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Thursday, May 11th, 2006
11:54 pm - Some help if I may be so bold to ask...

As I am new to this Live Journal business, you must forgive me if I make a glaringly embarrassing faux pas, it's not my intention, I assure you.

I first must apologise if you read this elswhere, as it is cross-posted in other communities. For I am in a state of desperation.

If any of you reading this are teachers yourself, or have written or are writing a thesis/dissertation, I find I must beg of your help.

I am involved in a course that has recently implemented a thesis/dissertation trial. We are marked as if it were as important as the 'real thing' etc. However, the only thing missing is the luxury of time. I have 2 months in which to write the 10,000 words, and I now have a month and a half left. I have an incredibly broad scope to choose from - anything that I can justifiably relate to the writing sphere. I am not begging for ideas. I fully intend on coming to that realisation myself. Once I have my starting point I .know. that I am capable of achieving this goal. The problem I face is how to go about reaching the topic. It seems everything I come up with would be a wonderful essay. But I do not think that the ideas are original enough to be classed as 'Thesis worthy'. They are observations, not difinative beliefs.

Due to unfortunate circumstance (there is no malice involved, however)I find that I am not recieving the help that the other students are. My teacher has packed me away in a box believing I am fully capable of doing this on my own. So I have had to go over her head to get advice, and I was hoping someone out there in the big wide web may be able to point me in the right direction.

If anyone has any tips on how to go about beginning this creature, I would be most grateful. I feel as if I am tearing out my hair trying to work this out on my own. If someone could please point me in the right direction, either from their own experience or some useful sources you have come across it would help a great deal. I have looked up the definition and found a book that briefly mentions Dissertations, but I find that I am still at see.

I hope I am not breaking any rules here.

current mood: anxious

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Thursday, April 20th, 2006
8:40 pm - an intro and a ramble.

Good evening to you all. I hope this kind of thinking is appropriate here.

I thought that I would introduce myself before I start to ramble. I am Vertizart, a freelance artist from Melbourne, Australia. If anyone is interesting in talking or finding out more about me, feel free to pop into my journal and have a browse. I'm rather new to this livejournal business, so please forgive any faux pas on my account. I should probably include this post involves mentions of animals and their natural activities. So killing etc.

I've been watching David Attenborough's 'The Life of Mammals", and tonight, in Australia, re-screened the final in the series. Something I have noticed while watching the documentaries, is the social interactions of the animals. You have the cats and the dogs, their packs and their hierarchy's. For all the beauty that lies inherent in nature, there is also inherent crueltly, such as the fox that kills the lamb to eat only its tail and its tongue. What I found interesting, for all the evolutionists out there (of which I am one) was how incredibly similar the behaviour of monkeys and chimps and various apes proves to be.

It is on this note, that I found a rather interesting point. As each animal is profiled, and as each animal becomes closer to what most humans consider to be our 'ancestors' if you will, the more cruel their social behavior is. Most mammals will not kill their own kind. Orcas, or Killer Whales, while rather vicious creatures will not actively hunt another of its species. A Chimp however, will not only hunt and kill other primates, but they actively gang up on members of their own clan en masse and brutally maim the creature, leaving it for dead and therefore ensuring it's demise in the canopy above.

How reminiscient is this of gang culture? We see it on the news everyday, some of us are even personally involved. It makes me wonder at what the accepted term of 'civilized' has come to mean. We often say that the ape, as it makes its way down the road of evolution, to supposedly become human, complete with social structure, concsience, and what we term as 'civilized behaviour' is becoming a higher intellectual being. But what is more civilized? The animal that kills others out of necessity, wasting little of the carcass that remains; or the animal that in a group, gangs up on another of it's own kind and ensures its death in the most brutal manner possible, using nothing of the carcass to contribute to the health and the well being of the group as a whole?

Just a thought swimming in the depths of my brain.

(sorry if you read this anywhere else, it's x-posted to another community)

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Sunday, October 16th, 2005
3:33 pm

Being is and cannot not be. Not being is not and can not be.Collapse )

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Friday, August 20th, 2004
1:14 pm - true?

"De toute façon, on est toujours un peu fautif."
-Camus, L'étranger

rough translation: "When it comes down to it, we are always a little at fault."

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Sunday, June 27th, 2004
8:16 am

Wow, this place is dead. Lets see if I can't jumpstart things with a very simple, yet potentially annoying question we've all had to deal with...ready?

