Schantz's Straight Talk

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Schantz's Straight Talk

Phenomenalism

June 8th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

  1. In the philosophical sense, “phenomenalism” is a belief that we can only have knowledge of what we perceive, that reality depends on our perception (and therefore we cannot be certain of the true nature of reality),  that matter exists (as far as we can know) only if and when we perceive it, and that if there is a fundamental reality beyond the world of “phenomena”, it claims, it is unknowable and therefore not worth speculating about.
  2. I rarely made any ordinary uses of this term, if ever, so I may not really have an “ordinary” definition to compare it to.
  3. My belief in God is not particularly connected or dependent on this concept, but perhaps it is rather in opposition to it. There are those who would argue that God cannot be perceived (although I disagree with this to a certain extent at least), and therefore it is not worth it to speculate about/believe in Him, a notion I strongly disagree with.
  4. One person liked it. She said it makes sense. “It’s like the idea that we all create our own reality and shape the world around us, but our world and our reality is also shaped by the realities and perceptions of other people around us. But if one were to really truly believe they could, and focused all their energy toward changing their physical environment, they could. But the power of many minds is obviously stronger than that of one mind, so others’ inherent belief that the world is a certain way–unchangeable– influences “reality”.” She said.

Another said that “God is cool — we really don’t know — it’s kinda one of those thoughts you think of like “Does that guy really exist, sitting right there, am I really here, what if I’m the only person in the world. But there could be (more to) know to stuff then just the stuff and the senses that we are given on this planet are the only senses we can use to perceive anything in perception.” said another person. I disagree, to a good extent, at least, I’d think, with the first person-I believe that the concept doesn’t make that much sense overall and that the fabric of reality, if you will, may be rather firm regardless of how many people are thinking something. The second person may have been a BIT more in alignment with me, but as I generally disagree with phenomenalism, she may not have been. A third person said that “It seems like an unnecessary academic complication of an obvious concept, honestly. The only real thing differentiating it from obvious fact is the idea we shouldn’t speculate about it-that makes it stupid.” I agree more with him, even if I think that it is a bit more differentiated from obvious fact than he does.

5. This relates very much to a certain school of idealism. Both seem to insist that reality is shaped by the mind-or, in phenomenalism’s case, by what our mind perceives. The two may be rather closely related, in fact, as both place emphasis on an individual’s mind/perception, hailing it as the standard against which reality itself is measured, or even shaped and determined.

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Equality

June 1st, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

1. In the philosophical sense, “equality” is just that-the idea of political and social equality. Often, the question that presents itself when striving for equality is what does it mean-equal OPPORTUNITY or equal DISTRIBUTION OF RESOURCES? Additionally, it can speak of equal rights for all in the eyes of a nation’s law and/or the eyes of God.

2. In general, the uses I make of this term align with the philosophical definition of it. For whatever it’s worth, I seem to lean more towards the equal opportunity side of the issue when it comes to that part of equality.

3. I believe that God creates every man with equal rights, but perhaps not with equal abilities. In that regard, as stated above, I generally tend to believe that it is better that equal opportunity is provided to people as opposed to equal distribution of resources (if for no other reason than a government venerable to corruption trying to redistribute resources will at worst be downright stealing, at best…um, about the same thing, perhaps, or at any rate just getting the distribution wrong.

4. Opinion on this concept seemed to vary. One person said: “Everyone being viewed as the same through whatever lens one is evaluating them”. Another said that “We were born unequal, spending resources equalizing people is a waste”.  Still another said “women and men are the same, they’re like one person, there are no different norms or societies.”

5. The concept of equality ties directly into concepts of God. Is it right to strive for equality? Does God grant us equality, at least in His own eyes? The answer to that question may well provide insight into the nature of God, and as such, the concepts of God and the concept equality are indeed linked.

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Fascism

May 24th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

1. “Fascism”, in the philosophical sense of the term, is a political ideology that stresses nationalism, militarism, centrally regulated private enterprise, the state over the individual, and a single-party, totalitarian government.

2. In general, the ordinary uses I make of this term match up with its philosophical definition.

3. Part of my beliefs that are connected to this concept are my beliefs about God and natural rights. I believe that a fascist government is wrong, because I believe that God gives man certain rights that a fascist government doesn’t uphold.

4. For the most part, the common definition people hold of fascism (if any, some would have needed to look it up first) aligns with the philosophical definition of the term. They believe it is, as one person told me, “a political movement/agenda thing that has a dictator as their government and extreme nationalism and the government controls most things”, which, although perhaps not PRECISELY aligning with the philosophical term, still comes pretty close to it.

5. The concept of virtue ties into the concept of fascism in a number of ways. Namely, is it virtuous to run a government with an iron fist, and to emphasize that the state is everything, the individual nothing? Is that virtue? I personally believe not, but fascists would doubtlessly argue that it is, whether it be for purposes of the safety of a society, or the greater good, or what have you. Basically, the debate over fascism is itself the debate over governmental virtue, over what it is right for a government to do.

