Sunday, January 13, 2019

Friday, January 11, 2019

Meanwhile, last night in Experiencing Literature...

Last night in my introductory literature class, I was confronted by a room full of students who showed up without books! So I showed them an episode of The Prisoner, and talked a lot.

The students were impressed with the show... This was just "stuff" I watched on TV when I was a little chap, but last night The Prisoner was for the students a revelation. We watched "The Chimes of Big Ben" episode.
Significant dialogue: 1) No. 2 sanctimoniously outlining his morally-inverted, dystopian "New World Order" vision (14:25 - 15:04); and 2) No. 6 remarking upon his enigmatic entry for the community arts and crafts competition (28:58 - 30:06).

The Prisoner represents a bitter farrago of the worst "regularities" of complacent mid-20th century English society--all very funny--but, more importantly, the series examines the deranged (psychopathic?) utopian ambitions of the technocratic classes. Prophetic.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Peter Hacker describes a significant distinction

Peter Hacker describes a significant distinction concerning scientific talk (describing the processes and results of experimentation) and philosophical talk (understanding the ways conceptual credulity confuses scientific description).

I agree with most of what Professor Hacker says, except his assertion that animals do not have souls.  Considering his own criteria, I should point out that while they do not possess "human language" many animals do communicate, and this communication is of a character that is both emotional and reflective of a consciousness of environment, including comprehending in various ways--predation, location, coordination of activity, establishing territories, mating--other animals in that environment. Also, animals, are capable of registering some rightness and wrongness of their actions--at least they respond to scolding and, as I have observed, do seem to have a sense of guilt that is more than mere shame (i.e registering disapproval expressed by their master).* His point drawing together having a soul with the capacity for moral choice (or moral understanding?) is interesting.  One final point on animals and souls: I would like to see Professor Hacker address the phenomenon of animals (cats and dogs) dreaming. Is the capacity to have an "out-of-body" (dreaming) experience an indicator of the presence of a soul? I wonder, if Professor Hacker had a big affectionate Tomcat, or a clever and verbal Cocker Spaniel, and associated with either regularly, if he might revise his views?  Watching--or rather listening to--a pair of loving crows expressing affection for each other is also illuminating; indeed, to the point of astonishment. 

* I want to ask, too, whether many human beings have a sense of shame but lack a sense of guilt? And how might this affect the character of their souls?