Essay Instructions: Under the heading of Fantasy-A well developed, coherent essay filled with closely read details, demonstrate you understanding of the quotation's purpose and significance within the context of Baldwins "This Morning, This Evening, So Soon". The quote is "Now it is really growing dark in the room and I cross to the light switch. You know, I know what that boy felt, I've felt it. They want you to feel like men,I don't know. I walked around New York with Harriet's cablegram in my pocket as though it were some atomic secret, in code, and they'd kill me if they ever found out what it meant. You know, there's something wrong with people like that. And thank God Harriet was here, she proved that the world was bigger than the world they wanted me to live in. I had to get back here, to get to a place where people where too busy with their own lives, their private lives, to make fantasies about mine, to set up walls around mine. I looked at him. The light in the room has made the night outside blue-black and golden and the great searchlight of the Eiffel Tower is turning in the sky "(p.175) AND how the same idea is raised, affirmed or challenged in two additional texts. List of available texts- James Baldwin's "Going to Meet a Man", Toni Morrison's "Beloved", W.E.B Dubois's "Souls of Black Folks", Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man", Gloria Anzaldua's "La Frontera/Borderlands", James Baldwin's "Previous Control", James Baldwin's "Come Out the Wilderness", James Baldwin's "Notes of a Native Son", Maxine Hong Kingston's "Woman Warrior" Fantasy does not have to mean magical fantasy
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Essay Instructions: Question 1. What is Symbolism?
What is Symbolism? How does it express the concerns and theories about the psyche of late 19 century people?
Describe the manifestation of symbolism in three works of
very different types and works, which were made in different
countries. (e.g., poster design, furniture, a necklace, a poem, a jewelry, etc..). Need to talk about the artists and about the symbolic elements in the works you discuss.
Question 2. Local style and Art Nouveau
Compare Art Nouveau work in two cities from the following list: Brussels, Vienna, Barcelona, Glasgow or Nancy and discuss their unique Art Nouveau Flavor. Mention a total of at least four artists and provide detailed, meaningful descriptions their work, showing its Art Nouveau qualities. Also mention characteristics specific to the individual artists name. Describe the culture and/or politics of the time and place and, if you can, relate it to the art produced there. Examples of architecture should be complimented by example of furniture or other art forms. Architecture does not need to be the focus of this essay.
Question 3. The New Woman
What changes in society, technology, and attitudes encouraged the development of the “New Woman” ideal. What were her goals and aspirations? Describe the ideal and tell how real people exemplified that ideal in life, in manners –even in dress. Why was the“New Woman” threatening to some?
Finally, how close does Eliza in Pygmalion come to
reflecting the “New Woman” ideal?
Question 4. Required short answer
What one person, phenomenon, or artwork from this course made the biggest impression on you? Who or What will you especially remember in, say, 10 years? Briefly, tell why.
To. Writer~ I’m so sorry for last question, but I don’t have any time to make this essay, so could you please using a “I” subject for last question? And you can write about
“RED HOUSE” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_House_(London)
CRYSTAL PALACE http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crystal_Palace
Thank you so much.
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Essay Instructions: You are to write a 2-page paper. Read the Case Study below and give an overall response about/pertaining to the case study.
Mandalay Resort Group-2004
At year end 2003, Las Vegas the kingdom of glitz and glamour, seems to have recovered completely from the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001and the failing economy. Where two years before is only crickets could be heard on the strip, there are now the sounds of laughter and clink of coins falling from slot machines. Flights to Las Vegas (although fewer) are full, the colossal hotels/casinos are back in action (thanks to steep discounting), the bright lights are on, and the large crowds are back. Mandalay describes itself as being in the business of entertainment, and it has been one of the innovators in the theme resort concept that is popular in casino gaming. Its area of operation is the extravagant vacation and convention centers of Las Vegas, Reno and Laughlin, Nevada, as well as other locations in the United States and abroad. Historically, Mandalay’s marketing this product has been called right out and of the bargain basement and had catered to low rollers. However, beginning with the opening of the Excalibur in 1990, Mandalay broadened its market to try to the middle income gambler and family oriented vacationer. The Luxor further broadened to target market and the addition of Mandalay Bay helps bring in the prestigious and profitable high rollers. Mandalay began as Circus Circus in 1974, when partners William G. Bennett an aggressive cost cutter who ran furniture stores before entering the gaming industry in 1965, and William N. Pennington bought a small and uncomfortable casino operation for $50,000. Partners were able to rejuvenate Circus Circus with fresh marketing; they went public with a stock offering in October 1983, and experienced rapid growth and high profitability. Within the five-year period between 1983 and 1997, the average return on invested capital was 16.5 percent, and Mandalay generated over $1 billion in free cash flow. Today, Mandalay is one of the major players in the Las Vegas Laughlin, and Reno markets in terms of the square footage of casino space and the number of hotel rooms. It has achieved this success despite the incredible competitive growth in all gaming markets. For Mandalay, casino gaming operations provide slightly less then one half of total revenues, and that trend continued into 2003. In 2003, Mandalay reported a net income of $115.6 million on revenues of and $2.35 billion.
Mandalay currently does not seem to have a formerly stated mission. No publicly stated vision statement is available; however, the development of Mandalay Mile continues to be the core of Mandalay’s future. The Mandalay Mile consists of three interconnected gaming resorts in Las Vegas on 230 acres.
