Readings, Slides, Assignments & Discussion Forum

Midterm Grades (posted 11/4/15)
Pre-Final Grades (posted 12/4/15)

This course schedule is subject to change.
Enrolled students will be notified of updates via email.

1. August 31st 2. September 2nd
Introduction to the course
Session 1 Slides
All About Arguments (Part I)
Session 2 Slides
*NO CLASS on Monday Sept. 7th [Labor Day]*

3. [*WEDNESDAY*] Sept. 9th


4. [*THURSDAY*] Sept. 10th

All About Arguments (Part II)

Horban & Pryor on Writing a Philosophy Paper

Session 3 Slides

***Download Take Home Quiz #1

Pryor, Guidelines on Reading Philosophy

An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (excerpt)
Session 4 Slides
September 14th 5.   September 16th

Russell, “Appearance & Reality”

Session 5 Slides

6.   September 21st September 23rd
Descartes, Meditation I & II from Meditations on First Philosophy

Session 6 Slides

7.   September 28th 8.   September 30th
Nagel, “Free Will”

Strawson, “Your Move: The Maze of Free Will”

Session 7 Slides

Churchland, “The Big Questions: Do We Have Free Will?”

Session 8 Slides

***Download Take Home Quiz #2

9. October 5th 10.   October 7th
Milgram, Obedience to Authority (excerpt)

Session 9 Slides


Hobbes, Leviathan (excerpt)

Session 10 Slides

October 12th 11. October 14th
NO CLASS – COLUMBUS DAY Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality (excerpt)

Session 11 Slides

12.   October 19th 13.   October 21st
Sartre, “Existentialism is a Humanism” (excerpt)

Session 12 Slides

**Download Take Home Quiz #3

REVIEW DAY / Video: Humans, Ep. 1
14.   October 26th 15.   October 28th

Montero, On the Philosophy of Mind (excerpts)

Session 14 Slides

Ryle, “Descartes’ Myth”

Session 15 Slides

16. November 2nd 17.   November 4th
Jackson, “Epiphenomenal Qualia” and “What Mary Didn’t Know” (excerpts)

Session 16 Slides

Churchland on Eliminative Materialism (video)

Session 17 Slides

**Download Take Home Quiz #4

18.   November 9th 19. November 11th
Epictetus, The Handbook (excerpt)

Session 18 Slides


Hume, Treatise of Human Nature (excerpt)

Session 19 Slides

20. November 16th 21. November 18th
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics (excerpt)

Session 20 Slides

Mill, Utilitarianism (excerpt)

Session 21 Slides

22. November 23rd 23. November 25th
O’Neill, “A Simplified Account of Kant’s Ethics”

Session 22 Slides

**Download Take Home Quiz #5

Thomson, “Killing, Letting Die, & the Trolley Problem”

Session 23 Slides

24. November 30th 25. December 2nd

Young, Five Faces of Oppression (excerpt)

Session 24 Slides

de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (excerpts)

Session 25 Slides

26. December 7th 27. December 9th
Mills, “But What Are You Really?: The Metaphysics of Race”

Session 26 Slides

DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk (excerpt)

Session 27 Slides

**Download Take Home Quiz #6

28. December 14th Friday, December 18th
REVIEW DAY / Video: Black Mirror, “White Bear” TAKE-HOME QUIZ #6 DUE



249 thoughts on “Readings, Slides, Assignments & Discussion Forum

  1. Stanley Milgram was an American social psychologist who Investigated ways in which our social surroundings influence our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Milgram conducted an experiment, which suggested that “our tendency to obey authority poses a challenge for the claim that we freely choose our actions, or are really in control of our behavior”. I agree with this statement that our tendency to obey authority poses a challenge that we control our behavior. In the experiment, although the people knew that giving electric shock to the person was wrong, because the authority figure assured them that it was okay the people continued. This is also seen in children, when we are told to do something by an authority figure, we comply because we understand that we are supposed to comply with authority.

