Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Tests of a Proper Philosophy


Proper Philosophy

I'm hoping for some discussion with this blog. This blog is relatively young. Since I've started, I've engaged in many philosophical discussions both here and on other blogs. What I would like to accomplish is to set some guidelines which should be required of a philosophy. What makes a good and sound philosophy? Here are some of my suggestions:

1. Reason - I know, I know! You're saying, "Duh!" But it needs mentioning. We have all met people who's philosophy on life is completely unreasonable. Philosophies must be reasonable, meaning that they should not contradict themselves. This is often called the "Law of Non-Contradiction." If this law is to be denied, the results would be hazardous. Thinking and reasoning would be impossible; our lively-hood would be impossible; and communication would be impossible. In the end, attempting to formulate a philosophy would be impossible, much less refute or defend philosophies.

2. Outer Experiences - I know Skepticals would oppose this. In all honesty, I find no reason why to dismiss our outer experiences. There has been much discussions on this at this blog site between A Romantic Individualist and I here. The reasoning for this test could be found in those. No matter your exact view, it should take into account your outer experience.

3. Inner Experiences - We should also be honest with ourselves. We are beings who think, reason, feel, hurt, love, believe, hate, make mistakes, dream, and acts. We are aware of ourselves. We have many experiences. We can try to explain these but we can not dismiss them.

4. Practice - Another words, I don't want to listen to someone who is a hypocrite to their own philosophy. If you can't live by it, don't defend it.I adapted these from Ronald H. Nash in his Life's Ultimate Questions. I would like to hear some thoughts on what constitutes a proper philosophy

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 12:32 PM   1 comments

The DaVinci Code

Unless you live on planet Mars, you have heard of the best-selling book The DaVinci Code. It has sold almost six million copies!
But why all the fuss? And why has Brown's novel caused such a stir? The story begins with the murder of the Louvre's curator in the museum. But this curator isn't just interested in art; he's also the Grand Master of a secret society known as the Priory of Sion. The Priory guards an ancient secret that, if revealed, would undermine the authority of the church and completely discredit biblical Christianity. Before dying, the curator attempts to pass on the secret to his granddaughter Sophie, a cryptographer, and Harvard professor Robert Langdon, by leaving a number of clues that he hopes will guide them to the truth.
So what's the secret, you ask? The location, and true identity, of the much-sought-after Holy Grail. But in Brown's novel, the Grail is not the cup allegedly used by Christ at the Last Supper. Rather, it's the person of Mary Magdalene, the wife of Jesus, who carried on the royal bloodline of Christ by giving birth to His child! The Priory of Sion carefully guards the secret location of Mary's tomb and serves to protect the bloodline of Jesus that has continued to this day!
But does anyone really take these ideas seriously? Yes; as a matter of fact, they do. This is partly due to the way Brown has written his story. If one sets out to read The Da Vinci Code, the first word he will encounter, in bold uppercase letters, is the word "FACT." Shortly thereafter Brown writes, "All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate. And the average reader, with no special knowledge or training in these areas, will assume the statement is true.
So, what are the facts and how should we respond to those who read the book and believe it to be true? To be able to give an answer you need to first gather facts and find some good resources. So I hope to help people by providing the following:

Here is a link to the books web site: The Da Vinci Code (Book)

The Book will soon be a Movie:The Da Vinci Code (Movie

Here is a great link to a must have resource:

Here is a great article:
Decoding the Da Vinci Code

Another article:

As we get closer to the release of the Movie, I will post more links to resources that may prove to be helpful.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 8:52 AM   0 comments


Main Entry: he·do·nism
hear it again
Pronunciation: 'hE-d&n-"i-z&m
Function: noun
Etymology: Greek hEdonE pleasure; akin to Greek hEdys sweet -- more at SWEET
1 : the doctrine that pleasure or happiness is the sole or chief good in life
2 : a way of life based on or suggesting the principles of hedonism

