Monday, May 24, 2010

just saw the hurt locker--hard movie to watch

I just watched the hurt locker. Wow. It was hard to watch but also compelling. Anybody watch it? Insight?

Monday, May 17, 2010

What is a philosopher?

I stumbled upon this, whilst reading of terrorism ...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Thoughts and Bumper Sticker

I'm definitely a fan of some version of Talysa's Big F for a bumper sticker....."You have your Big T...I have my Big F."

I think this semester has reinforced some very important Big T ideas for me. I am a firm believer in we can only know what is in front of us in this world. If there is something bigger out there, like an ideal world or whatnot, it's out there and beyond our capabilities to understand with the senses that we have. I think what really matters is the here and now and we should go out and learn as much about our world as possible. Why we're here and if there's something else waiting out there to tell us all the big secrets who knows.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


This class helped me to understand the mystery behind big 'T' and little 't' . I have realized that the only truth that is true to me is what i define as truth. My truth is influenced by everything i go through everyday. Instead of finding the big 'T' that defines everyone, i came to a conclusion that what and who i m is the big 'T' for me. If i don't exist nothing does, the truth starts from my existence.
I have also learned to appreciate duality in things. Good and evil is just the way of creation to keep balance in the world. It is necessary to have duality in things to keep our world more dynamic to live in.
Thank You all.

Bumper Stickers... final thoughts

"Philosophy is a fundamental part to life and will continue vexing the thinkers."

"Knowledge, it's my Big Gulp!"

Monday, May 10, 2010

My change and the Little T's that follow.

My views on what I thought was my "Big T" never really changed. I always knew that I personally had my own Big Truth and I would never enforce that on someone else. I believe that living according to my Big Truth will be revealed through my actions, but simply because I feel that you can see patterns within a person's life. I guess in some ways I am similar to Aristotle, in that he categorized trees and plants and came up with names. Whereas I enjoy watching the patterns of others and, not indefinitely categorizing people into one group, but just being able to see the likes and dislikes of everyone, it's fascinating. (Especially listening to the different ways in which people learn, kinesthetic, visual, and auditory.)

I have always felt that each and every "Little T" made up my greater whole of the bigger truth. Little T's are attainable, yet they can always be changing to suit the issues of the present. But the roots of my Little T's lay within the respect for others and trying to understand their point of view to see how I could apply changes to my own life to better myself. As difficult as this can be, it is interesting to learn new perspectives from all sides of the spectrum of life.

I enjoyed this class, I'm really going to miss the class discussions. :(
Thank you Dr. Griffin for being the amazing woman you are, and so creative with your classes!

For the Sticks!!!!

" I m confused but it's OK, i m a Philosopher."

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Changed Ideas

Socrates had said that "The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being." One of the most prominent conclusions I have made upon taking this class is this same observation, modified slightly: "The unexamined word is not worth using."

What I mean by that is: I found I had been using certain words (not to be confused with uncertain words...) with an incomplete understanding of what I meant by them.

I was not necessarily using these words (typically those which describe abstract thoughts: Justice; volition; and good old truth, to name but a few) in an incorrect context, but for most of these words I was unable to come up with a solid definition of what I meant.

To be sure, taking the advice of this saying to extremes can be a little silly; an example of such ridiculousness may be found in this dialogue between Homer Simpson and Dr. Julius Hibbert, in which Homer denies any scientific phraseology (and eventually, even colloquialisms) as sufficient conversational material.

The positive consequence of incorporating the saying's instruction into our everyday behavior, though, is that it serves as a safeguard for acquiring words in this fashion and progressing no further in our understanding of them.

In summary: A bumper sticker idea.

Yum Points OmNomNom

My bumper sticker quote is “My little t is big enough for me. “

It wasn’t so much that my views changed as a result of this class but that this class helped me find the words to give voice to those views. Although it would seem that that voice was a little too timid to speak out in class as often as I would have liked. So long and thanks for all the clips. XD

What I did on my summer....

Nope, that's not right. What I learned in Philosophy through Film.

I can't really break apart what I learned in philosophy this semester from everything else I have absorbed and metabolized in my brain during the last 16 weeks. It all comes down to a quote that I thought was trite and kitschy:

grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things that I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Thanks for the ontological crisis, Dr. G! At least I can still enjoy movies. :D

(Also, I think that's my bumper sticker/quote. "Thanks for the ontological crisis, Dr. G!" It's either that or "If there's a big T, doesn't it mean there's a big F too?")

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A semester's thoughts, condensed.

I really, really enjoyed looking at different philosophical perspectives in film. I think now when I watch anything I'll be more able to happily take note of particular philosophical ideas when they're presented.

Anyway, extra credit :)

I think the biggest thing I've noticed this semester is just how danged entrenched we are in the Mythos vs. Logos and truth/Truth debates. We haven't progressed far at all! We also don't really know (truly know) what reality is. We know so much, yet know nothing at all. How interesting. Personally I still think there is a big T, but there are a bunch of small ts that point to/are part of the T; I don't think people's varying opinions on things makes a dent in how reality carries on. But hey.

One thing I wished we'd talked about a whole lot more is love-- what it is and what it means or does to us. I'm still of the mind that it's the most important thing in the world-- it reinforces one's value and encourages people to be creative and explore the world we're in. It's more than a feeling, as a favorite band of mine put it.

Extra Credit

I've learned how a lot of viewpoints that are common today trace back to philosophers hundreds of years ago.

I've come to the conclusion that many of us fail to understand each other, but at a basic level most of us agree on many points. George Moore was onto something: clarify the meanings of what we say so everyone knows exactly what we are saying.

I'll never again be able to just watch a movie: I'll be looking for the ontological crisis, ideas that trace back to Plato and Aristotle, and other philosophical things that I've never even recognized before.

One of the bigger things I've learned this semester is that a lot of what I perceive to be problems with the world are tied to someone, somewhere, making up a big Truth and playing on a common desire for such to gather a following. And the reason this is even a problem in the first place is because many people feel the need for some additional direction in life beyond that which they can discover and give themselves.

And lastly, while writing this I learned that abstract math (automata theory to be exact) and philosophy should never be mixed! My mind is in such a scrambled state right now...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Extra Credit

What I learned this semester:

Ontological crises abound whether we want them to or not...

As someone who is an atheist I apparently believe in nothing, which is funny since I believe in science and rationality...

Thanks to Dr. G, I will forever be looking for the philosophical meanings of movies where before I could just tune out...

There has to be some way to break out of ping-ponging between Plato and Aristotle...

The truth (big T or little t, your choice) is out there...

Overall, I enjoyed the class. I was a little vexed from time to time, but then patience was never one of my virtues. And I hope that I was able to pass some of my vexation on to the class. I have a t-shirt that reads, in Latin "Chaos, panic, and job here is done." I hope that I was able to spread a little disorder with some of my commentary in class.

There is a book by Richard Back called Illusions. It's a slim book and can easily be read in an afternoon. I know that Dr. G recommends Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as a good book; I recommend Illusions along with The Tao of Pooh.

I'm going to end this post with a couple of my favorite quotes from Illusions. Hopefully they will intrigue you enough to read the book; if so, then my job will be done.

"Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself. Being true to anyone else or anything else is not only impossible, but the mark of a false messiah."

