This week in Foundations of Philosophy, we began a challenging two week discussion of the philosophy of the mind. To begin, I asked each student what about themselves they consider to be most important. Without that quality or characteristic, do they think they would still be themselves? We moved into The Rescue of the Tin Woodman as the entry point into the philosophy of the mind. Is the Tin Woodman still the same person he was? The class broke into two groups according to their answer to this question, and then each group worked to write up their position, making sure to define their terms. We wrestled with the same issues that have troubled philosophers for ages past. Does our personal identity reside in our consciousness, our thoughts, or our feelings? Do all three have to stay the same for our identity to stay the same?
This week, each student should write his or her position in answer to the question: What is the core of a person's identity? They should define the words critical to the stated position. After they write down their position, they should read chapter one from Five Children and It, As Beautiful as the Day. After reading the chapter, students should consider if there is anything they would like to change about their position. Students should write this down, as well, in complete sentences.
We will discuss together on Monday!
Philosophy for Children (Ages 12-14)
with Rich Piscopo
Because we ran out of time last week, on Monday we will continue to explore the issue of what it means to respect a person. We left off with two different perspectives. Most of the class believed that it is considered wrong to treat someone disrespectfully because, in effect, if you don't treat someone with respect, you will feel badly, in other words, guilty. A student added to this by stating that it benefits an individual to treat a person with respect because the other person may not like you if you don't. Ultimately, from this point of view, it all boils down to what's best for the individual.
Another student challenged us by asking the profound question, "Isn't everyone connected?" Implying that if you respect someone, you are, in reality, respecting yourself.
This led to a long, deep discussion on the concept of oneness. Is there some underlying fundamental reality to all things? The Unified Field Theory perhaps? What are the ethical implications if we are all literally connected -- and we are aware of it? How would this affect our personal relationships? Would our social policies change? What would the effect be on world poverty, for example? Or, would nothing change?