Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Megan & Emily – The Forerunner of Justice and Foundation of Democracy

“…public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist’s credibility.”

          –The Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics

The purpose of news is to present information of the world to the masses. The masses can do with this what they will, but the hope is that they will use it to make informed decisions during elections, have opinions about the world they exist in, and a basic knowledge of it. To ensure that all of this goes as planned and we can live in a healthy, engaged country, both sides of the equation need to actively participate. Although there are issues on either end, the sending and the receiving, for the purpose of this blog post we will discuss the role which the media plays in portraying information.

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) is a 9,000 member strong organization of journalists. Their purpose is to defend free speech and freedom of the press while simultaneously promoting ethical standards amongst journalists. Everything about this organization is ideal; it matches their mission statement perfectly. The Code of Ethics which the SPJ provides as a resource, if followed, would lead directly into this “public enlightenment”. The form of journalism they strive to create is one in which events are presented without bias for an educated and informed public to build off of, and democracy runs smoothly.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of the points in this Code of Ethics for journalists:

“Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.”
“Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.”
“Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.”
“Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.”

If all journalists stuck to these, the news would be presented as such that it would be unbiased, informative, truthful, and a great base for people to think critically and derive their own opinions from.

However, this code of ethics is not some sort of law, but guidelines. It is not enforced. Even though it may seem like a wonderful solution to simply start forcing these rules upon journalists, there are issues with forcing ethical decisions on anyone.  Who is deemed the person who gets to decide what is ethical, and what is not? Someone may argue that violating the privacy of an individual for a story is fine, if the perceived benefit given to society outweighs the potential harm to that person. Others would argue that violating an individual’s privacy is wrong at all times, under all circumstances. There is no definite “right” answer, so a solution was found in the form of a set of generally agreed upon guidelines, the hope being that the consumers of news and fellow journalists would be critical enough about the information they received that a bar would be created by society to which all news would be judged. That which did not pass this bar as ethically acceptable, would not be successful.

This is all done to ensure that there is still complete freedom of speech. There are not restrictions bound by law because this would allow government courts the ability to restrict what is said, and what is not. Although possibly functional in theory, this creates a contradiction with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in which any form of communication or sharing ideas or information is allowed, save for certain restrictions including slander, racism, infringement upon copyrights, or spreading information which is classified. The right to free speech does not cover topics such as public vs private people, distorted information, out of context information, or bias.

Source: Order of the Stick by Rich Burlew

It is understandable that such a code of ethics cannot be made law, yet this raises intriguing questions as to what journalism should be held accountable for, if anything at all.

This isn’t to say that the media is held accountable for nothing. There are laws which they must abide by, such as copyright laws, access to information laws, and the criminal laws. Despite “Freedom of the Press,” the media does not have some sort of get-out-of-jail-free card. Yet without strict ethical boundaries, the media is able to push what they are able to do for increasingly tantalizing stories. It’s better for them—A snappy headline, although possibly slightly out of context, will draw in readers—and you could even argue that it is better for readers. If it draws more people in to learn about the world around them, isn’t that a good thing?

It’s a double edged sword, in a way. We desire the media to be entertaining because in hectic lives, people do not waste time with that which bores them. We live in a fast paced world and we expect our news to be equally so, we want bites which we can swallow easily, which we understand. Yet one aspect of the code of ethics is to “Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.” Newspapers and televisions shows rely on popularity to remain in existence. It’s all fine to say that this is how journalism should function, that this is how we would reach social change and awareness, but to risk it all for this is unlikely.

It’s clear that the media does not always follow this code, and thus is not necessarily the “forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy” which it desires to be. With scandals cropping up across continents, from phone hacking to plagiarism, we do not live with an ideal media. It may be how information is spread, upon what we base world decisions and opinions, yet in no way does this alone automatically make it reliable. In the end, it is all created by humans, who are unfortunately prone to flaws. The media may be the “foundation of democracy,” but foundations can have cracks. In the end, every individual is left with their personal judgments.
So our questions for you:
-Should the media have enforced ethical rules?
-Is it okay to break the current ethical guidelines or should it be more readily discouraged against?
-What would be adequate repercussions for members of the media who actively break the ethical guidelines?

 

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Calling All Dawns – Emily

Album artwork  –  Source: christophertin.com

Video game music is hardly the most prestigious or recognized form of art. Sure, it’s music, but it’s not a very common definition of “art” or “beauty”.

