Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


fish prezi revamped




Do it for the vine (gram)

Utilitarianism is a system of ethics according to which the rightness or wrongness of an action should be judged by its consequences. The goal of utilitarian ethics is to promote the greatest happiness for the greatest number. Therefore because utilitarianism focuses on the happiness of the majority, which to be fair is most practical, it does not account the happiness of the minority. An example of utilitarianism is if a pharmaceutical company releases a drug with approved side effects, because the drug is able to help more people than are bothered by the minor side effects. This act of utilitarianism showcases the “ends justify the means” mentality. Utilitarianism major fault is that the “little guy” doesn’t get his way, for this reason, I would not consider myself to fully follow the utilitarianism ways. Although I do agree with Mills concept of higher and lower pleasures. The best example I can think of, for a person who just recently found a new love for hiking, is that the view after a day long hike, is much more gratifying than one that you took a gondola/elevator to get to and that the amount of work and time put into something accounts for how much pleasure that thing will give you.

Categorical Imperative is an unconditional moral obligation that is binding in all circumstances and is not dependent on a person’s inclination or purpose. While I agree with the idea of doing things for because it is the right thing to do. I find it hard to wrap my head around a deed that is truly in the nature of good will, for I find that it’s easy to find an ulterior motive behind every action. What I interpreted from Kant’s Categorical Imperative, was that if you commit an act that benefits someone, yet one of the reasons you did it was to feel good about yourself, the act itself is not good anymore, and I don’t agree. The example I came across are the countless videos you see on Facebook, Instagram etc. of people doing good deeds, whether its giving food to the homeless or rescuing animals. This issue I have with these videos, is that it’s hard to detect whether the person is doing the deed out of the goodness in their hearts OR because they have a camera filming they want to flex and try to get as many likes and shares as possible. Now while these people may want fame, I still believe that it’s a good deed because in hoping for a viral video, in turn they are still helping someone out and I believe that that is still good.




All of the Lights

For my aesthetic experiences I decided to go to multiple displays of Christmas lights and I attempted to understand which of those experiences I would enjoy the most and find the most aesthetically pleasing. So over the brisk break I went to Lafarge lake, Capilano Suspension Bridge and the Enchant Christmas Maze in Olympic Village.

It’s interesting that such a simple object, such as a colored light in a small piece of plastic could attract the attention and money of so many people. After exploring the idea of beauty, I believe it’s linked to the idea of seeing things one wouldn’t commonly see or even think of. Such as a rare flower, a breathtaking viewpoint, an abstract painting or a display of thousands of Christmas lights. Being to see something that was once imaginable must gives us the feeling of enjoyment.

I really enjoyed all of the experiences but I found that I enjoyed the Lafarge lake lights the most. Their display might not have been the best, but the overall experience upstaged the others. It just so happened that it was snowing we were walking on fresh and fluffy snow without worrying about slipping on ice. The lake was also frozen and it was frightening and exhilarating to walk on it. I was also with a group of friends who I had not seen in a long time and it was such a lovely moment of reconnecting.

I would rank Capilano Suspension bridge 2nd. The actual experience was spoiled as it was very busy and crowded with too many people. But being surrounded by nature and the view above the river as you walk above on a shaky bridge was beautiful. This was not the first time I had been to the bridge to see the lights, so it wasn’t as exciting as the first time i was there. Seeing the lights on the bridges and trees sparkle in the dark will always be a magical sight.

I would rank Enchant last. Most of it had to do with the fact that it was over-hyped as it was one of the most popular things to do this Christmas season. Also the price of the tickets diminished the experience. Some of the light displays were truly beautiful and I took many wonderful pictures that night. But the factor of it feeling artificial and unnatural took away from the experience.


So what I found from my three experiences is that the more spontaneous and natural the even is, the more enjoyable it is as well. When you are expected to see something mesmerizing or expect to have an enjoyable experience you are just forcing yourself to have a better time or to see more beauty than there is.




How magic are magic mushrooms?

