Must have ( The Norton Reader 13th ed. )
be able to answer some questions regarding these readings:-
-Henry David Thoreau, “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” (1098)
-Jacob Bronowski, “The Nature of Scientific Reasoning” (886)
-Stephen Hawking, “Is Everything Determined?” (908)
– http://research.uvu.edu/albrecht-crane/486RKafka/Nietzsche.pdf (ONLINE)
Here are the questions:-
1. What is the nature of scientific reasoning, according to Bronowski? What role does imagination play? Does this differ from the picture painted by Weinberg?
2. Why does Thoreau call the average person a “sleeper”? How does this lifestyle differ from living “deliberately”?
3. There are some striking parallels among “The Allegory of the Cave,” “Existentialism,” and “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For.” What are they?
4.There was progress made regarding Sartre’s notion of lawmakers, but I’d like to take this opportunity to lay out exactly what Sartre means. Whenever we perform an action we implicitly make a statement about reality. If we say that we believe in gravity, for example, we also say something about the trustworthiness of science, observational evidence, mathematics, our perceptions, and history. We are saying something about how the universe operates on a large scale while staking a great deal of faith in our own ability to accurately perceive that universe. Every one of our beliefs are, by necessity, part of a much larger belief system, and every time we perform an action we make a statement about the nature of reality. Thus, when we engage the world, even in the most rudimentary ways, we expect others to participate in the universe we’ve envisioned, the world as we see it. And the more people we can get to agree with us, the more canonical and binding our beliefs become. Subsequently, if we are born into a capitalist economy, we are expected to value money. If we are born into a heteronormative society, we are expected to act straight. If we are born into a world that fetishizes scientific knowledge, labeling Newton’s theory of gravity as a “law of nature,” we are expected to regard the scientific theories of our age as self-evident. This is why Sartre calls every person a “lawmaker.” If we engage the world, we do so as creators and sustainers of “truth,” expecting others to participate in the reality we’ve constructed.
So why has Western culture, at large, resisted Einstein’s ideas about gravity, and how does this relate to Sartre’s notion of lawmakers? Does this tell us anything about how “truth” functions in culture?
For anyone who’s curious, this video explains general relativity pretty well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEZupmpTcOU. Basically, orbiting planets are traveling along curved space created by the Sun. Gravitational “pull” is a myth.
5. What is Hawking’s argument, in a nutshell?
6. What is Nietzsche’s argument, in a nutshell?
7. What makes scientific knowledge and empirical observation untrustworthy, in Nietzsche’s opinion?
8. How does Nietzsche’s notion of “truth” relate to “The Allegory of the Cave” and Sartre’s notion of “lawmakers”?