Up@dawn 2.0

Friday, April 14, 2017

Quiz Apr 18

RUSSELL, AYER, Sartre, de beauvoir, Camus (LH); WATCH:Sartre (SoL); Camus (SoL); Sartre & Existential Choice; de Beauvoir on Feminine Beauty (HI)... See also: Camus & the Myth of Sisyphus (Hap), and the last several Russell posts in Phil of Happiness beginning here.

1. Reading whose autobiography led young Bertrand Russell to reject God? OR, What did he see as the logical problem with the First Cause Argument?
I for a long time accepted the argument of the First Cause, until one day at the age of eighteen I read _____'s Autobiography, and I there found this sentence: "My father taught me that the question 'Who made me?' cannot be answered, since it immediately suggests the further question `Who made god?'" That very simple sentence showed me, as I still think, the fallacy in the argument of the First Cause. If everything must have a cause, then God must have a cause. If there can be anything without a cause, it may just as well be the world as God, so that there cannot be any validity in that argument. It is exactly of the same nature as the Hindu's view, that the world rested upon an elephant and the elephant rested upon a tortoise; and when they said, "How about the tortoise?" the Indian said, "Suppose we change the subject." The argument is really no better than that. Why I Am Not a Christian


2. The idea of a barber who shaves all who don't shave themselves is a logical ______, a seeming contradiction that is both true and false. Another example of the same thing would be a statement like "This sentence is ___." 


3. A.J. Ayer's ______ Principle, stated in his 1936 book Language, Truth and Logic, was part of the movement known as _____ ______. 


4. Humans don't have an _____, said Jean Paul Sartre, and are in "bad faith" like the ____ who thinks of himself as completely defined by his work.

5. What was Sartre's frustrating advice to the student who didn't know whether to join the Resistance?


6. When Simone de Beauvoir said women are not born that way, she meant that they tend to accept what?

7. Which Greek myth did Albert Camus use to illustrate human absurdity, as he saw it?


BONUS+: Who had a Near Death Experience his youthful philosophy would have declared "nonsense"?

BONUS++: Name the faux English matrons who crossed the channel to ask Sartre about his views 
on freedom?

What did Sartre mean by "freedom"? Inquiring minds want to know how any of us can be really free, when we still have payments to make on the fridge. Well, that's the crux of Sartre's "Roads to Freedom." Isn't it, Mrs. P? -"We'll ask him."



"What was Jean-Paul like?"
-"He didn't join in the fun much. Just sat there thinking..."
  • “Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female — whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.”
  • “Fathers never have exactly the daughters they want because they invent a notion a them that the daughters have to conform to.”
  • “Why one man rather than another? It was odd. You find yourself involved with a fellow for life just because he was the one that you met when you were nineteen.”
  • “Self-consciousness is not knowledge but a story one tells about oneself.”


Albert Camus gave us the Existential version of Sisyphus, and the “fundamental question of philosophy”:
“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest — whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories — comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer.”











thinkPhilosophy (@tPhilosophia)
Jean-Paul Sartre: more relevant now than ever | Books | The Guardian: theguardian.com/books/2014/oct…

DQ:

1. Have you ever read a book that changed your mind about something important to you? What would you say to Bertrand Russell and J.S. Mill about the First Cause Argument?

2. Are linguistic paradoxes a philosophical problem, or just an amusing quirk of language?

3. Can you give an example of an unverifiable statement that you consider meaningful?

4. What's your "essence" or specific human nature? Did you construct it, or were you born into it? Can your essence change?

5. What does it mean to say that women are made, not born? Do you have particular ideas about what it means to be a man or a woman? Where did those ideas come from? Are there any professions or occupations you think no women or men should enter?

6. Are there any Sisyphean aspects to your daily life? Do they make you unhappy? Do you imagine you'll someday escape them? How?






thinkPhilosophy (@tPhilosophia)
"Why Life Is Absurd" Essay that won an Immortality Project Award - NYTimes.com opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/01/11/why…