Christopher Tin composed the first ever piece of music written for a video game to receive a Grammy – Baba Yetu. Some of you might recognize it from our choir performance at the end of last year. This song was not only the theme music for Civilization IV, but also the first song on Tin’s album Calling All Dawns. This album, started in 2005 and released in 2009,  features twelve songs in twelve languages with lyrics coming from all over, including sacred texts, prayers, blessings, proverbs, and traditional poems. The album is done in the form of a song cycle. The songs are divided into three movements: Day, Night, and Dawn; corresponding to life, death, and rebirth.

The first movement, Day, has five songs – Baba Yetu (Swahili), Mado Kara Mieru (Japanese), Dao Zai Fan Ye (Mandarin), Se É Pra Vir Que Venha (Portuguese), and Rassemblons-Nous (French). These songs are about the future, joy, mystery and mortality. To me, all these songs make you want to move.

Night, the second movement, has three songs: Lux Aeterna (Latin), Caoineadh (Irish), and Hymn do Trócy Świętej (Polish). They are about death and sorrow; Caoineadh is even a traditional grieving song. These ones would fit perfectly in a sadness montage in a movie. Reflective and sobering.

Finally, we come to Dawn, the final movement of the album. Hayom Kadosh (Hebrew), Hamsáfár (Farsi), Sukla-Krsne (Sanskrit), and Kia Hora Te Marino (Maori). They are triumphant, joyful, and bring the cycle back around to life. In fact, the last song ends with the same chord as the first song opens with. All the songs flow through each other almost seamlessly – not only representing the circle of life, but also making it all one song, when it all comes down to it. It’s unifying – all the languages and styles together as one, even text from different religions’ holy books. To add to that, bits and pieces of some songs find their way into others, tying the whole thing together even further. To me, the whole album is like a journey. You are led through different emotions, countries, cultures and styles. The feeling I get at the end of Kia Hora Te Marino is the same as when I hear the finale of a musical as the curtain closes, or after I’ve watched a great movie or read the last few pages of a really good book. This album has even been described as “a musical story” in some reviews.

The mystery of hearing the music and lyrics in a foreign language is beautiful already. But upon reading the translations and meanings of the songs, they take on another level.

I find it beautiful in a descriptive way: this is my kind of music, and it makes me feel. It’s not your average piece of classical music, yet it’s so much more than just another pop song about another breakup, it’s about life, death, and the future. It makes me feel happy, energetic, pensive, peaceful, sad, welcomed, hopeful, and triumphant; all throughout these 45 minutes of art. This is one piece of art and beauty that makes me feel strongly again that art is anything that can make you feel like that. Many people who know me will remember me trying to tell them about this album at some point or another. I know that every time, I try to convey just how pretty it all is and how it makes you feel, but there aren’t really words for it. You just need to hear it yourself. So I think Tin really used a thirteenth language – music.

It’s also beautiful by normative standards: Calling All Dawns has won two Grammys and every review I’ve read has been outstandingly positive. Tin, Baba Yetu, and Calling All Dawns seem to have a massive fallowing on the internet as well. Not bad for a composer’s debut album.

 

Listen on.

 

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Emily: Putting All Your Eggs in One Freezer

Meet Louise Joy Brown.

Louise with her parents.

She was born on July 25th, 1978. She was the first ever baby to be conceived through in vitro fertilization (IVF). By 2006, over 3 million babies had been born worldwide thanks to assisted reproductive technologies (ART).  And some 60,000 babies are born every year thanks to IVF.

In IVF, eggs are removed from the woman and fertilized in a lab, then implanted in a uterus for gestation. Of the eggs fertilized, the doctors pick the “best” of the lot, then usually implant around two or three so as to have a higher chance of pregnancy without risking many multiple births.

If there were enough “good” eggs, then the non-implanted ones are often frozen and cryopreserved. This allows for the couple (or woman) to try again for another pregnancy if they want another child or if the first time around didn’t take.

But problems can ensue. What if the couple doesn’t want any more children? What if they separate or divorce? This is a major ethical issue currently being fought in many courtrooms. Should the eggs be saved if one of the parents still wants to have children? Should they be donated to another couple trying to have children? Or should they simply be discarded as medical waste?

