Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Aesthetic Experience Synthesis- David

For me an aesthetic experience is an experience that speaks to you – something that either rekindles a memory from the past or ignites a new type of excitement. For example, an event might invoke a feeling that connects you to your childhood, and might shower you with a warm gush of comfort. Or an event might pave a new path and spark a completely different feeling that you were foreign too. An aesthetic experience is a derivative of what you enjoy.

When I spoke with my peers regarding their definitions of aesthetic experience, I was showered with a variety of interpretations, but all with the same theme: To explore upon something that you enjoy. An aesthetic experience can not be achieved unless the person is doing something that he enjoys to some extent. To enjoy something, a relative level of control and excitement has to be exerted over that specific experience. For example, for some people, can aesthetic experience can border from a life threatening experience, but even so the person has some form of control over the situation to be able to enjoy that experience.

My peers mostly agreed with my interpretation of an aesthetic experience. I am sure, all of us have had experiences that revisit fond memories from the past and also spark new feelings that we would like to further expand upon. An aesthetic experience can also be achieved through a combination of both – an experience that seeks to appreciate what we already know and also explore beyond into the unknown.

For me an aesthetic experience that I treasured a lot during my Winter holidays was a revisit of the Chinese night market that I always used to visit as a kid. I had the pleasure of flying back to China to visit relatives over the winter and through my time in China i was able to rekindle with many of the things I used to be fond of as a kid. One such was my love for late night streets snacks. As a kid, I would visit streets in my hometown, Shanghai, filled with vendors that sell various types of street food such as grilled lamb skewers, fresh baked bread, fried tofu, fried chicken and many more delicious snacks. Even though, these stalls are shutting down more and more across the city due to stricter health guidelines and government control, there are still a handful left in the vast metropolitan city.

Through my visit to the Chinese night market I was able to connect back with the past me, the five year old me, and what he enjoyed. It helped me understand how much I’ve grown as a person, and how much my perspective has changed. I am now more aware of the many details that I did not care for in the past. For example, the dirty ethic that vendors might display, like touching money whilst cooking the food. All in all, re-visiting this memory brought me great joy, but also has helped me understand more about the experience that i otherwise would not have known.

 

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Knowledge. – Mid Term

Knowledge is an essential aspect of life; it’s something that we strive to obtain every day both consciously and unconsciously. It’s the accumulation of a person’s experiences in life, and how he or she reacts to it. Each person has a unique reception to events, and can impact them as a person differently.

It is evident that knowledge is something that we posses as a species because we as individuals are able to develop skills and awareness as a person and use that development to grasp onto many aspects of our lives.

Proposition: Knowledge is the accumulation of information in a  person’s life experiences and how he or she directs that information through life

Premise 1: We extract information from observing and recalling the events that happen to us, by making connections

Premise 2: Humans incorporate that information into themselves and apply that information to daily life scenarios upon scenarios of need

A person obtains information when experiencing an event. When that person first experiences an event they can either accept the result of that scenario as a fact of this dimension or connect the result to previous events that happened to him or her and either confirm or agree their hypothesis. By being able to recognize that information and grasp onto it, they essentially add onto themselves and strengthen themselves as an individual in terms of knowing.

Connections can also be made to obtain information for example, a person has never ate a guava before, but has had the opportunity to taste many other fruits such as pears, apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries and several others. He may not know what a guava tastes like, but through his previous interactions with fruits, he can infer that guava would taste slightly sweet because of the white flesh,similar to pears, and have a crispness to it, similar to apples. A person can connect similarities of each different information that he has to make new information. The extraction of information, can also happen after the event has already occurred, through recalling the event and reanalyzing it.

Eventually, the extracted information becomes a part of that human, and he or she grows as a person. Humans use the information that they’ve extracted from their encounters and apply it to solve problems and help them through life. A person is constantly faced with problems that can only be solved through the development of knowledge. For instance, for a person to solve a math problem, they must first learn the fundamentals of math and learn how to apply it. Eventually, their learning of math eventually becomes a part of them and the way they think, that is knowledge.

Aristotle is a philosopher that helps to stem further into my area of thought. He is a philosopher that believed in the development of an individual through their experiences and how a person is a reflection of the accumulative experiences he or she has experienced throughout life.  To him thought is largely based on logic and empirical evidence, and it is only logical for a human to be a mirror of all that he has experienced. Like a sponge, a human soaks up experiences that happened . He also agrees that the human train of thought acts as tunnels connecting one fact to another inferring information, creating knowledge.

“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle

 

Personally for me, my knowledge is the accumulation of the experiences that I have been through and a reflection of how i reacted to each scenario. All that I  am -my roots as an individual, the traits that I default to, the composition of my morals – is a impression of the events that unraveled throughout my life.

As a child, I spent the first eight years of my life in China, and those years being in China rooted moulded me as a person. My years in China and on top of being in a very traditional oriental household forged a very unprogressive world view. It wasn’t until I came to Canada that I opened my eyes and accepted that there were different ways of thinking – and to be more accepting of people who were different. How I accepted the more liberal Canadian way of thinking changed me as a person, adding to my bank of knowledge. My experiences in China gradually turned into a piece of knowledge in my ocean of knowledge. Knowledge that renders in my mind every time I interact with someone who shares a similar belief with my former self. It is a string that helps me relate to other people, and connects me with others.