An old post-
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Oxbridge superstars Bertrand Russell (Cambridge) and A.J. Ayer (Oxford) are the classic 20th century British philosophers on tap in CoPhi today (Russell was actually born in the 1870s and made it to nearly the century mark). We'll squeeze in another Cambridge don, Frank Ramsey, if time allows.
That's a small philosophy pun, PB's Ramsey expert Hugh Mellor is also an expert on time. And it's in marginally bad taste too, given that poor Ramsey's un-Russellian time was tragically short: he lived only to age 26. But as Mellor says, he accomplished far more than most philosophers manage in that fraction of a lifetime, including the "redundancy" theory of truth that (ironically, paradoxically!) implies the gratuity of theories of truth without disavowing truth's centrality to philosophy.
Hugh Mellor on time (he says relax, it’s not tensed”).... Russell @dawn... Russell... Ayer... Logicomix]
So much has been said about Russell, and by him. The truth question was pretty cut-and-dried, he thought, like religion and the pragmatic approach in general. 
  • There isn’t a practical reason for believing what isn’t true. If it’s true you should believe it, if it isn’t you shouldn't… it’s dishonesty and intellectual treachery to hold a belief because you think it’s useful and not because you think it’s true.
  • The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.
  • And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence.
  • Fear is the main source of superstition, and one of the main sources of cruelty. To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
  • Do you think that, if you were granted omnipotence and omniscience and millions of years in which to perfect your world, you could produce nothing better than the Ku Klux Klan or the Fascists? [Why I Am Not a Christian... More Russell]
Clearly, "for Russell there was no chance of God stepping in to save humanity." The concept of an Afterlife is, to anticipate the over-zealotry of A.J. Ayer's indiscriminate philosophical wrecking ball, "nonsense." We must save ourselves. (As Carl Sagan would later say, there's no sign of help coming from anywhere "out there" to rescue us.)
Russell said family friend and "godfather" J.S. Mill provided a satisfactory answer to his own early childhood query, posed by so many of us: "What caused God?" If anything in the universe can exist without a cause, why can't the universe itself?
Having settled the question of God to his own satisfaction, he turned full attention to the philosophy of logic and mathematics, to paradox, to set theory, and other conceptual conundra. If something is false when it's true ("This sentence is false" etc.), then it's back to the drawing board for the logicians. It's not even a close shave. (Yes, that's another marginal philosophy pun- this time alluding to Russell's paradox of the barber who shaves only those who shave themselves.) As for the extent of my own interest in set theory and its ilk, I think young Ramsey said it best: "Suppose a contradiction were to be found in the axioms of set theory. Do you seriously believe that a bridge would fall down?" No I do not.
 "How can we talk meaningfully about non-existent things?" That's never really hung me up, nor anyone who appreciates good literature. Either young Russell was not a big reader of fiction, or maybe he thought he had to justify his reading. I'm glad he cared about "the present king of France," but I frankly could care less.
A.J. (“Freddie”) Ayer, with his Verification Principle, loved to detect and discredit nonsense. Good for him, we're choking on it. But he went too far. "Metaphysics" (not to mention "ethics" and "religion") may have been a dirty word, for him, but there's far more sense on earth (let alone in heaven, if a heaven there be) than was dreamt of in his Logical Positivism.
Ayer, by the way, apparently had a Near Death Experience of his own, in his old age. Interesting, in light of his youthful philosophy as exposited in Language, Truth, and Logic, "in every sense" (he admitted while still a relatively young man) "a young man's book, "according to which unverifiable statements are meaningless nonsense.
Old Ayer claimed his premature dalliance with death in no way impinged on his atheism. But an acquaintance reported that “He became so much nicer after he died… not nearly so boastful. He took an interest in other people.” But again, Freddie denied that the experience made him “religious.” [continues here]
  •  …a sentence is factually significant to any given person, if, and only if, he knows how to verify the proposition which it purports to express — that is, if he knows what observations would lead him, under certain conditions, to accept the proposition as being true, or reject it as being false.
  • “Stealing money is wrong” has no factual meaning — that is, expresses no proposition which can be either true or false. It is as if I had written “Stealing money!!
  • No moral system can rest solely on authority. [Or as Russell said: nothing externally imposed can be of any value.]
  • There is philosophy, which is about conceptual analysis — about the meaning of what we say — and there is all of this … all of life.
And with that last insight the former Wykeham Professor of Logic may at last have hit on a profound truth far beyond formal language and pedantic logic. Ayer's greatest moment, for my money:
One of the last of the many legendary contests won by the British philosopher A. J. Ayer was his encounter with Mike Tyson in 1987... Ayer -- small, frail, slight as a sparrow and then 77 years old -- was entertaining a group of models at a New York party when a girl ran in screaming that her friend was being assaulted in a bedroom. The parties involved turned out to be Tyson and Naomi Campbell. ''Do you know who [the bleep] I am?'' Tyson asked in disbelief when Ayer urged him to desist: ''I'm the heavyweight champion of the world.'' ''And I am the former Wykeham professor of logic,'' Ayer answered politely. ''We are both pre-eminent in our field. I suggest that we talk about this like rational men.'' nyt He might have been inviting another NDE, right then and there! [Ayer’s "Language, Truth & Logic." archive.org/details/Alfred…]
Every moment of life, especially during the Occupation, was an NDE for the French existentialists, Sartre (& Mary Warnock on Sartre), de Beauvoir, and Camus.
Jean-Paul Sartre, his companion Simone de Beauvoir, and their cohort Albert Camus were Resistance fighters as well as French intellectuals. "Paris needed a philosophy that would give to individuals a belief in themselves and their own powers," says Lady W., and that's what JPS and his cohort tried to give them. That’s important to remember, when considering the extremity of some of their statements. They were up against the wall, with Nazis in the parlor. And they’re on tap today in CoPhi.
  
