Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course



Belief- an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists

Knowledge- facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

At one point in time people believed the world to be flat

Through experience and information this belief was proven incorrect, being the world is spherical

Therefore knowledge changes overtime

Belief is that we are certain of something to a variety of degrees, that we have evidence for in and that may or may not be true. For example referring to a young child’s beliefs, the belief in unicorns or the belief that a person vaguely believes that he will be caught illegally downloading music. Both cases have varying certainty and varying likeliness to be true, we do not explicitly distinguish to what extent the belief is certain, backed by evidence or whether it is actually true.It is clear that knowledge comes from experience. Knowledge is what you know, however you cannot know anything outside of what society knows. Knowledge has factors of change, for what is true today may not be true tomorrow. One factor being that through change and time raises new knowledge. We must factor for the truth-value of knowledge because one can perceive something and believe in it though if it is not true, people believing the world to be flat. If you were to ask someone to describe the world they would have very confidently defined it as flat. What that person believes with all their heart, cannot be counted as knowledge, for everyone knows now that the world is not flat the world is round. What is known has to be true, it has to be fact. Unless something is a fact, one does not know it.

A lot of people are uncomfortable with the idea that there isn’t universal knowledge. Philosopher Rene Descartes was one of them. When he was a young man, he was taught a lot of things by authority figures. As he came of age he started to discover that much of what he was taught either was false or was highly questionable. Like me in philosophy class! questioning everything I do. He found he couldn’t have the certainty and was deeply troubled by this.

One day, he decided to tackle the problem. He hid himself away and decided to get to the bottom of it. He resolved to doubt everything of which he could not be certain. The biggest problem he faced is that sometimes the senses can be deceptive (as I talked about in my dreams post about him being unsure about being seated by a fire consciously or unconsciously) And after all, could he be certain he wasn’t insane or dreaming when tasting an apple “or being seated by that fire”? So while they might be fairly reliable, the senses don’t provide us with certainty—which is what Descartes was after.

Unfortunately, this left Descartes with no where to turn. He found that he could be skeptical about everything and was unable to find a certain foundation for knowledge. But then he struck something that changed modern epistemology. He discovered that there was one thing he couldn’t doubt: the fact that he was a thinking thing. In order to doubt it, he would have to think. He reasoned that it’s not possible to doubt something without thinking about the fact that you’re doubting. If he was thinking then he must be a thinking thing and so he found that it was impossible to doubt that he was a thinking being.

Some mistakenly think that Descartes was implying with this idea that he thinks himself into existence. But that wasn’t his point at all. He was making a claim about knowledge. Really what Descartes was saying is: I think, therefore I know that I am.

The story of Descartes is meant to illustrate the depth of the problems of epistemology and how difficult and rare certainty is, if certainty is possible there are plenty of philosophers who think either that Descartes’ project failed or that he created a whole new set of problems that are even more intractable than the one he set out to solve.

<-I agree with Immanuel Kant that knowledge is acquired through experience, knowledge is direct. Throughout time we experience different situations good and bad but no matter the outcome we have learned innovated knowledge. Personally that is how I learn something new, I’d rather be taught through actions to swim instead of being told how to do every action.

Knowledge is the root to many challenges we face on a day to day basis and how we solve those issues. We know that we have to eat in order to survive and that we need oxygen, this is a fact. We all know something, like how to choose our friends, hobbies and what we want to do in the future so I believe that humans do in fact know things, “I think therefore I am”. All these decisions we make effect the way we and others live, they are grounded in our view of knowledge—our epistemology. Fact is, people change, our environment changes, our ways change, everything in our world is at a constant change over time.






Am i dreaming now?

My previous post asked how can I be sure I am not always dreaming? and are dreams conscious experiences that occur during sleep?

The functioning of the human mind remains in great measure for wonder, amazement, and discovery for all mankind. Some of mankind’s greatest scholars have attempted to count and define the vast amount of brain functions. Through years of experiment and observation, man has excelled in the understanding of many of the brain’s functions. However, the function of dreaming continues to stump verification, and many have theorized about its purpose. Sigmund Freud was a pioneer in developing theories on the usage of dreams.



Freud was able to use dreams as a key to unlock the unawareness level of our unconscious minds. His extensive work still contributes to the modern field of psychology

“[Dreams are] the royal road to the unconscious.”

Freud is stating in other words, that dreams bring us down to the deep level of our unconscious mind.

In Freud’s theory of dreams, he states that dreams are the surest ground of psychoanalysis. The interpretation of dreams is the most direct way to insight in to the unconscious. The unconscious comes to life in our nightly dreams. These illusions that we create, the alteration of character can help to understand the problems we have in our waking life.

