18 Ekim 2019 tarihinde katıldığımız Baltic Sea Philosophy Essay Event 2019 / Baltık Denizi Ülkeleri Felsefi Deneme Yazma Yarışmasında 12 C sınıfı öğrencimiz Didem Zeynep ÜNAL ve 12 İ sınıfı öğrencimiz Mert Ata UZBİLEK İngilizce olarak yazdıkları deneme yazıları ile okulumuzu temsil etmişlerdir.
Okulumuzu uluslararası platformda temsil ettikleri için öğrencilerimize teşekkür ediyor, tüm öğrencilerimizden çağdaşlığı ve gelişmeyi yakalamada, bilgiyi üretirken özgün olmak adına felsefe aracılığı ile düşüncelerini zenginleştirmelerine, bu sayede yeni ufuklar açarak dünya görüşlerini kendi çabaları ile kurma özgürlüğünü yaşamalarına fırsat tanımalarını istiyoruz.
Baltic Sea Philosophy Essay Event 2019 Öğrenci Yazısı
Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of system of thought. A theory however elegant and economical must be rejected or revised if it is untrue; likewise laws and institutions no matter how efficient and well-arranged must be reformed or abolished if they are unjust. John Rawls A Theory of Justice
The Unjust Impossibility of Creating an Ideal Justice System
In his “Theory of Justice” John Rawls creates this utopic idea of justice within the society that is based on truth: a human virtue. Considering today’s society he has a valid point. Because simply put: How can one create a justice within a society whose most important and wide-ranged institutions, like the United Nations which is controlled and supervised by its Security Council, a Council in which five countries have more rights and thus a saying then others, as well as the most basic institutions, like courts in which perjury is a common case, are quite unjust despite their stability and their unproblematic arrangement. However, even if we assume, for the time being, that we are going to implement such a system, there are many questions to ask, which lead to a greater question: is that really possible?
Firstly, we need to ask “What is just and what is unjust?. Philosophically speaking, justice means that all individuals within a society are fulfilled their rights, which inevitably leads to another question: What are their rights exactly? Is the most fundamental human right equality or is it freedom? This last question may be associated with two philosophical ideas: liberalism and equality. According to liberalism, which was initially represented by Adam Smith, a system should be based on freedom of will, freedom of religion, freedom of thought and freedom of economical entrepreneurship. In this ideology, the personal interests of stakeholders do not interfere with the profit of the society, individually they get wealthier which subsequently improves the economic well-being of the society. However, according to the systems that are based on equality, like socialism which was represented by Karl Marx, the property belongs to the government and all individuals are given equal rights. The first thought that comes to mind regarding creating a justice system that is ideal like Rawls mentioned and choosing between equality and liberalism is finding a midway although we cannot assure its sustainability.
If we further assume that we somehow made the system sustainable with some kind of a midway and compromise, with a system like this that makes the human virtue, the truth, the backbone of itself, we need to ask can a human being be virtuous for the mutual well-being of the society. Although some philosophers think that they can like Plato who believes by creating a society with three classes, each one based on a simple virtue (wisdom, courage and productivity), I personally consider myself more of an egoist, like T. Hobbes, hence I do not think humankind can put their personal interests aside. As mentioned previously creating a system based on Rawls’ theory would mean that in the United Nations the permanent five members would withdraw their veto rights or that perjury wouldn’t be a concern. Nevertheless, why would USA or UK or Russia put aside their interest for peace or environment considering they haven’t had such an attitude since the establishment of UN or why would someone go to prison where there is a high chance of being killed?
Last but not the least, even if all kinds of individuals want to be virtuous and true for the mutual benefit of the society, there is the simple question: Can they? The first idea that comes to my mind is the post-modern viewpoint regarding reality. Throughout the ages, there have been many diverse opinions regarding reality such as idealism, as it was suggested by Plato, dualism, like suggested by Descartes, nihilism which was represented by Nietzsche and post-modernism which is quite relevant to today’s society. According to the post-modern opinion which was suggested by Baudrillard there is reality and hyper-reality. Reality is basically what happens and what exists without any relevance to human mind and as humans we try to understand this reality. According to Baudrillard, we had understood this reality the best way that we can in the era that was between the Renaissance in Europe, and thus the rise of the positive science, and today, the times that are controlled by media. His argument suggests that especially with a media that is so predominant we live in a virtual world that creates, some kind of a hyper-reality. Since we have full access to information we have a faster way of communication, today’s society in a way forces the individuals to choose our reality within many realities. Hence, as days go by we are getting more connected to the reality and ironically more imprisoned in the bubble of our own reality. So in that sense, within the simulations that create our reality how can we, as human beings that assemble to create nations speak of the truth while for us there is only our truth? Basically, in my opinion, in order to create the justice system Rawls suggested, we need humans to tell “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” but in the light of the previous explanations, they simply cannot tell the whole truth if they know only the half of it. Furthermore, with a more scientific standpoint, we can also argue that based on the last research human brain we have a tendency to change or memories as we remember them. In a scientific experiment that was featured in the documentary “Test Your Brain”, a few subjects were to witness a case of pickpocketing and they were later called for a trial to lawfully witness in the case. The interesting thing about the result was that although they all tried to help willingly, their “truths” varied. This brings up the question that was asked centuries ago by a group of philosophers known as sophists: “Can we truly observe reality and call it the truth?”