  
Warnock seems to find some of Sartre's terms and concepts puzzling: existence precedes essence, "whatever that means!" But I always thought this was one of Sartre's clearer statements: "if God does not exist there is at least one being whose existence comes before its essence, a being which exists before it can be defined by any conception of it." And we are it.
  
What did Sartre mean by "freedom"? Inquiring minds want to know how any of us can be really free, when we still have payments to make on the fridge. Well, that's the crux of Sartre's "Roads to Freedom." Isn't it, Mrs. P? -"We'll ask him."
"What was Jean-Paul like?"
-"He didn't join in the fun much. Just sat there thinking..."
[Breaking: guess who's getting back together?!] Got back together...
 Some more extreme Gallic/Existential statements:
  • “So this is hell. I’d never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the “burning marl.” Old wives’ tales!There’s no need for red-hot pokers. HELL IS–OTHER PEOPLE!”
  • “Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. “Life has no meaning a priori … It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose.”
  • “Life has no meaning, the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal.”
  • “Words are loaded pistols.”
  • “Life begins on the other side of despair.”
  • “Nothingness lies coiled in the heart of being – like a worm.”
  • “There is no love apart from the deeds of love; no potentiality of love other than that which is manifested in loving; there is no genius other than that which is expressed in works of art.”
  • “An individual chooses and makes himself.”
  • “If I became a philosopher, if I have so keenly sought this fame for which I’m still waiting, it’s all been to seduce women basically.”
  • “It is disgusting — Why must we have bodies?”
  • “I carry the weight of the world by myself alone without help, engaged in a world for which I bear the whole responsibility without being able, whatever I do, to tear myself away from this responsibility for an instant.”
  • “Life is a useless passion.”
  • “There is only one day left, always starting over: It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.”
And so it goes. Picture him dropping his verbal cluster-bombs in a dingy Parisian cafe, ringed by his own unfiltered smoke and an adoring cultish audience, all wondering if he and his confreres would live to fight another day. “Useless passion”? Generations of Sartre’s politically (if not metaphysically) free French successors might disagree. But removed from that context, I find these weaponish words hard to love. At least the guy who said hell is other people liked cats.
  • “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”
  • “She was ready to deny the existence of space and time rather than admit that love might not be eternal.”
  • “A man attaches himself to woman — not to enjoy her, but to enjoy himself. ”
  • “If you live long enough, you’ll see that every victory turns into a defeat.”
  • “I am incapable of conceiving infinity and yet I do not accept finity.”
  • “Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.”
  • “I am awfully greedy; I want everything from life. I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish… You see, it is difficult to get all which I want. And then when I do not succeed I get mad with anger.”
  • “Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female — whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.”
  • “Fathers never have exactly the daughters they want because they invent a notion a them that the daughters have to conform to.”
  • “Why one man rather than another? It was odd. You find yourself involved with a fellow for life just because he was the one that you met when you were nineteen.”
  • “Self-consciousness is not knowledge but a story one tells about oneself.”
Some stories ring truer than others though, no? De Beauvoir rings truer than Sartre, most of the time, for me. And Albert Camus with his Sisyphean view of life offers the starkest challenge when he says the ultimate question in philosophy is that of suicide. “Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?” More coffee! It makes me happy, and it’s the braver choice. But no room for cream, please.
Camus also said
 
  • “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”
  • “There are causes worth dying for, but none worth killing for.”
  • “I do not believe in God and I am not an atheist.”
  • “Always go too far, because that’s where you’ll find the truth.”
  • “Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.”
Albert Camus gave us the Existential version of Sisyphus, and the “fundamental question of philosophy”:
“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest — whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories — comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer.”
OK, got it. My answer is yes, of course life is worth living. Living’s not always easy, but there’s usually something to show for your hard work. It can be a source of happiness. (And what does Sisyphus do after hours?)
The next question, having consented to live, is how. Politics is supposed to help with that. But in this perpetual season of political discontent, when the polls say all politicians and parties are uniformly scorned by the populace, there have been moments when many of us have wondered if it’s all worth it. Camus felt the same.
“Every time I hear a political speech or I read those of our leaders, I am horrified at having, for years, heard nothing which sounded human. It is always the same words telling the same lies. And the fact that men accept this, that the people’s anger has not destroyed these hollow clowns, strikes me as proof that men attribute no importance to the way they are governed; that they gamble – yes, gamble – with a whole part of their life and their so called ‘vital interests.”
Politics was supposed to be all about freeing the people to pursue happiness, Mr. Jefferson said. If it’s hard to imagine Sisyphus happy, it may be harder to expect that from our politics these days. But we must keep on pushing.
Sisyphus, for such a grim figure, has been a ripe source of amusement for a lot of us.









