Unit 8 opening post- McNeill Franklin

I actually really enjoyed the two movies and readings for this assignment. While I do not know much about the time period, I am hoping to learn more in the upcoming weeks. I was especially interested in the two movies. I want to learn more about the context behind the two stories, and dive into the stories of each of the women highlighted in the films.


Shadows of the Summit Facing West: ?: “Germany is not the center of the world.” If not, why is it the center of everyone’s problems at the time. Yes WWII just ended, but not all the blame is on Germany. !: I found the Soviet Union to be very very selfish in all of this!!!

Hitler Within You: ?: What did the older generation not learn about race/ethnicity? Clearly there was a war for a reason and everyone must have learned something. !: A young child does not inherit racism- that is taught to them by their parents/ older generations. The stories on pages 103-104 shocked me.

Human Dignity is Violable: ?: Is democracy truly fair for all of the people, or does it always seem to favor a side? !: I had no clue that the Nazis ruled for 12 years! What were the worst years of the Nazi regime, and where would say the peak was?

Everyone Talks About the Weather… ?: How aware are we on what is happening in the world around us? This piece seems to say that we are very ignorant. !: All women in any sort of wartime effort deserve so much more appreciation than they recieve.

Women in the SDS: Acting on Their Own: ?: The women just wanted to be left in peace, so why bother them?? !: It seems like everything a woman did these days was wrong- they could never get anything right.

Columism: ?: What did it mean to be a communist in Germany in the 1950s-60s (since it was outlawed in ’56)? !: I know that this thought sounds crazy… but why outlaw the thought of communism? In a democracy- everyone has the right of freedom of speech. While the democracy decided on NO COMMUNISM, that does not mean that a person cannot still believe in it? They were getting punished for their own thoughts- which does not seem right to me.

The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum: ?: I am still really confused on what Katharina did wrong? Was she arrested for knowing Ludwig? Having sex with him? Stealing? Please enlighten me. !: I am so surprised how objectified women are in the media during this time. In the 1970s in America, women were having free sex all the time and not getting in trouble. Why in Germany?

Baader-Meinhof Komplex: ?: What exactly was the RAF in detail, and in the end- what happened to them and what was their final mission? !: I mean… major bad ass energy. That is all I have to say. That takes major guts, and I had no idea this was happening. Incredible.

Comparing the different translations 3/30/20

While reading both translations, I came to the conclusion that I liked Anderson’s better because of the emotion he puts into it. It is much more raw and to the point, so you really understand the depressing message he is trying to convey. Thomas’s piece is much more poetic. While it is pretty, I feel that it contains less emotion and that depressing factor that Anderson’s has, which makes one understand the time period better.

In my AT group, Gwen also agreed with me that she liked Anderson’s better. Her argument also referred back to the emotional scales the two pieces have. The rest of the group seemed to agree to her claim. While Thomas’s poetic words flowed really nicely, it does not match up to the rawness of Anderson’s narrative.

Akhmatova Discussion Post — MaryBeth

My AT section decided that Anderson’s translation of Akhmatova’s “Requiem” preserves the artistic value and poetic expression that Akhmatova intended. Even if it is not a direct translation, the aesthetic and the emotional intent is conveys better than Thomas’ translation. It seems as if Anderson took some creative liberties in order to maintain the rhyming and cadence of the piece. This is best exemplified in the last poem, “Epilogue.” We all agreed on this.

!: Interesting how regimes restrict poetry and art because of its inherent politicism

?: Was the Tsar’s regime more authoritarian than Stalin’s?

Unit 4 Wednesday Post 12/4: Preston Ito

As I was reading the book, the most shocking moment for me was on page 135. Usually, there aren’t pictures that take up a full page, so when there is a large image, there is a lot of emphasis put on them. Page 135 was especially disturbing for several reasons. For the first time in the book, they talk about injustice when dealing with innocent children. Since the book has mostly been about conflicts between adults, it was a change of pace when we saw a full blown image of an interaction between a white cop and a young black child.

Here, we see two completely opposite worlds clash together. The entire book portrays white cops as ruthless, violent people who have no regard for human life. When we see that picture of a cop interact with an innocent, young black girl who simply doesn’t understand why she isn’t treated as equal, it enhances the perceptual schemas of both the girl and the cop. Basically, it makes the cop seem more evil and it makes the girl seem more innocent. I think this image did an incredible job at capturing the type of emotions and tension that was being dealt with then. One of the reasons why this particular page spoke to me is because of the contrast between what appears to be a peaceful encounter with the cop and girl and the chaotic background of children getting arrested. The image in the foreground appears to be quiet and intimate, especially with the police officer on one knee to be on an equal level as the girl. This is the first intimate scene with both a white cop and a black person. When looking closer at the image, we can see the cop’s mean facial expressions brutally staring at this young black girl, who’s blank stare conveys the feeling of innocence. Overall, the strong emphasis on the contrasting nature of this image helps to give the reader an understanding of the tension that people were living under at that time.

Unit 2 Post 3

In section 9.4, Appiah argues that the distinctive features of formal philosophy are not possible without written language. What are these features? How convincing is Appiah’s argument? Is he being unfair to nonliterate cultures?

