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Feathers and Fur

Messages from 10-1-01 to Present

10/3/01 11:34 pm
"According to this theory, that which has always proved itself useful is good: therefore it may claim to be "valuable in the highest degree," "valuable in itself." This road to an explanation is, as aforesaid, also a wrong one, but at least the explanation is in itself reasonable and psychologically tenable."

What Nietzsche is trying to say is that because something is good people believe it therefore has value. He is saying this hypothesis is psychologically absurd, but also tenable given its simple explanation. People who make judgments should not assume that because something is good it is also valuable. We must weigh good and weigh value separately in order to make sound judgments of good vs bad.

"Mankind itself is still ill with the effects of this priestly na´vetÚ in medicine! Think, for example, of certain forms of diet (abstinence from meat), of fasting, of sexual continence, of flight "into the wilderness" (the Weir Mitchell isolation cure?without, to be sure, the subsequent fattening and overfeeding which constitute the most effective remedy for the hysteria induced by the ascetic ideal): add to these the entire antisensualistic metaphysics of the priests that makes men indolent and overrefined, their autohypnosis in the manner of fakirs and Brahmins?Brahma used in the shape of a glass knob and a fixed idea?and finally the only-too-comprehensible satiety with all this, together with the radical cure for it, nothingness (or God?the desire for a unio mystica with God is the desire of the Buddhist for nothingness, Nirvana?and no more!). For with the priests everything becomes more dangerous, not only cures and remedies, but also arrogance, revenge, acuteness, profligacy, love, lust to rule, virtue, disease?but it is only fair to add that it was on the soil of this essentially dangerous form of human existence, the priestly form, that man first became an interesting animal, that only here did the human soul in a higher sense acquire depth and become evil?and these are the two basic respects in which man has hitherto been superior to other beasts!"

Man is saying that it was the very ?goodness? of man that corrupted man, but at the same time, it?s what sets man apart from soulless creatures. He compares Buddhits and their quest for Nirvana to priests and their failure at becoming virtuous priests. Humankind was na´ve in attempts at diet as well as human desires to become at one with God. While in their attempt to reach Nirvana and become holier, they in effect created the very path to become corrupt ?evil.

10/3/01 11:36 pm
This is twice that I have attempted to post my lesson and I'm told my post is too long. So, I'll post what I can then post the link to my site for the balance of my post.

10/5/01 2:24 pm
I believe she means copy the entire post and paste it into the midterm. Don't just say, I posted on the following dates, then just list the dates. She wants to see when as well as what we posted. That's my impression of what she wants. --Ginny

10/6/01 7:27 pm
Hi Wendy, I think putting all our posts on the website in one place was stated in the syllabus. I think it's a way of determining class participation, etc. I had been doing it all along, so it me just a few minutes to catch up on my september posts. --Ginny

10/6/01 7:29 pm
Lighten up. She just asked a question, and she's entitled to her opinion. --Ginny

10/7/01 10:34 am
Ugh! I'm dying here! I'm trying to get my mid term finished before we leave! I'm nervous about flying and even more nervous about leaving the country. My work seems disjointed, and I hate when I can't focus.

Are we in Week 8???? I though we were in week 9! How delightful if we're in 8, I'm well into that work, but still have to post my 3 arguments to Nietzsche! EEEEK! I want to pull my hair out. --Ginny

10/9/01 10:22 pm
Hi Wendy,
This is the first online course that I have taken where the instructor does not communicate with us on a regular basis.

I'm looking forward to my trip, but with apprehension. I have many books on NS. I'm told that we should not take any tours from the ship, but that we should visit Halifax on our own walking or whatever. That's what well do. My uncertainty only comes from the events of the past month. I'm sure we'll be fine.

Have a great time in Phoenix. I'm sure you'll be warmer that we will be! --Ginny

10/11/01 11:10 pm

Dr. Diem,

Link to my site which contains my Mid Term.

Fellow students:

Bye bye! I'll be off line from now until the 22nd.
Good luck on your mid term papers. --Ginny

10/22/01 6:05 pm
I was able to access the site a couple of weeks ago, Maybe the web site is down. I believe I printed the material so that I could read it during my vacation.

I printed it. The article is two pages and 1 line long. I will be more than happy to fax it to anyone who wants it. -- Ginny

10/22/01 6:06 pm
Any word on our mid term grade? --Ginny

10/25/01 11:42 pm
Thanks! I worked on my Anthropology ethnography the entire trip! I read all the last readings for Ethics and now all I have to do is read the books. Arrrgh!

I did not receive a grade! I mailed my midterm to Dr. Diem on 10/13 - the day before I flew to Boston. She never got it! I posted the link to the midterm on the website on 10/13 too. So, I'm worried.

The Canadians were wonderful. We got to see the 3 naval ships sailing out of the Canadian port - they were full of supplies for our troops. It made us Americans cry. As each Canadian ship sailed past our cruiseliner, our captain blasted the horn 3 times - the navy ships each responded with 3 blasts of their own, then all us Americans started cheering, whistling, clapping and waving at the Navymen. It was truly heartwarming. On the streets of Halifax and Quebec we were greeted with warmth and much sympathy. The young folks gave us thumbs up and Victory signs. It was heartwarming. Every American on the ship was wearing USA colors - it was wonderful.

