Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January 31 DQ Questions
1. I don't think that philosophers care about clarity or perhaps that care a lot about clarity and want a better understanding which is why they ask many questions? I have found that it's not necessarily annoying but almost at first almost as it was a lack of confidence in the answer. Stating one thing but also saying, well but it could be this or that.
2. I am more curious about the world around me, which is why I have lived in 6 states and many cities. There is way too much in the world that I want to know about. I want to be exposed to the different cultures in each city, the way people talk, the way people act and of course the different nature in each place. I'm fascinated with the world and wish I could just be a traveler and explore and just take photos for a living.
3. "It's not the same river." Life is happening all around us, what I just typed in fact is in the past. My thought that I"m processing to type this is in the past, stepping over the river and then turning around and stepping over again is not the same river. Same location, same step, but the river in fact has new things passing by. A new stick, new fish, and what seems all the same is changing so quickly.
4. He has had this beard inside of him a long time and never let it come out. "Raising his confidence allows him to tell the things that he has been thinking about". His friends think he looks like a thinker and I do believe that if you have confidence in yourself you will be more successful. Because he bought into what everyone was telling him, he begin to believe in what they were saying. That means a couple things, make sure you protect yourself in case some others are saying bad things about you that are negative. This can turn into self doubt, low self esteem and a poor mindset on life.

My questions:
1. Many years ago I was a salesmen and read many articles to be the best possible. Even one that encouraged to NOT have a beard because it meant that you were not trustworthy. Has this changed over the years?
2.  I have heard this so many times since I have started this semester "I hate killing trees, but take out a piece of paper." How come people don't care about killing animals?! In order for you to have your steak, chicken, burger, etc animals were slaughtered. How come that doesn't get talked about more but killing trees goes through your mind when using paper. There are solutions other than eating animal products. Why don't you go vegan? Because it "taste too good?"
3. Check out this to find out more about what Veganism is
4. Check out this documentary on netflix Watch it this week!

Go vegan guys

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Goober the philosopher

Maybe Mayberry's intellectually insecure filling station attendant shouldn't have borrowed Floyd's (or Ockham's) razor. He sides with Parmenides and Zeno here...


..., but really comes closer to exemplifying the Heraclitean flux. "A man don't change, Floyd", "a man's himself; and if he's himself, how can he change?" Deep. (9'55")

Aunt Bea says his stubble somehow now makes him look like a Thinker. He decides to keep it.

"Seems like the me that's really me and was bein' held back by the I that I am is comin' out all over my face."  But he's a little too self-conscious. "That's got to be brung out."

-Andy Griffith Show, episode 196 (Season 7, ep. 14, "Goober Makes History")

Chapter Four Summary of Stephen Mumford's Metaphysics

       Continuing on in my summary of Stephen Mumford’s Metaphysics, chapter four brings us to the topic of change. What is change? Thus far Mumford has introduced us to particulars (i.e. cups, tables, cats, etc.), and properties (i.e. redness, tallness, fragility, etc.) Surely there are other things too. “But what of someone blushing, a caterpillar becoming a butterfly, an iron bar heating up, or a book falling from a table?” (p.34). These all involve change, something that we can all agree is real and without it make our world static which, just by sheer observation we can say, it is not.
In order for there to be change, something has to happen. An event. An event can be just a single change, however what if there are several in a specific order? This creates a process. So, at what point does an event become so big it is considered a process? And at what point does a process become so small it is an event? It seems to me that if there is more than one event taking place in a specific order, you have a process. Rearranging the order of the events will still produce a process but it will be different than the original.
Now, in order for there to be change, something has to be the focus. Look at our examples listed above. SOMEONE blushing, CATERPILLAR becomes…, IRON BAR heating…, these are all things or subjects that are having something happen to them. Aristotle is credited with this idea; that in order for there to be change, there needs to be a subject. So how do we count what a change is for that subject? For example, on pages 37-38 Mumford explains, “Suppose that energy passes from one object to another, perhaps when two snooker balls collide. Is the transfer of energy just one change, involving a relocation of energy, or do we actually have two seperate changes here: one the loss of energy by the cue ball and the other the gaining of energy by the object ball?” Another example, if a tomato has the property of being round, then what happens when it is flattened? Is that one change as in an exchange of properties? Or two separate changes, the loss of roundness and the gain of flatness? Before I read on in the chapter, putting in my two cents here, it seems to me like this can be explained by Newton’s third law which we have all heard since we were kids, every action has an equal or opposite reaction. So, can we say that change can occur and either circumstance is acceptable or even the same (one event or two separate) because there has to be a balance or equilibrium that must be sustained throughout and after that change occurs? Meaning, the snooker balls collided. This can be seen as both being one change (transfer of energy as one change) and two separate changes (one the loss of energy and the other a gain) because the outcome is the same. The event took place with the same end result no matter which view point you take. The tomato is flat again can be viewed as both a single event (the tomato was smashed) or two (the tomato lost its roundness and gained its flatness). Even when change occurs within a property itself, there still has to be a balanced end result. As a flower grows, the height can be measured at any time. The height is always determinable but it is also always changing, switching out its old height and gaining its new one. The tomato cannot gain flatness without losing roundness, nor can the snooker ball gain energy without the other losing. There must be a balanced outcome. Change can only occur if the end result maintains this universal balance. Again, I should point out here I am but a novice in Philosophy and these are just the ramblings taking place in my head as I read through this text
Now what about change in existence? Where ‘the change does not occur in the properties of something but to the thing itself.’ (p. 39). For example, if my laptop is taken apart, I know a change has occurred. My laptop no longer exists but its parts still do and can be parted out, becoming a part of a different laptop but never the same again. This leads us into our next topic, spatial parts and temporal parts.

