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

Quizzes Jan 31 & Feb 2

Quiz Jan 31, DR 3-5. Claim a base for each alternative quiz question you post from the latter half of each assigned chapter.

1. How does Gottlieb think Heraclitus would reply to Aristotle's complaint about his ambiguous syntax?

2. Why did Heraclitus compare us all to beasts, drunkards, sleepers, and children? What did he say we fail to grasp?

3. What did fire symbolize, for Heraclitus?

4. Who were Parmenides' famous teacher and student?

5. What was Parmenides' surprising claim (aside from the idea that everything is eternal)?

6. How did Parmenides say language and thought connect to the world?

7. What was Zeno trying to discredit, with his famous paradoxes of motion?

8. What did Aristotle say Zeno invented, and how did his aim differ from Socrates'?

9. How does Gottlieb solve the Achilles paradox?


DQ (Claim a base for each DQ you post and/or comment on.)

  • Should philosophers be deliberately enigmatic and impenetrable? Can an obscure epigrammatic statement be profound? Or should philosophers always strive for clarity? Do you find Heraclitus "tantalizing" or "annoying"?
  • Heraclitus was both introspective and empiricistic, valuing both the "inner stage" (45) and the evidence of the senses. Are you more introspective, more curious about the world around you, or both?
  • What do you think Heraclitus meant when he said you can't step into the same river twice?
  • Did Zeno draw the right implication when he said his paradoxes show Parmenides was right? (69)
  • What do you think of Goober's pre- and post-beard persona (see "Goober the philosopher" above), and of the why his friends react to him when he changes? What moral do you think the show's writers were trying to tell, with this story? Do you agree or disagree?
  • [Post your DQs]
==
Quiz Feb 2, DR 6-7. Happy Groundhog Day! (It still casts a shadow...)

1. What was Empedocles' legendary "Faustian end"?

2. What did Empedocles identify as the universal elements whose interplay accounts for all phenomena including sexual attraction?  And, which of "our" elements does Gottlieb compare them to?

3. What fundamental principles of modern biology did Empedocles anticipate?

4. What was Empedocles' favorite scientific interest?

5. What did Anaxagoras bring to Athens, and what was his nickname?

6. Of what charge was Anaxagoras accused, like Socrates thirty years later?

7. How was Anaxagoras less extreme than Parmenides, with respect to reason and perception?

8. Was Anaxagoras a mind-matter dualist?

DQ
  • If Empedocles was a "spiritual egalitarian," believing everyone once lived happily together as immortal godlike beings, why did he exalt himself as a god? In general, how is it possible to reconcile egoistic arrogance with humane and democratic values? Or is it?
  • Is there any good reason to believe in reincarnation?
  • Does the "big bang/big crunch" cosmological hypothesis seem plausible, relevant to your life, and compatible with personal meaning and purpse?
  • Do you think you are a former daimon or spirit who's been exiled, "in an alien garment of flesh"? (86) Why or why not?
  • Are you a mind-matter dualist? Why or why not?
  • What do you think of Anaxagoras' response to the death of his sons? (97)
==
From Bertrand Russell's History-

Heraclitus, though an Ionian, was not in the scientific tradition of the Milesians. * He was a mystic, but of a peculiar kind. He regarded fire as the fundamental substance; everything, like flame in a fire, is born by the death of something else. "Mortals are immortals, and immortals are mortals, the one living the other's death and dying the other's life." There is unity in the world, but it is a unity formed by the combination of opposites. "All things come out of the one, and the one out of all things"; but the many have less reality than the one, which is God. From what survives of his writings he does not appear as an amiable character. He was much addicted to contempt, and was the reverse of a democrat. Concerning his fellow-citizens he says: "The Ephesians would do well to hang themselves, every grown man of them, and leave the city to beardless lads; for they have cast out Hermodorus, the best man among them, saying: 'We will have none who is best among us; if there be any such, let him be so elsewhere and among others.'" He speaks ill of all his eminent predecessors, with a single exception. "Homer should be turned out of the lists and whipped." "Of all whose discourses I have heard, there is not one who attains to understanding that wisdom is apart from all." "The learning of many things teacheth not understanding, else would it have taught Hesiod and Pythagoras, and again Xenophanes and Hecataeus." "Pythagoras . . . claimed for his own wisdom what was but a knowledge of many things and an art of mischief." The one exception to his condemnations is Teutamus, who is signalled out as "of more account than the rest." When we inquire the reason for this praise, we find that Teutamus said "most men are bad." His contempt for mankind leads him to think that only force will compel them to act for their own good. He says: "Every beast is driven to the pasture with blows"; and again: "Asses would rather have straw than gold."

...Heraclitus believed fire to be the primordial element, out of which everything else had arisen. Thales, the reader will remember, thought everything was made of water; Anaximenes thought air was the primitive element; Heraclitus preferred fire. At last Empedocles suggested a statesmanlike compromise by allowing four elements, earth, air, fire and water. The chemistry of the ancients stopped dead at this point. No further progress was made in this science until the Mohammedan alchemists embarked upon their search for the philosopher's stone, the elixir of life, and a method of transmuting base metals into gold. The metaphysics of Heraclitus are sufficiently dynamic to satisfy the most hustling of moderns: "This world, which is the same for all, no one of gods or men has made; but it was ever, is now, and ever shall be an ever-living Fire, with measures kindling and measures going out." "The transformations of Fire are, first of all, sea; and half of the sea is earth, half whirlwind." In such a world, perpetual change was to be expected, and perpetual change was what Heraclitus believed in...