"A cloud does not know why it moves in just such a direction and at such a speed, it feels an impulsion....this is the place to go now.
But the sky knows the reason and the patterns behind all clouds, and you will know, too, when you lift yourself high enough to see beyond horizons."

"The simplest questions are the most profound.
    Where were you born?
    Where is your home?
    Where are you going?
    What are you doing?
Think about these once in awhile, and watch your answers change. "

and finally...

"Everything above may be wrong!"

What I have learned this spring ...

There are many, many holes in our knowledge ... in our world, in our societies, in the plot of Stargate SG-1 ... in our minds.

We seek to fill those holes, we seek to know more and more about everything, otherwise we would never have crawled out of the muck millennia ago ... our curiosity is a survival instinct one that has led to science, to art, to religion, and to philosophy.

Philosophy isn't just a lackadaisical pondering of our own navels ... it's a contemplation of how we choose to live our lives, how we make decisions, and how we choose to motivate ourselves ... It (philosophy) gives us perspective on the universe ... it lets us choose our path from the multitude of options open to us ... we may choose violence or peace, we may choose education or ignorance, we may choose to do our thinking ourselves or we may choose to follow some one elses path ... philosophy permits us the option of considering our own decision making process ...

With out philosophy we would live un-examined lives full of motives and meaning that we could never comprehend much less control ... philosophy gives us hope for being rational and considerate beings at some point in the far distant future when we have passed the need for superstition to fill in the holes that wallow in the backs of our minds.

Extra Credit :)

I feel like i've adopted a post-modern perspective since i enrolled in the philosophy 389 course. I feel that one Big T is oppressive and unrealistic. I love the idea of a bunch of relative little Ts that suit individuals. Any one Truth would either have to be extremely vague or allow punishment to all the people not following it. I feel both options in that case are uninteresting.

In response to the love blog, I think if we all try to stay aware and introspective we can find what we want. In order to maintain our needs we should live our lives by commitment rather than emotion (which is extremely transient.) The inability to delay gratification implies immaturity which will stifle the success of a relationship with even the most loving and understanding mate. I can understand the incorrect interpretation of Fairytale romance as a child but as an adult we must learn to challenge the stories and lessons we've heard to become unique individuals. Fairy-tales are fine for children but removing responsibility for people's own actions as adults by blaming Fairy-tales is just an assurance that they may not be ready for a relationship at this point.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Star Wars

Here is a roughly 2 minute synopsis of the original Star Wars trilogy done in Legos.



Here's a cute comic. It's one of xkcd's older ones. I think it is another cool way to imagine the idols of the mind. None of our views are the same, we all have different little worlds! Enjoy :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Blawg 4!

Here is Bloggity 4.

Topic? Philosophizin' about the Lovin'.

Friday, April 30, 2010

For thought

I'm probably going to use the first two clips in this video, but *maybe* not the third, and it's a nice little scene full of philosophical bits so it's worth a look :) A small discussion on memory, existence, and humanity.

Oh, warning if you'd like- nudity. -ish.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Editing video clips

Dr G asked me how I went about making the video clips for my presentation. Here's how I did it. Note that I do all my editing on a Mac, so YMMV. Don't even ask me how to go about doing this on a PC platform, I haven't a clue.

First I rip the DVD using Handbrake, which for some reason wants VLC to be installed. Both of these applications have to be in the Applications folder, and not in a subfolder (i.e., Applications / video) to run.

Once the DVD has been ripped, I then use Quicktime Pro to edit out the segments. On a Mac you can use Keynote and have the Quicktime media embedded into the presentation.

Now, all you TC majors in the class. I'm not sure what the Macs in the TC lab have for software. Penny can probably answer that better than I can. However, I do know that VLC and Handbrake are free downloads. Purchasing the upgrade to Quicktime Pro is like $40 from Apple. I haven't played with iMovie on my Mac, so I can't tell you if you can edit Quicktime files or rip DVDs using it.

Also, if you happen to have Photoshop CS4 Extended, you can open up Quicktime movies and add PS layers to the movie. Cool, huh?


My presentation (no date yet set) will be based on a clip from an episode of a British science-fiction situational comedy called Red Dwarf; I will use the excerpt as a way to begin exploring Hume's question of induction and perhaps other philosophers' ideas.

Presentation topic

The topic of my presentation (next week) will be Stoicism. I haven't yet decided what clips I will show.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

For all you graduating seniors

"A college diploma is just a big fancy receipt."

From: Aaron Karo's

presenting hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy

I have a few clips from hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy on philosophy in general I will be presenting. I dont know when I will be presenting but I have the clips ready.


I am really looking forward to presentations! Moon and Avatar tomorrow. We will get the list and times fixed and talk about dates and specs for that final paper. Until then, stay thirsty for knowledge!


Talysa, Kevin, and I will be covering the topic of love and how it fits in with the Big T.

...Presentation ready by Tuesday.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Presentation topic

I do not know when I am going. My plan is to be prepared, and if someone points at me, I will go.
I do know my topic though! I will be using a scene from Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog--a different one than the one I posted here previously--and use it to discuss (T/t)ruth, perspective, and that really it's all a matter of definition. Guess who? If you guessed Aristotle you'd be right.

Thursday Teaser!

Hey all,

I'm presenting on Thursday as well. I'll be after Tony, which intimidates me somewhat as I'm sure his will be a hard act to follow.

I'll be speaking on some of the philosophical themes explored in the new movie Avatar. I'm thinking it will be along the lines of god, science, truth, control, ontology, ethics, separation of mind and body, and who knows what else... Come Thursday to find out more!

See ya in class!

Descartes and how Mind and Body are separate

I've decided that for my presentation (whenever it ends up being) I will discuss Descartes' idea that Mind and Body are two different substances. I will include a clip or two from Ghost in the Shell (1 and/or 2) to help illustrate Descartes' idea of how mind and body are separate.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Tick and (T/t)ruth

In an episode of the live-action television show called "The Tick," the protagonist finds himself needing a license to fight crime -- a license he cannot attain because he does not know his real name, date-of-birth, or birthplace. After appeals to public records and to the people yield unsatisfactory results, he is encouraged by his friend Batmanuel (played by Nestor Carbonell, the actor who played the mayor in "The Dark Knight") to establish his own Truth in order to do what he does best while meeting his society's requirements.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Presentation topic

As Dr. G said, I will be the first cow in the chute on Thursday.

My presentation: The Philosophical Underpinnings of "Moon"

Followed by something completely different.




I was watching one of the shows that i follow up all the time, Firefly. I can't help not to share with you guys, a few minutes of this episode that i think talks about most of the topics we talked about in our class. What is righteous? What is the purpose of things? Does our intention determine the outcome? Does our intentions fulfills the purpose of things? Like for example, our intention to eat fulfills the purpose of food. What are our moral options? What makes doing something right or wrong?
The bounty hunter raises a question at (26:47), when it asks Simon-The Doctor, that if he has been shot and questions him how can he be a surgeon without going through some kind of pain.

Here is a link that gives you details about the show, if you want to know more about it.

Here is the link for the episode.
TIME: 23:30

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Food is love, you guys! Hence, cupcakes. I love agreeing and disagreeing with y'all.