If my laptop is made up of parts, they each reside in a particular place in space, yes? So can we also say they reside in a particular place in time? But what of change then? Let’s go back to our tomato example. Mumford explains, “In the old Aristotelian theory, in which things endure through change, different qualities have to be ascribed to one and the same particular. The tomato has both the property of being green and the property of being red.” (p. 40). So it makes sense that in temporal space, we can believe the same tomato can hold the properties of being green and red. But this leads us to problem. The tomato was green, and at that time its temporal property was green. Then change occurred and the tomato is now red, changing its temporal property. Thus, properties are not dependent on their particulars, they are not static. It is here Mumford reminds us, “When something changes, we should not see it as a single thing bearing contrary properties, according to perdurantism, but as different things- temporal parts- bearing those properties. If the view is an attempt to explain change, then it means that each of those temporal parts must themselves be changeless. Were a temporal part to be capable of undergoing any change itself, then the problem that originally motivated the view would resurface. So it is clear that there must be a different temporal part for every slight change.” (p.41). After reading this I cannot help but think of a flipbook. I believe that is what Mumford is explaining here. Each page shows a static picture that, for that particular spatial and temporal part, hold true. The previous and following pages vary slightly, but are in succession and create change as each is viewed in order as the book is flipped. So perhaps that is what our reality is? Just a giant flipbook of static moments playing out in order? I opened this paper with a statement of, ‘These all involve change, something that we can all agree is real and without it make our world static which, just by sheer observation we can say, it is not; but perhaps what we perceive as change and a process really is static spatial and temporal parts playing out in a specific order. Change requires steps, gaining and losing of properties. Perhaps our static ‘life slides’ are so seamless, we cannot detect them? Then what is preventing us from stopping on one slide? What is pushing us along? What is keeping the slides in motion? What is causing the continuation? There has to be some sort of driving force, no?

Friday, January 27, 2017

January 23 Weekly Essay

Today I read about an Australian Philosopher, the article grabbed my attention because the photo was of an animal. Being vegan I often gain/catch interest in what people are saying about animal rights and that's where I thought he may have been going with the article when Peter stated "he opposed any act in which an animal is harmed, but that there can be situations where both parties are pleased." Scroll down to view #6

I certainly wasn't expecting that or have I ever thought of that! So far being exposed to philosophy this second week of class has been interesting. Loving the mindset of a peripetetic because I do not like to sit still! I am finding that with the current lifestyle with everyone glued to their phones it still makes being peripetetic a challenge. I often encourage my sisters, my mom and even my step dad to "lets go to the park and get away from our phones." They of course think I am weird because I want to engage and talk to everyone (not just when I am being paid during work.) I have a general interest in people and what they have to say and not through Instagram.