All in all, I believe with his statement, and his theory Rawls tried to create a justice system that was ideal and I do agree with him that it would be great if such a system would exist. However, for the reasons I explained, I do not believe such a system would be implementable. In the end, we need to know what is just and even if we knew it we would have to ensure everyone is virtuous and even if everyone was virtuous we need to ask the question: Is our truth the whole truth?
Didem Zeynep ÜNAL TED ANKARA COLLEGE
“The experince that we have our lives from within, the story we tell oureslves about ourselves in order to account for what we are doing, is fundementaly a lie- the truth lies outside, in what we do?”
ARE WE LOOKING AT THE REALITY OR DOES IT?
The nature of human being includes an obsessive need to understand and explain. In every moment of life, we desire to find meaning in our acts and give it a general explanation. This appears as a process. First, we make an act according to our memory, reason or just intuition which we find true or virtuous. This step is parallel with the “the story we tell ourselves about ourselves to account for what we are doing” part of the quote by the Slovenian philosopher, Slavoj Žižek. Then, the justification process occurs, in which we generally avoid confronting the truth but to transform it into something moral and acceptable in our understanding. Finally, we tell the conclusion or the assessed situation to others, to justify it externally. At this point, a certain question rises: Is every step of this process includes reality so that the conclusion reflects the reality? Or is this process even real?
A Greek philosopher, in the school of sophism, is known to be the first nihilist in the history of philosophy. He summarised his system of thought by three sentences: “Nothing exists. Even if something exists, nothing can be known about it. And even if something can be known about it, knowledge about it can't be communicated to others.” From this perspective, this whole process seems to be unreal. This tells us that, even if the existing knowledge can be possessed, it may not be conveyed as it was, since a factor of human and language is involved. In other words, the knowledge of reality observed, by sense perception, is altered in the realm of reality of the human mind and further transmitted to others by the limitations and cultural multi-meanings of language. By this mean, as the quote offers, “the experience that we have our lives within” will not reflect neither the objective truth nor the pure reality. Since the perception of an individual is shaped by the economic, cultural and social conditions, every single mind will refer to act as something different. In one of the outstanding tragedies of history, Hamlet, Shakespeare explores this whole morality and reality by only one sentence: “(…) for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” As can be seen, the moral suffixes are completely irrational and external, which reforms the act. The mere reality and the truth is the act itself.
Judgments always kill reality. If we are judge something to account for it, we will lose our path and by this mislead, the reality will get far and far away. However, if we observe everything, especially our acts, without a judgmental attitude and let it be as it was before, we will be able to find the truth. The last part of the quote refers to that, where the very essence and nature of our activities are the main source of reality. As Phenomenology claims, the ultimate source of all meaning must be reached leaving all moral, cultural shortly personal labels out. The world around us may be real, meaning it will sustain its existence without our consciousness, but it will be as real for me as long as I keep perceiving it. This leads us to a point, where the idea of seeing the very objective self of an act appears to be a utopia. Descartes, after a long process of thinking, came up with a methodical concept of doubt. He doubted, without limits, he doubted every single thing, including the reality of the existence of the stove standing in front of it. He looks straight at it, “it is here” he thought. Then, he closed his eyes and asked “Where it is now? Is it still there? How can I know for certain?” He could not. All he had to do was to doubt and question the reality of anything. However, there was one thing for certain, that he was doubting. Doubting was thinking. And anything must exist and be real to think. So he arrived at a point where he said his famous sentence: “I think therefore I am-cogito ergo sum” He certainly connected the reality of existence to think and personal perception.
Similarly, a powerful voice from East, Omar Khayyam, thought that the reality and the truths are all there, just as long as we think. Our acts and personal monologues to make us believe in our acts’ correctness is personal, but as Khayyam offers, it is not differentiated from the outside world. We will not be able to lie to ourselves but to seek for the truth externally, since the external reality is a product of our inside perception and form of reality. He explains this idea in one of his rubaiyat:
“Without me these roses, the cypresses do not exist
Red lips, fragrant wines do not exist
Mornings, afternoons, joys, sorrows do not exist
The world exists as long as I think if I do not exist it does not either”
To summarize, the process of validating an act by perceiving it, assessing it internally, and transmitting it, many obstacles will be faced, including the human mind itself. We desire to see and comprehend events and occurrences, as it is true and acceptable for us. We interpret things as good or bad, right or wrong but as Zizek claims, it has nothing to do with the reality itself, which can be found in the act, outside. However, the outside reality is there in our eyes and brain, to seek the essence of truth outside will be a futile effort.
When all this haze of ideas are gathered together and evaluated, Zizek appears to be too utopic to think that the outside world is unlinked with us, but too realistic to see that our proceeding on knowledge is absolute lies. Therefore the structure of the human mind is to form the truth which will be created both inside and outside. So, as we lie about the properties and features of the experience, we will also be misguided when we try to observe the act as it remains.
Mert Ata UZBİLEK TED ANKARA COLLEGE