Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Lines on a Mind Map

Knowledge is the connections we make between concepts.

To explain knowledge, I am saying the lines we draw on mind map actually represent our knowledge, not the words we write on the paper. To actually know something means you can apply it in different ways, or express its shape with different forms. Competence and Propositional Knowledge fits within my own boundaries of what I think this word “knowledge” really entails.

Premise One:  a concept is defined as a mental construction holding various characteristics to identify it by
Premise Two: a connection is directly relating at least one characteristic between two concepts
Conclusion: therefore knowledge is the connections we make between concepts.

In my syllogistic argument, I begin with defining what a concept is. Starting here I am able to delve deeper into my thoughts because I am clearly laying them out. A concept is constructed by our brains as a means to interpret the world around us using the characteristics of the concept. These characteristics are identification towards the concept. An example of a concept widely excepted by our race is the concept of love. This is an intangible thing, and we are unable to fully describe it with our words, yet we agree that it exists. It is commonly referred to as a feeling, and one will know they are in love when they get the excited feeling in their stomach and protective nature towards this other person. Another concept we encounter daily is the significance of education and its founding effect in society. Uneducated people are seen as useless members of society, people who are not able to contribute anything of great importance regarding development and renovations. Similarly, educated people are given jobs that pay more money because we value knowledge. Which brings me back to my question of when do we know we know something?

My second premise states that a connection between concepts relies on the comparisons you can make between them. For example, between love and the significance of education I can make the connections that they are both woven into the average lifestyle and somewhat forced upon us by our environment. We as humans aspire to encounter and feel love, but why is it so strong? Partly a psychological matter, but also the response of the media, selling us frivolous stories of romance and love. Education is a necessary step towards being able to work in a higher position that McDonalds drive thru attendant. Money is used as an incentive, also reported by the media to be the foundation of happiness.

Therefore I can say I know the concepts of love and the significant of education because I am able to find relationships between the building blocks of each. In a normal day, we will make thousands of connections showcasing our knowledge. An example is seeing the rain outside and then recalling a memory of the unpleasant feeling of being soaked to the bone, therefore knowing in order to stay comfortable we must carry an umbrella. Had I see the rain and not recalled a memory, I would not know that I must carry the umbrella because I was not given a relationship between concepts to form my learning.

David Hume also had some thoughts about the important of connections in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
His ideas highlight that there is a necessity towards connections and the mental process of forming relationships is crucial to our understanding of the world. He splits it up into Critical and Constructive Phases of the Necessary Connection, but basically its existence of debate gives meaning to its stature. He discusses a relationship between cause and effect. The debate on if its a necessary connection and holds true meaning, or whether we perceive it to make sense of our world. Other natural connections we are able to make are discovering the types of people we find most comfort in or a reason as to why we learn a lesson from certain instances. Drawing our connections from two different sources allows us to expand our mind and lessen the compartmentalization of ideas that often takes place in the school or work place.

In conclusion, knowledge is shown by our ability to draw connections between concepts by determining like characteristics.

 

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Energy in Motion

What if humans did not have emotions?

I set out to answer this question further than my original thoughts (that life would be meaningless without them). I also set out to discover a philosopher who also has some insight into emotions. And I found David Hume’s very interesting perspective of emotions into the world from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

He proposes that emotions are part of the passions, along with feelings and desires. These passions lead us to the top of will, definitely not where I was headed. However, what he has to stay is quite interesting. Its the thought that “we discover just as much necessity to hold between human motives, character traits, and circumstances of action, on the one hand, and human behavior on the other” from this realm of passions and will and emotions.

To understand what he is saying, and how it relates to my initial understanding, I am going to breakdown his quote. He incorporates a sense of necessity into motives, character traits, actions, and behaviour. Human motives represent our ambitions and aspirations towards some goal. Our character traits are what defines us, which is parallel with emotions in the we act out based on our circumstances. A particular judgement often made against others is how a person might react to a specific situation. I think Hume is suggesting that emotion is a driving force in the action we make of our circumstances, and this outlines the kind of person we are. Human behaviour comes into play also with reactions. It is how we decide, whether nature or nurture, to respond to our environment.

I agree with David Hume on this point, before he begins to gets into Free Will and Morals. One of the things I feel most compelling in my life is to seek happiness, which I guess can be thought of as a purpose of life. But back to my original question, what does the absence of emotions in humans entail? Overall, I think it would equate to a lack of connections between us. We would be more self sustaining, have other motives or drives, and perhaps not be able to recognise a purpose in life. The lack of emotions may lead as far as a less evolved brain, and more primal instincts because that is what I see humans would rely on. Without emotions, we not really be human at all (I mean this far outside of mental illness/disorders, please do not think my intentions are related to that topic).

While emotions may just seem like a thing that we happen to experience, it can involve many other metaphysical inquiries, and is not as simple as one may think at first.

 

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What if humans had no emotions?

I came upon my inspiration for this post during our class today. Our task was to simply state how we worked well and what we could improve amongst ourselves, however our discussion ventured far from that path. We emotionally argued about the existence of emotions, and I began to wonder if the ideal resolution would be to not have emotions. But what would that entail?

I feel that emotions are an intricate part of our lives, whether we realize it or not. A lot of people would recognize passion as the single most important element of life. What is passion driven by? If we are passionate certainly we are not void of emotion. What about marriage? Love is a common emotion that forms a foundation for many actions humans partake in from marriage and children to  forming trust to bonds between teammates.

Let’s not forget that the little emotions are the great captains of our lives and we obey them without realizing it. ~Vincent Van Gogh, 1889

Vincent accurately describes how I view emotions. Their role in our lives is enormous and constant; an unconscious command.