"Couples are things whole and things not whole, what is drawn together and what is drawn asunder, the harmonious and the discordant. The one is made up of all things, and all things issue from the one." Sometimes he speaks as if the unity were more fundamental than the diversity: "Good and ill are one." "To God all things are fair and good and right, but men hold some things wrong and some right." "The way up and the way down is one and the same." "God is day and night, winter and summer, war and peace, surfeit and hunger; but he takes various shapes, just as fire, when it is mingled with spices, is named according to the savour of each." Nevertheless, there would be no unity if there were not opposites to combine: "it is the opposite which is good for us." This doctrine contains the germ of Hegel's philosophy, which proceeds by a synthesising of opposites. The metaphysics of Heraclitus, like that of Anaximander, is dominated by a conception of cosmic justice, which prevents the strife of opposites from ever issuing in the complete victory of either. "All things are an exchange for Fire, and Fire for all things, even as wares for gold and gold for wares." "Fire lives the death of air, and air lives the death of fire; water lives the death of earth, earth that of water." "The sun will not overstep his measures; if he does, the Erinys, the handmaids of Justice, will find him out." "We must know that war is common to all, and strife is justice." Heraclitus repeatedly speaks of "God" as distinct from "the gods." "The way of man has no wisdom, but that of God has. . . . Man is called a baby by God, even as a child by a man. . . . The wisest man is an ape compared to God, just as the most beautiful ape is ugly compared to man." God, no doubt, is the embodiment of cosmic justice. The doctrine that everything is in a state of flux is the most famous of the opinions of Heraclitus, and the one most emphasised by his disciples, as described in Plato Theaetetus...

Passing from the small to the large, astronomy no longer allows us to regard the heavenly bodies as everlasting. The planets came out of the sun, and the sun came out of a nebula. It has lasted some time, and will last some time longer; but sooner or later--probably in about a million million years--it will explode, destroying all the planets, and reverting to the condition of a widelydiffused gas. So at least the astronomers say; perhaps as the fatal day draws nearer they will find some mistake in their calculations. The doctrine of the perpetual flux, as taught by Heraclitus, is painful, and science, as we have seen, can do nothing to refute it. One of the main ambitions of philosophers has been to revive hopes that science seemed to have killed. Philosophers, accordingly, have sought, with great persistence, for something not subject to the empire of Time. This search begins with Parmenides.

CHAPTER V Parmenides THE Greeks were not addicted to moderation, either in their theories or in their practice. Heraclitus maintained that everything changes; Parmenides retorted that nothing changes. Parmenides was a native of Elea, in the south of Italy, and flourished in the first half of the fifth century B.C. According to Plato, Socrates in his youth (say about the year 450 B.C.) had an interview with Parmenides, then an old man, and learnt much from him. Whether or not this interview is historical, we may at least infer, what is otherwise evident, that Plato himself was influenced by the doctrines of Parmenides. The south Italian and Sicilian philosophers were more inclined to mysticism and religion than those of Ionia, who were on the whole scientific and sceptical in their tendencies. But mathematics, under the influence of Pythagoras, flourished more in Magna Grecia than in Ionia; mathematics at that time, however, was entangled with mysticism. Parmenides was influenced by Pythagoras, but the extent of this influence is conjectural. What makes Parmenides historically important is that he invented a form of metaphysical argument that, in one form or another, is to be found in most subsequent metaphysicians down to and including Hegel. He is often said to have invented logic, but what he really invented was metaphysics based on logic. The doctrine of Parmenides was set forth in a poem On Nature. He considered the senses deceptive, and condemned the multitude of sensible things as mere illusion. The only true being is "the One," which is infinite and indivisible. It is not, as in Heraclitus, a union of opposites, since there are no opposites. He apparently thought, for instance, that "cold" means only "not hot," and "dark" means only "not light." "The One" is not conceived by Parmenides as we conceive God; he seems to think of it as material and extended, for he speaks of it as a sphere. But it cannot be divided, because the whole of it is present everywhere. Parmenides divides his teaching into two parts, called respectively "the way of truth" and "the way of opinion." We need not concern ourselves with the latter. What he says about the way of truth, so far as it has survived, is, in its essential points, as follows: "Thou canst not know what is not--that is impossible--nor utter it; for it is the same thing that can be thought and that can be." "How, then, can what is be going to be in the future? Or how could it come into being? If it came into being, it is not; nor is it if it is going to be in the future. Thus is becoming extinguished and passing away not to be heard of. "The thing that can be thought and that for the sake of which the thought exists is the same; for you cannot find thought without something that is, as to which it is uttered." * The essence of this argument is: When you think, you think of something; when you use a name, it must be the name of something. Therefore both thought and language require objects outside themselves. And since you can think of a thing or speak of it at one time as well as at another, whatever can be thought of or spoken of must exist at all times. Consequently there can be no change, since change consists in things coming into being or ceasing to be. This is the first example in philosophy of an argument from thought and language to the world at large. It cannot of course be accepted as valid, but it is worth while to see what element of truth it contains. We can put the argument in this way: if language is not just nonsense, words must mean something, and in general they must not mean just other words, but something that is there whether we talk of it or not. Suppose, for example, that you talk of George Washington. Unless there were a historical person who had that name, the name (it would seem) would be meaningless, and sentences containing the name would be nonsense. Parmenides maintains that not only must George Washington have existed in the past, but in some sense he must still exist, since we can still use his name significantly. This seems obviously untrue, but how are we to get round the argument?

