Thursday, March 5, 2009

#17 -The Final Post -Self -Assessment

Yeah, yeah, class is technically over. But you still have this 20 point blog to do complete. I wanted to wait until after the finals were over to let you decompress, chill out and give you time to reflect on your learning this semester in Honors Philosophy.

Let's get a couple things out of the way first: Your grade doesn't hinge upon your answers (meaning I won't mark you down if I don't like your answers), though your grade will go down a little if you don't complete the blog by Monday morning, March 9, 2009 at 9 a.m. Also, if you say that you didn't learn anything or get anything out of this class and you think that gets you off the hook for this blog, think again. Paradox? Let's just call it the Wickersham Contradiction.

I'm asking you two questions:
1. What is the thing you learned most about yourself from this class? Why?
2. What is the thing that you learned most about life/people/society/politics/religion/etc. from this class? Why?

300 words minimum.

Thanks for all of your positive input this semester and constructive contributions to the class. You've made it worthwhile teaching this class.


  1. TJ Hyland
    3rd Hour
    First, I would like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this class. I have always been curious about philosophy, and the questions surrounding the origin and purpose of human life. As I entered this class, I would categorize myself as a somewhat pessimistic determinist. I believed in fate, mainly because I did not like the idea that I was responsible for all of my actions and thus all of my outcomes. I learned that I was full of skepticism, or I was at least at one point in my life. Throughout this class, I have reassessed my view on life. I learned that I am not necessarily going to be able to prove everything that I believe. I liked hearing other professional’s opinions on philosophy. It helped me come up with my own opinion. I think the biggest thing I learned about myself is that I am in a stand still. I am stuck in between a religious, and a rationalistic point of view on life. I went to Catholic school for nine years, and I have always had faith. I still do, but now I look at God in a different light. I do not know if he is a dead God or if he created us and left, if he intervenes in all of our lives, or if He is simply an evil Genius. I feel like its blasphemy saying God could potentially be an evil genius, but I also believe it is necessary if I am ever going to come to a truth.
    The thing that I learned the most about from this class would be life. I learned that every different society or generation is just history repeating itself in one form or another. I also learned that life is potentially all a dream, or an illusion, and that if my life was a false reality, then I could not trust my senses because they give me a false perception. The theory I liked the most was that everyone is stuck in the same point in time. We are all in the same repeating time frame, created by God, or the evil genius. This time frame is not in the past, but this instant. This illusion of time prevents us from reaching heaven. At the end of our life, we finally die, break the barrier of time, and transcend into the afterlife. Our whole life consists of us constantly saying no thank you to heaven. As we grow up, and learn more we make the transition from a life of no to a life of yes. “Everything will be okay in the end, if it is not okay, then it is not the end.”

  2. This is a really hard blog to respond to, because I'm not all too particularly interested in responding on myself. Sure, I like responding in class, giving out controversial opinions and providing devil's advocate, and that's probably the best way to describe me without me actually directly saying it. (Whoops, too late.)

    So, I guess I realized even more that I like to argue (debates are for pansies). I may not know too much about a lot of the subjects that I'm provided, and in such case, I usually stay neutral and educate myself on the topic more before jumping in the fray as to avoid looking...stupid, frankly. When I DO feel I'm well educated on a subject, I like to exercise whatever knowledge I have to argue against my opponents, and gain new perspective from their rebuttals so I can properly and fully argue as much as possible.

    From talking to Derrick Heisey often, I've found that we agree a lot on political opinions and such. However, arguing against him is fairly annoying for me, because his forensics experience makes him an appealing emotional debator. Even if his arguments are completely off the wall, his tone, facial expressions and personal attacks on his opponents make him appealing to outside onlookers, regardless of the relevance to the actual subject. (He debates like McCain. lol) I can honestly say I hate the emotional inclusion in debates, despite its effectiveness, probably solely because it's effectiveness; it is misleading, and very influential past the idea of the debate, making a lot of points of the argument/debate moot. Blech.