"Do you believe Truth exists?"

Perhaps this is too simple a question, maybe too complicated, in my mind its a little of both.

One more thing, a friend and I were talking about Philosophy as a whole and I took this stance; That true Philosophers attempt to understand truth and gain knowledge. I say "true" in light of his argument, which is that many contemporary philosophers fall into the trap of trying to make money and sound intelligent (much like the sophists), while others fall into the trap of trying to write/talk like a "Philosopher" (i.e. using complicated language to explore a simple or even pointless issue).

current mood: contemplative

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Tuesday, March 9th, 2004
11:04 am - The Big Questions -- Chapter 1: Philosophical Questions

p. 33 Opening Questions

2. If you had only a few minutes to live, what would you do with them? What if you had only a few days? Twenty years?

Ideally, pretty much the same things I am doing now.

If I had just a few minutes, I wouldn't have sex, but I might choose to "cuddle" or "snuggle" -- something I regularly do, but which might seam especially appropriate. Likewise, I might have a good red wine. Perhaps a really good cup of coffee at a café while watching people walk by on the street. Maybe just a good dark beer. But right this moment, if I were here at home, I would walk up the street to the park and feed the ducks and swans some bread.

cont...Collapse )

A few days wouldn't make much of a difference except it might be easy to sit on a pity pot and not get off. I'd go to the caverns...Collapse )

If I had twenty years, I doubt that it would make any difference right now as to how I would live... but as the time got closer it might.

As I think about this portion of the question, I wonder how many of our decisions are based on the expectations of the needs of old age. utility curves with a time deminsionCollapse )

Related: At some level, the deeper question seems to be, What impact does my mortality have on how I lead my life?
Also: Should I live my life as if every moment were my last? Why, or why not?
Finally, if I knew the hour (date, time) of my death, how would that change how I lived?

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Monday, March 8th, 2004
9:13 pm

It's a fundamental concept that the purpose of the news is to relay information and current events to the public.

I was talking to my dad about why I don't watch TV anymore; even the news is frustrating. That DUN DUH DUN DUH music, the frantic atmosphere. They make news out of bullshit.

My dad used to work for NBC advertising and while he was there, he learned the basic goal of American media:

"To make people say one of two things: 'I'm glad that's not me,' or 'I wish that was me.'"

Either way, people will consume.

It's good to know American current events are in good hands.

current mood: disappointed

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Sunday, March 7th, 2004
6:54 pm - The Big Questions -- Chapter 1: Philosophical Questions

p. 33 Opening Questions

1. Is there anything you would willingly die for? What?

Quite bluntly, I don't think there is any thing.

Of course, I can go on about whether I would try to pluck a child from in-front of a speeding auto. And in fact, I probably would... if I thought there were any way to save the child. But that is a particular and specific case. In the abstract, I don't think I would die to protect children... it is only in the moment that it might happen.

In much the same way, I can envision a situation where I see someone being beaten up or tromped to death and I come to their aid. Yes, in doing so I would risk my own life to save their life. But, would I do so? ...especially if (1) I knew what I did would probably not make a difference and therefore (2) instead of just one of us being killed, both of us would. I just don't know. [And I have the sneaking suspicion that I may well do nothing, be afraid, get stuck.]

I think of the many religious martyrs. Some of them willingly died for something, though I'm not so sure that that something can rightly be called their faith or their religion or their god -- it seems more as if they died for their sense of propriety, their understanding of integrity, or even to make a point. But clearly, many of them did willingly die for something. I think of the buddhist monk who doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire to protest the US's actions in Vietnam. Clearly he made a point. And perhaps that point made was quite cheaply made in terms of simply counting of dead bodies. Or, in the case of early christians refusing to light incense to an effigy of an emporor-god, for example, I'm not sure it is for their god so much as for their understanding of integrity that they were willing to be killed. So this leads to a slightly different question.

Is there anything I would not be willing to do, even if I knew the result would be my death. And related to this is whether the threatened death of another (one I cared for greatly) would cause me to do anything that I otherwise would not be willing to do. That is, is there anything I would willingly let someone else die for. These are, I believe, contained at some level in what the initial question is trying to get at.