Let us take an imaginary person, say Hamlet. Consider the statement "Hamlet was Prince of Denmark." In some sense this is true, but not in the plain historical sense. The true statement is "Shakespeare says that Hamlet was Prince of Denmark," or, more explicitly, "Shakespeare says there was a Prince of Denmark called ' Hamlet.'" Here there is no longer anything imaginary. Shakespeare and Denmark and the noise "Hamlet" are all real, but the noise "Hamlet" is not really a name, since nobody is really called "Hamlet." If you say "'Hamlet' is the name of an imaginary person," that is not strictly correct; you ought to say "It is imagined that 'Hamlet' is the name of a real person." Hamlet is an imagined individual; unicorns are an imagined species. Some sentences in which the word "unicorn" occurs are true, and some are false, but in each case not directly. Consider "a unicorn has one horn" and "a cow has two horns." To prove the latter, you have to look at a cow; it is not enough to say that in some book cows are said to have two horns. But the evidence that unicorns have one horn is only to be found in books, and in fact the correct statement is: "Certain books assert that there are animals with one horn called 'unicorns.'" All statements about unicorns are really about the word "unicorn," just as all statements about Hamlet are really about the word "Hamlet." But it is obvious that, in most cases, we are not speaking of words, but of what the words mean. And this brings us back to the argument of Parmenides, that if a word can be used significantly it must mean something, not nothing, and therefore what the word means must in some sense exist. What, then, are we to say about George Washington? It seems we have only two alternatives: one is to say that he still exists; the other is to say that, when we use the words "George Washington," we are not really speaking of the man who bore that name. Either seems a paradox, but the latter is less of a paradox, and I shall try to show a sense in which it is true. Parmenides assumes that words have a constant meaning; this is really the basis of his argument, which he supposes unquestionable. But although the dictionary or the encyclopaedia gives what may be called the official and socially sanctioned meaning of a word, no two people who use the same word have just the same thought in their minds. George Washington himself could use his name and the word "I" as synonyms. He could perceive his own thoughts and the movements of his body, and could therefore use his name with a fuller meaning than was possible for any one else. His friends, when in his presence, could perceive the movements of his body, and could divine his thoughts; to them, the name "George Washington" still denoted something concrete in their own experience. After his death they had to substitute memories for perceptions, which involved a change in the mental processes taking place when they used his name. For us, who never knew him, the mental processes are again different. We may think of his picture, and say to ourselves "yes, that man." We may think "the first President of the United States." If we are very ignorant, he may be to us merely "The man who was called ' George Washington.'" Whatever the name suggests to us, it must be not the man himself, since we never knew him, but something now present to sense or memory or thought. This shows the fallacy of the argument of Parmenides. This perpetual change in the meanings of words is concealed by the fact that, in general, the change makes no difference to the truth or falsehood of the propositions in which the words occur. If you take any true sentence in which the name "George Washington" occurs, it will, as a rule, remain true if you substitute the phrase "the first President of the United States." There are exceptions to this rule. Before Washington's election, a man might say "I hope George Washington will be the first President of the United States," but he would not say "I hope the first President of the United States will be the first President of the United States" unless he had an unusual passion for the law of identity. But it is easy to make a rule for excluding these exceptional cases, and in those that remain you may substitute for "George Washington" any descriptive phrase that applies to him alone. And it is only by means of such phrases that we know what we know about him. Parmenides contends that, since we can now know what is commonly regarded as past, it cannot really be past, but must, in some sense, exist now. Hence he infers that there is no such thing as change. What we have been saying about George Washington meets this argument. It may be said, in a sense, that we have no knowledge of the past. When you recollect, the recollection occurs now, and is not identical with the event recollected. But the recollection affords a description of the past event, and for most practical purposes it is unnecessary to distinguish between the description and what it describes. This whole argument shows how easy it is to draw metaphysical conclusions from language, and how the only way to avoid fallacious arguments of this kind is to push the logical and psychological study of language further than has been done by most metaphysicians. I think, however, that, if Parmenides could return from the dead and read what I have been saying, he would regard it as very superficial. "How do you know," he would ask, "that your statements about George Washington refer to a past time? By your own account, the direct reference is to things now present; your recollections, for instance, happen now, not at the time that you think you recollect. If memory is to be accepted as a source of knowledge, the past must be before the mind now, and must therefore in some sense still exist." I will not attempt to meet this argument now; it requires a discussion of memory, which is a difficult subject. I have put the argument here to remind the reader that philosophical theories, if they are important, can generally be revived in a new form after being refuted as originally stated. Refutations are seldom final; in most cases, they are only a prelude to further refinements. What subsequent philosophy, down to quite modern times, accepted from Parmenides, was not the impossibility of all change, which was too violent a paradox, but the indestructibility of substance. The word "substance" did not occur in his immediate successors, but the concept is already present in their speculations. A substance was supposed to be the persistent subject of varying predicates. As such it became, and remained for more than two thousand years, one of the fundamental concepts of philosophy, psychology, physics, and theology. I shall have much to say about it at a later stage. For the present, I am merely concerned to note that it was introduced as a way of doing justice to the arguments of Parmenides without denying obvious facts. 

CHAPTER VI Empedocles THE mixture of philosopher, prophet, man of science, and charlatan, which we found already in Pythagoras, was exemplified very completely in Empedocles, who flourished about 440 B.C., and was thus a younger contemporary of Parmenides, though his doctrine had in some ways more affinity with that of Heraclitus. He was a citizen of Acragas, on the south coast of Sicily; he was a democratic politician, who at the same time claimed to be a god. In most Greek cities, and especially in those of Sicily, there was a constant conflict between democracy and tyranny; the leaders of whichever party was at the moment defeated were executed or exiled. Those who were exiled seldom scrupled to enter into negotiations with the enemies of Greece--Persia in the East, Carthage in the West. Empedocles, in due course, was banished, but he appears, after his banishment, to have preferred the career of a sage to that of an intriguing refugee. It seems probable that in youth he was more or less Orphic; that before his exile he combined politics and science; and that it was only in later life, as an exile, that he became a prophet. Legend had much to say about Empedocles. He was supposed to have worked miracles, or what seemed such, sometimes by magic, sometimes by means of his scientific knowledge. He could control the winds, we are told; he restored to life a woman who had seemed dead for thirty days; finally, it is said, he died by leaping into the crater of Etna to prove that he was a god. In the words of the poet: Great Empedocles, that ardent soul Leapt into Etna, and was roasted whole. Matthew Arnold wrote a poem on this subject, but, although one of his worst, it does not contain the above couplet. Like Parmenides, Empedocles wrote in verse. Lucretius, who was influenced by him, praised him highly as a poet, but on this subject opinions were divided. Since only fragments of his writings have survived, his poetic merit must remain in doubt. It is necessary to deal separately with his science and his religion, as they are not consistent with each other. I shall consider first his science, then his philosophy, and finally his religion. His most important contribution to science was his discovery of air as a separate substance. This he proved by the observation that when a bucket or any similar vessel is put upside down into water, the water does not enter into the bucket. He says: "When a girl, playing with a water-clock of shining brass, puts the orifice of the pipe upon her comely hand, and dips the waterclock into the yielding mass of silvery water, the stream does not then flow into the vessel, but the bulk of the air inside, pressing upon the close-packed perforations, keeps it out till she uncovers the compressed stream; but then air escapes and an equal volume of water runs in." This passage occurs in an explanation of respiration. He also discovered at least one example of centrifugal force: that if a cup of water is whirled round at the end of a string, the water does not come out. He knew that there is sex in plants, and he had a theory (somewhat fantastic, it must be admitted) of evolution and the survival of the fittest. Originally, "countless tribes of mortal creatures were scattered abroad endowed with all manner of forms, a wonder to behold." There were heads without necks, arms without shoulders, eyes without foreheads, solitary limbs seeking for union. These things joined together as each might chance; there were shambling creatures with countless hands, creatures with faces and breasts looking in different directions, creatures with the bodies of oxen and the faces of men, and others with the faces of oxen and the bodies of men. There were hermaphrodites combining the natures of men and women, but sterile. In the end, only certain forms survived. As regards astronomy: he knew that the moon shines by reflected light, and thought that this is also true of the sun; he said that light takes time to travel, but so little time that we cannot observe it; he knew that solar eclipses are caused by the interposition of the moon, a fact which he seems to have learnt from Anaxagoras. 