Mandalay defiant entertainment as pure play and fun, and it goes out up its way to see that customers have plenty of opportunities for both. Each Mandalay location has a distinctive personality, and the Mandalay corporate structure seems to allow each site to exploit the difference to its best advantage. Although Mandalay does not publish this organization chart, it appears that Mandalay Resort Group provides overall direction and strategic leadership as well as functional coordination in the areas of finance, accounting, human resources, legal issues, and marketing. Each resort, in turn, has its own functional structure that enables it to handle the specific activities require to successfully operate a large, combined hotel, casino, and entertainment resort. The largest hotel/casino and the crown jewel of the Mandalay group is Mandalay Bay, which was completed in the first quarter of 1999 and all on March 2 of that year and an estimated cost of $950 million (excluding land). This is the third edition of the Mandalay Mile, a contiguous mile at the southern end of the Las Vegas strip that currently contains the Mandalay Bay, Excalibur, and Luxor resort. All three themed hotels/casinos are connected by an elevated monorail system. Located next to the Luxor, Mandalay Bay aims for the upscale traveler and player and is styled as a South Sea adventure. The Mandalay Bay Hotel/casino contains 43 story hotel/casino with over 3700 rooms and an 11 acre aquatic environment. The aquatic environment contains a surfing beach, a swim up shark Tank, and a snorkeling reef. A Four Seasons Hotel with some 424 rooms complements the remainder of Mandalay Bay and strives for the high roller gamblers. Mandalay anticipates that the remainder of master plan mile will eventually consist of at least one additional casino resort, a convention center, and a number of stand-alone hotels and amusement centers. A planned convention Center was placed on hold after September 11 terrorist attacks but was completed by January 1, 2003. The convention center contains nearly one million square feet exhibit space on two levels and the largest ballroom in the nation. In November of 2003 a new 1,122 suite tower opened and a new retail concourse located between Mandalay Bay and Luxor opened. Additionally, the resort acts as the background casino current TV shows Las Vegas on NBC and helps showcase both the interior and exterior amenities of Mandalay Bay. Circus Circus Las Vegas is the world of the big top, where live circuits acts perform free every 30 minutes. Kids make cluster around video games while the adults migrate to nickel slot machines and dollar gaming tables. Located at the North end of the Vegas strip, Circus Circus Las Vegas sits 69 acres of land 3744 hotel rooms, shopping areas, two specialty restaurants, a buffet seating for 1200 fast food shops, cocktail lounges , video arcades, and 109,000 ft.² of casino space, and it includes a grand slam Canyon, a five acre glass-enclosed theme park, including a four loop roller coaster. Luxor an Egyptian themed hotel and casino complex, opened on October 15, 1993, in 10,000 people enter to play the 2245 slot and video poker game and 110table games in the 120,000 square foot casino and hotel atrium (reported to be the world’s largest) by the end of the opening weekend 40,000 people per day were visiting the 30 story bronze pyramid that encases the Hotel and entertainment facilities. Luxor features a 30 story pyramid and two new 22 story hotel towers, including 492 suites. It is connected to the Excalibur by a climate controlled Skyway with moving walkways. Situated at the south end of the Las Vegas strip on a 64 acre site adjacent to the Excalibur, Luxor features a food and entertainment area on three different levels beneath the hotel atrium. The pyramids hotel room can be reached from the four corners of the building by State of the art inclinators that travel at a 39 degree angle. Parking is available from nearly 3200 vehicles, including a covered garage that contains approximately 1800 spaces.
The Luxor underwent major renovations costing $323.3 million during fiscal year 1997 and another $116.5 million in fiscal 1988. The resulting complex contains 4425 hotel rooms, extensively renovated casino space, an additional 20,000 square feet of convention area, an 800 seat buffet, a series of iMax attractions, five themed restaurants, seven cocktail lounges, and a variety of specialty shops. Mandalay expects to draw significant walk-in traffic to the newly refurbished Luxor, which is one of the principal components of the master plan mile. Located next to the Luxor, Excalibur is one of the first signs travelers eat as they exit Interstate 15(management was confident that site of a giant, callable medieval castle make a lasting impression on mainstream tourist and vacationing families arriving in Las Vegas). Guests cross a drawbridge that is all for a moat and proceed onto a cobblestone walkway where multicolored spires, turrets, battlements loom above. The castle walls are four 28 story hotel towers containing a total of 4008 rooms. Inside a made evil world complete with a fantasy faire inhabited by strolling jugglers, fire eaters and acrobats, as well as royal village complete with peasants, serfs, and ladies in waiting who wander around medieval theme shops. The 110,000 square foot casino encompasses 2442 slot machines, more than 89 game tables, a sports book, and a poker and keno area. There are 12 restaurants that are capable of feeding more than 20,000 people daily, and a 1000 seat amphitheater. Excalibur, which opened in June 1990, was built for $294 million and was primarily financed with internally generated funds. In fiscal year end January 31, 2002 and January 31 2001, Excalibur contributed 12 percent of the organizations revenues. Situated between two anchors on the Las Vegas strip and two small casinos owned and operated at Mandalay. The Silver city casino and slot a fun primarily dependent on the foot traffic along the strip for their gambling patrons. Combined, they offer more than 1202 slot machines and 46 gaming tables and 34,900 square feet of casino floor.
