The World According to Student BloopersRichard Lederer
St. Paul's School
One of the fringe benefits of being an English or History teacher is receiving the occasional jewel of a student blooper in an essay. I have pasted together the following "history" of the world from certifiably genuine student bloopers collected by teachers throughout the United States, from eight grade through college level. Read carefully, and you will learn a lot.
The inhabitants of Egypt were called mummies. They lived in the Sarah Dessert and traveled by Camelot. The climate of the Sarah is such that the inhabitants have to live elsewhere, so certain areas of the dessert are cul- tivated by irritation. The Egyptians built the Pyramids in the shape of a huge triangular cube. The Pramids are a range of mountains between France and Spain.
The Bible is full of interesting caricatures. In the first book of the Bible, Guinesses, Adam and Eve were created from an apple tree. One of their children, Cain, asked "Am I my brother's son?" God asked Abraham to sacrifice Issac on Mount Montezuma. Jacob, son of Issac, stole his brother's birthmark. Jacob was a partiarch who brought up his twelve sons to be partiarchs, but they did not take to it. One of Jacob's sons, Joseph, gave refuse to the Israelites.
Pharaoh forced the Hebrew slaves to make bread without straw. Moses led them to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the ten commandments. David was a Hebrew king skilled at playing the liar. He fougth with the Philatelists, a race of people who lived in Biblical times. Solomon, one of David's sons, had 500 wives and 500 porcupines.
Without the Greeks, we wouldn't have history. The Greeks invented three kinds of columns - Corinthian, Doric and Ironic. They also had myths. A myth is a female moth. One myth says that the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River Stynx until he became intolerable. Achilles appears in "The Illiad", by Homer. Homer also wrote the "Oddity", in which Penelope was the last hardship that Ulysses endured on his journey. Actually, Homer was not written by Homer but by another man of that name.
Socrates was a famous Greek teacher who went around giving people advice. They killed him. Socrates died from an overdose of wedlock.
In the Olympic Games, Greeks ran races, jumped, hurled the biscuits, and threw the java. The reward to the victor was a coral wreath. The government of Athen was democratic because the people took the law into their own hands. There were no wars in Greece, as the mountains were so high that they couldn't climb over to see what their neighbors were doing. When they fought the Parisians, the Greeks were outnumbered because the Persians had more men.
Eventually, the Ramons conquered the Geeks. History call people Romans because they never stayed in one place for very long. At Roman banquets, the guests wore garlic in their hair. Julius Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields of Gaul. The Ides of March killed him because they thought he was going to be made king. Nero was a cruel tyrany who would torture his poor subjects by playing the fiddle to them.
Then came the Middle Ages. King Alfred conquered the Dames, King Arthur lived in the Age of Shivery, King Harlod mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings, Joan of Arc was cannonized by George Bernard Shaw, and the victims of the Black Death grew boobs on their necks. Finally, the Magna Carta provided that no free man should be hanged twice for the same offense.
In midevil times most of the people were alliterate. The greatest writer of the time was Chaucer, who wrote many poems and verse and also wrote liter- ature. Another tale tells of William Tell, who shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son's head.
The Renaissance was an age in which more individuals felt the value of their human being. Martin Luther was nailed to the church door at Wittenberg for selling papal indulgences. He died a horrible death, being excommunicated by a bull. It was the painter Donatello's interest in the female nude that made him the father of the Renaissance. It was an age of great inventions and discoveries. Gutenberg invented the Bible. Sir Walter Raleigh is a historical figure because he invented cigarettes. Another important invention was the circulation of blood. Sir Francis Drake circumcised the world with a 100-foot clipper.
The government of England was a limited mockery. Henry VIII found walking difficult because he had an abbess on his knee. Queen Elizabeth was the "Vir- gin Queen." As a queen she was a success. When Elizabeth exposed herself be- fore her troops, they all shouted "hurrah." Then her navy went out and defeated the Spanish Armadillo.
The greatest writer of the Renaissance was William Shakespear. Shakespear never made much money and is famous only because of his plays. He lived in Windsor with his merry wives, writing tragedies, comedies and errors. In one of Shakespear's famous plays, Hamlet rations out his situation by relieving himself in a long soliloquy. In another, Lady Macbeth tries to convince Mac- beth to kill the King by attacking his manhood. Romeo and Juliet are an example of a heroic couplet. Writing at the same time as Shakespear was Miquel Cervantes. He wrote "Donkey Hote". The next great author was John Milton. Milton wrote "Paradise Lost." Then his wife dies and he wrote "Paradise Regained."
During the Renaissance America began. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. His ships were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Fe. Later the Pilgrims crossed the Ocean, and the was called the Pilgrim's Progress. When they landed at Plymouth Rock, they were greeted by Indians, who came down the hill rolling their was hoops before them. The Indian squabs carried porposies on their back. Many of the Indian heroes were killed, along with their cabooses, which proved very fatal to them. The winter of 1620 was a hard one for the settlers. Many people died and many babies were born. Captain John Smith was responsible for all this.
One of the causes of the Revolutionary Wars was the English put tacks in their tea. Also, the colonists would send their pacels through the post with- out stamps. During the War, Red Coats and Paul Revere was throwing balls over stone walls. The dogs were barking and the peacocks crowing. Finally, the colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for taxis.