Freud explored the possibility of universal symbols in dreams to help interpret situations happening in a persons life. A child may go through a painful experience. The older the person gets she will start to forget about it, pushing it into her unconscious mind. Even though it is forgotten, it is still there and she starts to recapture the experience in dreams, confusing dreams with distorted images so she doesn’t know what it means. She continues having the dream night after night. Finally she decide she had had enough. She makes an appointment with a  psychoanalyst  (dream  interpretation, and analysis of resistance and transference are used to explore repressed or unconscious impulses, anxieties, and internal conflicts, in order to free psychic energy for mature love and work), where he will help she analyze his/her dream and find the root of her conflict; then he’ll help she cope with pain, so she can sleep better at night.

For me personally I push my problems to my unconscious mind almost like it is a defence mechanism. People avoid there issues by hiding them in the back of their mind. I read in an article that although nightmares can be extremely distressing for people, but they are trying to warn us that we are caught up in some internal conflict needing resolution to help our well-being. Some believe that nightmares help prepare us for scary situations so we will know how to react to terror. Once you know what is the root of your nightmares you can take steps to do something about it, and that’s what Freud studied about being able to examine the mind in helping interpret dreams.




This isn’t real

How can I be sure I am not always dreaming, or dreaming right now?

It’s a freaky question right? A philosopher named Descartes strove for certainty in the beliefs we hold. He stated in one of his meditation that he is certain of being seated by the fire in front of him. He then dismisses the idea that this belief could be certain because he has been deceived before in dreams where he has similarly been convinced that he was seated by a fire, only to wake and discover that he was only dreaming that he was seated by a fire. How can I know that I am not now dreaming? Is the famous resulting question Descartes asked himself.012914 F&E Descartes

Descartes believes that we cannot trust our senses in waking life. The phenomenon of dreaming is used for the skeptical hypothesis that everything we currently believe to be true could be false and generated by a dream. Since Descartes argument there has been many modern-dreamcatcher1claims replied about it, Hobbes believed that an absence of the absurd in waking life was a key difference in distinguishing waking consciousness from dreaming. A person can tell simply because the absurdity is no longer there during wakefulness. Sosa says that “in dreaming we do not really believe; we only make-believe.” He argues that in dreaming we actually only ever imagine scenarios, which never involve deceptive beliefs, and so we have no reason to feel our ordinary waking life beliefs can be damaged. Descartes relied on an idea of belief that was the same in both dreaming and waking life.

Dreaming is especially interesting and fundamentally similar to waking consciousness because it entails consciousness of a world that we take to be the real one just as we do during waking consciousness. Dreams also reveal the subjective nature of consciousness: the creation of a “world-for-me”.

Are dreams conscious experiences that occur during sleep?

Studies have been completed on people that say that they can be conscious during sleep and are asked to give an eye signal; left right left when they realize they are dreaming. The unconscious may carry out eye moveluciddreamingimage2ments that mislead scientists into believing the sleeping individual is conscious during studies. Once we start to acknowledge the unconscious with being able to exchange with waking memories during sleep and to make these judgments, we either have to change our picture of the unconscious or conclude that these individuals are consciously aware during sleep. I am sceptic towards dreams being consciously experienced during sleep. For, the sceptic could say that lucid dreams are a special case that does not apply to ordinary dreaming. Yes, there is evidence that different parts of the brain are accessed or more strongly activated during lucid dreaming. So there still remains the possibility that lucid dreaming is an example of consciously “waking up within a dream” while ordinary dreams are taken care of entirely by the unconscious. Had Descartes been a lucid dreamer, then when he was sat by the fire, his phrase might have come out as “I am now seated by the fire but I have also been deceived in dreams into believing I have been seated by the fire … though on occasion I have realized that I was just dreaming when apparently seated by the fire and so was not deceived at all!” It surely is a liable fact that people rarely have lucid dreams. I really wanted to also talk about sleep paralysis but that would go on forever so here’s a link if your interested in looking at the topic. http://www.crystalinks.com/sleeparalysis.html

In our lifetime we will spend about a tenth of our conscious lives dreaming, and yet it is one of the most difficult mental states to scientifically investigate. The contrast analysis is put forward as a possible solution to the problem of how to integrate dreams into consciousness studies. Dreaming and sleep in general bring about so many questions and thoughts that hopefully can be answered someday.



