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BC / Western Culture / Wes 109124 / How do interneurons operate?

How do interneurons operate?

How do interneurons operate?


School: Boston College
Department: Western Culture
Course: Perspectives on Western Culture II
Professor: Professor connors
Term: Winter 2016
Tags: philosophy, theology, and Perspectives
Cost: 50
Name: Midterm Study Guide
Description: This is a study guide for the Midterm on 2/17
Uploaded: 02/14/2016
13 Pages 166 Views 2 Unlocks

Midterm Study Guide

How do interneurons operate?

Theories of Human Nature  

Theory of Human


Form of Government


People are naturally self interested. They are  

irrational beings who are  very similar to animals  because they are strong  and cunning. He stresses  the fact that man must be  a “fox and a lion.”



Humans are naturally in a  state of war because we  all have the same desires,  so we are going to  

compete in order to get  there. Each individual  gives up his or her will to a higher entity.

Monarchy because the  monarch can protect our  self-interest. We give up  our wills to the monarch.


Humans are naturally free  and are born rational  

animals. They are able to  choose what they believe,  so they do not need a  monarch in order to  

pander to their beliefs.

Anti-monarchy. He is for a  government based on the  protection of private  

property mixed with labor.


The mind and body are  two distinct things. We  derive our existence from  one extended being. Our  judgment is the product of our understanding and our will.

He does not discuss  

politics that much, but it  can be implied that he was a progressive in political  views.

How are local neurons described?

We also discuss several other topics like How is relative age determined?

Machiavelli The Prince

∙ Ends justify the means  

∙ Letter to Francesco Vettori If you want to learn more check out Who moved to the south to find opportunity and to take advantage of the chaos?

o Niccolo Machiavelli came from humble origins

o Studies, reads

o Discussion, well-traveled

o Manual labor

o Common theme- seeks knowledge

o Don’t do anything if it’s inconvenient for you  

 Kindness=weakness

o Luck in favor of you take advantage of this

∙ Fears for his life

∙ Letter to Lorenzo

o Knowledge=power

o Knowledge for practical use and what helps you now  o Seemingly humble compared to the king

o Understand the ruler by the ruled and the ruled by the  ruler  

How is blood supplied to the brain?

∙ Principalities

o Hereditary vs. New vs. Mixed  

∙ Humans only concerned with their own well being

∙ If conquering a land with a different language, go and live there 1) No one will attack  

2) Corrupt officials  

∙ Kingdom of Darius (Alexander VI took it over and the kingdom  was maintained)  If you want to learn more check out Who wrote the declaration of independence?

o Rule by one

o Nobility in charge

o Direct and present rule  

∙ Sultan of Turkey vs. King of France  

o Focus power in authority  

o King of France distributed power, and this was a mistake ∙ If the land was under previous rule, do not eradicate them  because they will not take up arms. Instead, move there  ∙ Virtue over luck because luck is not consistent

∙ Cesare Borgia  

o How not to rule

o Used fortune to his advantage and this ended him  

∙ Citizen Ruler- person elected to power from elite or citizenry  o Would rather be chosen by elite

o Machiavelli says populace could be dangerous because  they are more numerous

∙ Strength of ruler is based on the safety and security of the  society

o Good army and military are other decisive factors of a good ruler  

Thomas Hobbes: The Leviathan  

Introduction- Letter to Mr. Francis Godolphin  

∙ better to have too much authority than to have too little We also discuss several other topics like What does the combination of melt and crystal result to?

∙ Some people may perceive that Hobbes is anti-religious  ∙ Nothing will be truly against the Catholic Church  ∙ Human Nature If you want to learn more check out What did william h taft do as president?

o From this, the ideal government should be formed o This is like the Republic

∙ Thinkers have assumptions regarding human nature  ∙ Natural state of humans is a state of war  

∙ A human being is fundamentally and inherently selfish because  we are composed of atoms, which protect themselves.  o Matter resists if you try to push into it

o We are constantly in a state of war, so we need the  government as a baseline security  

∙ Body is purely mechanical  

∙ Automata- we imitate nature If you want to learn more check out What is adaptive change?

