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About spitfire8125

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    TGL Apprentice
  • Birthday 10/25/1989

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spitfire8125's Activity

  1. spitfire8125 added a post in a topic US students turning to philosophy?   

    While the benefits of philosophy are beginning to be seen in a more practical sense with application in daily life, I don't really see this as being related to the idea of education being a commodity. To me, philosophy being increasingly seen as relevant only makes sense. The education-commodity issue runs more along the lines of standardizing the higher learning process and taking the liberal approach out of it.

    Being a senior in high school in Ohio, I watched the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) be implemented as a freshman in response to the No Child Left Behind Act. I've watched all of the core classes systematically lose all individuality and struggle to cover material that could be covered on the graduation tests. For me, the prospect of college has been one of escaping this strained system that devalues education.

    Going into college next year with a philosophy minor, I suppose I just support the idea that philosophy is on the rise! Hopefully this trend continues and the benefits of strengthened independent thought will be seen with this generation.

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  2. spitfire8125 added a post in a topic What books are you reading now?   

    I'm considering having another go at Anna Karenina by Tolstoy again. I stalled out about halfway through because of schoolwork, but it's still sitting there on my shelf challenging me.

    I'm a big fan of Russian literature, so I feel like I should finish Anna Karenina if for no other reason than Tolstoy wrote it!

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  3. spitfire8125 added a topic in Read   

    What books are you reading now?
    First of all, thanks Pgalaxy for the inspiration for this thread! The forums are looking a little dead right now, maybe conversation will pick up here.

    This is as simple as it sounds.. I want to know what you're currently reading, and any thoughts or opinions you'd like to share about it.

    Right now, I'm reading two different books.

    Blind Ambition, by John Dean. This book centers (so far) around the Nixon administration and the Watergate scandal that brought it down. John Dean was White House Counsel to the President and writes his book from his own perspective from within the administration about the events. He doesn't take a lot of time explaining who all the various people are, so if you don't have a previous basic knowledge of Watergate it would be smart to brush up on it before you begin reading.

    50 Philosophy Ideas (You Really Need To Know) by Ben Dupre. This book takes you through quick 2-3 page summaries of various ideas in philosophy, from Occam's Razor to paradigm shifts to virtue ethics. This book is a good start for those (like myself) who are just becoming aware of the interest and value of philosophy. I picked this up at a Walden Books store near my house in the bargain bin for $5. Definitely a well spent $5!

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  4. spitfire8125 added a post in a topic James Michener's "Alaska"   

    I've always been a fan of Michener's books, and Alaska wasn't an exception for me. Although I certainly agree with you maddog, the more maps the better! Although I prefer to use my imagination to visualize the scenes rather than rely on artist's renditions.

    In my personal opinion, once you move past the early history section (The first three chapters) the book really picks up and pulls you into the story. You really learn so much about a place's history and culture from his books (although since my experience is limited to his book, I can't really vouch for their historical accuracy!). The Russian exploration of the Bering Sea, the move by gold miners into the area, the converting of the natives to Christianity and their cultural decay from firewater, etc.

    As far as Michener's books go, though, my personal favorite and the one I'd recommend the most highly is 'Poland'. After reading his beautiful depictions of that nation and its rich history, it's jumped to the top of my list of places in Europe that I want to visit.

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  5. spitfire8125 added a post in a topic Ezra Pound   

    Thanks qualia! I greatly appreciate the insight and suggestions!

    I don't expect that anyone wants to do my work for me, I'm just looking to get a varied and deeper understanding of this apparently very strange fellow!
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  6. spitfire8125 added a topic in Read   

    Ezra Pound
    Morning everyone,

    I have a little request for you if you don't mind lending assistance. I have a school project to do on the poet Ezra Pound, but I'm completely unfamiliar with his works. I've seen his poems mentioned here and in the Creative Writing forum several times, so I was wondering...

    What are your favorite works by Ezra Pound?

    Any help will be appreciated!

