Assignment Two : LUSENET : Walsh Intro to Philosophy : One Thread

After reading "I Married an Empiricist" write two well-formed paragraphs of the eight sentence variety. In the first, identify the idea you thought most significant, and explain why. In the second, identify which idea you felt was not-true, or least acceptable, or most disagreeable to you, and explain why.

-- Anonymous, January 19, 2000


Assignment two

The topic in Kaplan's "I Married an Empiricist" that I agreed strongly with was dealing with a person's self-concept. She interpreted Merleau-Ponty's definition to say that the concept was part fiction and part reality. I can say that I have experienced this point in my own life. One examines the difference in how they see themselves and how others see them. The way a person thinks they appear may be radically different than what they actions portray to others, whether negative or positive. When Kaplan states "we think about our action in relation to the future we project for ourselves, the past action may take on an entirely different character." I believe she is saying that one fantasizes about what changes a decision one makes will have on their future. The imagined action then takes on a past tense and leads to other imagined decisions. The aspect I disagreed with the most was her interpretation of Marcuse's definition of positivism. The worry is that scientific thinking will replace human compassion. As a science major, I can say that the scientific method is very valuable in life. Besides all the technological and medicinal advancements made possible through scientific thinking, it is useful in evaluating situations. I am also more prone to scientific thinking due to the fact that I am very left-brain oriented. Human compassion, however, can never be replaced. The difference is to keep scientific thinking a tool to relate to situations but not to use it as a absolute rule. Both are important and valuble aspects to human relations.

-- Anonymous, January 24, 2000

Professor Laura Kaplans essay I Married an Empiricist contains many items of interest. Professor Kaplan and her husband have dynamically different personalities, yet their love seems stronger for this fact. They both new joy together during their honeymoon, but not necessarily for the same reasons. She gives many philosophical theories to try to explain this. One such theory states that people focus on events whereas another expounds that they focus on process. Some turn their awareness inward, concentrating on the present, while others believe that no one theory can truly explain an individuals character. Perhaps all theories are true to some extent, and human beings are simply too complex to adequately explain. For this reason, it is my belief that philosophy will never come up with one answer for all of humanity, but the pursuit of such an answer will nonetheless remain a worthwhile endeavor. One point that Professor Kaplan makes that I find discomforting is the theory of technical rationality. The idea that technical rationality may eventually turn her husband into an ethical monster is profoundly disturbing. Perhaps it was made partly in jest? The basis of technical rationality, as defined by Jurgen Habermas, is that we view everything as a tool to serve our own ends. I happen to be acquainted with a person who seems to fit this model, and it can be very difficult at times to justify or rationalize her actions. Obviously, an individuals personal beliefs and experiences will color their judgement; I am as guilty of this as anyone. But an important point to remember is that we as human beings are more than simply the sum of our parts. Simply put, everyone deserves a fair chance and sometimes simply giving him or her the benefit of the doubt is not enough, we must have faith in that person as well.

-- Anonymous, January 24, 2000


Kaplan was able to identify personality characteristics in both herself and her husband. She realized that on their honeymoon the two of them took very different approaches to the same activity. Kaplan identified and understood her own reactions and thought process to this event. She also identified the reactions and at least some of the thought process of her husband. So many people know their own reactions and the reactions of loved ones, but rarely consider the thought behind those reactions. There are also many people that know the reactions of others, but have no sense of themselves. Kaplan was able to look inside of herself and know herself. She was then able to know her husband. If more people did this, there may be less misunderstanding.

When Kaplan's husband dropped everything to be with his mother in the hospital, she (Kaplan) seemed surprised at his action. Why was this action such a surprise? Kaplan is the one that states that he is sensitive in real life and everyday situations. This trip to the hospital where his mother was may not have been planned, but it was what would have been expected. She even stated that he said it was his 'duty' to do this. Furthermore, after her thoughts of both during and after the honeymoon, she could have reasonably anticipated this action. One more thing, how did she know that the cause for him to 'repattern' the trip was for him to "feel proud and confident, not scared". The way this is presented it indicates that this is her opinion and not something that he told her. There seems to be no way of finding if this statement is the truth or merely her opinion.

-- Anonymous, January 25, 2000


After reading "I Married and Empiricist", I have identified two points of interest. The first is the most acceptable to me and the second, I note as not completely unacceptable (yet, not completely acceptable). The idea of the phenomenologistic movement is the most acceptable to me. Several reasons have lead me to this conclusion. First, in my previous reading, I have come across literature promoting some of the basic principles (The Celestine Prophecy). Secondly, the article alludes to "...experience containing seeds of past and future experience...". This, in essence, is comparable to the idea of the so-called "coincidence". Here, the idea that everything has and happens for a reason is imposed. Therefore, it is evident that influences outside the realm of the essay were utilized as a basis to make the phenomenological movement the most acceptable to me. Altogethor, there was not that much that I disagreed with in the essay; though, I did find something that was not completely agreeable with my perspective. The essay relays the message that the computer-information age of man is begininng to be ruled by the tool i.e. the computer This is where my outlook begins to "teeter". That is, I do not totally repeal the notion of man's advancement in the computer-age, or even the fact that that computer's have become an advanced feature of our daily lives. On the other hand, I disagree that it has advanced to the point of "taking control". In my opinion, it will never take control, but, as a human race, we have advanced the tool to quickly; we need to play catch-up and "learn" what we have created. The tool should not advance faster than we can educate ourselves.

-- Anonymous, January 25, 2000

Over time, scientific method has become the most commanding way in which people rationalize their experiences. The scientific method is almost universally agreed to be the best form of evidence to support or refute an idea. This is because it uses a series of tests, retests, and a control to determine if a variable plays a role in the experiment. In "I married an Empiricist", positivism is described as the scientific thinking that has come to dominate our culture. I fully agree with this statement because the case of "seeing is believing" is definately becoming more prominant. This is why there are less "church-goers" now than 100 years ago. People do not truely believe in God anymore because we don't have any proof that he is real. All through our lives we are encouraged to give evidence as to why something is true or false, but when it comes to God, we are just supposed to believe it. Intelligence has caused human nature to doubt anything that does not have scientific reasoning behind it.

"According to Merleau-Ponty, a person constantly reinterprets the past, always lives in the present, and continuously projects a new future." Out of all of the claims in this essay, I find this statement the least acceptible. A goal-oriented person might project a new future, but many people in todays society live in the past. Take for example, when a loved one dies. Many people have been known to hold onto their loved one's possessions for many years and never get over the loss to move on with their life. They try to keep this person alive and with them as much as possible. They don't look into the future because all they can think about is the past and the life they used to have when their loved one was still around. Another example to refute this statement is people who live for today because tomorrow may never come. There are many people like this - they don't ever go to school and won't go to college because it would be a waste of what little money they might have. They don't make any real effort to keep a job because the pay that they get isn't worth it. There is no way that we can say these types of people are projecting a new future. I agree that in an ideal society, people would reinterpret the past, live in the present, and project a new future, but we are not even close to living in a perfect world, and although some people will do these things, the number who actually do might be less than you would imagine.

-- Anonymous, January 25, 2000

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