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HALLOWEEN EDITION -- DEATH!

  • Nov 3, 2013 · 3:00 PM
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just watched the movie Gravity and it has a theme involving death.

In this discussion we will consider how it is we want to leave this world.  Not whether someone will cry for us but rather do we care if they do or not?  This perspective will be between your physical being and the lack thereof.  What is the perspective we want to have when we chase that white light? 

Some will run at the white light and others will have to be dragged.

We will discuss what is our state of mind at that moment and what we want to be thinking from inside these eyes.  Or maybe something biologic kicks in and it really is not up to us?

This will be a free wheeling discussion so let us see where this leads but only come if you do not have nightmares.  You probably shouldn't come if you still think there are people under your bed with long knives either!

You can come if your only scared of regular things like spiders and pontificating philosophers.

I am pretty sure I am going to want a beer after this one so will enjoy your company.

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  • Steven

    The article below suggests the Mind-Body problem is unresolved. As such neither side of Theism nor Atheism can claim more evidence for their side of the equation based on reason and scientific inquiry.

    As such a personal decision of Atheism or Theism can only be based on faith as the crux of fact is centered on the unresolved Mind-Body Problem.

    November 5, 2013

    • Steven

      Ah a lament, got it. Can you not appreciate the sublimity in appreciation of the very high mathematical probability that miraculous (unusual) things happen all the time?

      November 6, 2013

    • Paul

      Sure. A mathematical justification is better than the one originally advanced. It is not simply my desires that lead me to the conclusion, but a logical argument.

      November 6, 2013

  • Laurie

    I think what I meant by believing in every day miracles is having the ability to experience a sense of wonder and awe at some of the inexplicably beautiful things in life. To me, this is an important part of life, even if it's irrational.

    November 6, 2013

    • Paul

      In principle, I agree with you, Sam. I too would rather see the world as it is. But is this possible? Is there even a world to speak of if we do not experience it? And is there a world to speak of if we do not
      communicate something of it, through propositions? Surely there are certain tautological propositions that can be determined true or false, for instance, the proposition "All unmarried men are bachelors." But when I say that the sunset is beautiful, the sunset holds no beauty absent my experience AND my communication of that beauty, whether to myself or another.

      I suppose that what I am saying is that to conceive of a world is to make a judgment, and, as Husserl (or perhaps Heidegger) would put it, we are "shepherds" of reality. We do not make reality, but we certainly guide it.

      November 6, 2013

    • Paul

      As for the "miracle" debate, it appears, upon a dictionary consultation, that anything that elicits wondering awe could be a miracle, but certainly the above statement I have made addresses such a conception. Reason does not have to be separate from awe. I have frequently been taken by effective arguments that appear to capture some essence of reality. So, wonder is not necessarily irrational; there can be perfectly rational reasons for experiencing wonder at our world. The awe is simply a human experience. The most we can say about the beauty of a sunset is that it is "beautiful-to-the-e­xperiencer." As Steven pointed out, Kant's conception in the Critique of Judgment is an excellent attempt at explaining a universal sense of the aesthetic.

      November 6, 2013

  • Laurie

    Very interesting.

    November 5, 2013

  • Paul

    Very good discussion. I appreciate Steven and Sam for keeping us on track with the discussion.

    For those new to philosophy, there is an excellent internet resource at www.philosophypages.com which has a full glossary of philosophical terms and brief overviews of the thought of major philosophers (as well as minor ones). If you hear a term, such as "epistemology" or "logical positivism," that is unfamiliar, check out the definition. There is also a section on logical reasoning, which would be invaluable to look at just for the sake of disciplining one's thought. Philosophy is a discipline. It is hard to give reason a fair shake, especially concerning sensitive subjects. Forcing oneself to look at all sides of an issue is the hallmark of the philosopher. By all means, defend an argument, but to defend it to the death despite perfectly valid and sound arguments to the contrary gets the group nowhere, and more importantly, it gets you nowhere.

    1 · November 4, 2013

    • Steven

      I believe attention to philosophy to be an obligation in a society and I get the sense the Great and Powerful DC Philosophy Cafe members understand this.

      1 · November 4, 2013

  • Steven

    PS Farhana this connects snugly in the science question.

    November 4, 2013

  • Steven

    Thank you all for coming. A couple of thoughts please?

    I feel I was clumsy in achieving my goal of getting past the circular God no God debate. Some said I should have simply stated that :) I freely admit I still have philosophy training wheels on.

    Having watched the excellent videos by Sheely Kagan I thought it important everyone be exposed to the dualist monist concepts. To the best of my research the Soul/no Soul argument is a tie, philosophically and has been for a long time.

    If we start with a premise of a tie there are a number of philosophic reasoning's that I believe have implications on our every day lives.

    I am working on an essay laying my arguments out on this matter summarizing my research hopefully blending in your perspectives.

    I hope to be posting this to the "More/Files within the next few days.

    I would like to encourage others to also post there thoughts there or here?

    1 · November 4, 2013

  • Phil M.

    Just wanted to say how great it was meeting you all; I already miss you guys!

    1 · November 3, 2013

  • Steven

    I plan on coming as me and that should be scary enough. Anyone have a costume or something they are bringing for the occasion of death or shall it be a surprise?