He was the founder of the Italian school of medicine, and the medical school which sprang from him influenced both Plato and Aristotle. According to Burnet (p. 234), it affected the whole tendency of scientific and philosophical thinking. All this shows the scientific vigour of his time, which was not equalled in the later ages of Greece. I come now to his cosmology. It was he, as already mentioned, who established earth, air, fire, and water as the four elements (though the word "element" was not used by him). Each of these was everlasting, but they could be mixed in different proportions, and thus produce the changing complex substances that we find in the world. They were combined by Love and separated by Strife. Love and Strife were, for Empedocles, primitive substances on a level with earth, air, fire, and water. There were periods when Love was in the ascendant, and others when Strife was the stronger. There had been a golden age when Love was completely victorious. In that age, men worshipped only the Cyprian Aphrodite. The changes in the world are not governed by any purpose, but only by Chance and Necessity. There is a cycle: when the elements have been thoroughly mixed by Love, Strife gradually sorts them out again; when Strife has separated them, Love gradually reunites them. Thus every compound substance is temporary; only the elements, together with Love and Strife, are everlasting. There is a similarity to Heraclitus, but a softening, since it is not Strife alone, but Strife and Love together, that produce change. Plato couples Heraclitus and Empedocles in the Sophist (242): There are Ionian, and in more recent time Sicilian, muses, who have arrived at the conclusion that to unite the two principles (of the One and the Many), is safer, and to say that being is one and many, and that these are held together by enmity and friendship, ever parting, ever meeting, as the severer Muses assert, while the gentler ones do not insist on the perpetual strife and peace, but admit a relaxation and alternation of them; peace and unity sometimes prevailing under the sway of Aphrodite, and then again plurality and war, by reason of a principle of strife. Empedocles held that the material world is a sphere; that in the Golden Age Strife was outside and Love inside; then, gradually, Strife  

entered and Love was expelled, until, at the worst, Strife will be wholly within and Love wholly without the sphere. Then--though for what reason is not clear--an opposite movement begins, until the Golden Age returns, but not for ever. The whole cycle is then repeated. One might have supposed that either extreme could be stable, but that is not the view of Empedocles. He wished to explain motion while taking account of the arguments of Parmenides, and he had no wish to arrive, at any stage, at an unchanging universe. The views of Empedocles on religion are, in the main, Pythagorean. In a fragment which, in all likelihood, refers to Pythagoras, he says: "There was among them a man of rare knowledge, most skilled in all manner of wise works, a man who had won the utmost wealth of wisdom; for whensoever he strained with all his mind, he easily saw everything of all the things that are, in ten, yea twenty lifetimes of men." In the Golden Age, as already mentioned, men worshipped only Aphrodite, "and the altar did not reek with pure bull's blood, but this was held in the greatest abomination among men, to eat the goodly limbs after tearing out the life." At one time he speaks of himself exuberantly as a god: Friends, that inhabit the great city looking down on the yellow rock of Acragas, up by the citadel, busy in goodly works, harbour of honour for the stranger, men unskilled in meanness, all hail. I go about among you an immortal god, no mortal now, honoured among all as is meet, crowned with fillets and flowery garlands. Straightway, whenever I enter with these in my train, both men and women, into the flourishing towns, is reverence done me; they go after me in countless throngs, asking of me what is the way to gain; some desiring oracles, while some, who for many a weary day have been pierced by the grievous pangs of all manner of sickness, beg to hear from me the word of healing. . . . But why do I harp on these things, as if it were any great matter that I should surpass mortal, perishable men?" At another time he feels himself a great sinner, undergoing expiation for his impiety: There is an oracle of Necessity, an ancient ordinance of the gods, eternal and sealed fast by broad oaths, that whenever one of the daemons, whose portion is length of days, has sinfully polluted his hands with blood, or followed strife and foresworn himself, he

must wander thrice ten thousand years from the abodes of the blessed, being born throughout the time in all manners of mortal forms, changing one toilsome path of life for another. For the mighty Air drives him into the Sea, and the Sea spews him forth upon the dry Earth; Earth tosses him into the beams of the blazing Sun, and he flings him back to the eddies of Air. One takes him from the other, and all reject him. One of these I now am, an exile and a wanderer from the gods, for that I put my trust in insensate strife. What his sin had been, we do not know; perhaps nothing that we should think very grievous. For he says: "Ah, woe is me that the pitiless day of death did not destroy me ere ever I wrought evil deeds of devouring with my lips! . . . "Abstain wholly from laurel leaves . . . "Wretches, utter wretches, keep your hands from beans!" So perhaps he had done nothing worse than munching laurel leaves or guzzling beans. The most famous passage in Plato, in which he compares this world to a cave, in which we see only shadows of the realities in the bright world above, is anticipated by Empedocles; its origin is in the teaching of the Orphics. There are some--presumably those who abstain from sin through many incarnations--who at last achieve immortal bliss in the company of the gods: But, at the last, they * appear among mortal men as prophets, song-writers, physicians, and princes; and thence they rise up as gods exalted in honour, sharing the hearth of the other gods and the same table, free from human woes, safe from destiny, and incapable of hurt. In all this, it would seem, there is very little that was not already contained in the teaching of Orphism and Pythagoreanism. The originality of Empedocles, outside science, consists in the doctrine of the four elements and in the use of the two principles of Love and Strife to explain change. He rejected monism, and regarded the course of nature as regulated by chance and necessity rather than by purpose. In these respects his philosophy was more scientific than those of Parmenides, Plato, and Aristotle. In other respects, it is true, he acquiesced in current superstitions; but in this he was no worse than many more recent men of science...