All of Mandalay’s operations do well in the city of Las Vegas with a combined hotel room occupancy rate that has (until recently) remained above 90%. This has been due, in part, to low room rates (from $39 at Circus Circus Las Vegas) and popular buffets. Each of the major properties contained large inexpensive buffet that management believes make staying with Mandalay more attractive .room occupancy rates vary between 76 and 95% due to the building goal in Las Vegas, the higher room rates at some locations $99 to $399 for special occasions at Mandalay Bay and the consuming public’s attraction to know her property. Also note the continued rise in room rates reflecting the general trend in Las Vegas of generating more revenue from sources other than gaming (i.e. rooms, restaurants, shows, and other contractions). The company other big top facility Circus Circus Reno. With the addition of Skyway tower in 1985, a big top now offers a total of 1605 hotel rooms, 60,600 square feet of casino, buffet which can sit 700 people, shop, video arcades, lounges, Midway games, and circus acts. Circus Circus Reno had several marginal years, but it has become one of the leaders in the Reno market. Mandalay anticipated recent remodeling, at a cost $25.6 million to increase the property revenue-generating potential. Three properties purchased in 1995 and located in Jean and Henderson, Nevada represents continuing investments by randomly in outlying markets. The gold strike and Nevada landing service the highway Interstate 15 market between Las Vegas and Southern California. These properties have over 73,000 Square feet of casino space, 2140 slot machines, and 42 gaming tables combined. Each has limited hotel space 1116 rooms total and depend heavily on Interstate 15 traffic. The railroad pass is considered a local casino and is dependent on Henderson residence as its market. The smaller casino constrains only 395 slot machines and 11 gaming tables. Gold strike tunica formally Circus Circus tunica’s a dockside casino located in Tunica Mississippi. Opened in 1994 124 acres of land located along the Mississippi River, it lies approximately 20 miles south of Memphis.
In Las Vegas, he Mandalay joined with Mirage resorts to build and operate the Monte Carlo, a hotel casino with 3002 rooms designed along the lines of the grand casino of the Mediterranean. It is located on 46 acres with 600 feet of Las Vegas trip between the New York, New York casino and the Bellagio; all three casinos are connected by monorail. The Monte Carlo features a 90,000 square foot casino containing 2221 slot machines and 95 gaming tables along with 550 seating bingo hall, high-tech arcade ride, restaurants and buffets, a microbrewery, approximately 15,000 Square feet of meeting and convention space, and 1200 theater. Open on June 21, 1996, the Monte Carlo generated $14.6 million as Mandalay share in operating income for the first seven months of operation. In Elgin Illinois Mandalay is a 50% partnership with Hyatt development corporations in the grand Victoria. Styling to resemble a Victorian riverboat, this floating casino and land based entertainment complex includes some 36,000 Square feet of casino space, containing 977 slot machines and 56 gaming tables. The adjacent land-based complex contains two movie theaters come 240 seated buffets, restaurants, and parking for approximately 2000 vehicles. Built for a total of $112 million, the grand Victoria returned all of Mandalay’s initial investment. The third joint venture is a 50% partnership with Eldorado Ltd. in the Silver Legacy. Opened in 1995, his casino is located between Circus Circus Reno and Eldorado Hotel in casino on two city blocks in downtown Reno, Nevada. The Silver Legacy has 1711 hotel rooms, 85,000 Square feet of casino, 2275 slot machines, and 89 game tables. Management seems to believe that the Silver Legacy holds promise; however the Reno market is suffering and the opening of the Silver Legacy has cannibalized the Circus Circus Reno market. A final current joint venture the Atwater casino group to build and operate a hotel/casino in Detroit, Michigan. A temporary 75,000 Square feet casino was built under a plan agreed by the city of Detroit. Future plans call for the construction of approximately 800 room hotel, expansion of the gaming areas, the addition of new restaurants, more retail space, more convention space, and other amenities. The total costs are estimated at some $600 million, with Mandalay contributing 20% and the remainder being funded by debt the joint venture. On August 2, 2002, the Detroit city Council approved a revised development agreement allowing for the expansion of the motor city casino facility by December 31, 2005. Mandalay has achieved success through an aggressive growth strategy and a renovated corporate structure designed to enhance that growth. A strong cash position, innovative ideas, and attention to cost control have allowed Mandalay to satisfy the hotline during a period when competitors were typically taking on large debt obligations to finance the project. Yet the market is changing. Gambling of all kinds has spread across the country; no longer does the average individual need to go to Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Instead, gambling can be found as close as a local market (lottery), bingo halls, many Indian reservations, the Mississippi River, and of course on the Internet. There are now almost 300 casinos in Las Vegas alone, 60 in Colorado, 160 in California. In order to maintain a competitive edge, Mandalay has continued to invest heavily in the renovation of existing properties (a strategy comment to the entertainment/amusement industry);it continues developing new projects, and it has shipped in from a strategy depended on gaming to one focusing as well on income and hotels, food, and entertainment.
