Sunday, November 20, 2005

Thoreau: On Civil Disobedience

I found Thoreau's essay on civil disobedience very convincing and well written. Even though this was written over 150 years ago, its ideas can still be applied today. It also tied in nicely with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s letter from Birmingham Jail. One of Thoreau's big points is that the government is best which governs least. This nonconsequentialist point of view that is centered around liberty is still followed today by many. He makes several points as to why governments should control as little as possible. If government becomes too involved, it is likely to be overused and used incorrectly by its citizens. People begin to think that the government thinks and acts for the people, and the citizens (in this case, Americans) are allowed to stop thinking and acting because the government can do it. We tend to think that we can just vote for somebody and then our job is done.

American citizens often also think that once they vote for somebody, that somebody begins to think for them. We surrender our beliefs and conscience to the elected person. If we do this, then we become useless and selfish.

Thoreau also discusses how so many people are "in opinion" opposed to things such as slavery, but in effect they do nothing to put an end to them. This still happens in today's societies, when people complain about the government or war but do nothing about it. "...but they do nothing in earnest and with effecst. They will wait, well disposed, for others to remedy the evil, that they may no longer have it to regret." (p. 164)

Towards the end of the essay, he states once again: "The authority of government...is still an impure one: to be strictly just, it must have the sanction and consent of the governed. It can have no pure right over my person and property..." This is summed up and supported clearly throughout the essay.

Letter from Birmingham Jail

Martin Luther King, Jr.'s letter from Birmingham Jail was very clear, and as he stated in the first paragraph, "patient and reasonable." The strongest point that I remember from the article is where he talked about the white moderates that stated that they were against segregation and would help the blacks become more equal. However, even though they said that they wanted justice to prevail, they never carried through with their statements. They would tell groups such as King, Jr's group that they needed to wait for a better time of the year to act or something of that sort. They are more concerned with "order" than "justice." This hurts the black population the most because they really don't care about giving blacks freedom; all they care about is having an undisturbed, tension-free peace in their society.

Martin Luther King, Jr. obviously is taking a nonconsequentialist view towards this dilemma, and the white moderates are taking a consequentialist view. King, Jr. knows that tension and uneasiness will occur when blacks are given more freedom, and he is willing to deal with this in order to have justice for everyone. However, the white moderates will do or say anything to keep order. They may shun the Ku Klux Klan and say that they want blacks to have justice, but they will not do anything about it. I'm sure that this type of thing still happens in today's society.

I could see how this could apply to teachers in the public schools. It is very easy to say that you're for freedom and justice of all, but it's difficult to implement this in the classroom. Teachers must be careful not to oppress students in the classroom (possibly students who get lower grades) simply because it's easier to manage the classroom that way.

S&S Ch 6:Democracy, Professionalism, and Teaching with Integrity

Chapter 6 was one of the clearest and most helpful chapters in the book. The idea of "reflective equilibrium" is a good idea to solve almost any dispute. I liked that it is something that can be applied to any type of person - nonconsequentialist or consequentialist. This idea reminds me of how mathematicians or scientists come up with theories: they must come up with an idea and try to test it in several different settings. If it works in several different settings, then it is valid enough to be considered a theory. I think that the idea of reflective equilibrium could help people to make decisions that are not just based on their initial feelings. It is extremely easy to overreact to a situation right away. However, going through the process of determining our moral intuitions, feelings, developed principles and rules will help us to make a better, more thoughtful action.

I liked what S&S had to say regarding feelings on pages 98 and 99. "...moral theory is not enough. As feeling human beings we also need to be sensitive to the moral doman and draw upon our shared ability to empathize with and care about other persons. Our moral intuitions are rooted in our ability to feel and empathize as well as in our ability to think." I like this statement because no matter how one thinks, whether it is consequentialist or nonconsequentialist, it is important to consider one's feelings and emotion as well. Without considering our moral intuitions of what is good and bad, we cannot genuinely make a decision that will be good for the person it affects. After we have considered our moral intuitions and feelings, then we can determine our principles. After we understand our principles, we can then test them to see how they apply in other cases. If they do not work in several other cases, then we have good reason to abandon that idea.

I also understand how "moral relativism" can be problematic. Even though people are all allowed to have their own principles and morals that are relative to what they think is right, people tend to influence others with their own ideas. Often times we forget about the freedom of EVERYONE when we try to persuade or "coerce" our ideas on others. S&S state that "nothing about freedom follows from moral relativism, because nothing at all concering ethical matters can follow from relativism. We are free because we are moral agents with the duty to decide for ourselves." Moral relativism is a very contradictory idea that can be confusing.

