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Herbert Marcuse: One-Dimensional Man

Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) Socialist philosopher and German-Jew that fled World War II Germany and immigrated to the USA Wrote One-Dimensional Man to explain why widespread communist revolution had not happened One-Dimensional Man (1964) Capitalism uses advertising, consumerism, mass media, entertainment industry as a means of social control- produces conformity in what people desire, think Created…

The Communist Manifesto (1848): Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels

The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on…a fight that each time ended either in a revolutionary reconstruction of society at large…

What is Conservatism?

Conservatism is a preference for the historically inherited rather than the abstract and ideal. Believes society should be rooted in long-standing traditions and its institutions should reflect those traditions Why conservatives believe this: Movement began as a response to the French Revolution (1789)- people of France replaced monarchy with new forms of gov’t, resulting in…

Martin Luther King’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail (1963)

[B]asically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here…. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea…. You…

On the Duty of Civil Disobedience (1849): Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau (1817-1862) was an American naturalist and writer.  This work of his has become the basis of non-violent protest throughout history and the world.  Thoreau believed that nonviolence or passive disobedience was necessary whenever government edict conflicted with higher moral law- the ideal natural law, from which human law was derived. I heartily accept the…

Definitions of Philosophy

Philosophy is… …Seeking after wisdom or knowledge, esp. that which deals with  ultimate reality, or with the most general causes or principles of things and ideas and human perception and knowledge of them, physical phenomena (natural philosophy) and ethics (moral philosophy)- Concise Oxford Dictionary …An activity- the attempt to understand the general principles and ideas…

Existentialism & Jean-Paul Sartre: Sartre and Kant on Ethics

Existentialism: a philosophical movement that focuses on individual autonomy and the necessity of making reasoned decisions for oneself. Jean-Paul Sartre, (1905-1980) French author and philosopher Best-known proponent of humanistic existentialism Marxist advocate of political causes French resistance fighter of WWII Winner of the Nobel Prize for literature Sartre was an atheist who believed that human…

Friedrich Nietzsche: Beyond Good and Evil

Nietzsche attacked traditional ethical theories, especially those rooted in religion. He rejected the view that people are ultimately accountable only to God. He did so because he believed that human life had no moral purpose except for the meaning that human beings gave it. Nietzsche was extremely critical of most traditional ethics. He called Utilitarianism…

Ethical Relativism: Ethics that Depend on Culture

Ethical Relativism: there are no common, universal, or objective values. Moral values are developed by individual peoples, groups, or cultures to fit their unique conditions. Relativists say that all moral rules are equally acceptable, because there is no way of judging between them. They do believe in moral right and wrong, but they do not…

Modern Theories of Truth: Correspondence Theory, Coherence Theory, Pragmatism

Correspondence Theory Best known, most widely used conception of truth Maintains there is a relationship (correspondence) between people’s internal beliefs and realities in the external world (truth means agreement between thought and reality) Belief is true if it agrees with fact or coincides with the physical world or objective reality Truth claims should be checked…