The Gaming Industry
The gaming industry has captured a large proportion of the vacation/leisure Time dollars spent in the United States. Casino gambling accounts for 40.6% of all legal gambling expenditures, still at head of spending on second-place lotteries at 32.2% in the third-place Indian Reservation at 15.4%. The popularity of casino gambling may be credited to more frequent and somewhat higher payouts to compare to lotteries and racetracks; however, as winnings are recycled, the multiplier defect restores a high return to casino operators. Geographic expansion has slowed considerably since no additional states have approved casino type gambling since 1983. Growth has occurred in developed locations with Las Vegas, Nevada, and Atlantic City, New Jersey, leading the way. Although the Internet as a gaming being you has exploded, Las Vegas remains the largest US gambling market and one of the largest convention markets. Las Vegas hotel and casino capacity has continued to expand with some 12,300 rooms opened in 1999, another 4219 in 2000, 3099 in 2001, and 3070 in 2002. However, the rapid expansion of rooms during the 1990s is not expected to continue. According to the Las Vegas convention and visitors Authority, Las Vegas is a destination market, with most visitors planning their trips more than a week in advance 81%, arriving by car 43% or airplane 46%, and staying in the hotel 72%. Gamblers are typically return visitors 79% averaging 2.2trips per year because they like playing the slots 65%. For Atlantic City, besides the geographical separation, the primary differences and to market different types of consumers frequenting these markets. While Las Vegas attracts overnight resorts seeking vacationers, Atlantic City’s clientele is predominately day-trippers traveling by automobile or bus. Gaming revenues are split between 12 casinos/hotels currently operating. Growth in Atlantic City area will be concentrated in the Marina section of town, where Mirage resorts has centered into an agreement city to develop 150 acres of the marina as a destination resort. This development will include a resort wholly owned by Mirage, casino/hotel developed by Mandalay, and a complex developed by a joint venture with Mirage Boyd Corp. currently in Atlantic City, Donald Trump’s gaming in car holds the largest market share with Donald Trump Marina, Donald Trump Plaza, and the Donald Trump Taj Mahal (total market share is 29%). The next closest in market share is Bally’s 12.1%, Caesar’s 11.2%, Tropicana 9.9%, and Harrah’s 9.5%. There remain a number of smaller mark is located the United States, primarily in the Mississippi, Louisiana, Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana. Each state has imposed various or strictures on the development of casino operations within the state. In Illinois, for example, where there are only 10 gaming licenses available, growth opportunities and revenues have been severely restricted. In other states, such as Mississippi and Louisiana, revenues are up 7% and 6%, respectively in boat operations. Native American casinos continue to develop a federally controlled Indian land. These casinos are not publicly held but do not tend to be managed by publicly held corporations. Overall, these other locations present a mix of opportunities and generally constitute only a small portion of overall gaming revenues. However, in 2000, California began allowing Nevada style gaming on Native American reservations. This has significantly impacted some of Mandalay’s properties, particularly those in Reno, Laughlin, and Jean, Nevada.
Major Industry Players
Over the past several years, they have been numerous changes and merges and acquisitions have reshaped the gaming industry. As of year end 2003, the industry was a combination of corporations ranging from those engaged solely in gaming to multinational conglomerates. The largest competitors, in terms of revenues, combine multiple industries to generate over large revenues and substantial profits. However, those engaged primarily in gaming could also be extremely profitable. Park Place was founded from the separation of the launching in gaming operations of Hilton Hotels in December 1998. Park Place merged with Mississippi gaming operation of grand casinos, and then bought it from Starwood. Now it consists of 29 casinos, 20 which are located in United States. Its latest venture into Paris Las Vegas casino and resort located next to Bally’s in Las Vegas. The Paris features a 50 story replica of the Eiffel Tower, 85,000 square feet of casino space, 13 restaurants, and 130,000 square feet of convention space. Park Place is the largest casino operator in the world, with approximately 2 million square feet of gaming space, 28,000 rooms and a net loss of $282.4 million on revenues of $4.6 billion in 2002. Harrah’s entertainment and company is primarily engaged in the gaming industry, with casino/hotel’s in Reno, the Tahoe, of the biggest, and Laughlin, Nevada, as well as in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It has river boats in Joliet Illinois; Vicksburg and Tunica Mississippi; Shreveport, Louisiana; Kansas City Kansas; two Indian casinos; and one casino in Auckland New Zealand. In June 1998 Harrah’s purchased the assets of Showboat and its operation in Atlantic City and Las Vegas and in January 1999 it merges with the Rio hotel and casino, in company. In 2000, it sold the Showboat and purchased players international and in 2002 acquired common shares of JCC holdings company (Harrah’s New Orleans). As of December 2002, the company had a total of over 1,547,645 square feet of casino space; 42,585 slot machines, 1167 table games, 14,431 hotel rooms or suites; approximately 365,422 square feet of convention space; and108 restaurants. Harrah’s attempts to target the experienced gambler who likes to play in multiple markets by establishing strong brand names of consisting high-quality. MGM mirage owns and operates 16 hotel/casino worldwide. These properties include the MGM Grand Hotel; MGM Grand Australia; MGM grand Detroit; the Bellagio in Las Vegas; the mirage on the strip in Las Vegas; Treasure Island; holiday in boardwalk; and the Golden Nugget Laughlin. Additionally, it is a 50% owner of the Monte Carlo with Mandalay. The MGM Las Vegas is located on approximately 116 acres at the northeast corner of Las Vegas Blvd. across the street from New York, New York hotel and casino. The casino at approximately 171, 500 square feet in size, and it is one of the largest casinos in the world, with 3669 slot machines and 157 table games. Though a wholly owned subsidiary, MGM owns and operates the MGM Grand diamond Beach Hotel in a hotel/casino resort in Darwin, Australia. The company intends to expand the Bellagio with an additional 928 rooms in the spa tower by 2004.
