Between the two perspectives that were presented in this class, I definitely find the enlightenment point of view more appealing. As someone without a religious background, my understanding of the world has always been through the lenses of reason. Thus, I found myself often agreeing with enlightenment thinkers such as Hume who criticizes the rationally of religious belief. However, one area where I do agree with romanticist is political theory. I find Rousseau ideas of the body politic and social contracts to be more compelling than the existence of natural rights. The enlightenment figures’ justification of natural laws that govern humans in a state of nature seems contrived and despite being inspired by scientific laws, the two are very different.
This course has changed how I view modern-day society by making me think about how the government gets the right to govern. It is something I’ve never really thought about before this but only had a vague sense. This class has allowed me to solidify my beliefs.
A surprisingly interesting part of the class was the art showdown tournament. It was weird to compare two different pieces of artwork and feel that one is better than another, even if you can’t express why. It was not surprising at all to find out that Monet won previously because something about it makes it stand out among the others.
The Enlightenment and Romanticism are like two ends of a battery, without one- the other cannot function. Enlightenment ideals are purely logical and based off of reason while Romanticism is based of freedom of expression. While these two are contradictions of one another, for society to exist, we need both concepts. What I mean by this is that, if we purely go by Enlightenment ideals, then we’ll end up in a Machiavellian form of government were there is only one ruler that holds all the power because it is the most efficient and fastest form of government. While if we go purely by Romanticism ideals, we’ll end up like Werther who did not see the damage his freedom of expression is causing to himself and others.
One of my favorite take away from this class is from Rousseau’s opinions on the origin of our inequality. I’ve always thought that inequality comes only from our innate racism that came from our history. Now I learned that it also comes from our desire of order and safety. The social contract was a concept that really stuck out in my mind because I didn’t even think that we would willingly place ourselves in a form “free prison” in the hopes of being able to live together as a society and progress. All of the constraints Rousseau illustrated gave me a new light on why people become worried or hostile with anyone that acts out of the social norms.
To me, Enlightenment ideals are more important than Romantic ideals. I feel it serves human-kind more purpose, both on an individual and a social scale, to go through life’s decisions and struggles by using reason and personal betterment as the discerning standard as well as motivation. However, when the Romantic ideals of listening to one’s heart and heeding natural impulses are involved, the human experience becomes complete in my opinion. One becomes able to handle situations safely and profitably using reason, without losing himself to a siloed, specialized trade asked of in purely Enlightenment-led society. The Romantic aspects allow a diversity of trade and interest, and this is why it works well as a right-hand man to Enlightenment ideals.
I view Western Culture as a society as something that gives you hope that you can have the best of both worlds in terms of Enlightenment and Romanticism, although this is mostly untrue. It tells you you can make money and still have time for your family, love life, hobbies, and interests, but this becomes more untrue the more you need money or pursue money, which is the leading motivation in Western Society. Moreover, in this capitalist society, the necessity of money is stressed top-down and bottom-up, so the Romantic ideals are viewed as detrimental unless they get you money, such as being a musician despite low success rates. Therefore, I believe learning about these 2 schools of thought has given me a better perspective of Western Culture, allowing me to expand my understanding using the ideals of each to describe today’s lifestyle.
The most important takeaway from this class is that many scholars and authors strongly ponder societies and how to best exist in them, choosing greatly different methods to describe their beliefs. Voltaire’s satirical stories, though contain strongly clash with the styles of Locke and Kant, who structure their arguments in a bullet-point essay, in my opinion. There is merit to all of these clashing opinions and we need more deliberate argumentation questioning leadership and society as such as we face increasingly challenging times.
I think reason and emotion are both important, but between Enlightenment and Romanticism, I prefer the idea of Enlightenment. I think the ideas and methods of Enlightenment are much more feasible than that of the Romanticism. Because many ideas of Romanticism are based on personal and ideas. Then, there are questions arise that different people would inevitably have different views. Taking aesthetics as an example, no one will argue against that though have several general principles, aesthetics is still a subjective idea. Hence, Romanticism’s idea and method would still cause divergence.
Learning the ideas of Enlightenment gives a new perspective of considering the constitution of modern western society because most of western society have built their constitution based on the idea that people have certain inalienable natural rights and the duty of government is to protect these rights. What is more, Enlightenment’s ideas also give me a better understanding of the balance between personal freedom and the effectiveness of government.
I think the most interesting thing I take from this class is the idea of Romanticism because I think Romanticism depicted a way of life I sometimes want to live. This is something I have never thought about because most time I consider myself as living according to reason. However, when I find I have ideas the same as Romanticism, I have changed my view a lot.
