value the intricacies. Without such details, the City skyline can never exist as it is only just a byproduct. Later in the book, Nietzsche once again brings up morals and how emotions such as fear, guilt, and happiness enslave our actions and our views on morality. Philosophers were not the only thing Nietzsche was skeptical of, he also went after the scholars of his time. He criticized them for not having two of the most important functions for humans. These two functions were being creative and creating arts, and the other was being self-sustaining, and non-reliant. Finally, Nietzsche goes into Nobility. Nietzsche was very critical of Christianity for glorifying weakness. He believes that while weakness is a necessity for human nobility, it is something that must be exploited.

Nietzsche claims there are no universal laws, and that there is no ultimate answer to what is and is not moral. It is based off time, origin, society, and personal traits. Everybody is going to have their own version of the ultimate truth, and that is okay. It is expected for everybody to modify or skew other people’s perspectives to mend their own. This is ever truer when this perspective can be used to absolve the originator's actions. This was a viewpoint that was not commonly shared during this period, and I believe that this only strengthens Nietzsche’s perspective on what good and evil are. According to Nietzsche, you must have rough patches in life in order for the good to actually mean something. Character development, morality, and your ultimate truth are all shaped by these unfortunate events. Without them, life would be meaningless. It is clear that Nietzsche was critical of the philosophers of his time, that much is for certain.

Below is an attached video with more about Beyond Good and Evil:

The idea of a Sovereign Installment 1

People, just like everything else in the universe, have inertia, but differing from physical inertia it’s in fact a behavioral inertia. The human behavioral inertia is an explanation of why people do the things they do, someone will keep doing something unless an outside force is acted upon it. Hobbes’ views are that a person without a sovereign will do anything possible to eliminate the threats done to their personal being; stating that a person will choose the option that harms them the least no matter what outcomes it haves on other people. Whenever a situation arises that involves risking your own well being, without a sovereign, Hobbes claims, everybody will choose the option with the least amount of risk to them.
With limited resources and unlimited wants, humans are quick to battle because, Hobbes writes, the human nature is driven by physical appetites and disgusts. Without a sovereign, everybody is out for themselves and it would quickly turn into chaos. Human nature seems like it would be the best way to go about in a natural world but evidently humans would end up just killing each other until no one is left to get the last bite. With the invention of laws and social contracts we can see that human society works in some sense, but without them, Hobbes argues, we would have no flow of knowledge, or art, or infrastructure because we would be in the eternal state of fear. Fear drives our instinct of not wanting to be in the state of nature and reason helps us find the way to get out of, or avoid, the raw state of nature.

All humans have the right to self preservation and with that every human should respect the other’s right to self preservation if the other is not causing harm. Human reason gives us the ability to choose our battles and compromise to not reach war because war can be avoided and war is detrimental for both sides involved. With the creation of laws, humans can take care of more important things than mere surviving and focus on engineering, agriculture, politics, and other things that would facilitate the survival process for others in the community. Every man wants peace and with different ways to obtain it, and disagreements on how to get there, humanity is always going to have trouble getting there if we don't have a set sovereign that is sufficiently powerful but not concentrated into an elite of some sorts. Hobbes calls this the leviathan.The leviathan is the state that is ruled by the people and it is for the people, protecting them from the fears that come with the raw state of human nature. The people in one end being being protected by their own social contracts and the state protected by the leading power, the sovereign. This is the only way human society can sustain itself, Hobbes argues. With this I say that humans are not to be trusted but only with a sovereign that is trusted by the person in question.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Section 9, First Installment: Personal This I Believe

