Philosophy

As I recover from the pain from my very first kickboxing training session, I think about if I am materialist or idealist when it comes to life. Well what is pain? Is it a feeling? Is it reality? The “pain” I have is a feeling in my tense and sore muscles caused from getting physical (feel) by learning kicking and punching techniques, as well as pushing my limit with working out on Sunday. It’s not so much of a bad feeling; it just means that I am gaining improvement on something in my life, in reality. 

So what is reality? Materialists believe reality is based off of your five senses (physical) is primary reality and emotions and mind is secondary, whereas, the idealists who believe the main leverage of reality is based off of emotions and mentality and secondary is matter. (Novack)So who is right? Is anyone really wrong?

If you think about it, if it wasn’t for our mental state, our body wouldn’t really have the ability or function to feel, taste, smell, see or hear. Our mind is a wondrous thing with how it operates and allows our bodies to function as they do. Even if one is blind, their other senses are spiked, so to speak, to replace the lack of the sense of vision. Just because they are blind, doesn’t mean that their reality is gone. They are still in the here and now, functioning almost as normal with some of the five senses.

A lot of debates about reality are about what about after we die? Then what? Materialists say that our body just shuts down and rots in the ground, idealists lean towards the “sixth sense” basis and says our spirits/mind leaves our body and moves on with life. No one really knows, but speculates when individuals do have near-death experiences.  That is more proof that mind truly is over matter for idealists even though materialists still contradict it with the excuse of the brain and functions shutting down. Nothing more or nothing less.

So this most classic debate in Philosophy may just be one of those arguments that will remain until the very end of life, whether it’s your life, my life, or all human lives. The truth about the reality seems to be more than what just meets the eye for most. It’s a feeling or emotion they have within their heart like hope or faith that keeps them as idealists or maybe the higher power (if there is one) is hiding the truth better to some than most. 

 

Work Cited


          Novack, George, The Origins of Materialism, New York: Pathfinder Press. 1979. Print.

(Originally written in September 2012, edited in May 2014)

We can pick at and debate about Socrates true meaning of his quote, “The unexamined life is not worth living”, for days, weeks or even maybe months.

I have always been a complex individual always pealing labels off the front cover of anything that has come my way just to try and dig deeper than what is on the surface of the meaning. I mean, what is Socrates meaning with examining our lives and how are others comprehending the statement?

 In my views, you need a balance of examining your life and just living. Sometimes when I see Socrates quote, I wonder, how much examining of life do we need to do before it’s actually worth living?
If you are too caught up examining your life, you could be living life in caution where you really aren’t living your life fully. If you keep living in the caution zone, what are you really getting done in life to hit your satisfactory status? This is a point I took to disagree Socrates quote.
 Here’s a more common outlook. What about the brain damaged or the mentally disabled? Would you think they are examining their lives at all? Are they even able too? What is going on in their minds? I guess it also depends on the level of retardation or brain damage one has as well, because even if it is on a minor level, these individuals do have the capability of examining their lives and learn as they go as well.
Just don’t forget about those who can barely function on a day to day basis though; don’t forget the ones who aren’t able to become potty training and need help feeding or change of their diapers. Just because they don’t have the capacity of examining their life, is it right for us as humans to kill them off because their lives are simply not worth living?
Just like the majority of the population, Robert Garzon, brought up the broader definition of Socrates’ quote. Basically the most popular debate is if we don’t examine our lives, we are just going to repeat history and our past and we can’t improve as individuals, as human beings. I do see that side of the debate very clearly and I also agree on that end. I have caught myself examining my life from time to time, especially when déjà vu comes into play.

Bottom line, humans need think of the bigger picture when defining a meaning of a quote and not just themselves. Don’t forget those who aren’t mentally able to examine their life. If you are able to examine, don’t over examine your life, for you are only living life in the “safe” zone. Don’t be afraid to make more mistakes to learn from. Fulfill your life to the fullest.

Work Cited

         “Socrates, The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living”, Robert Garzon, <http://www.consciousearth.us/socrates-unexamined-life.html>. 2012

(Originally written in August 2012)

Materialism is defined as, “a belief that only matter and its physical properties are real, while mind, thoughts and the like are simply manifestations of matter”. With that kind of definition, it would seem simple to be directed towards the materialist world, but nothing is just that simple in life. Everything falls in with each other on a complex level.

Idealism is even more-so a complicated topic for reality. If it wasn’t for the mind, not the brain, where would our matter or materials come from in a materialist’s reality? Better yet, how does one just learn or discover new things in life or how to name it a specific name? Even though we can’t seem to perceive the unknown with our eyes, how come it is present in our hearts through any emotion that maybe present at the time?

Materials are things that you can use your five senses on, whether it’s touching, seeing, tasting, smelling and/or hearing. So does that mean a song is material? Even though we can hear a song, can we see it? In a music video, we see the idea of the song. On a piece of paper, we see music notes and the words to the song, but where did these “materials” come from? It didn’t come from an atom or a neuron. It isn’t part of any of the scientific method of reality, even though parts of music seem to be materials. Overall, it’s a bunch of ideas and words coming together as one to make beautiful or horrendous sounds.