  2. W.E.B. DuBois (1868-1963): American philosopher and civil rights leader wrote The Souls of Black Folk, which points out the “Double consciousness” which is the belief that the African-American in the United States live with two conflicting identities that cannot be entirely merged together. He also explains his sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of other. I agree with these statements that as an African American you feel as if you’re being seen as a representative of your whole group. As a African American female, I have experienced this first hand, for example just because I am a African American female I should wear weave, which is not true.

  3. John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) was an English philosopher, economist, moral & political theorist who believed that we only need to follow one rule to determine how to act in any situation. The “Greatest Happiness Principle” is supposed to make it super simple to determine which actions are right. His view is a form of consequentialism an ethical view where an action is judged right or wrong on the basis of its consequences. For the example where the train will either hit 1 person or 5, mills view states that we should kill the one and save 5 because the greater good.

  4. Epictetus was an ancient Greek philosopher in the Stoic tradition. I relate to the stoics on a personal level. The stoics were rational people who believed in unbiased decisions. They believed in actions brought upon by deep thought and analysis rather than emotion. Personally I try to eliminate emotion from the equation in my decision making process; I believe it yields a better outcome. Emotions cause partiality, subjectivity and preference. Having a rational mindset is best for decision making, because it eliminates bias.

  5. “Do we have free will? “ Determinism is “the theory that absolutely everything that happens is causally determined to happen exactly as it does by what has already gone before – right back to the beginning of the universe.” Galen Strawson (1952-present) in “Your Move: The Maze of Free Will” argues that people cannot be morally responsible for their actions, whether determinism is true or not. “Ultimate moral responsibility is impossible, – because it requires the actual completion of an infinite series of choices and principles of choice.” Because we are not responsible for every feature of our minds, we cannot be entirely responsible for our actions. I agree with this statement solely on the fact that he states that Intentional actions are a function of one’s mental properties and if we are responsible for our mental prosperities we must have chosen to have those properties.

  6. Judith Jarvis Thomson (1929 – present) is an American moral philosopher & metaphysician who expands upon “Killing, Letting Die, and the Trolley Problem” expands upon the Trolley Problem and aims to draw a general ethical conclusion from it. Thomson indicates that ethical decision-making requires much more deliberation than just applying one rule to all possible cases. Thomson generally agrees with those who think killing is worse than letting die. In Thomson’s case where it is a choice to kill 5 people or pull the trolley and kill 1 person, she feels that killing the one person by pulling the lever is worse than just letting the trolley kill the 5 people. I do not agree because I go by a utilitarian mindset that killing the one person is for the greater good.

  7. Iris Marion Young, an American political scientist, makes great points in “Five Faces of Oppression.” One point she made that was truly profound was her statement that we cannot eliminate structural oppression. A great example of structural oppression institutionalized systematic racism. We cannot simply discard of this by changing laws and removing bias politicians and law makers. It is deeper than that. Racism is a form structural/systematic oppression. The entire system of the U.S. is bias and built against people of color. Young makes this clear when she sates “we cannot eliminate this structural oppression by getting rid of the rulers or making some new laws, because oppressions are systematically reproduced in major economic, political, & cultural institutions” and I couldn’t agree more.

  8. Post # 2
    DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk

    After the abolition of slavery, Black people still had to suffer due to their skin color.
    Dubois wrote about how Blacks had to face the difficult situations because of the Jim Crow Laws. Blacks were not treated as human beings; they could not even have their own identity. It seemed like there were two worlds, one for White people, and another one for Blacks. Being different became like a sin. Racism has been one of the biggest problems that affect America.

  9. Post # 3
    Russell, “Appearance & Reality”
    Russell gets the attention of the reader by asking whether knowledge exists that can be known beyond reasonable doubt.
    Russell is skeptical that our senses can give us knowledge about reality. He suggests that some of our knowledge comes from our experiences.
    Russell also suggests that there is a distinction between appearance and reality. Sometimes things seem to be something, but they are not. Senses may definitely trick us, they may give us contradictory information creating certain confusion at the time when we trying to describe something. His example about the table explains how people can describe the same table with different details.

  10. Post #4
    Milgram, Free Will
    This American psychologist examined how social surroundings influence our thoughts, feelings and actions. He was very curious about obedience to authority. He were looking for answers to understand how ordinary people could transform their lives and commit acts of cruelty.
    Some of the explanations may be that we may be subject to social determinism, where the social situations may influence our behavior.