    October 31, 2013

    • Steven

      You mean like WC Fields or Eleanor Roosevelt?

      November 1, 2013

    • Paul

      Thanks, my little chickadee!

      November 3, 2013

  • Paul

    If you have a disgusting amount of free time in the next two weeks, check out: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEA18FAF1AD9047B0&feature=plcp

    Yale philosophy professor Shelly Kagan's entire semester-long course on death.

    13, 16-18, and 23, on first glance, seem particularly relevant to our discussion.

    2 · October 21, 2013

    • Steven

      Yes thanks Paul and from my research there has never been a person to report back from the dead so we are looking for volunteers for this Sunday?

      November 1, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      These videos are really great. Thanks Paul.

      1 · November 2, 2013

  • Paul

    Here is a short article on the life of Albert Camus that was just published in Philosophy Now that may be of interest; it is free on their website (philosophynow.org).

    http://philosophynow.org/issues/98/The_Master_of_the_Absurd_Turns_100

    Camus theorized that there is no objective purpose of our existence, and likens our lives to the myth of Sisyphus: http://www.nyu.edu/classes/keefer/hell/camus.html In short, we are all existentially pushing the rock to the top of the hill. In the face of these repetitious problems, life appears to be absurd. But within this absurdity, both torment and joy may be found. Once the absurd is seen for what it is, man is a master of his fate, and so, "all is well." Camus also famously stated that the most important philosophical question is whether or not to commit suicide.

    I think that his thought is particularly relevant to the discussion at hand.

    1 · October 30, 2013

    • Steven

      Just read Sisyphus and it is excellent. Would make for an engaging discussion if enough people read this.

      November 2, 2013

  • Steven

    I would like to make a personal appeal to everyone about the study of philosophy.

    It should be done actively not passively. You are the beneficiary if you take the time to view some of these excellent references everyone has been kind enough to share. If we are true philosophers then we are polite and respectful and viewing what someone offers is showing respect. We hope you get the addiction of seeing things in new ways. Once you learn concepts of philosophy you cannot go back to the way you looked at things before.

    Please take an hour one early morning and pour through some reading and learn but one concept. Study a glossary search for different philosophies.

    And anyone can ask me anything about good sources or perhaps a study plan but no marital advice please?

    Steve[masked]

    1 · November 1, 2013

  • Steven

    How about this? We either show in costume or have a small offering to the group? Fangs or candied corn sort of thing?

    October 31, 2013

    • Tristan A.

      I will be embracing my Scottish heritage

      October 31, 2013

    • Steven

      Make sure you wear underwear with any Kilts.

      November 1, 2013

  • Steven

    NOT IN THIS LIFE
    From Socrates to Descarte the dualist became known.
    We did by pure reason did find solace in meta-physical borne.
    But pure reason did offer a recant by that guy named Kant.
    And today we chase Bosons to break impass of materialistic slant.
    So the philosophers have spoken and it is an exact tie.
    Don’t expect the answer before you or yours do die.

    October 31, 2013

  • Tristan A.

    In thinking about the topic, I think it would be helpful to be aware of the difference between "death" and "dying". It's rather amazing how many of our fears of death are actually fears of dying.

    1 · October 29, 2013

    • Tristan A.

      I think that once we pass some number of people with shovels, it's important to recognize we have likely just wandered into some sort of shovel convention.

      October 31, 2013

    • Steven

      I don't know about you all but personally I see a lot of people with shovels I'm getting out of there whether from fear of being buried or for fear of actually being handed one.

      October 31, 2013

    • Steven

      The unwritten rule is when you have seen the answer you don't give it away so others might participate.

      October 31, 2013

  • Steven

    We need a challenge or two. Everybody bring their favorite philosophic passage, quote, joke, riddle or scary story with a death theme. We will each then stand and deliver to the group. So someone might stand and read Nietzsche and the next quote Homer Simpson. Then we vote on best representation of death. So if you talk too long it will be self correcting. Does not need to be some deep philosophical meaning as a shallow laughter may well draw more votes.

    1 · October 30, 2013

  • Steven

    By the way I did not solve it but now know the answer.

    October 28, 2013

  • Steven

    This promises to be a great discussion and as promised I will have awards for the winner of a group vote for best costume as we discuss various aspects of death. We will attempt to hit this from a variety of angles so bring your best conceptions, stories or fears of death.

    October 21, 2013

  • Paul

    Great Halloween topic! This will likely involve the meeting point between philosophy and spirituality.

    1 · October 14, 2013

    • Steven

      Yes exactly that point...."They'­re here"

      October 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sounds interesting. I'm still in.

    October 14, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    That sounds good to me. I'm looking forward to seeing the materials you send out to prepare for the debate meeting. I don't know anything about debate.

    October 5, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I'm wondering if anyone might be interested in discussing privacy (or lack thereof) - benefits, costs, consequences - and its place in modern life. My apologies if this topic has been covered already.

    October 5, 2013

    • Steven

      No that has not been addressed and I like the idea. My trend of late is to consider such things then decide at the previous meeting the topic for the next. We might also select that as a topic in our debate meeting?

      October 5, 2013

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