Suppose a contradiction were to be found in the axioms of set theory. Do you seriously believe that a bridge would fall down? 

The chief danger to our philosophy, apart from laziness and woolliness, is scholasticism, . . . which is treating what is vague as if it were precise....


Logic issues in tautologies, mathematics in identities, philosophy in definitions; all trivial, but all part of the vital work of clarifying and organising our thought.


Frank Ramsey (1903-1930)



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A sentence is factually significant to any given person, if, and only if, he knows how to verify the proposition which it purports to express — that is, if he knows what observations would lead him, under certain conditions, to accept the proposition as being true, or reject it as being false. 

Stealing money is wrong” has no factual meaning — that is, expresses no proposition which can be either true or false. It is as if I had written “Stealing money!! 



Theists of all kinds have very largely failed to make their concept of a deity intelligible; and to the extent that they have made it intelligible, they have given us no reason to think that anything answers to it.

The existence of a being having the attributes which define the god of any non-animistic religion cannot be demonstratively proved... [A]ll utterances about the nature of God are nonsensical.


[Much later in life, Ayer had a Near Death Experience and wrote about it in an essay he titled "What I Saw When I Was Dead"...]

My recent experiences have slightly weakened my conviction that my genuine death, which is due fairly soon, will be the end of me, though I continue to hope that it will be. They have not weakened my conviction that there is no God.

[A few days later he added:] What I should have said is that my experiences have weakened, not my belief that there is no life after death, but my inflexible attitude towards that belief."

[His wife said] "Freddie became so much nicer after he died… not nearly so boastful. He took an interest in other people."




There is philosophy, which is about conceptual analysis — about the meaning of what we say — and there is all of this … all of life.


[Near death, explained]

Not long before his NDE, Ayer had an improbable run-in with prizefighter Mike TysonAyer -- small, frail, slight as a sparrow and then 77 years old -- was entertaining a group of models at a New York party when a girl ran in screaming that her friend was being assaulted in a bedroom. The parties involved turned out to be Tyson and Naomi Campbell.

''Do you know who [the bleep] I am?'' Tyson asked in disbelief when Ayer urged him to desist: ''I'm the heavyweight champion of the world.'' ''And I am the former Wykeham professor of logic,'' Ayer answered politely. ''We are both pre-eminent in our field. I suggest that we talk about this like rational men.''





"If God does not exist there is at least one being whose existence comes before its essence, a being which exists before it can be defined by any conception of it." 


So this is hell. I’d never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the “burning marl.” Old wives’ tales!There’s no need for red-hot pokers. HELL IS–OTHER PEOPLE!




Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. “Life has no meaning a priori … It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose.


Life has no meaning, the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal.


Words are loaded pistols.


Life begins on the other side of despair.


Nothingness lies coiled in the heart of being – like a worm.


There is no love apart from the deeds of love; no potentiality of love other than that which is manifested in loving; there is no genius other than that which is expressed in works of art.


An individual chooses and makes himself.


If I became a philosopher, if I have so keenly sought this fame for which I’m still waiting, it’s all been to seduce women basically.


It is disgusting — Why must we have bodies?


I carry the weight of the world by myself alone without help, engaged in a world for which I bear the whole responsibility without being able, whatever I do, to tear myself away from this responsibility for an instant.


Life is a useless passion.


There is only one day left, always starting over: It is given to us at dawn and taken away from us at dusk.

  •  
de Beauvoir:

Why one man rather than another? It was odd. You find yourself involved with a fellow for life just because he was the one that you met when you were nineteen.

One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.


Fathers never have exactly the daughters they want because they invent a notion a them that the daughters have to conform to.


Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female — whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.


She was ready to deny the existence of space and time rather than admit that love might not be eternal.


A man attaches himself to woman — not to enjoy her, but to enjoy himself.


If you live long enough, you’ll see that every victory turns into a defeat.


I am incapable of conceiving infinity and yet I do not accept finity.



I am awfully greedy; I want everything from life. I want to be a woman and to be a man, to have many friends and to have loneliness, to work much and write good books, to travel and enjoy myself, to be selfish and to be unselfish… You see, it is difficult to get all which I want. And then when I do not succeed I get mad with anger.

Self-consciousness is not knowledge but a story one tells about oneself.


Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day.


 Should I kill myself, or have a cup of coffee?

There is but one truly serious philosophical problem and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest — whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories — comes afterwards. These are games; one must first answer.


You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.


There are causes worth dying for, but none worth killing for.

I do not believe in God and I am not an atheist. [Sounds like (Groucho) Marxism again...]


Always go too far, because that’s where you’ll find the truth.


Real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.

38 comments:

  1. #12
    Do you think that Simone de Beauvoir was correct in the idea that men's idea of women is what defines a woman? Can this idea be broadened to mean that society helps to define us?