    Past me, the one thing I learned most about life/people/society/politics/religion/etc. would have to be...nothing. Honestly. To say I learned something about these subjects is like saying I know its going to rain this week; I can base both of those arguments off of information and readings that I can see from experience and stuff, but there's no way that I can 100% predict how someone will act/something will happen. Statistically, almost nothing is completely 100% predictable. I have realized that I can readily and fairly easily read people to see how they'll react to certain things (cause I like pushing people's buttons =3) but I can, and will, still be wrong sometimes. Hey, its life.

    Ramius Maniere-Spencer, 3rd hour

  3. The main things that I have learned in philosophy are the basic idea of philosophy. I have always wondered what happens after you die and what happens if there is really no heaven of hell or where the world really came from. How do I know I really exist? How do I know I am not in the matrix? I didn’t know which subject really talked about this stuff until I came along philosophy. This subject really opened my eyes to the whole idea of philosophy. This class talked about the same questions that I think about.
    I found it really interesting how we would just talk about thinking. No other subject has these questions. Like how Plato says you only really need a since of wonder to really be a philosopher. Things that have kept me up at night are thinking about the questions of life. The questions I mentioned before were the ones that I was talking about. I was learning about what I think about the world this class really asked the right questions on where we come from. Another question is there a moral code.
    The only thing that I did not like about this class I feel that it is bias towards being atheist. I felt that I have lost my faith in Christianity partially because of this class. It was not completely because of this class by any means, but this class contributed to me having less faith in my religion.
    The thing that I have learned most about this class is religion and the history of philosophers. I learned the basics about the theory of both side of religion and evolution of atheism. I also learned the history of philosopher. I really enjoyed learning about the basic theories of philosophers and the history of them.
    Michael Blake
    3rd hour

  4. Leah Veronica Ciccodicola FirestoneMarch 6, 2009 at 8:16 AM

    The thing that I learn most about myself during this class was that I need to listen to others. People in this class had really good ideas. It was fun to be a part of the discussions and hear other people’s view on thing. In debate I don’t always have to listen to the other side. I just have to listen in order to contradict it. It is very different to listen to other’s opinion for the value that they have to offer. I also learned that I am much more conservative in my views than I thought I was. During the discussion on America become socialist I realized that I really wouldn’t like that to happen. I was surprised because I thought that I was kind of a socialist at heart. It was interesting to have my views changed by others in the class. The thing that I have learned most about society as a whole is that I really know nothing. I think that the best way to learn about society is to be like Socrates. He got out on the streets and really questioned people. This allowed him to learn about so many different people and the ways that they live. While it is important for us to have discussion in class people are so varied in the world no matter how much we talk we will never be able to truly speak about society and the way people are until we experience it firsthand. And even after we do you can never say an absolute definition for people as a whole.

  5. I learned numerous things about philosophy, but also about myself. I learned the kind of thinker that I am. I thought that I was pretty open minded to a lot of things, but I’ve found out that my ideals can be somewhat closed minded. I really would like to change that, and thorough this class I think I have done that. I have learned about things that I didn’t even know I was interested in until this class brought them up. I really enjoyed the either or questions about the train killing on or many. I think questions like that really strained my thinking and I really liked that because it made me think about things that I never thought I would have to. I’ve also found that I am pretty good at finding loop holes in things like that. Overall, I think I learned more from discussions than I did from the informational and factual parts of the class. I was much more interested in the discussion panels that were happening in classes some days, I liked the different thinking of all the different people in the class and how that made up the debates we would have. I enjoyed that part of this class the most.
    What I learned from people/ society, etc. was that no two people have the exact same opinion about any one thing. Sure, their ideas can be incredibly similar yet none are exact. I think that is a good thing however. The different Ideas that make up the world we live in gives us diversity and also brings bad things such as hate and prejudice. But without the different ideas and opinions the world would just be a bland boring photocopy over and over. This class has definitely opened me up to learning new things about other people’s lifestyles and religions. Overall I learned a lot in this class about more than just the facts of philosophers.