Here is an video I found on YouTube. It is music in the Vaporwave genre which was highly popular in the 80s. There is no other image in the video except for the picture of the Greek god Helios and a Vaporwave album cover from Japan. Adding context, Helios is the Greek titan of fire or the sun. He is known for his strength and immense determination to finish a task. He is the complete opposite of Vaporwave which promotes laid back behavior and complacency. One interpretation for this is that, since Helios has one weakness is that his fire both metaphorically and literally can burn away everything to his goal. Vaporwave in the 80s was also highly popular, so much so that it died rather quickly and now it is used for evoking feelings of nostalgia for the peaceful times of the past. For us college students, it is important to put our goals in front of us especially for the ones seeking competitive career path. However, it is also important to slow down and check other opportunities rather than burning everything down on our way to our end goals, because at the very end when we reach it, there would be nothing else to fuel our fire.
Michael Jackson created this song, ‘Black or White’, that deals with race issues such as discrimination. This piece of art makes us better by raising awareness of racial discrimination and marginalization issues that are still popular around the world. Sensually, because of the nature of the song, it is easy to feel and experience the emotions of tolerance that the art is trying to convey. Intellectually, listeners may feel some type of empathy and realize the true cruelty that can occur.
This oil painting is done by Claude Monet in the last thirty years of his life, as one among the series “Nympheas”. The style presented in this work is usually referred as impressionism, which are characterized by soft and light brush strokes, realistic approaches to lights and shadows, and unusually angles of presentation. The method applied by the artist to produce this work in a sense adheres to the rational ideals, as Monet has done a series of studies on how the lights changes from different times of the day, even different times of the year. This piece is but one among the many that depicts the same pond and the same garden from the same angles.
I chose a photo of Norway because it is a very peaceful
place. It merges the concepts themselves of peaceful small towns and silence.
The aesthetic beauty of the land around and the quiet water puts forth concepts
of small friendly towns and simple lives. The quiet life can seem appealing,
but our intellectual side drives for more development and to go further in life
to seek achievement. It unites our peaceful seeking and our aspirations and
drives people to appreciate what is around them in their busy lives.
It reminds people of friendliness and that taking a moment
sometimes is better for people. If you take a moment with the people you are
with you can feel connected with others and understand them better. This gives
people a better sense of perspective if people take a moment in their lives to
appreciate what is around them and to focus on others instead of just
This photo I took at the Musée d’Orsay in France. I feel like this photo gave me the aesthetic experience that Schiller describes because when I was looking at this picture I felt as if I was interacting with nature without truly seeing it. I was able to put myself in the setting of this photo and imagine what it would be like. Artists that are able to connect the viewer with their subject matter without ever truly experiencing it is a rare and powerful talent. As a product of their talent one is able to connect the intellectual part of your brain to the emotional. The reason this particular picture gave me this aesthetic experience was because it allowed me to utilize my imagination. If solely based on the art work one is able to imagine themself there and the atmosphere that they would experience, then this could help to create a sense of empathy. This is important to becoming a better human being. This idea of empathy can apply to real life situations that would connect you with other human beings. Thanks to the aesthetic experience induced by this photo I was able to connect an emotional, empathetic experience to a real life skill that takes intellect.
The First Amendment of the Constitution describes that citizens have rights to their own freedom of expression and their own religion. This most likely stems from the fact that original settlers of the United States were trying to escape religious persecution and wanted the right to be able to express their thoughts and practice their own religion. There are religious ideologies and sayings embedded all throughout our society, and it serves as a foundation of the beliefs of the government and the decisions that our government makes. “In God, We Trust” is on the back of our currency, we say God’s name in the Pledge of Allegiance, we recognize Christian holidays, and many politicians appeal to Christian religious beliefs as a basis of their campaigns. Despite the impression that there is a separation between church and state in the American government, the superiority of the Christian religion and ideals is evident within every aspect of our society. My question is, is does this undermine the statute of equality that is implied within the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal,” if religious superiority is embedded within our own Constitution? Doesn’t this alter the view of citizens and create prejudices against those who are not Christian? Can we truly be equal if there is no separation of church and state?
As I have mentioned earlier, “it ought not to be thought surprising that the rulers of a civil society should have the welfare and glory of their communities at heart” (165). Then why does the United States government fund, support, and enforce the separation of undocumented families via ICE? This is stripping a specific community of their basic liberties. These people, who statistically contribute to the nation’s well-being and economy, are being marginalized and treated inhumanely by being separated from their parents. The compassion and empathy in our hearts are being overridden by the improper qualities our government encourages in our society. A proper society has no place for blame, criticism, judgment, comparison with others, and the distinction of worth among men, and with the dingy and purposefully crowded situation these children are being exposed to, we are distinguishing between equals. All children are innocent under jury, but these detained are being treated as if they are guilty of crimes.