Will the future hold less entrepreneurs or more because of the younger population being so good social media/marketing? I know personally many people who have become very wealthy from youtube or snap chat and even instagram. That of course isn't the case for everyone, so are we as a society focusing on what others think of us and filtering what we want to see?

Are we limiting our learning by not "following" things that we don't care about?

If you only "follow" the things you care about you aren't getting exposed to things say such as health and fitness if it's just pictures of yourself and your friends always partying. Expand your horizon of what you have going through you funnel and put the phone down!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

No alternatives

Cartoon“This just in: alternative facts are not facts. They’re lies. I’m a delinquent ten-year-old and even I know that.”

Liberty is peripatetic

She marched too.

by Mike Keefe / Colorado Independent (CagleCartoons.com ) 2017

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

1. I would attend both schools if possible at the time for the experience and to get the two different views from each school
2. I am extremely active person and have been a personal trainer for nearly a decade now and one of my favorite things to do is be outdoors and active. My brain/body doesn't function if I do not get to be active in someway during the day. 
3. My favorite days being outdoors was in Portland, Oregon where I saw the most beautiful sites I have ever seen. Mountains, snow, moss, and hiking through it all was breathtaking and wish I never had to leave!
4. I do share my beliefs and speak to people daily about the importance of health in wellness. In person and on my own personal blog at Kevinandresfitness.com check it out!
5. I am working on my listening skills. Over the past year I have taken on not speaking when others speak. Its respectful and allows the argument or conversation to have more flow versus dominating and speaking over the individual, I hate that!
6. It's very clear that people often (not all) jump to conclusions. Oh he is going to tell me I need to be more active, eat better, drink less pop, and so forth. Since they have heard this many times they don't actually listen to how you could help them. Or they aren't willing to change yet, because it hasn't affected them other than weight gain. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Chapter Three Summary of Stephen Mumford's Metaphysics

      In chapter three of Metaphysics, Stephen Mumford expounds upon the idea of, are wholes just the sums of parts? We know complex wholes are made up of parts, for example a cake is made of flour, eggs, frosting, etc. or we can look at a computer and see that it is made up of smaller detailed parts and pieces, all put together in a certain way or order to make the bigger complex whole. Mumford points out here however, that although we can know something is complex, we cannot know if something is simple. We used to think the atom was the smallest thing out there, yet scientist have proven atoms are made up of smaller things we did not know existed until our technology could show us these smaller parts. So how can we ever know if we have found the simplest form? Can we ever for sure say we have found it? One theory in the philosophical sense is called atomism. The belief behind this is that everything can be reduced down to its smallest possible parts, parts that are no longer divisible or reducible.
Let us get back to the topic at hand, are wholes just the sums of parts? Mumford uses a pile of rock for his next example on page 27. Our hypothetical pile of rocks can demonstrate how a whole is the sum of its parts. If the pile is roughly stacked up, perhaps in reaches 3 feet high. No single rock is 3 feet high, however putting the rocks together in a pile has built the whole into a 3 foot high mound. What about more complex things like a cell phone? Again, we can see that the sum of its parts make up its shape, for example the case determines its dimensions. However, Mumford points out here that there are features of the phone that are not limited to the size of the case. For example, its capability to store photos, access the internet, etc. He states that, “ These rather amazing capacities seem of a different kind to the length of the case. There, the whole had a greater quantity of a property that was already possessed by the parts. They each had lengths that added up. But in the case of some of these operations of the phone, it doesn’t seem like there is any individual part that had the capacity in any degree. There is a disanalogy with the length case, therefore. It is not as if the bottom quarter of the phone is able to make a quarter of a call, whereas it presumably has a quarter of the length of the whole…” (p.28). I assume what he is stating here is that in some cases, parts can be greater then there wholes. The fact that a piece of the phone is capable of accessing the internet holds greater value then the case which determines the color of the phone. Also, parts are not given space according to function. For example, just because there is a part of a phone that allows for calls to be made, some would argue the primary function of a cell phone, does not mean that piece gets a majority of the phone itself. The importance of a function or piece is not proportional to its size in the whole. I could be way off on this analysis so any insight into this area to get me back on track would be greatly appreciated.
Let us now move on to substances v. aggregates. Continuing with our examples, if I move a stone from the pile to another pile, the original stone pile remains, minus one stone. It is made up of aggregate parts, they are not joined together or in any specific order. However, if I grab the top of the cell phone and move it, the entire thing moves as one unit. The phone is held together with connecting parts, placed together in a specific order. Here is where the opposition between the two gets interesting. According to Mumford, if I remove and replace a few stones from my pile, I now have a different pile of stones. However, if I remove and replace a part of my cell phone like the cover, I now do not have a different cell phone. Thus, substances can survive change whereas aggregates cannot (p.29).
Now, getting back to the quality of parts in a complex substance, some parts of a whole can be viewed as more important than others, there are also parts that seem to ‘emerge’ as Mumford states. For example consciousness. Consciousness seems to be a property of the whole organism yet something we do not find among the parts. The two main views right now are the reductionist view, someday science will be able to show us that the parts will ultimately explain the whole including how the brain creates life/consciousness, and emergentism, the belief that wholes are more then the sum of its parts.