  6. There are many concepts that I have learned in this class to better my understanding of philosophy. Mainly all of these concepts had to do with the history of philosophy, and all of the famous philosophers that were the first people who challenged their sense of wonder. All of the history was really interesting, but the thing that I found most exciting was when we related philosophy to modern day examples. An example of when we did this is when we did the seven deadly sins project. All of the sins pertain to people now-a-days, and it was interesting to learn about the sins in which mankind acts upon. Also, watching Lost and relating it to philosophy was very interesting and fun to do.
    Something that I have been questioning a lot after this class is religion. It is intriguing because no one really knows what really happened. They say that the Bible is the word of God, but how do we know that for sure? I am a catholic, and have a lot of faith that there is some sort of higher power out there- but I am not sure what that higher power may be, or if he really had a disciple as a son that died on the cross to save mankind. Also, we had a lot of good discussions in class about if there was a God, then why does he let bad things happen to people we love? Another question that I think about all of the time, especially after this class, is what happens when we die. No one knows the answer to this either, which is what makes it so scary in a sense. In class we had a lot of good discussions about the idea of reincarnation. There were a lot of crazy stories that people shared, and it really made me question if reincarnation is really something that happens. If so, how do we know what has a soul… because if humans have souls, then animals must have a soul too. I am definitely a believer that animals and humans all have souls and that humans just have a conscious.
    Overall this class has been really interesting and I really enjoyed all of our discussions because they all really got me thinking about life in general.

    Ashley Connelly- 4th hour

  7. 1. I learned a lot about myself during this trimester in Philosophy. I didn’t really change many of my beliefs but I did change the way I think about things. I am the type of person that questions things but I learned that some things I am just comfortable not knowing the answer to. When we would talk about certain things in class I would find the discussions very interesting but sometimes I would become exhausted with the many options of ways things could have happened, especially when the ideas people start to throw out are so ludicrous and crazy. It does not keep me up at night knowing that I do not know certain things for sure like if there is a heaven or after life because I believe there is and I am completely comfortable with that. There have too many accounts of spirits making contact with us that I just don’t see how I couldn’t believe that they exist, and I enjoy believing that. When people get into religious or political debates in class or anywhere else, I always think ‘what for?’ You rarely ever see someone stand up and shout ‘Wow! You’ve completely enlightened me and now I am converting/becoming a republican!!!!!!!!’ I am the type of person that would rather respectfully listen and ask questions to see how they will answer them in their defense. I will argue other points any day if I believe in them but political and religious debates seem pointless to me and I seem them dividing our country forever. I learned that there are some things I am passionate about discussing because I really feel that they are 100% right and everyone should believe them (like gay rights or the fact that being gay is not a choice or that you can be born with the genetic disposition to have addiction problems and some people need to stop drinking or using because they cannot stop after just one) and then there are some things that I don’t think anyone should be shouting and disliking each other over.
    2. I guess my first question also ties into my answer for this as well. This class taught me that most of the arguments and debates we are having right now, will be going on forever. Everyone is always going to believe different things and it is very unlikely that you will change their beliefs about certain topics unless they do not know that much about it and are asking for information on any sides of the argument. I think that people should keep to themselves and not try to change other people, it is what it is. Some of these debates are keys to conflict in the world. I don’t think that our government should interfere with any type of personal belief like religion or sexuality (gay marriages). I learned a lot during this class and about thinking outside the box. Any movies or books that I will watch or read I won’t take them just for what they are and just for what they are obviously saying, I will look for a different meaning or something I can relate it to deeper than that, even if that is not what the writer intended it to mean. Thanks a lot for a great time in this class : )
    Kaelin Roberts

  8. I would first like to say that I have really enjoyed having you as a teacher not only for Honors Philosophy but also US History A and B last year. I know that I might have gotten on your nervous and stuff with me just being me and us having debates (liberal vs. conservative), but I have really enjoyed having you as a teacher. You have left a positive influence on my life and for that I can’t thank you enough. This class has truly given me the knowledge and tools to learn new things about myself and where I came from. For as long as I can remember I have also taken in interest in philosophy asking my parents and teachers questions about philosophy, but I never received the answers that I was looking for. I have always asked myself “how did the world become what it is” because everything has to come from something. I have always wondered how God became God. Where did he come from? This class has helped me learn other people theories on how the world was created which has helped me learn about myself and answer some of those questions. I can’t say that I really learned anything new about myself but I did learn about a lot of other things. I think the most intersecting was the examples such as the matrix and how this world that we live in could not be real and the real world is outside of this world. I have always wondered that even before this class, but this class did help answer some of those questions. This class has also taught me that you can’t always believe your sense because it could all be an illusion. Which I think is an important lesson that I will always remember. I have really learned a lot from the class and truly enjoyed it. Thank you Mr. Wickersham and I hope that we have another class together before I graduate.