    ReplyDelete
  2. group: kali sunstrom, Justin, trent
    you can physicaly be born a women and have a sex change. women are made. you can be anything you want to be. you get to identify as either you want. you can wear a skirt don't mean your a women because men in scottland wear kilts.

    ReplyDelete
  3. (#8) DQ:5.
    I think this phrase means that women, as society may perceive them, are molded into the features/aspects that the environment believes them to embody as opposed to being labelled a woman due to a birth right or attribution to certain sexual characteristics. It isn't exactly clear to say where these ideas may have originated from; but, it's possible that religious and/or political views over time could have contributed towards these thought processes. As far as gender roles are concerned in the work force, I would say there really isn't any job that a man or woman should not enter into/crossover from; however, there are certain fields of work that are more suited for certain genders. Anyways, those are just my thoughts!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Karol saleh
    Section 8
    Have you ever read a book that changed your mind about something important to you?
    The only book I still reading it is the holy bible. It changed my life and my mind for alot of things. For example, it changed my thinking and how to think better for my decisions and how to tell the truth no matter what happens. It also saved my life from the sins. And it always my answer key to all my situations.

    ReplyDelete
  5. (#8)
    4. What's your "essence" or specific human nature? Did you construct it, or were you born into it? Can your essence change?

    My human nature is to care about those around me and be aware of my surroundings and the feelings of others. I believe that I construct my own human nature, but I believe being "born into it" would mean your surroundings and your environment that you were raised in. I believe my parents have shaped my human nature, personality, and they constructed the way they believe I should act. It was my job to take the influences of my environment to construct my own "essence".

    ReplyDelete
  6. Section 6

    Suggested Quiz Question:
    In Ayer's eyes did the phrase "God exists" pass his test?

    ReplyDelete
  7. (#6)

    Interesting interview with Bertrand Russell

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bZv3pSaLtY&ab_channel=ReasonPublic

    ReplyDelete
  8. Danielle Bonner Section 4
    1) What is the name of Simone de Beauvoir's book about women's rights?
    2) What is Ayer's theory of ethics called?
    3) What were the two questions Ayer's used to decide whether a sentence was meaningful or meaningless?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Emily Blalock
    section 4
    quiz questions
    According to Sartre, what is "bad faith"?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Lucas Futrell (6)
    Quiz Questions:

    1) (T/F)Russell believed it was very important to be monogamous to ones spouse.
    2) What were the two questions Ayer used to tell if a sentence was pointless or not?
    3) Why was Sisyphus happy according to Camus?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Frank Dremel (section 6): Possibly a repost of a makeup essay from previously, but just making sure that I have it posted.
    2. Is it worth trying to grasp the ultimate reality of things, or do you agree with Douglas Adams? "The chances of finding out what's really going on in the universe are so remote, the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied." Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy


    If I were to have answered this when I first read Hitchhiker’s Guide, I would perhaps have said no. I would maybe have nobly replied something about the unexamined life, and followed with something poetic regarding looking for the meaning of life. But when I read this series by Douglas Adams, I was both struck by the truth in all he said, the questions Hitchhiker’s Guide brought to light, and the peculiar thought that of course, my life was different and none of these attitudes really reflected my own personal circumstances. When at the rather innocent age of 14 or 15, I first tore through each of the 6 books in the Hitchhiker series, I was fascinated by the deep questions – what is the answer, what is the question, the superiority of dolphins, and the depression of Marvin. At the same time, I thought with equally innocent arrogance that I would never experience the mindless autopilot existence of just keeping myself occupied. I thought I’d have plenty of time and energy to continuously ponder the deep, philosophical questions of our existence.
    Now, as a college student, there are more days than not where not only do I not examine the meaning of life, I don’t even try to comprehend the meaning of my day. Today, I am much less like Arthur Dent, or even poor Marvin, and more like Dory from Finiding Nemo --- Just keep swimming (keep yourself occupied). I occupy my day avoiding ultimate realities and instead occupy my every moment with the drudgery of everyday realities of rehearsal, music transcriptions and theory, deadlines, and somehow finding time to eat questionable food.
    In this Philosophy class, it has been the proverbial “breath of fresh air” to be able to examine some of the “ultimate reality of things”. Still I probably do agree with Adams that arriving at the definitive conclusion of our questioning is remote. The answer to The Question is more likely to be something inanely perplexing like 42, than it is to be something profoundly earth-shattering, as well, so if my time can be constructively spent keeping myself busy with fulfilling mundane commitments, I will keep plugging along. In fact, being able to plod along tilting at the windmills of everyday exasperations such as clean socks, essays, final exams, recitals and concerts, how to fit an endless list of Gen Ed classes into an impossible schedule, and where I left my glasses, is such an accomplishment that I posit the following: if I am still able, through this class or sitting around in the starlight with a group of great but equally struggling friends, to occasionally ponder “the great Question of Life, the Universe and everything?", I consider myself among the most fortunate. Perhaps Douglas Adams had it more right than most. For “any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”