(hedoné, pleasure).
The name given to the group of ethical systems that hold, with various modifications, that feelings of pleasure or happiness are the highest and final aim of conduct; that, consequently those actions which increase the sum of pleasure are thereby constituted right, and, conversely, what increases pain is wrong.
The father of Hedonism was Aristippus of Cyrene. He taught that pleasure is the universal and ultimate object of endeavour. By pleasure he meant not merely sensual gratification but also the higher forms of enjoyment, mental pleasures, domestic love, friendship, and moral contentment. His followers, however, reduced the system to a plea for self-indulgence (see CYRENAIC SCHOOL OF PHILOSOPHY).
To the Cyrenaic succeeded the School of Epicurus, who emphasized the superiority of social and intellectual pleasures over those of the senses. He also conferred more dignity an the hedonistic doctrine by combining it with the atomic theory of matter; and this synthesis finds its finished expression in the materialistic determinism of the Roman poet Lucretius. Epicurus taught that pain and self-restraint have a hedonistic value; for pain is sometimes a necessary means to health and enjoyment; while self-restraint and prudent asceticism are indispensable if we would secure for ourselves the maximum of pleasure (see EPICUREANISM). With the decay of old Roman ideals and the rise of imperialism the Epicurean philosophy flourished in Rome. It accelerated the destruction of pagan religious beliefs, and, at the same time, was among the forces that resisted Christianity.
The revival of hedonistic principles in our own times may be traced to a line of English philosophers, Hobbes, Hartley, Bentham, James Mill, John Stuart Mill, the two Austins, and, more recently, Alexander Bain, who are popularly known as Utilitarians. Herbert Spencer adopted into his evolutionary theory of ethics the principle that the discriminating norm of right and wrong is pleasure and pain, though he substituted the progress of life for the hedonistic end.
Contemporary Hedonists are sometimes classed into egoistic and altruistic. The classification, however, is not quite satisfactory when applied to writers; for many Hedonists combine the egoistic with the altruistic principle. The distinction, however, may conveniently be accepted with regard to the principles that underlie the various forms of the doctrine. The statement that happiness is the end of conduct at once raises the question: whose happiness? To this egoism answers: the happiness of the agent; while altruistic Hedonism replies: the happiness of all concerned, or, to use a phrase that is classic in the literature of this school, "the greatest happiness of the greatest number". Perhaps the only thoroughgoing egoistic Hedonist is Thomas Hobbes, though in many places Bentham too, proclaims himself the uncompromising apostle of selfishness (see EGOISM), while elsewhere he, like J.S. Mill, expands into altruism. The intrinsic difficulties in the task of constructing any decent code of morals on the egoistic principle, together with the destructive criticism which any such attempts encountered, led Hedonists to substitute the happiness of all concerned for the happiness of the individual. The transit from the one to the other is attempted through a psychological analysis which would show that, through the operation of the law of association of ideas, we come to love for their own sakes objects which in the first instance we loved from a selfish motive. This is true to a certain extent, but the cases in which it may occur fall far short of the range which the principle would have to cover in order to justify the theory. Besides, by adopting the happiness of others as the end, the Hedonist loses the only semblance of a proof which he had to offer in support of his first contention, that happiness is the end, viz. that every man does desire happiness and can desire nothing else; it is only too plain that not everybody desires the happiness of everybody else. Another modification was introduced to meet the criticism that, if pleasure is the standard of right and wrong, sensual indulgence is just as good as the noblest form of self-sacrifice. The Hedonists, or at least some of them, replied that not merely the quantity of pleasure but also the quality is to be taken into account. There are higher and lower pleasures; and the higher are more desirable than the lower; therefore conduct which aims at the higher is the better. But if pleasures are thus to be divided into higher and lower, irrespective of quantity, the hedonistic standard is, by the very fact, displaced, and some other ultimate scale of moral valuation is appealed to or implied. The subjective norm, pleasurable feeling, is made to retire in favour of some unnamed objective norm which dictates what the agent ought to pursue. This is the suicide of Hedonism. Other advocates of the system have, contrary to its initial principle, introduced a primary altruistic impulse co-ordinate with and controlling the egoistic as a spring of action.

