Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Utilitarian vs Categorical Imperative

John Stuart Mill, English philosopher, political economist and civil servant. One of the most influential thinkers in the history of liberalism, he contributed widely to many different . Dubbed “the most influential English-speaking philosopher of the nineteenth century” also brought up often in high-schoolers blog posts on Utilitarianism, which does make sense considering he is the forefather of Utilitarianism. Kant a German philosopher who is considered a central figure in modern philosophy and also funnily enough appears often in high-schoolers blog posts on categorical imperative, and now they’re both appearing on mine, seeing as i’m comparing and contrasting the two for Mr Jackson’s Philosophy 12 class. Utilitarianism and Categorical Imperative, are almost polar opposites, in what they each individually preach, Utilitarianism, is more focused on the end goal, consequential, it’s sometimes referred to as, some would even go as far as to say that, it’s so heavily based on ones own personal happiness it’s almost borderline hedonistic, and egocentric. Categorical Imperative, is basically a fancy way of saying the same old rule you’ve been hearing all your life, from a poster on your childhood bedroom, to a mural painted across your school, to treat others as an ends in themselves rather than a means, treating someone justly and fairly, doing unto others as you’d have them do unto you, all that good stuff. basically just being a not terrible person. Skimming the surface aside, lets discuss and really delve deeper into each individual theory, or philosophical standpoint.

Utilitarianism, the philosophical baby of one John Stuart Mill, is defined by Merriam Webster as: a doctrine that the useful is the good and that the determining consideration of right conduct should be the usefulness of its consequences; specifically :  a theory that the aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness of the greatest number, in simpler terms, a  theory that is mostly thinking more so about the end game, and how happy you are at the end of the day. Mill has a theory that i feel most liberal teenagers nowadays would be at a subconscious level subscribing to, if there’s something you dont like, it’s not worth doing, and it’s you shouldn’t do it because it doesn’t make you happy, I however dont agree with that, and here’s why, I believe that there will be times in your life where you will be faced with an obstacle, and to overcome that obstacle, is gain, you’d benefit greatly from overcoming that obstacle, yet because you wholeheartedly subscribe to Mills way of being, you wont attempt to overcome said obstacle, why? Because it doesn’t make you happy, therefore it’s not worth doing. The world is an imperfect place, with lactic acid build up when we work out, with our phones going off on a regular basis when we try to do home work, youtube videos are more interesting than studying for your English provincial, and there are easier, fun, ways out of things that we need to do, however the harsh reality is that, if we all live trying to have fun, and be happy, then nothing would ever get done, even if the end goal does provide joy, the getting there part, wont be enjoyable.

Categorical Imperative, the philosophical baby of German philosopher, Immanuel Kant, is defined by Merriam-Webster as: a moral obligation or command that is unconditionally and universally binding, a much more straight to the point explanation compared to Utilitarianism, but for those who need reiteration, such as myself, in laymans term’s treat others the way you’d want to be treated. Really? That’s it? You may be asking yourself, essentially yeah, that’s pretty much it. Delving deeper than what you’d see in a preschool classroom however, Kant’s theory actually goes something like this: None should be treated as a means rather then an end in themselves, see that sounds alot better, atleast in my opinion. This would be more of an rights activist point of view, Kant was using this theory as  a means to protect peoples rights, so that their autonomy would be respected, because everyone is entitled to being treated like a respectable human being. I personally subscribe to this more so than Mills theory, mostly because I feel that, Kant’s theory in it’s bare bones form, is the way that everyone should be living, just because something someone does, doesn’t make you happy, doesn’t mean that you have any right to treat them with any less respect because of the fact, being a decent human being, i personally consider the Categorical Imperative way of being makes more sense. mostly because that’s just, the right thing to do, worrying about other people over yourself, it’s something you’re taught from a very young age, share your toys because the other kids might not, and then one day they’ll share with you too, cause that’s being a nice person, I feel like, if more people followed this idea, then the world would honestly just be so much better, everyone would be nice, donald trump wouldn’t be a cheetoh full of rage, and we could all live a cheetoh free lifestyle, what a world that’d be.