CHAPTER VIII Anaxagoras THE philosopher Anaxagoras, though not the equal of Pythagoras, Heraclitus, or Parmenides, has nevertheless a considerable historical importance. He was an Ionian, and carried on the scientific, rationalist tradition of Ionia. He was the first to introduce philosophy to the Athenians, and the first to suggest mind as the primary cause of physical changes. He was born at Clazomenae, in Ionia, about the year 500 B.C., but he spent about thirty years of his life in Athens, approximately from 462 to 432 B.C. He was probably induced to come by Pericles, who was bent on civilizing his fellow-townsmen. Perhaps Aspasia, who -61- came from Miletus, introduced him to Pericles. Plato, in the Phaedrus, says: Pericles "fell in, it seems with Anaxagoras, who was a scientific man; and satiating himself with the theory of things on high, and having attained to a knowledge of the true nature of intellect and folly, which were just what the discourses of Anaxagoras were mainly about, he drew from that source whatever was of a nature to further him in the art of speech." It is said that Anaxagoras also influenced Euripides, but this is more doubtful. The citizens of Athens, like those of other cities in other ages and continents, showed a certain hostility to those who attempted to introduce a higher level of culture than that to which they were accustomed. When Pericles was growing old, his opponents began a campaign against him by attacking his friends. They accused Pheidias of embezzling some of the gold that was to be employed on his statues. They passed a law permitting impeachment of those who did not practise religion and taught theories about "the things on high." Under this law, they prosecuted Anaxagoras, who was accused of teaching that the sun was a red-hot stone and the moon was earth. (The same accusation was repeated by the prosecutors of Socrates, who made fun of them for being out of date.) What happened is not certain, except that he had to leave Athens. It seems probable that Pericles got him out of prison and managed to get him away. He returned to Ionia, where he founded a school. In accordance with his will, the anniversary of his death was kept as a schoolchildrens' holiday. Anaxagoras held that everything is infinitely divisible, and that even the smallest portion of matter contains some of each element. Things appear to be that of which they contain most. Thus, for example, everything contains some fire, but we only call it fire if that element preponderates. Like Empedocles, he argues against the void, saying that the clepsydra or an inflated skin shows that there. is air where there seems to be nothing. He differed from his predecessors in regarding mind (nous) as a substance which enters into the composition of living things, and distinguishes them from dead matter. In everything, he says, there -62- is a portion of everything except mind, and some things contain mind also. Mind has power over all things that have life; it is infinite and self-ruled, and is mixed with nothing. Except as regards mind, everything, however small, contains portions of all opposites, such as hot and cold, white and black. He maintained that snow is black (in part). Mind is the source of all motion. It causes a rotation, which is gradually spreading throughout the world, and is causing the lightest things to go to the circumference, and the heaviest to fall towards the centre. Mind is uniform, and is just as good in animals as in man. Man's apparent superiority is due to the fact that he has hands; all seeming differences of intelligence are really due to bodily differences. Both Aristotle and the Platonic Socrates complain that Anaxagoras, after introducing mind, makes very little use of it. Aristotle points out that he only introduces mind as a cause when he knows no other. Whenever he can, he gives a mechanical explanation. He rejected necessity and chance as giving the origins of things; nevertheless, there was no "Providence" in his cosmology. He does not seem to have thought much about ethics or religion; probably he was an atheist, as his prosecutors maintained. All his predecessors influenced him, except Pythagoras. The influence of Parmenides was the same in his case as in that of Empedocles. In science he had great merit. It was he who first explained that the moon shines by reflected light, though there is a cryptic fragment in Parmenides suggesting that he also knew this. Anaxagoras gave the correct theory of eclipses, and knew that the moon is below the sun. The sun and stars, he said, are fiery stones, but we do not feel the heat of the stars because they are too distant. The sun is larger than the Peloponnesus. The moon has mountains, and (he thought) inhabitants. Anaxagoras is said to have been of the school of Anaximenes; certainly he kept alive the rationalist and scientific tradition of the Ionians. One does not find in him the ethical and religious preoccupations which, passing from the Pythagoreans to Socrates and from Socrates to Plato, brought an obscurantist bias into Greek philosophy. He is not quite in the first rank, but he is important as the first to bring philosophy to Athens, and as one of the influences that helped to form Socrates. 


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. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Quiz Jan 26

Milesians and Pythagoreans, DR 1-2 (We'll go over this on Thursday (scroll further down for Tuesday's quiz). Post your alternative quiz questions before then, especially from the second half of each chapter. Each gets you a base.)

1. Who labelled the early 6th & 5th century philosophers "PreSocratics," and what did they invent?

2. Aristotle said the Milesians were the first what?

3. Why does Gottlieb say Thales was not simply silly to suggest that H2O is the origin and essence of everything? OR, What must we do in order to refute him?

4. What essential facet of scientific thinking did Anaximander's work exemplify?

5. What famous poetic image do we associate with Pythagoras?

6. What was a good Pythagorean supposed to study?

7. What did Bertrand Russell, echoing Pythagoras and Plato, consider the mind's "highest good"?

8. How does Gottlieb think Aristotle was unfair to the Pythagoreans in his interpretation of their claim that numbers are the principles of all things?