Still, I'm glad to be on USA soil! --Ginny

10/28/01 11:12 am
You're lucky that you don't crave meat. I recall when I stopped eating red meat for 8 or 9 months the first time I tasted red meat again, it was repulsive. I started eating meat again shortly after that. I prefer turkey and chicken to steak. --Ginny

10/31/01 10:34 pm
Arrrrgh, it's hard to read when there's exams that are coming up that need immediate reading! Somebody shoot me! There is no life, there's work, traffic, read read read, sleep (barely), work work work, read, study, and read some more.

Is there an end to reading? And am I the only person alive who has to read paragrahps over and over cuz I don't understand?! Somebody shoot me! --Ginny

11/3/01 9:43 pm

Here's the link to my vegetarianism and animal rights posts. --Ginny

11/17/01 8:15 pm
In reading the philosophy of St. Thomas Acquinas it is clear that he brings divinity into every one of his reasonings. While he does seem to share some of the beliefs of Aristotle, he goes one step further and explains each of his findings as it relates to God. A poignant quote is, "along with natural happiness, there is a supernatural happiness of coming to 'se God as he is.'" St. Thomas Acquinas sees god in every discussion he makes.

St. Thomas Aquinas talks bout good, but in different terms that St. Augustine. St. Augustine believes that evil is the absence of good. St. Thomas Acquinas said every agent acts for a good. However, if there is evil - the absence of good ? then not every agent is good. St. Thomas Acquinas said that all things are directed to one good as their last end. St. Augustine said that an evil will fails to choose good. Therefore, it seems that free will can be good or bad. The subjects of good, evil and free will really do require a lot of thought!

11/17/01 8:19 pm

Link to week 11 Post

11/17/01 8:49 pm

Here is the link.

Kant appears to view things a bit differently than Hobbes. Kant talks about a free will but believes that free will is doing what ought to do rather than act from a selfish standpoint. Hobbes believes man does what he does for no other reason than personal gain. Man does things because the thing is good. We desire good and we have contempt of evil. Kant does not view things as cut and dried as Hobbes. While happiness is desirable, it is not the immediate object of men.

Perhaps Kant's view is more in line with Hobbs who believes we need to have civil authority as the foundation for morality. In a way, that is what we have in our country today. We have laws, rules and regulations that govern how we act, what we do, and when we do it. For instance traffic signals. They tell us when to stop, or go. If we do not follow that rule, we get a ticket. If tickets were not issue, how many folks would stop at a red light?

It seems to me that all of these men are saying the same thing, but using different concepts to explain their position. They all believe in good and bad, but they view the reasons for obtaining good and bad results is driven by different desires or needs. When Kant speaks of duty, it sounds like Hobbs who talks about civil authority. Kant says, "Duty is the necessity of acting from respect for the law."

This group of philosophers seems to share each other's view to a certain extent in believing that morality is achieved for reasons of pleasure. We do what we do to be happy or because it is pleasurable, or we do what we do because we are governed to do it that way or suffer consequences. Perhaps they share common view because they seemed to be from similar eras.

11/17/01 11:30 pm

Jean-Paul Sartre had some interesting observations of man. He references free will in that we are who we will ourselves to be. We are what we make of ourselves. This in a sense is true but it seems to be said with an air of gloom about it. Ross explains that what we ought to do is produce the most good. This method at least helps the free will to choose the right road to travel. Sartre does go on to say that will is a conscious decision on the part of man. Man acts on behalf of all men, but this can be extremely difficult since not all men have the same moral views.

As is the case stated that two parties to an ethical dispute have similar moral values they might be able to resolve the dispute once the facts have been made clear. It is when the moral views are opposing that a suitable resolution may not be reached.

Sartre also speaks of God in his philosophies. He reports two viewpoints; one where God does not exist and how people view that. Without God, we have no value system with which to legitimize our conduct. He has an interesting viewpoint when he says that man is condemned to be free. Since man did not create himself, he is free, but on the other hand, since he was created, he is then responsible for his actions.

Sartre makes no excuses for man and feels that man should not make excuses for himself either. We need to be able to act and make decisions. Man should not avoid this necessary part of life. I think what he is trying to say is that we are free because we are born despite the fact that we had no say in whether or not we were born. It is our duty, simply by being born, to live a responsible life and chose the right actions. Maybe this is what he means when he says man is responsible for one another.

Nietzsche has some philosophies that are difficult to accept and that is that the noble folks are superior to the slave-morality folks. The noble folk have the master morality and the common folks represent the salve morality. The nobles determine values. Good is noble and bad is the root of slave-morality. He places a lot of credence in man without God and without religion. He seems to have completely contrasting views from the other philosophers. I tried really hard to like this man's views, but somehow I am very opposed to his thinking.

When trying to define good and bad, it becomes almost comical for G. E. Moore, as when he said a book is good. Another philosopher said the word "wrong" was not the proper word to describe an action. It seems the philosophers were searching for the proper terminology, and probably they were all correct, but just looking at morals from different perspectives.

I am not sure that there is no way to define good. I would rather say there is a multitude of ways to define good. We can probably write several papers on just the definition of good.

11/17/01 11:34 pm
What a difficult few weeks! I buried my boss on Friday (he died after a long battle with colon cancer), I had some awful exams on my rotator cuff that unfortunately STILL requires surgery. (I've been very lucky to be able to hold off the surgery until after this semester, but not for long!)

Plus I have been struggling with 5 sick parrots. I have had to take time off work in order to catch up on homework and reading. This has by far been the most difficult class I've ever taken! The reading assignments are so difficult. I think I must be the dumbest person in the class I'm obviously lagging behind. I hope I can keep up til the end. When IS the end of this semester-it's been going on for what seems like forever! --Ginny

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