My time at Clemson University has recently come to an end. I’m sad to leave the community that I love, that led me into the man that I am now, and that will never exist in the same way again. I am apprehensive about readjusting my perception of myself, and re-understanding my place in the world. My entire life I have been a student—no longer. Sure, I will always be a student in the deepest sense, but that is not my career anymore. I am switching careers. Now, I will be a software engineer that specializes in web technology.
In Charles Sanders Peirce’s essay, “The Fixation of Belief,” Peirce gives a defense of the scientific method. He does this by exploring four methods which people have used and continue to use in order to expel doubt from their minds. Interestingly, the goal of his methods is not to find the truth, but specifically to remove the discomfort of being unsure of what one believes. He notes that this is possible to do with or without the truth. The four methods he discusses are the tenacity method, the authority method, the a priori method, and the scientific method. He discusses the benefits and problems with each method, and ultimately concludes that the scientific method is the strongest.
The travels of my sedentary mind
Carry me to lands of sadness,
Where emptiness lies
And others do not see.
The travels of my observing eyes
Only take me to a pained grey.
I look back to the place I once inhabited
And wonder at my path.
Have I swallowed a sullen conviction?
Have I slipped into a pessimism?
This paper would benefit by having some explanation. This was the final paper of the course and my grades were okay, but not fantastic. I did not make the best grades on earlier papers, partially because I decided to put forward arguments that were what I really thought, instead of conforming to what the professor thought. Ahem. This paper was my last chance to get an A, so I decided to write exactly what was expected of me, to see how good of a grade I could get. I wrote it mostly as a joke, because Mulan is a very sensibly feminist film while most of the thinkers I use to interpret it are, in my opinion, not sensible. Well, I made a 98 on the paper, got an A in the class, and lol’d.
Credit goes to Garrett Malone for a few of the ideas presented in the paper.
In W.T. Stace’s 1948 essay “Man Against Darkness,” he outlines the decline of religion in the West and the implications this has for civilization. He notes that modern science suspended contemplation on final causes. This quickly caused a non-teleological cosmology to be widely accepted, either implicitly or explicitly. Religion rests on teleology, so this view of the universe eroded the core of religion, leaving it hollow and unbelievable. Religion is the foundation of values in the West, so Western civilization faces a profound crisis. Stace concludes by briefly examining the way in which we might pull ourselves out of this nihilistic crisis.