The idea of sovereignty and authority with teachers was tough to read, but very honest. It's sad to think that teachers really are not professionals. "Legally, teaching is not currently structured as a profession." Professional authorities are allowed to do three important things: legitimate a knowledge base, govern the professional practice or their members, and control the initiation of new members in the profession. Even though there are professional organizations that do this for teachers (such as Ohio Music Educators Association, for music teachers), they do not do one thing: legitimate a knowledge base. State and national legislatures, who often do not even have the esoteric knowledge that music educators do, decide what should be taught to students. This happens for all subjects, not just music. However, because of representative democracy, teachers most often must respect the decisions of legislatures, such as state legislatures and local school boards.

I also like the ways that S&S explain that teachers can maintain their sense of integrity. These are helpful for keeping teachers' voices heard.

S&S's idea of open and undominated dialogue is extremely important. I feel that this idea ties together everything else that has been discussed in this chapter. Without open and undominated dialogue, parties will never be able to compromise, listen to each other, and come up with a solution that benefits everyone. This is an important idea that can be also applied to reflective equilibrium. It also helps build community, facilitates reasoning, and helps initiate people into the concepts and processes required for sophisticated ethical deliberation.

Everything That Rises Must Converge

This story by Flannery O'Connor was effective in making a strong, important point. The story was about two different generations with two completely different ideas of race embedded into their brains. The mother, a naive woman who is blind to how her son feels and society runs, is stuck in a white-supremacist mindset. The way she was raised seems rather aristocratic and probably very racist. It was common for whites to be better than blacks, and her family was better than everyone. Even though she still feels that way, her position in society now is rather equal to the poor blacks in her community. She still acts as though she is better than them and that their lives are worth nothing.

Her son, Julian, seems to really try to not treat blacks as unequals. However, he is actually being racist in a totally different way. I do think that he really just wants to be friends with them and try to accept them, but he doesn't know how to treat them equally. He also knows that his mom hates it when he talks to black people or tries to sit by them, so he does it intentionally. Even though he may think he is doing it out of friendliness or respect, he is really doing it out of hatred for his mother and disrespect for them.

The end of the story is powerful. Julian's hateful treatment of his mother and the reality she faced when the black woman yelled at her regarding the penny were too much for her to handle. FOr the first time, reality was clear to her and she could not deal with it. I think Julian also realized how big this was for his mother. To him, this "new world" was not a big deal. He could learn to deal with it. For his mother, it did not exist practically until the moment she began to die.
I think that the most important point in this story is how the difference in generations is highlighted.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Ch 3, S&S: Intellectual Freedom

Chapter 3 in S&S discusses intellectual freedom, which includes freedom of speech, freedom of information in education, and censorship. I feel that the most difficult conflict in determining any of these lies in how the constitution applies to minors in a public school system. Almost everyone is familiar with the first amendment in the US Consititution. It is not hard to understand that freedom of speech and press are important, sensitive topics. However, these frequently do not apply to students in a public school system. A valid reason for monitoring the freedom of speech and press in a school is because that young students do not yet have the intellect and common sense to determine whether or not what they say or do will harm others. They should be monitored to not hurt themselves or others severly. Once in a higher education institution, such as a college, students are given this freedom. They are now old enough to make those decisions for themselves because people in their prior schooling taught them what was right, wrong, and allowed in society. An opposite reason for not monitoring speech and press in a school is that everybody still deserves to have these basic rights. If these are not given to students, then we are not following the constitution or our own code of ethics.

John Stuart Mill makes a strong consequentialist argument for freedom. Basically, freedom of expression and speech is important for personal growth and ultimate happiness. "When we deny to people the right to make their own decisions we deny them the right to grow." This argument is based on the principle of providing the greatest good for teh greatest number. Mill does, in fact, state that the same rules of freedom do not apply for children. "Children are given freedom by adults when it is believed that it serves the interest of the child." This argument is not problem-free, of course. It is hard to justify censoring students or others with utilitarian reasons only.

A non-consequentialist also has an important view on freedom. Because people are moral agents, then they are responsible for their own choices and should be allowed to act how they choose. Freedom is more of a central idea to non-consequentialists than it is to consequentialists. However, non-consequentialists believe that if one's moral judgement is impaired, then intervention is necessary for that person so they do not act in a good manner. This can apply to children - they are not mature enough to know how their decisions are right or wrong. The only problem with this view is that consequences do not seem important at all. However, they must be somewhat considered. For example, in the case of Eddie and his story, if the fact that Beth will be hurt by this story is not acknowledged, then Eddie will not know why what he is doing is wrong.

