Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


All Previous Work – Alicia Atherton

Metaphysics Reading Blog Post 

Metaphysics Discussion Blog Post 

Metaphysics Phil’s Day Off Blog Post

Is Knowledge Based on Our Experiences? – Epistemology – Alicia Atherton

Discussion Post – Epistemology – Alicia Atherton

Phils Day Off – Alicia Atherton – Epistemology




Phils Day Off – Alicia Atherton – Epistemology

A. What was my goal?

My goal was to find a way to prove that our knowledge gained is based on previous experiences, since that is what I initially believe(d). I wanted to come up with a way to prove such thing, making it very difficult for me to find something specific to do for Phil’s day off.

B. What did I achieve/learn?

I thought long and hard about what I was going to do. I had no idea or anything to start me off for the longest time. Then it hit me. I could simply just go about my weekend without HAVING to do something specific. If I could prove that I learned things throughout my daily experience, I could just do what I usually do on the weekends. Over the weekend, I ended up partying a little bit too hard with my friends. Throughout that experience, I learned that my body could only handle so much, to the point where I would feel and become very sick if I didn’t know my limits, being a teenager and all. I learned what my limits were, through the experience I shared with other people, thus increasing my knowledge on “partying” if called so. Also, I helped a friend out that weekend when they were going through a hard time. I learned more about my friend just from comforting them and talking about that certain problem, thus gaining knowledge about my friend, based on the experience on how to comfort somebody.

C. What do I still want to know?

I still want to know in which ways it would be possible to either not gain knowledge through experience, or to simply know something without going through the experience in order to know it. If there ways in which these statements could be true, how would it be possible, and if it is not possible, why not?

D. How was this Phil’s day off different than my last?

My two Phil days off were almost identical in which I did not know what to do for the longest time in both subjects. I would say that I did a bit more this Phil’s day off then the last, even if doing more means going through my weekend like I normally would. I attempted at falling into a lucid dream in my last Phil’s day off, which does not take any every whatsoever, so I would overall say this Phil’s day off was more successful. Also, my conclusion was clearer in this Phil’s day off then it was in my last, so that makes a huge difference.



Discussion Post – Epistemology – Alicia Atherton

A. Where did I start? (Questions, Propositions, Ideas)

I started with the initial question “Is knowledge based on our past or present experiences? If so, how? If not, why not?” This was the only idea that kept running through my head so I decided to make it my epistemology topic. The idea of experience was the only logical description of knowledge that was stuck in my brain, and I wanted to find out more information on it.

B. What did I read? (Quote/Link/Summarize)

Experience and Reason in Einstein’s Epistemology

This reading was almost exactly what I was looking for, as it explains the thought and reasoning by one of the smartest people known in history. Einsteins train of thought described in the reading was that “he believed that reality and thought were independent but related, and that conceptual systems are independent of but conditioned by experience.” This quote states that reality and thought are two different ideas but I’m some cases could relate to each other (such as reality being what is actually there while thoughts could be based on reality, but could also be imagined, so they are not reliable). Since this was the initial way Einstein, the smartest guy known to man, thought about knowledge, I decided that this article was the most reliable and realistic way of describing if knowledge was based on experience or not.

C. Who did I talk with? (Examples, quotes, ideas, questions) 

Mikayla: her initial question was “Can positive thinking affect how you already feel about something (something you know you don’t like or are afraid of)“, so in other words, if you tell yourself you don’t like something but force yourself to think positively about it, will you start to like it? I thought this question could somewhat relate to my question in a cool sort of way. If you force yourself to think positively about something you don’t originally think positively about, that could change your initial experience with that one object/thing that made your brain think negatively about it at first, otherwise changing your knowledge about that object (that is if Mikayla’s question is proven to be correct). For example, if somebody did not like horses and they spent a whole day around horses to see if their perspective would change about them, the experience would be different if you were to start liking horses as a posed to when you hated horses.

Tali: her initial question was “Is there a limit to knowledge?” which I thought could relate to my question as well. The way I saw it was, if there was a limit to knowledge, then there could potentially be a limit to experience. If somebody was not able to know something, or just simply did not want to know something, the experience it would take to know that one thing would also be limited. For example, if somebody did not want to know about something that Justin Bieber did, then they would not have to go through the experience of doing research about him in order to find out information about him (if that makes sense).

D. How did all of the above influence my starting point?

All of the above helped me come closer to the conclusion that almost everything we know is based off of experience, but at the same time, these conversations and the reading made me think of whether there were some things that we simply just know, without having some background experience with it, or if we were to go through some experience in our lives and were to realize that we gained knowledge at that point.



Is Knowledge Based on Our Experiences? – Epistemology – Alicia Atherton


1.What was my initial topic/proposition/question?

Question: Is Knowledge (topic) Based on Our Past or Present Experiences? If so, how? If not, why not?

2. What did I read/find which addresses this topic?

Reading: Experience and Reason in Einstein’s EpistemologyI found an article about knowledge based on the way Einstein saw it, initially comparing knowledge with experience

3. How did my reading help uniform my epistemological topic?

This reading was almost exactly what I was looking for, as it describes how knowledge can compare to experience. and whether it makes sense that knowledge could potentially be based on our past or present experiences. Einstein “believed it was his understanding of the relationship of experience and reason that allowed him to reconsider certain “truths” of physics. Specifically, he believed that reality and thought were independent but related, and that conceptual systems are independent of but conditioned by experience“. Einstein, being a pretty smart guy, proves that knowledge is different for many people due to everyone going through different experiences, thus forming opinions and beliefs.