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  7. spitfire8125 added a post in a topic Religion and ET   

    Even though I've operated under labels ranging from atheist to agnostic and finally to humanist, I think theological debates are a very important part of philosophy, so I might as well through my two cents in!

    I think a necessary consideration in this discussion is the idea of moral relativism. If you imagine that morality is relative, that 'good' and 'evil' are properties assigned by the individual rather than inherent in all ideas and things, you'll find that the idea that salvation is local (don't make me quote Tip O'Neill on this one! ) is much easier to imagine. A species of sentient beings on another planet that are completely removed from our culture and genetic and biological make-up could very easily have a brain that is tuned to different pleasure triggers. Thus, Christian values that are specific to the higher brain pleasure-triggers of humanity wouldn't be applicable with ET's and would make Christianity incompatible with them. (I'm considering Christianity because it is the religion that I'm most familiar with, but these ideas apply to the other religions as well.)

    For Christ to be our savior because he instills in us the sense of moral righteousness makes perfect sense and allows our religion to be relevant without detracting from the idea that another savior may exist for another species by instilling in them a sense of moral righteousness that may not be the same as our own.

    Basically, if you believe that the purpose of religion and the ultimate goal of God is to allow a haven of calm and peace in a chaotic universe, it makes good sense that Christ would be my savior because he embodies the sense of moral righteousness and peace that helps me manage a chaotic world. It also stands that _____ would be the savior and embodiment of a set of values and ideas that bring calm and peace to the _____ species of another planet, especially if this set of ideas are incompatible with our own.

    As for the the arguments of species of planets without saviors, I can see this two ways. As a non-theistic humanist, I see religion as an evolutionary concept that grew up uniquely with our species. If this is the case, the species of planets or asteroids or any number of habitats without saviors lack them because they weren't a necessary evolutionary advancement. If God does exist, however, I can't imagine that He would deny any species the chance for redemption and salvation that have been afforded to us. If He does, perhaps we are basking unknowingly in God's better humor and receiving the benefit of a second chance that is, in fact, not universal but distributed at divine will (I just got an idea for a juicy story!).

    I hope that my insight has been helpful or at least thought-provoking!

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  8. spitfire8125 added a post in a topic Police Tasers   

    As copiae has said, a single incident of taser use being fatal is hardly a firm foundation for the argument that tasers are unsafe. Once you move past that notion, the question that arises seems to be whether having the option to use the taser will influence officers to resort to them more frequently and unnecessarily. The answer to this question, to me at least, seems easy enough. There will always be exceptions and occasional abuses, but the police as a whole are very well trained to follow procedures attached to the handling of any situation. As long as the situational requirements for use of the taser are reasonably set, the problem of abuse of the power will be no more prevalent than the abuse of much more lethal firearms. In addition, the use of tasers as an alternative will seriously reduce the number of unnecessary deaths due to firearm use.

    As for the use of clubs as a non-lethal alternative to firearms and tasers, I find the use of clubs to be somewhat less civilized. That personal opinion aside, however, clubs are still tactically more difficult to work with due to the necessity of close range encounters to use them.

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  9. spitfire8125 added a post in a topic 2008 Presidential election   

    You've brought up some very interesting points here, David, and I must say that it certainly puts a new spin on the election for me. Part of the problem with being as young as myself (only 18 ) and getting involved in politics is that my working knowledge of America's recent past is limited to textbooks and memoirs rather than the active participation or involvement of those who were alive and active in politics during conflicts such as Vietnam and the Cold War. I can't claim to know how McCain's administration would actually work any more than I can claim to know how Hillary's or Obama's would work. The perceived personality and character of the candidates are all I have to go by, and this makes my decision difficult.

    I prefer to label myself as a moderate rather than a Republican or a Democrat due to my vastly different social and governmental stances. I've supported McCain as being the most moderate of the Republican candidates since he entered the race, but if Romney, Huckabee, or any of the other GOP candidates were nominated I would have been likely to switch my vote over to Senator Obama.

    Your thoughts on the matter will certainly make me take a closer look at both Obama and McCain.