Discussion Questions (Post your DQs too, and comment on mine and others' before class. Each gets you a base.)
  • What do you think Xenophanes meant when he said the following? Do you agree?
    But if cattle and horses and lions had hands
    or could paint with their hands and create works such as men do,
    horses like horses and cattle like cattle
    also would depict the gods' shapes and make their bodies
    of such a sort as the form they themselves have.
  • Do you favor natural, or supernatural, explanations of phenomena? Do you think it's possible to be a naturalist who also believes unproven religious or metaphysical claims about god(s), heaven, immortality, the soul, etc.? Or should naturalists consider themselves atheistic or agnostic, with respect to the objects of such claims?
  • Is it a good practice in science and/or philosophy to try and reduce complex phenomena to a simpler explanation? 
  • Can we make sense of our experience without invoking invisible causes? What makes some invisible phenomena preferable to others, scientifically?
  • Anaximenes was "struck by the fact that people breathe and corpses do not." (15) Was he onto something important? Is breath the essence of life? 
  • Are you "comforted" by the turn from Milesian speculations about nature to ethical questions about "the proper way to live" (17)? Or do you think both kinds of philosophizing are necessary?
  • Followers of Hippocrates "did not divide the world into the divinely mysterious... and the naturally explicable" (18) but instead tried to explain everything naturalistically. Was that an important milestone for medical science? Are modern-day "alternative" healers anti-Hippocratic?
  • Pythagoras famously had both a scientific/mathematical and a mystical/superstitious side. Do you find this incoherent, or intriguing?
  • Do modern humans unwittingly worship Dionysus, seeking some sort of transcendence via self-indulgent sensualism? (27) Is there anything to be said for that?
  • Do you believe numbers can "unlock the secrets of how the world work[s]"? (32) Or does the world include important qualities and experiences that cannot or need not (should not?) be quantified? Is it "madness" to relate everything to a corresponding number?-eg, maleness=2, femaleness=3, justice=4...(34)
  • Do you share or reject Shakespeare's "pure Orphism" in Merchant of Venice? (38)
  • Do you share or reject young Russell's "feeling that intellect is superior to sense"? ((42)
  • Post your DQs



The Genius of Pythagoras... Three Minute Philosophy: Pythagoras
==
Get Up and Move. It May Make You Happier.
When people get up and move, even a little, they tend to be happier than when they are still, according to an interesting new study that used cellphone data to track activities and moods. In general, the researchers found, people who move are more content than people who sit.

There already is considerable evidence that physical activity is linked to psychological health. Epidemiological studies have found, for example, that people who exercise or otherwise are active typically are less prone to depression and anxiety than sedentary people.

But many of these studies focused only on negative moods. They often also relied on people recalling how they had felt and how much they had moved or sat in the previous week or month, with little objective data to support these recollections.

For the new study, which was published this month in PLoS One, researchers at the University of Cambridge in England decided to try a different approach. They would look, they decided, at correlations between movement and happiness, that most positive of emotions. In addition, they would look at what people reported about their activity and compare it with objective measures of movement.

Writing Your Way to Happiness JAN. 19, 2015
How Exercise May Protect Against Depression OCT. 1, 2014
Work. Walk 5 Minutes. Work.DEC 28


To accomplish these goals, they first developed a special app for Android phones. Available free on the Google app store and ultimately downloaded by more than 10,000 men and women, it was advertised as helping people to understand how lifestyle choices, such as physical activity, might affect people’s moods. (The app, which is no longer available for download, opened with a permission form explaining to people that the data they entered would be used for academic research.)

The app randomly sent requests to people throughout the day, asking them to enter an estimation of their current mood by answering questions and also using grids in which they would place a dot showing whether they felt more stressed or relaxed, depressed or excited, and so on.

Periodically, people were also asked to assess their satisfaction with life in general.

After a few weeks, when people were comfortable with the app, they began answering additional questions about whether, in the past 15 minutes, they had been sitting, standing, walking, running, lying down or doing something else.

They also were asked about their mood at that moment.

At the same time, during the 17 months of the study, the app gathered data from the activity monitor that is built into almost every smartphone today. In essence, it checked whether someone’s recall of how much he or she had been moving in the past quarter-hour tallied with the numbers from the activity monitor.

In general, the information provided by users and the data from activity monitors was almost exactly the same.

Of greater interest to the researchers, people using the app turned out to feel happier when they had been moving in the past quarter-hour than when they had been sitting or lying down, even though most of the time they were not engaged in rigorous activity.

In fact, most of the physical activity that people reported was gentle walking, with little running, cycling or other more strenuous exercise.

But the links between moving in any way and feeling happy were consistent for most people throughout the day, according to the data from their apps. It also didn’t matter whether it was a workday or weekend.

The researchers also found that people who moved more frequently tended to report greater life satisfaction over all than those who reported spending most of their time in a chair.

In general, the results suggest that “people who are generally more active are generally happier and, in the moments when people are more active, they are happier,” says Gillian Sandstrom, a study co-author who was a postdoctoral researcher at Cambridge and is now a lecturer in psychology at the University of Essex.

In other words, moving and happiness were closely linked, both in the short term and longer term.

Of course, this type of study does not establish causation. It cannot tell us whether being more active actually causes us to become happier or, conversely, whether being happy causes us to move more. It only shows that more activity goes hand-in-hand with greater happiness.2COMMENTS

The study also is limited by its reliance on cellphone data, Dr. Sandstrom says, because it may not have captured information about formal exercise. People often do not carry their phones when they run, cycle or engage in other types of vigorous activity, she and her colleagues point out in the study. So those types of workouts would not be reflected in the app or the phones’ activity monitor, making it impossible to know from this data set whether formal exercise is linked to happiness, for better or worse.

Still, the size of the study group and the consistency of the findings are compelling, Dr. Sandstrom says. They do indicate that if you get up and move often, you are more likely to feel cheerful than if you do not. nyt
==
1984
George Orwell’s classic book “1984,” about a dystopian future where critical thought is suppressed under a totalitarian regime, has seen a surge in sales this month, rising to the top of the Amazon best-seller list in the United States and leading its publisher to have tens of thousands of new copies printed.

Craig Burke, the publicity director at Penguin USA, said that the publisher had ordered 75,000 new copies of the book this week and that it was considering another reprint.

“We’ve seen a big bump in sales,” Mr. Burke said. He added that the rise “started over the weekend and hit hyperactive” on Tuesday and Wednesday morning. Since Friday, the book has reached a 9,500 percent increase in sales, he said.

He said demand began to lift on Sunday, shortly after the interview Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to Donald J. Drumpf, gave on “Meet the Press.”