Phils Day Off Discussion – Alicia Atherton

  1. Something I heard that connected to my own topic was how a peer in my classroom sat in the middle of the forest during her camping trip for 5 hours straight, only having a guitar in her hands. Another person locked himself in his basement for 2 days, completely isolated from the world. They did this to see what the human brain would do – to see if the possibility of opening another ‘passage’ in your brain was a likely one.
  2. Something that shaved my topic in a new light was the fact that other people (peers in my philosophy classroom) were trying to find out other ways to unlock a certain section of our brain, to see what would happen and if we could control it. Although it is not related directly to my main question, it has something to do with a question that came from the findings of my research articles: Are there other ways we could open up a certain part of our brain that could only be opened (so far) with lucid dreaming?


Discussion Blog Post – Alicia Atherton

A. Lucid Dreaming – Dreams of Clarity; Nightmares in the Context of PTSD Treated with Psycheducation Regarding Lucid Dreaming – initial findings that I have found in both of these readings were slightly confusing, not being straightforward with a conclusion in either of these articles. The closest I could get too as a conclusion was that lucid dreaming is being used as a cure for nightmares, but how could that be if lucid dreaming, on the other hand, is a terrifying experience that occurs in another section of the brain.

B. Some common insights raised in group discussions were the differences between lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis. William, Matthew, myself and a few others discussed (in the classroom) the differences on how the effects of sleep paralysis relate to the effects of lucid dreaming, and we all came up with the conclusion that there are not as many similarities as there are differences.

C. Some divergent insights raised in the group discussion between myself, William, Matthew and a few other boys were quite opposite and questionable. I, myself, got confused as to what sleep paralysis was, thinking that it had a lot, if not all of the similarities between that and lucid dreaming, overall changing up my question a little bit. There were not as many individual statements made clear with my peers, but more of a group conclusion and understanding, overall having all of our brains work together in figuring out a possible solution to my question. Our insights were not very clear so they are not fresh in my mind, but I do remember us entering a part of the conversation that related to which part of the brain we don’t use and if it is more powerful then the part of the brain we do use.

D. I would still like to get closer to a conclusion to my question, as I am far from one. I want to know if the subconscious part of the brain is more powerful then the conscious part of the brain, and if the subconscious part lets us see life forms that we simply cannot see with the conscious part. None of these questions have been answered quite yet, but I will do as much as I can to get closer to the answer I am looking for, as well as some answers to previous questions that may have not or already have been strung through my head.



Reading Blog Post – Alicia Atherton

QUESTION: Is lucid dreaming connected to/influenced by either reality or other possible life forms we cannot see with the human eye (ex. ghosts)?

Component A: My question has to do with the paranormal, as I believe we cannot simply be the once kind of life form ever to exist. Lucid dreaming involves both knowing you’re dreaming, but also being able to control the environment in the dream while staying in the dream, so if there are other types of life forms out in the world that we cannot see when we’re awake, there could be a possibility of seeing them in another part of our mindset. Some people have nightmares in their lucid dreams, in which they cannot control, so maybe the paranormal have control over both somebody’s subconscious and conscious part of their brain while they are dreaming, since the paranormal cannot control them in that sort of way when somebody is awake.

Component B:Lucid Dreaming: Dreams of Clarity; Nightmares in the Context of PTSD Treated with Psycheducation Regarding Lucid Dreaming

Component C: in “Lucid Dreaming: Dreams of Clarity”, the main aspects that address/shed light upon my question were:

  • “One of the possible applications of lucid dreaming is in the field of psychotherapy where it is usually used in treating nightmares. However, other possible therapeutic potentials of lucid dreaming are still in the process of being discovered and therefore constitute a fertile area for future researchers.” – this abstract explains that lucid dreaming could be used in treating nightmares, but there is no evidential proof that it is actually working. There could be another force in the other part of somebody’s brain that could be causing the nightmares and/or helping get rid of them, but researchers cannot get to that point in research and experiments – yet.
  • “From this we could conclude that awareness and understanding of the dream state that is characteristic of lucid dreaming is based on semantic interpretation of certain words or actions that appear” – this quote means that there was some sort of evidence proven from an experiment that there are certain words or actions that appear in somebody’s brain when lucid dreaming. These certain words/actions may not appear or happen in a conscious environment, so maybe they only happen in another state of mind.

In “Nightmares in the Context of PTSD Treated with Psycheducation Regarding Lucid Dreaming, the main aspects that address/shed light upon my question were:

  • “In his reimagining, he was to alter the events so that in the dream he realised that he was dreaming and to then change the dream so that it was not as alarming and unpleasant.” – when somebody was lucid dreaming, it was shown in tests that he was changing around the images and scenarios in order to have a more pleasant experience. Apparently, in order to control nightmares you have to control your dreams, so if we can control a different part of your brain, why could we not do so when awake?
  • “The nightmares did not bother him as much, his sleep improved, and he was able to sleep 6 hours without awakening as a result of nightmares, with no medication.” – relevant to the quote above, curing nightmares could potentially be controlled with lucid dreaming, a part of your brain that control the potential lifeforms that cannot be seen with the human eye

Component D: New Questions–

  • What is the difference between lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis? Do both relate to the main question shown above?
  • How does lucid dreaming cure nightmares when, in some cases, the lucid dream involves scary creatures?
  • What part of the brain are we activating when in a lucid dream? Is there any other way besides lucid dreaming in which we can access that part of the brain?
  • What makes a conclusion to this so difficult to find? How has so much research not led to a potential conclusion in this day of age?