I personally find it appealing the idea that we are born with all potential knowledge, and like a hotel with many doors it’s up to us to find the keys and unlock the chambers of knowledge. Some keys may be hidden, depending on our perceptions and opportunities and to close minded people, there are doors that we don’t even want to open. The doors are not all easy accessible, some need more effort to open, some are completely hidden, and some require tools to get to.

  • P1: We are born with all potential knowledge

The idea that we are born with all potential is innatism. Innatism is a philosophical and epistemological doctrine that holds that the mind is born with ideas/knowledge, and that therefore the mind is not a “blank slate” at birth, as early empiricists such as John Locke claimed. The Blue Brain Group in Switzerland conducted an experiment and  discovered a synaptic organizing principle that groups neurons in a manner that is common across animals and therefore, independent of individual experience, they also found that the groups of neurons, or cell assemblies, appear consistently in the Neocortices of animals and are essentially cellular “building blocks”. This reinforces the idea that learning, perception, and memory are a result of putting these pieces together rather than forming new cell assemblies. Plato also supports this idea with his Theory of The Forms.

  • P2: Through personal experiences and the experiences of others, we strive to our potential

We learn through our personal experiences or vicariously through others,  whether that’s in reading, a lecture or speaking to that person. As one learns through rationalization, first-hand experience or second-hand experience, we are striving to our full potential of knowledge. By doing this we are creating connections and putting pieces together. We are finding more keys and opening more doors.

  • Conclusion: The limits on our knowledge are our limits of perception

We cannot know what we can’t perceive. A blind person may never know the color purple, we can’t truly understand what’s going on in the farthest galaxy. Therefore the limits of our senses, opportunities and perceptions limit our knowledge. Aldous Huxley wrote multiple essays on his experience on the drug Mescalin. Mescalin is a hallucinogenic and intoxicating compound present in mescal buttons from the peyote cactus. This drug as well as magic mushrooms and LSD are hallucinogenic drugs and some are rumored to “open your third eye” or tap into parts of the brain that anyone sober wouldn’t be able to.

“The other world to which mescalin admitted me was not the

world of visions; it existed out there, in what I could see with my eyes open. The great change was in

the realm of objective fact. What had happened to my subjective universe was relatively unimportant.”

– Aldous Huxley

Aldous found that his ability to “think straight” was reduced and that his visual impressions were greatly intensified.


“Though the intellect remains unimpaired and though perception is enormously improved, the will

suffers a profound change for the worse. The mescalin taker sees no reason for doing anything in

particular and finds most of the causes for which, at ordinary times, he was prepared to act and suffer,

profoundly uninteresting. He can’t be bothered with them, for the good reason that he has better things

to think about.” -Aldous Huxley

“When the brain runs out of sugar, the undernourished ego grows weak, can’t be bothered to undertake the necessary chores, and loses all interest in those spatial and temporal relationships which mean so much to an organism bent on getting on in the world”, is how Huxley described an undernourished brain. Huxley found that “Mescalin had endowed me temporarily with the power to see things with my eyes shut” and “Mescalin raises all colors to a higher power and makes the percipient aware of innumerable fine shades of difference, to which, at ordinary times, he is completely blind.” This raises the question: through our abstinent human eyes, are we all blind?

Though anyone can vouch that I have never taken a hallucinogenic drug, I do believe that our knowledge is blocked or limited by the restrictions of our perceptions and I wonder if full knowledge is even possible. To have attained full knowledge, one must have experienced anything and everything.




Ever tried eating a clock? It’s very time consuming

It’s about time.


In my small discussions, most had agreed with me that time was truly an illusion. As I brought up the malleable concept of time, and examples such as daylight savings and leap years most became more convinced because it is something we all experience. The thing about time is that it applies to everyone, so bringing up the idea of our personal perceptions of time, and how some days seem slower or faster, it’s a topic everyone can relate to. Even in other parts of the world, the time it is here is not the same as New Zealand. There were questions brought up that time must exist, the example brought forward was when this particular person threw a pillow into the air and said that time has passed, when the pillow was thrown up and when it landed. Something must be there in between the time the pillow fell and that something must be passing between the time that you read the first word and when you read this one. Time being so abstract and complex leads to more and more confusion.