    Tyler Howe 3rd hour

  9. Before I start my answers id just like to say that I really enjoyed this class and I thought you taught it very well. I learned many things in class. Everyday I came to class expecting to learn about something different than the day before. I was always interested in what you were teaching, and I can honestly say that was the first time in my schooling career that I felt that way about a class. I learned many things about myself in this class. The thing I learned most about myself in this class was that I do think that there is a God. After all the times we talked about being a higher power I took all of that in and thought about it. After what I heard philosophers said about why there is a higher power then I realized that I do believe in God or a higher power. Before class I wasn’t so sure if I did believe in this higher power, but now I know where I stand on that topic. I learned many things in this class. I learned that philosophers thought outside the box and that the only way they could try and answer the questions of the universe was by thinking outside of the box. I also learned that people who are very religious wont even think about what other people say about their specific religion. The most I learned about though was our society. I learned that out society has all different views on life and the questions that we face everyday. The way I learned about our society was through our discussions in class because everyone had a different opinion about everything. This class taught me many things about life. I really think that I learned more in this class about life and myself in general than I will ever in any other class I take. Thanks a lot. Peace
    Jake B 4th hr

  10. Final Post
    Nicole Siklich 3rd hour
    Taking this class I learned that I have very strong beliefs and that no matter what we learn it will be hard for me to change my opinion on how I see things. This class also changed the way that I thought about things and certainly opened my mind to things that I had never really thought about. I learned a lot about philosophy because I went into the class really not knowing anything about philosophy, and knowing more about the philosophers. I also learned that I do have a very curious mind, and learning some of the things that we did just made me think harder as to why things happen. It’s hard to prove why things happen and to try to make people believe something that you find to be true, but they may not. I found it very interesting that we can’t prove that we exist, or that anything exists and that everything could just be something that we think is happening.
    The thing that I learned the most about people is that we can be very stubborn and when we hear something that sounds absurd we automatically try to shun that idea. Religion is what we live for, and many live to impress God, and things used to be much stricter in the 18th century then they are now. People are hard to please and two people will never completely agree on one idea. I loved having debates in class and hearing what other people thought of a certain idea or a philosopher, it showed that we are all individuals. I enjoyed watching lost also because I had never watched it before, and I found it to be very interesting that the whole show is based off of philosophy. I thoroughly enjoyed this class and I am glad that I took it and I thank you for everything you taught us, you have certainly opened my eyes to many new things

  11. The thing I have learned most about myself is that I keep a lot of my personal opinions about God and politics to myself. I am a person who likes to talk and say what I am thinking but I figured out that I do that unless we are talking about God or politics. I think this is because I really hate arguing over people’s beliefs, everyone is entitled to believe what ever they want and I do not think others should have a say. I noticed (not for the first time) that people a lot of lefties love to say their role and try to convince others to think the same way but that is not right. I guess I learned that I like to think for myself and not let others have a say in what I believe. I learned that the people with the strongest beliefs tend to keep to themselves because they are confident in what they believe while others who have to protest what they believe want more support and that’s why they argue so much (this is just my opinion).
    I was very shocked that people in Texas still have signs against gay marriage and that being gay is a choice and you can fix it. This is ridiculous that there are still people in our society that shame others for not believing the same as they do. I am also very shocked that there are so many people in society that are upset that the president is black, people are people no matter what skin color and if he is qualified for the job than people should be happy that we have a chance of change for the better coming our way. I want to conclude with that I think I learned more about religion and politics than philosophy in the class. I would have liked to learn a little more about the different philosophies that have evolved over the years. I know that religion has a big part in it but I think the class focused a little too much on that perspective that the others.

