4 Bi Weekly Feedback 5th Question 2nd Period

Pick any one of the philosophers that we discussed and choose the one whose ideas are most relevant to your life. Please explain.

Of the philosophers we have studied, I think that English philosopher Sir Frances Bacon had ideas that were most relevant to my life and my personal beliefs. I agree with his inductive reasoning idea that we can only trust what we see instead of having preconceived ideas that have been passed down through generations. I can relate to this because I have a very specific personality and do not like to leave things up to chance but rather know for myself what I am doing and what I believe. I also really like his quote “science nourishes faith”. I strongly believe that science and faith can and do work in tandem. I think this shows a very modern view that the two can work together and are not opposing forces as many believe. For example last year when we studied Darwin and evolution many questions came up about the facts in the bible vs. the facts in the fossil records. However, I strongly believe that our universe follows these theories but that does not mean that God did not make it happen that way and in that case religion and science worked together not against each other. (Mary)

I agree with Mary, and that in modern society Sir Francis Bacon’s inductive reasoning offers a very practical way of thinking for us. While we are constantly bombarded with commercials and gossip on the TV or the internet, the overwhelming media saturation in our lives is obvious and it can often be difficult to discern what is actually true. Inductive reasoning offers an escape from that, and we are able to make decisions based on facts and logic, whether than lose our own thoughts in the flood of information that we are faced with on a daily basis. We also avoid the bias that comes with it, and gain a more informed, level-headed perspective on the world and occurrences therein. Jordan

I personally found Pascal’s point of view on the connections between logic and faith interesting and relevant to what I think and believe right now. I like to think that science and faith can work together on many occasions, but I never went as far to use a mathematical figure to justify God’s existence. Pascal uses the concept of infinity and how we know that it’s there but we do not know what exactly it is to support the existence of God. He claims that if God does exist, “he is infinitely beyond our comprehension”. To relate a concept in math to God gives a logical explanation as to why God exists as opposed to a reason purely based on faith. Although Pascal has many other logical arguments in his essay Wager, the connection he makes between infinity and God provides me with another reason to claim that science and faith can work together instead of against each other. (Kavitha)

Like Kavitha, I connected most with Pascal and his discussion of how faith and science work together. I was brought up in a strongly Christian household, but as I grew up I encountered many secular beliefs which contradicted Christian philosophy. One example of this was having to learn about the origin of the earth in biology with no allowance for miracles or God. This has caused me confusion similar to Pascal about how faith and science can both be present in one’s life. Being math minded, I immediately connected with Pascal’s comparison of God to an imaginary number. I had never seen it that way before, but it gave me some of the clarity I’d been looking for. (Laura)

Sir Francis Bacon would also have to be the philosopher that I most directly relate to. In order for something to be proven to me, I have to be able to clearly reason through it and then I am able to come to my own conclusion. I see his inductive reasoning as much more of a moving forward aspect to prove something rather than just taking a theory and trying to go back and prove its legitimacy. Sir Francis Bacon never disregards or contradicts religion; instead he is using science as a way to “nourish faith”. I am a religious person, but as many people have already said, I acknowledge many scientific theories. Personally, I need explanations for things and Sir Francis Bacon finds, what I believe to be, the happy medium between religion in science so they may compliment each other rather than contradict. I see science as a support system for religion, and I think Sir Francis Bacon did as well. Sarah Tomlin

I don’t mean to repeat anything that anyone has already said, but I also think that I relate most to Sir Francis Bacon. Bacon’s words made me realize that he didn’t want to use science to undermine religion. Instead, he strove to reconcile faith and science. My favorite line from this work is, “But if the matter be truly considered, natural philosophy is, after the word of God…the most approved nourishment for faith.” Bacon believed that science should be used to eliminate the belief in superstition and magic that people falsely attributed to God. He proves that scientists are not necessarily atheists, and science should not attack or subvert religion or the Church. Instead, science should cleanse religion of falsities and irrationalities. Overall, like Bacon, I believe that it is possible for religion and science to coexist and complement one another. (Mackenzie)

Like a lot of other people, I find Sir Francis Bacon and his writing to be most directly connected to my life. Bacon comes to rationalize his religious zeal and his passion for mathematics and science by declaring that “science nourishes faith.” His struggle to understand the relationship between the two concepts stemmed from the common belief that science would ultimately undermine the fundamentals of religion. He originally saw the two as having to be contradictory. However, he found a common bond when he saw the similarities between the intangible concept of infinity and its religious equal, God. Bacon proves that however opposite and contradictory two things may appear to be, underneath there may be an aspect of the two that can bring them together. Sarah Shea