Remark 1: Something related to this, at least for me, is whether or not I think my death would make a "difference," as mentioned above. For example, if I were a hostage, and it was clear to me that if I acted, even though I would probably die, the other hostages would be able to act and probably overcome the hostage-take, then there is a real possibility I would do something. On the other hand, if my acting would probably get me killed, but lead to others not doing anything, even though their actions could accomplish some good, than would I have done a good or a bad thing by acting?

Remark 2: If there were an option which would prevent me from dying, but by taking it, the remainder of my life would seem worthless to me, then is living something tenable? Again, there are a couple of angles to this. Just because my life seems worthless to me does not mean that it is viewed the same way by others. For example, if I would be spared from death if only I would murder someone, would I?

Remark 3: Suicide. Is suicide relevant to the above question? At some level, suicide is a type of despair. How does this tie in with the above ideas that life must, if not have a purpose, at least have a potential in which it is possible to realistically (self-convincingly) believe?

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Wednesday, March 3rd, 2004
3:46 pm - The Big Questions

A friend in Texas wrote to Dan (my husband) asking what I was doing while he was working here in France. She asked if I was wearing a beret and reading French Philosophers while sitting in the cafés.

I do have a baret, though I don't wear it much. And I have been sitting in cafés. I have even mastered ordering a number of different drinks (both more and less potent potables) -- it took me a while to get the dark beers, but I have now mastered both the word and the strange r sound that I kept messing up with.

So while I have mastered some of the basics, nevertheless, my French isn't yet up to philosophy. My background and current readings have been much more focused on theology -- specifically, I am reading, marking, learning, and inwardly digesting Richard Hooker's On the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity -- he is basicaly the founding father of the Anglican via media and since the Elizabethian setelment has been the touchstone for all theology that calls itself Anglican.

While theology and philosophy are closely related, they aren't quite the same thing. And so I have decided to read an introductory philosophy book just to get an overview. The Biq Questions: a short introduction to philosophy (sixth edition) by Robert C. Solomon seemed to fit the bill -- and basically, how many English intro philosophy books can you find here in France?

An aside -- students here start studying philosophy in late elementary school. Wow! I'm jealous. Rather like theology, philosophy is something that we really don't learn much about in the US, and therefore don't really have the tools to enter into a simply conversation.

My goal over the next few months will be to work through Solomon's The Big Questions and answer a few of the questions. The book is set up to do that. After an introductory chapter, each chapter picks up one of the "big questions" and looks at some of its background as well as how it has been aproached by different philosophers. Most chapters begin with questions to get the reader to start thinking about the issues before reading the text, and then end with questions to illicit the readers own views on the issue now that the ways the questions have been aproached has been examined (a bit).

I would love, if as I post my responses to some of the questions, you comment on and present your own views.


current mood: contemplative

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Tuesday, March 2nd, 2004
11:01 pm - just a question...

I was wondering if anyone in here has ever taken a class in Boolean (I'm pretty sure that's how you spell it)logic? I don't mean a class in which you dicuss philosophical ideas, but one in which you use semi-mathmatical formulas to create, support, and prove and argument. Math is my weakest attribute and I was wondering, out of those who have taken a similar class, if they had problems as well.

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Monday, March 1st, 2004
12:24 pm - Hedda Gabler

I would like to write a paper which treats Hedda Gabler as a God character. She is manipulative, conceited, and needs to be worshiped. At one point, she says she needs to control the destiny of a man. There are several other instances where this thesis presents itself. Anyone have any leads? I haven't been able to find much on the MLA database.

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Sunday, February 29th, 2004
11:09 pm - I'm new, finally.

I've been listening in on your thoughts on and off for a few months, so I think it's about time for me to actually join the community. My name is Stephanie, I'm a senior in high school, and I'm looking forward to some good discussion here.

current mood: hopeful

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Monday, March 1st, 2004
11:07 pm - *such a sight for deserted eyes, and theyll never let you in*

im new.
my name is desiree'. im an artist, a lover of philosophy, and a dreamer.
i dont have much to say at the moment.
just thought id say hello.
more to come.

current mood: sad

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Wednesday, February 18th, 2004
1:54 pm - read this now


this article is so crazy. Your mind will be seriously fucked after reading this.

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Sunday, February 15th, 2004
8:52 pm - Hello

I'm new so I thought I'd do what everyone else seems to have done and write a little introduction to who I am.

My name is Benjamin, 22, and I'm a full time philosophy student at University of Birmingham, England. I'm from a little place just down the road called the Black Country. Our most famous exports are Neds Atomic Dustbin, The Wonderstuff, Dexys Midnight Runners and Pop Will Eat Itself. As you can see, we're low on cultural heritage.