Phil’s Day Off:

For my PDO I wanted to explore my own perception of time and compare it to our society’s version of time. I decided to try out different activities and analyze how much time I believed it was and how much actually passed and why. We all know the common phrase “time flies when you’re having fun” so I decided to test it.




How will my perception of time change depending on the activity chosen?


  • -Do different activities
  • -Start timer at beginning of activity
  • -Carry on activity without paying any attention to time
  • -Stop timer when I believe that an hour has passed


Right when I woke up in the morning my perception of time was already off, what felt like 11:30am when it was actually 9:34am.

  • Working out at the gym : 38 minutes

Later in the afternoon I decided to go to Club 16. Being that working out is nothing new to me and is something I compel myself to do often, I predicted that one hour to me would feel close to an actual hour. I was surprised to find that what I believed was an hour was only 38 minutes and it made me feel like an unfit, lazy oaf. I realized that because my workout like most, consists of many reps and sets. Having to do the same move over and over, while tiring  myself out must have contributed to the factor of time “moving slower”.

Me at the Gym https://media.tenor.co


  • Spending time with SO: 1:09 minutes

Typically when spending time with someone you genuinely enjoy, time seems to “move faster”. I chose to spend time with le boyfriend, who’s company I typically enjoy. For the experiment we did nothing that might alter the time perception, so we just sat and talked. Not having spent time with him in a while, it was lovely to catch up.  As cheesy as it may sound, time really seems to pass quicker when I’m with him. This is nothing new to us or our parents when they complain about how much time we need to see each other. Of course this doesn’t only applies to good friendships as well.

  • Reading: 42 minutes

The results for this one actually surprised me, I completely forgot that I genuinely enjoy reading. When I was younger I would typically read a lot more, but as I got older there just never seemed to be enough time for it unless I’m on vacation and even then I tend to get lazy and watch TV instead. The book was another reason why I thought time would be slower, I was reading George Orwell’s “1984” and while it is an important book to read and to understand how Orwell accurately predicted the society that we grow close to everyday, it can be quite slooooow. Also the idea of reading the book for English Class and to aid this experiment, I anticipated that not truly wanting to do it for my own pleasure would make time appear slower.

  • Homework: 35 minutes

Homework being the activity that would seem the most slow, was expected. Especially doing homework for a class that I don’t really need and doing it for the sake of getting a good grade make the task grueling. Perhaps if I found the subject interesting, or genuinely wanted to learn more for my personal interest, time wouldn’t go as slow.


To wrap up this Phil’s Day Off, the experiment concludes that doing things I found stimulating or being in the company of someone I truly enjoy seem to make “time go faster” while boring/tedious activities seem to make “time move more slowly”. In the future, to look more in depth into the subject, I think it would be beneficial to look into other factors such as the time of day and the amount of sleep received. It would also be interesting to try out more activities and maybe the opposite of activities such as spending time with a person you despise, which I thought about but did not want to put myself through.





This post on time, is not on time

Main Question: Is time an illusion?

At every moment, no matter what, time passes. Unless you own a blue telephone box, you cannot pause, fast-forward or rewind time. Phrases such as “time flies when you’re having fun”, the concept of daylight savings and leap years, have me wondering whether time is real or just an illusion.

Sub Questions:

  1. What is time?
  • The system of those sequential relations that any event has to another, as past, present, or future; indefinite and continuous duration regarded as that in which events succeed one another. -www.dictionary.com

Time tells us such things as the duration of events, when they occur, and which events happen before which others. It is also what clocks are used to measure. Time is typically divided into 3 parts, the past, the present and the future.

“Time is only a reflection of change. From change, our brains construct a sense of time as if it were flowing.” -Julian Barbour

Aristotle was the first to claim that “time is the measure of change”. He emphasized “that time is not change [itself]” because a change “may be faster or slower, but not time…” For example, a leaf can fall faster or slower, while time itself cannot be faster or slower.


2. How was time created?

The oldest known time keeping device is a sun dial from Egypt, that dates to about 1500 BCE.