Speaking of ethics, on this week's episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars (watch it for free), the Jedi bang heads with Chancellor Palpatine (surprise!) regarding a life form they find on a planet. The Zillo beast was thought to have gone extinct, but the Jedi discover a new one. A Zillo beast is wicked hard to kill, and very dangerous. Palpatine wants to bring the Zillo beast to Coruscant in order to study it and apply any research from its armor plates to the Clones' armor. Jedi say no, it's too dangerous. But okay, we'll do it, since the Chancellor is the boss. Sure. They bring the beast to Coruscant (the planet that is one giant city, if you don't remember), and (surprise again!) the beast escapes. Chancellor Palpatine tells the scientist in charge and the Jedi to kill the beast. Big Ethical Dilemma. The Zillo is dangerous, and killing lots of people, but it's the last of its kind!

Star Wars has always been really good at applying philosophical principles to popular entertainment, even in cartoons. Nothing like a little ethics to go along with your Saturday morning bowl of cereal!

Utilitarianism and Ego Ethics

An example of utilitarianism ethics conflicting with ego ethics is found in the movie Antz. A member at the top of the oligarchical structure of a society of ants envisions a new colony composed only of the strongest ants, describing its purpose as being "for the good of the colony." It is later revealed in this particular clip that the extremist ant had defined the colony as himself, suggesting that the utilitarian stance he used to get others to join in the implementation of this dream was a facade to mask his own selfish ambitions.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Are we good or bad?

A quote from Blood Diamond:

Benjamin Kapanay: In your long career as a journalist, would you say that people are mostly good?
Danny Archer: No. I'd say they're just people.
Benjamin Kapanay: Exactly. It's what they do that makes them good or bad. A moment of love, even in a bad man, can give meaning to a life.

Kicking an undead horse

I'd apologize for posting something about mythos vs. logos, but after however many years of being on this rock we are still discussing this, so here we go. I entirely blame my boyfriend for this.

I sincerely hope this is a joke. Not that I don't think miracles don't happen-- I do. But this, this is something else entirely. Sounds to me like "Those People" who pitch a fit against science for whatever reason in favor of "faith" (but since when was faith supposed to be ignorant?), or like these peeps failed themselves a science class.

Oh yes, obligatory "they swear" warning, in case you don't like swearing. Behold, the Insane Clown Posse's newest music video:


Friday, April 16, 2010

Drugs and Morals

Like Breaking Bad, Weeds is another show that depicts the life of a drug dealer/producer. While watching, this clip reminded me of one of the points I was trying to make in our class discussion the other day. It's interesting how we base what is moral or right/wrong many times on what the government has decided is illegal/legal. As Shane points out in this clip, Celia is speaking about cracking down on drugs and making the community a drug free zone, yet she frequently drinks alcohol (which, although legal, is still a drug). I'm not saying I believe people should go run around and break all the laws they don't like or don't agree with. I just want to point out that it doesn't always work to make blanket statements about drugs or drug dealing. Just as the main characters of Breaking Bad and Weeds sell drugs that are mind altering, have the potential for abuse/addiction, and have the ability to harm people's bodies, alcohol and cigarette companies and all of their employees do exactly the same thing.

I guess it all depends which ethical school you base your opinions on for this issue. A deontological vs a more teleological perspective could give you drastically different opinions.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Breaking Bad

Ethics and morality! Whee!

While I think that many of us know that we will eventually die* we still conform to societal norms such as "don't steal, don't cheat, don't kill."

However, how would you act if someone came up to you and said "You have a terminal illness, you're going to be dead in n months."

How would you live your life? Would you still continue to do what you've been doing?

Or would you do things that you haven't done before or considered doing, being constricted by societal norms. Would you steal? Would you cheat? Would you kill?

I think that knowing you're going to die within a certain time frame frees you to do things that otherwise you wouldn't consider normally doing. Crossing things off your bucket list (the list of things you want to do before you "kick the bucket" and shuffle off this mortal toil) for example. Some of these things may be ethically or morally questionable, such as cheating, stealing, or killing. After all, what is the worst that can happen - you get killed? You're going to die anyway. You get caught? Fine, then the state has to provide your medical and take care of you until you die, which will probably be before you come to trial in any case. I can see how some people would see this as a win-win situation.

I can certainly sympathize with the main character on "Breaking Bad"--he's run out of insurance money and options. He's fifty years old with a pregnant wife, a terminal disease, and a special-needs son. He's probably depleted any savings that he had, and as evidenced in the short clip, is working at a car wash to supplement his income.

So he turns to making meth. A bad thing? Certainly society says so, we have laws against it**. However, look at it from another angle: he is a chemist, so he probably isn't making meth but actual amphetamines; as a chemist he certainly knows lab procedures; and as a chemist he is probably not going to cut the product with something like rat poison that can make people sick or kill them--his product is undoubtedly safer than virtually any other meth that could be bought.

*I, for one, don't plan on dying. As soon as we can download our consciousness to the vast Intertubes, I'll be one of the first in line. I want to be one of the 100 W pure energy consciousness that you see on Star Trek--though knowing my luck I'll just be a dim bulb...

** Prohibition doesn't work. Never has, never will. Prohibition against alcohol in the 20s gave us organized crime and the Kennedy involvement in politics (ol' Papa Joe Kennedy was a rum-runner and that is how he made his money). Prohibition against drugs has wasted hundreds of billions of dollars, given rise to drug cartels, and has contributed to countless of innocent deaths. I don't know what the answer is, but frankly I know that it isn't Prohibition.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kill for Bill !!!

We have been having debates in class about how killing can be justified, whether if it is killing a murderer or a saint. To me a murder is a murder, there is nothing that can change that fact and make it more legible with all the facts i can add to justify my act. One life is not greater than the other as we all are created equal. But there always is a dilemma which life lives and dies. What if the definition of good and bad is inversed? What happens then?

Truth, truth, and Control

Truth (both big-T and little-T), ontology, and tautology -- Popeye handles all three in the following clip. Out of frustration resulting from the unscrupulousness (i.e., using a child's clairvoyant abilities to win money at a gambling institution) of those near-and-dear to himself, Popeye begins to wonder about why he would rather not join them and about who he is; this is what he has to say:

This excerpt from the film "The Ox-Bow Incident" shows that adults too can make the same rash mistakes as the children had made in the "Lord of the Flies" clip we saw last class. When some evidence seems to indicate that a certain group of men stole cattle, a mob mentality develops among the offended and the locals that escalates to the point of killing the men without proper trial.

This second clip, from the same movie as above, shows the last letter of one of the innocent men being read to the members of the mob who killed him. In it, the author questions man's search for control and touches upon the question of (T/t)ruth:

And finally, this is a music video that seems to affirm the idea that a lack of control (or of choice) breeds a type of hopelessness in the one who maintains that mindset:

Sunday, April 11, 2010


The debate about big 'T' and small 't' seems to keep on winding on the same questions and answers we started with. The inconclusiveness of the debate itself points to a fact that there might not be any big 'T' and small 't' that we seem to be seeking for.
If our senses can deceive us and reality can be questioned then how far we can go with our thoughts. If our thoughts are based on what our senses perceives then our judgment on reality or anything can be questioned. To me it seems like that the whole debate is just a rhetoric battle.
Is it even important for us to find the bigger 'T' or small 't'? What makes a truth big 'T' and small 't'? How can one truth be more important than the other? To me, we seem to be trying to find an answer for a question that we don't even understand.