Not only is emotion a trick to the mind, but how about some other factors you can perceive through your mind like color, figure, motion, taste, and smell? These senses can easily be a trick to the mind as well. Let’s explain the example of color. Has anyone every seen a color with such mass?

In order for anything to be real, we need to experience it through the five senses, as agreed upon both idealism and materialism. However, materialists say the five senses are the main purpose that God can’t exist, because we can’t see, taste, touch, smell, or hear him. If you can, well then, you must be hallucinating, because bottom line, God isn’t in existence. The fact that no one can really provide proof of God’s existence is an exit point to any argument holding God or an Eternal Spirit in anyone’s argument.

For example, Berkeley’s argument as he quotes, …”that consequently as long as they are not perceived by me or do not exist in the mind or that of another created spirit, they must not have any existence at all, or else subsist in the mind of some Eternal Spirit.” He needs God in his theory, but yet, no on is able to prove he exists. Therefore, the idea is that materialists would have an upper hand.

Key word is idea in the last paragraph. Even though materialism is one of the ancient beliefs and philosophies in history today, where did materialism come from? Nothing is presented in reality, until an idea of the matter has formed in the mind. Let’s think of inventions or creations of your favorite foods or favorite clothes. Those materials didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. Someone had to have come up of the idea to make spaghetti, to make jean pants, etc. unless someone invented them by accident. However, how did they invent them by accident? The inventors must have had been thinking of something else to invent at the time.

Another sense that we really haven’t gathered on yet in Philosophy is the sixth sense. So what is it? It’s a sense, but is it a sense through the mind or the body? Why can only a few people experience the sixth sense in this world i.e. ghost hunters, mediums, psychics, ect? Are they hallucinating or is just a gift from the Eternal Spirit? Is this His way of saying? “Hey, the big man is in the building and is watching.”

The conclusion, Berkeley’s argument makes a lot of sense to the great question, “What is real?” There is more out there than what the eye perceives or what our minds are limited to comprehend and the reason we haven’t seen the truth is because humans are not ready for it. I question materialists and their idea of reality. Oh, there’s that word again. Idea! There is no doubt that we do have science and there is no doubt in my mind that we still have a ton of realities and truths in the unknown. The debate between materialists and idealists seem endless and maybe it will always be until the end of time or when the unknowns are ready to come out to the truths and stop hiding. I will remain with an open mind that anything is possible.

Work Cited
        Berkeley, George. A Treatise Concerning The Principles of Human Knowledge. Dublin: David R. Wilkins. 2002. Print.

When Immanuel Kant took the “Copernican Revolution” and made a new argument with Philosophy and Epistemology, it made people’s head turn. Copernicus discovered that it wasn’t the Earth that was the center of the universe; in fact it was the Sun which the Earth rotates around. The same, according to Kant, plays in with the mind. Instead of the mind being the object rotating, the mind is the object in the center and “things” are rotating around the mind to develop the knowledge of them. 

Kant is not only a rationalist; he finds a way to interact empiricism with rationalism towards the bottom of the both of them. Kant has surely accomplished not only one of the strongest arguments, but also the most complicated one, so far, in our class if not to date today. He accomplished the compromising of dogmatism and skepticism.   

It was actually Kant who said of David Hume, “he woke me up from my dogmatic slumber.” Just like Hume’s A Priori (relations of ideas) and A Posteriori (matter of fact), Kant created an analytic stand point and a synthetic stand point. Just like A Priori, the analytic is a predicate that adds nothing to the subject. As well with the A Posteriori, the synthetic is a predicate that adds something to the subject. Both, Hume and Kant, used the examples of science (a posteriori) and mathematics (a priori) to each explanation.\

One of Hume’s points is the argument of causation, i.e. the watchmaker design. The analogy of that in itself draws a number of lines. The fact that it’s an induction instead of a deduction brings problems in itself. It’s neither a priori nor a posteriori since we can’t experience it ever, so it can’t be real. 

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia, Kant has an answer to Hume’s skeptical view of causation. Kant created a four way diagram for A priori, a posteriori, analytic, and synthetic to which causation lands in the same area as space and time. Kant also said, “Assume things with the mind for existence.” Examples of those things in themselves would be time, space and causation. Kant also pointed out that you need to already have understanding already in the mind in order to have experience to develop the knowledge. (“Kant and Hume on Causality”)

Work Cited
             De Pierris, Graciela and Friedman, Michael. “Kant and Hume on Causality.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2008. Web. 29 October 2012.

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My attention-span redirects. 
What’s on my mind to reflect?  

Awaken with controversial words,
Reminisce with various artists’   

Comprehension of power and the world;  

A troubled and disturbed kid in my day, 
Favored of Eminem’s song lyrics.  

Therapeutic & reflective in the mirror.  

Choices of music, of variations 
Opens the mind of wonderment;  

Artistic abilities & opportunities.   

Present day joys and sorrows,  
Music empowers;  

Turn off the mainstream radio, 
Turn on the vinyl records.  

Expansion of messages in tune, not auto tune.   

Go back in time, Blue Grass and Jazz. 
Feel the lyrics through the instruments.  

Grow the belief system beyond the addressed. 
Expand the brain until it reaches capacity;  

Beyond the unknown of subjectivism.  

2014©H.M. Gautsch