I was planning on making a whole paragraph on what i personally think of the two, but i kindof already did that within the second and third paragraphs. so i guess we’ll just wrap it up here then. I just feel as if though, we need more people thinking in the Categorical Imperative mind set, treating people how they should be treated, and obviously in a perfect world we’d all be nice to eachother and life would be great, and i realise that we’re not perfect, and to err is human, so obviously that’s no ones fault other than our own, but nevertheless i feel that’s the way that we should be moving as a society.  Just be a not mean person, open the door for little old ladies, tip your waiters/waitresses, and dont be rude, and we’ll all be able to sleep easy at the end of the day.



Logic Post

Kanye West is a God among Men


Kanye West is above all men

God is above all men


Genesis 1 v. 1-3, the very first book, chapter, words of the bible, says: In the beginning, God created the universe.When the earth was as yet unformed and desolate, with the surface of the ocean depths shrouded in darkness, and while the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters, God said, “Let there be light!” So there was light. The almighty father God created life, he made the heavens and the earth and everything in them. In the bible it speaks of God this omnipotent deity, watching over all of his created, his sons and daughters, taking care of them, loving them, so much so that he gave his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for the atonement of the worlds sins, so that we may be perfect and made new in Gods eyes and that we would be able to live with him; that’s the goal atleast. In the bible, you’ll see the word God once or twice or 3,969 times in the New International Version, It’s pretty clear that Christians hold God to a much higher standard than all men and women on earth. Non Christians even, I have heard many first hand accounts people who believe that, Christian or not, you cant deny that the Man has done many things both politically and societally that have changed the way the world works and have given generation upon generation hope in something more than what’s on this earth, some would even say that it’s comforting knowing that someone out there is looking out for you.

Doctor Kanye Omari West, is an American rapper, songwriter, record producer, fashion designer, and entrepreneur. Born in Atlanta and raised in Chicago. Kanye West is, as thought by man, one of the most brilliant minds of our generation, Kanye West has single-handedly taken the world by storm, reaching out and doing practically every sort of art medium there is, and excelling in everything he does, from his Yeezy 350 being the #1 shoe in 2016 to his newest album “The Life of Pablo” critically acclaimed the best album of 2016, his record label GOOD music has become a household name amongst the hip hop community, quickly becoming almost a throne where him and his label mate  and close friend Jay-Z release their music from. Now Kanye West has many followers, and I will venture to say that 90% if not more consider him a God, if not, at the very least above man guaranteed, I would even venture to say that Kanye West has the most loyal fanbase out there in all of hiphop. Love him or hate him, you must admit the man’s a revolutionary.

Now no one can deny that both men were equally influential, in their own right, the both have ridiculously devout followers, both have their own acolades which to a certain extent have taken the world by storm, both have claimed to be God.

I dont see any need for further questioning



Lost In Platos Cave

Platos cave, a theory thought up by one of the forefathers of Grecian philosophy, Plato (hence the name). Refers to the entrapment, or closed mindedness, of oneself, within ones mind. The theory has been posed as a question in this assignment and I truthfully do not know how to answer. On the one hand, I’d love to talk about how free and open I am, how mentally I am on a whole other plain of being, however if i say that i know that i’m not being honest, with myself. Another potential route I could say, is that, i’m chained to the wall, i’m beyond a slave to my own psyche and there’s no way of me getting out of these shackles any time soon, however i do not feel like that’s necessarily true either, I feel that, although, i might be leaning more so towards this side of the spectrum, I do not know if i’m fully in this category either.

Platos analogy is meant to recount the struggles that philosophers went through during that day and age, following the rules of philosophy, rather than the rules of the Monarch, sharing their findings with the public, however with the public being too stubborn, and content with their ignorance, they wouldn’t listen, and they’d turn down philosophers, and sometimes even sentence them to death, the philosophers, being the prisoners that were able to escape the cave and learn about the real world, awakening their senses and learning about what the real world is, ever so slightly narcissistic but i suppose that comes with the whole “my philosophy is the best philosophy.”