When I was a young teenager, my dad and I were in a bad living situation. Luckily, my dad’s close friend, Kathy, was kind enough to welcome us into her home.  
Kathy was a strong, independent woman in her early sixties. I’ve knew her vaguely during my childhood, but before adolescence, I never took the time to get to know her. I was a generally reserved person that wasn't used to making conversation with people on a deep and personal level. Due to this fact, I tended to judge people solely from what I saw. Every time my dad took me with him to visit Kathy when I was younger, I imagined her as an intimidating, elderly woman, since she spent much of her time hunting. After taking the time to get to know Kathy, she became one of the biggest role models in my life. 
Kathy is the type of person that said whatever was on her mind, whether it was a compliment or criticism. To a typical individual, that personal quality may seem a little brash at times. I admired her honesty because I felt that if she could be honest with me, then I could be honest with her by simply being myself.  Over time, Kathy and I grew very close. She taught me so much in the time that my dad and I lived with her. During those two years, Kathy taught me how to step out of my comfort zone by not being afraid to try new things.
Before living with Kathy, I never would have thought about the idea of hunting or had the opportunity to experience it. She taught me how to shoot a gun, where to shoot a deer for a clean shot, and she also went with me to take a hunter’s safety course for me to get my hunting license. I would have never thought I would have liked to hunt, since I never was involved in that activity growing up. I came to enjoy the calmness of sitting in the woods and the art of perfecting my aim.    
Kathy is a very strong-willed and persistent woman. I was never the type to let people into my life where they could get the chance to know what I was about. Kathy saw straight through the type of person I was, and, in a short period, she was able tear down the wall I naturally put up in front of people. After being able to connect with her, we spent a lot of time together doing things such as going hunting, playing card games, going out to eat, or simply watching TV together. The little things we did helped us form a strong relationship that will stay with me for the rest of my life.  
Before living with Kathy, I made quick judgments about people only from an observational standpoint due to having an introverted personality. I believe that for me to live a substantial life, I need to continue to step out of my comfort zone and tear down the wall I put up in front of people. By doing this, I can form strong relationships with diverse groups in individuals to help improve my introverted qualities which, in turn, will lead me to live a happier life.  
Today, as a college student, I have learned to live on my own with a numerous amount of responsibilities that involve school, work, volunteer experiences, and figuring out what I want to do with my life once I graduate. A few ways that I have been incorporating the teachings Kathy has bestowed upon me, is by developing various interpersonal skills from working as a server as well as stepping out of my comfort zone as a current hospice volunteer and Team Development Lead for an upcoming Relay for Life event. Although I still have a lot to work on, I believe Kathy has been one of the many important influences in my life that has shaped me into what I am today and what I could possibly become tomorrow. This I believe.

Installment 1: The Four Agreements (First)

 I will be doing my first installment on a philosophy based approach that I have utilized in a way throughout my life. I am a person that believes in personal freedom and that there’s an inner spirit within each person that gives you control of your life instead of the control of religion such as God and Jesus. I do believe in Christianity, but I also believe that I am also in control of my life and the way some situations occur. When it comes to personal conditions, you have to have to have the mind to reason in a philosophical way to interpret the spiritual wisdom. I have recently expressed interest a in book termed The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. This book allows to me to further my knowledge on the personal freedom that many people are not aware of. The book describes four agreements that Author Ruiz believes is very effective in a productive life. I have found myself living by the four agreements because they are very reasonable and it is easy for me to understand Don Miguel Ruiz perspective. The first agreement is to “Be Impeccable with your Word”.  Impeccable basically sums up to be without sin. Ruiz explains this as to speak with integrity. Say what you mean, and avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. The reason why “Word” is capitalized is because it doesn’t correlate to things you say, but the power you have to create by the ways you express. You can create many different expressions towards somethings that can show how devoted you are or some to show how abstained you are from a situation or belief. It showed me to be more positive and not to speak against myself and only in truth and love. This was very beneficial for me at times when things could get stressful and it when it would get hard to maintain a bright side to look on. The is the only agreement I wanted to discuss in this installment because it is the most important.  It has allowed me to be more open minded and gain the ability to make the best out of decisions. I would recommend that others should read this book if they feel that they don’t know who they are or what’s their next step in life or within themselves. It is easy to lose sight of your beliefs in college because there is so much going on at once that it seems you never have time to find out who you are and what you truly believe in. I also belief that it is very easy for this to occur because majority of all students decided to attend college immediately after high school and has never had this type of independence with responsibilities. Now there are so many decisions to make on your own and one wrong decision can make you feel so shitty that you mess up and make another thoughtless, wrong decision and then you have the domino effect . My word of advice is find your inner spirit and be sure of your desires that are only based upon yourself and not someone else. Find personal wisdom  and you’ll witness how drastically things can and will change.