Delegates from the original thirteen states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin had gone to Boston carrying all his clothes in his pocket and a loaf of bread under each arm. He invented elec- tricity by rubbing cats backwards and declared "a horse divided against itself cannot stand." Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.
George Washington married Matha Curtis and in due time became the Father of Our Country. Them the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility. Under the Constitution the people enjoyed the right to keep bare arms.
Abraham Lincoln became America's greatest Precedent. Lincoln's mother died in infancy, and he was born in a log cabin which he built with his own hands. When Lincoln was President, he wore only a tall silk hat. He said, "In onion there is strength." Abraham Lincoln write the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope. He also signed the Emasculation Proclamation, and the Fourteenth Amendment gave the ex-Negroes citizenship. But the Clue Clux Clan would torcher and lynch the ex-Negroes and other innocent victims. On the night of April 14, 1865, Lincoln went to the theater and got shot in his seat by one of the actors in a moving picture show. The believed assinator was John Wilkes Booth, a sup- posedl insane actor. This ruined Booth's career.
Meanwhile in Europe, the enlightenment was a reasonable time. Voltare invented electricity and also wrote a book called "Candy". Gravity was invented by Issac Walton. It is chiefly noticeable in the Autumn, when the apples are flaling off the trees.
Bach was the most famous composer in the world, and so was Handel. Handel was half German, half Italian and half English. He was very large. Bach died from 1750 to the present. Beethoven wrote music even though he was deaf. He was so deaf he wrote loud music. He took long walks in the forest even when everyone was calling for him. Beethoven expired in 1827 and later died for this.
France was in a very serious state. The French Revolution was accomplished before it happened. The Marseillaise was the theme song of the French Revolu- tion, and it catapulted into Napoleon. During the Napoleonic Wars, the crowned heads of Europe were trembling in their shoes. Then the Spanish gorrilas came down from the hills and nipped at Napoleon's flanks. Napoleon became ill with bladder problems and was very tense and unrestrained. He wanted an heir to inheret his power, but since Josephine was a baroness, she couldn't bear him any children.
The sun never set on the British Empire because the British Empire is in the East and the sun sets in the West. Queen Victoria was the longest queen. She sat on a thorn for 63 years. He reclining years and finally the end of her life were exemplatory of a great personality. Her death was the final event which ended her reign.
The nineteenth century was a time of many great inventions and thoughts. The invention of the steamboat caused a network of rivers to spring up. Cyrus McCormick invented the McCormick Raper, which did the work of a hundred men. Samuel Morse invented a code for telepathy. Louis Pastuer discovered a cure for rabbis. Charles Darwin was a naturailst who wrote the "Organ of the Species". Madman Curie discovered radium. And Karl Marx became one of the Marx Brothers.
The First World War, cause by the assignation of the Arch-Duck by a surf, ushered in a new error in the anals of human history.
Here is a list of student malapropisms which I have collected since I began teaching—each represents an actual student’s statement! They are in chronological order—I have been compiling the list since 1972, and retired in 2015.
1. “God crated the best of all possible worlds.”
2. “Let me reverberate.”
3. “These are the three points I eluded to earlier.”
4. “At this point he errored.”
5. “The impossibility of God can only be either in God or outside him.”
6. “The [Leibnizian] nomads have no windows.”
7. “The appeal to common since.”
8. “The crime rate would probably decrease if more offenders were severely executed for the violent crimes which they committed.”
9. “The death penalty makes a definite impression on people.”
10. “While existentialists’ thought goes deep into the history of western philosophy, it was only following World War II that it became will known.”
11. “To site an example used by Mill....”
12. Regarding Hobbes’ view: “in the state of nature man is nasty, British and short.”
13. “Bare in mind....”
14. “I believe Plato has the right idea but I don’t exactly buy the notion of the forms.”
15. “Cogito Eros Sum.”
16. “Berkeley’s philosophy of immaterialism was the theory I have read which I can relate to due to the ideas I have in my mind.”
17. “...a difference without a distinction.”
18. “The unexplored life is unworth living.”
19. “Socrates lived in Athenia.”
20. “It was these principles that made Socrates one of the great minds of our time.”
21. Of Plato’s Euthyphro: “...his dialect called the Euthyphro.”
22. “Descartes’ natural lite....”
23. A student used ‘non-plutonian’ (presumably for something which doesn’t sit well with Plato).
24. Regarding Williams’ “Jim in the jungle” case: “in the case of the example with Jim’s problem, murder is wrong and should not be executed by a soundly moral person.”
25. “Ultimately, this objection against this utilitarian way of thinking is well grounded because it is ridiculous under this circumstance to consider only the consequence and not what is actually going to be accomplished.”
26. In regard to Hobbes: “killing one’s self is something that is totally different and hard for one to carry out.”
27. “Although Hobbes’ view is contradictory, therefore problematic, it is generally correct in concept and thus can be accepted as valid.”
28. Regarding Singer’s “Famine, Affluence, and Morality:” “he obviously does not care much about material possessions because he became a philosopher and lives rather poorly in the outbacks of Australia.”
29. “These kinds of action are the sole of duty.”
30. “...the preverbial pat on the back.”
31. “Since Locke wrote before Hobbes, he could not possibly formulate any criticisms to Hobbes’ writings.”
32. “He says that to not do them would create more problems than to not do them.”
33. Hobbes’ egoists should “...not do to others as they will not do to them.”
34. “...the laizee-affair form of government....”
