Philosophy 1115 WebLog 2004/2005

Welcome to Philosophy 1115.    This page is intended to point you to further information about philosophers, philosophies, discussions, issues, texts and artworks which come up in class.   If you have ideas for things which could be included here, please send me an email at ursula [at]

Continually updated    --   Newest information at the top

2003 WebLog  



January 30, 2005

Just a reminder that the test will include the beginning of the chapter on Freedom -- pages 229 to 240.  In particular, you might want to take a look at the discussion about our "schizophrenic view of freedom."    

And an interesting link to the Radical Academy     (Perhaps a good site to remember come final exam time...)

Freedom    Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia        (which is worth looking at at any rate -- for many different subjects)


January 28, 2005

Just minor additions to the test advice below...

A worthwhile page about the history of philosophy

Additional advice for the Frankenstein assignment has been added to the Assignment 2 webpage.



The second test will be based on lecture material following the first test and textbook pages 73 to 240.


Some advice…

Pay attention to the vocabulary – look up unfamiliar or highlighted words in the glossary.

Pay attention to the gray boxes.

Prepare a timeline for yourself (or find one on the internet here or here).

Make some flash cards for yourself for the most prominent philosophers and theories.

Reread the text, making notes as you go.

Rewrite your lecture notes, organizing as you go.


This test will be primarily multiple choice. But there will be one longer question worth 20 % of the test..


You will be offered a choice of three questions. The three will be chosen from the following seven. Your answer can be either in essay form or in point form, but you should be sure to clarify your points. It must be obvious that you know what you are talking about. Confusion will lower your mark. To get top marks here, you will have to provide some details, particularly names and dates, distinguishing characteristics and significance where applicable.   You will lose marks if your answer takes the form of a haystack with everything you know thrown in a heap.   Your answer does not have to be long...


1. Outline the major types of proofs for the existence of God.

2. Outline the major features of the philosophy of Idealism.

3. Outline the differences between Rationalism and Empiricism.

4. Outline Kant’s ‘resolution of skepticism.’

5. Outline these theories of truth: correspondence, coherence and pragmatic.

6. Outline the three types of solutions to the mind-body problem: behaviourism, identity theory and functionalism.

7. Outline the ‘egocentric predicament.’

December 14, 2004

I'm planning an email discussion group for the new term.   It will not be mandatory.  

I see from your journals that many of you have the same passions and interests.

Many of you are good writers and seem eager to discuss philosophical issues.

More in January....

In the meantime, this is in tonight's news....

ACLU to Sue Over Pa. Evolution Debate

November 18 , 2004

Some sobering reading for this month of remembrance

Mark Twain's     The War Prayer

November 16 , 2004

I can't understand why so many of you have not picked up your tests at my office (H124).   While I printed the grades online, you should still pick up your test to see where you went wrong -- otherwise, how can you learn from it.   As well, you should check over your test to make sure that the computer printed out the correct score next to the correct name.   You must let me know if there is anything odd about your test paper.

To those of you who were disappointed with your marks on this test, use the opportunity to examine how you take notes or study.   It was only worth 10 percent of your final mark and even a failing grade is not insurmountable.  There are many more grades to be won.

October 28, 2004

"I'd like you to read this famous story and think about whether Nietzsche wasn't on to something when he criticized the naive idea of human equality."

October 25, 2004

If you'd like to follow in someon'es footsteps as they tour Europe, go here.

Unfortunately, your tests will not be returned this week.   Things pile up in my life like in yours.    I am having the computer office scan the answer sheets (this is where my recorded marks will come from) , but will also return your paper tests.   They will not be marked, but I will post the answers on the website here so that you can see where you went right and where you went wrong.

Just a reminder that I asked you to read the Meaning of life chapter.   I will spend at least half the lecture this week on that (or something like that).  The second half will be on the beginning of Chapter three.  

October 16, 2004

"Whatever does not kill me makes me stronger."           -Friedrich Nietzsche

After reminding us of the joys and responsibilities of science and skepticism, Carl Sagan concluded:

"If we teach school children the habit of being skeptical perhaps they will not restrict their skepticism to aspirin commercials and 35,000 year old channelers. Maybe they will start asking awkward questions about economic or social or political or religious institutions, and then where will we be? Skepticism is dangerous. In fact, it is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. That is exactly its function."


October 15, 2004

Philosophy Comix

Squashed Philosophers   The books which defined the way The West thinks now

I have decided not to have an additional lecture segment after the test on Tuesday and/or Wednesday.  

I am writing the test for 1 1/2 hours, but will allow up to 2 1/2 hours.

Note that you should still do the reading required for this week (on the Good Life)

If you're still fuzzy about Bacon's 'Idols", you might find this helpful.

As well, I have put an additional link on the 'required and suggested readings' for lecture 5 page.  

Just for fun....      Which level of Dante's Inferno are you headed for?    Find out here

October 14, 2004

Another Humanist heard from: 

"The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reasoning" 
Voltaire. Philosophical Dictionary,  1764.

Also voltaire:

Such is the feebleness of humanity, such is its perversity, that doubtless it is better for it to be subject to all possible superstitions, as long as they are not murderous, than to live without religion. Man always needs a rein, and even if it might be ridiculous to sacrifice to fauns, or sylvans, or naiads, it is much more reasonable and more useful to venerate these fantastic images of the Divine than to sink into atheism. An atheist who is rational, violent, and powerful, would be as great a pestilence as a blood-mad, superstitious man.

When men do not have healthy notions of the Divinity, false ideas supplant them, just as in bad times one uses counterfeit money when there is no good money. The pagan feared to commit any crime, out of fear of punishment by his false gods; the Malabarian fears to be punished by his pagoda. Wherever there is a settled society, religion is necessary; the laws cover manifest crimes, and religion covers secret crimes.

But whenever human faith comes to embrace a pure and holy religion, superstition not only becomes useless, but very dangerous. We should not seek to nourish ourselves on acorns when God gives us bread.

Superstition is to religion what astrology is to astronomy: the foolish daughter of a very wise mother. These two daughters, superstition and astrology, have subjugated the world for a long time.

from Voltaire's   A Treatise on Toleration


A modern Humanist echoes the Epicureans:

My next idea is, that the only possible good in the universe is happiness. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to try and make somebody else so.”

Robert G. Ingersoll. “The Limitations of Toleration." The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll. Dresden edition. Clinton P. Farrell, ed. New York, Dresden Publishing Company, 1903. Volume VII, page 258

October 8, 2004

Introduction to Stoic Ethics  Dr. Jan Garret

TPM Online  Fun and Games

Episteme Links Philosophy Fun and Humour

The Philosphers' Magazine on the Internet

Philosophy Now    A Magazine of Ideas

October 2, 2004

QED:  Dogma and Reason can Co-exist

October 1, 2004

On others trying to control our thinking -- from CBC News

September 19, 2004

A link to the Goya Colossus

More on the differences between Mythopoeic and Philosophical thought

Welcome to Philosophy 1115.     I intend to use this page to point you to further information about philosophers, philosophies, discussions, issues, texts and artworks which come up in class.   If you have ideas for things which could be included here, please send me an email at ursula [at]

September 13, 2004


Last Updated: January 30, 2005