Alixander Sexton- Warner - The Philosophy of Inception - Installment 1

The book Inception and Philosophy: Because It's Never Just a Dream, aims to explain the different theories of the movie, Inception, from a philosophical standpoint. The first theory is the most real theory where Cobb and his crew exist in real time except for when we are clearly told they are entering dream states. Cobb’s wife, Mal, is dead, having killed herself as she tried to “wake up” from her real life, which she believed was a dream. The movie ends with Cobb and Saito exiting Limbo and Cobb finally able to return home to his children in reality. The second theory is the mostly real theory where just like the most real interpretation, except that Cobb and Saito do not fully awake into reality, but into some other part of Limbo or some other dream. Thus, Cobb does not make it back to his children in reality. The third theory is the mostly dream theory where what Cobb thinks is reality is reality, including Mal’s death. However, when he tries out Yusuf’s heavy sedative in his basement, he gets trapped in a dream that is the rest of the movie. And the final theory is the full dream theory that The entire movie is a dream, which takes place on several different dream levels, all in Cobb’s head. When Cobb and Mal woke up from Limbo, they only woke up into a layer of dreaming they had created to enter Limbo in the first place. They spent so long in Limbo that they forgot, and only because Cobb had incepted Mal in Limbo did Mal think it was a dream, attempt suicide, and wake up. (Perhaps she woke up in reality, perhaps in another layer of dreaming.) None of the other characters are anything but projections of Cobb’s subconscious. Even if Cobb did return to what he thought were his real children, in the real world, he is still only dreaming. In discussing which theory is real, the text discusses how deciding a theory to be true of an artwork can be determined two different ways. The first way is intentionalism, where the view that the artist’s intention determines the meaning of the artwork. The second way is multiplism, When various views can simultaneously be correct all at once. The text also discusses why letting an artist decide an artwork's meaning is and with three reasons. The first reason is the Collective Ownership Problem where some philosophers argue that artworks must be understood in relation to other artworks. This view requires a clear rejection of the intentionalist view of artwork meaning because, in this view, the meaning of a work comes partially from other works, rather than from the artist. The second problem is the Interpretively Static Problem. On this view, once the artist has set the meaning of the work, that meaning is fixed for the life of the artwork. This view thus denies one of the features that we tend to value about art. And the third problem is the Epistemic Problem. This objection stems from the problem that if the meaning of an artwork is rooted in the intention of the artist, we are left with an interpretive hole regarding many works of art. This means that if Nolan (director) gets to set the meaning of the work, the rest of us will simply never know the “right answer” regarding the way we ought to interpret the film. I believe in multiplism because I believe that an artwork can hold multiple truths all at once.

Word count: 589

Philosophy in sports

Anthony Chalmers

All too often sports are overlooked, and passed off as mindless games. Contrary to what is widely believed, sports require countless hours of preparation and mental focus. Throughout history, the most successful coaches have taken a philosophical approach to the game and they instilled these principals into their players and in turn the players relayed that approach in the way they performed in action. Two of the most renowned coaches known for their philosophy-based approaches to sports are Phil Jackson from his time with the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers, and Tony Dungy from his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts. In this first installment, I am going to focus in on Phil Jackson, and then key in on Tony Dungy in the second installment.

After his very last championship, Phil Jackson authored a book by the name of 11 Rings in which he details the philosophies he employed when dealing with megastars of the game such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal, just to name a few. The philosophies he preached to his players are what lead him to being one of the most successful basketball coaches of all time with eleven championships to his name. Now, it’s easy to say that anyone could have won those rings with the talent he had around him, but what goes unnoticed is the grooming and patience it takes to push the enormous egos, that come with the enormous talent, to the side to be beneficial when it comes to reaching team oriented goal, winning games, which is the bottom line.

Jackson often talked about how he was a huge fan of the Eastern philosophy of Zen Buddhism, which earned him the nickname the “Zen Master”. Zen Buddhism focuses on opposing the “ego” and being “unselfish”. Phil felt like these principals were more important than actually winning games. This was especially necessary when dealing with the Michael Jordan’s and the Kobe Bryant’s of the world who can, at times, be a handful to deal with in a team setting given their all-time great talent. In his book, he stated, “As coach, I know that being fixated on winning (or more likely, not losing) is counterproductive, especially when it causes you to lose control of your emotions. What's more, obsessing about winning is a loser's game: The most we can hope for is to create the best possible conditions for success, then let go of the outcome." Phil felt that if you could treat the best player on the team the same way you treat the struggling player at the end of the bench, it would spread a feeling of togetherness throughout the team. Each player has a value that is unique and different from the next. That was Phil Jackson’s big secret to winning. To get the best player to need the other four players on the court just as much as they need him, and the results speak for themselves. To the tune of eleven championships.

Bertrand Russell's The Problem of Philosophy- Taylor Wood- Section 9- Installment 1

Taylor Wood
Section 9
Installment 1
Philosophy: The Classic- Bertrand Russell The Problems of Philosophy

Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher, writer, historian, mathematician, and political activist in the early 20th century. One of his many books, The Problems of Philosophy, was just a simple short read that he wrote in 1911. However, the book would later go on to be one of his most read and most famous books, still being published over 100 years after it was written. This is due to the way Russell delivers not only the different beliefs of past philosophers such as Descartes and Hume, but the way he expresses his own views on the values of philosophy.