  11. Post #5
    Thomson, “Killing, Letting Die, & the Trolley Problem”
    Does it matter if a man was killed or only let die?
    According to Thomson, this ethical decision-making needs more deliberation that just applying one rule to all cases. Many people may suggest than killing is worse than letting die, but it depends on the situation the person is going through. Other people may think killing and letting die are equally bad. I agree with Thomson, killing is worse that letting die, of course it will depend how it is done.

  12. Post #6
    Race & Gender: Young
    This American political scientist provides different terms to describe the injustices perpetrated against people due to their race, gender, sexuality, etc.
    Shen mentions starts by mentioning that people believe the U.S Declaration of Independences’ assertion that “All men are created equal” means that all people in this country really are given the same opportunities to succeed. She also says that all groups are not oppressed to the same extend. Oppression affects a lot of people, and it is not easy to stop it.

  13. Post #7
    Race & Gender: (de Beauvoir &) Mills
    Women and racial minorities are usually forced to stay in their place. These groups are considered inferior, and they cannot advance. It seems like they have not rights. Some people believe that women’s biological burdens will not allow them to be free like men. De Beauvoir thinks that these kind of things can be overcome by modifying social customs, and I totally agree with her. Also, Mills talks about race and its importance. Mills argues that race matters because it has always been a hierarchical system. If people understand what race means it will help to comprehend how society works.

  14. Post #8
    Human Nature: Hobbes
    According to Hobbes the ideal government is a monarchy. He suggests that people cannot be trusted, unless they know the consequences of disobeying the monarch’s orders.
    He also says that in order to find out what kind of government we should have, we have to know what human nature is like, how they act in their natural condition.
    Hobbes thinks that when people are successful they become targets of envy, theft and competition and that’s why they intimidate each other in order to protect themselves. Everybody will do what it takes to make sure they will survive.

  15. I don’t agree with Epictetus when he thinks we should avoid getting emotionally invested in anything outside of our control. He thinks then we will find fault with no one or accuse no one. To me, he is suggesting a world where there is no justice system. If someone is robbed, he or she will file no report since it is out of his or her control and he/she is not going to accuse anyone. I think even though something happened to us on which we do not have control over, we still should take it seriously and sometimes emotionally so that it won’t happen to us or anyone else anymore. We should accuse the robber and punish him so that he/she will not redo it. If a tree falls and breaks a house, we should take a lesson from it. If we are serious and emotionally attached to the incidence, we will build our home more strongly and take into consideration all the facts that can damage our home next time.
    He also thinks that we should not be sad when our loves ones died- I do not like the idea at all. Our mind is not like a computer where we can delete what we don’t need and reset our life with someone else. I think if we don’t remember them, we were never emotionally attached to them.

    After his the above discussions, I have a question to Epictetus. What if our love one was killed? Should we forget our love one and forgive the killer? – No human being can do this.

  16. I agree when Hobbes says, “If any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies”. This is so true in our real life. This is what creates conflicts- mostly power conflict. Power conflict is more visible during wars and presidential elections. Nominees become enemies when actually they don’t harm each other. I think this is a human nature. I often see children fight for a toy. When one gets, another becomes upset. They try to fight and show anger to each other. They do it without any pre-knowledge. No one never teach them to act like that.
    I also like where Hobbes thinks- only a fool could believe that justice could exist without a powerful leader to ensure that we keep our covenants. I have experience from both a developing country (Bangladesh) and a developed country (USA). I noticed the difference between the two countries’ the laws, regulations, and justice system. Even though they have similar systems, because of lack of powerful leadership, most Bangladeshi are ignorant about that. However, when they come to USA, they become loyal citizens. It is the result of a powerful leadership.