So, my questions are as follows: Reductionists would also be atomist correct? Both believing wholes are the sum of parts which can be reduced down to the simplest things? Thus explaining things like consciousness by believing at some point the mechanical and chemical combination of the smallest simplest parts creates these apparent functions that are not assigned to specific pieces in the complex whole as opposed to emergentists who believe they appear? Can we then go as far to say that variations in the amount and way the mechanical and chemical simplistic parts are put together account for degree in consciousness? For example, humans are the only species on Earth that have achieve the advanced state of consciousness we are currently at, as far as we know. Does that mean our parts have perfected the merging process to develop our level of consciousness or do we carry extra ‘ingredients’ that perhaps other contending species such as dolphins and chimps do not have or have not developed yet? And if it is something that develops, how do we account for that? Are the simplest parts capable of evolving over time? Doesn’t that mean that they can change? Is that even possible? And if not then doesn’t that point to simplest parts being static, therefore an organism must already possess certain pieces in order to achieve the level of consciousness we have? Then how do we explain evolution? If our ancestors were tool baring nomads that evolved over time, that must mean the simplest parts of their piece that created the whole changed over time, yes? Are the simplest parts of pieces in a whole static or can they change/ evolve over time?

Monday, January 16, 2017


Let's introduce ourselves, Spring 2017 CoPhilosophy collaborators. (I'll tell you in class why I call my version of the Intro course "CoPhilosophy." But maybe you can guess, from the William James quote in the masthead.)

I invite you all to hit "comment" and reply with your own introductions, and (bearing in mind that this is an open site) your answers to two basic questions: Who are you? Why are you here? (in this course, on this campus, in this state, on this planet...)

Our first class meeting will consist mainly of introductions and a heads-up that this is an unconventional course in ways I hope you'll find delightful, instructive, and rewarding. If you don't like to move, breathe, and converse in the open air on "nice" days, this may not be the course for you. But if you don't especially like the conventional lecture-style academic model in which I talk and you scribble silently in your seats, it may be just what you're looking for.

We'll not go over the syllabus or get bogged down in the nuts and bolts of course mechanics on Day #1, there's plenty of time for those details later. But do peruse the blogsite and syllabus (linked in the right margin) before next class and let me know what's unclear. Meanwhile, read your classmates' intros and post your own.

I'm Dr. Oliver, aka (despite my best efforts to discourage it) "Dr. Phil." I live in Nashville with my wife, Younger Daughter (a HS Senior), a dog (Angel) and a cat (Zeus). Older Daughter is a college Senior in another state.

My office is i300 James Union Building (JUB). Office hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays 11-1, & by appointment. On nice days office hours may be outside, possibly in front of the library (in the "Confucius" alcove, if it's available) or at another designated location. I answer emails during office hours, but not on weekends. Surest way to get a quick response:come in or call during office hours.

I've been at MTSU since the early '00s, teaching philosophy courses on diverse subjects including atheism, childhood, happiness, the environment, the future, and bioethics.

My Ph.D. is from Vanderbilt. I'm originally from Missouri, near St. Louis. I was indoctrinated as a Cardinals fan in early childhood, so I understand something about religious zeal. My undergrad degree is from Mizzou, in Columbia MO. (I wish my schools weren't in the SEC-I don't approve of major collegiate sports culture or football brain injuries, as I'm sure to tell you again.)

