Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Epistemology And the Nature of Knowledge

What does it mean to say that someone knows, or fails to know, something? The question of understanding what knowledge is and is not. As we all know epistemology is the study of knowledge and as such we must first come to a conclusion on what it means to have knowledge before we can study it. And thus the greatest challenge arises. How do we really know, that we know?

The famous philosopher Plato once defined knowledge as “Justified true belief”. Web articles define it as “a familiarity, awareness or understanding of someone or something such as facts, information, description or skills acquired through experience or education”.

If we accept these premises as true we can come to a conclusion that knowledge must be a belief we can justify as true through our understanding or familiarity from our experiences or education.

So how do we gain knowledge? Every person beings gaining knowledge from the minute they are born, from the texture of their cribs to the color on the walls we begin processing and taking in everything around us. Knowledge is everything around us that we can absorb and whose existence we can justify.

One of the most well known philisophical questions, what is actually real and how can we prove it? To add a little metaphysics to this argument we can only know something if it exists. If something exists then we must be able to know or learn about it, if it cannot be known then it cannot exist. There is only one thing we can be sure of and that is of our own existence – “I think therefore I am” as Descartes said. If we can justify that we do exist then we can begin to justify the existence of other things by relating them to ourselves. We can see the paper in our hands, feel its edges and hear its crinkle as we move it from hand to hand and thus we can justifiably believe it is there. Thus as we can justify this belief that it is in fact in our hands and feels, sounds and looks the way we think it does then we have knowledge of the papers existence and characteristics.

 

 

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Procrastination Leads to Failure

Everyone has a set of unique traits and attributes which makes them who they are. Some people are studious, some are critical thinkers or can work well under pressure. And then there are the people like me. Procrastinators.

  • Premise 1: Procrastinating is intentionally wasting time and deferring tasks which could be completed in now, to a future time period.
  • Premise 2: Tasks must be completed to be considered successful.
  • Premise 3: Tasks or other issues require time to complete.
  • Premise 4: Time is a finite resource.
  • Premise 5: Not having enough time to complete a task leads to failure of said task.
  • Conclusion: Therefore, procrastination causes failure of tasks due to insufficient amounts of time to complete said task.

 

Premise one can be accepted as true.

Premise two can be more easily debated as to whether it is factually true. Some people may say completion of a task does not mean it was a successful task, as well as the inverse; that completing a task does not mean it was successful. These arguments are made for a variety of reasons, the most important and prevalent one being emotion. Having emotion behind tasks and situations creates a personal bias toward a certain outcome which is not necessarily connected to the completion of the task. For example if someone decided they had a goal of running a marathon but were in the end happy to complete only 50%, they may see the task as a success, even though in the logical setup they failed to complete the entire task. Without emotion or other distractions premise two becomes much easier to accept.

Unless you transcend both time and space to complete your tasks, premise three can be accepted as true

Premise four can be debated on whether or not to be accepted as true for time itself throughout the cosmos and universe but as far as us human beings are concerned, time is a finite resource which we will eventually spend.

Finally premise five, based upon previously accepted premises can also be accepted as true.

This leads us to conclude that based upon the accepted premises, the argument is invalid as the conclusion drawn can be proved false as though we can accept time as being finite, the open-ended nature of procrastination leads us to an infinite amount of potential changes in the use of the time given, some of which would not leave us with enough time to succeed and complete the tasks required (Making the conclusion true) but at the same time there is an infinite amount which would just as easily give us the required time to complete said task (Making the conclusion false). Simply because of the generality of procrastination and the unspecific values of time wasted, remaining and needed, we can not currently conclude that the argument is valid. Of course this also means that the argument is unsound as a result of its invalidity.

So what do we have left? An argument which is neither valid nor sound, while many others would say the factual correctness of the piece is a stretch at best. Procrastinating may not be logically proven to cause failure in this example but let me tell you from personal experience that procrastination is not called the thief of tomorrow for nothing. Many people have felt the engulfing reach of procrastination in their lives, some are improving on their habit, others are begrudgingly accepting it and others… well lets just say some others are up blogging about philosophy assignments much past their finite time given for the task.

 

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My Thoughts on Philosophy

Philosophy has always been a growing subject of interest for me as I’ve matured and grown throughout my youth. Many times I would find myself wondering about the many mysteries of life. My name is Derek Goddard and I took this class in order to get a wider view and understanding on the things in our world which cannot be easily answered.

While we have only been in session for a short amount of time I can already see the differences around me. Many of the ideas I had previous to this course have come into question where before I had none. While the recent readings and discussions have all been interesting and some quite thought-provoking, some of the questions raised have seemed less intriguing than I had hoped. Philosophy seems to be a class which you must put in a lot of your own time thinking about and pondering over alone, which I thoroughly enjoy as It is something I have been doing for sometime already.

For me Philosophy and conscious reasoning is what makes us as human beings so amazing and radically different from everything else before us. The mere fact that we can even question Why? and question what it means to be alive, rather than just existing.

One of my favorite articles What Makes You You?, Discusses the mystery of the individual and who we really are as people. While our time is miniscule in the grand scheme of things, a mere 30,000 Days in an average life span, I am simply glad that we are able to question the crazy thing called life in which we are all in together.

 
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