I recently found myself conversing with a family member on the topic of illicit drug use. And since this interaction was of some interest, I thought it appropriate to write about it here in this forum. The crux of the issue was that they were concerned about the prevalence of harmful illegal drugs. Living in the country Canada, they thought the penalty for trafficking and using drugs was far too lenient, and that this ensures the continued prevalence of contraband. They proposed that harsher punishment would discourage these villains from their villainy. I greatly disagreed with this notion and told them such. I thought that we ought to learn from the mistakes of the past and realize that we must not be so quick to employ such drastic punishments. After all, it is unclear if such measures deter crime in the slightest. It would be a great shame if the only thing we did for victims of drug epidemics was to hang them. It is as is said on page 33 in the Discourse on Inequality, “great evils are often introduced in order to correct the lesser ones”. We must be conscious of the various effects that our laws much have.
Hume is critical of religion and discusses how one needs to experience something in order to validate it is true. Evidence: In Section 11, talks about how God built the world and that it is not rational to believe God exists.
Voltaire is also critical of religion since there is so much bad in the world, how can this be the best possible world? Evidence: Page 43–Voltaire is critical of being too optimistic.
I writing this post at 6AM in the morning because I am so good at planning my assignments. Anyways, my name is Michael Fernandez. I’m a third year student from Revelle majoring in Microbiology. Gonna spit out some cool facts about me. First, I love to practice martial arts- mainly Taekwondo and Kickboxing. Second, I am trilingual (kinda quadlingual). My three fluent languages are, English, Tagalog along and an island specific dialect. For my fourth language, I’m currently learning French, but I’m really bad at it.
My favorite book in the Humanities series is probably the Holy Bible because it is so open to interpretation. It is also an interesting book when looking religious history since the Old Testament is back before Jesus arrived and the new Testament is during or after his arrival. It’s an interesting contrast as to how people used to view God since the Old Testament has a lot of sacrifices and deaths while the New Testament is mainly about being a good person.
Anyways, maybe someone will read this and if you do- you’re cool and thank you. Hope everyone has a chill winter quarter. Lastly, here is a picture of something I found on the way to Vegas.
My name is David Richman and I am a fourth-year double major in Philosophy and Political Science. My plan is to attend a doctorate program next year and attain a PhD in Philosophy and/or a PhDiv in Theology/Philosophy of Religion with the eventual goal of teaching at a university level–I am currently waiting for my admissions results as I’ve already submitted all of my applications. I am primarily concerned with topics in moral and political philosophy, existential phenomenology, theology as paradox, and the philosophies of Immanuel Kant and Søren Kierkegaard. My interests include reading (philosophy and theology), writing, and snowboarding.
My favorite book within the Humanities sequence thus far is Augustine’s Confessions. The Confessions explores topics such as introspection, guilt, sin, individuality, the nature of time, and so many more. It is complex, deep, thought-provoking, passion-provoking, and completely original (especially form a historical perspective). Augustine offers himself in such a bare and naked way, elucidating his inner struggles and relating his sense of isolation with being an Individual before God, that one cannot but be absolutely gripped by every word. Beyond mere passion and self-reflection, Augustine also philosophizes in a dispassionate manner on topics like time, where he espouses a systematic and defensible account of presentism (viz. that only and nothing but the present exists).
Below I’ve attached the statue of Søren Kierkegaard in the garden he used to visit often in Denmark. A fun fact about Kierkegaard is that, while he was the first existentialist, and literally invented the dialectical category of “the individual,” he used to walk around the streets of Copenhagen for up to four hours at a time, talking with every person he could. He was highly sociable (at least on the outside) and extremely funny–what made him first prominent in Denmark was his writing a satirical hit-piece on his own first published and pseudonymous work (Concluding Unscientific Postscript) in a newspaper in Copenhagen.
Greeting! This is George, a sophomore math and economy joint major student, from Beijing, China. I’m interested in reading books about philosophy and social science, and running dungeon and dragon campaign with my friends. I’m also open to exploring new foods.
My favorite book from HUM sequence thus far is Gorgias by Plato. The dialogue inquires on topics concerning the nature of rhetoric, how and why people argue, the very thing which we’ve spent so much time learning in the HUM class. This work also brings up more questions than it answered, proposing ideas that seems surprisingly modern.