Control and Worry

A question:

Why do we feel the need to be completely in control- to know the future, to be able to control everything in our lives and the world? Curiosity is one thing, the need to be in control another.

Another question: do you think there is anything detrimental in our desire to be absolutely in control (does this drive hurt us in some fashion, such as stress)? Also, do you think there's a difference between curiosity about the universe/reality and the desire for control?

Warning: Long winded and rambling ... but it is the Truth ... at least sometimes.

Truth ... What is IT (that's with a big T) anyway?

Is it a universal fact that all things (including people) must be in agreement with?
Is it a system of beliefs that vary from one retelling of an ancient fairy tale to another?
Is it based on perspective? ... physiology? ... culture? ... psychology?
Is it a quest by humanity to try to define the roots of their own consciousness?
Is it just another unicorn, like so many people have chased through out time?

Let us define it first:
Truth (from Merriam-Webster):
1 a
archaic : fidelity, constancy b : sincerity in action, character, and utterance
2 a (1) : the state of being the case : fact (2) : the body of real things, events, and facts : actuality (3) often capitalized : a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality b : a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or accepted as true truths of thermodynamics> c : the body of true statements and propositions
3 a : the property (as of a statement) of being in accord with fact or reality b chiefly British : true 2 c : fidelity to an original or to a standard
4 capitalized Christian Science : god

As you can see our outcome of any discussion of Truth depends on where we start ...
If we begin with definition 4) Truth = God and we're done ... we have a simple nicely contained definition for this elusive concept ... complete with books and pictures and societal rules to keep everyone in line. But, is that enough? Apparently not, as most of the ground work for this definition was laid out over a thousand years ago, and though the internet allows information propagation at prodigious rates, it hasn't convinced everyone yet.

How about definition 1) fidelity or constancy? Is that enough to satisfy our quest for big (T)ruth? To this definition I say it only defines little (t)ruth; fidelity, faithfulness, can be taken as tenets for a good life certainly but as an explanation for how minds and bodies and physics work it falls short, esp. since we keep finding things that break previously held theories of the way these things work(if nature isn't faithful to it's own laws how can fidelity be a natural law) ... and nature definitely isn't constant.

Def'n 3) The state of being in agreement with fact or reality ... As we've discovered in class 'facts' and 'reality' are both quite dependent on perspective; I feel that the top of the fridge is a good place to put the remote, someone else thinks it's a secret hiding place. Killing someone is bad; killing someone who is about to begin torturing one of your loved ones is slightly more questionable ... so no help from def'n 3)
this brings us to definition 2) (I've saved the best for last):
Def'n 2 is the most interesting because it includes many of the concepts in the other definitions ... which is somewhat redundant in my view, but then proceeds to bring some doubt into the game , "a judgment, proposition, or idea that is true or _accepted as true_" I accentuate the last phrase to point out that truth must be consensual ... much like everything else in life it depends ... 'depends on what?' you might ask ... and that's what we're actually looking for! ... What does everything else depend on? ... Does it depend on Quantum Physics? ... Does it depend on honesty? ... Does it depend on Mayan calendars and psychic crystal skulls? This question is a personal one and one we are all responsible to make for ourselves ... What matters to us? Is fitting into a clique in high school important? ... How about standing out rebelliously, just enough that everyone notices you, but you don't get kicked out of school? Do you need to make a lot ( ... tah-dah! ... a lot is always two words!) of money to have the freedom and recognition you crave? ... How far will you go to get that power and influence ... is it worth other peoples' freedoms? ... lives?

That to me is the big (T)ruth ... what do you decide is important ... hold that close and shape the world around you into one that accepts or demands that Truth from others.

Quote by Carl Sagan

Both I and Penny were majorly vexed (a good thing, according to Dr. G) last week when we were part of a debate between free-willers (as opposed to Free Willy-ers) and predeterminationists -- do humans have free will to make choices, or is the future predetermined and free will and freedom of choice is nothing more than an illusion. Both I and Penny were on the side of the free-willers, and we lost the debate with the predeterminationists for the latter fell back on the argument ad nauseum that everything was predetermined -- no proof or logic needed.

At the friends of the library booksale I picked up The Demon Haunted World by Carl Sagan. Flipping through it I came to the chapter 'The Dragon in my Garage' and preceded to scan the first page of the chapter:

"Now, what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there's no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I'm asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so." (Emphasis mine.)
We free-willers could not invalidate the hypothesis of the predeterminationist:

  1. Everything is predetermined, and;
  2. Free will and choice are illusions.

But that doesn't make the hypothesis of the predeterminationists any more true than the hypothesis that we have free will. Both of these claims cannot be tested, for we cannot take ourselves outside of our three-dimensional universe where space and time are related in order to see "time" as a separate dimension of its own. We experience the passage of time as a linear succession of 'nows' with a fixed history (though memory is malleable) and an unknown future that may or may not be predetermined.

Both assertions are also immune to both disproof and proof. There is no way of proving that the future is predetermined: if the future is predetermined then there is no such thing as free will and choice -- both are an illusion, for our choices are all predetermined. Likewise, I cannot prove or disprove the assertion of free will and choice. I might say I have free will, but again this might be an illusion.

The Many Worlds theory postulates that for any decision that a person makes, all possible outcomes of that decision are also realized -- basically Schrodinger's theory that the cat is both dead and alive simultaneously spawns two universes: one where the cat is dead, one where the cat is alive, and it isn't until the box is open that one universe is actualized -- the one where the cat is dead or alive -- but the alternate universe is also just as real. In theory we are all surrounded by an infinite number of universes where all our potential choices are in existence -- we just can't get to them.

Perhaps this Many Worlds theory also expands to the future: there is an infinite number of potential futures spawned from all of our possible choices; when we make a choice we bring a specific future into being. This would take into account both free will and predetermination: you are free to make a choice about the future and all possible futures have already been determined. You made choice A, parallel-you made choice B - both predetermined futures are made real within their respective universes.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Doctor Horrible is Philosophy now.

There are probably several people familiar with Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog here, yes? Well now I will bombard it with philosophy! This is actually a paraphrased quote from a friend of mine. You sort of have to appreciate it how Billy sort of warps this idea of "I can't get the girl I want and people make fun of me" into "The world is a mess and I just need to rule it" and have it make sense. Here you've got a character who is just generally down-trodden, and so for his hero he picks Bad Horse, the Thoroughbred of Sin, as a role model because here is a horse who gets what he wants when he wants it without any back-talk--the complete opposite of Billy. Thus he creates the identity of Doctor Horrible and does is best to get the girl and save the day by being a supper villain.
The entire movie basically catalyzes this, and because I don't want to post too major of a spoiler, I'll only post one little song that sort of shows this sort of attitude--In this scene Billy/Doctor Horrible is pulling of a heist that could get him into the Evil League of Evil, headed by Bad Horse himself, but is approached by Penny, his love interest, and has a rather hard time trying to figure out if he wants to pull off his heist and achieve his goal and then get the girl, or get the girl and probably have to sacrifice his dream--what he believes to be for the Good of mankind--him ruling the world.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I see "T" in EVERYTHING now.