In defending a false claim by the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, that Mr. Drumpf had attracted the “largest audience ever to witness an inauguration,” Ms. Conway used a turn of phrase that struck some observers as similar to the dystopian world of “1984.”
(continues)

Quiz Jan 24

Remember, you get a base for each non-redundant alternative quiz question you post before class.

1. What were Aristotle's followers called?

2. Who said his mind only worked with his legs?

3. Whose mentor called walking "gymnastics for the mind"?

4. Who had a "Sand-walk"?

5. How much does the average American walk?

6. Name a city with a "Philosophers' Walk".

And some discussion questions (remember, you get a base for each DQ suggestion you post or comment on before class):

1. Would you like to have attended Aristotle's school, Plato's, neither, or both? Why?

2. Do you consider yourself an active or a sedentary person, by preference? (If given a choice, on a lovely Fall day, would you rather stay in and play video games or go out for a walk/hike/run/bikeride/swim/etc.?)

3. What's the most memorable outdoor experience you've ever had?

4. Have you ever attempted to share your beliefs, convictions, core principles (etc.) in public? (Ifyes, would you say you did it in a spirit of evangelism and proselytizing, or in a philosophical way? What's the difference? And if no, why not?)

5. Are you a good listener? (Do you try to understand the points of view of those who disagree with your beliefs, or do you simply dismiss them as just wrong?)

6. Do you agree that we live in a time of intolerance and incivility, when it comes to dissenting points of view?

==
Some old posts

Monday, August 29, 2016
Walking to the stars

What a gorgeous, beckoning crescent moon out here in this morning's pre-dawn.

In CoPhi we're talking walking today, with side-orders of space-faring and belief-sharing.

We'll discuss the first two chapters of Frederic Gros's Philosophy of Walking, and Christopher Orlet's Gymnasiums of the Mind.

We'll also consider these old posts and this one on walking and believing (and the ongoing This I Believe franchise), Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot, and Sagan heir Neil de Grasse Tyson's Why exploring space still matters. The common thread? Some of us fervently believe, with Nietzsche, Rousseau, and so many others, that the best ideas first come while walking. Some of us also believe we should expand our range to include more distant turf, over the Terran horizon. I'm a believer.

Given the vast scale of the cosmos, and the fact that we've really only just learned to walk, "we" means future humans. But the horizon just came a lot closer, with the discovery of our sister planet at Proxima Centauri. By present propulsion technology, of course, Proxima Centauri is NOT in such close proximity. It's 80,000 years away. If that Russian billionaire figures out how to boost those iPhone-size probes to a fifth of the speed of light they'll get there in 20 years. This is less about us getting there, than about us getting excited about our great-great...grandchildren getting there, and for that even to be possible we have to get excited about sustaining this planet, here and now. An Exoplanet Too Far

Neil Tyson believes a redoubling of our efforts in space would be the most practical investment we could ever make in our species.

'We need to double NASA's budget because not only is it the grandest epic adventure a human being can undertake, not only would the people who led this adventure be the ones we end up building statues to and naming high schools after and becoming the next generation's Mercury 7 as role models, not only will there be spinoff products from these discoveries, but what's more important than all of those, what's more practical than all of those, is that he will transform the economy into one that will lead the world once again rather than trail the world as we are inevitably going to be doing over the next decade.'"

And it'll give us peripatetics a lot more room to roam.

The cosmic perspective need not lead to resignation and existential despair, of the sort hinted in Bertrand Russell's "A Free Man's Worship" - "For countless ages the hot nebula whirled aimlessly through space..." -and made light of in his "Why I Am Not a Christian" - "Nobody really worries much about what is going to happen millions of years hence..."

Some do, actually. But others, reflecting on a mote of dust with Carl Sagan, dream.

We humans have set foot on another world in a place called the Sea of Tranquility, an astonishing achievement for creatures such as we, whose earliest footsteps three and one-half million years old are preserved in the volcanic ash of east Africa. We have walked far.

It all began with one small step. Between now and the end of eternity, we have countless more steps to enjoy. Let's go.

And bring a book. I recommend Five Billion Years of Solitude: the Search for Life Among the Stars by Lee Billings.

5:45/6:18, 73/90, 7:17
==
Back for Day 3, we turn happily to our philosophical labors in CoPhilosophy. Today we introduce (and maybe even emulate) the peripatetics, and we explore the earnest atmosphere of This I Believe.

Aristotle (384-322 B.C.) founded his Lyceum just outside Athens and

gathered around him a group of brilliant research students, called “peripatetics” from the name of the cloister (peripatos) in which they walked and held their discussions. The Lyceum was not a private club like [Plato's] Academy; many of the lectures there were open to the general public and given free of charge. EB
Nowadays, a "peripatetic" has just come to mean someone who travels a lot. I prefer the older signification, of someone who (like Aristotle's students in the Lyceum peripatos) walks while talking philosophy. That's how we'll understand and apply the concept in our CoPhi collaborations.

...the act of ambulation – or as we say in the midwest, walking – often serves as a catalyst to creative contemplation and thought. It is a belief as old as the dust that powders the Acropolis, and no less fine. Followers of the Greek Aristotle were known as peripatetics because they passed their days strolling and mind-wrestling through the groves of the Academe. The Romans’ equally high opinion of walking was summed up pithily in the Latin proverb Solvitur Ambulando: “It is solved by walking.”

...Erasmus recommended a little walk before supper and “after supper do the same.” Thomas Hobbes had an inkwell built into his walking stick to more easily jot down his brainstorms during his rambles. Jean- Jacques Rousseau claimed he could only meditate when walking: “When I stop, I cease to think,” he said. “My mind only works with my legs.” Søren Kierkegaard believed he’d walked himself into his best thoughts. In his brief life Henry David Thoreau walked an estimated 250,000 miles, or ten times the circumference of earth. “I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits,” wrote Thoreau, “unless I spend four hours a day at least – and it is commonly more than that – sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields absolutely free from worldly engagements.” Thoreau’s landlord and mentor Ralph Waldo Emerson characterized walking as “gymnastics for the mind.”

