Once upon a time . . .
I organized a philosophy discussion group.
I learned some interesting things.
One time I learned something when a person said
“Maybe it’s not really wrong to kill other people.
Maybe we just think it’s wrong to kill other people.”
Yes. This person is a Democrat. Did you really need to ask? And a computer programmer.
Another thing I learned was that most people are stupid.
Everyone who joined this philosophy discussion group did so of their own free will. Except for the ones who believe in determinism that is. Then they complained that the reading material was too complex. And in fact some complained that there was reading material.
Apparently they expected to show up and present their opinions about the topic of the day without actually having any knowledge about the topic of the day. I can understand where this stupid expectation would come from. We live in a society exactly like that. It’s called democracy.
This discussion group was not a democracy. It was a benevolent dictatorship. Which sometimes was not so benevolent.
One time a woman said “If women ran the world there would be no wars.” I responded “You don’t have any female friends do you?”
The links on this page take you to the writings I sent out to these people. This material is almost all taken from 100 to 300 level philosophy text books. This material was read, discussed and understood on a regular basis by 18 to 21 year old children. Granted this was back in about 2005. I don’t know if the college students of 2017 could comprehend this.
Additionally should you not be familiar with “philosophy” in the sense that words & phrases like utilitarianism, social contract, categorical imperative and will to power mean nothing to you – this group of documents will give you an overview of several of the major schools of philosophical thought.
Philosophy 101 Document List
Download a zip file of all documents via this link:
Discussion on Making All Things Equal – Chuang Tzu
discussion on making all things equal.pdf
Duty and Reason – Immanuel Kant
duty and reason.pdf
Morality and Reason – Immanuel Kant
An Overview of Existentialism – Stanford University Website
Ethics and Feminism – a handout from a feminist philosophy teacher
Genetic Engineering and The Sacred – Bernard Rollin
genetic engineering and the sacred.pdf
The Greatest Happiness Principle – John Stuart Mill
greatest happiness principle.pdf
The Chapter “Justice and Society” part 1 – philosophy textbook
justice and society 1.pdf
The Chapter “Justice and Society” part 2 – philosophy textbook
justice and society 2.pdf
Knowledge and Virtue – Plato
Moral Character – Aristotle
knowledge and virtue.pdf
No Trace – Buddhist Teaching
Thought Experiments About Personal Identity – teacher generated handout
Radical Freedom – Jean-Paul Sartre
Selections from The Way of Lao Tzu
selections from The Way.pdf
The Chapter “Self-identity” part 1 – philosophy textbook
The Chapter “Self-identity” part 2 – philosophy textbook
self identity 2.pdf
Are You Living In A Computer Simulation – Nick Bostrom
Social Contract Ethics – Thomas Hobbes
social contract ethics.pdf
Some Basic Points About Arguments – James Rachels
some basic points about arguments.pdf
The Five Aggregates – Buddhist teaching
the five aggregates.pdf
The Need For More Than Justice – Annette C. Baier
the need for more than justice.pdf
The Politics, Book 1 – Aristotle
the politics book 1.pdf
The Quality Of Being – Zen Buddist teaching
the quality of being.pdf
The Transvaluation of Values – Friedrich Nietzche
transvaluation of values.pdf
I found this video many moons ago. I sent it out to everyone in the group as required watching before attending a discussion session. I think it’s still pretty darn solid.