Without emotions, our lives as humans would be void and pointless, with no motivation or inspiration to do great things. We would live in a dull world where nothing had meaning. Ambition would be not captured or understood and we would operate like robots or artificial intelligence.

Think of emotions as colour. All the neon and highlighter colours would turn into a grayscale. The world would seem black and white, figuratively and literally.

Literally our word would be black and white. Figuratively the world would lose meaning or purpose.

I looked online to see if my thoughts on emotions were far off from others, and I found a large collection of words on emotion in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. In it I found an interesting quote:

Descartes said it thus: “it is impossible for the soul to feel a passion without that passion being truly as one feels it.”

I understand this as passion being the rawest form of emotion. Its a form that only the keeper can interpret correctly. I think we underestimate the power of emotions in our daily lives and may even neglect them. We shouldn’t feel like emotions are a sign of weakness, we should think of it as a form of strength. They make us who we are, creating diversity between us all. I think that we don’t have emotions, emotions have us.

 

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Men are (not) better than women in sports

I feel strongly about women in sports. As a female rugby player, I have strong opinions on the whole “men are better at sports than women” topic. That statement is powerful, and it had me thinking, why do people feel that way and who are the people that think this?

Last year a big topic in news was the Women’s World Cup. The women’s teams had to play their matches on artificial turf fields opposed to grass fields. This wouldn’t have been a problem if the men were put under the same conditions, but the men’s teams played on grass fields. I read about how women’s sports has less sponsorship and viewers and how people don’t care as much about these high level sports played by women.

This brought me back to the thought that men are better at sports than women. This statement is definite. Yet our society is so diverse, surly not one man is better than every woman in sports. I found out some interesting premises to this conclusion. The first has to do with the human body. Men are equipped with “testosterone, gland secretions, [and] muscles in their upper body rather than fat deposits” that aid in a natural ability to outperform women. This is of course generally speaking.

Another premise is the very basis of sports, how “they [are] geared towards categories like “I can push you further”.” While men are stereotyped to be strong, a woman’s well known qualities include flexibility and agility. Read more from this article here.

Here is a simplified version of this argument.

Premise 1: The male athlete’s body is stronger than the female athlete’s body regarding sports.

Premise 2: Sports are set up on abilities of strength.

Conclusion: Men are better than women in sports.

This argument is factually correct. Its valid. Its sound. Personally, I am not going to ever agree with the conclusion but I do recognize the premise as holding truth.

In response to my two questions at the top, people feel men are better at sports than women because it is advertised that way. Through the availability of sponsorships and televised advents for mens events, society makes it out that men are simply better than women at sports. Sponsors see how viewers react to mens league versus womens league, thus creating the illusion of “better”.

 

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Philosophy = Couch

In the very complicated equation that is my title, it states that philosophy is a couch.
Now you may not think these two ideas relate, but they do, and here is how:

  1. “Live Life Comfortably” – Lazyboy
    When couch-shopping, people often think of comfort as the number one condition their couch will need to have. We affiliate this cushioned chair as a place of rest or to feel relaxed. This is much like how humans want to feel when socializing. Philosophy is based on the principles of conversation and sharing ideas. If we do not feel comfortable to vocalize our opinions, then philosophy loses its meaning and appreciation.
    Lazyboy sums up the goals of philosophy pretty well – we should go through life seeking comfort. That can mean broadening our comfort zones and exploring new places while being free from judgement or discrimination.
  2. Personality
    Most couches are situated in a living room. And each couch is chosen to enhance or bring something intriguing to the space, but every one of us has a different style. Some will prefer the leather look while others will appreciate a more retro sofa. Each Philosopher in us has our own taste of philosophy. We could be really interested in space exploration or imagining the unseen. A great thing about philosophy is that we all look at it differently, a great example is  this project. With our own style comes a unique perspective into the equation that can enrich conversations and ideas.
  3. Function
    The cool thing about couches is how functional they actually are. We spend copious amounts of time using them to rest, relax, or entertain guests. They fill up space in a room and (hopefully) look pretty. The cool thing about philosophy is we all use it for a different purpose. Whether you are dying to discover the meaning of life or just trying to open up your mind to potential, we call this way of thinking “philosophy”. Its important to recognize that while your life’s work could be asking questions, my dream may be to think of the next best seller.

 

Philosophy is a couch because we need it to have comfort ability, personality, and function. Purpose and meaning give worth to the things we want to understand. With the diversity of both couches and philosophy, we as people are able to appreciate the opportunity of imagination.

You can philosophize the world right from your couch.

 

 

 

 

 

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Serendipitous Philosophy

So I’m talking to a friend about philosophy, just joking around when something crazy happens. It went like this:

 

Me: what really exists
Friend: who knows. I just wanna be able to walk through walls
Me: If you don’t think walls exist try running through it
Friend: there’s also doors
Friend: but do they exist?
Me: maybe we just perceive them to exist
Friend: and some people don’t perceive them
Me: which is why they feel claustrophobic
Friend: how?
Me: because they feel trapped
Friend: or they don’t have limits
Me: or the limits are too great to perceive
Friend: or too small

As we were messing around I realized we had somehow captured the essence of philosophy. We were asking questions, thinking outside of the box (or is it “box”), and piecing things together. But most importantly we were discussing perception about our world. Maybe doors are symbols for freedom or a way to escape and claustrophobic people have limits set different then the average people. Which reminds me of an article that really got me thinking.

Maybe colour blind people see the world how it truly is and the average person sees these things we call “colour”. Does color even exist?

I enjoyed how relatable and relevant colours are, but I was excited to discover that I can use philosophical thinking to have fun and joke around. I don’t have to solve great mysteries or live in solidarity for years to be philosophical. I just have to ask questions about life and the way things show up through my eyes.

And while philosophy is a deep topic, you don’t have to swim to the bottom of the ocean to find it.

 
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