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 ...