Many, many court cases have been and are being fought over frozen embryos. In many cases, the couple has split and only one of the two wants to keep the frozen embryos. Perhaps one still wants to use them to have children, or to donate them, while the other doesn’t want to become a parent. How should the court rule? First of all, how can the court classify them? They are not legally persons yet, so it’s not the same as a custody battle over a couple of toddlers. But the embryos aren’t property either – they contain the genetic material of the parents and have the potential to be life. Many U.S. court cases have resulted in the parent demanding their right to privacy and to not have their genetic material used for procreation against their will winning the case, leaving the parent still wanting to have children or donate the embryos left behind. Most times, it is the ex-husband or ex-boyfriend who doesn’t want to have the responsibility of a child, while the woman wants to keep the embryos, often because she can no longer produce eggs likely to result in a healthy baby. Cases such as increasing age or certain types or cancer are common.

If the court rules with the parent in favour of not keeping the embryos, if the couple signs an agreement or if the frozen embryos themselves are abandoned, then the cryopreserved zygotes are destroyed by being placed in water. But is it even right to so simply destroy these pieces of pre-life?

First of all, many couples don’t have the money available for ART, so the donation of unwanted embryos or eggs would be put to good use. Or the embryos could be donated for research, particularly stem cell research. Also, while many compare the process of discarding the embryos to abortion, I feel like it is something more.

Imagine first a couple who froze several extra embryos after they had a successful pregnancy. However, later, one or both of them decide they don’t want the remaining embryos and have them destroyed.

Now, imagine a second couple. They are able to naturally get pregnant, and do so with the full intention of starting a family. However, during the pregnancy, the couple decides they no longer want kids and have an abortion. Or perhaps they separate and maybe the father demands that the mother has an abortion because he doesn’t want a biological child that he would have to provide care or money for.

I feel like abortion should be legal in some cases (but this is neither the time nor the place to discuss my exact views on abortion), but I hardly think it should be allowed if a woman or couple decide that they want to have children and start a family, then decide to abort the baby partway through the pregnancy because they changed their minds. And I think that the destruction of frozen embryos (while not a perfectly similar case) is also like this.

From my research, I know at least these things about IVF: it is generally uncomfortable to stimulate and extract the eggs, and it can cost up to $15,000 for the original treatment plus up to $600 per year for embryo storage. Then I really don’t think most people would go and freeze their embryos just for kicks and giggles. So, I will assume that they created and froze these embryos with the intent of using them to have children.

If you created these embryos with he purpose of using them to have children, then I view their destruction the same way I would view it if you got pregnant to start a family, but aborted the fetus at some point during the pregnancy.

While I know that the doctors usually take more eggs than are necessary when going through IVF, I still don’t think their destruction should be undertaken so lightly and nonchalantly. At the very least, why not donate them for research? If you’re discarding them, you surely have no use for them.

My suggestion for a solution to the problem is fairly simple. I would have the eggs and the sperm frozen separately, so that in case of divorce or some other circumstance, each partner could take their own donation and be on their merry way.

I read an article recently about a court battle over some embryos. A woman and her boyfriend had frozen some embryos, but ended up splitting up. Now, the woman has had ovarian cancer and the eggs in storage are the only she’ll ever be able to have. However, since her ex-boyfriend’s sperm was also frozen with her already-fertilized eggs, he also had a say in their fate, and he did not want to have a child from his own genetic matter without it really being his kid.

I see both people’s sides here. While I can imagine the woman’s desire to have kids that were actually her own, I can also see the man’s desire not have a child out there that was half him but really not his, not to mention probably having to pay child support or something of the like.

Again, abortion enters heavily into this discussion. For those who believe that life begins at fertilization, the destruction of frozen embryos would be no less than murder. For people like Plato, who believe that  “the human soul does not enter the body until birth”, then it is very much the same as doctors discarding any other medical waste. So, as Mariana said, “Ethics are very personal.”

So, basically, here are the problems that surround frozen embryos and their fate:

  • Do embryos count as people? Are they legally property?
  • Which is more valued: a parent’s right to have their own children (whom they paid for with a lot of money) or a parent’s right not to have their genetic material taken and used for a child that is not really theirs?
  • Is it ethical to give parents the resources to have a family without ensuring they plan ahead in case of divorce, separation or death?

I hope I have made this clearer, even though I am still not entirely sure what to think. Oh, ethics.

