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Faith and Doubt: Emotion’s Place in Epistemology

By Daniela Ortiz, V Form

Faith and Doubt: Emotion’s Place in Epistemology

 In this paper, I will argue that faith is comprised of knowing God without certainty. I will argue that this kind of faith does more good in the world than absolute certainty in God. People of faith must face doubt to strengthen belief. Although this seems paradoxical, the outcome of continuously facing doubt is a stronger commitment to looking beyond one’s self and following through on a commitment to treat all other people with respect. 

Can we know God? Let us first define knowing. 

Knowing is split into two categories- the logical knowing and emotional knowing. Logical knowing is what is certain and can be derived from the senses. In this, I agree with Hume. Knowledge of this kind is about the physical world around us and is known through data of the empirical kind such as our sensory information. There are limitations to what our senses can have us knowing. If a person’s senses deceived them, for example, by seeing a fake oasis in a desert, then this knowing may be faulty. But a singular type of incident should not be taken to alter the whole principle that logical knowing is defined by what we can perceive and what we can think. Also, logical knowing is similar to the way mathematics is used to model occurrences in the world. The use of logic conduces one answer. When there is only one answer, we shall call this certainty. When there are multiple answers, uncertainty begins. The category of emotional knowing often resides with uncertainty because our emotions are hard to maintain a grasp on long enough for one answer and train of thought to be maintained from the impression of the emotion. In section 2, paragraph 12, Hume makes a clear distinction between our thoughts and our impressions. Ideas are limited only to what we can expand upon from our sensory information, or from our desires and feelings. The argument here is sound. In paragraph 14, Hume explains that every thought we have is copied from a similar, earlier impression. Emotions may be short-lived, but they are more vivid, and all of our ideas about the world are formed from them (Hume 2). To bring it to a point: although emotions are fleeting, the emotional knowing should not be discounted as our impressions are stronger and more vivid than the ideas they will eventually inform. 

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Opening a Philosophy Café: Socrates Café in Seoul

By June Seong, VI Form
Opening a Philosophy Café: Socrates Café in Seoul

Click on Image for Podcast and SIte

This summer, I opened a chapter of the Socrates Cafe in Seoul. I created this venue with the intent to create a platform for rigorous and open discussions about questions that itch us under our skins: What is the value of art? What is love? I had previously crafted a model with Dr. Harwood for a Saturday class I will help teach in the spring semester called the Socrates Cafe. Essentially, the Cafe meets that happened in Seoul was a way for me to learn more about the nuances of moderating a philosophical and analytical conversation.

I was eventually able to get into contact with the founder of the Socrates Cafe, philosopher and writer Christopher Phillips. We did a podcast together that shed more light on the concept of the Cafe and our hopes and aspirations for widespread philosophical thinking.
Here’s the link for the podcast:

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The Epistemological Theories of Descartes, Hume, and Kant As Well as The Implications for the Existence of God

By Lora Xie, V Form

The Epistemological Theories of Descartes, Hume, and Kant As Well as The Implications for the Existence of God

Editor’s Note: This is the assignment from the Advanced Religion course–“In whatever way is most helpful to you (prose, outline, diagram, drawing), tell the story of Descartes’ Rationalism, Hume’s Skepticism, and the Kantian synthesis. You will share this in class and also hand it in. You will be graded both on the effectiveness of your method and on your evident understanding. 

Click on this Image to Enter Slideshow!

Link to Slideshow:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1-usiBKsrTmdWRX_Zzk1GDdzXFtaOc_NWRJnUj4Nqwd4/edit?ts=5bc653e0#slide=id.g43a807e277_0_746 (more…)

Vonegut’s Cat’s Cradle: Thoughts on Science, Ethics, and Being Human

By Jiwon Choi, VI Form

Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle: Thoughts on Science, Ethics, and Being Human

I am drawn to science. I always loved history and literature, too, but science made sense to me, scratched my itch in a way other subjects never did. As I did chemistry experiments or drew molecular diagrams, I felt part of a never-ending search for truth, an heir to the great, inexhaustible spirit of inquiry.

And every year I saw more evidence for the validity and even nobility of that spirit. Whether it was the laser cutter that lets me instantly carve out trophies for the little kids who come for free robotics classes on Saturdays or a news item about advancements in self-driving cars, science met my expectations time and time again, sparking my imagination and literally making my heart beat faster.

Of course, I’m not ignorant of the repercussions that come along with new discoveries. I’ve read plenty of pieces about the threats AI will pose to the workforce, and I worry about accidents involving autonomous cars. But still, when I did my mental cost-benefit analysis, science was unequivocally a net good. And besides, isn’t it science itself that will find solutions to these problems? Surprisingly to me, it was in a literature class that my attitude about science was shaken forever. Almost immediately upon beginning Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, my heart sank, filling me with an uncomfortable feeling I couldn’t resolve. (more…)

Deep Work in Practice at St. Mark’s (Part 3)

By Dr. Colleen Worrell, Director of The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning

Deep Work in Practice at St. Mark’s (Part 3)

Deep Work is a skill that the Center is hoping to build into each student’s “learning playbook.” The first two LEO articles (Make Deep Work Your Super Powerand Productivity, Neuroscience, & Deliberate Practice) aimed to introduce the term and core concepts to the St. Mark’s community. This third article focuses on deep work from the perspective of two St. Markers, 6th Former Sophie Haugen, and Classics teacher, Dr. Harwood. Each of them responded to the following questions:

  • What are some ways that you deliberately practice deep work at (or beyond) St. Mark’s?
  • What is the value of deep work?
  • What recommendations do you have for St. Marker’s who’d like get started with deep work?

Sophie Haugen, 6th Former:

I am not an expert on “doing” deep work, but I do try to practice it and I have learned about its importance, especially as a student at St. Mark’s where our schedules and lives are extremely packed and do not easily enable us to practice deep work all the time. Last year, I fell into a multi-month-long rut of frustration and lack of satisfaction from everything I was doing in my academic courses. I was putting in excessive time and what I perceived to be effort and hardwork but was not seeing the results in my grades or my actual understanding/engagement with the material. (more…)

How does Montag’s Rashness Impact Him?

By Samantha Wang, III Form

How does Montag’s Rashness Impact Him?

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is a story about banned books and thoughts. People in that society are wholly brainwashed by the government into believing that no reading and thinking can bring them happiness. Montag, one of the firemen responsible for burning books, is curious about them. This leads him to read and think, which are illegal in his society. After realizing the lack of literature and thoughts necessitates the lack of happiness and love in the world, Montag begins to take actions, often rashly, to rebel against the reality. Although Montag’s rashness occasionally hinders him from achieving his goals, his braveness also helps him rebel and builds a human character. His imperfection adds a touch of realism to the story, making it more understandable to readers. (more…)