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Thursday, May 25

The fine art of the essay

Teachers, teaching assistants (TAs), and professors traditionally collect particularly classic student "missteps" in the fine art of learning to converse. A few around the topic of philosophy are listed below:

In the 5th century BC sceptics did not study philosophy for very long. They saw no point in continuing as it did not contribute in any way to their social lives. At that point they became Sophists, and Socrates' worst nightmares.

metaphorically their [ancient people's] selves could be seen in the buildings which stood around them such as the Polis.

This in itself could be seen as a risk of hippocracy, as Protagoras was apparently enthusiastic in justifying the democracy.

If Aristotle had meant "happiness" by "eudaimonia" he'd have said so.

The early Britons made their houses of mud, and there was rough mating on the floor.

Sparta protested, saying all the cities' fornications in Greece should be dismantled.

... the meteorological rise of the Mycenean ruling class ...

When Plato wrote his theory he did so in the form of a diologue which was supposed to have been said by Socrates, another infamous philosopher.

Descartes wanted to escape the confines of the intellectual establishment and instead enrol in the school of life.

In the First Meditation Descartes abandons his body.

Descartes believed that he was the creator of god.

In the objections and supplies section of the Meditations ...

Like Plato, Descartes thought the immorality of the soul was established on a priori [...] grounds ...

[Descartes] can have half a body, but to exist he needs a whole mind.

Descartes was frequently visited by the natural light.

Gassendi makes a pert objection ...

Yet Descartes still needed to find a single indubitable truth upon which he could base a foundation for knowledge, like the an allergy which he draws with the single fixed point in the universe to move the entire Earth, as Archimedes once did.

Bernard Williams' book: Descartes: A Product of Pure Enquiry

Mill said that the higher pleasures are mental, but the lower pleasures are sensational.

[Mill] substantiates that happiness is desirable by claiming that the only way of showing that anything is desirable is that it is itself desired -- that the desirability is visible.

If I am not mistaken, there is debate about euthanasia in the Netherlands right now. Opponents want the law rebuked.

I can argue that it is perfectly permissable for the pesant to trample me to death if I get in his way, because I know that, surrounded by my courtesans it will not be me personally who gets in the way, and anyway the pesant does not ride a horse.

Williams' next argument seems to be that an egoist would have a "cognition failure" (which Williams thinks follows from Wittginstein).

[Kant's g]ood will is good in itself because the nature of our bodies is that we have specialised organs in our bodies that produce the best results in their operations - this applies to mental life as well.

For instance, even atheists recognise that having a rite to practice religion is ultimately important.

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