    Anna B 3rd hour

  12. Katie RothenbergMarch 8, 2009 at 8:40 PM

    1. I learned a TON during this class, and every little thing I learned I either sort of took in, and considered, or dropped and didn't think worked well with what I believe, throughout doing this the whole trimester it kind of formed my own philosophy. Looking at all the things that I liked from other philosophies, I've learned that I'm a very optimistic person. I've also learned that I don't think happiness comes from material things, and man is best in nature. I've become comfortable with the fact that there is something else out there, but this class has made me question if its a god or an energy, and if it determines our fate or if we do have free will? I've learned about myself that I really do have a ton of questions that I want to know the answers to, but if I knew all the answers there wouldn't be any need for faith. I think the best thing I've learned about myself during this class is that I am very open minded, and I love hearing about new facts and philosophies and theories, and I let them shape what I believe, but I still keep that faith I've always had and don't let the other ideas completely take over.

    2. The thing that I've learned most about people is that people can act better then others, or someone can be richer or poorer, but no one really knows the answers, and if you take away all our material things, we really are all working towards the same thing, being loved, having happiness, looking for the answers. During this class I've also learned that religion is based off of a very good thing, but just like anything else, its been placed in the hands of a few bad guys that kind of twisted things around a little, so maybe those who give more money to the church have a better chance of going to heaven, which is completely absurd to me.

    Katie Rothenberg 3rd hour.

  13. Lou DiVizio
    Wickersham 3rd
    Throughout this philosophy class, I felt I learned a great deal just due to the fact that I pondered so many new ideas of existence and the meaning of life. I enjoyed the discussions we had involving Descartes. His ideas of the evil genius really intrigued me, as well as his quote, “I think therefore I am.” I explored many things in my mind during, as well as outside the classroom. I also thoroughly enjoyed the discussions we had in the class. I thought about the topics and explored my own thoughts in relation to those of other prominent philosophers.
    I learned a lot about religion in the class too. I enjoyed the video on evangelism vs. evolution. I have never known too much about religion being kind of lax in the area myself. I did however learn a lot about Christianity and Judaism. The views I was introduced to in the video were very different from my own which made it all the more interesting. Descartes would have to b the most interesting philosopher we studied, as well as Socrates, but the discussions on religion were very interesting as well. I also really like Lost so those episodes were very enjoyable. I love the episode numbers. The idea of fate is definitely a huge interest to me. Also I liked Dave, and enjoyed the link to what we were currently studying in class. The only thing I did not enjoy was the discussions on the economy. I feel it is relevant in our world today but not in the class. Overall I liked the class and enjoyed it thoroughly.

  14. I found that I have learned a lot of new things during this trimester. During this class, in particular, we fit so much information into such a short amount of time. In regards to your first question, I have learned a lot of different things about myself in this class. Before December, I never knew that I would be as interested in philosophy as I am now. I knew that it was going to be interesting, but I did not know that it would take me on a journey. I also learned that I do not know nearly as much as I thought I did. We asked so many questions regarding the world, purpose, and the universe. It is scary to think that the most important questions are the ones that no one has a concrete answer to. Even though I previously had some questions of my own, the new questions and theories put me at a standstill. I began to question everything which is what a true philosopher is supposed to do anyways.

    In regards to your second question, I do not know if there is just one thing that I learned most about life, people, society, politics, or religion. There were a lot of things that I learned about these subjects. For instance, I did not know all of the different arguments that existed about creationism vs. evolutionism. I really did not know that someone could in fact believe in both. One of the most interesting things that I got from watching “What about God?” was their reason why the argument is going nowhere. It is because a lot of creationists do not know a lot about evolution while some evolutionist will not even pick up a Bible. I also had the chance to learn about a lot of different philosophers from the earlier ones until the current ones. Overall, this class taught me a lot and I am glad that I decided to take it this year.