"This is our decision, to live fast and die young.
We've got the vision, now let's have some fun.
Yeah, it's overwhelming, but what else can we do.
Get jobs in offices, and wake up for the morning commute.

Forget about our mothers and our friends
We're fated to pretend
To pretend
We're fated to pretend
To pretend"

Free will

I used to have free will...

Then I got married.

If we could find big T

what would happen to man if we found big T
Note: big T in this case is proofing God none existence.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Truth with A Big T

What is truth? I see no reason for which we should pursue truth if we cannot overcome this question. If we do not define the object of our search, we will not recognize it once it has been found. Assuming we can define truth, there is yet another question we must answer: do we want truth? Without properly addressing these questions, the search for truth will remain a futile expenditure of human effort.

I ask again, what is truth? In order to move forward, past definition, we must agree upon a single definition to base our search on. For me, truth seems to be some general fact that is undeniable.

(Def. 1) Truth: A statement that is completely undeniable.

For example, all humans die. To date, this is truth because there has been no instance in which a human did not die. The problem with the example, however, is that we cannot prove this will always be true. With this is mind, we need to expand our definition of truth to include past, present, and future.

(Def. 2) Truth:
A statement that is completely undeniable at any given moment.

The last problem we encounter with this definition is that it allows for small truths to become big truths granted the conditions are specific enough. For example, water is made of the human defined elements hydrogen and oxygen. This statement is always true, but it is not general enough to constitute for a big truth. This is truth we are talking about, it must apply to everything! Once again, we must modify our definition of truth.

(Def. 3) Truth: A statement that is completely undeniable at any given moment which encompasses everything.

Assuming we can all agree upon this definition, we must ask ourselves, is truth something we truly want? It would be absurd to propose that humans do not desire truth: almost all of the philosophers we have covered in class have touched on the topic of truth, many of our class discussions have branched or based themselves around truth. Therefore, I think it is safe to conclude that humans do desire truth, but should we actually pursue it? The idea of truth sounds great, but we never think to consider the aftermath of it. If we were to find a truth, we would lose direction. All of human life has been spent finding answers to questions (small truths). Finding a larger truth would make all of our little T's feel meaningless, we would have no desire to continue pursing knowledge, the world would fall to chaos! We should not want truth because of the effects of achieving it.

Returning to our definition of truth, I would like to take a more realistic approach to the search for truth. There is nothing that could possibly fill the criteria of the 3rd definition. Like Heraclitus believed, everything changes, and because of that, nothing can always be true. Perhaps the only truth we can rely on is that there is no truth, but only little temporary truths.

There is one last problem that must be addressed. If there is no truth, what is missing that we feel must be found? I believe we are searching for an answer to the one question we cannot answer: why are we here? - All I know is that I don't know...

On being vexed

In the last two days, my classes have all struck a distressing chord with me. In one class, we had a debate about free will. In the following class, we learned about McCarthyism and the Hollywood Ten, the guys that were put in prison for standing up for their beliefs in the constitution. Governments everywhere try to cover up controversial things. China has obvious censorship, but when history is written by the victors, we lose important information, like the bombing of Dresden in WWII. I was talking to Dr. Dezember about my final paper in her class, and I settled on the subject of how even civilians are resources used by the military. We talked about microchipping your pets, which could lead to microchipping children, and then everyone would have an RFID chip in them, and the government could track everyone all the time. In philosophy, we talked about free will (or the lack of it), and I started thinking about Descartes, and how we can't trust our senses. If we can't trust our senses, and we can't trust the media, our government, our own thoughts, the churchor even our neighbors, who can we trust? What can we do? If the only big truth is that everyone dies, it’s no wonder that people have mental breakdowns or commit suicide. I think what I said in class about control is a big driving force in our lives. In anthropology I learned about people that feel like the only thing they can control is their body, and that’s why some people get fanatical about exercise or develop anorexia. I think the search for control is a big driving force in our lives. If we quit searching for control, for ways to find sense in our lives, we lose the will to get out of bed in the morning, and civilization goes down the tubes. Even if the control is an illusion, and free will is an illusion, I think it's important that we continue to have those illusions and act upon them.

More on deontological ethics

I really like

Potentially Insulting Study (deal with it!)

I mentioned this study last class period when something came up about IQ and observations of the consequences of your actions and how they fit into a set of moral rules.

I know that such studies are hard to find to be accurate given that any number of bias and improper methods may have been used, but it is still interesting..

What I took from it is, what I posted on my facebook account... (of course I have to apply some censoring here as not to outcast the entire class... even if they may deserve it lol...)


I was particularly amused at how religious people are dumber than athiests... SUCK IT *****. BUAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA --- they waste too much time on lulz instead of fact.. I'm going to say.. 'pwnd'

On the other side, didn't care for "vegetarianism" being associated with smarter people.. I like my steak ;_;

And lastly.. "smarter folks don't have more children"... which brings about some questions/observations!
1) Our species is dumb because the smart aren't compensating for the morons that have sex and get pregnant (lack of protection, etc).
2) Stupid people have more sex (Oh wait.. I knew this one)
3) The future of our race is screwed... this is what happens when you stop Asians from breeding, they may be overpopulated, but they're the smartest race around. :/


Of course the aim of this post is to reiterate better what I was trying to say in class (too many people talking too much to get a word in! we should double the class period length!) -- many people may make an observation of their surroundings, make a decision, and stick to it without thinking.. this is often a pure built-in response, built upon someone else's moral code (say a history book like the bible (or other such religious texts).

Then there are the folks that think for a moment about the consequences of their action, not just from a perspective on the law of the area (if they even know it) but what they, personally, feel to be right and wrong (something blind followers of a religious text can never understand or do themselves without tossing said text out the window). To me, this ability to think out the consequences, perform reason, and go on personal feelings of right and wrong show a definite superior intellect as they must exercise their brains to perform the action rather than blindly act from someone else's teachings. Clearly, this study could back that, even if it was not the overall mindset of the examiners.

Then there are those that don't think before they partake in sexual deviance (anything relating to intercourse before proper marriage/bonding/mating has been established/performed). Obviously our society has the idiotic impression they can teach kids to follow the rule of abstinence.. but since the human race is inherently curious, it doesn't work. In Europe, however, they teach about protection and then have less issues in the matter altogether. But, back to the 'thinking' aspect... kids (and even adults) get so worked up in the moment and are completely unable to think with hormones destroying their mental processes, that protection is rarely used even then because they're too busy rushing into things instead of doing such a simple action as thinking.

Now of course, many might mention that many religions (I only know of Mormonism) that tell you not to have sex before marriage.. and sure it's a good policy, but the male and their raging uncontrollable hormones during their peak mating years doesn't allow for them to think before they act. The same then applies to females during that wonderful week in the monthly cycle of hell. However, for the individuals that are a bit smarter and are able to establish control over themselves (think "mind over matter" from whomever that philosopher was) they can use protection, and as I stated above.. this means the smart people use more protection, have less kids, and thus don't populate as much as the dumb ones that have kids from lack of protection and ridiculous moronic laws that prevent abortion; because for some reason.. letting idiots cause even more overpopulation from their carelessness is somehow a good thing in our society.. who woulda guessed!