Mandalay was one of the innovators of the gaming resort confab and has continued to be a leader in that field. However, the mega entertainment resort industry and the traditional casino gaming industry great differently. In the past, so much of what is it a casino to experience the thrill of gambling. Now they not only gambling but also expect to be dazzled by enormous entertainment complexes that cost billions of dollars to build. The competition has continued to increase at the same time growth rates have been slowing. Intense price competition among the gaming companies and casinos has driven profit margins down.
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Essay Instructions: In this unit we have been discussing how we know. The modern American philosopher Hillary Putnam popularized a well-known thought experiment highlighting the problem of skepticism and our knowledge of reality. To understand Putnam?s experiment we need to consider how we normally obtain knowledge of reality. Our knowledge of reality usually begins with sensory input. While each of our five senses perceives the world according to their individual means, I will use seeing as an example. Light is reflected off of objects and enters through our eyes which focuses an image of these objects to the back of our eyeball where it hits our optic nerve. Our nerve transforms this image into electrical/neural impulses that travel through the optic nerve up to where it is plugged into the brain. The brain then processes these impulses where they are transformed into an image in our mind. What our minds experience is an image of the outside world similar to how a television projects an image captured by a television camera.
In Putnam?s thought experiment, you imagine that your brain has been severed from the nerves connecting it to your senses (eyes, ears, nose, etc.) and has been removed from you skull and placed in a vat filled with the nutritional fluid necessary to keep your brain alive and functioning. Electrical wires have been spliced into your sensory nerves that are connected to the sensory inputs in your brains. The other ends of these wires are connected to the outputs of a giant super computer. A man sits at the keyboard of this super computer inputting data. This data is transformed into electrical/neural impulses that travel through the spliced wire/sensory nerves and into your brain. The brain processes this information as if it were from your senses. Hence, you have whatever image the man at the keyboard wants you to have. Suppose he inputs data that you are sitting in a caf? in France drinking an espresso. He includes all the usual sensory data, including the smell and taste of the coffee, the hardness of the chair and table, the cool breeze blowing by, the sounds of the traffic, and the view of the Eiffel tower. You experience all of this exactly as if you are really there. In such a situation, you would have no idea that you (or at least your brain) are actually sitting in some vat in some laboratory.
In 1999, Putnam?s thought experiment became the basis of a megahit movie, The Matrix. However, Putnam was not the first to suggest that there may be a problem with perceiving and knowing reality. A number of philosophers have wrestled with this problem. This brings us to your assignment.
In Module/Week 5?s Reading & Study folder there are 3 short readings. Your assignment is to read them and then write an essay with a minimum of 600 words (in MLA, APA, or Turabian format) addressing some of the following questions. You must address the first question, but then you are free to consider any of the others.
While you are free to quote from sources, quotations will not count towards the minimum word count. Late submissions will not be accepted without the instructor?s approval. Plagiarism of any kind will result in a 0 for the assignment and may result in being dropped from the course.
A word about the readings: The first reading is a synopsis of The Matrix. You may have seen the movie and so this would function as a review for you. If you haven?t seen the movie, you may choose to do so. However, you should know that the movie is rated R for language and violence. It is not necessary to view the movie to fulfill the assignment as the synopsis is enough to consider the questions. The second reading comes from Plato?s classic work, The Republic. It is in the form of a dialogue between Socrates and Glaucon, a brother of Plato, and contains the famous cave allegory. The final reading is a section from Meditation I from Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes who offers some reasons to doubt his senses.
Questions to consider:
1. Compare and contrast The Matrix with the readings from Plato and Descartes. What are some similarities and differences?
2. Can we prove the world we are experiencing is real? How do we know we are not dreaming, living in a Platonic cave, or trapped in some sort of matrix?
3. At the end of the cave allegory, Socrates implies that most men would want to escape the cave and see reality as it really is. However, in his betrayal of Morpheus, Cypher implies that it is better to live in the artificial world of the Matrix. Which is better: the harshness of reality or the ?ignorance is bliss? of illusion? Defend your answer.
4. Since much of our knowledge is based on sense experience, and since our senses are imperfect and can be deceived, can we ever be certain that our beliefs are true? Defend or explain your answer.
Submit this assignment to SafeAssign by 11:59 p.m. (ET) on Monday of Module/Week 5.
Here are the readings:
SYNOPSIS: THE MATRIX
?Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?? -Morpheus
Have you ever had a dream that was so life-like that when you woke up you weren?t sure at first if the dream had ended? Mr. Anderson had such a dream. Mr. Anderson is a computer programmer. He works for a big software corporation, but he lives alone. He doesn?t sleep well, so he has a problem making it to work on time. In general, though, he is a decent guy: he is well educated, he pays his rent on time, and he helps his landlord take out the trash. But at night, he works on his computer. He is a hacker, and he goes by the hacker alias ?Neo.?
Neo has been having a nagging concern, a niggling little sense in the back of his head that something isn?t right about his life. He hasn?t been able to figure out what exactly is wrong, but the feeling lingers there, like a splinter in his mind. And then he meets Morpheus?.