    ReplyDelete
  12. Section 4, J. Skylar Dean

    Bonus question: 1. How did Satre and Beauvoir describe their relationship?
    2. Ayer attended meetings with a group of scientists and philosophers called what?
    3. When John Stuart Mill died, how old (roughly) was Bertrand Russell?
    4. Lord John Russell, Betrand Russell's grandfather, had been what?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Section 4, Akmal Ishmetov
      Answers for bonus questions:
      1)Essential
      2)Vienna Circle
      3)he was a toddler
      4)Prime Minister

      Delete
  13. Frank Dremel (section 6)
    4. What's your "essence" or specific human nature? Did you construct it, or were you born into it? Can your essence change?
    My essence is an occasionally frustrated, befuddles college student/musician. I believe my essence changes daily. I was born for the life I live because the choices I make are intrinsic to my nature. I live for my music, which I believe I was born into, shaped both by my family, genetics, and divine intervention. My quest for fulfilling my musical goals led me here, where I toil as a student. Days filled with exams and quizzes and essays, dramas with friends, all-nighter studying sessions, and various other bits of a student’s life have changed some of my essence. Parts of my character, like seeping depression or caring deeply for friends or working toward an objective, are solidified and enhanced and even exaggerated right now. I believe everyone’s essence does the same, constantly shaped, like an island by a volcano.


    6. Are there any Sisyphean aspects to your daily life? Do they make you unhappy? Do you imagine you'll someday escape them? How?
    Isn’t college life all about Sisyphean reality? We strive, we think we know what our professors want, what our friends want, what our parents want, even what we want. So we try. But then we find we have either been going down a wrong road, or the right road the wrong way, or the rules change, or we aren’t even going anywhere. We have an essay for one professor while yet another wanted us to read a book during that time, while another wonders why we didn’t practice more during our “time off”. Then we find we haven’t even registered for the next semester because there aren’t enough hours in the day. And tomorrow it starts all over again. Does this make me unhappy? Sometimes. But it’s part of a process. The alternatives don’t seem very happy – either life at home or no life at all. In the end, things will have a payoff, a day when one can rest for about 47 minutes before starting all over again with a new set of jobs. We escape one set, to move onto another. The way you “escape” them is to trick them. Be satisfied with the little things you do accomplish. Tiny, infinitesimal moments of victory are enough carrot to spur one to keep rolling that rock --- Or Rockin’ and rollin’.

    DQ Sartre said, All that I know about my life, it seems, I have learned in books. Is that a good or bad approach to the “self-examined” life?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Amy Young (4)
    Have you ever read a book that changed your mind about something important to you? What would you say to Bertrand Russell and J.S. Mill about the First Cause Argument?

    There are many books of poetry that have changed my way of thinking about many important things.

    QQ: what were some of Russell's most famous quotes?

    QQ: what other examples could you give for a paradox?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stephen Martin (4)

      1. Russell Quotes:
      'The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.'

      'Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.'

      'The point of philosophy is to start with something so simple as not to seem worth stating, and to end with something so paradoxical that no one will believe it.'

      2. Examples of Paradox:

      'Imagination does not breed insanity. Exactly what does breed insanity is reason.'
      G. K. Chesterton

      'The paradox of courage is that a man must be a little careless of his life even in order to keep it.'
      G. K. Chesterton

      'The Cross cannot be defeated for it is defeat.'
      G. K. Chesterton

      Delete
  15. Sterling Smith (#6)10:24 AM CDT

    Quiz Question: How old was Bertrand Russell when he passed away?

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  16. Sterling Smith (#6)10:25 AM CDT

    DQ: Do you have an admiration for logic like Russell? Why or why not?

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  17. sect 6
    1.What did Bertrand Russel help found, and what did it oppose?
    2.Who often joined Sarte,who he met in college?
    3.Who was probably the best-known philosopher of the twentieth century?

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. Sean Byars Section 6
    QQ: What was Russell's Book published in 1929?

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  20. Sean Byars Section 6
    DQ#3: Although I can't verify it I believe that there is a God and He watches over us.

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  21. Nick Corley: Section 6
    Discussion Question response

    The are many Sisyphean aspects to my daily life, such as my interest in learning. I believe this is so, because there is no limit to the amount of knowledge I can retain. Although I can lose information I have learned, there is no filter to stop what I can replace it with. Another aspect of my life that i believe has no end, is my interest in the arts.There is no end to creating art, it is similar to that of emotions. Whatever I am feeling that day or thinking about is expressed by my subconscious through art. These aspects of my life will constantly change, however they are never ending. There is no completion for these tasks, although smaller parks may be completed, the whole will continue on for my life time. As long as I am still conscious, i will still think in this same way about these tasks.