There is no way for anyone to define the right or wrongs of intercourse.. not even some religious texts, as they're all, in the end, just guidelines. However, it is the wiser person that can look at their situation, see what is needed, evaluate, and perform within their own established parameters.

That's really about all I gathered from this survey, even if it wasn't directly stated. I don't have any idea's on the vegetarianism bit of it.. as we are omnivores...

Clips on Deontology

Last class we spoke about deontology, which we defined to be a stringent adherence to one's ethics or moral code, and the turmoil that can result when trying to mesh one's career choices with it. This definition reminded me of the following clips.

A theatric example of this dilemma is found in Gilbert and Sullivan's play "Pirates of Penzance," in which the main character (who had accidentally been contractually indentured to pirates until his 21st birthday) must temporarily abjure his well-known oath to do away with his former shipmates, when he finds out that his contract is still in action. Not only must he hold off doing what he feels is right because of his sense of duty, but he finds himself compelled to do something that he has defined to be morally wrong for the same reason: namely, betraying his love's family to his sworn enemy. This particular excerpt shows his reluctant submission to his career (and his sense of duty) over his other ethics:

Conversely, in the 1967 musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," protagonist J. Pierpont Finch (a young man who works his way to being CEO of the company whose windows he used to wash) encounters a man who avoids the turmoil mentioned above by allowing his workplace to define his ethics:

Monday, April 5, 2010


The Big T... And the Big F. As per "Blawgity 3."

Here is the link!

The Unattainable Goal

Tony's post about the big Truth always being out of reach makes a lot of sense to me. I liken the big Truth to having an a final goal in life: even the most far-reaching goals I have for myself are far from being the final goal of my life. That is, once I reach them, I will only find more along the way and the cycle will continue. If one were to accomplish everything one could possibly set as a goal, what would be the point of living? Where would one's inspiration to live come from? If we were to discover the big Truth, would we not stop searching for truth altogether?

Furthermore, the smaller truths we find in life are like the goals we accomplish. For example, my goal on Sunday was to finally find the aerial tramway I'd heard about in the Magdalena mountains. For a few hours, the singular goal in my life was to hike out to the most likely location (turns out it does exist) and hike back. And once I had done so, I still had many other goals for myself. Similarly, when we find a small truth, there are still many more to be found.

Any thoughts on this analogy?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Common Sense

One of the philosophers in the book that I am finding myself a fan of is Geoge Moore. Mainly, I have to agree with his opinion that a lot of philosophers wind up denying things that "every sane human knew to be true." Like Zeno's paradox-of course I can make it to the door, so why debate this fact? Essentially, Moore came up with a list of "common sense" propositions that are certainly true. This list contains such mundane facts as "there exists at present a living human body, which is my body," which Moore used to illustrate that, at some point, some philosopher denied. He also chose the route of pointing out that statements made by previous philosophers are strange rather than untrue; that is, no obvious meaning can be associated with the statements. In Moore's view, not meaning exactly anything raised suspicion of meaning nothing.

Moore also disagreed with attempts to come up with new ways of communicating facts as he did not know exactly what was wrong with "ordinary language." Interestingly enough, he felt that the goal of philosophy is the clarification of meaning rather than arriving at the truth. It seems that Moore preferred to focus on using precise language so that exact meaning can be ascribed to statements and the many ambiguous statements made by previous philosophers can be avoided.

This is, to me, a refreshing and realistic approach to philosophy. Why make a statement if nobody can even determine exactly what is meant? Why deny something that can trivially be proven to be true? In fact, as an extreme example, the section on Descartes points out that "radical doubt, in telling us that we should never trust the senses, has suddenly become a form of insanity."

Bigger Picture!!!

The bigger picture or the big 'T' seems to dominate our thoughts and perception of the world. What serves us the best, the greater purpose? It seems it doesn't matter what needs to be sacrificed; our morals, our humanity. Things need to be done so we can prosper, we can prevail. But how can our judgment can be trusted? Aren't we all the same kind, with same flaws?

Big T / little t & Sense Data

So it is Easter, a frakkin' lovely day out, and here I am stuck at work. You know what that means...

It's Philosophizin' Time! (Apologies to The Thing.)

Sense Data.

Here at work we use radio telescopes as a means of extending our senses to explore the universe. We see only a small sliver of the electromagnetic spectrum, thus rely on instrumentation to "see" for us and translate what the instrumentation "sees" into data that makes sense to our senses. Now, according to many philosophers, we shouldn't trust our own senses--never mind sense data that is artificial in nature and collected from such devices as telescopes, microscopes, and remote sensing devices such as the electron microscope, MRI, PET, and CAT scans and the like.

Here's what I think. Every little "t" truth that we vex Nature to give us is but a small fractal facet of the big "T" truth. The more little "t"s we know and learn, the more we know and learn how much more that there is to know and learn (I just channeled Donald Rumsfeld). I don't think that we will ever know and learn the big "T" truth--big "T" truth is a moving target that will always just be out of our grasp. Try as we might, we will never fully know the "T" truth--just a collection of little "t" truths.

Do you think this video is right?

In the video the man makes the point that americans dont want to think about there films.
Do you think this is right?
Did a post get deleted somewhere? ... I could've sworn I saw a post about 'knowledge of the future eliminating free will' ... but I don't see it now ... Anyway here is my response:

The idea of Premonition destroying free will is some what confusing to me ... I mean, if you know the future, and I know the future, do we both necessarily know the same futures? Even with our different perspectives(height, color blindness, gender)? Who claims that the future is then preordained? ... Wouldn't you just become knowledgeable of the new future when the present changed? ... an immutable future seems to fly in the face of every law of science we know ... everything is subject to change ... it seems to me that it would much easier (and therefore likely [Occam's razor]) that the knowledge of events to come would just be updated every time a change was made in the present ...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

post from eil sent to drG for posting

In response to "Plato says No Writing!":

I wholeheartedly agree ... Though we have many websites for social
interaction there is always a viscerality missing somewhere ... the
computer universe is one of only one sense (sight), maybe sound if we wire
it up right, but no smell , no touch (other than the keyboard), definitely
no shared taste experiences (I'm sure everyone's computer had a different
flavor) ... and none of the sensory deprivation even touches (no pun
intended) on the fact that all social websites have sort of a central meme
to why people choose them. This site, we're all on because of a class we
share (no random people as far as I know) ... so the pool of possible
correspondence is limited, the people you might meet here are of a
specific subset of society ... where's the fun in that ... If you're at a
coffee shop or a restaurant or a bar you have random input that can
immediately derail (or resuscitate) a conversation. That can't happen in a
blog ...

In Response to "Pleasure":
I'm of the mind, on pleasure vs hardship, that we almost always take the
easiest path ... even if it appears hard to our peers. If, as DR. G said
above, we wait until "clarity that is unmistakable and then the path is
easy " that is the easiest decision in the world to make. If we make a
decision before we can talk ourselves out of it that's the easiest way to
our goal, if we end up starving in a gutter somewhere it's because we took
the easy way out and didn't get a job, if we stay at a dead end job for
decades because we're to lazy to improve our lot in life we are again
taking the easiest way out.

I think we have a tendency to try to minimize our investment; in case
we're wrong, in case it doesn't go right, in case we get shot down by life
... so that we have a fall back position of "this happened to me" rather
than "I did this".