    Brittany C.
    3rd Hour

  15. I learnt that I have a great thirst for knowledge. I didn’t realize how curious I was when it came to how life was and I was amazed at how many of my own, independent ideas were concurrent with the philosophers. I am incredibly ad that this class isn’t two trimesters long because there is so much to cover! This class helped to reinforce my thoughts about life and helped to explain what I thought but couldn’t put into words. That was what really helped me, when I read Sophie’s World, although at times I hated it for its utterly pointless dialogue, the main points about the philosophers helped me to feel that my thought had been shared by others before me; that there were others who thought of the same things I had and some too who had reached similar conclusions. I really wish this class was 2 trimesters long because I wanted to get into further depth the basic message each philosopher had because even with those that didn’t share the same point as me, I was able to, thought not fully, understand why they chose their point of view, based on their time and beliefs, and why we differed.
    I learnt that there was a lot in religion that is based off different accounts (original sin = St. Augustine) and that God becomes more and more elusive the more I explore philosophy. The only problem I see, now, is how did the particles of the Big Bang come to be? I don’t believe in a God that created this world because if you turn on the news, the first thing you hear about is a new murder, war, or deadly accident. If there was a God, how could he allow such atrocities? I also believe that people/society has a need to be guided, either spiritually or forcefully; when someone dies, who do most people turn to or blame? God. Or when we are terrorized, who do we turn to? Uncle Sam, i.e. the Federal Government for leadership.
    I also believe that the lecture by Hitchens and D’Souzsa is important to watch in class because it was very interesting, and because of the time restraints that stopped us from going into depth about the philosophers, the two debaters use their theories to explain their points. I believe it helped to bring into perspective how the philosophers thought.

  16. Sean Turner

    Throughout the course I came to realize that I was more open-minded than I initially thought. One of my better refined skills is being able to come up with a wide range of possibilities for any scenario. In a joking sense, me saying that the family on the train tracks were illegal immigrants, and Kristen, who was yelling at them, was a border patrol officer. In a more serious sense, me asking you about the origins of genesis and creationism (how refutable is the theory really and could it actually be the word of god). My open-mindedness helped me not only gain a better understand ideas such as soft-determinism and the cave analogy, but also take that already abstract idea and apply it a real life situation (the cave analogy was kind of a gimme with an essay built around it). I imagined going into this class that I would become philosophized-out (in a manner of speaking), becoming kind of tired of the ideas which make up philosophy, letting them pass over me. This never really happened, and I really did learn a lot.

    I learned way more about other people and ideas in the course than I did myself because it takes a much longer period of time for an individual to realize what they have learned about themselves.

    Through this class I’ve reinforced the idea that when someone has an ideal that is personal to them it is very difficult to talk about the other side of their ideal. I already knew this, but looking at the creationism video, Descartes, the church, political parties it’s obvious that sometimes people are simply blind to the other side. We didn’t delve too deeply into Descartes, so I don’t know if he believed we were wrong about everything his whole life, but I digress. These people all believe that society is wrong under appropriate circumstances. Republicans don’t like the democrats in the white house (Rush Limbaugh), Creationists don’t like evolution being taught in school, Liberals (and most people) didn’t like Bush and the republicans in the white house, and Descartes thought everyone was wrong.

  17. Throughout this class I have learned a great deal about philosophy, the world, and most importantly, myself. I discovered my personal philosophies and views of the world. By looking at the way the great minds of history think I was able to look at their beliefs and justification for those beliefs then adjust my personal beliefs accordingly. My favorite philosopher from the course is Socrates. He has probably influenced my beliefs the most. Socrates was the wisest because he knew he knew nothing. I think it is important to know that no matter what you learn, can never know that you know it. It is an interesting paradox to be writing about Socrates’ “I know I know nothing” philosophy in a reflection of what I have learned. Socrates also believed knowledge is living life in search of the truth, questioning everything. I also believe that this is an important belief to live by.
    During this class, I learned the most about the natural philosophers. The start of the book focused on them a lot and we also looked at them in class. It was very interesting to see all the philosophers’ different theories about the world with the knowledge about the world we have today. Democritus’ atom theory was mind blowing to me. Someone over two thousand years ago introduced a theory that was just widely accepted last century. Though there are many details in the theory that are different, the general idea is still the same. I also liked looking at the clash between religion and science. I was interesting to look at the “Christian scientists” and the way they think and conduct research. Though I think religion and science can find common ground, I think it can happen only if Christians accept that the Bible can’t be translated literally.