  17. I have similar opinion to Rousseau that “the best time for humanity was in the early stages of society – what people imagined to be the Golden Age”. People used to have more unity than now. I think civilization is making us more isolated. Now we love to spend time more on social networking sites than family and neighbors. Before there was no money, no greed, and therefore no power, no betrayal, and no conflict. Before we had sympathy for one another, cooperation, and an equitable division of resources. Now we all have experienced how everything has changed. People have divided into classes, races, and cultures etc. Poor people are isolated from the rich, poor are oppressed. Therefore, sometimes I wish I would have born on the Golden Age and never had to face the difficulties brought by the civilization.

  18. I agree with Milgram’s “obedience to authority”. During presidential debates, we see candidates have different approaches and ideas to face a crisis. Even though most works done by soldiers, they are never asked for their opinions and feelings because their duty is to follow and obedient the authority. Therefore, for any immoral actions, we hold responsible the authority not the soldiers. We all accuse Hitler- not the soldiers who followed his instructions.
    It is also true that when we do something immoral that was an order from an authority, we feel less or not responsible to our action and seem to have no guilt on that. When I was in middle school, we had a rule in class that if one didn’t do her homework, another (who did homework) would pull and twist her (who did not do) ear. We had no objection to it even if we did this to our best friends because this was ordered by a teacher. We act like a robot- without mind and feelings.

  19. Judith Jarvis Thomson, in “Killing, Letting Die, and the Trolley Problem,” attempts to weigh the difference between killing an individual and letting one die. The text suggests that many people believe that killing is worse of than letting die and I agree, but to and extent; it all depends on the situation. Lets say, for example, in the case of four men being stuck on the track, ahead of an oncoming train, and the alternate route for the train contains just one people tied to the tracks. It would be logical to flip the switch and kill the one individual than let the for individuals die, because both the four men and the one guy are in the same situation and the choice ultimately becomes to save one life or four. But in the situation of bringing a bystander into the equation to save the four unfortunate souls, it is not at all rational. The bystander is in no way equal to the four people tied.

  20. Post#1
    Aristotle points out to us to rough guidelines for us to act in a right way, and that we can not make any specific laws or statements saying what is right and what is wrong. I agree because every one is different, everyone grows up in a certain that makes us not the same. This can affect our norms and what we think is acceptable and good or not. Also, our telos determines our actions. Most of the time humans end goal is happiness. Different people can think differently of what their happiness is. Ethics are made by doing the best action we can do in any situation that creates our character.

  21. Post#2
    De Beauvior brings up the question if it’s enough to change laws, customs, public opinion, etc. for men and women to truly become equal. She points out the similarities between gender and racial inequality and I agree. Right now there aren’t any laws segregating people of color. However, things like racism still exist because of the way people think of each other and the stereotypes that follow. I also agree with her when she says it is nonsense to think that gender equality will threaten romance and sensuality. I feel like that is just an excuse to use when the guy gets rejected. However, I do believe it will be hard for each gender to see each other equally. It is not just men seeing us equally but vice versa and I see a lot of the time how my friends treat their boyfriends…but at the same time I also see how their boyfriends treat them too…Ok off topic, anyways we just need to start treating each other with respect and not degrade each other of what we are “suppose to do” and encourage what we can do. I know some people that do dress with a lot more skin showing more than usual and I also know people that don’t dress like that but was born with areas bigger than usual if you catch my drift. Both get talked to in such a dirty manner where it’s truly disgusting. There are also a lot of rape victims involving girls, but if a man is raped it is laughable and a lie.

  22. post#3
    Young explains that people often think that social group membership is something an individual chooses but it isn’t. Stereotypes did come from somewhere, and it’s not fair to automatically group together people of the same ethnicities. However, I do recognize that people of the same nationality tend to go towards people of the same nationality because they probably share similar backgrounds and can understand each others culture better. Then there are people who don’t mind the nationality, but goes toward people of the same color. For example, I could be Korean but hang out with Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean friends together. There are obviously people that hang out with everybody but most of the time, the social group membership starts from group categorization and norms that are major components of individual identity. That’s why it is probably easier for people to group people based on what they see with their eyes and harder to drop the stereotypes. Many times I’ve been bullied for the Asian stereotypes and how I look, but it’s not just from white people. However, I have seen Asian people who do the same with them. I think this grouping that we have and are comfortable with begin this competitive mindset of who is better and who are the minorities.

