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Posts (continued)

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!

Message 31211/18/01 1:11 pm The final for my Anthropology class is the week of Dec. 10th. Our Ethics final will probably be some form of gigantic essay (ugh) and my guess is Dr. Diem will give us 2 weeks. That's just a guess.

I have 3 anthropology chapters to read, about 5 films to watch and an ethnography report all due before I go back to work on Monday. I'm also going to try to get well into our last Ethics book took. So do you think I'll have any kind of life this week?

At least I can do all my reading and essay writing in my parrot room (where my computer is). Oh and one other bad thing... they put up a firewall at work and I can't access my classes! That really hampered me, especially since it was ok with my boss for me to do some class work while at work. Sigh. Good luck to everyone in these our final weeks!

Message 313 Self-interest according to Baier is not the highest reason for morality. Moral rules are the rules that override self-interest rules. Baier provides excellent arguments for this belief. Divinity is brought into Baier's philosophy because the examples Baier uses are from God's Ten Commandments ? Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, etc.

Baier rises to the challenge to defend his position that moral rules take precedence over self-interest rules. In his analogy of the two worlds of morals and self-interest, the self-interest would resort man to a state of nature rather than man in a self controlled state.

From Baier's moral aspects, a moral rules driven individual could answer positive the question, " Do we have a reason for being moral, whatever the condition we find ourselves in?" Most likely, a self-interest driven man might not be able to answer that question in the positive.

Baier's response to the question, "Why should we be moral?" offers some sound support that moral rules offer a higher reason than self interest for morality. Sacrifices are often necessary for one's morals to be held, as is the case with Mother Theresa and Gandhi. Self-interest to those two individuals was never further from their minds. While Gandhi, for a while served his self interests, he later restrained those desires and followed a life of self-sacrifice. Mother Theresa certainly did not have a single self-interest in her body having devoted most of her life to serving the lowliest of the caste system in India.

Of all the philosophers read thus far, I enjoyed Baier's reasonings and the examples he provided in support of his views. He provided excellent thought-provoking insights.

Message 317 of 331 11/21/01 11:59 am Despite the reading being so difficult to understand, I believe this class is easier than my anthropology class, in that much of what we are tested on is memorization. I can't recall which tribe is from where and which culture belongs to the Asmat or Yanomamo tribes! Now THAT is difficult. At least once we're through the reading, we can then use our own grasp on the subject with which to write our essay either contrasting, comparing or whatever. That is much easier than memorizing native tribes that I've never in my life heard of nor am I likely to hear of them again! I'm getting ready to start Peter's book. Good luck everyone!

11/21/01 12:04 pm Thank you for asking about my parrots. They are so dear to me. One of my Amazons is perched beside me on my desk as I type, the others are free flying about the room. The large Blue Front Amazon is taking a bath in her water bowl. I have begun a quest to do whatever I can to aid the research of PDD and education myself and others about how deadly this disease is to parrots. I am very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to talk (via email) with Dr. Branson Ritchie who is the leading researcher at the University of Georgia on the subject of PDD. I had the pleasure of attending a conference in 1999 and heard him speak. Thanks for asking about my parrots - it meant a lot to me that you remembered. I still cry for my beloved Congo African Grey, Sinbad.

Message 319 Last Book Peter's book is much more enjoyable reading. It's written in today's era. I have only just begun to read the book, and already I can tell it will not be brutal reading.

Message 328 Oh no! My fear level is rising! It's time to kill myself! Why do I fear and dread tests! You'd think I'd have outgrown that by now. Good luck to every body on the final! We all did a heck of a job hanging in! Link to Singer - First Essay In the article Equality and Its Implications, Peter Singer discusses that males have a greater visual-spatial ability than do women. Given that ability, men are apt to make better engineers than women. Women have better verbal skills, and would make for better journalists over their male counterparts. Not surprisingly, there are more male engineers than female, but surprisingly, there are not as many female journalists as there are male journalists.

It is not surprising that women still feel a chokehold on advancement even in fields for which they may have a natural tendency to excel. I work amidst hundreds of engineers, structural, civil and electrical. Not one of those engineers is a woman. However, the oversight of my entire department of 300 is charged to a female general manager. Typically, women in my department have a difficult time working in what is considered a "man's world." Also interesting, is that all of the departments combined (16) only six are headed by females. The sixteen departments comprise roughly 2200 employees and are under the direction of a female city manager. The city manager reports to nine-member council of which only one is a female.

Gender discrimination seems to crossover all lines of class discrimination, in that it seems to be based solely on basis of gender giving no regard for race, IQ, or age. Gender discrimination seems to exist equally across all lines. We need to look at people as individuals without regard for gender, age, race, etc. If we can accomplish that in the workforce, we could grow by milestones in our acceptance of the different cultures that make up our world.