As with most topics, I believe that a mix of both ideas is important to understand all points of view and to make a fair decision.

Just give it to me straight: A case against filtering the internet

This case provided an opinion that I had never before considered about the internet. I have always assumed that filtering the internet is something necessary that all schools should do. I may have this view because I went to a school where the internet was filtered. I remember trying to go to websites and have a dog pop up and say "STOP!" on certain ones. However, I still do remember being able to access all of the websites that we were required to view for classes.

While I was reading the article, I understood all of the points that the two authors were making. They have strong points against censorship and for freedom. I also learned about how many types of good websites can end up being filtered by mistake by a filtering program. I never thought about how much education one can miss by putting a filter on the internet. I agreed with most of the points made, but I didn't totally buy into them. I still did not see how teachers could really monitor what websites were beign viewed by students.

The authors stated several times that students will be too busy with classwork on the internet to have time to look up any websites that do not apply to what they are learning. However, I think they have a skewed vision regarding this. I remember several times in high school that we would have "free time" on the internet after we finished an assignment. There are plenty of mischeivous children who would go ahead and go to sites taht may be hateful or pornographic.

I do think that the authors provide some working solutions on p. 16 and 17 of the article. By making an Acceptable Use Policy that students must sign and follow, they agree to not use the internet incorrectly. Good teachers of well-managed classrooms also should know how to pay attention to what their students are doing at all times, even during free time.

Chaper 2, Strike and Soltis: Punishment and Due Process

Chaper 2 discusses what justifications teachers have for punishing students. No matter how a student is punished or treated, due process always must be given. Just like in a trial, the student deserves to give a defence, and evidence must be found to support whatever argument the teacher has. If this is not done, then students are treated unfairly. S&S look at the case in the beginning of the chapter from both a consequentialist and nonconsequentialist point of view.

A consequentialist would say that "reasonable, conscientiously made decisions are far more likely to have desirable consequences than arbitrary and capricious ones," regarding due process. Two important arguments made by consequentialists are these: punishment may stop the person or other poeple from doing the same thing again, and punishment also can reform the guilty person. These arguments may be difficult to apply to the case in the beginning of the chapter, because no one is sure that the person being blamed for the explosion is actually guilty. ALso, it is difficult to determine whether the guilty party will be reformed or will do this again.

A nonconsequentialist point of view to punishment is similar to "an eye for an eye." Punishment is not intended to deter future evil, but instead to provide retribution. Nonconsequentialist thought regarding punishment sits well with the idea of "respect for persons." THe only problem with this theory is that I am not sure if it is right to punish an evil with a second evil. This is not setting a good example for those who should not do harm to others. Strike and Soltis also bring up this point on page 29.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Folklorization

Decoo brought up several thoughtful points in "Folklorization." I have never thought about all the negative aspects of doing things like the "Cultural Heritage Night" at his church. One point made was that folklorization, or depicting a certain culture with somewhat stereotypical charactieristics of the culture, is that it is alienating. The "foreign" impression of the culture stays with people for life, and no one is able to accept it as normal and comfortable. Another drawback to this is colonialism. The colonizers, or people who stereotype other cultures, see themselves as superior to the "natives" in their traditional dress. A third negative aspect is primitivization. People always look to the distant past in order to depict a culture and ignore the modern characteristics of people. Doing this also falsifies the image of people, and they are commonly exploited on television. Some solutions to avoid these drawbacks are to also confront their modern society and participation on the world scene. One could also tell the "natives" to show other talents that they can do besides what they are dressed as.

This article reminded me of my foreign language classes in high school. Often times we would do folk dances and study culture like food, clothing, etc. that was very stereotypical of the culture (in this case, German). However, once a week or every other week, we would spend class time watching news videos of German current events. This helped us get a bigger picture of German society and life instead of just what the "traditional" Germans do.

Chapter 4, S&S: Equal Treatment of Students

Treating all students equally is one of the most important and difficult topics we've covered so far. The case that is presented in the beginning of the chapter shows this clearly - almost all of the decisions taht the teacher could make have some kind of negative consequence. Some consequentialist views on equal treatment are as follows:
-treating someone unequally may be okay if it is for the well-being of the group
-ability to profit is important: putting everyone where they wil do the most good
-do not care for preferential treatment of minorities because of how they were treated in the past
-may give preference to minorities for future-oriented reasons
-has no limit on how the welfare of one can be sacrificed for the welfare of all.