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  22. Nick Corley: Section 6
    Provoking Thoughts

    I also find Bertrand Russell's idea of God interesting. He states that God would not express vanity towards those who did not believe in his existence, and I am inclined to agree with him. If there was an omnipotent and omnipresent being that created us all, why would he care whether or not we believed in him? It seems selfish of the Human Race to expect so much from this being, for he gave them everything. If he were to exist, he would not mind to much what we did. I sometimes imagine what it would be like to be in God's position, although this is impossible. Nevertheless in my mind, I would not obsess over a simple creation of mine. I would hardly focus on the speck of dust amongst millions, it seems to simple of a motive for such an all powerful being.

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  23. 6 Brock Francis
    4. What's your "essence" or specific human nature? Did you construct it, or were you born into it? Can your essence change?

    I do not believe I contracted my human nature. I believe it is molded by things like personal influences and chemical makeup. It is molded by things we find pleasant or unpleasant. My personal essence is being religious with a thirst for knowledge.

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  24. 6 Brock Francis
    6. Are there any Sisyphean aspects to your daily life? Do they make you unhappy? Do you imagine you'll someday escape them? How?

    A couple aspects of my daily life that can never be completed are looking for knowledge and improving my physical condition. These two things make me very happy. If I am fortunate I will never escape these not completable tasks.

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  25. Stephen Martin (4)

    2. Are linguistic paradoxes a philosophical problem, or just an amusing quirk of language?

    Neither. The world is more complex than a series of facts. Paradoxs, which make sense with abstract thought but less so when broken down into individualistic facts, are a linguists ways of exploring the beauty of ideas. It's more than just a quirk, it's Art. As Alan Moore said, 'artists use lies to tell the truth' (Disclaimer - this quote is from V for Vendetta, though I've found roots of it dating back to Picasso and still possibly earlier.)

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  26. 8 AQQ 4-18
    1.What were Bertrand Russels main interests?
    2.When did he die?
    3.How old was he?
    4.What view got Russel into trouble?
    5.What book did he publish in 1929?
    6.What did he question in the book?
    7.Did he think you had to be faithful to your partner?
    8.How long did he spen in Brixton Prison?
    9.What was he in there for?
    10.What does CND stand for?
    11.What is CND?
    12.Did Russel thing God would ever step in for humanity?
    13.Why did he think people were drawn to religion?
    14.Did Russel believe in God?
    15.What religion did he think was different than all the rest?
    16.What religions did he think has a lot to answer for?
    17.What did Russel think these religions were often the cause of?
    18.Was he ok with us fighting in WW2?
    19.What was Russel's official title?

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  27. Section 8
    1. I have read a book that changed my mind significantly about life and my own personal perspective of it. Keep an eye out for my final report! (The Secret)
    In response to Mill & Russel about the First Cause Argument, I would ask if something needed a cause in order to happen. I tend to think that some things, especially the unexplained or unverifiable just happen, and not because of a specific cause or intention.
    2. I think they are an amusing quirk of language. I don't think much thought was given to the philosophical implications or issues that could arise way back in the genesis of languages.
    3. Most People Are Just As Happy As They Choose To Be
    4. I am not sure what I would call my specific essence, but I like to think that some of it I was born into and some of it I constructed myself. It's a nice thought to consider yourself a curator of yourself, you can pick and choose the collection that is the composition of you!
    5. I do have particular ideas about what it means to be a man or woman, in that, on a societal level, they should be considered the same. I am a feminist, and I don't think there is any profession that should be disallowed to a certain gender.
    6. Yes. They can make me very unhappy, but I try to let them go and focus on the positive. I feel that with enough work and focus on that goal, someday I will escape them.

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  28. Section 8-DQ
    1. I have read a book that caused me to change my mindset about something
    My response to Bertrand Russel and J.S. Mill is that sometimes things just happened and you cannot always figure the cause of things
    2. amusing quirk of language
    3. that we exist
    4. I think you were born into it and some of your essence you constructed from situations and society preference
    5. There are differences between men and women which distinguish them but they are both humans, so men and women should not be incapable of things because of their gender.
    6. Yes, from school/learning because it is a never ending cycle. Sometimes it does make me unhappy but I realized it is life and as long as I am alive I will never escape it

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  29. 1. Yes I have read a book that changed my mindset of certain situations.
    Sometimes things happen and there is not a understandable cause for it
    2. amusing quirk of language
    3. that we exist
    4. I think some essence you are born with and some you construct from society influences and situations
    5. Men and women can be distinguished from what society viewpoints but they are both human beings and should not be incapable of anything due to gender
    6. Yes, I experience in school/learning because it is a never ending cycle. Sometimes I get annoyed from it because I realize it will never end but it is life and as long as I am alive I will have to deal with it

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  30. Section 8:
    1. What were Bertrand Russell's main interests as a teenager?
    2. In what year did Russell publish Marriage and Morals?
    3. Who studied the structure of reasoning?
    4. Russell devised the Theory of what?
    5. How is Metaphysics described?
    6. What questions can you ask of any sentence?
    7. Empirically verifiable statements can give us what?
    8. What was Ayer's theory of ethics?
    9. How did Sartre and de Beauvoir describe their relationship?
    10. When was The Second Sex published?
    11. What long and difficult book did Sartre write?
    12. How do humans differ from penknives?
    13. What can we not do if Sartre is right?