A big part of Philosophy is questioning everything that happens in the world and trying to come up with an answer for these questions. In this book, Russell acknowledges the fact that hoping to answer all of these questions is hopeless. He does, however state that this does not mean Philosophy is a waste of time. He says that asking such deep questions makes life more interesting and ultimately gives us a much broader view of our lives. I definitely agree with this statement of his. I believe we shouldn’t stress out too much on having all of the answers to the questions we have in life, but we should still have an open mind about everything we encounter. We should keep these big questions in the back of our minds and explore different interpretations of possible answers we may come across. Russell says that the real value of philosophy lies in its uncertainty. By this he means that we should question our beliefs, even beliefs that seem uncontroversial and natural to us. He says that by doing this, we will free ourselves from the “tyranny of customs” and enhance our imaginative views of the world. Instead of fixing our thought on one thought or belief, we should take in many ideas and beliefs.

Bertrand Russell also states that philosophy to him is about investigating everything in our lives and deeply analyzing everything looking for inconsistencies. This is not to mean he believes we should destructively doubt everything in our lives, but that we should really analyze everything for ourselves and make sure we are truly understanding everything. We shouldn’t believe everything we see on the base level, but we should instead look at things more critically and with more reason so that we may better understand it for ourselves and become more knowledgeable. It may seem strange or crazy to look at something and wonder if it is real or not, but doing so could give you more information you would not have discovered otherwise. I think this is a great way to look at things in life. I agree that we should be a little skeptical toward everything in life and find out things for ourselves. It will not only help us to understand things better, but it will also give us assurance of what we truly see.

Jean Paul Sartre & Existentialism (Installement 1) Section 9

Leith El-Mohammed

Dr. Phil Oliver

Installment 1

25 April 2017

Jean Paul & Existentialism

Jean Paul Sartre, a man who wasn’t someone you would want to stare at for a long time yet had a very special thought process. Sartre was born on June 21, 1905, in Paris. Jean-Baptist Sartre, a French naval officer, being his dad who he lost shortly after Jean being born. His mother, Anne Schweitzer then thought it was necessary to move to her parents to raise her son. His size and lazy eye gave him less confidence in himself and made it hard for people to stare at him and judge him for his appearance. His mother remarried when he was at the age of twelve which led him away from his mother and to his grandfather who introduced him to literature. He talks about not being accepted in many places, but would only feel accepted in their apartment, where he could write and escape the world that rejected him.

His grandfather, Charles Schweitzer, did not only lead him to the literature subject but also taught him math. He first became attracted to philosophy after reading the “Essay on the Immediate Data of Consiousness” by Henri Bergson as a teenager. He was attending Lycee Henri IV in Paris leading on to the study at the elite Ecole Normale Superieure. While attending the prestigious school he met many notables such as Raymond Aron and many more, who then became lifelong companions. In 1929, Sartre graduated from the Ecole Normale Superieure with a doctrate in philosophy, and then served as a conscript in the French Army till 1931. Around the year 1933, Sartre obtained the grant to study at the French Institute in Berlin where he studied the Phenomenology of Husseri and Heidegger. He then started to come up with his own philosophy that I will go over later in my essay. In these years he published many works that were very important and one of them was the novel “La Nauusee” which came out in 1938.

World War II, the war that Sartre was drafted into for the French army, serving as a meteorologist. Sadly, Sartre was captured by the German troops in Padoux spending nine months as a prisoner in 1940. He was released due to poor health and given civilian status. Getting out of prison he immediately went back for his position as a teacher at the Lycee Pasteur near Paris. Sartre would find himself in cafes gathered by a group of intellectuals, mainly at the Café de Flore leading onto participating in the founding of the undergound group Socialisme et Liberte. The group later on dissolved which led him to writing many plays and managed to write his most scholarly work on Existentialism. Sartre then met Albert Camus, a like-minded philosopher, who turned him to working on politically.

Attention was being brought to Sartre, which was a good and also a bad thing for him. Woman were throwing themselves at him, but at the same time he received a lot of negative press charge. Sartre was accused of moral corruption and spreading hopelessness among the younger generation. He was pushed away by the press and forced to retreat back to his mother’s house where he could work in peace.