35. “The design argument [for god’s existence] says that the effects must have been sufficient to make the effect.”
36. “As they reinstate....”
37. “...and whether this decision was made at the critical level or not, it is the right one because, for murder, there is no in-between. It is either wrong or right.”
38. “So, to start to think critically would not only be hard but it would also go against some reasoning in our mind that we have always had.”
39. An interesting bit of reasoning:
The main problem with [W.D.] Ross are that he insists there are many intrinsic valuable things. This, though is a contradiction because when something is intrinsically valuable it is absolute. Therefore, there can only be one intrinsically valuable thing, Ross has many.
40. “As long as your mind feels sure of the reality you live in, you actually live in that such reality.”
41. “We have all, at least once, made an assumption and have been mistaken, therefore all assumptions are mistaken.”
42. An ontological proof for Descartes’ “evil genius”:
if one thinks that an evil genius does not exist, by merely stating that it does not exist, one is implying its existence. The concept exists, and to deny the concept implies that the concept does exist. Therefore, it is something that one has to deal with in order to deny its existence.
43. “Since his argument appears to be veritable, his conclusion seems quite logical.”
44. “Another problem Hobbes faces is that there are some rational egoists that will risk their lives to protect the state, so they could not be rational egoists.”
45. An interesting typo: “...all men ate rational egoists....”
46. “Descartes states that we have doubts because of the Evil Genius in us.”
47. “The state of nature could come into effect one way or another, which makes me conclude by affirming that the state of nature is unavoidable.”
48. “No universal deception exists because the evil genius may deceive people some of the time, but no one is deceiving the evil genius at any time. No one is deceiving the evil genius, therefore universal deception cannot be possible.”
49. “If Anselm had made his proof easier to comprehend, perhaps more people would have understood his idea.”
50. “Anselm’s idea of God as something than which nothing greater exists is true...even though grammatically it is not perfect.”
51. A student wrote a paper where he talked about “Plato’s cavemen.”
52. “Like a sibling that must grow into a fine tree requires careful watching, so does a child that will become the ruler of the state.”
53. “The oracle at New Delphi proclaims Socrates is the wisest man in Athens.”
54. “Speaking of virtuosity, Socrates spent a great deal of his time seeking truth.”
55. “Once we think we are being deceived, then we are no longer being deceived, because of the cognito argument of I think, therefore I am. And thus if, we could never tell that we are being deceived, would we not claim, that deception as our reality?”
56. “A contradiction is valid although it doesn’t sound like it but it is due to the complexity of the language.” [This was offered in response to the question: Why is an argument which has a contradictory premise valid?]
57. “It is necessary to agree that it could happen as it would be extremely difficult to prove it couldn’t possibly happen.”
58. A student wrote about Descartes’ “cogito ergo seem” argument.
59. A student informed me in a paper that “literally translated esse est percipi means if we exist, we exist as perceivers and are therefore perceived by others.”
60. “In a age of political change and excitement in Athens the interest had shifted to human and moral questions and to the political and human arts of argument. It was in this atmosphere that Socrates appeared moving questionably about the streets.”
61. “Socrates set himself to prove the oracle of Apollo at Delphi, which pronounced him the wisest of men, was a falsehood.”
62. “A Greek philosopher by the name of Socrates attempted to answer the question by posing a variety of questions to test the validity of the people’s first response to the question in a market place.”
63. “In the “Apology,” Socrates is wrongly accused of philosophizing.”
64. “Socrates does not know what will happen to him after he dies, but he knows that good awaits him as God has told him.”
65. “Socrates is told by the god, through the oracle at Delphi, that he knows everything.”
66. “Society has changed so dramatically from Plato and Mill’s days that I think it is hard to apply principles from centuries ago to today’s problems.”
67. “By the light of nature one recognizes that there must be as much relevancy in the cause as in the effect.”
68. A student spoke of Mill who considers harmful other-directed acts to be “harms to another other than the self.”
69. “Hobbes believes that living in a state of nature will cause disharmony and chaos to the state.”
70. In Meditation III, “Descartes states that if there’s a cause there has to be an effect....”
71. “In his examinations Socrates goes through three phases: the euthyphro, the elenchus and the arete....”
72. “Socrates was tried and condemned to drink a poisonous hemlock.”
73. “Socrates wanted to open the eyes of its [Athens’] citizens to realize ignorance.” His goal was the realization of ignorance?
74. “...timocracy, oligarchy, democracy, and a tyranny. This list does not include an anarchy which Plato believes is the best possible state.”
75. “Descartes claims that since man thinks, he must exist because if he stopped thinking he would be no more.”
76. “One problem with Descartes’ knowledge claim [I think, therefore, I exist] is the fact that an evil genius could have placed that idea in his mind.”
77. One student spoke of “Descartes’ infamous cogito argument....”
78. “Descartes is confused and lost in a world of illusions and dreams, he doesn’t know how to differentiate between reality and dreams.”
79. “After all, society is an interrelation of statues....”
80. “These heroically fatalistic people....”
81. In writing a paper on Singer’s “Famine, Affluence, and Morality a student wrote: “if the starving people would kill themselves then everyone else would be happy, which is the primary goal to a utilitarian, because they do not have to give fifty percent of their income, and do not have to see or hear about the terrible suffering.”