∙ Call to know thyself  

o Study all humans study our desires

o We must all function similarly  

o We are all material things and fundamentally the same  ∙ Who is human being and what form of government is best for  him?  

o Question Hobbes is trying to answer  

Part I: of Man

Chapter 1: Of Sense  

∙ Our body follows a certain structure

∙ Links everything to the material world

o Find things in the world through our senses  

∙ Matter is the only thing that exists in the world  

∙ Hobbes calls the imagination a decaying sense  

o Appears fainter to you than the way you first experienced  it  

∙ Dreaming vs. Being Awake  

o We do not know if we are dreaming or if we are awake  

Ch. 2: Of Imagination  

∙ You do not think of people you think of in waking moments in  your dreams  

∙ You have no coherent train of thought in your dream  ∙ Fundamentally human/material beings  we do not have to  question the distinction because it is all just matter and motion  ∙ Putting things into words means we are understanding them  ∙ Thinking is a matter of adding and subtracting words  

The Will

∙ Trying to decouple the reason and the will  

∙ Agreeing with Machiavelli on the nature of ruling ∙ We voluntarily live in a state of fear  

o Life is nasty, brutish, and short  

o Constantly in a state of war  

∙ Fear drives us, so being in power is virtually impossible ∙ We form a government based on our fear  

o Fear of our own life and safety  


∙ Prometheus- Greek who stole fire from God  

o Gods punished humans

∙ Government becomes arbiter of decision-making ∙ We must fear God, so we are obviously driven by fear  ∙ Religion is a human construction driven by fear  

∙ There is no security in life and we are never not fearing  something

∙ Materialistic viewpoint

o Matter is the same the only thing that changes is speed  and arrangement

∙ Since everyone is equal, we are all going towards the same goal,  so there will be inevitable conflict

o We are all fundamentally equal, so that naturally leads to  war  

∙ In terms of the body, we are unequal; in terms of the soul, we are all equal

∙ Justice has no place in a state of war  

o Agreeing to abide by the covenant and state of Leviathan  ∙ Injustice is you disobeying the covenant  

1) Right of nature  

a. The power to preserve your own self interest

2) Law of Nature

a. Forbidden to take your own life away (subtraction)  3) Liberty

a. Absence of external impediments  

∙ Contract of Peace- agree to live by society’s rules  o The “covenant”  

∙ In a state of nature, you had a right to anything

∙ Inalienable rights

o Imprisonment

o Self defense

o Personal belongings

∙ How covenants are made void

o By performing or by being forgiven

o Performance is natural end of obligation

o Forgiveness, the restitution of liberty

∙ Any rebellion is forgiven must accept and follow the Leviathan  

Part II- Of Commonwealth  

∙ we are constantly at war  

o In a state of war, we steam up against one another  o Must find a way to bring together everyone  

∙ Fear the monarch unites every multitude

∙ Each individual gives up own will to an entity that is higher  o How could a select group of people know what is best for  people’s souls/well beings?  

o Absolute power corrupts  

∙ Hobbes values consodlidation  

o Everyone has the same passions, so no one would try to  take over

∙ State of war as a natural state of humans is insurance for the  ruler

o Impossible for the ruler to disobey the covenant  o You have signed the covenant, so you and the ruler are on  part it is impossible for you to disobey the covenant  ∙ When the contract is made, it arises from the people o Leviathan does not make any other contract with other  people- the covenant is unidirectional  

o Give up will to one individual or group of individuals  ∙ Sovereign in control of education  

o Right to censorship

∙ Monarchy is when people like the monarch, tyranny is when  people do not like the monarch  

o They are both essentially the same thing  

∙ Sovereign and representation are incompatible

∙ Monarchy is the best form of govt. because:  

1) interests are the same  

a. Judge monarch as how well people are doing

b. Nature of a ruler  

2) Monarch can get better counsel  

a. Assuming that in a democracy, people are not really  smart, they just have money  

3) Policies more consistent

4) Civil war is less likely  

5) Heir chosen  

∙ Voluntary to live in a state of fear

∙ Hobbes says nothing of freedom of will only of ability to choose  otherwise

∙ Deterministic

∙ Our will can follow through

o We can voluntarily act irrationally  

o Liberty/necessity made compatible (materialistic value)   Everything is predetermined

∙ Harming ruler would harm yourself  

o Ruler in charge of security

o Making a mockery of agreeing to abide by social contract  

John Locke- A Letter Concerning Toleration

∙ What is religion’s purpose?  

o Salvation of souls

∙ What is the commonwealth’s purpose?  

o Uphold civil interests

∙ A clear source of morality a mix of morality and religion  ∙ Allusion to the Old Testament- no moral framework to  differentiate from right and wrong

∙ Church with State  

o Religion inspires fear

o People fear government in the same way that they fear  God

o Advance own end of societal order

o Alienates groups of society  

∙ Locke alluding to allowing people to choose what they believe ∙ Freedom based on capacity to reason  

o Value this basic right or you do not

∙ Pg. 25- hypocrisy  

o Locke accusing charity

o Person doing coercing to convert is not being a Christian doing opposite of what Christ did  

∙ State has one purpose and Church has another purpose  o Degree of separation  

o Separated interests

∙ State limited as to what it can do as a person  

o God never gave us authority to rule over other people  o One person is not granted power of salvation  