My philosophical expertise, such as it is, centers on the American philosophical tradition of William James and John Dewey. A former student once asked me to respond to a questionnaire, if you're curious you can learn more about me there.

What you most need to know about me, though, is that I'm a peripatetic and will encourage you all to join me in that philosophical lifestyle as often as possible during discussion time. (If you're not sure what peripatetic means, scan the right sidebar or read the syllabus or ask me. Or look it up.)

I post my thoughts regularly to my blogs Up@dawn and Delight Springs, among others, and to Twitter (@osopher), and am continuing to experiment with podcasting as a classroom tool this semester. Follow me if you want to.

But of course, as Brian Cohen said, you don't have to follow anyone. (Extra credit if you get that reference... and real extra credit if you realize that my "extra credit" is usually rhetorical.) However, if a blog or podcast link turns up with the daily quiz (which will always be posted on this site no later than the night before class), you might find it helpful to read or listen.

Enough about me. Who are you? (Where are you from, where have you been, what do you like, who do you want to become,...?) Why are you here? (On Earth, in Tennessee, at MTSU, in philosophy class)? Hit "comments" below and post your introduction, then read your classmates'... and bear in mind that this is an open site. The world can read it. (The world's probably busy with other stuff, of course - Drumpf and Kardashians and cooking shows and other examples of what passes for "reality" these days.)

Please include your section number in your reply, and in all future posts on this site:
  • 8-TTh 9:40-11:05, JUB 204
  • 9-TTh 1-2:25, JUB 202
  • 10-TTh 2:40-4:05, BAS S330

From a distance, philosophy seems weird, irrelevant, boring...
and yet also – just a little – intriguing.
But what are philosophers really for?
The answer is, handily, already contained in the word philosophy itself.
In Ancient Greek, philo means love and sophia means wisdom.
Philosophers are people devoted to wisdom.
Being wise means attempting to live and die well.
In their pursuit of wisdom, philosophers have developed a very
specific skill-set. They have, over the centuries, become experts in
many of the things that make people not very wise. Five stand out:
There are lots of big questions around: What is the meaning of life?
What's a job for? How should society be arranged?
Most of us entertain them every now and then, but we despair of trying
to answer them. They have the status of jokes. We call them
'pretentious'. But they matter deeply because only with sound answers
to them can we direct our energies meaningfully.
Philosophers are people unafraid of asking questions. They have, over
the centuries, asked the very largest. They realise that these
questions can always be broken down into more manageable chunks and
that the only really pretentious thing is to think one is above
raising big naive-sounding enquiries.
Public opinion – or what gets called ‘common sense’ – is sensible and
reasonable in countless areas. It’s what you hear about from friends
and neighbours, the stuff you take in without even thinking about it.
But common sense is also often full of daftness and error.
Philosophy gets us to submit all aspects of common sense to reason.
It wants us to think for ourselves. Is it really true what people say
about love, money, children, travel, work? Philosophers are interested
in asking whether an idea is logical – rather than simply assuming it
must be right because it is popular and long-established.
We’re not very good at knowing what goes on in our own minds.
Someone we meet is very annoying, but we can’t pin down what the issue is.
Or we lose our temper, but can’t readily tell what we’re so cross about.
We lack insight into our own satisfactions and dislikes.
That’s why we need to examine our own minds. Philosophy is committed
to self-knowledge – and its central precept – articulated by the
earliest, greatest philosopher, Socrates – is just two words long:
Know yourself.
We’re not very good at making ourselves happy. We overrate the power
of some things to improve our lives – and underrate others.
We make the wrong choices because, guided by advertising and false glamour,
we keep on imagining that a particular kind of holiday, or car, or computer
will make a bigger difference than it can.
At the same time, we underestimate the contribution of other things –
like going for a walk - which may have little prestige but can

contribute deeply to the character of existence.

