Has language ever “bewitched” your intelligence?

1.Compare and contrast analytic and continental philosophy.
2.Explain what Wittgenstein was driving at when he said that “what can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about must be passed over in silence.” When he said that, did he think that philosophy could be “said”? If not, why not? Explain.
3.Use the controversy surrounding Heidegger’s apparent refusal to repudiate his purported Nazism to discuss the broader issue of the relationship between a philosopher’s personal life and character and his or her philosophical arguments and views. Is it fair to judge ideas in terms of the character of their advocates? Is it reasonable, in a practical sense, to insist that the philosopher is irrelevant? Does it matter more when the philosopher addresses “living issues” than when he or she deals with abstractions or analytic problems? Should it? Does it matter philosophically if a proponent of vegetarianism eats meat? When, if ever, are a philosopher’s personal beliefs and habits philosophically relevant? Explain and be specific.
4.What is the role of attitude in Heidegger’s philosophy and how does “comportment” relate to an individual’s attitude toward the world? As part of your explanation, distinguish between things ready-to-hand and present-at-hand.
5.What is the relation between Being and language according to Heidegger? As part of your explanation, distinguish idle talk from dialog. What role does conversation play in human history according to Heidegger?
Has language ever “bewitched” your intelligence? Think carefully before you say no. Consider, as just three possibilities, “he changed his mind,” “she is not being her true self,” “God is everywhere.”(page 489)
Do you believe that there is anything whereof we cannot–not should not, but cannot–speak? Explain. (page 491)
What do you think? Are philosophical problems really problems of language? Is philosophy a funny way of talking that appears to be more substantive than it, in fact, is? If not, what is philosophy really about and for? (page 493)
Have you ever had a truly charismatic teacher? How does a “charismatic” teacher differ from a merely appealing, powerful one?If so, was his or her influence positive or negative? Explain. (You might want to double-check the meaning of charismatic before deciding.) (page 496)
Do you agree with Rorty that Heidegger’s Nazism is irrelevant to his philosophy? Would his religious beliefs be relevant? Is the issue the same of logicians as it is for existentialists? Does it matter philosophically if a proponent of vegetarianism eats meat? When, if ever, are a philosopher’s personal beliefs and habits philosophically relevant? Discuss (page 499)
Do we take Being for granted? If so, is that a symptom of a loss or evidence of cultural progress and stability? That is, does it matter if we take being human for granted in a world that, for all of its problems, is a better world than ever before? Or is it–really–better? Is the modern, technological, busy-busy world more, or less, human than it once was? Can we ever know? (page 504)
Sociopaths are commonly characterized in terms of their extreme detachment from others, a radical detachment that leads some experts to suggest that sociopaths see other people as objects, things, entities, things “just there.” Discuss the possibility that sociopaths are examples of entities most out of touch with humanity–with humanness. Do we want to go so far as to say that, in their inability to see others as human beings, sociopaths are themselves not human? Why or why not? (page 505)
Apply the notion of disburdening idle talk to today’s mass media pundits and experts. Scrutinize op-ed articles, blogs– especially blogs– and television talk shows to examples of “they” talk. Be alert for different “theys”: conservatives and liberals, fundamentalists and secularists, males and females, blacks, whites, and Latinos, for example. Must all such mass talk be idle? Why or why not? (page 508)
Compare Kierkegaard’s and Nietzsche’s critique of “the present age” with Heidegger’s. What do these critiques have in common? How do such “existentially oriented” critiques differ from, say, Plato’s critique of democracy? In regard to Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Heidegger, what do you think of their disease about modernity? Do you share it? (page 509)
Take a technology inventory of your own life. Here are some obvious places to start: What role does the Internet play in your study habits, music and video consumption, social interaction, work? As a consumer, look for less-than-obvious forms of technology, from UPC scanners to the things you buy or want to buy. Look around your school and classroom for examples of technology. Then reflect on how technology affects how you think about life and what you want from it. (page 512)

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