  23. post#4

    John Stuart Mill states on rule..”Greatest Happiness Principle” that are suppose to make it easy to figure which actions are right and wrong where its judged bases on the consequences it makes. However, there is an objection to this saying if a person acts based on a sense of an obligation or to make themselves look better to other people, determine if it is right or wrong. Mill replies whether it was for his duty or to be paid for his trouble, the person has done what is morally right. I don’t agree. Its like saying it doesn’t make you a good person if you go to church. The mindset behind it, the reason behind it is what makes it right or wrong. Honestly, no one can 100% know what the future consequences will be after doing this certain action.

  24. post#5

    Mill speaks up about a complicated topic of racial categorization and what determines which race someone belongs to. Pointing out the NAACP leader Walter White that was socially categorized as black but had blond hair and blue eyes. Using this ability to pass for a white man to see the injustices against African Americans. Though this was toward to benefit African Americans was it wrong for him to do that? Was it wrong for him to pretend to be a different race? I don’t think it was wrong for him. If he was disgracing his ethnicity then yes however, this was towards a cause. Sadly, race works in ranks and groups of color and stereotypes that give each races a different approach.

  25. Epictetus introduces a stoic way to respond to emotions. We are told that detaching ourselves from our emotions, and using our thoughts and reasonings to guide us through decision-making is the most-fitting method. In addition, attachment to things and people are seen as weaknesses and a sign a vulnerability to Epictetus. Growing up as a Buddhist, I was also taught to see attachment in a negative light. Nothing in life is permanent, so attachment to an item or person only results in suffering, which is the opposite of what Buddhism strives for. However, as I grew older, I realized avoiding attachment is close to impossible. Attachment is a basic need that everyone has in order to feel important. Although suffering may come along with attachment, suffering is what makes us human beings.

  26. DuBois writes about his lived experience of being black in America after the Civil War. He describes a “veil” that shut black Americans from the world of white Americans. This veil is seen today as racial bias, or also known as implicit bias. A few months ago, I actually took a test, created by Harvard, to see if I had hidden racial biases. My results were little to no automatic preference for White people over Black people. Living in with a family and in a country where racism is prevalent makes it almost impossible to escape racial bias, even though I don’t express the same views. After reading public comments about the test on Buzzfeed, many people seem to doubt that implicit bias exists today and that the test was, overall, very confusing so it does a very poor job determining racial bias. However, I think this test is very accurate because it tests people’s immediate instinct, which will truly determine whether one has implicit bias. (

  27. Aristotle creates the concept of “Golden Mean”. He gives a list of virtues and vices that I 100% agree with. One vice that I would add to his list is dishonesty. I have realized that dishonesty may be one of the most expensive vices. The best way to describe this would be through the census. The census is conducted every ten years to collect information about the population and it takes $6.9 million to conduct. Some people may choose to distrust the census, which may lead them to conduct their own census. However, who would have $6.9 million to spare? Not only in the census, but if we distrusted every source we encountered in our life, we would be unable to trust information and we would try to obtain information first-hand.

  28. The first time of learned of Milgram’s experiment was during high school in a social science class. We watched a documentary on the experiment in order to learn about ethics. I still have the same opinions I had on the experiment as back then, and it is that I would have never administered a shock even if someone was commanding me to. Milgram states that one reason why people flick the switch was because they did not feel morally responsible. However, even if you were not morally responsible, you are still the one inflicting the pain. This experiment reminds me of the show “Jessica Jones” (which is on Netflix :D). Kilgrave is able to control people by commanding them to do something and his commands make you want to do it. Jessica Jones has killed many people under the command of Kilgrave. Although her friend insists that she is not a murderer, Jessica can not help feeling that she was responsible for the deaths. Although one may feel like an instrument for carrying out another person’s command, one should still feel responsible for what they have done.

  29. Post#6
    I agree with Churchland when she says that defining free will is a very important yet difficult and ambiguous thing. While she was talking about the technicalities of free will and self-control, I was torn between whether free will actually does exist or not. I believe the arguments for both sides have their strong points. What I find the most interesting about this excerpt however is the ending, when she discusses the social necessity of free will. I think this debate can continue on forever, whether free will really exists or not, but why do we even need to know? We need to know because we are living in a world that is completely sculpted by social rules and regulations, and the validity of this social world requires that everyone has free will. By the end, I personally do not think that people have free will, but that it is just a necessity to a civilized community.

