Thursday, September 20, 2007

The way Philosophy effects us...

Yesterday I had a very interesting class period in my History of Philosophy III: Modern class. We were discussion G. W. Leibniz, a famous philosopher who also invented calculus. A man whose brilliance is unparalleled. He has a very interesting view of the world.

Leibniz starts with a single premises: God exists and is perfect. Dr. Panza, my professor, says that if you're not religious, view Leibniz's discourse as a beautiful exercise in logic. If you are religious, look at Leibniz's discourse and see if you agree with everything that entails in believing in the existence of a perfect God. There are some pretty outlandish ideas that spread from this singular premise.

We started talking about how, according to the idea that God is perfect, God has to create the best possible world. That means that he must create a world with the most possible diversity using the least possible resources. God makes nothing superfluously. Everything in this world is perfect and has a purpose. Eventually, after a few logical steps, we ended up talking about transtemporal worms in time, determinism, weird little things called monads, and a variety of other crazy things that stem from a single premise: God exists and is perfect.

I got done, got a drink from the water fountain, collected my thoughts, and I ended up walking to my next class with Dr. Panza. He's a wealth of information and has lots to offer in casual conversation, though is quite an intimidating persona (imagine a person standing 6'1", smarter than you think you'll ever be, more well versed in philosophy than a human person should be, and from Brooklyn, NY). We started talking about how crazy Leibniz's ideas are, but they're impossible to tear down. He's such a beautiful logician. My next question for Dr. Panza, when my ethical/religious side kicked in, was "okay, so how does this affect my life?"

A great question indeed. I can study whether or not I exist, determinism vs. free will, God's existence, different religious practices, and the like until my eyes fall out of my head. At the end of the day though, how are these supposed to affect my life? Are philosophies meant to change our lives? Does studying Descartes make me want to change the way I live drastically? I should think not. They do, however, give me a different perspective. I don't change the way I live, but I view it in a different light each time I learn something new. I'm still not positive of the implications of it all, but it's very interesting for me to think about.

Any opinions?

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