Nonconsequentialist views:
-The Golden Rule: treat others how you would want to be treated
-respect for persons
-John Rawls: if inequality is to the benefit of the person receiving lesser share, then it is permissible.
-do not use race as criterion for inequality
-history is morally relevant to nonconsequentialists
-the group has to sacrifice a lot for the welfare of the least advantaged member

I like Aristotle's point in the beginning of the chapter: "Justice consists of treating equals equally and unequals unequally." This is a simple point, but it does a good job of quickly saying how we should generally treat others. I feel that this could be applied to the thought of a consequentialist and a nonconsequentialist.

Everything That Rises Must Converge

This story by Flannery O'Connor was effective in making a strong, important point. The story was about two different generations with two completely different ideas of race embedded into their brains. The mother, a naive woman who is blind to how her son feels and society runs, is stuck in a white-supremacist mindset. The way she was raised seems rather aristocratic and probably very racist. It was common for whites to be better than blacks, and her family was better than everyone. Even though she still feels that way, her position in society now is rather equal to the poor blacks in her community. She still acts as though she is better than them and that their lives are worth nothing.

Her son, Julian, seems to really try to not treat blacks as unequals. However, he is actually being racist in a totally different way. I do think that he really just wants to be friends with them and try to accept them, but he doesn't know how to treat them equally. He also knows that his mom hates it when he talks to black people or tries to sit by them, so he does it intentionally. Even though he may think he is doing it out of friendliness or respect, he is really doing it out of hatred for his mother and disrespect for them.

The end of the story is powerful. Julian's hateful treatment of his mother and the reality she faced when the black woman yelled at her regarding the penny were too much for her to handle. FOr the first time, reality was clear to her and she could not deal with it. I think Julian also realized how big this was for his mother. To him, this "new world" was not a big deal. He could learn to deal with it. For his mother, it did not exist practically until the moment she began to die.
I think that the most important point in this story is how the difference in generations is highlighted.

Ch 5, S&S: Multiculturalism and Religion

This chapter dealt with some difficult cases and several important ideas that can be applied to cases like these. Some issues that are touched in Chapter 5 are alienation and identity, truth, dialogue, and making everyone fit into one "melting pot" culture or observe all various cultures.

Alienation can happen in two different ways: one can be alienated by being forced to do the same thing over and over again (Marxism), or one can be alienated by not recognizing a portion of who the student is. The second usually happens more in the schools to different cultural groups; their identity is attacked, and important parts of them are ignored because they do not fit into the mold of the "American" way. I think that this happens way too much in our schools and can possibly discourage students from wanting to be in school.

The second idea of truth is also a touchy subject. Who decides the truth and how much truth should be represented are both difficult decisions that must be made. Everyone has a different idea of history and truth; African-Americans see their history and truth as different from Caucasian truth.

The last idea of whether people should be shoved in a melting pot as opposed to recognizing and studying everyone's cultural background is also an important debate. The more truth that is uncovered and discussed, the more cultures can be studied and respected. I do believe that recognizing traits that make us all "Americans" really is important. We all live in the same country, we all have the same rights, and many of us experience the same things in our daily lives. If these similarities are not reconizied, we could be come like the former Yugoslavia. (This is extreme, but I'm using it to make a point.) However, we cannot ignore that African-Americans, Hispanics, Indians, and Asians do have different, important backgrounds from us. These cannot be ignored.

This also applies to religions. Should religion be unbiasly studied in school or left out completely? I feel that if it is not studied, then students will believe that no other religion is important besides theirs. I remember in high school being taught about other religions that were different from mine; if I was not exposed to them there, then I may never have learned about their significance.

Some ideas dicussed in the chapter are as follows:
1. Postmodernism and radical pluralism: representing all cultural groups in a society and recognizing all viewpoints of the truth. Some problems with this is that it provides no way of arguing for tolerance across cultures. It also gives us no reason not to critizice injustice in other cultures or to understand the importance of other cultures.
2. Non-consequentialists: do not endorse any viewpoints, but do study different viewpoints. Makes people choose for themselves which viewpoint is best; respect for persons and their choices. Cultural relativism is a non-consequentialist view that tolerates everyone's views, even if we don't believe in them.
3. Consequentialists: respecting others makes everybody happy in the long run
4. Modest relativism: a)people's view of the world is influenced by their culture and education, b) what people believe is true is usually colored by not what is reaonable to believe but by their interests and biases.
4.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Emperor's club