Like the sundial, long ago people used the sun and the moon to keep track of time. A day started when the sun was rising above the horizon and ended when it was below, but all days would not have the same length of time depending on the region and season. In the case of the moon takes about a month to go from the full moon to the new moon. While Egyptians were the first to have a 24 hour day, the Babylonians were the first to divide the hour into 60 minutes, and seconds came later on.

3. Does time have a beginning or end?

This question, like most time questions is controversial. Philosophers Plato and Aristotle believed that the past is eternal. They believed this because for any time there is an imaginable earlier time.

On the other hand, Augustine believed that the universe was made with time and not in time, he implied that time began with God’s creation a finite time ago. Stephen Hawking also believes that the universe has not existed forever. Instead, the universe, and time itself, had a beginning in the Big Bang, about 15 billion years ago.

Where to next?

Learning more about time, creates more confusion and opens up new questions such as : is time relative? is time fundamental? what a world without the concept of time would look like if possible? From my questions, many answers had divided opinions. At this “time”, I do believe that time is an illusion. Although time is incredibly practical, it’s not real in the sense that it exists only because of conventions accepted by humans for their convenience.

“The dividing line between past, present, and future is an illusion” – Albert Einstein














Logic Of Pit bull (the dog breed not Mr.Worldwide)

Pit bulls are known to have a bad reputation. Their muscular build, “hold and shake” bite style and association with criminals are dog fighters all add to that factor.  Late September this year in Montreal, there was a proposed pit bull ban after a 55 year old lady was killed in her backyard by a pit bull. Some feel as if banning a breed is like human discrimination. This raises the debate whether to blame the breed or the owner.

This reminded me of the quote in “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, when Atticus Finch is defending Tom Robinson, a black man.

“the truth is this: some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women—black or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men.” – Atticus Finch

Now you can this quote and make it relevant to pit bulls by replacing a few words:

“the truth is this: some pit bulls are immoral, some pit bulls are not to be trusted around people. But this is a truth that applies to all dogs and no particular breed of dog.”

Premise 1: all pit bulls are dogs

Premise 2: some pit bulls are dangerous

Premise 3: some dogs are dangerous

Conclusion: Not all pit bulls are dangerous, any dog has potential to harm. 

  • Premise 1: is factual and easily to believe as true
  • Premise 2: are statistics and also easy to believe as true. In the 11-year period of 2005 through 2015, canines killed 360 Americans. Pit bulls contributed to 64% (232) of these deaths. Combined, pit bulls and rottweilers contributed to 76% of the total recorded deaths. Statistics from: http://www.dogsbite.org/
  • Premise 3:  can be seen as true. Not every pit bull is destined to become a vicious killer, many pit bulls have proven their stability by becoming search and rescue dogs, therapy dogs, herding dogs and family companions.
  • Conclusion: These premises lead to the conclusion that not all pit bulls are dangerous and that any dog has potential to harm, because it clarifies that many breeds as well as pit bulls can be dangerous. The conclusion is valid since not all pit bulls are proven to be dangerous. Since the premises are true, the conclusion would necessarily be true as well. Because all the premises are true while having a valid conclusion, then this argument is sound.

Although is it said that pit bulls have more aggression, higher pain tolerance and a more muscular build, it does not necessarily mean that all pit bulls will kill you. Any breed of dog can be good or bad, it’s the owners with bad intentions who are able to turn a harmless breed into a killer breed. Since pit bulls were created for violence, they are the most abused dog on earth. The dogs are treated cruelly to make them as dangerous as possible. In many dog bite cases, the dogs are socially isolated by their owner to create a more vicious dog. This is relevant for humans as well, anyone who’s been exposed to poor treatment can eventually turn immoral. We can’t blame all pit bulls and it’s not fair to take away behaved pit bulls from loving families.





Beatrize- Philosphy is a Fish in a Fishbowl




Spoiler Alert: Parents Lie

To some extent, we’re all in the cave. Some long for enlightenment, while other are comfortable with uncertainty. Do we have any say in which path others take? Sometimes we do. Parents do.

At least my parents did.

I was practically shoved out of my cave when I had found out that parents have been lying to me for years. I was too young and too innocent for the truth that was about to punch me in the face.