  30. Post#7
    In technical terms, Strawson’s argument supporting the Basic Argument makes sense and is completely logical. However, this Basic argument is just too simplistic to be applied to real life. It is true that no one can determine how they are born, and there are many things about ourselves that we cannot control. However, we had to have been taught to do the things that we do, and we can choose to either eat something rotten or not. We don’t avoid a black apple because of biology. We avoid it because we have learned that an apple should be red or green or yellow… not black. Therefore, the way we think is not out of our hands. We are taught things we know, and with the things that we are taught we are able to make decisions. Yes, there are things that are out of our hands. However, not everything is out of our hands, and therefore cannot simply say that we cannot control what happens.

  31. Post#8
    Russell’s discussion on “appearance” and “reality” makes me think of the recent viral controversy about the dress that some people saw as blue and black and other saw as gold and white. According to my reality, that dress was gold and white, and no matter what anyone else said, I will never believe that that dress is blue and black. One day, however, my psychology professor, having bought the dress online, walked into class and lectured wearing the dress, and it is in fact a blue and black dress. So to me it appeared white and gold, but in reality it is blue and black. What still confuses me, though, is what really constitutes reality. Towards the end, Russell says that there is a “point in which the philosophers are agreed — the view that there is a real table”, meaning that there is one correct reality. How, though, can someone say that my reality of the dress being white and gold is false, but that there is one right reality… which is not mine. Perhaps I am just being arrogant and stubborn, but this point is where I get lost in this excerpt.

  32. Post#9
    In this excerpt, Nagel discusses the blurriness of the line between the need for determinism and the need to believe in free will. I lean more towards the side of free will, because he is right when he says that if determinism is how the world really works, then we are “like a lot of puppets”, and no different “a dog or a cat or even an elevator”. I think that we do have a choice between the peach and the cake, and although the specific circumstances do influence how we make our decisions (whether our friend is there pushing us or not), the decision is ultimately ours. It is not predetermined that we eat a peach or a cake, and it is dependent on our own values, wants, and needs that we choose to do the things we do. I think that the idea of determinism is interesting to entertain, but I would never say that it is valid, in my own opinion.

  33. Post#10
    I agree with the dualists, or nonphysicalists. The human mind is something that cannot be copied, and cannot be manufactured. If it could, then robots definitely would have taken over by now. There is a difference between a human body that can carry out simple tasks and even respond to stimuli, and a human with a mind that can feel fear, remorse, and love, have instincts that can either be ignored or followed, and can think abstractly about the world and beyond. These days, with such advanced technology, it is scary how close robots are to humans. There is very little that a robot cannot do that a human can do, which blurs the line a little on what really makes us humans human. However, what I think it is that robots cannot do that humans can is experience some things in life and the world, and that comes from the mind, not the physical, mechanical, neurological brain. It is an underlying, abstract thing and I believe it is separate from the brain and necessary to call something human.

  34. Post#11
    This excerpt by Jean-Paul Sartre is filled with a lot of interesting points and ideas about man. I found one point particularly interesting and important to understanding how we become the people we are today. He says “that every one of us must choose himself; but by that we… [must also choose] for all men”, and explains that we make our choices and mold ourselves not into who we want to be perse, but we create ourselves based on “an image of man such as [we] believe [we] ought to be”. At first I read this and interpreted as saying that, in creating our own identity all that we care about is being the perfect person, or the ideal man or woman based on the current society. Thinking about it deeper, though, I realize that I forgot the first part of what he said: “every one of us must choose himself”. Yes, there is an ideal that every person, to an extent, tries to be. However, I think that we are all born with a distinct mind and personality, and that we cannot mold every level of ourselves to be the ideal, but that we can experience life and acquire values that help us become the unique people we are, so we do not all just become the ideal man.