With all that being said, i feel like for me, i’m in a weird in between phase. Imagine you just woke up, and you have a really bad knot in your neck, and you can still function and do things, it’s just you can’t really look too far to one side or else it hurts, but you can see just enough to where you can still go out and have a regular, to a certain extent, day, that’s where i’m at. I feel as if though, i’m not the most open, i’ll be honest, most of this world that is philosophy confuses me, and it’s all new and strange, uncharted territories, however, i feel as if though, throughout the course of this semester, i’ve been expanding on my philosophical vocabulary and slowly, as the knot in my neck “unwraps” itself, and i slowly, yet surely, get back my full range of motion, i can see more of the world around me, and i know that it’s not the most progress, nor is it, a life changing story by any means what so ever, but that’s where i am, looking at the wall, but anxious to turn around, and i really do hope that one day, I will be able to go all the way, break free from the chains, and breath in the fresh air outside the cave.



Philosophically Pondering Chocolates

Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get

~Forrest Gump

“Philosophy is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get”

ever since I saw the iconic 1994 film Forrest Gump, and the scene where the not quite so late Mr Gump innocently says “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get” the early Daniel Caballero (back in the day) heard this quote, it’s gotten lodged in his head all these years, until the not so early Mr Brian Jackson (present day) assigned this assignment, where in i’m supposed to stand infront of you all and recite this half baked idea that truthfully I only chose  because i thought it was funny, but upon further, albeit forced, reflection; this analogy although oh so blatantly ripped off, actually kindof has some legs to stand on? Potentially? Well we’re about to see, and even if at the end of all of this I dont manage to impress you, at the very least I hope I can mildly entertain Mr Jackson to the point where he gives me atleast a solid B..?

Websters dictionary defines Philosophy as: the study of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc, also too a particular set of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc, and lastly  a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live. Now you might be sitting there thinking to yourself, goddamn, this is pretty deep and this guy thinks it’s a good idea to compare this vast and complex science to a box of chocolates? Yeah right… Wrong, I’m not comparing philosophy to a literal box of chocolates, saying things like, the caramel filled ones, represent how inside we’re all filled with wonderment, and the coconut ones signify the hardships we have to endure to get to the good stuff, and the ones that kindof taste like off brand kit kats (the one with like, the little wafery insides) signify how we all seek out the best and in the end get let down because they’re not kit kats, rather just, bland chocolate covered wafers; no, I’m here to talk about the idea, that is the box of chocolates

Now picture this, you wake up one morning, sun streaming into your room, you slowly pick your head up, realizing that it’s already 1.. You proceed to wake up, begrudgingly pulling yourself out of bed, and start hobbling towards the kitchen, from the distance you see something peculiar on the kitchen table, walking over to it, you realise, it’s a box of chocolates, mint condition, no dents, scrapes, unopened, like it came from the factory and tenderly placed on your kitchen table, your heart starts to race, and your mind starts wonder “What is in that box!? What flavors, shapes, sizes, textures await me?!” That’s actually a pretty accurate representation of how i felt signing up to take philosophy 12. Having never taken anything remotely similar to philosophy before, i was completely and utterly clueless as to what this course had to offer me, I just took it because it was either this, or biology, the choice was pretty obvious, granted when signing up i didn’t really take into account the “flavors, shapes, sizes, and textures” of the class and students, assuming that it would make for awkward first impressions but the principle, it remains the same