Section 10 Installment 1: The Communist Philosophy

When looking at political philosophy, the most interesting one to me is the Communist philosophy. The Communist philosophy was created by Karl Marx in his Communist Manifesto. The philosophy is also called Marxism. The Communist philosophy has ten essential beliefs in the platform: 1) abolition of private property, 2) heavy income tax, 3) abolition of rights of inheritance, 4) confiscation of property rights, 5) a central bank, 6) government ownership of communication and transportation, 7) government ownership of factories and agriculture, 8) corporate farms and regional planning, 9) government control of labor, and 10) government control of education.

The inspiration for all of these ideas came from world events like the Industrial Revolution which introduced capitalism to the world. Capitalism gave birth to people to make money and only increased the previous class system. This reinforced Marx’s idea that people should be on a fair and equal playing level. People were taking advantage of the lower classes in order to make themselves rich. Marx’s reasoning putting things in control of the government was because the people directly control the government. This would essentially put these categories into the hands of the people. Followers like Vladimir Lenin used tactics to over throw the Russian Tsar Nicholas II to implement the outlined beliefs of Karl Marx in the Communist Manifesto.

In 1917, Russia pulled out of World War I due to a revolution in the empire. The Bourgeoisie versus the Proletariats. This was also categorized as the Red versus the White. This philosophy inspired thousands to rise up against their government to take back power for themselves. Leninism developed from Karl Marx’s Communism. Lenin took over Russia after the revolution and implemented his style of Communism dubbed Leninism. His idea for creating a communist country was somewhat perverted from the original Communism idea.

After Lenin, Joseph Stalin took over the Soviet Union. Stalinism is a philosophy that is centered on policies of centralization, totalitarianism, and the pursuit of communism. Stalin locked in Stalinism from 1922-1952 when he ruled the Soviet Union as General Secretary. He made a culture using his philosophy that echoed a terror state. He implemented a personal cult culture in the Soviet Union that made him an idol to the people. He made Gulags that punished 22 million of his own citizens including his own son that died in a Gulag.

Philosophies can have an impact on peoples’ lives in different ways. Philosophies can brainwash civilians to carrying out atrocities. They can also develop on each other like Communism, Leninism, and Stalinism did. Communism was used to spark a revolution within the Russian people. What started out as throwing over a corrupt government and founding a Communist society and government, was manipulated into a totalitarian ruled regime that oppressed human rights, economic rights, and other freedoms. The power of a philosophy can uplift a culture or destroy a people. Personal thoughts and philosophies can be influential to people. The lesson to take from political philosophies would be to be careful what you believe and who you follow. Keep leaders in check because what they preach and how they act don’t always line up. 

Here is a link discussing Stalinism and how it is being embraced. 

Section 9. Installment 1: The Philosophy of Memory

     The Philosophy of Memory
     Memory is the basis of our understanding of our own personal identities. What we know, or what we remember, about our past helps us to define who we are. In the story of Alice in Wonderland, Alice is conflicted about her identity because she believes she, as a person, changes many times in the day.

Alice can't remember things as she used to, so she questions who she is at that moment. She is unsure of her identity as it is not the same as it was that morning. We see that her identity, like our own, is based on her memory.
     Understanding who we were and we used to be helps us to understand who we are now. Every bit of knowledge we have is dependent on what we remember. Our memories are important to us because they provide us with a sense of permanence. In the words of Tyler Shore, "despite life's evanescent and transient qualities...memory [is] a resisting of time and morality." Memories will never change; they are stuck in their own place in time.
     Plato believes that "learning was simply another way of remembering the eternal truths that we already knew, but needed to relearn." In other words, he thinks that we are initially born with all this knowledge that we are unaware of and must be reminded of throughout our lives. According to Plato, remembering these innate knowledge helps us to grasp the overall knowledge of our sense of self.
     In Alice in Wonderland, Alice undergoes change. She drinks the liquid that makes her shrink and eats the pastry that makes her grow. She begins to wonder if these changes changed who she is.

"Let me think: was I the same when I got up this morning? I almost think I can remember feeling a little different. But if I'm not the same, the next question is, Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great question!"
     Alice is conflicted about her identity because she can't seem to remember who she was in the recent past. She wonders if she knows all the things that she used to know, and if she doesn't, then she thinks that her identity has changed.

     John Locke, a philosopher of memory, largely incorporates memory to his theory of the self.  He believes that the memories of our past provide us with meaningful context in which we can relate to our present self. Our memories help us to define our sense of self in relation to other people. This brings us back to Alice's dilemma: she believes that since she cannot remember who she is, she must be someone else. Her poor memory leads to her confused sense of identity.

     Our memories are personal and define who we are as a person. You are the only person that remembers an event the exact way you remember it. Others who may have been at the same place at the same time have their own personal way of remembering that same event. Memories are the basis of our self identity.