 

My slew of sites used for information may be found at Delicious.com

 

 

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I Know That I Don’t Know…I Think (Emily)

I confess, I am feeling slightly daunted by everyone’s posts. Everyone has these huge long posts about what they believe or know or drew in class.

As for me, I’m not usually very good at thinking on the spot. So, I’m normally not too involved in heated class discussions. I usually let stuff bounce around in my head for a while before I can argue about it or even know what I think about it.

Philosophy, however, seems determined to trump me. At the beginning of the year, we were told to think about what our personal philosophy on everything was. I had absolutely no clue then. Now, I’m probably even less sure. And with epistemology, I am still so confused as to what everything is that I have no idea what I think or know. Don’t even get me started on condensing it into a belief statement or personal philosophy.

Like so many people have said before, the more I think, the more confused I get. Two steps forwards, eighteen and a half steps back. Philosophy is clear as mud.

Still, I suppose there are things that I think I know, even if I don’t know what I think.

First of all, Descartes. After that project about him during Metaphysics, I looked a lot at “I think, therefore, I am.” To me, that is True. You can’t think things or experience things without first existing and, if you ask me, Hume can say whatever he wants but I don’t see a way to think or feel without existing. So, I can incorporate that I know I exist (because I know I am thinking about existence) into that chamber of my brain for what I Know and Believe about the world.

Secondly, Van Orman Quine. I also took part in a project about him, so I (sort of) know his ideas and I generally agree, at least with his thoughts on vague language. We don’t have words to accurately describe anything, so it can be hard to argue or even talk about anything, because words can never accurately describe anything, and everyone has their own (slightly different) definition for everything. So, I can also incorporate that I can’t really talk properly with anyone else about what I Know or Believe, because it will always be slightly distorted.

Third, everything. Everyone has these nice little triangles, but I envision a completely different diagram. (I really don’t know what kind of shape it could take, but I’ll work on that) I think that opinion and belief, while classified right at the bottom of the triangles, belong elsewhere. Maybe in a weird blob shape off to the side. Who knows. But I think that opinion and/or belief could be right up there with Knowledge or Truth – because they are True to you, otherwise they would not be your belief or opinion (They are falsifiable, but while you believe them, they are True to you). So if we could do some diagram involving them being in Truth for you but at the bottom for everyone else? Who knows.

So: I know that I exist. I can’t discuss anything clearly or properly with anyone, even possibly myself. And belief and opinion can be truth. Sometimes.

My diagram might end up looking like this.

 

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Cartesian Philosophy – Emily

“I think, therefore, I exist.”

René Descartes
The Father of Modern Philosophy
1596-1650

Born near the end of the 16th century in France, Rene Descartes has been considered the “Father of Modern Philosophy”. In his early life he studied much, but in his later youth he left behind his father’s dreams for him to be a lawyer and resolved “to seek no knowledge other than that of which could be found in [himself] or else in the great book of the world”. He traveled, “…visiting courts and armies, mixing with people of diverse temperaments and ranks…and at all times reflecting upon whatever came my way so as to derive some profit from it.” (Descartes, Wikipedia)

In his mid twenties, he was stationed in Neuberg an der Donau, Germany, he had a series of three very powerful dreams or visions which he claimed greatly influenced his life. Among other things, it is said that he saw that all truths were interconnected, and that a fundamental truth would help open the way to all science (which he had already concluded would be “a central part of his life’s work”). Descartes found his basic truth fairly soon: the famous “I think, therefore I am”.

This phrase has been described as “one of the catchiest ideas yet created by the human mind” (freerepublic.com) , and is certainly one of the most famous phrases in all of philosophy.

The essence of this idea is that, to think you exist, you must exist. You cannot think about anything without first existing, especially existence. By extension, it is also impossible to truly doubt your own existence, because one needs to first exist before they can doubt existing. However, it is quite simple to doubt objects, people and events. As we’ve discussed before, it ccould be considered ridiculous to base the amount of knowledge and theories that we do on simple sensory perception. Our senses are just too inaccurate for us to rely completely on them – but then again, they are all we have, so we can go with limited and flawed perceptions, or we can go with nothing.

To illustrate the limits our senses have, Descartes used the Wax Argument. In essence, it is:

You have a piece of wax.
Your senses tell you about it: smell, texture, weight, colour, etc.
Yo bring this wax near a heat source.
Your senses tell you that the characteristics of the piece of wax change, however, it is still the same piece of wax.
Therefore, in order to properly grasp the nature of the wax, you should put aside the senses. You must use your MIND.