Morpheus is a leader of a group of dissidents who are trying to help others see the true nature of their world. The truth, according to them, is that the world is an illusion, an elaborate system of deception perpetrated to keep people contentedly under control. Morpheus offers Neo a choice: he can forget that they ever met, go back to living his old life, and run the risk that he?s being conned, or he can ?take the red pill,? follow Morpheus, and find out what?s really going on. Neo takes the pill.
What he discovers is mind-boggling. It turns out that almost the entire human race is lying unconscious in giant machines that are keeping their bodies alive. Their brains are all connected (via cables) to a powerful computer on which a programed simulation of the world is running, and they are all unconsciously living out virtual lives as individual players in this computer simulation. They experience being born, growing up, getting jobs, growing old, and dying through their virtual lives in a computer simulation called ?the Matrix.? As Morpheus tells Neo, ?The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work... when you go to church... when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.? It all seems so real that they have no idea that they are being duped.
All of this comes as a huge shock to Neo. It is almost too much for him to accept. He experiences fear, denial, and confusion, but eventually acceptance and then sadness. He realizes that all of his ?life? had been a lie. Morpheus reminds him, ?I didn?t say it would be easy, Neo. I only said it would be the truth.?
Neo joins Morpheus? crew in helping other people to discover the truth about the Matrix. However, many are not ready to accept this truth. One such person is Cypher, a disillusioned member of Morpheus? rebel band. Cypher had expected that knowing the truth would make life easier or somehow better, but he discovers that knowledge can be a weighty burden. Hence he seeks a way to erase his memories of the truth and go back to his former state. He emphatically asserts, ?Ignorance is bliss,? and even strikes a deal with the master computer to betray Morpheus in return for being returned to his former state. But Neo disagrees with Cypher, and the movie ends with his challenge to the Matrix: ?I'm going to show these people what you don't want them to see. I'm going to show them a world without you. A world without rules and controls, without borders or boundaries?A world where anything is possible."
Wachowski, Andy, and Lana Wachowski. The Matrix. Directed by Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski. Los Angeles: Warner Bros. Pictures, 1999.
?THE ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE?
Excerpt from Plato, The Republic, Book VII, 514A1-518D8,
Socrates and Glaucon are conversing:
SOCRATES: ?Next,? said I ?compare our nature in respect of education and its lack to such an experience as this. Picture men dwelling in a sort of subterranean cavern with a long entrance open to the light on its entire width. Conceive them as having their legs and necks fettered from childhood, so that they remain in the same spot, able to look forward only, and prevented by the fetters from turning their heads. Picture further the light from a fire burning higher up and at a distance behind them, and between the fire and the prisoners and above them a road along which a low wall has been built, as the exhibitors of puppet-shows have partitions before the men themselves, above which they show the puppets.?
GLAUCON: ?All that I see,? he said.
SOCRATES: ?See also, then, men carrying past the wall implements of all kinds that rise above the wall; and human images and shapes of animals as well, wrought in stone and wood and every material, some of these bearers presumably speaking and others silent.?
GLAUCON: ?A strange image you speak of,? he said, ?and strange prisoners.?
SOCRATES: ?Like to us,? I said; ?for, to begin with, tell me do you think that these men would have seen anything of themselves or of one another except the shadows cast from the fire on the wall of the cave that fronted them??
GLAUCON: ?How could they,? he said, ?if they were compelled to hold their heads unmoved through life??
SOCRATES: ?And again, would not the same be true of the objects carried past them??
SOCRATES: ?If then they were able to talk to one another, do you not think that they would suppose that in naming the things that they saw they were naming the passing objects??
SOCRATES: ?And if their prison had an echo from the wall opposite them, when one of the passersby uttered a sound, do you think that they would suppose anything else than the passing shadow to be the speaker??
GLAUCON: ?By Zeus, I do not,? said he.
SOCRATES: ?Then in every way such prisoners would deem reality to be nothing else than the shadows of the artificial objects.?
GLAUCON: ?Quite inevitably,? he said.
SOCRATES: ?Consider, then, what would be the manner of the release and healing from these bonds and this folly if in the course of nature something of this sort should happen to them: When one was freed from his fetters and compelled to stand up suddenly and turn his head around and walk and to lift up his eyes to the light, and in doing all this felt pain and, because of the dazzle and glitter of the light, was unable to discern the objects whose shadows he formerly saw, what do you suppose would be his answer if someone told him that what he had seen before was all a cheat and an illusion, but that now, being nearer to reality and turned toward more real things, he saw more truly? And if also one should point out to him each of the passing objects and constrain him by questions to say what it is, do you not think that he would be at a loss and that he would regard what he formerly saw as more real than the things now pointed out to him??
GLAUCON: ?Far more real,? he said.
SOCRATES: ?And if he were compelled to look at the light itself, would not that pain his eyes, and would he not turn away and flee to those things which he is able to discern and regard them as in very deed more clear and exact than the objects pointed out??
GLAUCON: ?It is so,? he said.
SOCRATES: ?And if,? said I, ?someone should drag him thence by force up the ascent which is rough and steep, and not let him go before he had drawn him out into the light of the sun, do you not think that he would find it painful to be so hauled along, and would chafe at it, and when he came out into the light, that his eyes would be filled with its beams so that he would not be able to see even one of the things that we call real??