Fat Americans

Rather, the main reason we’re getting fatter — all of us — is because we are surrounded by tasty temptations that cost very little, from fast food menus to processed snack foods, said the study’s lead author, Roland Sturm, a senior economist at the RAND Corporation and a professor of policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

Up till now, researchers have focused on group differences: between rich and poor, between those who live states like Colorado and Mississippi, or between blacks and whites, Sturm said.

Sturm reviewed the all the available research for a study published in CA: Cancer Journal for Clinicians and concluded that everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity or socio-economic status, is gaining weight at about the same rate. His graphs clearly show parallel tracks of increasing flab among all groups.

“If we want to solve the obesity problem, we have to figure out what has changed for everybody,” Sturm said. “And the thing that pops out is our food environment. That’s where the action is. And it’s not just that food is now cheap relative to income it’s also that it’s so much more convenient.”

Sturm may have offered up a new target, but he doesn’t have a silver bullet to aim at it. He suggests small tweaks to prod people to make changes. For example, taxes on unhealthy food choices.

“An economic incentive allows us to nudge people in the right direction,” he said. “It might be enough to start changing social norms. In half a decade smoking changed dramatically. Though we can’t say that’s all because of taxes and indoor smoking limits, those tweaks probably helped.”


Premise1-Most Americans buy junk food regularly because healthy food is expensiveWhy-America-is-fat

Premise 2-Most researchers agree that such eating habits cause obesity

Conclusion-Therefore putting a tax on unhealthy foods will probably help

Premise number one is easily thought of as true because I think we can all agree that healthier food for example organic food is more expensive than a box of cookies. Money is always an issue for most people and that factor causes us to pay for the lower priced foods. (factually correct)

Premise two is harder to prove to be true but some p
eople have really high metabolisms and can eat anything and not get fat. I believe that eating such habits would make you unhealthy and not fit instead of saying your obese. So I agree that “most researchers agreeing” is true because of the reason I listed above.  (Factually correct) (cant tell)

In this article they talked about how much smoking has changed in half a decade because of the tax and limits put on it. Its not proven that, that helped but “those tweaks probably helped”. So with those facts he believes that if we raise the prices of junk food or put a tax on junk food, it will nudge people into the right direction to buying healthier food. I believe that with this tax we will also be able to lower the prices of healthy food.


The point to this argument is to make people aware of the rising obesity rates happening, especially in America which is constantly being made fun of for there larger weighed human population. This article brings attention to what we can do to help lower the obesity rate and tells us that no matter ethnicity or economic background the rate has risen. This article brings awareness to that its the food environment causes such high rates because it is way more convenient to buy a pre made dinner instead of cooking from scratch and the prices of healthier food have sky rocketed. Now a days if you want nice food you have to be 10,000 dollar bananas from Whole Foods. 



To Live is to Think

Hola, my name is Brianna but my friends call me Brie, yes that”s also how i like to spell it (just like the cheese) Please do not call me Brianne because its one of my pet peeves. There is an A on the end I dont get why people cant see it! I love my family and friends a lot. I have already learned a lot this year and I’m excited to learn more.

Trying to describe philosophy is like trying to describe a specific color to someone, which recently I found out doesn’t even exist! Thinking philosophically scares me because it comes from curiosity, which is based off thoughts not facts, it makes me question my morals and what I believe to be true. Our minds are a scary place for example the thought that we are all apart of a computer stimulation or what is going to happen after we die. This frustrates me because they are questions that we may never find an answer to.

Trying to find a particular answer on defining philosophy is never going to happen because someone else’s view on philosophy could be completely different than the others, but I believe it to be just a science without the facts.

Back to colors not existing, we discussed the writing of Malcom Harris’s “Does Color Even Exist” in class and I believe that color has to exist because without it how could have our race and other living organisms survived. Color plays an important role in the world we live in. It can change your mood, cause reactions, irritate or soothe your eyes and sway thinking. Color can even quench appetite. Color is an irreplaceable form of communication. Red and green are a universal way we use to say stop and go.

Calvin asks why photos were in black and white and his dad responds with because the world used to be in black and white. But Calvin wonders how there were paintings if there was no color. Answering again “a lot of great artists were insane”. What is insanity though? We perceive it to be when someone isn’t doing the norm of society and that makes them insane. Insanity is ultimately dropping this act of what we perceive as reality. Calvin speaks “the world is a complicated place” and I agree, he is confused as to why color doesn’t exist just like me. I have learned so far that we all just have to keep an open mind because for all we know there is something else but we’ve engrossed ourselves in this place so much we’ve lost sight of whatever that may be.