SANTA ISN’T REAL AND NEITHER IS THE TOOTH FAIRY. This epiphany brought tears to my eyes and I can vividly remember bawling into my pillow while my over dramatic third grade self yelled, “why would you lie to me!”

Gif courtesy of: wifflegif.com

Gif Courtesy of: www.reactiongif.us

I was hit with this blast of reality on the same day I had lost a baby tooth, which brought up the topic in the first place. After requesting what I had thought was a large amount (20$) from the Tooth Fairy (my parents), I got over it. So there isn’t a chubby man in a red suit giving to the behaved children of the world. And there’s no lady who flies around collecting the teeth of children in exchange for cash.

Looking back, it seems so foolish that I, and many other children alike, believed such a preposterous thing. I can even recall a time at recess when I tried to convince my classmate that the tooth fairy isn’t real, and like myself when I first heard the truth, she did not believe me. That’s when I realized that I didn’t want to burden her with the truth. So I just said “never mind” and walked away.

What if my parents hadn’t told me? What if I had become a full grown adult that still believed in Santa? I would like to assume that I would have figured it out eventually. So like a baby tooth, I had been pulled out; yet maybe if my parents had waited a little longer, I would’ve just fallen out when I was ready. Just like Plato’s Cave.



DOL #1: Philosophy and Comfort

After an extended vacation on the other side of the globe, where the weather is incredibly humid and chicken intestines carts are a regular find on the street. The return to reality was inevitable. Following a 15 hour plane ride I managed to stumble into the class of philosophy.  As for most things that I sign up for, I had no expectations for this class, yet after attending a few classes I am truly eager to see what the rest of the semester holds.

Being in this class, I really hope to leave this tiny bubble around me, that I call my comfort zone. In past classes, any question that involves my own point of view, as opposed to a concrete answer, had me nervous. Which is interesting because philosophy is as concrete as jello. Typically I’m hesitant to share my opinions and ideas because I’m unaware of how other would react and I’m almost embarrassed to say that I’m afraid of being wrong. Even making this blog post makes me feel uneasy, since I know others (you) will read it and who knows what you’re thinking. I have always been a fan of guidelines and criteria, and the lack of it is new to me. The way I see it, is that if you don’t have a yellow-brick road laid out for you, how would you know that you’d make it to Emerald City, there’s just so much room for error. So another goal would be to learn how succeed without guidelines and to instead of seeing it problem, to see it as freedom. I would also hope to understand my own ethics, I would appreciate knowing why I do things, why I think these thoughts and feel certain feelings. It would make arguments a lot more straightforward when my parents or boyfriend ask why I made a bad decision that I have reasoning, instead of standing there with a blank face shrugging my shoulders.

Some simple goals so far:

  • -be comfortable with sharing personal perspective
  • -learn how to succeed without guidelines
  • -discover personal ethics
  • -create more insightful questions

When I think of wisdom, the first image to pop into my head is an old man with a long beard and a cane or Master Oogway from Kung Fu Panda. I believe this comes into my head because being wise has a lot to do with experience, but I have realized that just because you are old doesn’t mean you are wise.

photo from: http://iscreamsundae.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/6.png

Someone who is wise is realistic and is not surprised when life doesn’t go as plan. They are modest, grateful and have proper judgement on what’s right and wrong. The greatest thing a wise person can do is share his/her experiences and knowledge to better the other persons and steer them into the right direction.

“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it.” -Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Nigel Warburton’s “Talk with Me” essay really opened my eyes to the two different approaches to philosophy. In the beginning you see the reasoning behind Ludwig Wittgenstein’s conversion to a hermit, because it would appear to make sense to be alone with your thoughts in order to expand his philosophical creativity. It’s quite frightening to imagine being in your head every day, since I don’t even like being alone in my head for a night let alone a year. But the Cambridge philosophers, completely change your views, by saying philosophy should be conversation. Discussion is important because thoughts and ideas should be challenged.

“Why would a thinker cast seeds on barren soil?” – Nigel Warburton

I am fully confident that this course will bring me to wider perspective about myself, others and the world around me and I am excited to see the process unfold.