Mr. Hundert is faced with several ethical problems in The Emperor's Club. I think he is an ethical teacher who constantly thinks about how his actions will affect his students. I do not agree with his decisions regarding Sedgewick; in my opinion, they were unethical and unfair. However, Mr. Hundert probably does not see that they are unfair because he has developed a caring relationship with Sedgewick, and he wants to do what is best for him. By wanting what he believes is best for the student, he makes decisions like helping him check out a book after hours from the library and changing his grade. He may believe that if he doesn't help Sedgewick do this, then Sedgewick will become irresponsible and obnoxious again.

Mr. Hundert was probalby thinking from a utilitarian point of view when he changed Sedgewick's grade. I do not think it was a good idea, but he may have thought it was because it would help him advance into the final round of the competition.

I do, however, think his decision regarding the cheating was a good decision. He did not ruin the entire school's reputation but was able to punish Sedgewick for cheating.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Ethics of Teaching, Smith

Smith's idea of the student-teacher relationship is very clear and helpful in determining how teachers should treat students. The two sections I found most interesting were "Tom's Three Models of the Relationship" as well as "Buber's I-Thou Relationships." Alan Tom's model helps define what teachers need to do specifically to set students up for success in and out of the classroom. One model views the teacher as a "transmitter and interpreter of socially useful knowledge." The teacher should be passing on information as well as social and professional values of the teacher. A second model observes the "moral equality of teachers and students." This was an interesting model that was slightly vague and completely different from anything I've ever read before. It discusses when the teacher and student should treat each other as equals and when the teacher and student are not treated as equals. The third model is "problem-posing teaching," where the students and teacher are almost equals who are reflecting on topics and using discussion to find the answer. I think this setting occurs most often in college level classes.

I also was interested in the "I-Thou" idea. This was used in the Noddings article as well; it is important to treat people as if they are the most important person or thing to listen to at the time. Otherwise, they will feel used and unappreciated.

Ethics of Caring

So, I wrote a blog earlier today about the Ethics of Caring, and the website deleted it for some reason before it could even post. I'm quite frustrated because I have to write it again.
I liked Noddings' ideas on why everyone, including teachers, should focus on their relations with other people instead of "using" people to achieve something else, such as happiness. Her criticisms of utilitarianism and other ethical theories are strong and include valid arguments. Caring, which is completely different from any ethical theory that we've looked at so far, does not deal with specific moral principles and instead focuses on how people meet and treat each other. Carers must do certain things to make sure that they are truly looking out for someone. The "cared for" must also contribute to the relationship by responding to their teachers.

My favorite point in the entire article is this: "One of the great strengths of caring as an ethic is that it does not assume that all students should be treated by some impartial standard of fairness. Some students need much more attention than others, and some will respond to one teacher's attention whereas others may need a different teacher's care." I like this thought because of how children in special education programs need to be given much different care than anyone else. The "caring" theory would help well in a special education classroom.

I do believe, however, that Noddings goes a little overboard with wishful thinking at the end of her article. She mentions how we must "transform the conditions of schooling" so caring can take place. Classrooms will be smaller, and teachers can stay with the same children for several years...I'm not sure this would work. It's a little too utopia-like. One must keep their feet grounded and have some sense of rationality while dealing with caring for others.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Chapter 1, The Ethics of Teaching

This chapter was an easy read and a good complement to the Howe article. It explained clearly the two different ways of thinking. I agree more with a nonconsequentialist point of view, especially after studying Chapter 1. However, after analyzing the three cases in the chapter, I understand how knowing a consequentialist point of view is also important. This point of view cannot be forgotten. If one loses sight of potential consequences, then one can end up in a lot of trouble. For example, if I fail to realize that not studying for a test will produce a bad grade, then I would never study because I would not know any better. If I know that not studying will produce a failing grade, then I would study so I get a good grade.
I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this book to expand my own thinking and opinions about what is ethical and how to decide how to behave as a teacher.

The Call to Teach: Teaching as a Vocation

I related to this article by David Hansen very well; I agree with everything Hansen had to say. One point that stuck out to me is on the bottom of page 5: "The idea of vocation presupposes a social practice in which to enact one's inner urge to contribute to the world." This differs from a job because a job does not require that "inner urge" to help society. A person may be contributing to society with a job they may not enjoy, but it doesn't matter to them one way or the other whether they end up helping out or not. With a vocation, one truly cares how they are helping society and if they are making a difference. Therefore, one has more motivation to succeed in their vocation.