Appiah defines formal philosophy as “modern western philosophy” which contrasts to what he calls, “folk philosophy”. Folk philosophy is informal, often conversational, and made up of beliefs of central questions to human life. Appiah believes that formal philosophy is superior or at least, more complex than folk philosophy, much because of its ability to be written. Formal philosophy makes more general claims because it must be relevant beyond a singular conversation. Therefore, it must provide context to a wide audience of readers. Formal philosophy can not just assume cultural understandings. This allows for more consistency in formal philosophy as well as the ability to compare and argue written philosophical statements. I don’t believe that Appiah is being unfair to nonliterate cultures, simply because I feel that his definition of formal philosophy naturally relies on written recordings. I believe it is possible however, for nonliterate cultures to make convincing arguments in a method that Appiah might classify as folk philosophy. While I think that formal philosophy’s relationship with writing is crucial, I am not convinced that formal philosophy is inherently superior simply because of this difference from folk philosophy.

What’s the most effective way to reduce the amount of bullshit in contemporary discourse? Be sure to use Frankfurt’s specific notion of bullshit—so in that sense, the question is really asking: What’s the best way to get people to care about truth when they speak or write?

Frankfurt understands bullshit as a lack of concern for truth. Bullshitters are not necessarily wrong, but they are fake. This difference between a liar and a bullshitter is important to understand so we can define truth and understand how people can care more about truth and therefore, stop bullshitting. Bullshit must be stopped at the root cause of the issue. We must avoid placing people in positions that they are unqualified for and that they must speak or act upon. If unqualified persons are removed from public positions, they will not be forced to bullshit. However, sufficiency and knowledge are hard to qualify, especially in an effort to preserve truth. If a relativist point of view is taken, we could understand that everything is bullshit in someway, because there is no universal truth. However, to simply provide a solution to Frankfurt’s fight against bullshit, I think we need to encourage humility among humans, so that we will not be over-ambitious and selfish in taking roles that we can not best serve.

Unit 2 Assignment 2

What exactly are hrönir (pp. 29-30)? See if you can give your own examples to illustrate this concept. Do hrönir appear in Plato’s narrative? Explain.

Both the Borges and Plato readings were difficult to fully grasp, however, the videos and Dapia’s analysis were useful in uncovering meaning. One concept that Borges discusses is “hrönir” which are described as “secondary objects”. Literally, we can understand hrönir as duplications of lost objects. However, a quote from the Dapia reading enlightens a deeper understanding. She says, “We cannot access reality without conceptualizing it, so perhaps our ways of conceptualizing do not duplicate reality but simply create it” (95). In this way, hrönir are imperfect duplications created by the mind. A hrön is an attempt to recreate reality, however, it is always flawed and inaccurate. Similar to the way humans try to understand reality, their conceptual schemes create lenses which distort the ability to ever perfectly duplicate what is real. In Plato’s narrative, we can understand the concept of the shadows in the cave as similar to the hrönir. These are reflections of “real” objects which are lit by the fire behind the prisoners. The conceptual scheme of the prisoners believe that it is these shadows which are reality. However, once a prisoner is released, he slowly is able to grasp more accurate representations of reality, ultimately seeing the sun directly. The hrönir are the shadows of humans who are mislead to believe falsehoods because of their conceptual schemes. According to Plato, it is philosophers who are able to find the truth of reality, and truly see the sun.

In a few sentences, comment on / raise a question about Thursday’s translation panel. This can be based on your !/? posts, or it can be something new. And it could be useful—though not required—to connect the translation panel to Plato or Borges (note for starters that both of these readings are translations).

As we learn more about conceptual schemes, translation can be understood in a similar way. The lecture on Thursday discussed how translators seek the most truthful or accurate translations. Following the lecture, I asked if the best translations are more literal matches of words or if they emphasize the tone and general ideas of the language. However, regardless of the translator, we can never really have a perfect translation. Plato’s and Bourges’ views of reality say how our conceptual schemes interfere with our ability to create accurate understandings of reality. In a similar way, language is just an attempt to understand reality. Translations bring us farther from reality, just as the hrönir become less accurate as they  are duplicated.

Unit 2: Assignment 1

The early modern view of “the connected world” (ch. 2) is an example of a large-scale conceptual scheme. See if you can describe this worldview in your own words. Are there any parts of it still present in contemporary science? (See p. 38 for some suggestions—try to expand on these or come up with your own examples.)

Chapter 2 of The Scientific Revolution explains the conceptual scheme of “the connected world”. This view studies and explores knowledge with a big-picture lens. Early modern thinkers connected God, nature, and humans to understand a larger life purpose. Some examples of this view are the ladder of nature, the Great Chain of Being, and Aristotle’s four causes. These ideologies emphasis an interconnectedness between all things and work to comprehend their relationships. Natural philosophy is a science of that time that encompassed this thinking. This philosophy studied not simply the science we define today, but also theology and metaphysics. Today, the sciences are more focused and distinct. Ecology and environmental science today could be compared to connected world studies of the past because they explore both nature and humans. However, these sciences still leave out connections with theology and other categories of knowledge. The only other study that I can think of today that is similar to the all-encompassing thought of the early modern age is the liberal arts college education. This type of learning emphasizes knowledge of all areas, specifically making connections across all subjects and different classes.