GLAUCON: ?Why, no, not immediately,? he said.
SOCRATES: ?Then there would be need of habituation, I take it, to enable him to see the things higher up. And at first he would most easily discern the shadows and, after that, the likenesses or reflections in water of men and other things, and later, the things themselves, and from these he would go on to contemplate the appearances in the heavens and heaven itself, more easily by night, looking at the light of the stars and the moon, than by day the sun and the sun?s light.?
GLAUCON: ?Of course.?
SOCRATES: ?And so, finally, I suppose, he would be able to look upon the sun itself and see its true nature, not by reflections in water or phantasms of it in an alien setting, but in and by itself in its own place.?
GLAUCON: ?Necessarily,? he said.
SOCRATES: ?And at this point he would infer and conclude that this it is that provides the seasons and the courses of the year and presides over all things in the visible region, and is in some sort the cause of all these things that they had seen.?
GLAUCON: ?Obviously,? he said, ?that would be the next step.?
SOCRATES: ?Well then, if he recalled to mind his first habitation and what passed for wisdom there, and his fellow-bondsmen, do you not think that he would count himself happy in the change and pity them??
GLAUCON: ?He would indeed.?
MEDITATION I OF THE THINGS OF WHICH WE MAY DOUBT
Excerpt from Ren? Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, 1641
1. SEVERAL years have now elapsed since I first became aware that I had accepted, even from my youth, many false opinions for true, and that consequently what I afterward based on such principles was highly doubtful; and from that time I was convinced of the necessity of undertaking once in my life to rid myself of all the opinions I had adopted, and of commencing anew the work of building from the foundation, if I desired to establish a firm and abiding superstructure in the sciences. But as this enterprise appeared to me to be one of great magnitude, I waited until I had attained an age so mature as to leave me no hope that at any stage of life more advanced I should be better able to execute my design. On this account, I have delayed so long that I should henceforth consider I was doing wrong were I still to consume in deliberation any of the time that now remains for action. Today, then, since I have opportunely freed my mind from all cares [and am happily disturbed by no passions], and since I am in the secure possession of leisure in a peaceable retirement, I will at length apply myself earnestly and freely to the general overthrow of all my former opinions.
2. But, to this end, it will not be necessary for me to show that the whole of these are false--a point, perhaps, which I shall never reach; but as even now my reason convinces me that I ought not the less carefully to withhold belief from what is not entirely certain and indubitable, than from what is manifestly false, it will be sufficient to justify the rejection of the whole if I shall find in each some ground for doubt. Nor for this purpose will it be necessary even to deal with each belief individually, which would be truly an endless labor; but, as the removal from below of the foundation necessarily involves the downfall of the whole edifice, I will at once approach the criticism of the principles on which all my former beliefs rested.
3. All that I have, up to this moment, accepted as possessed of the highest truth and certainty, I received either from or through the senses. I observed, however, that these sometimes misled us; and it is the part of prudence not to place absolute confidence in that by which we have even once been deceived.
4. But it may be said, perhaps, that, although the senses occasionally mislead us respecting minute objects, and such as are so far removed from us as to be beyond the reach of close observation, there are yet many other of their informations (presentations), of the truth of which it is manifestly impossible to doubt; as for example, that I am in this place, seated by the fire, clothed in a winter dressing gown, that I hold in my hands this piece of paper, with other intimations of the same nature. But how could I deny that I possess these hands and this body, and withal escape being classed with persons in a state of insanity, whose brains are so disordered and clouded by dark bilious vapors as to cause them pertinaciously to assert that they are monarchs when they are in the greatest poverty; or clothed [in gold] and purple when destitute of any covering; or that their head is made of clay, their body of glass, or that they are gourds? I should certainly be not less insane than they, were I to regulate my procedure according to examples so extravagant.
5. Though this be true, I must nevertheless here consider that I am a man, and that, consequently, I am in the habit of sleeping, and representing to myself in dreams those same things, or even sometimes others less probable, which the insane think are presented to them in their waking moments. How often have I dreamt that I was in these familiar circumstances, that I was dressed, and occupied this place by the fire, when I was lying undressed in bed? At the present moment, however, I certainly look upon this paper with eyes wide awake; the head which I now move is not asleep; I extend this hand consciously and with express purpose, and I perceive it; the occurrences in sleep are not so distinct as all this. But I cannot forget that, at other times I have been deceived in sleep by similar illusions; and, attentively considering those cases, I perceive so clearly that there exist no certain marks by which the state of waking can ever be distinguished from sleep, that I feel greatly astonished; and in amazement I almost persuade myself that I am now dreaming.
6. Let us suppose, then, that we are dreaming, and that all these particulars--namely, the opening of the eyes, the motion of the head, the forth- putting of the hands--are merely illusions; and even that we really possess neither an entire body nor hands such as we see. Nevertheless it must be admitted at least that the objects which appear to us in sleep are, as it were, painted representations which could not have been formed unless in the likeness of realities; and, therefore, that those general objects, at all events, namely, eyes, a head, hands, and an entire body, are not simply imaginary, but really existent. For, in truth, painters themselves, even when they study to represent sirens and satyrs by forms the most fantastic and extraordinary, cannot bestow upon them natures absolutely new, but can only make a certain medley of the members of different animals; or if they chance to imagine something so novel that nothing at all similar has ever been seen before, and such as is, therefore, purely fictitious and absolutely false, it is at least certain that the colors of which this is composed are real. And on the same principle, although these general objects, viz. [a body], eyes, a head, hands, and the like, be imaginary, we are nevertheless absolutely necessitated to admit the reality at least of some other objects still more simple and universal than these, of which, just as of certain real colors, all those images of things, whether true and real, or false and fantastic, that are found in our consciousness (cogitatio) are formed.
