Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Saturday, December 6, 2008
If you're looking for #10, scroll down farther.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
We discussed four of Socrates' big questions about life Thursday and Friday:
- What is virtue? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtue
- What is courage? http://www.wisdomquotes.com/cat_courage.html
- What is beauty? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beauty
- What is justice? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justice
What I would like for you to do is to pick one of these big questions and take a moment to consider where you see it lacking in American society.
If you choose virtue, where in American society is there a huge need for virtue? What about beauty? What part of American society could become more beautiful? In what sense? Who in American life could use a little (or a lot more justice)? Which Americans need to show more courage in our tough economic times? Why? (these are sample questions to get some ideas flowing - I figure that you can come up with something yourself).
Editor's Note - I don't want to influence this too much, so I'll refrain from including pictures or quotes or anything else. I've included links to Wikipedia or quotes on courage in case you're stuck on a topic. You DON'T have to pick the same topic that you personally discussed in class, but if you want to, that's fine.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Minimum of 150 words about the quote and how it applies to your life. Due Monday, Dec. 1st.
1. "Wars and elections are both too big and too small to matter in the long run. The daily work - that goes on, it adds up". ~Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams
2. "Men are probably nearer the central truth in their superstitions than in their science." ~Henry David Thoreau
3. "He who has seen present things has seen all, both everything which has taken place from all eternity and everything which will be for time without end; for all things are of one kin and of one form." ~Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius
4. "One day, someone showed me a glass of water that was half full. And he said, 'Is it half full or half empty?' So I drank the water. No more problem." ~filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, Jewish Ukranian immigrant born in Chile - wikipedia site.
5. "There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers." William James, American Pragmatist philosopher & psychologist (1842 - 1910)
6. "Philosophers say a great deal about what is absolutely necessary for science, and it is always, so far as one can see, rather naive, and probably wrong." Richard Feynman American educator & physicist (1918 - 1988)
7. "We need men with moral courage to speak and write their real thoughts, and to stand by their convictions, even to the very death." Robert Ingersoll, American agnostic.
8. "History is fables agreed upon." Voltaire, French Enlightenment writer.
9. "Do you know the secret of the true scholar? In every man, there is something wherein I may learn of him; and in that I am his pupil." Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Quotes #1-4 came from the Quote Garden - http://www.quotegarden.com/philosophical.html
Quotes 5 and 6 came from the Quotations Page - www.quotationspage.com/subjects/philosophy/
Quotes 7 and 8 came from Said What? -http://www.saidwhat.co.uk/philosophers.php
Sunday, November 16, 2008
There are some fun t-shirts there like "Plato's Cave Alumni" or "Philosoraptor" or a bumper sticker that said "Major in Philosophy: It's By Far the Most Interesting Path to Poverty".
Others were "Don't argue with me, I have a philosophy degree" and "I doubt, therefore, I might be..." "Team Schopenhauer / Nietchze / insert your favorite philosopher", and one of my favorites: "Sure, it works in practice, but does it work in theory?"
And no, I'm not a shill for this company.
Friday, November 14, 2008
I'm glad that we were able to watch the video b/c we got a few questions answered about the fundamental Christians' explanation for fossils and why some of the dinosaur-like reptiles survived (Noah's ark) and some didn't (drowned in the worldwide flood).
I also applaud Wheaton College's attempt to embrace science. Though some conservative Christians might think that Wheaton is becoming liberal (as evidenced from the 1961 The Sword of the Lord editorial about Dr. Hearn's comments about evolution being possible) to the concerned parents, Wheaton is training their students for the real world.
I thought Emi Hayashi was the most thoughtful with some of her questions: -if we have evolved, at what point in evolution did the upright primate obtain a soul? Did mankind commit their first sin around that time? Were there an Adam and an Eve that really existed - the first humans? Is that when God intervened and gave them souls? Or were they an isolated experiment who then blew up their lab?
In the end, she brought up a really great point: "there really can't be that many idiots out there in science" who are wrong about evolution when a religious person points out flaws in evolution, and there can't be that many cranks wrong with their theology when a scientist challenges their religion.
Due Monday, November 17th. 200 words. Can evolution and creation co-exist? Or, more broadly, can science and faith co-exist?Resources:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/08/index.html -Science, Faith and Politics: video clips and text from some of the same people that we see in the video.
http://www.intelligentdesign.org/ - Explaining the science of Intelligent Design.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/students/index.html Evolution for Students: these websites are for all levels of kids so beware if you find one that is not up to your standards.
See for yourself:
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Here's a link to the Darwin article - http://www.newsweek.com/id/51528 and the questions in case ya lost the silly thing.
Please answer 7 of the 11 questions below. (Please include the bold questions as part of your seven).
1. Why do you think evolution’s opponents use the term “Darwinism” instead of evolution?
2. Why did Charles Darwin finally publish The Origin of Species in 1859?
3. Provide at least two possible reasons for Darwin’s intestinal distress and heart palpitations during this time period with explanations.