I know several music education majors who are simply majoring in music educaton as a "backup plan." They say, "well, if I don't make enough money performing, then I can always teach so I can make money. I don't really want to teach, but it will pay and simply performing for a living might not." This makes me SO ANGRY! I cannot stand to see music ed majors who really don't care about how they teach and how their teaching affects students.

When I entered college, I was only a music performance major because I wasn't sure that I wanted to teach. After a quarter of classes and thinking about what I really liked to do, I decided that I really was interested in pursuing music education. I was glad that I took that time to think about it because it gave me time to find my "vocation," rather than just a major.

Hansen also mentions on page 17, "the idea of vocation also underscores just how central the person is who occupies the position of teacher." To me, this means that someone has a true reason and meaning behind what they are doing in the classroom. Having teaching as a vocation rather than just a job allows the teacher to form his or her own philosophy because it is something about which he or she cares. Having a personal philosophy of teaching is important for understanding why certain things are important and supporting your teaching styles and views to others. For example, all music education majors are required to write their own philosophy of music education papers. This helps us realize why we think music in the schools is important, and why we need to work hard to keep music in the schools and keep it a fun subject.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Liberal Democratic Tradition

Howe's article was helpful on explaining the three different ways of approaching liberal democratic education and ethics. I like his idea that liberal egalitarianism represents the liberal democratic tradition the best. However, all three ways of thinking are important to know and understand; they could all be used in different types of situations.

Utilitarianism judges the rightness of actions in terms of their consequences. If an action helps produce a positive consequence, such as a good grade or happiness, then that action must be okay. A "Principle of Utility" must be satisfied, and the this Principle of Utility is met by determining how good the outcome is. The problem with this view is that consequences cannot be predicted, and everyone has different ideas on what the best consequence is for something. This idea may be good in certain situations, but definitely not every one.

Libertarianism is the idea that liberty is the most improtant value, and it must be maximized in order to show respect for all people. Goverment is minimalized to being a "night watchman." The principle of Utility is unimportant. Results do not matter as much as making sure that everyone is free and has liberty.

Liberal egalitarianism regards equality among all to be the most important of all. However, it does hold that inequality cannot always be eliminated. Utilitarianism is unacceptable to liberal egalitarianists because they believe the Priniciple of Utility can be "trumped" by rights that everyone has. Everyone's interests are also given equal weight. They also believe that equality is the more important value to follow because liberty requires equality.

What is difficult about liberal educational theories is that it is hard to eliminate biases against minorities and women. These biases are practically built into our educational system due to the history of white men's success and the less successful history of others. I like Amy Gutmann's statement about education on p. 39: Every student can achieve a "democratic threshold" of knowledge that will prepare them to be equals in a "conscious social reproducation." This follows the egalitarian way of thinking that equality is the most important, and also respects everyone's rights.

It is helpful to know these different views of liberal education and how they can be used to confront or solve cases as a teacher.

What Makes a Life Significant?

In William James's article, James does a thorough job of explaining and contemplating different ways of live and living. He starts out with describing Chatauqua - utopia, in a way - and the way people of Chatauqua have carefree lives. He soon realizes that this romantic idea of utopia and happiness is not what makes life significant and good. Without the negative things in life, the positive things in life and happiness mean nothing. He then explores Tolstoy's idea of what makes a life significant; Tolstoy believes that virtue can be found in the hard-working laborer; wealthy people who do not work hard do not know what virtue is, and therefore do not have a significant life. James then chooses to dismiss this idea because even though some hard-working laborers may be virtuous, many are not. Most people who have factory jobs are simply trying to pay the bills and get through the day. James gathers these ideas from Wyckoff's statements and ideas; most laborers' lives have no "ideal inner springs," as stated on p. 656. After working in warehouse and office jobs during the summer for the past three years, I agree with Wyckoff's conclusion. Most people are working those long hours to gain a cup of coffee or a meal.

James eventually comes to the conclusion that virtue combined with ideal is what makes a life significant. He realizes that virtue alone gains nothing, and ideals without any will to carry them out also are insignificant. His statement on p. 659 sums it up well:
"The solid meaning of life is always the same eternal thing - the marriage, namely, of some unhabitual idea, however special, with some fidelity, courage and endurance; with some man's or woman's pains, - And whatever, or wherever life may be, there will always be the chance for tha marriage to take place." This is the ultimate combination of ideal and virtue in a person.