As far as philosophy goes, I enjoy reading/discussing meta-ethics, existentialism, metaphysics and I've recently been drawn into Personal Identity. There are far too many philosophers to list that I've enjoyed reading, and almost as many that I haven't. I'm currently battling with a disertation on Argument From Design and an essay on Philosophy of Language- if anyone wants to write them for me, please contact me. My highest grade was in logic. As this confirmed my nerd status, I was not pleased.

I play in 2 bands- one who have minor success but nothing else, and one who are unheard of but have a single coming out next month. I'm married, I get bored easily and sometimes only Curtis Mayfield can keep me sane.

Be gentle with me.

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Saturday, February 14th, 2004
1:38 pm - existence precedes essence: blurring the lines of the natural and the unnatural

I am new to this group, and I decided I would put my latest post here. I originally posted it on my private journal and decided I should share some of my ideas with a philosophy group.


well, this topic came up in my bio class, and my friend Max and I started to talk about it. We were first learning about blood types in class (nothing stikingly new) and it occured to me that she never told us why we have blood types. So I asked her and she simply said, "Well, why do we have eye color?" So it got me to thinking about how mutations occur without a beneficial reason nor do they come from need. As a matter of fact, most mutations either do nothing or are harmful. We did not mutate to have opposable thumbs so that we could pick up things, we had the mutation and then we discovered a purpose for this mutation. Then, through selective breeding, our species came to have opposable thumbs. The mutations that occured creating an opposable gave the mutating being an advantage over the non-mutated, thus the mutated beings survived easier that the non-mutated. This is not an accurate example, because I do not know the specific gene regulating thumbs so I do not know about this mutation, but it does portray my thoughts. Basically, if there was a need, and one such mutation fulfilled this need, this mutation would become widespread throughout the entire species.

So, in the case of mutations, existence precedes essence. And this is so with all natural living things, and with the universe. Throughout the universe are scatterd things called "nebulae" which are typically comprised of gas and particles. Usually, thanks to gravity, they will eventually form into galaxies made up of stars, planets, moons and the like. So, you see, the existence of gas and particles gives way to galaxies, which may have more order and purpose than free floating matter. This can definitely apply to all natural living things. Drawing from the idea of mutation, one can see how species evolve first, and then can fit into the food chain or the environment and can serve a purpose on our planet.

This may also apply to the life of a human being. Throughout history, philosophers have been comteplating the meaning of life, and all people the meaning of their own individual lives. Humans are born, arguably, without purpose. Through natural reproduction, babies are born and as they get older, they will begin to question life: "Why do I have to live?" "Will I really make a difference in the grand scheme of things?" If I simply let go of life, will it make a difference?" "I'm not really enjoying life anyway." These are the questions that go through the mind of a typical adolescent. However, as these adolescents grow older, they get jobs, they fit into society, they feel like they have a purpose, and eventually, possibly to make themselves feel even more worthy, they have more children. This is the general progression of life, and shows how existence precedes essence.

On the other hand, there are things that exist in life that do not follow this pattern. We have normally labeled them as "unnatural" things. We, as humans, have a need to fulfill. We find resources, we create something, and this need is fulfilled. This is not the general progression of natural things. This is that of unnatural things, such as tools and machines. However, this line between "natural" and "unnatural" is very indistinct. Going by the law that "all things in which their essence precedes their existence are unnatural", we would have to conclude that many things we view to be natural aren't truly natural. First of all, all government must be unnatural. We saw that humans have many faults, and to prevent these faults from destroying the lives of others, we set up laws and government to keep us in check. We also created government to simply make us, as a human race, stronger. However, government was not established before we became a species; our intelligence allowed government to be formed.

Also, all of our tools and creations, no matter how primitive, would have to be unnatural following this law. For example, spears would have to be unnatural. Though they may come from natural products, wood and stone, the product of the human mind that is a spear would have to be unnatural, because we thought of a spear, and then it came into existence. Also, "all-natural" juice is also incorrect. Though your everyday juicy juice may be made from natural ingredients, the combination with the addtion of various flavors, not to mention the packaging and marketing, make it an unnatural object based on this law. But most people would disagree with these examples. After all, it isn't only humans who use resources to make tools. Birds make their nests out of sticks and ants make their homes out of the dirt. So just what is natural?