∙ Religion- inward soul / State- outward but not directly affect the  state of your soul  

o You cannot be charitable if you have no outward  


o Locke looking at state through presentation  

∙ Inward determination determines salvation

∙ Magistrate can only help external factors  

o Coercion goes against your conscience – state cannot force you to do this

∙ Define what it means to protect happiness, life, and liberty  ∙ Magistrate cannot make you do something against your religion  or conscience  

∙ Church cannot deny you of civil liberties if you do not adhere by  Church laws  

∙ Freedom from religious discrimination  

o One’s conscience

∙ Church cannot take over a state affair

∙ Magistrate cannot impose rules of Church on its citizens

2nd Treatise of Government: John Locke

∙ Monarchy implied by referral to Adam  

∙ Robert Filmer  

o Used Bible to justify that absolute monarchy is the true  form of government

o Adam’s sovereignty  

∙ 1st Treatise- debunk view that God gave power to Adam ∙ Absolute Monarchy- human beings are essentially unfree o Forced to abide by laws that monarch sets forth  

o Humans cannot reason for themselves  

o God gives that person special dispensation / enlightens him  Divine right of kings  

∙ John Locke believes in contrary of Absolute Monarchy  o We are naturally free humans

o Able to reason on our own  

∙ Political power- revolves around punishment for crimes  o Whether or not it inhibits the public good  

o Public good- private property and its preservation  ∙ Locke- private property is a reason to act

∙ State of Nature – everyone is equal  

o State of perfect freedom  

o No innate ranking or social status within people

o No such thing as subordination

 Because we all have the same faculties (wills,  

reason) and no one intrinsically higher than someone else  

∙ Locke’s Law of Nature  we have the same desires o Golden Rule  

o Self-evident to us  

o What precisely distinguishes Hobbes’ and Locke’s laws of  nature

o Hobbes- since we want same things, we will compete with  each other

o Locke- reason grants us self-worth grant self worth to  others too

o Mindsets can change depending how well you know the  other person  

o Subjective- mode of survival

o When we observe human action, golden rule goes out the  window

o Reason- creatures of dignity  

∙ Hobbes- our motivation is based on our avoidance of force/war o Submission of our choices for our own security

o State of nature- state of war  

o Hobbes- nothing beyond matter and motion; cannot allow  for golden rule  

∙ Liberty and License –  

o It is distinct from Hobbes because it is distinct from License o License- Hobbes’s notion of liberty

o Boils down to whether or not humans are aware of law  ∙ With a state of nature, you have ability and executive authority  to kill someone

o You have your own executive authority

∙ You need government/authority to determine what the  punishment should be  

∙ Same justifying reason for government as Hobbes - security  o A state of war may or may not occur- ability to choose  whether we get into conflict

o State of war is an option- authoritarian type of government not necessary  

∙ Forms of government boil down to opinions on laws of nature  ∙ Objection pulled directly from Old Testament

∙ Private Property

o Does not want to appear as if he is disagreeing with the  Bible

o Absurd to have people seek authority from legislature who  is not really there  

o Play on biblical passage to support nobility  

∙ Things become property through labor  

o Your body is your own, so what it acts on is an extension of  your body  

o Labor adds to the value of nature

o Taking it out of state of nature  private property  ∙ Earth is held in common because it’s impossible to seek  permission from each individual person

∙ Political society  

o Security  

o Impartial judge to settle disputes

o Protect private property

∙ Legislative power- make laws

∙ Executive power- enforce them  

∙ In political society, you give up legislative and executive powers  so you don’t take it too far

o Powers conserved, but vested in someone other than you  ∙ Absolute monarchy is bad and no government at all no judge of  monarch  

o Hobbes monarchy is best form of government

∙ Majority vote because you submit to it

∙ Limited to public good- property  

o Inherently negative- negative rights (non-interference)  ∙ You can’t make laws without telling them to the people,  indifferent judge

∙ Can’t take property without consent  

∙ Can’t transfer legislative power to other hands  

∙ Executive power  

o Internal violations

∙ Legislative better than executive because it is done for the  people

∙ Legislative power

o Needs consent of people

∙ Tyranny- exercise of power beyond right

∙ Revolution/opposition to unlawful ruling

o Tyranny destroys the government and laws

 Monarch is not government anyway, according to  Locke

o Don’t have to obey

∙ Dissolution of government

o Prince prevents legislative from meeting

o Prince interferes election process  

o Making own laws  

o Defer power to another

o Legislative invade property  

Descartes’s Discourse on Method  

∙ Mathematics is a science based on certainty  

o Contrasts with theology and philosophy

∙ Philosophy and theology were imprecise and vague

∙ Can you always be certain?  struggle in this philosophy o Quest for certain conclusions

