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SESSION 30 Postmodern: The Absurd. Schedule Review CLASSROOM: Turn in ‘Naturalist Elements/Contrast Essay.

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Presentation on theme: "SESSION 30 Postmodern: The Absurd. Schedule Review CLASSROOM: Turn in ‘Naturalist Elements/Contrast Essay."— Presentation transcript:

1 SESSION 30 Postmodern: The Absurd

2 Schedule Review CLASSROOM: Turn in ‘Naturalist Elements/Contrast Essay

3 Schedule review continued SYLLABUS: (pp. 342-44) The Beat Movement, who were they?; (pp. 345-48) New Age Movement, what is it?; (pp. 295-296)Animal Rights PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) Not People Eating Tasty Animals!; (p. 341) Star Trek: What was their agenda? Gene Rodenberry; (pp. 351-355) Gay ‘Marriage’ - is it possible?; (p. 357-360, a Presidential Inauguration speech) Should America be a ‘city on a hill’?;

4 Schedule review continued (pp. 294 & 361) Extreme Environmentalism - Do we need it?; (p. 349) A Postmodern scandal - Can political figures separate their personal and civic lives or duties?; (p. 297) Population Explosion - Do we need to control it?; (pp. Supplement 46-50) What does it mean to be Human?

5 Schedule review continued WRITING: PoMo topic paper Due Session 32 (our last class). (300/350/475 word minimum): text quotes required (3/4/5). No late papers will be accepted.

6 Next week: Session 31 Exam Prep Senior Projects

7 The Beat Movement William Burroughs Jack Kerouac Allen Ginsberg J. D. Salinger

8 This is the Beat Generation “Any attempt to label an entire generation is unrewarding, and yet the generation which went through the last war, or at least could get a drink easily once it was over, seems to possess a uniform, general quality which demands an adjective...

9 Beat Generation continued The origins of the word 'beat' are obscure, but the meaning is only too clear to most Americans. More than mere weariness, it implies the feeling of having been used, of being raw. It involves a sort of nakedness of mind, and, ultimately, of soul; a feeling of being reduced to the bedrock of consciousness....

10 Beat Generation continued... Its members have an instinctive individuality, needing no bohemianism or imposed eccentricity to express it. Brought up during the collective bad circumstances of a dreary depression, weaned during the collective uprooting of a global war, they distrust collectivity. But they have never been able to keep the world out of their dreams....

11 ... It is a postwar generation, and, in a world which seems to mark its cycles by its wars, it is already being compared to that other postwar generation, which dubbed itself 'lost'. The Roaring Twenties, and the generation that made them roar, are going through a sentimental revival, and the comparison is valuable. The Lost Generation was discovered in a roadster, laughing hysterically because nothing meant anything anymore....

12 ... Every act in its drama of lostness was a tragic or ironic third act, and T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land was more than the dead-end statement of a perceptive poet. The pervading atmosphere of that poem was an almost objectless sense of loss, through which the reader felt immediately that the cohesion of things had disappeared.

13 It was, for an entire generation, an image which expressed, with dreadful accuracy, its own spiritual condition.... How to live seems to them much more crucial than why... the valueless abyss of modern life is unbearable.

14 ... For beneath the excess and the conformity, there is something other than detachment. There are the stirrings of a quest. What the hipster is looking for in his 'coolness' (withdrawal) or 'flipness' (ecstasy) is, after all, a feeling on somewhereness, not just another diversion....

15 continued... For invented gods invariably disappoint those who worship them. Only the need for them goes on, and it is this need, exhausting one object after another, which projects the Beat Generation forward into the future and will one day deprive it of its beatness.

16 continued... There are those who believe that in generations such as this there is always the constant possibility of a great new moral idea, conceived in desperation, coming to life. Others note the self-indulgence, the waste, the apparent social irresponsibility, and disagree....

17 Conclusion... its ever-increasing conviction that the problem of modern life is essentially a spiritual problem;” The New York Times magazine, 1952

18 New Age Movement Seeking universal truth and attainment of the highest human potential through: Gaia philosophy Astronomy Neo-paganism Eastern Religions

19 P.E.T.A. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals NOT People Eating tasty animals!

20 PETA: Animal Rights Animals are not ours to eat Animals are not ours to wear Animals are not ours to experiment on Animals are not our to abuse in any way

21 PETA ad for public schools

22 PETA Ad

23 Peter Singer: Practical Ethics From “Taking Life: Humans Life and Death Decisions for Disabled Infants In Chapter 4 we saw that the fact that a being is a human being, in the sense of a member of the species Homo sapiens, is not relevant to the wrongness of killing it; it is, rather, characteristics like rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness that make a difference. Infants lack these characteristics.

24 Peter Singer continued Killing them, therefore, cannot be equated with killing normal human beings, or any other self- conscious beings. This conclusion is not limited to infants who, because of irreversible intellectual disabilities, will never be rational, self-conscious beings.