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Consciousness

May 17th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

  1. In the philosophical sense, “consciousness” means, in general, our awareness and “sentience”-something that separates us from beasts. Most theories concerning it associate it with the waking state-and as such involving an interaction of perception and contemplation. Ideas about the source of consciousness are across the board, from spiritual to electromechanical.
  2. Usually, when I say “consciousness”, this is basically what I mean: our intelligence, our knowledge, and what we are aware of-and, at times, at least, our state of being truly conscious and aware-unlike beasts.
  3. I believe that humanity’s consciousness is given to us by God-so thus my belief on the origin of our consciousness is a spiritual one. I also believe that our consciousness-that which separates us from the animals-may be a mark of the “image and likeness” of God that man was created with.
  4. One person I talked to believes that this means that you are aware, alert, awake, and your willingness to work at something-touching somewhat on the idea of consciousness in the philosophical sense. Another said it was being aware of your surroundings and being able to comprehend what’s going on around you-tying into the notion of the cooperation of perception and contemplation. Still another stated he believed his state of consciousness was how aware he was of the connections between his emotional, physical, and spiritual selves to the universe using all his senses at any given moment of time-again, touching on the connection between the inner self and the outside world, and how the former of them responds to the latter. Their meanings of the idea somewhat compare with mine (especially the last one), and may be more or less the same, but perhaps are different in that my definition of the term may focus a bit more on our overall state of sentience and awareness in addition to our knowledge and perception.
  5. The concept of consciousness ties very much into the concept of idealism. Several theories state that our minds basically dictate reality, as such, our consciousness, by that definition, is what dictates reality. The two are practically entwined, at least, idealism, is heavily dependant on consciousness. Considering how idealism is a way of viewing reality based upon the notion that ideas are the basis of reality, idealism is heavily dependant on consciousness-by idealism’s teachings, our ideas, our perceptions and interpretations, our ideas-thus our consciousness-either shape reality, or at the very least are a strong indication of what reality is made up of.

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Idealism

May 11th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

  1. Idealism is, in the strictly philosophical sense, the position that reality is comprised of ideas as opposed to objects, or at least that ideas are at the base of reality. That idea is itself separated into several sub-ideas:  that all reality is but a product of the mind, that we can only have knowledge of the content of our own minds and not of what is beyond them, and that the material world exists, but only as an imperfect version and reflection of an ideal, “perfect” realm beyond our senses. This idea not only relates to me, but in fact to us all, as it is a theory on the very nature of reality and existence itself, for everyone and everything.
  2. To be frank, my definition of this term and what it actually means in a philosophical sense were rather different. I used “idealism” to indicate the unfailing adherence to and/or belief in a pure and untarnished set of ideals or causes, as opposed to a reflection on the very nature of even the physical aspects of reality itself. However, they are alike in that even “idealism” as I used it still believes that ideas and ideal states, concepts, etc. triumph in reality-similar to how some philosophical idealists believe that ideal states and concepts, etc. are in fact the “real” things and that our world is but a shadow of them.
  3. In general, I disagree with this concept, although PERHAPS I can tie into the third sub-idea of idealism a bit. This world is obviously flawed, and I believe that, in line with Biblical teaching, it was better before man sinned and that a new world is coming which will be better, and in that sense I may believe this world is but a flawed reflection of an ideal world that did once or at least will exist (that, and I believe that the realm of Heaven exists).
  4. Some of the people I talked to said they didn’t know what this meant to them, not off the top of their heads, at least. One person I talked to was able to hit the term of philosophical idealism almost right on the nose, concerning its belief that only ideas are reality, and as such his definition differentiated from my (pre-reading the text, at least) definition. Another simply defined idealism as “the belief that things can be how one wants them”-more or less corresponding with my own definition. My own mother described it as having strong ideals and adhering to them, as well. All in all, it seems the common definition of idealism is just that-common, and that awareness of this concept in the strictly philosophical sense is somewhat limited.
  5. Philosophical idealism relates to the philosophical concept of virtue in a number of ways. In addition to the common connotation of idealism that involves remaining true to a good and untarnished standard or dream (an at least arguably virtuous quality), some would argue that virtue is but in the mind of each man (a position that I disagree with, but one that is often put forward nonetheless) and amounts to what they think is right and what they think the world SHOULD be like. Similarly, idealism states that the mind itself, and perceptions of it, may well be all that we either can know, all that there is, or, at the most, that there is a world beyond our senses in which the ideal and only the idea exists-including, presumably, what is right and thus virtuous.