What about genetically modified animals? As one example, we have made genetically modified goats that can produce thread strong enough to hold a car. Would these goats be natural beings? They are certainly organic and living, but are they natural? If not, does that make EVERY creation unnatural? How about test-tube babies? They are not born through natural child birth, however would you deny that any child born this way is natural? Is it even "moral" to say so?

However, it may be morality that blurs the lines of the natural and the unnatural. "Unnatural" has an unfavorable connotation to most people. So, if we find something to be useful, and we agree that it's benefits outweigh its detriments, thus making it "moral" in our terms, we can view it to be natural if we choose. Because, if it wasn't natural, than it would make it less moral. And, if something isn't moral, than it is unacceptable. However, morality is in the eye of the beholder.

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Thursday, February 12th, 2004
6:54 pm - ethics

Take some time to consider:

"if there were a fire in a museum
which would you save, a Rembrant painting
or an old woman who hadn't many
years left anyhow?"

-Linda Pastan (poet)

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Wednesday, February 11th, 2004
8:21 pm - Anselm's OA

I think I understand the argument fairly well, and I'm pretty sure I understand some of the major objections. Yet I have questions that I was hoping somebody could answer.

1) Have nihilists disregarded the question because of its presupposition of qualitative hierarchy?

2) It seems that at some point, one must acknowledge an understanding of "that thing than which no thing can be greater." But the conclusion is that "that than which..." is in reality, and therefore greater than the thing merely in the understanding. But doesn't this conclusion mean that your understanding of that which is greater was false to begin with?

3) What has been the response from poststructuralism? One would think poststructuralists would deny that Anselm's premises have no real ontological foundation. For instance, the idea that one could define and conceptualize God as "that than which no greater can exist" seems ridiculous from the perspective of posstructuralism.

current mood: complacent

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Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004
8:05 pm

I've decided something today. I've decided that life is too good to be spent wishing that you had done something. If you sit around all the time too worried about doing something to do it, what's the point of even thinking about it? Life is all about experiences, both good and bad, you need the bad for the good to seem good, so take chances! Either way it turns out, you benefit from it! Every opportunity to indulge oneself and/or learn something new should be used!
Of course, that's not to say that one's life should not have a few basic rules and guidelines, but even those can be bent or crossed over once in a while. Take risks! Even do things that people tell you you'll regret! You only experience life once! Experience it to its fullest extent!

I know so many people that wallow in depression and terrible moods! I've been there too, believe me, there HAVE been times when I haven't wanted to continue on, but looking back, my feelings during those times seem petty and foolish. Take my word... if you only open your eyes and seize the opportunities that life presents you, you'd be much happier. Take a step back from your emotions and your problems and look for another way out. Take a step in a different direction and try something new.

Many who might read this might be saying to themselves... "he's got a girlfriend, ignore him." Yes, yes I do. But it's by taking this chance, this gamble of emotions of experiences that I'm able to add another page to the book that is my life. Think about it, who wants to read a book in which some person sits there and thinks about doing stuff? Wouldn't they rather read one in which someone actually goes out and does those things?

Think about it. Do what ever you want to, this is the time of your life to make mistakes and create experiences.

Go crazy! Have fun! Fall in love! Break your heart! Make friends! Find old friends! Do something bad! Do something good! Just do something! Trust me, your book will be much more interesting!

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Friday, January 16th, 2004
8:34 am - The Evolution of Symmetry

Before anyone gets into a spat about the idea I'm tinkering with, I'm just think of a creative solution to my need to believe in determinism and many theories, which seem to undermine this.

Having considered chaos theory and quantum mechanics. I have become stuck considering the foundations of mathematics, which I have become accustomed to believe are true.

It's been difficult to consider an indeterminant universe. It seems to go against everything we believe is true.

With the exception of it being difficult to accept new ideas, I began wondering why I was so adverse to this idea. It seemed to take away from reality, in a way. I then considered why the idea seemed so foreign.

Randomness makes order a difficult proposition. I wondered why chaos theory appeared so orderly. Nature seems to be filled with an apparent order.

I decided to take a closer look at where the confusion started. Mathematics is the relationships of numbers we use to describe events in nature.

Read more...Collapse )

This idea probably is far from perfect. I might be crucifying an idea, which already exists. I'm unsure.

I curious to know what others think about this idea.

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