4. Why was Darwin’s evidence so important in proving his theory?
5. How did the glyptodont fossil help with Darwin’s theory?
6. What was Charles Darwin’s more radical achievement, according to the article?
7. How did Thomas Malthus fit into Charles Darwin’s ideas?
8. What was the great implication for mankind in Darwin’s new book, The Descent of Man, published in 1871?
9. How did Darwin describe his own religious beliefs?
10. When did he first start doubting?
11. The article quotes a believer as saying that “suffering is ‘ennobling, an agent of moral improvement.’” Darwin’s favorite daughter, 10-year old Annie, died from TB in 1851, led him into some very dark places. Do you agree or disagree with this argument about suffering? Why or why not? Feel free to use a personal example.
Due Thursday, November 13, 2008
Thursday, November 6, 2008
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I know that there are many questions still left out there unanswered. What the heck was Plato thinking with his Forms? Why did Socrates allow himself to be put to death? Where is the novel going to go now that we know it's really a novel?
These are just a few examples of some questions that you can ask for this blog entry. 200 words minimum. Due Thursday, October 30th.
P.S. I apologize for posting this so late - had to go grocery shopping, make dinner, get my wife's new laptop going, and then Mario Kart Tournament. I got 2nd. If you need another day to do the blog, that's fine. Cute picture of my dog, Izzy, below.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Descartes believed that we learned info through reason alone. We had to be skeptical of many many things, as he felt that we should be (especially of the learning of the Middle Ages). To quote Sophie's World, "Descartes maintains that we cannot accept anything as being true unless we can clearly and distinctly perceive it... You could say that every single thought must be weighed and measured, rather in the way Galileo wanted everything to be measured and everything immeasurable to be made measurable." Through this perception - though flawed b/c we can't always trust our senses, we must use reason to figure out what we're perceiving. One of the things that we have built in (innate) in us is our sense of God, according to Descartes.
To sum up with a quote from Sophie's World, "a rationalist believes in reason as the primary source of knowledge, and he may also believe that man has certain innate ideas that exist in his mind prior to all experience. And the clearer such ideas may be, the more certain it is that they correspond to reality."
On the flipside is the empirical belief that we learn about the world through experience. By contrast, we start with a tabula rasa, a blank slate, or nothing in our minds, and the things that we learn is added there b/c we have experienced it. "An empiricist will derive all knowledge of the world from what the senses tell us...in the final analysis, all the material for our knowledge of the world comes to us through sensations. Knowledge that cannot be traced back to a simple sensation is therefore false knowledge and must consequently he rejected." These ideas began with Englishman John Locke and his work, Essay on Human Understanding.
In your own opinion, how do you think we learn? Is it through reason? Through experience? Both? Neither? Another way not mentioned here? Your comments (200 words).
Due Monday, 10/20/08.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Now that Locke is on the island, he is beginning to see that crashing on the island is his TRUE destiny, and that the Walkabout vacation was justa detour to get him on this plane. Why else could he walk again? He has become the true hunter and leader he has always dreamed of being there on the island.
So, what's your opinion on fate? I'll pose a few questions, and it will be your job to pick one (or more) to answer with your well-reasoned words.
1. How much of life is just plain old luck, bad or good?
2. Why do bad things happen to good people?
3. Does everything that happens repeat itself eternally? Why?
4. Do we pay for our mistakes? Why or why not?
5. Does a person create his or her own destiny? Why or why not?
6. If you to fail, and then succeed, which have you done?
7. Do you believe in nature or nurture? Why?
8. Does karma exist? Why or why not?
Your comment should be a minimum of 200 words and be turned in before class on Monday, September 29.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Which pill would you have taken and why?
Neo is offered the red pill and the blue pill by Morpheus in the opening act of the Matrix. The blue pill allows Neo to remain in the Matrix, in essence to go back to sleep and to remember this little encounter w/ Morpheus as a dream or "believe whatever you want to believe". The red pill allows Neo to stay in the "wonderland" and discover the truth.
Here's an essay about the pills - http://www.arrod.co.uk/essays/matrix.php I like this sentence best in the essay:
"The question then is not about pills, but what they stand for in these circumstances. The question is asking us whether reality, truth, is worth pursuing."
I think since most if not all of you who are taking this class are taking this class b/c you want to dig deeper into life, you are highly curious and intelligent and want to find out what is out there, I think there's very very few who will NOT take the red pill.
So, when answering this question, consider the possible ramifications/consequences of choosing your pill.
- Are you content with knowing that you could die at any moment from those machines that are trying to kill you?
- What if Neo is NOT the One and you've sacrificed yourself for nothing?
- Obviously, if you choose the blue pill and you go back into the Matrix, would you be able to live w/ yourself w/ the knowledge that you had the answers at your fingertips and you let them go (for whatever reasons - fear, apathy, etc.)?
So, when choosing, choose wisely and consider the consequences of your actions. Discuss this in your blog. 200 words minimum.