All posts tagged: philosophy

Week 37 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Trust

“He was confused.  He had never asked her to trust him or said anything to make her believe he was worth her trust.  And she knew his past – so what did she expect? She had trusted him – to do what, exactly?”

Do you know what it means to trust someone? What about trusting yourself?  Answer quickly, before philosophy gets in the way. You think you know, until you realize that you do not know at all what it means to trust and be trusted.

Click to visit this week’s post to learn about trust.
Plus, journal questions to help you understand how and why you trust!

Week 36 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Architecture

Because of rising housing costs and scarcity, renters are forced to make decisions based on criteria such as square footage and utility instead of artistic design and psychological effects. Buyers are apt to make decisions based on price speculation – a property that increases in value is the smart buy. However, despite not being at the forefront of importance, the architecture of the buildings we inhabit matters to us for its subtle effects on daily life.

Find out about how architecture transcends physical reality (!) and journal questions to reflect on your own home.

Week 29 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Tools

Humans are differentiated from other animals by our extensive use of tools.  Yes, other animals use tools, but the use is relatively rare, and the tools are basic.  What counts as a tool for an otter might just be the use of a rock to smash shellfish from their shells.  A rock and a jackhammer are hardly comparable, though.  Comparing basic animal tools to complex human tools is like comparing communicative animal cries to human language. Viewing the comparison that way, it’s clear that human tools are in a special category.

Human tools also have symbolic meaning. What is a dream catcher, a magic wand, or a ghost trap?

Keep reading to find out what makes human tool use special and what your attachment to tools says about you!

Week 28 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Art

You love the arts and want your government to spend more on grants and public art, right? Well, even if you don’t, there are many good reasons for devoting effort and resources to the arts, such as cultural development, social activism and community engagement, and childhood education.  The artists themselves insist that art is good for us as human beings.

But there are plenty of reasons to reject funding the arts, too.  Top of the list: it costs a lot of money, it “does nothing”, and we can’t even agree on what counts as art.  The alternative is to spend money on things that give us utility – we can all agree on what’s useful to society.  In contrast, words probably never said about art: “That’s really useful.”

Let’s explore the Top 5 reasons to reject art as a concept and as a recipient of funding!

Week 27 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: AI & Tech Ethics

Who’s making up the ethical rules when it comes to AI and tech? Labs in America and China are racing to make AI ready for consumers, for economic growth, and for warfare. It’s clear that 21st century warfare will be fought with smart drones instead of humans.  In the economy, AI robots are being sent on suicide missions to do jobs that humans do not want to do. How does it feel to know that your next intelligent, self-driving car is programmed to either kill you or a pedestrian when it encounters an imminent collision situation? 

This is the mere tip of iceberg of ethical issues – issues that human beings have never had to think about before now.

Visit the post to get informed about the future. As usual, the daily journal prompts are here to help you mine your mind.

Week 26 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Moral Status of Fetuses

Let’s start by recognizing that we all care about fetuses and believe they have some moral status. Whether you’re discussing this issue with someone is pro-choice, pro-life, or declares undecided, take it for granted that s/he doesn’t wish harm on a fetus. I mean, it’s safe to say that protesters who are pro-choice aren’t pro-death; they’re protesting for what they believe are women’s rights. There’s a difference – like protesting in favor of job creation isn’t the same as protesting in favor of fossil fuel usage, even if increased workforce participation not-indirectly results in increase fossil fuels usage.  The point: we all recognize that fetuses have a moral status but can’t agree on three things: first, when that moral status comes about, second, what that moral status should be called, and third, what rights it earns the fetus.

Visit the post for this week’s questions!

Week 25 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Personhood

Personhood is a topic that bears legal and moral consequences. You might have heard about it in discussions of immigration or abortion.  But even if those issues don’t relate to you personally, personhood is still an important topic for you.  Your security and status in society require an entrenched concept of personhood developed over hundreds of years.  Personhood relates to all rights, responsibilities, respect, citizenship, voting, and freedom.

The designation of personhood adds special significance to what would otherwise be regarded as a mere thing.  The personhood designation says: [pointing to someone] That thing is not merely an object, but is a person.  That means it requires special treatment and special ethical consideration – you can’t kill it and can’t treat it however you want, as you would a brick, or a computer, or a stuffed bear.

Week 24 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Fame

This week’s journal topic: Fame Being famous is a new career choice and a highly desirable one for Millennials and Gen Z.  Twenty years ago, if you asked an elementary school student what she wanted to be when she grew up, she might have named veterinarian, scientist, or doctor as dream careers.  The Barbie dolls of the 90’s reflect these choices.  If you asked a student of the same age nowadays, you might hear the answer, “Famous!”  Closely related are the “careers” of Instagrammer, vlogger, Youtuber, and Twitch star. Paris Hilton led the way of the tribe of women who are famous-for-being-famous.  Kim Kardashian followed a few years later and continues to reign as a pop-culture Queen.  And so-called “DJ” Khalid is known more for his social media presence than talent. Fame certainly has an appeal to our generation.  Even though it’s clear that fame is a much tougher game than beautiful Instagram profiles make it seem, the number of young people throwing their entire lives into the ring keeps increasing.  After the dust settles, …

Week 22 Questions for Know Thyself 2019: Meat Eating

(This post is part of a weekly series for Know Thyself 2019, a 365 day journal project. Start here!) Last week’s topic was fairly philosophical and abstract, so this week I’ll offer up something concrete and practical.   We make food choices and encounter other peoples’ fanaticism, so what could be more useful than discussing food and meat? Lifestyles of the Rich and the Blameless In third world countries, vegetarianism is widespread because meat is very expensive. As the world’s poor earn more money, they eat more meat. (Economist, May 4th 2019) Meanwhile in the first-world, meat is plentiful and inexpensive while whole foods and organic produce are expensive. As people become richer in the West, it becomes a badge of honor to eat less meat.  (Economist, October 13th 2018) (Nearly) Fifty Shades Vegetarianism – avoiding animal products except dairy and eggs Veganism – strictly avoiding all animal products (sometimes including honey) Meatatarianism – like Jordan Peterson’s daughter, who eats only beef! Pescatarianism – avoiding meats except fish Fruititarianism – eating only fruits   Animals: Meat? Or …