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Deism

May 3rd, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

  1. In the philosophical sense, deism is the belief in a single, supreme divine being, but more specifically, the term, even in terms of philosophical discussion and movements, refers to a doctrine which first became prominent in the 17th and 18th centuries. First “founded” by Edward Herbert (1583-1648), some of the main teachings of “Deism” were that God exists and created the universe, but is not active in His creation. Since “deists” were free-thinkers from a wide variety of backgrounds, there is no coherent “Deist Theology” so to speak, but many of them believed in a single God, the value of human reason and virtue, and opposed (sometimes rather vehemently) to more established religious orthodoxies.
  2. In general, when I use the term “deism”, I’m usually referring to the movement that believed in an impersonal creator God, as opposed to simply a monotheist. So in general, my uses of the term “deist” and the strict philosophical term line up pretty well.
  3. As a Christian, you might say I am a deist-in the monotheist sense of the word. As a Christian, I am NOT a deist in the sense of belief in an impersonal God, and as such, my beliefs about God may well in fact only be similar to the “Deists” in that I believe that God is our creator and that He wants us to love our neighbors.
  4. In general, most people also think that the term “Deist” refers to one who believes in a creator God, but an impersonal one, and who rejects the teachings of more established theologies. As a result, my definition of this concept has pretty well lined up with the (most seemingly) common one. May have somewhat surprised me that another definition of “Deism” was simply the belief in a single God, so my definition of deism may have been different from that one, at least.

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Virtue

April 26th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

  1. In the philosophical sense, the study of virtue is a wide-reaching study on what qualities are necessary to live a good (at least, as close to good as can be) life, and the study of what exactly the origin of those qualities is. There have been many studies and theories about philosophical virtue throughout history, and many ways they have been divided (such as Aristotle’s ideas and distinction he said existed between abstract wisdom which contemplates universal principles and practical wisdom which directs good conduct). One of the most common divisions in the study of virtue are the three most-stated beliefs on its origin: one, that it is a native aspect in the character of a virtuous individual, two that it is something aquaired through habit and learning, and three, that it is a gift from above.
  2. The philosophical definition of virtue is far-reaching, and can even be indicative of STUDIES of virtue as opposed to virtue itself. When I use it, my definition of it is a bit narrower, coinciding with Christian teachings on the subject (at least, I hope so :D) as opposed to the more broad general philosophical definition.
  3. As I have stated, my definition of virtue coincides with Christian teachings on the subject; I am Christian, so it is only natural. My belief in God and beliefs on His nature and will is what my definition of virtue comes from.
  4. There are as many different beliefs on virtue as there are ethical systems held by people in the world. In general, my own beliefs on it line up, (by and large, at least) with those of my fellow Christians, although sometimes I have a bit of an “archaic” touch that rings back to notions of chivalry, personally. In general, I have some in common with non-Christians and their definition of virtue (don’t murder, steal, etc.), but I suppose I deviate from their views on quite a few important issues (such as the origin of virtue and how big a role God should have in a man’s life).

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Predestination

April 19th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

  1. In the philosophical tradition, predestination is a theological doctrine holding that the course of the world, and particularly human condemnation or salvation, has been predetermined by God (and/or gods, or whatever higher power one is believing has done it).  Basically, this is the belief that a higher power has been predetermined and preordained everything that has occurred and will occur, with an emphasis on who goes down and who goes up upon passing.
  2. The philosophical meaning of predestination is not particularly different than what use I personally make of the term in day-to-day conversation (when it comes up, which is admittedly rare). However, sometimes, the term is used simply (and perhaps inaccurately) to describe “fate”, and even used by some people to deny free will and state that since everything is preordained, we cannot be blamed for our actions (whereas that is not what it is, although it has sparked debate about free will).
  3. My beliefs concerning this concept are pretty much that it exists. I think that God has a plan which CANNOT be denied or evaded, and that while free will exists, He plans knowing our free will, and knows and/or has determined ahead of time all that will occur.
  4. Again, for many others is used simply (and perhaps inaccurately) to describe “fate”, and even used by some people to deny free will and state that since everything is preordained, we cannot be blamed for our actions. I disagree strongly with that perspective, although I know that there are many who agree with me on what this term MEANS (and even, perhaps, many who agree with my own views on it as well).