One can find evidence of this Philosophy or Truth in modern society – there is the common belief that humans are, by nature superior to animals. That we have conscience, consciousness, and more rights. Descartes and others of his time even took this further, some saying that animals had reason or intelligence, or could even feel pain.

I find myself agreeing with Descartes’ “Truth” – “I think, therefore, I am”. I can’t know what exists, other than my consciousness. One’s natural response to this is usually along the lines of either “Well that chair doesn’t think, so it doesn’t exist” or “No, I know that my body exists, and I know that Descartes guy existed since he said that quote, etc…”. But the best thing is, once you start thinking about it, it gets better. No, you can’t really know if that chair exists – all you have to base that assumption on are your senses and perception. If we think back to logic, we know that if A (I think), therefore B (I exist), it does not necessarily mean that if B, therefore A.

Also, we don’t really know if Descartes ever truly existed. We only have our senses telling us that he did – people talking about him, Wikipedia articles written referencing him, etc. But what if all these stories about “that guy Descartes” are just false information from your senses? Maybe he never existed, and your ears and eyes are telling you he did. Maybe you even subconsciously came up with “I think, therefore, I am”, and your senses tell you Descartes really did.

This is what I understand of Rene Descartes.

(If any of this was confusing/convoluted/headache-inducing to anyone, one of the sites I was reading had their Descartes article tagged as “myheadhurts”)
 

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She Turned Me Into a Newt!

 

 

The peasants in this video believe the woman is a witch. Why? “She looks like one.”

This, however, is not good enough for the knight, Sir Bedevere, a man of science. He proposes a simple way to determine her guilt.

What do the people do with witches? Burn them.
And what  burns, other than witches? Wood.
Well then, why do witches burn? Because they’re made of wood.
How do we find out, then, if she is made of wood?
Does wood sink in water? No, it floats.
What else floats in water? A duck.

So, logically…
If she weighs the same as a duck, she’s made of wood.
And if she’s made of wood, she is therefore a witch.

To summarize:

1. All witches are things that can burn.
2. All things that can burn are made of wood.
3. Therefore, all witches are made of wood. (1 & 2)
4. All things that are made of wood are things that can float.
5. All things that weigh as much as a duck are things that can float.
6. So all things that weigh as much as a duck are things that are made of wood. (4 & 5)
7. Therefore, all witches are things that weigh as much as a duck. (3 & 6)
8. This thing is a thing that weighs as much as a duck.
9. Therefore, this thing is a witch. (7 & 8)

There are many ways that these premises are invalid and this argument unsound, which have been further deconstructed here. But even at a glance, we know that not everything that burns is made of wood, weighing the same as a duck does not guarantee flotation, etc.

In the Monty Python world, this kind of logic exists often. It helps to introduce the type of humour used in Python as well as how ridiculous they can be. I find Monty Python’s use of humour to be quite entertaining and effective.

 

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Our Entire Existence Hinges on a Salamander

Humans drive a rare salamander, and themselves, toward extinction – latimes.com

JUST LOOK AT THAT FACE

The L.A. Times published an article only today about a rare salamander, the ajolote (or axolotl), and how they are being driven to extinction by human pollution and introduction of nonnative species in the canals of Xochimilco near Mexico City. The ajolote’s incredible ability to regenerate limbs, heart cells, and fragments of its brain was also heavily stressed, as well as the possible beneficial application in human biosciences.

And if you don’t think that could have some application in the human biosciences, your own brain could use a tuneup.

But the article makes the jump from “oh hey that might be cool, that would be nice and helpful to have when we have medical emergencies” to “OMG THE HUMAN RACE WILL BE ELIMINATED IF WE DON’T RESCUE THIS SALAMANDER”:

…we wind up killing off the one creature that can save us as a species.

This article continues to tell us that the ajolotes are imperative to our survival:

What do you care about some slimy, unprepossessing little critter in another country? Plenty. Or you should, if you care about yourself and your progeny on this planet.

…even if you think (idiotically) that human survival isn’t dependent on the survival of the chain of creatures great and small who share our ecosystem…

…there’s every chance that the very species we just laid waste and sent blithely into extinction may be the very one that holds the key to save us from ourselves…

Nice work, people of Earth.