25 Peter Singer continued We saw in our discussion of abortion that the potential of a fetus to become a rational, self- conscious being cannot count against killing it at a stage when it lacks these characteristics -

26 Peter Singer continued No infant - disabled or not - has as strong a claim to life as beings capable of seeing themselves as distinct entities, existing over time.

27 Peter Singer continued Infants are sentient beings who are neither rational nor self- conscious. So if we turn to consider the infants in themselves, independently of the attitudes of their parents, since their species is not relevant to their moral status,

28 Peter Singer continued the principles that govern the wrongness of killing non-human animals who are sentient but not rational or self-conscious must apply here too....

29 Peter Singer continued When the death of a disabled infant will lead to the birth of another infant with better prospects of a happy life, the total amount of happiness will be greater if the disabled infant is killed....

30 Peter Singer continued The total view treats infants as replaceable, in much the same way as it treats non-self- conscious animals (as we saw in Chapter 5). Many will think that the replaceability argument cannot be applied to human infants....

31 Peter Singer continued The direct killing of even the most hopelessly disabled infant is still officially regarded as murder; how then could the killing of infants with far less serious problems, like Hemophilia, be accepted?....

32 Peter Singer continued I cannot see how one could defend the view that fetuses may be 'replaced' before birth, but newborn infants may not be. Nor is there any other point, such as viability, that does a better job of dividing the fetus from the infant....

33 Peter Singer continued Self-consciousness, which could provide a basis for holding that it is wrong to kill one being and replace it with another, is not to be found in either the fetus or the newborn infant....

34 Peter Singer continued Neither the fetus nor the newborn infant is an individual capable of regarding itself as a distinct entity with a life of its own to lead, and it is only for newborn infants, or for still earlier stages of human life, that replaceability should be considered to be an ethically acceptable option.

35 Peter Singer continued but the question is, when does a life, in the morally significant sense, really begin?

36 Fetus The Latin word for “young offspring, little one,” NOT “blob of tissue”

37 Peter Singer continued Nevertheless the main point is clear: killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often it is not wrong at all....

38 Peter Singer continued The conclusions we have reached in this chapter will shock a large number of readers, for they violate one of the most fundamental tenets of Western ethics - the wrongness of killing innocent human beings.

39 A letter of protest to Princeton for the hiring of Peter Singer: “We the undersigned protest the hiring of Dr. Peter Singer as the Ira DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University’s Center for Human Values. We protest his hiring because Dr. Singer denies the intrinsic moral worth of an entire class of human beings...

40 –newborn children – and promotes policies that would deprive many infants with disabilities of their basic human right to legal protection against homicide. In his book Practical Ethics, Dr. Singer states that no infant has as strong a claim to life as a rational, self-conscious human being.

41 Dr. Singer’s criteria for distinguishing newborn infants from “normal human beings” 2 (including more mature infants) thus hinge on subjectively imposed conditions such as “rationality, autonomy, and self- consciousness”. This lesser claim to life is also applied to those older children or adults whose mental age is and has always been that of an infant.

42 His assertion of the appropriateness of killing some humans based on others’ decision concerning the “quality” of their lives should strike fear into everyone who cherishes equality and honors human life. Furthermore, Dr. Singer defines certain disabled persons as individuals who are living “a life not worth living.”

43 His views permit the killing of certain newborn infants with disabilities up to 28 days after birth. 6 Dr. Singer states that “killing a disabled infant is not morally equivalent to killing a person. Very often, it is not wrong at all.”

44 Dr. Singer’s message threatens individuals with disabilities and contributes to the erosion of the public’s regard for the fundamental human rights of disabled people.... The hiring of Dr. Peter Singer to a professorial chair in ethics at a university as prestigious as Princeton will certainly, though perhaps unintentionally, legitimate his claims.

45 The hiring of Dr. Peter Singer is a blatant violation of Princeton University’s policy of respect for people with disabilities. Princeton University’s Commitment to the Community specifically states:

46 Abusive or harassing behavior, verbal, or physical, which demeans, intimidates, threatens, or injures another because of his or her personal characteristics or beliefs is subject to University disciplinary sanctions… Examples of personal characteristics or beliefs include but are not limited to sex, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, and handicap.

47 Dr. Singer’s view that many disabled babies may rightly be killed demeans and threatens those with handicaps. His ideology reinforces the false notion that many disabled persons’ lives are less worth living and are inherently inferior to the lives of others.

48 Despite his assurances that he rejects discrimination against the adult disability population, it is demeaning to suggest to them that their parents would have been justified in killing them as newborns. 13 If Princeton University is committed to upholding the principles of non- discrimination, it must rescind its decision to hire Dr. Peter Singer.”

49 Star Trek

50 Gay Marriage: Is it Possible?


52 Should America be a City on a Hill? Presidential Inauguration Speech on syllabus pages 357-360

53 Extreme Environmentalism

54 Pledge Allegiance to the Earth

55 Eco-Terrorism and Over-Population

56 BREAKPOINT Three Bumps in the Road 1)Radical Islam 2)True Truth 3)What it means to be human

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