I find for me personally the best part about a box of chocolates and philosophy is the mystery, you never know what you’re gonna get! There’s a reason the box isn’t transparent, where’s the surprise in that? Much like Schrodinger cat however with less dead felines there’s a chance that this box of chocolates (or classroom) could be the very best, or the very worst decision i’ve ever made. Straying away from the box of chocolates briefly, I’ve found that every single day, I’m eager (much like the box of chocolates) to get into this class room,

i find that this class is really allowing me to break into that mysterious part of my head that before this wasn’t really tapped into, much like in Platos cave, i feel enlightened, thinking about  life in a way that, before this, wouldn’t have even considered, not to mention the fact that not only am i tapping into a part of my own thoughts, but rather the thoughts of other students in this class, I find that’s where the variety of the metaphysical box of chocolates plays a roll, with so many different points of views, thoughts, ideas, notions, and analogies, i really am getting a grasp of what philosophers such, Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates were getting at, ideas, philosophical epiphanies would occur in their own space, however to really put said epiphanies to the test, they would talk to their friends, mentors, teachers, people they could trust to give them a honest response, and honestly i think that it’s really cool, how philosophy is such a communal thing, huh, i guess this ideal wasn’t so half baked after all?




Truthfully, I Don’t Know What I’m Doing (DoL #1)

I wanted to add a quote to make this post look all aesthetic, but it didn`t really work cause I don`t know any good philosophical quotes

– Me

1 am, i’m sat at my computer screen and only now do i realise what i’ve gotten myself into taking this course. I signed up for philosophy last year a naive grade 11, with big dreams and eager to start his grade 12 year taking super interesting courses like Philosophy, Comparative Civilisations, courses that would allow me to learn something, other than math and science, which truthfully, i don’t really care about. Easy courses were the goal for grade 12, I figured what’s the point in taking something like pre-calc if i’m destined to fail? What university, college, post secondary program would look at at my application and think, well atleast he tried it out, no, i needed some good marks, some “easy” marks, these past few hours, messily jotting down my cluttered thoughts, like verbal vomit all over the paper, leaving the it wrinkled, coffee stained, and smudged, frantically pacing back and forth in my room, texting all of my friends for some sort of insight on what it is that we’re supposed to be doing, have proven that these wont be easy marks.

Dont get me wrong  more went into my choosing philosophy than easy marks, and the fact that I needed another elective, I also have just always thought that Philosophy was a fascinating subject. Going into philosophy I was actually really excited! I was never really interested in numbers and science, although to be fair, i suppose philosophy is a social science; but rather, i was interested in the way the world works: why do we think the way we do? Where do our thoughts come from? How is the world around us affecting our personal being, and our external being, how we interact with others? I’ve had many a long conversation into the wee hours of the night, following rabbit trails, starting at something simple such as, “why does a guy have to wear his watch on his left hand?” And ending at “how does our brain perceive the world and what is language?” Or something equally as bizarre and abstract, questions that only come about when you’re so tired that nothing you say makes sense but at the same time makes so much sense. I live for these conversations, that only make sense to those who are involved and you get lost in your thoughts and forget where you were in the first place. never liked numbers, or science, I’ve always preferred discussion rather than dissecting, sharing ideas rather than answers. I came into philosophy hoping i’d learn more about the world around me and I wasn’t disappointed.

The first project we were given was an essay, that honestly was my first look into the world of philosophy, prior to this i literally knew next to nothing about the subject, like a window, a whole world opened up and inside i saw a new realm of people who thought differently, who never stopped looking for answers, and although i expected reading about a bunch of dead old men wouldn’t be anything extraordinary, surprisingly it was, I found it fascinating, how philosophical ideas came from discussion and community, and the lives of these philosophers, how hated they were, and how alot of them were either put to death or exiled for speaking against the “old ways.” Philosophers really had a way of loving wisdom, I personally see loving wisdom as never settling with an answer, these philosophers, the reasons that they’re such great minds to this day, is because they never stopped seeking answers, they never settled, they always asked questions, they would join together with other philosophers and converse, bounce ideas off one another, and debate till they got to what they thought was right.

In this course, with it’s many ups and downs, I hope that when i come out of this semester I can hopefully get to the point where i’m comfortable with debating, and conversing, and just being a proactive philosopher, trying to figure out a means to answer some of life’s unanswered questions, most of which i already stated above, I believe that with philosophy by my side, truly I can broaden my horizons when it comes to learning and becoming a more well rounded person, now I dont see life the way I once did, but rather with a philosophical lense.