7. To this class of objects seem to belong corporeal nature in general and its extension; the figure of extended things, their quantity or magnitude, and their number, as also the place in, and the time during, which they exist, and other things of the same sort.
8. We will not, therefore, perhaps reason illegitimately if we conclude from this that Physics, Astronomy, Medicine, and all the other sciences that have for their end the consideration of composite objects, are indeed of a doubtful character; but that Arithmetic, Geometry, and the other sciences of the same class, which regard merely the simplest and most general objects, and scarcely inquire whether or not these are really existent, contain somewhat that is certain and indubitable: for whether I am awake or dreaming, it remains true that two and three make five, and that a square has but four sides; nor does it seem possible that truths so apparent can ever fall under a suspicion of falsity [or incertitude].
9. Nevertheless, the belief that there is a God who is all powerful, and who created me, such as I am, has, for a long time, obtained steady possession of my mind. How, then, do I know that he has not arranged that there should be neither earth, nor sky, nor any extended thing, nor figure, nor magnitude, nor place, providing at the same time, however, for [the rise in me of the perceptions of all these objects, and] the persuasion that these do not exist otherwise than as I perceive them ? And further, as I sometimes think that others are in error respecting matters of which they believe themselves to possess a perfect knowledge, how do I know that I am not also deceived each time I add together two and three, or number the sides of a square, or form some judgment still more simple, if more simple indeed can be imagined? But perhaps Deity has not been willing that I should be thus deceived, for he is said to be supremely good. If, however, it were repugnant to the goodness of Deity to have created me subject to constant deception, it would seem likewise to be contrary to his goodness to allow me to be occasionally deceived; and yet it is clear that this is permitted.
10. Some, indeed, might perhaps be found who would be disposed rather to deny the existence of a Being so powerful than to believe that there is nothing certain. But let us for the present refrain from opposing this opinion, and grant that all which is here said of a Deity is fabulous: nevertheless, in whatever way it be supposed that I reach the state in which I exist, whether by fate, or chance, or by an endless series of antecedents and consequents, or by any other means, it is clear (since to be deceived and to err is a certain defect ) that the probability of my being so imperfect as to be the constant victim of deception, will be increased exactly in proportion as the power possessed by the cause, to which they assign my origin, is lessened. To these reasonings I have assuredly nothing to reply, but am constrained at last to avow that there is nothing of all that I formerly believed to be true of which it is impossible to doubt, and that not through thoughtlessness or levity, but from cogent and maturely considered reasons; so that henceforward, if I desire to discover anything certain, I ought not the less carefully to refrain from assenting to those same opinions than to what might be shown to be manifestly false.
11. But it is not sufficient to have made these observations; care must be taken likewise to keep them in remembrance. For those old and customary opinions perpetually recur-- long and familiar usage giving them the right of occupying my mind, even almost against my will, and subduing my belief; nor will I lose the habit of deferring to them and confiding in them so long as I shall consider them to be what in truth they are, viz., opinions to some extent doubtful, as I have already shown, but still highly probable, and such as it is much more reasonable to believe than deny. It is for this reason I am persuaded that I shall not be doing wrong, if, taking an opposite judgment of deliberate design, I become my own deceiver, by supposing, for a time, that all those opinions are entirely false and imaginary, until at length, having thus balanced my old by my new prejudices, my judgment shall no longer be turned aside by perverted usage from the path that may conduct to the perception of truth. For I am assured that, meanwhile, there will arise neither peril nor error from this course, and that I cannot for the present yield too much to distrust, since the end I now seek is not action but knowledge.
12. I will suppose, then, not that Deity, who is sovereignly good and the fountain of truth, but that some malignant demon, who is at once exceedingly potent and deceitful, has employed all his artifice to deceive me; t will suppose that the sky, the air, the earth, colors, figures, sounds, and all external things, are nothing better than the illusions of dreams, by means of which this being has laid snares for my credulity; I will consider myself as without hands, eyes, flesh, blood, or any of the senses, and as falsely believing that I am possessed of these; I will continue resolutely fixed in this belief, and if indeed by this means it be not in my power to arrive at the knowledge of truth, I shall at least do what is in my power, viz., [ suspend my judgment ], and guard with settled purpose against giving my assent to what is false, and being imposed upon by this deceiver, whatever be his power and artifice. But this undertaking is arduous, and a certain indolence insensibly leads me back to my ordinary course of life; and just as the captive, who, perchance, was enjoying in his dreams an imaginary liberty, when he begins to suspect that it is but a vision, dreads awakening, and conspires with the agreeable illusions that the deception may be prolonged; so I, of my own accord, fall back into the train of my former beliefs, and fear to arouse myself from my slumber, lest the time of laborious wakefulness that would succeed this quiet rest, in place of bringing any light of day, should prove inadequate to dispel the darkness that will arise from the difficulties that have now been raised.
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