82. Writing on Singer’s “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” a student said:
I like living in luxury greatly. I do not think I could give it up just because it is morally necessary....Philosophers are great for their thinking abilities, but when it comes to action, they are not always the first to act. Singer is not suffering today to help the homeless. I do not see why I should give up my hard earned luxuries for his opinions about moral obligations.
83. “Mill says it is better to be a pig (fool) satisfied than a human being dissatisfied.”
84. Pascal’s wager claims that as “...believers the payoffs which we stand to gain are unsurmountable.”
85. “Pascal makes it clear that though we have an understanding of infinity, we don’t understand it.”
86. “The purpose of Pascal’s wager is not to convert anyone, but only to convince sceptics to believe.”
87. “I believe that the foundation Descartes arrives at is a valid one. He provides conclusive baking, and it stands to reason that it is a rational foundation.”
88. Writing a paper on Descartes a student said: “the only way we can avoid deception is by avoiding it or by correcting it once it has happened.”
89. “Morality revolves around gratitude. Man only does what is moral if others view it as such. And gratitude defines what is morally correct.”
90. “According to Kant, man “treats himself as an end to all things. He does everything for himself.”
91. While discussing Singer’s “Famine, Affluence, and Morality” and Urmson’s “Saints and Heroes” a student wrote: “while everyone ought to be a saint, they are not obligated.”
92. Writing about Descartes’ Meditation III a student wrote: “he mentions in the meditation about looking at things in the natural light especially after waking up from a dream to wonder if everything he perceived could be a dream.”
93. Writing on Hobbes a student informs us that his “...fear of parliamentarians led him to establish a new home in Holland.”
94. Writing on Hobbes, another student informs us that “in the state of nature, self-preservation comes before life.”
95. A student wrote about someone who “...learned to no avail the answer.”
96. In writing about Pascal’s “wager” a student wrote: “infinity in numbers cannot be used to help create and accept the idea of God. Infinite numbers are based on finite numbers, which can be proved to be real. We can count. But God’s existence is not based on something real.”
97. “Pascal’s intentions are to prove that God can exist without knowing God’s own nature.”
98. Writing against Berkeley, a student wrote: “obviously, in our day and age, if a man stood on a street corner and talked about perceiving tables and chairs in his minds [sic] he would must [sic] probably be taken to the nearest hospital in a straight jacket.”
99. “Self-identity can be produced only by the one possessing it and therefore, this is the only one who really knows who he is and what he is.”
100. Writing on personal identity a student wrote: “many times I have wondered whether it is my mind or my body, or both that make me what I am. It has been impossible for me to physically separate them.”
101. “The only difference between the awakened and dreaming states is that in the awakened state there is a great deal of regularity and in the dreaming state there is a great degree of continuity.”
102. “Anselm wants to prove that God is that than which nothing greater can be perceived.”
103. “Anselm thinks that people who do not believe in the existence of God are fools.”
104. Writing a test answer to a question about problems with Anselm’s ontological argument a student writes: “this doesn’t make any sense to me how existence not being a predicate denies a perfectly good argument on the existence of God by Anselm but that is the problem they raise.”
105. “...in order to be an affective philosopher one should not contradict oneself.”
106. “I feel Socrates was being consistent in what he said. It’s just that he wasn’t clear or specific enough in his meaning. The fact that he didn’t spell this out specifically and in detail is because he is a philosopher and in philosophy there are really no definitive answers to questions rather there are many more questions raised about supposedly definitive answers.”
107. “The consistency of Socrates’ ideas and beliefs are very inconsistent.”
108. A student wrote a paper about the skepticism and the “burden of truth” (rather than “burden of proof”).
109. “Usually, people often become aware of your present sensations only when they malfunction.”
110. “Cargile’s arguments seem to disprove the stoic defense of skepticism set up by Unger.”
111. After briefly discussing the case of Smith, Jones, and ten coins, a student concludes that “Gettier thinks we can get knowledge by coincidence as opposed to conclusive reasoning (Dretske) or causal chains (Goldman).”
112. Writing about Plato’s Crito a student indicated that if Socrates escaped and, thus, “contradicted himself...the other philosophers wouldn’t want to converse with him because he contradicted himself.” Thus, the student concludes, Socrates will not try to escape.
113. In discussing the Third Meditation, a student maintained that “Descartes says that everything that has a cause has an effect.”
114. In writing a paper on Descartes’ proof regarding God’s existence a student spoke of the “none believers.”
115. Writing a paper on BonJour's coherence theory a student talked of the “circulatory” [rather than] circular form of justification some coherence theorists employ.
116. I have had several students write about Hobbes and his “rationale egoists.”
117. “According to Descartes there should be something that is responsible for having done the things that he hasn’t.”
118. A student wrote a paper on Plato’s Crito wherein Socrates’ options in the trial included “vanishment, a monetary fine, imprisonment, or death.”
119. In writing a paper on whether Socrates contradicts himself regarding one’s obligation to obey the law in the Apology and the Crito, a student maintained that he approached “...each issue independently...[deciding] which route of action would represent the greatest good for the greatest number of persons.”
120. In writing on Plato’s Apology a student maintained that his various inquiries lead “...Sophocles to learn that “I am likely to be wiser to a small extent, than others that I do not think I know what I do not know.””
121. “The courts believed that they had knowledge because they had authority and the public followed. Since they thought they had knowledge, they did not. Socrates knew that he did not have knowledge; therefore, he did know what was best for him.”