    Stefan Rush
    4th Hour

  18. Initially when I signed up to take Honors Philosophy, I was a bit nervous about whether or not I would find it interesting. I knew, probably within the first week of the class, that I did indeed find the material interesting, I just wasn’t sure yet if I could fully understand it. Being a very straight forward and literal person, at times, it was difficult for me to try and interpret the different viewpoints of the philosophers that we were studying. Like Berkeley and his theories on existence for example. My brain just does not process things in the same way and the idea that we are not real or that we are only figments of one’s imagination that and can be brought in and out of existence based on one person’s perception, seems a bit far fetched. I did however, learn a lot about myself in regards to my religious ideas. From the many talks that we had about the existence and duties of a higher power, I was able to further solidify my personal feelings. I also became more aware of the opinions of those around me. Also, I think it was helpful to hear the viewpoints of my classmates in the classroom environment where there wasn’t any “religious pressure” as there may be at a place of worship or a youth group. I think I just needed the opportunity to hear new thoughts and opinions on God and whether or not people thought or knew that a God even existed. In terms of society and people, I think the class helped me to understand the evolution of the human race. Just looking at Plato’s Ideal Society and being able to see what someone like him may have found beneficial to that time period was very interesting. It gave me the opportunity to see things from a new perspective. I also learned a lot about “the other side.” I think that as humans, at times we forget about the fact that there are people that do not agree with what we may believe or say to be true. From the discussions in class I was reminded of this and it has helped to open my eyes and be more accepting of others and more able to understand things from their side. I think the class had a lot to offer, and I hope what I learned stays with me for the future. Thanks Mr. Wickersham!

    Jordan H
    4th Hour

  19. Almost forgot this. Typical of me. To be honest, I really wish we could have just filled out a survey in class. Anywayyys...

    I learned to what bounds I stretch both mentally and morally. All the questioning that goes on in class truly tests where your limits lie. For instance the kill one to save many example (train theory) really provoked many questions. Is it right to sacrifice one for many? Or is a person a person no matter how small? All these questions conflict each other and are equally as persuasive and powerful. By constantly questioning my ethics they become more and more refined through time.
    In this class, theories I had created myself were better supported by ancient philosophers. I was able to identify and agree with many theories. All my personal philosophies were better explained and justified after better understanding other people's ideas and philosophies.
    I also learned much about my classmates. After hearing them discuss and open up to the class, I’ve really learned to become more accepting and non-judgmental. I felt like our class had a keen ability to understand and appreciate one another.
    I’ve learned plenty in this class. The skills I’ve acquired is the ability to think more critically and question everything. After all, that’s what separates us from the apes, right? That is, if we weren’t created from dust. I’ve understood Christianity a whole lot better. I never knew Jesus’s existence was historically proven. This has strengthened my beliefs in a whole knew way. Instead of my beliefs being pounded into me, this class offered an open atmosphere to discuss and believe freely.
    I’ve gained a new perspective on all religions and how they compare. Also, it gave me a taste of every culture and belief system and their basic principles. Drawing the similarities between the monotheistic cultures really helped me accept and understand others’ beliefs a lot more. In the end, I’ve learned the importance of knowledge and the destruction of ignorance.

    Chelsea R
    3rd Hour

  20. If this class did nothing else, it helped me develop my own set of personal moral values. While I do think my answer to the "street car" thought problem would have been the same with or without taking Honor Philosophy, I have never been put in a position to defend my views, which only helped to clarify and strengthen them. This also helped to enlighten me to the views of others, and how others evaluate the equation. When right now morality is often seen by a private matter, one better left up to religion, the fair and open debate about who deserves to live and who deserves to die is a rarity. This class, I think, was beneficial to all in opening up the groundwork for such debate.

    As far as what I learned about other issue, well, this class reinforced my belief that I am a minority in a number of ways, but that’s not really anything new I learned. It did teach me that many people lack the background information/vocabulary/knowledge which is necessary to have a useful discussion of ethics. While I had hoped that there was a certain level of background information that most people had in term of principles/morals I was disappointed (disturbed?) to find that these generic ideas were lacking.

    In terms of topics we studied that I learned most about, it would be the progressive flow of the philosophies from the ancient world until modern times. While I felt I had a fair deal of knowledge of philosophers coming into this class, I was quick to discover that it was mostly random bits of thoughts. This class was beneficial in linking it all together and laying out, in a virtually unbroken line of succession, the development of philosophies over the course of all time.


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