Reflections on Philosophy Erica Quinones (unit 1)

January 19th, 2017

I am excited to question my own morals. I'd like to develop more insight into my own ideas as well as those of opposing ideologies to fully develop myself as a thinker. I'd also like to look into the changing philosophies of old and see how we as a society have changed in our thinking, what has stayed the same, and what has come full circle. However, I am worried that people may feel pressured into agreeing with each other despite having an opposing opinion and thus create an echo chamber.

To me, the phrase "The unexamined life is not worth living" means that a life in which you do not know why you do anything just that you have done something is not a real life. To understand why you've done anything is to understand yourself and to understand your goals. When you set goals and hit each one, you gain a sense of self-fulfillment which will make your life prosperous.

January 20th, 2017

  1. Be curious.
  2. Be skeptical.
  3. Never stop searching for wisdom.
  4. Analyse not just the question but what makes up the question.
  5. Put the evidence together.
  6. Explore all sides of the argument.
  7. Keep your beliefs flexible, do not become close-minded to new evidence or other beliefs.
  8. A simple explanation is OK.
  9. Do not be a hypocrite.
  10. Do not just live by these rules, fully accept these rules.

January 26th

Many of the philosophers of the time were canonized saints.

January 31st

I would have fallen in line with the teachings of Buddha because I tend to be in the middle of Confuacious and Laozi. I believe there needs to be structure in government similar to Confuscious and that you should allow fate to lead your life, but that does not mean the government has to follow traditional roles nor that you should prevent yourself from learning and obtaining knowledge. I appreciate the self-help message of Buddhism and its stress on becoming aware of the world around you.

Fabruary 2nd

I believe Socrates would define wisdom as constantly seeking knowledge. It's to be open minded of other possibilities and know you're ignorant but actively try to end your ignorance.

This idea can be applied in my life through research. Although I have my own personal beliefs and personal biases, I can examine why I believe in these ideas or feel this way and then look into why others feel differently than me. This way I can end my own ignorance about the other side, understand myself better, and perhaps change my mind on the better tactic.

Unit 2

February 6th

I believed that Sarah Palin was a good candidate in 2008 because my dad is a republican. Since I was too young to create my own opinions, the sociological effect of my family and surrounding area (which was conservative) dictated what I believed.

No, I do not believe that the basis of belief is enough to justify a belief. You must have a more concrete reason to better understand why you believe this and what it entails. Without a strong central understanding of what you're saying, you cannot live by your mottos.

February 9th

I tend to align mostly with Empiricism on the questionnaire but in reality I feel more drawn to the idea of Epistemological Realitivism. I am a strong believer in science and factual based evidence from studies that help form my beliefs, however, many people do not have these resources. So while I can base my beliefs off of this evidence, others have not seen it. Thus, even if they themselves are empiricists or skeptics, they themselves may not agree with me because they have no access to these studies nor the daily experiences I myself have or others have. Thus no universal truth can be reached by men.

My answers were fairly consistent despite a couple contradictions.

February 10th

1. Morality of abortion- I was originally strictly against abortion, however, after being presented with several "what if" questions, I loosened my objection towards it. While I personally disagree with the medical treatment in cases of "mistakes," I recognize it as a choice, a medical treatment, and a form of near mercy for victims of unspeakable and unimaginable events.

2. The psychological positives of never questioning your beliefs is the lack of moral and existential crises. Often times religion is used as the best example of this. The idea of an afterlife and a protector is very comforting, however, when one questions this they are forced to face questions such as what happens after death, who decides what is right and wrong, has what we do for religion being justifiable or simply death for the sake of death, and other terrible thoughts. This ignorance allows us to live comfortably.

3. Yes, I believe questioning your believes helps develop you into a more thoughtful and understanding person. It allows you to think of other people equally and to understand your own beliefs.

February 13th

While I believe the final product is solid, his methods were a bit too far for me. I believe doubting beliefs are important for self growth and growth as a society, but reaching for a Matrix theory pushes you beyond wise and into the realm of insanity. By reaching so far it felt as if he discredited himself for many people despite the importance on his final statement. On top of that, it truly does not answer the question about others' existence. While we can confirm our existence, by thinking we have the ability to create people including Descartes himself. It only proceeds to create doubt that everyone around you is a real concrete figure and not a figment your distorted mind has created.

February 14th

Biologically, I believe it is to make us procreate. However, that is only for sexual attraction. There are different types of love and the more emotional connection that is important in a romantic relationship certainly has a more psychological reason. I believe that Plato's story isn't as funny as it seems. While obviously we weren't four armed creatures, I do believe we are searching for someone to complete us. Someone we can live with in unity.

February 23rd

It means that once we find what works, we stick to it. It is the cause of stereotypes, wars, but also bathing, celebrations, naming, and religion. I agree with the statement although I disagree with it morally. I believe that things and people are subject to change and thus the same feelings towards an object are not appropriate. While custom tends to lead humanity, it must change with times.

February 27th

I believe it's important to look to the past to grasp the ideas that lead to modern scientific discoveries and ideas that have yet to be answered. It's interesting to see people like Descartes and Humes who hold similar ideas to those that influence sci-if movies and conspiracies today for the same reason they preach we can't trust patterns. They say because it happened in the past, it won't necessarily happen in the future, but their thoughts have been echoed today, thus having what happened in the past repeat in the future. This to me shows that while what they say is understandable, in the end they're making the simple human error of overthinking. So while reading their thoughts is an interesting and important part of understanding our modern philosophies and sciences, they hold little concrete substance.