122. A student wrote that Socrates “believed that action equaled knowledge and thus took action.”
123. Socrates’ forms maintain “...that a man is not worth living if he does not examine his soul which is philosophy.”
124. Writing on Hobbes a student informs us that “to an egoist good is defined as the object of his desires and pain as the object of his diversions.”
125. “To disprove that there is no omniscient evil genius who is deceiving us about everything is as difficult a task as attempting to prove that one is not dreaming at any one particular instance.”
126. “Descartes stated that we can be perceived by our experiences but in order to be deceived of them there has to be an original.” The student, presumably, is thinking of Ryle’s argument about counterfeit coins (at least part of the time).
127. “Arguments according to Hume dealing with inductions are either deductive or reflective.”
128. “I think Descartes was existence conscious.”
129. “Although Singer uses many valid arguments to support his views, the fact that he parallels moral obligation with duty, makes some of his argument refutable.
130. A student wrote of “an unsurmountable help.”
131. “If we become judgmental of others, we are opening ourselves for judging.”
132. Writing on Berkeley a student maintained: “since senses are only ideas in the mind then there really is no sensation.”
133. Hume claims that “we do not need experience because custom and habit explain our knowledge.”
134. “Psychological egoism has both good and bad points. It’s good in that one’s only concern is for one’s self-interest. Yet it’s bad because seeking one’s self-interest means being selfish.”
135. “Like all tautologies, this statement fails to represent what it is describing in a precise manner.”
136. In discussing Pascal’s wager a student wrote: “even if one were to play the martyr and experience a tortured death, the pain would actually be very minute because the infinite reward [of believing] would be unsurmountable.”
137. Writing on Descartes’ dreaming argument a student maintained: “because our knowledge of past events can be recalled to have occurred fluently, no missing link in time has occurred. Consequently, we are not living in a dream unless one can consider a lifetime a dream.”
138. Writing on Descartes’ dreaming argument a student maintained: “dreams do not have to go by the norms of reality. They can include incidents or occurrences that involve physical or mental impossibilities.”
139. Writing on Descartes’ dreaming argument a student maintained: “this deception is not possible by trying to show that it is possible by trying to show that it is possible.”
140. “Descartes refuses to believe that he has a body though or that his mind is in any way connected to anything physical. The flaw in this point; however, is that Descartes is giving himself a mind before he even has a body to put it in. Biologically, it has proven that one cannot exist without the other.”
141. “Feinberg, on the other hand, says that it is not the aim of the act, but the goals, which determines whether the act was selfish or not.”
142. “The third argument states that one often deceives himself; meaning that one convinces himself that his action is unselfish even when it is. This argument is inconclusive because it can not be proven in any scientific, empirical way. Only the individual would knows if he is deceiving himself.”
143. A student wrote about the “psychologist egoist” (intending no doubt, except for the Freudian slip, to write about psychological egoists).
144. Writing on Hick’s response to the problem of evil, a student says: “Hick says that God should have never created evil and then there would be no problem of evil.”
145. A student wrote of Socrates’ “unrelentless pursuit for universal definitions.”
146. A student wrote that Socrates “provides to the Athen people the opportunity to admit their ignorance and acquire knowledge.”
147. “The people of Athens also thought of Socrates as a weird and corrupt citizen because he was interested in things in the sky.”
148. Socrates “...failed to find one who was wiser. Socrates then concluded that in fact the oracle was wise.”
149. “Socrates did not believe himself when he said that he truly knows nothing at all.”
150. “...Socrates takes his practice of philosophizing as a mission, which the gods ask him to do as a way of servicing them.”
151. Describing the guardians and philosopher kings, a student said that Plato tells us that “...he wants those who have a concern for the collectively, who are interested in what is best for the totalitarian rather than themselves....”
152. “Hobbes tries to keep order by introducing the law of the Gospel....”
153. “Hobbes’ Leviathan, a work on contemporary political philosophy....”
154. “In conclusion, there is an inconsistency in Hobbes’ views, since I am not completely convinced by his argument that all individuals are rational egoists.”
155. “Plato and Mill are both two great philosophers who ....”
156. “Plato believed that people should be censored from watching obscene movies because this might influence them by allowing their appetites to be in control instead.”
157. Writing on J.S. Mill, a student maintained that “when individuals experience pleasure they are happy, therefore happiness is intrinsically valuable.”
158. In writing a paper on the views of Plato and Mill regarding censorship a student maintained:”...Mill and Plato wrote these works in two completely different eras. Mill’s work is much more contemporary, therefore his views are similar to what most of us would think today. Plato on the other hand is dealing with a society which is not nearly as developed...and therefore has to use old-fashioned and more conniving methods in order to persuade people to act in the required manner.”
159. “Intrinsic is to be good of in itself where one pursues only for its own safety.”
160. “According to Mill the greatest happiness principle is intrinsically valuable.”
161. A student wrote that the fallacy of composition “states that if the parts are true then the whole is also true.”
162. “Unlike Hobbes, who says people pursue their own happiness regardless of anyone else, Mill’s theory revolves around a form of hedonism.”
163. “Descartes talks about how if we dream that we exist but we don’t really exist, then we must exist.”
164. “Mill is not an egoist—he just believes in the attainment of happiness to please oneself.”
165. A student wrote that “Socrates believes that a life of disobeying the gods is a life unworth living.”
166. “This would dismay all his accomplishments, not to say, it would perplex his followers extremely.”