I find several fallacies going on here, and correct me if I’m wrong. First of all, I see judgmental language – insinuating that something is wrong with your brain if you don’t agree with them. This also pops up again when the article calls you idiotic if you don’t believe that human survival depends on other creatures in the ecosystem, something important to their argument. Secondly, there is an appeal to emotion when the writers of the article imply that if you don`t care about the ajolote, you don’t care about “yourself and your progeny on this planet”. Finally, there is an example of what I think is an ad hominem attack:”Nice work, people of Earth.” They blame the people of Earth (you included) for the near-extinction of the ajolote which, in their argument, means the extinction of humanity.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-human-being-slime-a-salamander-slag-our-survival-20121002,0,5772969.story

 

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Math Class Logic – Emily

There is a meme that I’m sure many of you have heard about:

Let us create a syllogism: Emily is a strong, independent black woman who don’t need no man.

Premise 1: A strong, independent black woman don’t need no man.

Premise 2: Emily is a strong, independent black woman.

Conclusion: Therefore, Emily don`t need no man.

Let us examine the syllogism: “a strong, independent black woman” is our middle term, A, and the first premise. “don’t need no man” is our predicate term, B, and the second premise. Finally, our conclusion and subject term, C, is “Emily”.

In this case, the argument is neither true nor valid, therefore not sound, since the conclusion is not logical based on the premises, which are also not true. However, neither premise is true: Emily is not black, therefore not a strong, independent black woman. Also, there is no evidence other than the aforementioned meme than strong, independent black women don’t need no man. Furthermore, if one counts the double negative, it means: “Emily is a strong, independent black woman who needs a man.” The Miriam-Webster Dictionary defines “independent” as not requiring or relying on others. One would assume, based on this definition, that an “independent woman” would not need a man, really anything in general.

 

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Curiosity – Emily

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is a famous philosophical tale told to illustrate the philosophical way of thinking and how it can change us. What struck me most when we discussed the allegory was the why. I tried to imagine why and how such a thing could take place.

Curiosity. Isn’t that why experiments like the Stanford Prison and Milford Experiments happened? I always guessed these scientists and psychologists had some information or hypotheses about what people would do in such situations, but they went and conducted these experiments to learn more. Because they were curious.

So  I wondered: could something similar happen with Plato’s Cave? Could this possibly ever happen? With the Nuremburg Code, however, this is unlikely, but there have been experiments and more experiments before and supposedly since the Code was put in place. The David Reimer Experiment, MKULTRA, The Well of Despair and The Monster Experiment are all examples of experimentation that did not follow the Nuremburg Code and cause amounts of disgust and revulsion in many. In the Monster Experiment, groups of orphans were given specific feedback that affected them throughout the rest of their life.

The psychologists did this experiment to see the effects of positive and negative feedback. Those who had received the negative feedback on their fluency and speech imperfections had psychological issues and speech problems throughout the rest of their lives. Pardon me, but who are these scientists to do such a thing to a child, something that rests with them all their life?

The Allegory of the Cave is quite similar – from a young age, the participants or subjects would be forced to see only the shadows on the cave wall. When released, such an experience would surely affect them the rest of their lives, as did the negative speech therapy in the Monster Experiment. Some may argue, “But at least the kids in Monster actually got to experience life, even if they had speech impediments! The ones stuck watching shadows never got to do any of the things we do!”

This brings me around to Mariana’s and Kristina’s points: is ignorance bliss? If all you had ever known was the cave wall with the shadows, would you ever dream of there being more to life? Maybe you live watching shadows, or you’re the best or the fastest at identifying them. You might be the biggest fish in your little pond. Living in the cave with the shadows would be a completely different life, not one as we know. Perhaps living with the shadows in the cave is a far better existence and a more pleasurable and fulfilling life than we’ve ever known. We can’t know. Maybe you would have more time for introspection and thought. Or, what if you were freed and guided into living in modern society? I doubt you would take as many things for granted as we do today.

How would we find this out, other than putting some kids through this kind of existence? We’re curious. Maybe, there’s a small egoistic part of us that wants this experiment to happen – as long as it’s not to us – so we can find out a little about what it’s like.  It’s our curiosity that led us to learn so much thus far. And to me, that’s philosophy. Wondering. Thinking. Curiosity.

 
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