Human or Dancer?

Bike polo is back at NAU after the busyness of spring semester is over. Monday we had good games, no serious injuries, and no destroyed bikes; always a relief. We had 8 players, which was the perfect amount of people. I’ve had spare time in spite of the intense philosophy class and its assignments. Wednesday, a classmate and I rode out to Walnut Canyon. That’s a good 12 mile ride on fairly smooth trails with good scenery along the way. Other than a few cross country bike rides, I’ve been playing tennis and pool with my roommate in the evenings.

Philosophy class is going good; the class has 25 people total, with 7 Chinese and 6 Arabs, and the rest Americans, one Ironman triathlon trainer (the race; 26 miles running + 111 miles biking + 2 miles swimming). It’s an interesting class. This week we discussed our way through Utilitarianism by John Stuart Mill, next week we work on Plato’s Republic. As part of this intro-level class we did a quick summary of Greek society and the roots of philosophy. The ancient Greeks of Athens were a fascinating people.

In class we went through several ethical problems. One scenario that came up several times in class was that of a hospital administrator who had 5 dying scientists upstairs. These 5 men had made great advancements in medical technology and were still active in researching and developing new procedures that saved hundreds of lives a year. Downstairs, a homeless man walks in with a broken arm, and while being treated, the doctor realizes that his tissue and organs are a perfect match for the men upstairs and will certainly save all 5 of their lives if they are taken from the homeless man, resulting in his death. What is the right thing to do? Kill one person to save perhaps hundreds or thousands of people? Let one person live at the expense of thousands of lives? What is the basis of our decisions? What is the definition of rights, justice, morals, and ethics? What is truth? How do we know which morals are true, which ones are right? Is justice morally right or morally wrong? As in Plato’s time a good philosopher does not have all the answers, he or she only has good questions.

An extra dimension is the fact that the greater population of Flagstaff consists of outspoken liberals who talk passionately about defending their rights from the government. For instance, NAU is having John McCain speak on campus in September, but Arizona State University in Phoenix got President Obama to speak at graduation. People of Flagtown think that Obama should have come here and McCain should go to the Valley, because few, if any, people in Flagstaff are Republicans and few agree with Senator McCain. So, the discussions are pretty lively, given the fact that a lot of people don’t mind speaking their political opinions.

Not sure what will happen this weekend. I’m thinking about venturing to Sedona, 30 miles away. That’s quite a trip for me as I’ve been staying fairly local for so long, other than airport runs to Phoenix and flying to points east. We shall see, we being me and骚骚, the betta fish left in my care for the summer by a girl from Shanghai. Now, I have a few assignments to complete before tonight; later my friends…

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