February 28th

Knowledge is ideas strengthened by experience. This is a mixture of Humes and Plato through combining Plato's allegory of the cave to Hume's ideas on customs and definition of an idea/impression. I believe knowledge must be gained through constant experimentation and testing, to know the world you must get out and see it yourself. These experiences can then be used to make predictions for the future, as seen in scientific laws. However, these experiences are open to change as more is learned about them, I.e. just because a man stole your purse does not mean every man will steal your purse.

Unit 3

March 6th

I'd place myself around an 8. While I refrain from the contradiction, I could put more thought into my points, more research, word them better to make them not quite so long to get to the point, and of course research the other side to have a valid argument against them.

March 8th

I am having a harder time grasping everything because while they're argumentavely valid and some even a bit logically valid, that doesn't mean they are valid or invalid. It'll just take a little more practice for me to feel comfortable with my skills.

March 9th

Yes, my math teacher used to have us do logic puzzles in middle school.

March 10th

I mostly experience inconsistency, straw man arguments, ad hominems, and argument from authority. I'm most guilty of using the straw man argument. I try to remind myself to look from different angles but on certain topics I can never seem to change my mind or open up. For example, I attempt to understand homophobia and the causes behind it, especially religion, but when people openly express their feelings towards the LGBT community, I find it hard to see them as anything but said homophobe and can never bring myself to even try and see where they're coming from.

Unit 4

March 20th

In a biological sense, we should act morally to protect the development of our species. The majority of acts we deem immoral are deemed so due to their negative effect on people. These would be acts such as murder, stealing, etc. These negative effects stunt our growth in numbers, bettering of our lives, community bonds, and so on, creating a world in which our species must fight harder to expand and trust each other.

March 21st

I disagree with Glaucon, I believe that even if there are no rewards to reap through moral actions the majority of people would still follow their ethics. This is because our own personal guilt and shame is more powerful than public shame. Even if you bandwagon and agree with the mob, the shame you feel over that decision would bring you back to your original belief.

March 23rd

1. I tried helping my friend into her Belle costume and it turned out she didn't fit and spent the rest of the day in tears.

2. I attempted to give myself diabetes, the cake was very good.

March 28th

I side more with the consequentialist although often times both sides could be argued to line up. While I believe that you have a duty to protect life and help the development of the community, if that duty involves the sacrifice of someone, the consequences outway the action. However, obviously there are many cases in which I disagree with this and the idea of murder or manslaughter is more than enough to prevent my own necessary evils to as in the pushing a fat man off to save workers.

March 29th

The best decision may not help you directly nor seem like the best option at the time. I.e. Despite it seeming great, it may be stated to abstain from the pleasure you seek to better your future.

April 4th

I believe he would be in support of assisted suicide because while our first duty is to preserve life's, terminal illness means imminent death. There is no chance to save their life and so you must treate them as a person and help their suffering.

One hole is the idea of maxims because even good things can be deterimental. The physcotic murderer example is a perfect example. If you tell the truth, you are breaking your first duty to protect life. Another would be abortion. In cases of race, protecting the life of the fetus would protect your first duty, but it would be detrimental to the life of the mother who would in turn suffer in her needing to provide for the child and having that constant reminder of what happened.

April 24th

1. To be a good person would incorporate moral acts. Being a good person does not necessarily mean perfection. Doing something because you have to is different from because you want to. That is what makes you a good person, a want to be good. Moral necessities and how to carry them out are objective.

2. What makes a good person is objective, there is no concrete answer. While motivation is important, you can't say helping a kid with their homework despite not wanting to as immoral.

I'd agree more with the first statement. This is because what is morally obligated and how to carry that obligation out is objective. To be a good person tends to have a basic outline on which most people recognize and agree.

April 26th

My mother has been the most influential because she has been with me the longest. Her raising me from infancy has given her the time necessary to shape everything about me

May 8th

An action's morality depends on whether or not it uses a human as an means to an end, the universability of the action, if it betters the lives of the majority with some safeguard for the rights of the minority, and on the customs of and place in you society.

May 11th

I am slightly right of center on the Friedman-Rawls spectrum. I believe in equality of opportunity but not of outcome. You cannot disadvantage someone for the natural gifts they are born with nor the inheritance they receive. Thus the best way to combat this is with equal hiring laws (to prevent discrimination against disabled people, race, gender, etc.), provide the opportunity for people to go to well funded schools (although you can opt out of them since private schools exist), special education programs for the mentally disabled, extra-curricular activities and good counselors, have a minimum wage and labor laws, safety nets for the impoverished and unemployed, health care, and other tax funded programs to ensure everyone has the basic needs they require to make it through.

May 12th

We base it on what is best for the majority without harming the minority.

May 19th

I agree with the illusionary theory because I believe what makes you up is your experiences and because you are constantly having new experiences, you are constantly becoming a new person. So the present me is now the past me because I've had new experiences and the future me is not the present me which is now the past me because I had those experiences and now I'm moving on past them and it repeats in that process so there really is not a present self because your present self is now the past.

Free will is partially needed for blame and praise. Natural talents and disabilities as well as environmentail factors affect the outcomes of our lives but in the end it is your choice.l

May 22nd

No, while there are things I regret and opportunities I wish I had taken, those mistakes are what add into my person. I'm happy with the person I currently am and there's little of anything I'd like to change so I'm willing to live with my mistakes.

Credits:

Created with images by morhamedufmg - "statue herodot sculpture"

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