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  31. DQs- Section 8 (Part 1)

    1.) I have not read a singular book that has changed my mind about something that I believe; however, I have read many books that have together changed what I believed. I would say to Russell and Mill that the First Cause Argument is a lot of hogwash. Even from an evolutionary standpoint, nothing has what we like to deem a "purpose" or "intelligent design". Not everything is meant to have a purpose, but it exists anyway.

    2.) I think that paradoxes are a philosophical problem as well as a linguistic quirk. To be able to understand philosophy or reason, one needs to be able to communicate what they mean. If they cannot do so even with truths that can be both true and false, then, that person has failed to get across their meaning.

    3.) "Everything will be okay." The previous sentence is an unverifiable sentence that I deem to be true to me. I do not know if this will come to pass, but I believe it because it keeps me going.

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  32. Section 10 Discussion Questions
    1. Yes, I have read a book that changed my mind about something. I would tel Russel and Mill that I don't necessarily agree with them, there doesn't have to be a single definite cause for everything that happens in the world.

    2. I think they're just an amusing quirk of language.

    3. Everyone has a specific purpose in life.

    4. I think your essence is a little bit of both. You're born with some of it, but I think you also grow into it a little bit and develop more as you grow and experience new things.

    5. I think you develop into the woman that you want to be.

    6. I feel that by going to school/work every day it kind of feels like a never-ending cycle, it doesn't necessarily make me unhappy because it will help me get to where I want to be in the long run, it's working towards the bigger picture so I know one day yes I will escape it.

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  33. 2. I would not consider linguistic paradoxes a philosophical problem. Languages will never fully mimic how we think, or our thought processes.

    4. I believe that your essence can change, all people are works in progress in my opinion.

    5. I believe that there are several differences between men and women, both psychologically and physically. In the end I believe men and women can do all jobs, but some may be more tailored towards a specific gender.

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  34. Quiz Answers

    1. Mills Autobiography

    2. Contradiction

    3. Verification Principle, Logical positivism

    Additional Questions

    4. Bertrand main interest as a teenager were?

    5. He died at what age?

    6. In 1929 he published what?

    7. By birth he was a English _______

    8. Who was Russel's non-regligious 'godfather'

    9. As a philosopher his real love was ______

    10. 1936 Alfred Ayer published what?

    11. " All dolphins eat fish" is an example of what? What is he testing?

    12. Where did Sartre do most of his writings?

    13. Who accompanied him most of the time, also a philosopher.

    14. What was the name of Simone de Beauvoir book?

    15. Freedom is hard to handle and many of us _______

    16. What is existentialism? How was is used it The Second Sex?

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  35. Clayton Thomas (10)9:10 PM CDT

    4/18 - DQ's
    1. Well, when I read "Why Does the World Exist" it gave me a new perception of life which I would say is pretty important to me. I would say they had a solid argument until they tried to disprove the big bang theory with "nothing comes from nothing" because the big bang did start with something, a Singularity, which began expanding into the universe as we know it. So it does not necessarily follow that there would have to be a God that started. Neither have 100% concrete proof, just theories and believers, but either way there is more to there argument which needs to be considered.

    2. I would say it is both, but the one I find perplexing is the philosophical problem because its unfathomable that something can be true and false at the same time like, "This sentence is false."

    3. "They are never alone who are accompanied by noble thought."

    4. Your "essence" is what image of yourself you leave behind for others to ponder. I would say both, some things you can't change about yourself but how you present yourself is constructed through life experiences. Your essence can change, but its hard to get people to change their original essence of you; for example, when you hit puberty and grow up but your parents always say "You'll always be my little baby".

    5. I guess that it's this idea that a little girl is born, but a women is made through the experience of life. I feel like to be a man or woman, you simply need to be a person who respects others and have the ability to live. This came from my own personal experiences in life and this is the philosophy I developed for myself, respect and live your life. I feel people should do whatever they love because if they love it they'll put in the necessary work to be successful in that field.

    6. The Sisyphean aspect of my life is my current job. And I wouldn't say it makes me unhappy because I enjoy the people that I work with, but I just feel that my purpose is much more than where I'm at and I just want to move on to bigger and better things. Hopefully, I will escape it, after I can get a job in my field of study.

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