Those of us who go to college are avoiding lots of hardships that result
from being uneducated; getting some job we don't like, or having a dead
end job in the future, avoiding military service, or just getting away
from home.

The differences are in the people making the choices ... some people are
just wired different ... one person finds it easy to be a mechanic for 40
years, another enjoys school and stays in university until it kicks them
Our personal variability correlates to Bacon's Idols (idylls? ) Our
cultural, emotional, familial, and dialectic differences are what describe
our paths through life ... I think that when someone refers to "finding
their niche", "being in the groove" , or "answering their calling" they're
just taking the easiest path (as described by their own internal wiring)
... We just have to pretend it's hard to make the rest of the world value
our dedication.

Eli Seifert

Good vs. Evil in reality

Looking back at Neoplatonism and its definition of evil (pg 109 of our text), I noticed the statement that "..evil [is] not... a real feature of reality, but... as lack, an incompleteness" to be interesting (and odd). Why wouldn't evil be real? The definition of evil as a lack of goodness makes sense, of course, but how does that negate the reality of evil? How does a thing being a lack of another make the thing not real?

For that matter, what does "more real than..." mean? Seriously.

Another thought, this time pertaining to free will.

Does perfect knowledge of the future necessitate a complete lack of freedom? Why/why not?

Clip for Idols of the Theatre

The summary of Bacon's theory of the Idols of the Theatre found on this website ( reminded me of the following clip. In it, it is asserted that there is no question that a machine called The General cannot answer. The counterexample provided by the show's protagonist "blows the whole works," perhaps thus revealing a reason for maintaining the blind acceptance as fact what one is told or what one would hope to be true -- a timid acquiescence known to us now by the moniker Idol of the Theatre:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Plato Says No Writing!

I admit, while I love perusing the blog and seeing what my classmates have to say about various philosophical topics, I find I have difficulty contributing to the conversations.

Part of this is my personal mild dislike of blogs in general. I find blogs to be distasteful due to their very structure. Blogs are places where one can post their own opinions and discuss amongst their peers, however they are far too sterile for true discussion to take place. Even now, I'm censoring, picking words, attempting to be eloquent, doing whatever necessary to try to get my opinion across without conveying misinformation or facilitating incorrect interpretation. In response, my classmates (you) will possibly respond to what they think I'm trying (clumsily) to convey in this post. I will skim the comments, or be disappointed at a lack of comments, and this thread will be dead.

I far prefer face-to-face discussions. I like to sit with another person and talk about philosophy, coffee, the weather, philosophy again, classes, etc. These discussions are organic, they meander, they move, they are insightful, or not. I can tell immediately if someone is understanding what I'm trying to convey or if there has been a misinterpretation, usually by the look on their face or another non-verbal clue. I can tell if they agree or disagree. Here on the blog, I simply cast out my ideas to the abyss, wondering if they are accepted, or even read. I find the impersonality of the setup disconcerting and not conductive to discussion on my part.

The conclusion, let's talk. Face-to-face over coffee, after class, meeting in the halls, all are acceptable. It would be an interesting social experiment :)

life with computers

My computer broke; therefore, I am not to do much in terms of send a pdf. The extra book for the class is missing in action (along withe the student who has the book.
You should get a pdf in the morning when Ann is back.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Idols of the Marketplace

There has been a lot of debate currently regarding the newly-passed healthcare reform bill. However, the following essay by Washington Weekly's Gwen Ifill points out that most of the debate is based on the nuance of language. I thought it was an interesting read. It's politically neutral, so everyone should be able to read it in peace :p

Enjoy folks!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Dr. Griffin was saying that one of the students pondered on their midterm about why we always choose the hardest path and why pleasure gets a bad wrap. I was wondering if you guys wanted to talk about what you think about that. It's very common in a lot of philosophies especially in modern religions.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

test question (suggested by an awesome student :-)

Match the name of the philosopher with what he thought the universe was
made of:

Leucippus and Democritus

The Boundless
Earth, Air, Water and Fire

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Importance of Aristotelian Moderation

On the 78th page of the third edition of our text, author Donald Palmer presents us with a scenario in which too much or too little of something (in this case, fear) can be perilous to the individual. Here is another example of the tragedy that can result when something -- which, by itself, is classified as neither good nor bad -- is in excess:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Aristotle's Ethics

After spending some time reading and analyzing the section on Aristotle, I've come to the conclusion that Aristotle's ethics are, for the most part, virtue ethics. I find this particularly interesting because he also thought that "each substance is a self-contained teleological system." In particular, teleology has an entirely different focal point than virtue ethics, which generally seems to imply that each ethical theory would advocate different "ethical" actions. However, by making virtue the goal of human activity, the difference between the two schools of ethics becomes one of name only. Later in history, virtue ethics was broadened to focus more on determining what is virtuous rather than how virtue should affect one's actions. Despite this shift, I still find it rather interesting how Aristotle shaped virtue ethics using teleology.

Also related, the touch of ethical egoism evident in Aristotle's philosophy is somewhat amusing. Making one's materialistic well-being a condition for virtue is quite an idea considering that such conditions don't really affect any parts of his moral theory.

God and the Burrito

I have been busy this week so i havent done much thinking about philosophy but i thought you all may like this question.

Can god make a burrito so big that he him self can not eat?

Note: Most people feel the god is all powerful.

Empedocles and Spirited Away

I think something that has been ignored (or maybe not, but I've not noticed it mentioned at least) is Empedocles' idea of Love vs. Strife as seen in Spirited Away. Come to think of it, I think the subject has been ignored altogether.

So that leads me to ask- did we just get carried away with other subjects (there are a lot, so it's understandable) and the topic of Love/Strife get thrown by the wayside, or do we think it's a dumb thing to discuss? I ask this because whenever the topic of Love is brought up people seem to get the mindset that it's a fluffy, childish thing that really isn't that important.

So a following question- is it really a stupid topic? If so, why? This I ask partly because I found it interesting to see people's reactions to Spirited Away when it "suddenly turned into a fairytale"- people seemed to suddenly be confused and/or think the whole business suddenly ridiculous.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Philosophies seen in Spirited Away vs. Western philosophies

Something I've found interesting about Asian philosophy in contrast with Western philosophy is the interconnectedness of humans with the spirit world. Consider, at least, Japanese culture and its indigenous Shinto religion- here we find that the spirit world and human world interact constantly, and that spirits are very real beings that play a part in human livelihoods. In Spirited Away we saw this same thing. This contrasts sharply with much of Western philosophy, where the metaphysical/spiritual world is irrational nonsense; the majority of Western philosophy effectively says there is only a physical/touchable/study-able world while for the Japanese it is both physical and mystical and that this is not irrational at all.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Ch3/4 Spirited Away

I was really glad to see part of Spirited Away. It was a little slow in some parts and I imagine it loses something in translation from Japanese to English. I wanted to show this movie in class to initiate a discussion about many of the concepts in our chapters: epicureanism, stoicism, the power of the name, the nature of good and evil, the presence of a supreme being. I think our film does not emphasize the dual nature of good and evil so present in Western culture. I was thinking about how good and evil were always black and white issues in the early days, but Spirited Away may be developing a different perspective.

What observations do you have about the chapters and the movie?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Holes or Trails?

