Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Blog #73 - Why Doesn't the Batman just kill the Joker?

Having read the article on the ethics of killing the Joker, what do you think?  (We're going to assume that this comic book world that we are inhabiting is real, so don't start going down that road).

It brings up a few good points: 
1. The Joker will continue to kill (but does Batman murder him for future crimes - could be dangerous - or past crimes?  Joker has killed Robin, Commissioner Gordon's wife, and crippled Batgirl, Gordon's stepdaugher).
2. Batman's honor code of not killing is just a way for Batman to feel superior to the men and women of crime whom he is fighting.
3. Is Batman responsible for all of the deaths / mayhem / destruction since Batman first apprehended the Joker?  Is that chaos Batman's to own, or should it be the Joker?

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So, questions to answer: 
1. In which of the scenarios of the Trolley Problem do you think best applies to this situation w/ the Batman and Joker (assuming it was the Joker who is the trolley)?
2. Should the Batman kill the Joker?  Why or why not?  And if so, for what crimes - past or to prevent future crimes?
3. Should our superheroes have a no-killing code?  Why or why not?  Does it just lead to more crime?
4. Is the concept of utilitarianism useful in real life?  Why or why not?

300 words total.  Due by class on Thursday, June 1.  

Articles to read and consider: 
Why Doesn't the Batman Just Kill the Joker? by Jesse Richards.

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Blog #72 - Invention of Lying

After watching most of The Invention of Lying on Tuesday and Wednesday., we discussed what the true intentions of the movie were: 
  • Was it trying to show us that lying has its good points (little white lies, brutal honesty that numbs us to those in trouble around us, insults that should be better left unsaid)?;
  • Was it a critique of religion as false hope? When Mark was on a TV interview show for a brief second at Anna's house, he looked and sounded like just another televangelist;
  • Or did it show, even if religion may be a false hope (in the movie makers' eyes), that hope is worth believing in b/c it gives the people in this world that their lives weren't for nothing (you're a loser on Earth and now you'll be rotting in the ground - geez, what's the point of life then? Look at Jonah Hill's character and his insistent research into suicide);
  • Did the filmmakers add deliberate philosophical tie-ins with Nietzsche (bending reality to fit to one's will and lying creatively) when he asked "if you could remake life the way you want it, what would you do?"  or Christianity w/ Mark acting as a stand-in for God when he gave Anna the chance to love him on her own accord a few times (much like the Christian scholars have said that God gave mankind free will so that we can love Him on our own accord)? Or when "the man in the sky" is attributed with all of the bad/evil things that happen in life (like natural disasters, disease, accidents, even mankind's free will, etc.) - the classic problem of evil?  Though, I'm not sure what Mark sees in Anna...
So, your job is to think about something, just one single thing, that you would remove from our world in order to create a parallel world like the one in the movie so that this parallel world would somehow be better than our world.

Explain how your new world would be different, and try to be imaginative by thinking of both the positives and negatives. Don't be discouraged if someone has already taken your idea. Build on what they've already written or go off in a different direction or rethink your approach. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

If you missed the videos

We watched three videos in this unit, Kant and Categorical Imperative, Romanticism, and Hegel.

See below.





Monday, May 8, 2017

Blog #71 - In Time

"For a few immortals to live, many people must die."

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We are presented with a future world in the movie, In Time, in which time has become so precious that it has now become currency.  Somehow, our bodies are born (or implanted with a device) that begins ticking when we reach the age of 25 so that those who work get paid in time and have to buy their necessities like food and rent using the currency of time. 

There are also time zones (don't think like what we have -Eastern, Central, etc., but different parts of a larger city), segregated communities that you must pay time to get into.  Just think of gated cities within a much larger city - this is a way to keep the very poor out of (what can only be assumed to be) a middle class or upper class time zone, because the more Will pays as he heads towards the wealthiest part of town, the price continues to go up.  So, in essence, there still is free passage among the city, but only if you can afford it.  But since many can't afford it, the poor are stuck in their slums. 

The movie focuses most of its time on poor characters who are working day-to-day and struggling to survive.  When wages go up, the prices of goods go up, so there's no real way for the poor to get ahead.     And of course, in such a dog-eat-dog world, there are also gangsters who try to steal peoples' time - the Minutemen.  And when the clock runs out on someone, he/she is dead.  Even the timekeepers, the police of this dystopian society, are barely paid decent wages in order to stay alive.  Sadly ironic, the ones that are entrusted with enforcing the system don't get paid enough (sounds familiar).  

The rich, on the other hand, are trapped in a different kind of gilded prison.  With decades, even centuries on their clocks, they continue to look the same as they did when they were 25 even though they might be 107.  The one creepy Freudian thing is when Phillipe Weis introduced his mother, wife and daughter (Sylvia) who all looked very similar.  Sylvia and Will hit it off and that's when Sylvia said that all the wealthy needed to do was stay out of trouble and they could live forever.  Play it safe = live forever.  So, unlike Will who lives by the phrase, "Carpe Diem", Sylvia never took chances until she met Will. 

Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to 1. apply at least one philosopher or philosophic concept to any part or parts of this movie that you find apply to this movie.  2. Find a weakness in the movie, whether it be in the plot, concept, etc. and explain why. 

Due Friday, May 12 by the beginning of class.  Minimum of 300 words total.