  35. Post#12
    When Ryle talks about and explains what a “category mistake” is, he is explaining the abstract nature of the definition of humans and the mind. We make such category mistakes when things are hard to define, hard to explain, and hard to conceptualize. The human mind is not a concrete thing, which is probably why there is so much debate on it, not only in philosophy but also in psychology. I completely agree with Ryle when he says that “their puzzles arose from inability to use certain items [in] the English vocabulary”, because all of this confusion and uncertainty and blurriness of lines is coming from the lack of understanding of things, but I think that certain things are just so abstract that there cannot be one solid definition. Just a continuous debate.

  36. Post 13
    Judith Jarvis Thomson talks about that decision we make that puts on in a difficult spot. Is killing worse than letting die? Others think killing is worse than letting die, while others say both are equally bad. I feel like Philippa Foot gave a good explanation explaining the negative and positive duties we have. She says it is better to obey the negative duty to not kill and violate the positive duty to save the five. Five being related to a surgeon who can kill a healthy person to save 5 lives who need organs. She says we are more obligated not to kill than we are to save lives. Thomson also explains that if the surgeon did take the healthy specimens parts, he would be the main reason for that persons death. However, if David doesn’t harvest them, the five patients would die as a result of their diseases. This question is brought up if we ought to believe it is allowed for the surgeon to then indirectly cause the healthy persons death. If this healthy specimen loses their life, it can save five lives. This gives the surgeon more of a reason to want this persons death. That thought is just scary in itself, yes we can save lives if this person is dead, but it does not excuse us to take away or hope for death.

  37. Post #14
    Epictetus was an ancient Greek philosopher in the Stoic tradition. Stoics were rationalist that believed decisions and actions should be made with thoughts and not emotions. He advises us that we should not desire or get too attached to things and people. He says we will be disappointed when we have desires, he says attachment cultivates strong affection and makes us vulnerable to sadness. However, I think this is what pushes us to be better, and grow. If I didn’t have any desires, I wouldn’t have any motivation for myself to achieve anything. It is disappointment that makes me want to get up and try again. That is what makes me try hard in my own control. I am in control so nothing will happen unless I do something about it. I feel like attachment just comes with the package when you love someone, or care for someone. If I were not to want to be attached to anyone then I shouldn’t talk to anyone. That’s a lonely and sad life to be in already. Yes, we are vulnerable to sadness, but sadness can also be that push we needed to grow as well.

  38. Churchland expresses her believes that one day neuroscience will be reduced to or replace by neuroscience. Although I can see why she believes that due to historical evidence. At one point in chemistry, matter was thought of as five elements: fire, water, earth, air, aether. However, those terms became obsolete as more hard sciences were introduced such as physics. As we learn more about neuroscience, the terms we use today may become useless. However, I find it strange to think that somewhere in the near future, people may be saying “The neurons around my frontal lobe aren’t firing properly,” instead of saying “I’m feeling a bit sad today.”

  39. Churchland’s view on free will comes very close to my thinking of free will, which is that if the action was done out of self-control, then that action was done out of free will. Choices are made from the brain and if some impairment prevents the brain from self-regulation, then I do not believe there is free will. Therefore, if someone with an impairment commits a crime, I don’t think he or she should be held morally responsible. However, it does not mean that I believe he or she should roam freely on the streets. He or she should enter a psych ward in order to get help. However, Churchland believes that all individuals should be held responsible for their actions, so she would most likely put that person with brain damage in prison.

  40. John Mill, in the excerpt from his “Utilitarianism,” explains that actions are judged on being right or wrong by their following consequences (consequentialism). He explains that “right actions” lead to happiness and pleasure, and “wrong actions” lead to unhappiness and pain (Utilitarianism). From personal experiences, I greatly agree. When I proceed with what feels to me like the right thing to do, I ultimately end up feeling good about myself and the same goes when I do something that I believe is wrong.