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  10. spitfire8125 added a post in a topic 2008 Presidential election   

    First of all, thanks for the welcome!

    The major concern with McCain right now is whether his alienation of the far right will benefit him in the long run. Is he going to be able to pick up more independents and Democrats than he'll lose if the far right bloc stays home on election day? Powerful voices of the far right such as Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter have come out against McCain, and its their influence over the party mindset that has me worried.

    On the other hand, opinion differs on that point as well. My AP Government teacher said today that he envies the Republican Party for their lock-step tendencies during elections. Will far right voters fall into step once McCain gets nominated, or will they balk at the choice and be absent in November?

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  11. spitfire8125 added a post in a topic Philip Pullman   

    I'm going to have to reread this excellent trilogy to get the full effect of Pullman's amazing storytelling ability again. Books that can draw genuine emotion from me garner my respect and the ending of The Amber Spyglass depressed me for a good day!

    There is absolutely a lot of insight and intelligence in the way Pullman portrays the moral dilemmas of his characters and the world. The Humanist Network News podcast did an interview with Mr. Pullman as a main point of their hour-long program that I personally found very interesting. He discusses his personal religious views and explains some of his intentions for his books. The link to the HNN website is here. Episode #25 is the interview with Pullman.

    I hope you all enjoy that interview as much as I did!

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  12. spitfire8125 added a post in a topic 2008 Presidential election   

    With Romney's campaign now suspended, McCain has essentially locked up the Republican nomination. I've been a McCain supporter since the campaigning started, but even I'm a little surprised that his failing campaign managed to pick back up and push forward the way it did!

    So what does everybody think of the McCain vs. Hillary or McCain vs. Obama race that will be coming up? Any predictions?

    I personally would prefer to see McCain vs. Hillary because of her perception as being further left than Obama. I think that will unlock moderates for McCain that wouldn't be available if Obama was his opponent.

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  13. spitfire8125 added a post in a topic Introduce yourself here...   

    Hello everyone, I'm Spitfire. I found The Academy when I was searching around on the internet for Wittgenstein and found a lecture of his in TGL. I have to say, I feel like maybe I've found a home to think out loud with people who know what they're talking about!

    I love discussing philosophy, politics, music, and the like, so this seems like a perfect fit! Of course, I still feel uneducated compared to the vast number of theories, philosophers, and ideas flying around here that I've never even heard of! I certainly hope to learn some things here as well. Congratulations and thanks to the founders of these fine websites for creating such a great community!


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  14. spitfire8125 added a post in a topic A new take on an old paradox   

    The following sentence is true. The previous sentence is false.

    I've just recently begun to give serious consideration to this version of the liar's paradox, which I perceive to be essentially the same problem in a somewhat more solid and reliable form (relying on the concrete meaning of the second sentence rather than the potential vagaries of the liar).

    After turning this problem over and over, trying to sneak by its contradiction by turning it into a mathematical problem (which I'll reprint at the bottom of my post), twisting logic to try and find a hidden trick or simple answer to this apparently impossible paradox, I had to come to the conclusion that there was no visible path around this problem.

    Another idea struck me, and is the idea that I'll put forth here for you to toss around and make sense of. What if the problem with this paradox is not located in the concrete facts of the sentences, but the words themselves. Our language contains a multitude of descriptive words that deal with metaphysical concepts such as truth. Could it be that the liar's paradox is nothing but a misuse of descriptive words? That trying to find a concrete solution for a problem that possibly misuses descriptives such as truth and falsity?

    My attempt at mathematical solution is as follows:

    The next sentence is true.
    The previous sentence is false.

    next sentence + true = SA
    previous sentence + false = SB
    true = T
    false = SB

    SA = SB +T
    SB = SA + F

    What I've done here highlights the dependence of each sentence upon the other, contradictory sentence. SA cannot stand alone without SB, because SB is one of the factors that make up SA. The reverse is true as well.


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  15. spitfire8125 added a post in a topic How did you get here?   

    I found these forums by looking up a lecture on ethics that Wittgenstein gave in 1929 and stumbled across the version on TGL.
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