167. “Socrates believed that the most important part of the body was the psyche.”
168. “Plato, one of Socrates’ henchmen, portrays....”
169. “For Socrates material things were not important. He proved this because he was poverty-stricken.”
170. “Socrates believed he was on a divine mission; therefore the gods’ law is the higher law.”
171. “Here is when Socrates...”
172. A student wrote a paper about Plato’s view of the “human sole.”
173. “Plato believed that humans are naturally social beings, but lack self-efficiency.”
174. A student informs us that for Plato: “the workers would be craftsmen and trade people.”
175. “I believe that the state of nature is inevitable, but with the correct changes, it can become avoidable.”
176. “Although Hobbes’ view and definition were inaccurate, it does not mean that his philosophy would have been deficient.”
177. Writing on Descartes a student said: “I think you will conclude that his argument is plagued by a circularity which undermines the validity of it.”
178. “In the second meditation, Descartes finds himself and questions what is certain and indubitable.”
179. “The Meditations had a lot to prove and clarify to become an excepted piece of work in the 17th century.”
180. According to a student, Berkeley said “that he can indeed imagine a tree existing unperceived by no one.”
181. Writing on Anselm a student maintained that “...it is more perfect to exist contingently; so that perfect being must exist necessarily—and therefore undoubtedly exists.”
182. “Descartes avoids facing the idea of being nothing hoping to avoid the reality of what might be.”
183. “The reason why Ryle’s objection would not be effective against Descartes’ argument is that Ryle does not take into consideration the fact that Descartes does away, not just from the information obtained through the senses, but from the senses as well.”
184. Writing on Descartes a student maintained that “the individual should take for granted his absolute certainty, for whatever the matter may be, since he is doubtless, therefore all-knowing.”
185. Descartes’ causal principle “...states that every cause must have an effect trying to establish that we are the effect of God’s cause.”
186. “Through the concept of cause and effect Descartes proves that the cause of the idea of a perfect being must have been put there by the perfect being and therefore He must exist.”
187. “Socrates was a man to whom his soul was the most important part of his body.”
188. “Socrates agrees that a spoiled soul is not worth living.”
189. According to a student, Socrates said that “since death is the unexamined life, then who is to say that it is bad or good.”
190. “This may be understood, but does not make any sense whatsoever.”
191. Regarding Hobbes’ version of the “social contract,” a student said: “...this contract does give the sovereign the powder to make a subject engage in an act that may cause the subject harm or that may even be dangerous or deadly.”
192. “Hobbes...believed that the most important part of the body was the body.”
193. “Singer also says things like we ought to do something.”
194. “Singer says that if we ought to do something we can do something and therefore it is our obligation to do it.”
195. A student informs us that in his “Saints and Heroes” Urmson “...points out that if you demand too much from humans, the concept of morality will be hurt.”
196. “In the biological realm the hostile environment is conducive to survival of the fittest.”
197. “Rescher argues that success and truth are related to each other through evolutionary evolution.”
198. Writing on Peter Unger’s “In Defense of Skepticism” a student noted that “Unger, being the steadfast skeptic that he is, concedes that it is impossible for anyone to know his thesis to be true; however this does not seem to preclude him from advancing it anyway.”
199. “Because these propositions are logically measurable and understandable, they’re knowledgeable.”
200. A student tells us that in the Apology, Socrates “...was trailed, convicted, and sentenced to death.”
201. In the Apology Socrates informs the jury that the Oracle Adelphi....”
202. “Socrates would accept death rather than seizing to philosophize.”
203. “The city is wise because the guardians and rulers which make up the first class in the city, make it wise because they are the ones who have wisdom and knowledge.”
204. “The reason why Socrates makes this statement is because people differ in terms of their task and skills. For example, if your car broke down, you would take it to a mechanic so he can fix it. You would not take it to a carpenter. Now, let us say your house has been damaged. You would take it to a mechanic....” Presumably, the student lives in a mobile home!
205. “Plato thinks that the soul is the most important part of the body.”
206. “Being capable of rationalizing is what has enabled us to evolve and survive all these years....”
207. “Here is when Hobbes has a problem.”
208. “It is an extended thing, separate from but grasped by the mind, that is the sit of reason....”
209. “To coin an age-old phrase....”
210. “The auxiliaries and pheasants own more material things than the guardians.”
211. Plato’s “...guardian must also be a lover of wisdom, meaning he must not attack anyone he does not know....”
212. “In Meditation III, Descartes made his argument air-tight by bringing about the existence of god.”
213. “...if you do not have your existence, then you do not have anything.”
214. “To detach from what is you, to remove oneself from one’s existence, is implausible.”
215. “Consistency demands as a requirement that two propositions contradict each other.”
216. “An arbitrary choice is bad because it is an arbitrary choice.”
217. “This theory [BonJour's] is right, based on a priori empirical observations....”
218. “The problem with an infinite regress [of justifications] is that one must go through an infinite number of entrances.”
219. “...no one is immortal except for those that are dead already.”
220. “Socrates was a man with an inert desire to speak his mind.”
221. Plato says that “...no man is an island unless he lives on one.”
222. “After much effort, Descartes finally finds himself.”
233. Writing a paper which discusses Descartes’ cogito a student distinguishes between the “occurrent” and “substantial” conceptions of the self and says: “at the discrete moment of time when he is thinking he necessarily exists.”