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Feminism

April 13th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

  1. Feminism is the social, political, and cultural movement dedicated to achieving equal rights, respect, power, and status for women alongside of men (or in some cases, arguably even MORE than men). There are many different kinds of feminism, each with a different focus and emphasis and even teaching (some believe men cannot be a part of the solution and reject them outright, some focus on the plight of ethnic minority women, some even try to unite their philosophy with other political philosophies like Marxism).
  2. Feminism, in the philosophical concept, is the entire collection of feminist activity and thought and even satire ranging across all cultural and ideological spectrums (some more concerning and radical than others) and going as far back as ancient Greece with the satire Lysistrata. By contrast, the modern and common usage of the term “feminist” generally tends to be in the positive context of the political movement for women to be hailed as fully-fledged people no more dependant on men than men are on women.
  3. I believe that women have the right to be held as equal to men, but I also find nothing wrong necessarily with traditional gender roles. Additionally, believe that sometimes, the modern feminist movement, in fact, doesn’t want true equality, but wants women to be protected and legally exalted above what they see as a totally and completely depraved and evil male gender.
  4. My definition of this concept generally differs from the mainstream definition of this concept simply on attitude and favorability. Most people toss around “feminism” as something unanimously good, and nothing more than the quest for women’s equality. I believe in respecting women, women’s rights, and treating them as people rather than objects, but I view the term “feminist”, as it is today, as something of a negative, at least, more so than most. Some of what they believe women’s “rights” are I disagree with-namely abortion-and it seems to me that sometimes the feminist movement is not a quest for feminine equality as much as a quest for feminine SUPREMACY. Hence, while my definition of feminism-the quest for women’s rights-is technically the same as the mainstream, my perception of the modern feminist movement and that of the mainstream may tend to be a bit different…
  5. This concept is a struggle of power, authority, respect, and morality. It ties DIRECTLY into the concept and study of God. Many feminists dispute or challenge the notion of an Eternal Father as patriarchal and oppressive, by implying male tendencies to the Supreme Being.  Additionally, by insisting that it is natural that women are granted equal/greater rights than men, feminists make a statement about the natural order, and thus, to a certain extent, to that order’s Creator-that He (or She as many feminists would say, if they believe in a Creator at all) created men and women equal (or men lesser in certain circles), and as such wants equality (or male inferiority) that to come about. So, all things considered, feminism is deeply tied to the philosophical study/concept of God and theology.

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God, concepts of and arguements for the existance of

April 7th, 2010 · No Comments · Uncategorized

1. A one-to-three sentence explanation of what this concept means in the philosophical tradition.:

The idea of God, and concepts of Him, and arguments for Him, in a strictly philosophical sense, is not necessarily the God (or pantheon) that any one faith preaches, but rather, a collective weighing of and study of all of the concepts of the divine that have become known to humanity throughout the ages, divided into several main categories: monotheism versus polytheism, personal and impersonal, and immanency versus transcendence. The idea of philosophical arguments for the existence of God is an analysis of the world around is to determine which, if any of them, are correct via ontological, cosmological, and teleological arguments.

2. A one-to-two sentence statement in which you compare the philosophical meaning of the term with any ordinary uses that you normally make of it.

As a we as people normally refer to the God in whom we believe (if any) when we speak of God, as opposed to the overall study of theology and theological concepts across the board, which is more in line with this philosophical concept. Additionally, many people attempt to separate reason from theology, but the philosophic concept of arguments for God is the very unification of the two-attempting to use pure reason and logic to “prove”, or at least provide logical evidence of, God’s existence.

3. A one-to-two sentence statement in which you express some of your beliefs that are dependent upon or connected to this concept, and how they are so dependent or connected.

As I said, I am a Christian, and as such believe in a God who is somehow triune (three-in-one), is sovereign, but very personal and involved with us, and who exists in ways beyond our comprehension, yet is actively involved in nature and the world in general, both directly and by proxy in His servants. Additionally, I believe that many arguments for the existence of God can be made via pure reason and observation of ourselves and the world in which we live-the very core of the philosophical concept of arguments for the existence of God.

4. What other people think that this concept means and how those meanings differ or align with your meaning.

Many people refer to or believe in God in very different ways than I do. Even among Christians, there are many different denominations with different traditions, if not slightly different beliefs, to say nothing of the many non-Christian beliefs in the world, from Hinduism to Islam to atheism. There are about as many things the philosophical concept of God means to people as there are major worldviews, if not more. Additionally, there are many whose whole theology, and thus their arguments for (or against, as the case may be) the existence of God may also be different from mine (and many whose theology and arguments would more or less, at least, line up with mine).

5. Introduce a different concept, chosen from those that you have studied so far (in previous weeks or the current week). Show ways in the two concepts relate to one another. Keep your discussion informed by the philosophical literature (i.e. readings or materials that you have used in this course).

Skepticism claims that knowledge is impossible, or at least doubtful, that either no position is certain or that truth exists but certain knowledge of it may be beyond the grasp of the human race. Some more modern forms of it have even claimed that knowledge is nothing more than a mental habit. This way of thinking often finds itself doubtful of any concept of God or arguments for Him, instead maintaining that we cannot know for sure and as such they often choose not to believe in any concept of God. While some small amounts of skepticism may not entirely incompatible with some concepts of God (such as the idea that He has not given outright proof, only evidence of His existence, so that some measure of faith is required), usually, theism and skepticism are opposition, as theism states that seeking God is seeking the truth, whereas skepticism states that we shouldn’t think we can even know what truth is.

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