∙ Becomes disgruntled and thinks traveling and meeting others is  more beneficial than studying books and reading in your own  head  

∙ Four rules to always be certain in any problem you face  1) Never accept anything as true you did not plainly know to be  such  

a. CLEARLY and DISTINCTLY (pure shapes, geometry)  b. Senses are only in your mind

c. Disagrees with Hobbes in that he does not believe that  everything is matter

2) Break down problems

a. Solve each premise individually  

3) Conduct thoughts with simplest things first and then progress  as you learn more  move onto the complex after

4) Be specific so that you do not leave anything out  ∙ These four rules will lead you to certainty  

Code of Morality  

1) obey laws and customs of his country

2) Be resolute in actions and do not second guess

a. Avoid paths that lead to or are prone to doubt

3) We should conquer our own self, not the world  

a. First responsibility  

∙ Stoics  

∙ Light of Reason – reason can distinguish what is true and false  o Faculty used for truth and falsity  

Meditations on First Philosophy

∙ Descartes Method for certitude in Philosophy  

o Method for Philosophical Inquiry called Method of Doubt   Ends up doubting his senses (other philosophy  

thought knowledge can come from senses)  

 Similar to what Socrates did  

 Very circular

 Result of doubting indifference (you think the  

opposite could be true)  

∙ Only two sources of certainty: yourself and God  

∙ Argument for doubting senses:  

o You could be viewed as insane if you do not doubt o Limitations-

 Measurements of objects change how close or far  

you are to it (what is the true image? What are we  

truly perceiving?  

o What do the senses actually tell us?  

∙ Being Awake vs. Being Asleep  

o Dreams can appear just as vivid as when we are awake  o Descartes no clear way of discerning

∙ Descartes prefers math because it is exact

∙ Debating whether his thoughts are his own  

∙ Archimedes

o Buoyancy/Water displacement

∙ Doubting whether he himself exists

∙ Cogito- how do you know that you exist?  

1) Proves that you exist  

2) Clarifies who you are  

∙ Cannot think when you are asleep  

o Cannot doubt the fact that you doubt because then you are certain  

∙ Thinking Substance  

o “I think therefore I am”  

∙ The mind is better known than the body  

o You know that you are a thinking substance

∙ Wax Experiment  

o You use descriptions based on senses  

o How do you know a piece of wax is wax?  

o Descartes says we know through your imagination

o Redescription of matter

o Mind better known than body  

∙ Matter is an extended substance  

o Must have quantity

∙ Self is the first source of certainty  

Meditation 3  

∙ Wants to be certain of God’s existence because then he can be  certain of other things, like his own existence

∙ Has idea of perfect being inside of him and that had to come  from somewhere

∙ Idea- image of a thing

o Picturing something in your mind

∙ Adventitious Idea

o Color, tree

o Comes from senses

o From experience

o Not subject to the will

∙ Innate Idea

o Subject to will  

o Not directly from experience

∙ Imagined Idea  

o An idea that you are born with  

o Not subject to will

o Not from experience

o No matter how hard you try, you will never see yourself  o Subject of certainty  

∙ The idea of God is innate

∙ You cannot have an imagined cause and real effect ∙ Perfect being cannot be adventitious because you have to  experience it  

o God cannot be imagined because then you would have to  be God  

 You are not perfect

 We are finite and only think in finite terms  

∙ Perfection- without flaw, without limitation

∙ God is the source of our idea of a perfect being

Meditation 4

∙ Truth/falsity

∙ Possibility of error?  

o What allows for this?

∙ Error occurs whenever will extends beyond what reason has  revealed to it

∙ We are able to mismatch what we choose to think as true  o Reason and will conflict with each other  

∙ We can correct our proneness to error by letting our reason beat  out our will  

Meditation 5  

∙ The idea of an infinite being was put into us by someone o How do we cause something that is infinitely perfect?  o This being must exist throws out cause and effect ∙ Early Modern Rationalist and Imperialist

o Rationalist- Descartes  

 We start from innate ideas planted in us, and this  

gives us certainty  

∙ You discover truths you do not fabricate

o Example- the triangle

∙ Essence and Existence  

o Essence- What something is  

o Existence- that it is (finite being do not have existence)  ∙ You have to show that something actually exists before you can  think of its idea of existence

o Descartes has already proven that he is a thinking being  and that he clearly and distinctly perceives things  o Objection- You cannot move from the idea to the thing ∙ If you can doubt something from being true, you are uncertain  ∙ Original concept in question within the thing itself ∙ Existence does not add anything

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