I was going to say Sir Francis Bacon because he is my boi and I did a project on him freshman year, but everybody else chose him already. Instead, I found I can really connect with the ideas of Diderot. While most of the other philosophers of the age were getting really deep into humanism and believing man to be perfectible, Diderot went against the Idea of Progress. The Idea of Progress states that as the technology progresses and the quality of life increases, people gain the benefits and become more happy. But even though we are far more technologically advanced than in the Enlightenment era, we are not necessarily more well off and simply have different sets of problems and discomforts we must deal with. The Diderot Effect says that once you get a material possession of value then you will only try and amass more such marvelous possessions and better ones. This cycle doesn't create lasting happiness as the owner of the possessions will soon become dissatisfied. In addition, he made an Encyclopedia which argued against superstition and was based on experiments, which I like. (Shreddzor)

Similar to Laura and Kavitha, I also found a stronger connection with Pascal because of his combination of both logic and faith and just because you have one does not mean you must be without the other. I have always believed in God purely on faith which has always bothered me but when I attempted to put a reason behind my believe I could not. However Pascal’s comparison between God and infinity allows me to see my believes in a new light and helps me to connect more of the dots in my own faith and intellectual side. By not only having to chose either faith and religion or reason I can accept both and incorporate both into how I see the world around me, which I think is something a lot of people need help with. (Hannah)

Out of all of the philosophers we have discussed, hands down, the one whose ideas are most relevant in my life is Pascal. Pascal, in an excerpt from Pensées, discusses how faith and science can work together. This excerpt really spoke to me, because I am a person who has always had a passion for mathematics and science. His explanation of the reasoning behind faith using mathematical concepts proved highly beneficial for me, because I was able to better grasp it. Over the years, I have always struggled in a decision between faith and reason, religion and science, because I had felt that one could not draw from both. The fact that Pascal uses reason to justify faith and find ways to draw connections between the two of them has struck me in an indescribable way, and has pushed me to try and make my own connections between two very different ways of viewing the world. (RickyG)

Real quick comment on Meaghan’s comment in 1st period. I am not Catholic but her comment on how science and her faith conflict has been address quite thoroughly by the Catholic Church multiple times on everything from creation to evolution. Anyway…I appreciated Newton’s work because as someone who wants to be an engineer and inventor, I can appreciate the dedication and hard work that went into his research. His position of a man of science who also had political power is something I would want because I both enjoy knowledge and power. At the same time I admired his relationship with fellow scientist who he could bounce ideas and work off of to further to knowledge of the scientific community. (MDog)

I also feel that Paschal’s philosophy is most relevant to my life. More clearly than any other philosopher of the time, Paschal shows that human reason and religious devotion can exist in a balance rather than one dominating the other. As somebody who is mathematically-inclined, I also appreciate the way that Paschal approaches religious topics such as belief in the existence of God through a practical, logical, and mathematical lens in Pensées. Comparing God to the concept of infinity shed a new light on divinity for me that showed how faith and rational inquiry can complement each other as they work towards the common goal of discovering truth. This in turn gave me confidence that I do not have to choose one or the other. Most of all, I appreciate Paschal’s acceptance that human reason has its limits. Though I certainly acknowledge the benefits of scientific discovery, I can’t quite join the philosophes in their idealistic belief that the world can be transmuted into a utopia. Ignorance is simply too inviting an alternative for too many people, thus rendering the perfect intellectual community of the philosophe’s dreams an impossibility. (Chuma)

While Pascal most definitely plays a large role in the development of fundamental scientific theories, his work would mean nothing without the convergence of global economies and the development of economic freedom that Adam Smith envisioned and in turn helped create. His contributions to political philosophy like laissez faire fiscal policy helped build a global and healthier economy as well as provided a large base of capital that governments would invest in military technologies, furthering Pascal’s own work. Additionally, Smith did more to establish the foundations of his own area of knowledge than Pascal or anyone else, as his concept of boom and bust economic cycles still very much shapes the way in which modern governments react to economic ups and downs, and his principle of human utility lies at the heart of all behavioral economics. Thus because Smith’s work in fact furthers Pascals, especially considering the commensalism in their relationship, and because he did the most to further his own profession, Smith is a more relevant philosopher than anyone else. –Richmond