Philosophers seek to be wise by getting more precise about the

activities and attitudes that really can help our lives to go better.
Philosophers are good at keeping a sense of what really matters and what doesn't.
On hearing the news that he’d lost all his possessions in a shipwreck,
the Stoic philosopher Zeno simply said:
‘Fortune commands me to be a less encumbered philosopher.’
It’s responses like these that have made the very term ‘philosophical’
a byword for calm, long-term thinking and strength-of-mind,
in short, for perspective.
The wisdom of philosophy is – in modern times – mostly delivered in
the form of books. But in the past, philosophers sat in market squares
and discussed their ideas with shopkeepers or went into government
offices and palaces to give advice. It wasn’t abnormal to have a
philosopher on the payroll. Philosophy was thought of as a normal,
basic activity – rather than as an unusual, esoteric, optional extra.
Nowadays, it’s not so much that we overtly deny this thought but we
just don’t have the right institutions set up to promulgate wisdom
coherently in the world. In the future, though, when the value of
philosophy* is a little clearer, we can expect to meet more
philosophers in daily life. They won’t be locked up, living mainly in
university departments, because the points at which our unwisdom bites
– and messes up our lives – are multiple and urgently need attention -

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Chapter Two Summary of Stephen Mumford's Metaphysics

       In chapter two of Metaphysics: A Very Short Introduction, Stephen Mumford poses another question similar to his start in chapter one. What is a circle? Not to be confused with the mathematical definition of a circle, Mumford challenges the reader to seek a deeper meaning as to what a circle is.
If we continue our thought process from chapter one of properties and particulars, we can say that circularity is a property in many different things, i.e.. a coin, a wheel, the circumference of a ball, the rim of a cup, as Mumford points out on page 14. A property can be thought of as a feature or quality of a particular. For example, a pen is a pen, a particular pen. It may be owned by someone, located on that persons desk at a certain time. Circularity, however, appears many places at many different times. “The fact that circularity appears in one place at one time does not stop it appearing in other places and times.” (p.15). Thus, there are two ‘entities’ as Mumford defines, particulars (ie. pens, tables, sheep, etc.) and properties or universals (ie. circularity, tallness, redness, etc.).
Now, suppose there was a way to eliminate all things that had a certain property. Mumford continues to use circularity as an example in his text. If all things circular were destroyed, smashed, bent, broken, etc. would that in turn destroy circularity? Or just the existing cases of it? We could argue that even if this were possible, circularity would still ‘exist’. So where then? Plato seems to have an answer for us. Plato believes all the “Instances of which we are acquainted are all imperfect copies of the true versions” (p.17) and that the true versions of properties and relations (ie. redness, tallness, circularity, taller than, harder than, etc.) reside in a heavenly realm. This realm cannot be seen or touched, but reached only through ‘pure intellect’. Due to their perfect nature, Plato called these true versions of properties and relations Forms. Now, because in his theory there is a division between what we see in the world v. what resides in this heavenly realm, there has to be some sort of relation between the two in order for there to be a difference between them (worldly circles are imperfect in relation to the Form circle). Yet, relations belong in the heavenly realm according to Plato, thus creating an infinite regress, a never ending resemblance causing a problem with his theory which Plato is never really able to solve.
Next, Mumford introduces us to a theory where the idea of things being split into two entities, properties and particulars, is rejected. The argument here is that if these two are separated, then at some point they have to be brought together. For example, in his text Mumford points out, “We would have to get roundness and greens, as properties, united with the physical things in the world, such as an apple. But that is when we have to start speaking of the apple…” (p.19). Instead for there being two entities of properties and particulars, the theory of only particulars existing is presented. This particulars-only view, or nominalism, shows how we feel we can be sure about the existence of things, like a table or a coin, where as we are less sure about abstract ideas like circularity existing outside of our perceived world. Nominalist would say circularity is just a word to describe a group of particulars, i.e.. a coin, a wheel, a ball. Particulars are groups of things that resemble each other in this view. Te issue with this view is if the objects listed have another thing in common, for example not only are they all circular but they are all made out of metal, these things now have two resemblances bringing back the fact that being circular and metal are different which implies properties. This problem also does not seem to ever get resolved.
In an opposing view, Mumford explains the Aristotelian view where properties exist here with us. Circularity exists in all things circular, regardless of whether they are perfect or imperfect and regardless of the time they existed in (the present, the past, the future) thus including all circular things that will ever be.

It is here Mumford leaves us hanging a bit as he transitions into the next chapter titled Are wholes just the sums of parts? where I hope he explores these topics from chapter two more.