The fundamental errors of Hedonism and the chief unanswerable objections to the theory may be briefly summed up as follows:
(1) It rests on a false psychological analysis; tendency, appetite, end, and good are fixed in nature antecedent to pleasurable feeling. Pleasure depends on the obtaining of some good which is prior to, and causative of, the pleasure resulting from its acquisition. The happiness or pleasure attending good conduct is a consequence, not a constituent, of the moral quality of the action.
(2) It falsely supposes that pleasure is the only motive of action. This view it supports by the fallacy that the pleasurable and the desirable are interchangeable terms.
(3) Even if it were granted that pleasure and pain constitute the standard of right and wrong, this standard would be utterly impracticable. Pleasures are not commensurable with one another, nor with pains; besides no human mind can calculate the quantity of pleasure and pain that will result from a given action. This task is impossible even when only the pleasure of the agent is to be taken into account. When the pleasure and pain of "all concerned" are to be measured the proposal becomes nothing short of an absurdity.
(4) Egoistic Hedonism reduces all benevolence, self-sacrifice, and love of the right to mere selfishness. It is impossible for altruistic Hedonism to evade the same consummation except at the cost of consistency.
(5) No general code of morality could be established on the basis of pleasure. Pleasure is essentially subjective feeling, and only the individual is the competent judge of how much pleasure or pain a course of action affords him. What is more pleasurable for one may be less so for another. Hence, on hedonistic grounds, it is evident that there could be no permanently and universally valid dividing line between right and wrong.
(6) Hedonism has no ground for moral obligation, no sanction for duty. If I must pursue my own happiness, and if conduct which leads to happiness is good, the worst reproach that can be addressed to me, however base my conduct may be, is that I have made an imprudent choice.
Hedonists have appropriated the term happiness as an equivalent to the totality of pleasurable or agreeable feeling. The same word is employed as the English rendering of the Latin beatitudo and the Greek eudaimonía, which stand for a concept quite different from the hedonistic one. The Aristotelean idea is more correctly rendered in English by the term well-being. It means the state of perfection in which man is constituted when he exercises his highest faculty, in its highest function, on its highest good. Because they fail to give due attention to this distinction, some writers include eudæmonism among hedonistic systems. Hedonism sometimes claims the credit of much beneficent effort in social reform in England which has been promoted by professed Utilitarians; and everywhere movements popularly designated as altruism are pointed out as monuments to the practical value of the hedonistic principle "the greatest good of the greatest number". But it must be observed that this principle may have another genesis and another part to play in ethics than those assigned to it by Hedonism. Besides, as Green has pointed out, the Utilitarians illogically annexed it, and the fruits it bore in their political activity are to be credited to it in its democratic, rather than in its hedonistic, character.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 7:50 AM   0 comments

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


If you have never heard Plumb then let me introduce you:
Singer/songwriter Tiffany Arbuckle fronted the Dove Award-winning alternative rock band Plumb during the late '90s, and adopted the name Plumb for her subsequent full-fledged solo career. She was born in Indianapolis and grew up in Atlanta, where she took several gigs as a backup singer and wound up touring in that capacity instead of going to college, as she'd planned. She relocated to Nashville, where she landed a record deal based on her session and backup work, and formed Plumb with neighbor/songwriter/producer Matt Bronleewe. Plumb issued two albums, 1997's Plumb and 1999's candycoatedwaterdrops, and built a following via its adult alternative rock sound. When the group's relationship with its label began to fray, it disbanded, and the newly rechristened Plumb scored a solo deal with Curb. She co-produced her 2003 debut, Beautiful Lumps of Coal, and landed two of its songs -- "Sink n' Swim" and "Boys Don't Cry" -- on the soundtrack of the Gwyneth Paltrow film A View from the Top. ~ Steve Huey, All Music Guide

Here is a link to her webite:

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 6:04 PM   0 comments

Wednesday, February 15, 2006


A woman in Missouri who was charged with knowingly exposing her boyfriend to HIV may have had as many as 100 sex partners, according to the girl's mother.
Angela Harris, 26, of St. Charles was charged with three counts of recklessly exposing a 42-year-old man to HIV infection.
An investigation into the woman began when a relative told police that Harris was having sex with her boyfriend and exposing him to the virus, according to an Associated Press report.
Harris' mother has also been cooperating with investigators because many of her daughter's sexual partners don't know her secret, the report said.
Police are urging men who had contact with the woman to come forward to be tested.
Harris discovered she was HIV-positive when she suffered a miscarriage at age 14, police told a newspaper.
Harris' boyfriend did not test positive, but if he does, the charges may be upgraded.
She has already passed HIV on to at least one of her four children, according to the report.
Harris was being held on a $75,000 bond.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 11:38 AM   1 comments

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


If you are looking for some new music that is diffrent yet great, and also has some great lyrics then pick up the following CD's

The Wait of Glory" (releases January 31, 2006)
Another release from the band that never thought it would play again. Disbanded over thirty years ago, PK has come back with a vengeance. "The Wait of Glory" again features eleven new originals by Composer/Guitarist Kerry Livgren recorded in the Summer of 2005. PK continues with its debut line-up with the exception of Mike Patrum on drums who replaces Brad Schulz. "The Wait of Glory" contains over 60 minutes of eclectic music that transcends traditional prog formulas and goes into avant garde passages and jam band riffs. Another exciting aspect of this cd are the beautiful melodies and vocal harmonies. The combination of prog, jam, funk and melody is truely unique and unlike no other band you've ever heard!The Special Edition release will include the primary eleven tracks, plus a bonus studio track and a DVD with songs from the bands July, 2005 Progressive Legends Rock Festival performance.

Before Became After
Ten exciting new songs by Proto-Kaw including nine original compositions by Composer/Guitarist Kerry Livgren. This CD includes 65 minutes of new music! The Special Edition contains one new original song recording, a live version of "Belexes", plus a “single” version of “Words of Honor”. It also includes an insightful retrospective video about the group.
As a result of the success of the archival cd, "Early Recordings from Kansas, 1971-73" this version of Kansas met again in the Fall of 2002 to renew old friendships and celebrate the cd release. When the group jammed, the magic started again and the group discussed the "possibility" of playing again. Starting in the Spring of 2003, Proto-Kaw began to record again and spent most of that year in the studio resulting in an outstanding effort. Playing together again is now a reality with the release of "Before Became After". Ten strong songs that span the gap between progressive and classic rock. Each song is it's own story...strung together to form an enjoyable cd that gets better with each listen. Proto-Kaw's "Before Became After" is the music you've wanted to hear for years... memorable enough to remind you of your past progressive rock favorites, but new enough to be as exciting a brand of music as you've ever heard!
Great instrumentation and strong vocals blend into exceptional compositions by Kerry Livgren and Proto-Kaw has risen again. Most say their efforts sound better now than 30 years ago... but the band just wants to play the style of music they never had a chance to play. "Before Became After" is their long awaited cd...by 30 years... and it's well worth the wait!

Listen to complete songs from the CD: Words of Honor (single edit)Alt More Worlds Than

You can check out the web site at: www.protokaw.com

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 7:54 AM   0 comments

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Life During Wartime

This morning I heard the song Life during wartime by The Talking Heads. I thought the lyrics are very appopriate for the time in which we are living now.

Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons, packed up and ready to go
Heard of some gravesites, out by the highway, a place where nobody knows
The sound of gunfire, off in the distance, I'm getting used to it now Lived in a brownstore, lived in the ghetto, I've lived all over this town
This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey, I ain't got time for that now Transmit the message, to the receiver, hope for an answer some day
I got three passports, a couple of visas, you don't even know my real name
High on a hillside, the trucks are loading, everything's ready to roll
I sleep in the daytime, I work in the nightime, I might not ever get home
This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around
This ain't no mudd club, or C. B. G. B., I ain't got time for that now Heard about Houston? Heard about Detroit? Heard about Pittsburgh, P. A.?
You oughta know not to stand by the window somebody might see you up there
I got some groceries, some peant butter, to last a couple of days But I ain't got no speakers, ain't got no headphones, ain't got no records to play
Why stay in college? Why go to night school?
Gonna be different this time Can't write a letter, can't send a postcard, I can't write nothing at all This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around
I'd like to kiss you, I'd love you hold you I ain't got no time for that now
Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock, we blended with the crowd We got computer, we're tapping pohne lines, I know that ain't allowed
We dress like students, we dress like housewives, or in a suit and a tie I changed my hairstyle, so many times now, I don't know what I look like!
You make me shiver, I feel so tender, we make a pretty good team
Don't get exhausted, I'll do some driving, you ought to get some sleep
Get you instructions, follow directions, then you should change your address
Maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day, whatever you think is best Burned all my notebooks, what good are notebooks?
They won't help me survive My chest is aching, burns like a furnace, the burning keeps me alive Try to stay healthy, physical fitness, don't want to catch no disease Try to be careful, don't take no chances, you better watch what you say

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:21 AM   0 comments

Monday, February 06, 2006


reductio ad absurdum

Main Entry: re·duc·tio ad ab·sur·dum Pronunciation: ri-'d&k-tE-"O-"ad-&b-'s&r-d&m, -'d&k-sE-O-, -shE-, -'z&r-
Function: noun
Etymology: Late Latin,
literally, reduction to the absurd
1 : disproof of a proposition by showing an absurdity to which it leads when carried to its logical conclusion
2 : the carrying of something to an absurd extreme

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Reductio ad absurdum (Latin for "reduction to the absurd", traceable back to the Greek ἡ εις άτοπον απαγωγη (hi eis átopon apagogi), "reduction to the impossible", often used by Aristotle), also known as an apagogical argument or reductio ad impossibile, is a type of logical argument where we assume a claim for the sake of argument, arrive at an absurd result, and then conclude the original assumption must have been wrong, since it gave us this absurd result. This is also known as proof by contradiction. It makes use of the law of non-contradiction — a statement cannot be both true and false. In some cases it may also make use of the law of excluded middle — a statement which cannot be false, must then be true.

In philosophy

The following dialogue is an example of reductio ad absurdum:

A — You should respect C's belief, for all beliefs are of equal validity and cannot be denied.

B — Isn't it right to deny D's belief? (where D believes something that is considered to be wrong by most people, such the earth's being flat)

A — I agree it is right to deny D's belief.

B — If it is right to deny D's belief, it is not true that no belief can be denied. Therefore, I can deny C's belief if I can give reasons that suggest it too is incorrect.

The following is a trickier reduction, but one which is stronger from the philosophical point of view because it does not rely on A's accepting that D's opinion is wrong:

A — You should respect C's belief, for all beliefs are of equal validity and cannot be denied.
B —
I deny that belief of yours and believe it to be invalid.
According to your statement, this belief of mine (1) is valid, like all other beliefs.
However, your statement also contradicts and invalidates mine, being the exact opposite of it.
The conclusions of 2 and 3 are incompatible and contradictory, so your statement is logically absurd.
In each case, B has used a reduction to the absurd to argue his or her point.

As a figure of speech

Among some people, there is a misconception that reductio ad absurdum just means "a silly argument".
In general practice, a reductio ad absurdum is a tactic in which the logic of an argument is challenged by reducing the concept to its most absurd extreme. It is thus often similar in nature to the slippery slope argument.
For example:
A — I don't think the police should arrest teenagers for soft drug possession.
B — So, you are basically arguing the police should not enforce the law and we should live in a society of violent anarchy.
This version of reductio ad absurdum is often used in Dilbert, where Dilbert often uses this strategy to disprove the beliefs and arguments of his boss, his coworkers, and, most often, those of his dates.
See also appeal to ridicule, which is another type of logical fallacy.

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> posted by Trevor Hammack @ 10:46 AM   0 comments