  41. Mills discusses the possible criteria for determining racial identity and what happens when those criteria conflict. Many people commonly feel some discord between their internal and external ethnic or racial ethnicity. As a child, I was surrounded by people of other ethnicities and races because of the diversity of my neighborhood and city. I was influenced a lot by how others dressed, ate or acted mainly because of my curiousity. I also grew up watching many TV shows making me want to dress and act like the actresses on TV. As I began adopting different ways from my ethnicity. For instance, when I was little, all my mom would make was Chinese food. My neighbors were Hispanic on the left and White on the right. Sometimes I would go over to their houses to eat after playing outside with their kids. When I went home, I would find myself asking my mom, “How come we don’t make french fries?” As a result, now my mom makes all kinds of dishes, ranging from Korean, American, Mexican, etc. I wouldn’t say I am conflicted about my race, but because of the diversity in NYC, I have grown up less attached with my ethnicity.

  42. Post#15
    In this excerpt, Hume discusses the debate on whether men live and make decisions based on passion or reason. He ends by saying that the error that people make is thinking that it has to be either one or the other. In reality, both passion and reason are major factors into the life of men and the way we choose to live our lives. Hume is saying that there is no perfect man who leads his life solely on perfect reason, and this, in my opinion, is what makes us human: falling to passion. When he says “either of them prevails, according to the general character or present disposition on the person”, he is referring to the fact that whether we follow our passion or our logic is circumstantial—it depends on the person, the time, the place, the people around. I strongly agree with this, and I think it applies to everyday decisions.

  43. Hume believes that we can only learn which causes lead to which effects through repeated observation, from the ‘constant conjunction’ of two events in sequence, we infer that the first caused the second. From reading this I agree, I do feel we were born with a blank slate and we attain our knowledge from our experiences. The effects from our experiences are lesson, when we experience a hot stove, we understand that it is hot and we will not tough it because we don’t want to get burned.

  44. Descartes is motivated by the realization that many of his childhood beliefs turned out to be false. “I was struck by the large number of falsehoods that I had accepted as true in my childhood, and by the highly doubtful nature of the whole edifice that I had subsequently based on them.” Because of this he doubted everything. Descartes is embracing skepticism: that one should withhold belief in x if one lacks true knowledge of it. I believe that we should doubt most things until we absolutely understand them.

  45. I agree with the dualists. The human mind is something that cannot be copied, and cannot be manufactured. If it could, then robots definitely would have taken over by now. These days, with such advanced technology, it is scary how close robots are to humans. When we watched that show humans, I believe that that would be reality in the near future with the technological advances me have today. Robots can never have a physical brain. Robots can mimic a mind but can never become human because of our other properties.

  46. Young’s idea of oppression largely sums up a prevalent problem found within our society which is an inability to find fault in small subconscious thinking that lead to structural oppression. Without any harmful intents or oppression in mind, even people who mean well do what it is they advocate against in more extreme countries. Bias and prejudice, although seemingly small at an individual level, become mediums through which oppression thrives and grows until it finally creates detrimental effects on entire groups as is the case with Trump’s rallying against refugees and muslims as a whole. His case is one that shows how destructive small biases are once united by a leader taking advantage of unfavorable situations.

  47. After read O’Neill’s account on Kant’s ethics, I realized how much it is used today without an individuals even realizing. What Kant talks about (what O’Neill says Kant talks about) are the ideas that are ingrained in many cultures; don’t treat someone the way you wouldn’t like to be treated. People all grow up in different societies with different cultures and behaviors, yet we still end up having this unified set of beliefs of what to do and what not to do, what’s good and what bad. Although, there are variations, they all point towards a similar direction.

  48. I agree with deBeauvoir observation that the social construction behind the word ‘women’ is what restricts a woman’s freedom. Females are generally called ‘women’ when they satisfy the social construct behind women. However, what even classifies as ‘female’ in the society now? Today, even the term ‘female’ is muddled. Many individuals are encultured since birth that there are only two sexes created from X and Y chromosomes – XX (female) and XY (male). However, there are many other variations that can occur. There are five chromosomal categories of sexes – X, Y, XXY, XYY, XXX. If DNA is the defining factor of sex, then why does society only construct two sexes? If not all the possible variations of sex are accounted for, how can we start created social constructs for men and women. If a male is able to fit all the social constructs of a women, should we call him a female? If the prerequisite to be considered ‘women’ is unclear, what happens now? Social constructs hold back the world from being able to open to more possibilities.

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