In order that he might remain one of the fittest, Charles Darwin planted a 1.5 acre strip of land with hazel, birch, privet, and dogwood, and ordered a wide gravel path built around the edge. Called Sand-walk, this became Darwin’s ‘thinking path’ where he roamed every morning and afternoon with his white fox-terrier. Of Bertrand Russell, long-time friend Miles Malleson has written: “Every morning Bertie would go for an hour’s walk by himself, composing and thinking out his work for that day. He would then come back and write for the rest of the morning, smoothly, easily and without a single correction.”

None of these laggards, however, could touch Friedrich Nietzsche, who held that “all truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” Rising at dawn, Nietzsche would stalk through the countryside till 11 a.m. Then, after a short break, he would set out on a two-hour hike through the forest to Lake Sils. After lunch he was off again, parasol in hand, returning home at four or five o’clock, to commence the day’s writing. Christopher Orlet, "Gymnasiums of the Mind"
This I Believe II was MTSU's freshman summer read this year. Jay Allison, who revived the old '50s TIB franchise, was to have spoken at convocation last year but weather interfered.

Here's where it all began, in 1951. As Mr. Murrow said, there's no "pill of wisdom"... but lots of wise people are real pills. Many of these concise testimonials of conviction will make you feel better about the human condition.




These little essays are sometimes light and fluffy, sometimes dense, sometimes funny, occasionally profound. I'm asking students to find their faves. Sticking just to those included in Jay Allison's first book, I guess these would be mine:Albert Einstein, An Ideal of Service to Our Fellow Man
Oscar Hammerstein II, Happy Talk
Victor Hanson, Natural Links in a Long Chain of Being
Penn Jillette, There is No God
Erroll Morris, There Is Such a Thing as Truth
Azar Nafisi, Mysterious Connections That Link Us Together
Eboo Patel, We Are Each Other's Business
Jackie Robinson, Free Minds and Hearts at Work
Wallace Stegner, Everything Potent is Dangerous
Arnold Toynbee, I Agree With a Pagan
John Updike, Testing the Limits of What I Know and Feel



This just scratches the surface. There are tens of thousands of essays in the archives, growing daily; and that probably doesn't include yours. Yet.
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Thursday, June 5, 2014
An image of life itself
I started walking seriously in college, in the late 70s. Coincidentally, that's also when English travel writer John Man published Walk! It Could Change Your Life..., a used unjacketed copy of which has been languishing unnoticed and unread for many years on a shelf in my Little House out back (the rear porch of which is my conveniently remote summer office).

It's an undeservedly neglected gem. My Philosophy Walks project has finally drawn me to this compendium of insight and delight, drawings, period photos, practical tips for dedicated walkers (including a section at the end on stretching), and judiciously selected quotations like this one from Donald Culross Peattie's Joy of Walking:
Time is not money; time is a an opportunity to live before you die. So a man who walks, and lives and sees and thinks as he walks, has lengthened his life. 
I'm happy to acknowledge another unsung fellow philosopher of walking.

There's nothing about Walk! in John's published biographical note. I suppose he considers it too slight (compared with his impressive subsequent body of work) to mention. I would differ with that judgment, and concur enthusiastically with his conclusion:
Walking means seeing the unseen, understanding, friendship, privacy, emotional perspective, physical capacity... an image of life itself.
Early in the book, Man offers a partial taxonomy of walking styles including the Peripatetics' "stroll" - " the type of locomotion adopted by tourists, lovers, promenaders and thinkers."

I actually think better, I think, at a faster clip. With dogs. Without a stick.
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Saturday, July 13, 2013
Reconnoitring
This would have been a fine way to preface Philosophy Walks, but Robert MacFarlane has already used it for The Old Ways:
This book could not have been written by sitting still. The relationship between paths, walking and the imagination is its subject, and much of its thinking was therefore done -- was only possible -- while on foot...
Above all, this is a book about people and place: about walking as a reconnoitre inwards, and the subtle ways in which we are shaped by the landscapes through which we move. 
So I'll be writing a different preface to a different book, though one that also cannot be conceived or executed at anchorage. His foot journey was geographically extended, mine tend to circle familiar ground, but we're both members in good standing of the peripatetics club.

Isn't reconnoitre a great word! It's le bon mot for a big part of what I walk for.  I'd be truly lost without my daily morning internal reconnaissance, which can only happen after moving to "higher" ground on shank's mare. The elevation sought is not necessarily to be measured in feet or meters, or even in words. But the bookish medium defiantly imposes that particular yardstick, so I'd better go reconnoitre for some more of those. Words, I mean.
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Friday, June 28, 2013
Sympathetic peripatetics
"Peripatetic": terrific word, fabulous idea. One day early in the Fall semester I'm going to fulfill a lifelong ambition and conduct class peripatetically.
From the time of Aristotle until 86 BC there was a continuous succession of philosophers in charge of the school in the Lyceum. The common name for the school, Peripatetic, was derived either from the peripatos in the Lyceum grounds or from Aristotle’s habit of lecturing while walking [but, you call this walking?]... The Lyceum’s fame-and the fame of other schools in Athens-attracted increasing numbers of philosophers and students from all over the Mediterranean world...
The utter destruction of Athens in AD 267 probably ended this renaissance of scholarly activity. The work of Peripatetic philosophers continued elsewhere, but it is unclear whether they returned to the Lyceum. Nothing certain is known about the Lyceum during the remainder of the third through early sixth centuries AD. Any remaining philosophical activity would certainly have ended in AD 529, when the emperor Justinian closed all the philosophical schools in Athens. 
We don't seem to know much for sure about the ancient peripatetics.
According to the tradition, Andronicus of Rhodes was the eleventh successor of Aristotle as head of the Peripatos, the school that Aristotle founded in Athens (Ammonius, In De Int. 5.28-29). We have good reasons to doubt this tradition. 
Well, we almost always have good reasons to doubt every tradition. Aristotle's Lyceum and its walking philosophers ended in Athens but "continued to exist in the form of a philosophical sect," and more importantly continues to exist as an idea, a state of mind, and a style of living. Walk this way...

Podcasts: I believe in the peripatetic life... Sym-pathetic peripatetics