224. “Descartes believes that the idea of God that he finds in his mind is the only possible cause of that idea.”
225. In a single paper on Descartes, a student gives us three malapropisms: “one cannot be deceived unless he doesn’t have thoughts,” “your sense perception is untrustworthy, because your dreams can deceive you,” and “Descartes convinces you that he exists by explaining that if he can be deceived...he exists.”
226. In another paper on Descartes, a different student treats us to two malapropisms: “in the 1600’s a time of brilliance was in the air and so was a time of doubt,” and “since we can interpret what is going on around us we can also assume that in addition to our senses our vision plays a important role as well.”
227. A student informed me on a test that Anselm’s deity is “then that which can never be greater.”
228. Another student on the same test said “Anselm knows there is a being or thing that which is greater than he is.”
229. A student wrote a paper which discussed the skeptical problems posed by “optical allusions.”
230. Writing on Russell and Rescher on theories of truth, one student maintained: “although both offer logical and conclusive arguments, they can never prove themselves valid.”
231. “Faced with this dilemma the very notion of a coherence theory of justification is menaced to succumb.”
232. “BonJour should have become a professional football player, so good is he at dribbling the ball around [philosophical] obstacles.”
233. A student writes that BonJour’s “doxastic presumption” holds that “the justificatory issue is that the belief that I indeed hold the beliefs that I myself claim to hold is the overall grasp of my system of beliefs if I have to have cognitive access of a coherent system of beliefs.”
234. “Socrates’ reputation, given to him by the oracle at Delphi, stated that he was the wisest of men.” The oracle, presumably, is like the wizard of Oz (who gave the lion courage, the tin man a heart, and the scarecrow wisdom).
235. “During the Apology they convict Socrates to death.”
236. “This is critical in the explanation of Socrates’ vagrant disregard for the laws of the state with regard to practicing the art of philosophy.”
237. Writing on Hobbes, one student gave me two malapropisms: “Look at today’s society, how many times do you hear that someone killed another person for money, drugs or just for the shear pleasure.” and ““Of course there have to be the few who are rational egoists who kill, steal and rape for their own personnel needs.”
238. Writing about how Descartes knows he didn’t cause his idea of a deity, one student informs us that “He believes he is not the cause of the idea of “god” because he has seen and read about “god” from previous centuries.”
239. In writing an essay in response to a fairly standard test question on Anselm, a student distinguished between “necessary” and “convenient” existence.
240. “Socrates has no other choice than to accept his sentencing to death.”
241. “Socrates, a rambling philosopher, walked around claiming to know what was best for the soul.”
242. “Socrates tries to explain to Crito the importance of the laws and convince him not to escape from prison.”
243. “Plato’s Crito is set in Socrates’ jail cell after his death sentence.”
244. “Socrates has respect for and obeys just laws such as not parking in handicap spaces.”
245. “Unger has a valid argument to begin with but it becomes neutralized when the reader comes to realize he has committed self-refutation.”
246. “Simply knowing something does not imply that one has knowledge.”
247. “Socrates believes that to obtain happiness in life one must engage in some type of philosophical dialysis.”
248. “Anselm says existing in the understanding is something that the fool does.”
249. “Socrates wanted to point out that if a person harms you and you harm back, then it is wrong for him to do so.”
250. “Plato believes that there are three psyches of the soul.”
251. “Socrates believed that he knew nothing, and to a small extent knew at least that much.”
252. A student maintains that Plato contends that “...man is also rational in the sense that man uses rationalization to solve problems.”
253. A student maintains that “Descartes’ causal principle states that in order to have the cause, the effect must be true.”
254. “Our senses deceive just as our eyes could deceive us.”
255. “Hobbes understands the fact that people, even under a contract, would try to break it for self-fish reasons.”
256. “Your phenomenological way of perceiving which is the way you perceive things through your eyes is something that heavily relies in what you’ve been taught or have experienced.”
257. “Lehrer’s defense of skepticism in my opinion while in many cases does seem valid, its not convincing.”
258. “Instead of stimulating critical thinking, skepticism discourages it. For it strangles us in a circle.”
259. “Plato leaves the reader somewhat misunderstood here.”
260. “It appears as if Hobbes contains a true problem and it is indeed serious.”
261. “The answer is very complicating.”
262. “...or maybe they inherited all their riches from their descendants....”
263. “This civil state is the ultimatum to the state of nature.”
264. “Wittgenstein is a philosopher, therefore he must philosophize.”
265. “Hobbes’ state of nature is full of things such as rational egoists, commonwealths, and many other things. According to Hobbes, one should be submitted to an absolute sovereign.”
266. “During [Socrates’] trial, one of the most important things he says to the jury is that he would not stop philosophizing even if the jury ordered him not to.”
267. “[Socrates] explains that people are too many, and that he and Crito should listen only to the ones who know about the specific topic being discussed.”
268. A student informs us that in the Republic, “Plato distinguishes [people] into three classes: the rulers, the oscillators, and the workers.”
269. “Plato’s auxiliaries have true belief but only some knowledge, whereas, the rulers have mere belief, but full knowledge.”
270. Writing of Plato’s Socrates one student informed me that in the Apology he was “condemned to philosophize.”
271. A student told me that Plato’s Apology provides “...a bold account of his whole life, which led to his sentencing of death.”