Being a logical and reasonable man is a matter of considerable importance to me; there are other things I regard as being of greater value, but they are very few in number. The high esteem in which I hold logic and reason (both of which I define as means of discovering truth) rests in how I perceive a reality without them.

A world devoid of the pursuit of Truth has the potential to be disorderly and highly adverse to the innocent. Courts of law, which I consider to be a major actor in the sustenance of order in modern culture, are constructed on finding the Truth: whole, and nothing but. Psychology describes a certain societal disorder called the Social Trap, in which "a group of people act to obtain short-term individual gains, which in the long run leads to a loss for the group as a whole." ("Social Trap"). If there existed a plausible reason not to commit an action that a majority of a given population performs and no one sought to verify the truth of this claim, the people of that type of civilization are apt to continue to maintain their status quo to the point of detriment to their own society or to another's. For society's (but not necessarily for my own) and posterity's benefit, then, I deem it a personal obligation to base my actions on judgment that is as sound as possible.

What would make "going down the rabbit hole" particularly tempting for me in this case is that one of my axioms -- one of the most foundational tenets of my worldview: how I perceive reality -- is being challenged on the grounds that testable proof can be offered to demonstrate my paradigm's falsity. It has been said that “a false statement implies anything” (Bond and Keane 30). If such is the case, I would be drawn by the prospect of purging myself of the reasoning behind the fallacious choices (and surely some must exist, for a substantial amount of the decisions I would make would have been built upon these axioms) of the past.

One thing that would come close to dissuading me from following Morpheus is, ironically, the same sort of skepticism that might allow me to put what I once felt was tried-and-true behind me: How do I know I am not being conned? What if the red pill contains some sort of hallucinogen, thus giving me reason not to trust my senses for what Morpheus claims is the true reality? Ultimately, though I might still require more persuasion than Neo was given, I think my sense of curiosity would compel me to trust Morpheus enough to try out his theory and “go down the rabbit hole.”

Works Cited:
Bond, Robert J. and William J. Keane. An Introduction to Abstract Mathematics.
Long Grove: Waveland, 2007.

“Social Trap.” Wikipedia. 7 Feb. 2010. 25 Feb. 2010.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Plato, The Matrix and all that jazz

Alright, so admittedly I've avoided The Matrix like the plague since it came out.

I think that, yes, the allegory to Plato's "The Cave" shows up in the first 25-ish minutes (or however long we watched). Neo's tossed out of the cave he's been living in and is, as Manfred Mann put it, "blinded by the light." Sure, we have an interesting philosophical question accompanied by nifty visuals and a storyline, but thinking about that and the scientific research that we continue to do, it's obvious (to me, anyhow) that we have an endless curiosity about and drive to find out what reality really is because we have no idea. And we get a pretty good idea about it, and then find out there's either more to it or that we were probably wrong in our assumption.

We think we're so smart.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Plato's Cave & The Matrix

First off, I've only seen The Matrix, haven't seen the other two and have no interest in seeing them. IMO, Keanu Reeves can't act his way out of a wet paper bag, so my interest in seeing the other movies in the trilogy is less than zero.

OK, now that I got that out of the way. The Matrix clip actually did a fairly good job in explaining Plato's allegory of the cave. Neo is the person in the cave who is cut loose from his binds -- literally detached from the Matrix pods -- and has seen the "truth" of the "reality" of the world. I put truth and reality in quotes in that these are subjective terms - after all, what is to say that what Neo will experience outside of the pod isn't just another level to the Matrix? One illusion swapped for another is still an illusion.

Would I go down the rabbit hole? I'd have taken both pills just to see what would have happened. Someone named after the demigod of sleep offering you pills? Yeah, right.

Aristotle. As Monty Python said in the Philosopher's Drinking Song, he was a "bugger for the bottle." Because I think being drunk is the only way to really understand what he was saying. I like how Aristotle said that the goal of humans is happiness, and happiness is achieved by following the means between the extremes for yourself; happiness is subjective -- what might make me happy (my mean) might be an extreme for someone else. I also recall what a favorite author of mine said about means and extremes: everything in excess, to enjoy life you need to take big bites -- moderation is for monks.

Consumer culture. You know what? I like my creature comforts. Our technology and advancements have made it so that I, who have chronic medical issues, can have a pretty damn good quality of life. It seems that both Jean Baudrillard and the guy who made the movie Baraka (spelling) think that returning to our "native" roots to live in harmony with the land will solve most or all of our ills. Well, we certainly would have a reduction in population. I find it ironic that those people who complain about our technology use that self-same technology to complain about it! The guy who made Baraka couldn't have made it without technological advancements in film, editing, and distribution.

Don't get me wrong -- if YOU want to "tune out and drop out" (paraphrasing Mr. Leary) -- be my guest. Go live with the Aborigines in the Outback. Drop off the grid. Do the zero carbon footprint thing. You have my blessing. You'll probably make a better world for your children, and I hope that you do. Since I'm not going to have kids, I could care less what happens after I shuffle off this mortal toil.

But you know what? I'm going to keep my Dish Network (cheaper than Comca$t). I'm going to keep my multiple computers (all Macs). I'm going to drive my multiple cars (we need two cars simply because of our work schedules). If I'm being blinded by a consumer reality that is separating me from "reality" (whatever that is), then so be it. At least I'm alive.

Or maybe not, since one person has calculated that there is a 20% chance that we're living in the Matrix right now. Just think, we could all be nothing but a collection of bits in someone's computer simulation that is a cross between Civilization and the Sims. Maybe the Pythagoreans are right and we're really nothing but numbers. Just remember, there are only 10 types of people who understand binary...

Plato's Cave and the Matrix

Hope you enjoyed the clip from the Matrix. Plato explores the idea that the real world is an illusion in the allegory of the cave in The Republic. Plato imagines a cave in which people have been kept prisoner since birth. To what extent did the Matrix clip explain Plato's allegory of the cave? Would you go down the rabbit hole (or leave the cave)? What do you think of Aristotle's solution to the problem of finding the ultimate truth?

FYI: Neo hides his illegal software inside a book by Jean Baudrillard entitled Simulacra and Simulation. Originally published in 1981, Baudrillard’s book argues that late-twentieth-century consumer culture is a world in which simulations or imitations of reality have become more real than reality itself, a condition he describes as the “hyper-real.”

Morpheus introduces Neo to the real world by welcoming him to “the desert of the real,” a phrase taken from the first page of Simulacra and Simulation. With this notion in mind, the Matrix films can be interpreted as a criticism of the unreal consumer culture we live in, a culture that may be distracting us from the reality that we are being exploited by someone or something, just as the machines exploit the humans in the Matrix for bioelectricity.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Words that rhyme with nine

For all you potential rappers out there to create a rhyme with 389.

From Yahoo! Answers "words that rhyme with nine"

Pretty long, so it's after the jump.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NMT Tautology Club!

I get to be president of NMT's Tautology Club & Dr. G is faculty advisor (Eli will be the enforcer...)

Tautology Club comic from xkcd.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Entry for our blog

What topic, issue, or idea has been interesting to you during class this week? Or what is your primary interest in philosophy? Ontology? Epistemology? Ethics?

welcome to the philsophy and film blog

Hi and welcome I tried to find a font like the one in our book :-) but this is the best one I could come up with.