Question: What are the advantages and disadvantages of studying large-scale versus small-scale knowledge? Are the defined and focused sciences of today more efficient than the “connected-world” studies of the early modern view?

Unit 1 Assignment 3: Gardella

Angela Davis makes an interesting connection between a political ideology’s views on economics and a civil rights issue when she speaks on “Recognizing Racism in an Era of Neoliberalism”. Davis explains that because neoliberalism believes in less government participation, it takes the focus away from institutions, and places it instead on the individual’s responsibility. However, this poses a problem, as Davis believes that the racism that still exists today lingers in institutions, which is ignored by neoliberal views. Structural racism like this appears in the incarceration system, where a disproportionate number of black men are imprisoned compared to the population of black men in America. This idea really caught my attention because institutionalized racism is more difficult to expose, as it is deeply interwoven in society.

Authors: Davis, Locke, Brooks

When there is a violation of civil rights, is the solution focused on individual identities or generalized communities?

Does neoliberalism encourage or impede individual rights?

Does acknowledging intersectionality bring people together or tear them apart?

Skylar McVicar Unit 1 Assignment 2 Locke Passage

Passage: “It will, perhaps, be objected to this, that if gathering the acorns

or other fruits of the earth, etc., makes a right to them, then any one may

engross as much as he will. To which I answer, Not so….But how far has He given it us—“to enjoy”?

As much as any one can make use of to any advantage of life before it

spoils, so much he may by his labour fix a property in. Whatever is

beyond this is more than his share, and belongs to others. Nothing was made by God for man to spoil or destroy.” (Locke, paragraph 30)

Rationale: The reason Locke’s argument originally confused me was twofold. Firstly, he suggests that Earth’s resources are endless and available for all men to take. While men are able to exercise their liberty and take as much as they can labour for, this concept of unlimited materials is flawed because population growth will eventually lead to a depletion of natural resources. Secondly, Locke proposes that men won’t take more than they need for survival. While this idea is noble in concept, it is naive in practice as men are naturally greedy. To better understand Locke’s logic, I reviewed notes from Professor Quillen’s lecture when we talked about the concept of equality in a world of private property. How can there be equality if a person can have more assets than another? If the amount of resources available in the State of Nature is infinite, then why don’t all men have equal property? Locke says the amount of property a person acquires is directly proportional to the level of labour a person exerts, so the responsibility to gain equality is shouldered by the individual.

Connection: By emphasizing the boundless availability of natural resources and the ability of men to get as much as he needs, Locke is trying to inform readers of their right to private property. Locke needs his pupils to understand this fundamental human right in order to convince them that the current form of patriarchal despotism is unfavorable because the king is not accurately protecting their private property. To argue against Filmer, Locke reiterates that God gave Earth to all of mankind for all men to use and enjoy (paragraph 33). In other words, private property is given to men by God. Therefore, if the current king is restricting a man’s ability to gain more private property and/or is not adequately protecting private property, then the king is not a proper ruler.

Question: How can the accumulation of property influence a person’s identity in the eyes of others?

Grace Gardella, Locke’s Definition of Equality

“Though I have said above ‘That all men by nature are equal,’ I cannot be supposed to understand all sorts of ‘equality.’ Age or virtue may give men a just precedency. Excellency of parts and merit may place others above the common level. Birth may subject some, and alliance or benefits others, to pay an observance to those to whom Nature, gratitude, or other respects, may have made it due; and yet all this consists with the equality which all men are in respect of jurisdiction or dominion one over another… being that equal right that every man hath to his natural freedom, without being subjected to the will or authority of any other man.” (Paragraph 55)

When I first read this passage, I was caught off guard. Up to this point in the reading, I thought that Locke was the greatest advocate for equality. However, here, Locke provides some exceptions to this belief. Why would Locke contradict himself? How can he say that certain qualities create “precedency” while also saying that no human is “subjected to the will” of another?

To better understand this passage, I went to my notes from Prof. Quillen’s Thursday lecture which introduced Locke. In her lecture she discussed Locke’s motivations for writing his Second Treatise. Locke disagrees with the idea that power comes from God and therefore, rejects authority from divine right. It is possible that Locke only interprets equality within this context of government.

I next looked at the notes that Prof. Quillen wrote on the text. These were especially enlightening, as she clarifies that Locke’s equality does not mean that every person is the same, but that no person has authority over another. He is not looking to put an end to civil inequality, but wants to redefine the political system as one that is more democratic.

So, if people are not equal in the sense that they are the same, humans can be made distinct or differentiable, which allows for certain discrimination in Locke’s philosophy. The abstract qualifications such as age, virtue, excellency, merit, and birth create identities that can be compared and valued, similarly to previous class discussions. Locke’s philosophy may seem like a call for equality and democracy, but this passage proves otherwise. It is statements like these that allow for discrimination, which is especially interesting considering that much of the United State’s government is inspired by this very same political philosophy.