This type of acceptance would break the barriers that exist even in the medical arena when it comes to male/female care. In a 1998 article in Forbes, several high profile women who had experienced heart attacks related their experience leading up to the correct diagnosis. One woman was told to relax, have a glass of wine and not work so hard. Two weeks later, she required open-heart surgery, another was told she had a bad case of indigestion, while a third was not even examined! In addition, the article went on to say that a heart attack in a man would be likened to a badge of honor, and would have sent the doctors into a whirlwind of activity running test after test to determine the cause. A Whereas a heart attack in a woman would probably cause her to lose her high paying job. One of the women only participated in the survey on the proviso that her identity be kept anonymous stating that she feared for her job.

Perhaps it is the very act of childbirth that has been the cause of women in the United States being held back. In other cultures, however, that does not stop the women. In certain horticultural tribes, women simply strap their young to their back and hit the fields to forage for food while the men typically go off in search of large game. Some cultures defer to the matriarchal source of subsistence. The women often are the ones who go to market and haggle over the price of yams. Those societies seem oblivious to gender discrimination that is prevalent in the United States. [end of posts]

4. Field Trips:

a) Museum of Tolerance. I invited my mother to go with me, as she had also never been to visit. We were at the museum on the day the United States began bombing Afghanistan after the 9-11 terrorist attack. My mother had to be searched by hand, as her shoe buckles kept setting off the alarm. After searching her bag and discovering the buckle culprits, we were allowed entrance. We went through the Holocaust section first. My mother's card was a small girl and I had a young boy. Both of our children were murdered in concentration camps. When we came to the end of the holocaust section, neither of us agreed to be separated, so we went through the aged section. It was at that point that I no longer was able to contain my emotions. It was heartbreaking.

When we left that section we had just a few minutes to catch one of the survivor's talks. He had been 14 when his family was sent to a concentration camp. His mother and sister were gassed on the day they arrived. He, his two brothers and his father managed to survive for several years. Before the Americans liberated them, his father succumbed. Unbeknownst to him, his father didn't eat his allotment of a piece of bread, instead he saved it for his son who was on a work crew. Every day, he'd come back to his cell, and his father would tell him he saved a piece of bread. At that point in his story, he broke down and sobbed for his father. There were no dry eyes in the entire room. When he finished his recount of the concentration camps, he thanked every American in the room -- again there were no dry eyes.

The last section we visited with the top level where we saw many German artifacts. The most shocking of which was the German SS uniform. I also remember running my hand over the concentration camp bunk bed. It was a very moving experience, and I'm glad it was an assigned field trip.

b) I visited a vegetarian restaurant in Pasadena with a fellow employee turned vegetarian. I opted to visit a total vegetarian restaurant, as I had visited a slaughterhouse years ago (on Slauson in L.A.) and am familiar with the process (and stench)!

Orean's: The Health Express, 817 N. Lake Avenue (626) 794-0861 Vegan, Fast Food --The interesting thing about this particular restaurant is it?s fast food! The items they serve are rather catchy considering they are a true Vegan restaurant. Some of the tastier lunches include Burgers, ?Chicken? Burritos, Pizza, and Tostadas. Don?t let those names fool you. There is not one morsel in their restaurant that contains meat, chicken, fish, etc. All their meals are made with rice, soy, or tofu.

The owner, Orean Thomas, is a vegan himself, and started his restaurant in Pasadena seven years ago. He has seen continuous growth in the number of customers year after year, as more and more people come to realize the many benefits of vegetarianism. The Health Express is the only true vegetarian fast food restaurant I?ve found, except for those salad bar types of establishments. Orean can be reached between 9 and 10 a.m.

5. Regarding my mid-term grade you wrote, "...In any case, you did well. B/B+ on the test. thanks andrea" [I hope you lean toward the B+!]

6. I deserve an "A" grade not because I was able to complete this class, although I think that in itself is enough reason, but because ultimately I was able to see the contrasting views of people with different beliefs due to cultural differences, or simply because of religious beliefs. This class afforded me the opportunity and ability to be able to *listen* to others' views without allowing ethnocentrism to cloud perspectives. While some of the subjects were unpleasant (animal rights and Singer's views on abortion), I was open and able to grasp a different perspective.

I believe an A is not an unreasonable grade considering the horror of what Americans experienced on 9-11, and the resulting war that we have been engaged in. These events coupled with the degree of difficulty of this class, as well as keeping up with the assignments, is worth of an A for effort alone! There were many moral and ethical decisions that we lived through as Americans. It was even more difficulty to compare the Muslim beliefs (I believe that lesson followed the 9-11 incident.) That lesson helped me understand that it was not Muslims who did this, but rather a radical man who acted outside the beliefs of his faith.

I would like an A grade to reward the maximum effort that I put forth in preparing and researching my papers (including paying an outrageous parking fine at the Museum of Tolerance <grin>). I spent the first six weeks of this class in complete and utter frustration from my inability to understand the writings of the earlier philosophers, but rather than admitting defeat and dropping the class, I persisted. I often spent twice the time to read and re-read writings in what seemed to be a futile attempt on my part to learn. Given the extreme degree of difficulty of my first Philosophy class, I think an A is well-deserved. I sure hope you think the same way!


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