272. A student tells us that Plato’s Socrates “feels the part of the body what matters the soul/psyche not the physical body.”
273. “Hobbes is a social contrast.”
274. “According to Hobbes human beings are rational egoists which makes them only want what they desire.”
275. In discussing Hobbes’ view that contracts require coercive power, a student managed to attribute a unique theory of meaning to Hobbes: “In his opinion, if there is no coercive power then words are meaningless.”
276. Writing on Hobbes, a student informs his reader that “...he explains the idea that in the state of nature, there is constant competition for sacred goods.”
277. The first sentence of a paper on Kant’s ethics read: “Kant and his ethical theory is one that begins and ends in much a confusing manner.”
278. “Crito wants Socrates to escape from jail after being found guilty and punished to death.”
279. “Plato’s Socrates is accused of an unjust conviction.”
280. “This is evident when kings, legislators, and diplomas are exempted from penalties for infractions others would be liable for.”
281. “Hobbes believes there will be no state of nature in the state if we live in a civil state.”
282. “Socrates could talk forever and about all kinds of themes. That’s why he was considered one of the greatest philosophers of all time.”
283. “Socrates is not willing to compromise any of his beliefs because it would harm his soul, which he thinks is the most important part of his body.”
284. “Anselm is trying to explain that in order to believe in God you must first have an understanding of God.”
285. “Justice is something that is ideal; therefore, to Socrates the ideal state is justice.”
286. “This is extremely contrary to Christian belief, which says that one must except God and the Bible without question—it is called faith, and the New Testament says that this is the only thing that will get you into Heaven.”
287. A student talked about the constitutional right to “bare handguns”—causing me to have odd mental images.
288. A student talked about the famous statement by the “Cridle Delphy” wherein Socrates was informed that no one is wiser than he.
289. Another student spoke of Plato’s three part methodology (elenchus, aporia, and dialectic) and indicated that the translation for the second step was “prolixity.” [It should, of course, be “perplexity,” but you can understand the student’s confusion].
290. For Hobbes a limited government would be no good because it could never have more power than the subgroups that composed it, which means that it could fall victim to revelry.
291. According to Hobbes, “…all men thrive to satisfy their desires….”
292. “…I do agree with their attempts just not the way they are going about doing it.”
293. According to one of my students, “Anselm believes that God is nothing greater than that which can be conceived.”
294. “Athens had recently been through the dark ages, where there was no art, no culture, no writings, and Athens was going through an enlightenment period. Socrates was crucial and necessary to this period.”
295. Writing regarding St. Anselm, a student informs us that “the necessary existent things exist because we need them.”
296. In the Apology Socrates fought his ideas to the death.”
297. Socrates, a student informs us, “knows that life is worth examination.”
298. “At this point, Socrates’ brothers Glaucoma and….”
299. “By 1660, the son of the excited king, Charles the Second, was invited to become king.”
300. “There are numerous dilemmas for Descartes’ mind-body dualism, including sleep, the unconscious, and subconscious, which present serious problems for the duelist.” Presumably duelists find it hard to shoot minds?
301. “Gettier claims that it is possible to have justified true belief be false.
302. “Nothing we create is anything if not useful, to some degree or other.”
303. “The dogastic presumption, as introduced by BonJour, allows us to retain our epistemic responsibility.
304. “Socrates thought that a just life was the same as the good life, and that a good life was worth leaving.”
305. “Socrates accepted his sentence with stoicism.”
306. “For Wittgenstein a preposition denotes an area in logical space.”
307. “According to Aristotle’s virtue-based theory, all ends aim toward some good.”
308. Hobbes’ first law of nature is that “every man may use all the helps and advantages of war to obtain peace.”
309. “Picture an Athenian courthouse around roughly 400 B.C. filled to capacity with Greek citizens waiting for a trail to begin.”
310. “Anselm’s argument is weak, but logical.”
311. One of my students informs us that the Athenian jury “convicted Socrates to death.”
312. “Various philosophers of their time continued to use philosophy as a form of improving others. Their views might have chanced a bit but it is still the same.”
313. "Plato’s Socrates believes that the soul is the most important part of the body.”
314. “It is very evident that Hobbes has a severe problem here because if no one is going to risk themselves for the benefit of the state then who is?
315. “The objections are clear, simple and most importantly logical which makes them completely if not almost irrefutable.”
316. “There are three parts to the tripartite soul.”
317. “According to Plato, the characteristics of the good state are oligarchy, timocracy, and piety.”
318. “Coherence theorists offer circulatory theories of epistemic justification.”
319. “Socrates tries to inflict logic into the jurymen by making a concrete argument for his goodness.
320. A student wrote a paper about a philosopher’s “infinite digress” meaning to talk about the individual’s problem with an infinite regress!
321. “Descartes wrote essays on the philosophy of meditation.”
322. “The state of nature can best be characterized by the individual rational equalists that inhabit it.”
323. “…and it is up to this point that the similarities between Stoicism and Spinoza begin to disappear.
324. Writing about the view of ancient Greek philosophers, a student talked about their belief in the concept of a “Legos!”
325. “…has often been an issue that can never be truly resolved.”
326. One student contended that Hobbesian egoists would give up their :…right to bare arms so that others would give up their arms too.”
327. “Sigmund Fraud, a psychoanalyst in the early 1900s believed that dreams were manifestations of our deepest desires and anxieties…”
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Last revised: 09/25/2014.