 

 

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Discussion on Metaphysics

Metaphysics has always been a hard topic to tackle individually, as theres almost an infinite number of perspectives to look at certain situation- thought is an endless chamber. During my metaphysics discussion in-class, I was able to approach many others regarding their topics on metaphysics and the questions each individual had during their study.

At first, there wasn’t much coherency with conversations that arose in the class, many people had different concepts that they studied and everyone had different central ideas. However, as I approached more people and talked to more people about their metaphysics studies, more  and more connection with connections started to form between my topic and each individual in the class. At the heart of things, everyone was digging into the same beach, all digging for the same treasure, but at different locations on the beach.

There were many memorable topics that I was lucky enough to be in discussion with, but of course like all discussions there were a few memorable metaphysics ideas that stood out to me.

A topic that I was able to relate mine to heavily was Jordan’s topic regarding free will, our ability and power to make choices when we are put into a tight or bad situation. His topic connected with mine as my topic was about determinism and free will is one of the fundamental cores of determinism. We were able to exchange topics and he was also able to add more colour and thoughts into my ideas and broaden my scope of view on metaphysics.

Another really memorable topic for me was Yuri’s topic on life after death. He helped me explore more into the topic of after-life and its existence and the role it plays on our lives. It was a topic that always intrigued me, but was a topic that I did not delve too deeply into as theres no really an answer, theres not really an end to the tunnel, just a mumble of ideas and beliefs all clattered into one pile.

All in all, the metaphysics discussion in class, helped me enrich my topic and also explore more deeply into the subject as whole as I took in the ideas of my peers and helped open chambers inside my mind that I dared not delve into in the past!

 

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My day at the coffee shop – Phil’s day off

Phil’s day off was an enlightening day for me.

It was a day of internal liberation and thought. It made me ponder about the events that lead to where I am as a person currently, and how i plan on developing myself in the future.

The question that I left with myself that I set out to unravel and explore more in-depth was : our free will, and how much of our actions are really determined by ourselves? Is our reactions and the way we act simply a consequence of the momentary and pinnacle events of the past?

During my day off, I went to the coffee shop and recorded events that happened during the coffee shop while I did my homework and reviewed for calculus, over a period of 6 hours.

Documenting each and every event, and the chain of sequences – cause and effect – of every observable action that happened in my line of vision during those 6 hours. What I found was, most of the actions and sequences that happened in the coffee shop, overlapped with one another and was like a barrage of sequences that pre-determined one another. For example, a lady spilled coffee on the ground, and because of this action, the barista had to clean up that mess, and thus because of that the kitchen became short staffed so a small lined formed at the coffee shop and the only reason the lady spill coffee was because the barista did not screw on the coffee lid fully. The eventual line, wasted the time of the individuals that waited in line and that probably lead to more consequential actions.

Most of the actions that happened during the period of 6 hours in the coffee shop were mostly directly or indirectly related to a direct or indirect action that preceded it. The way each person in the coffee shop acted was coherent – almost like a symphony – each and every person’s action imprint the actions of another: the customer’s choice to purchase coffee, incited the barista to make the product.

Everything in all, determinism as a whole, is too big of an idea to indeterminately submit a conclusion on. My day off was unable to provide me with the answer that i desperate seemed, however I can safely say that my experience at the coffee shop made me appreciate the concept of determinism more and what it stands behind. The concept of determinism is probably an idea that I will reflect upon my entire life, and I am glad to have a deeper understand of it through this excercise!

 

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A Journey into Determinism – David Fang

Determinism is the concept of belief that one’s choices in life is largely shaped by the reactions of preceding events. Its the notion that one’s presumption of self and free will – the ability to pave one’s own path in life – is false, and that there is very little choice in life. Determinism is a concept that has withstood the stand of time, and I myself am a follower of this belief. In this post, I will be going over the validation of this method of belief and how I am able to rationalize it.

Premise 1: Every action has a foreseen chain of consequences – reactions

Premise 2: All of our foregone and foreseen actions are reactions to previous actions

Conclusion Our actions cause an endless chain of reactions that shape our lives

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Premise 1: Every action can cause a foreseen chain of consequences – reactions

An action is defined by the process of doing anything that enacts a change. Whenever there is an action, there is always a consequence, consequences can be suppressed or mitigated, for example we can suppress/ mute the sound of a music player , but the act of the music playing incites a change in the grander scheme of things. In free will and epistemology, an action is defined by something that a human does with intention and a motive, whether conscious or unconscious.

However, nevertheless, every single action has a reaction however small or big. One action that we commit can cause the reaction of another. For example an office worker might receive a raise of 5000$, and in turn spends that on buying a painting from an independent artist which helps the artist blossom into a career of excellence. And one of the only reasons the office worker received a raise in the first place was because his boss was in a good mood because …. and the list goes on. This sequence itself was caused by a near infinite amount of reactions, and each action helped to add onto that chain.

 

Premise 2: All of our foregone and foreseen actions are reactions to previous actions

Our motivations and such are largely based on how we react to the consequences of the actions in the past. For example, a student may want to enter a certain university because of a chain event of reactions that sparked the excellence of that university and our recognized notion of excellence for that university. Everything we have done in the past, whether it was the choice for food, the choice for recreation etc. were apart of the endless chain of reactions that we partake in. The very scenario in which choices are presented are the reactions of the past.

A more direct example of this phenomenon would be if someone’s actions were to directly affect us. For example a person might physically hurt you or those around you, and that might cause you to react in a way which is directly coherent to that person’s actions. Whether its indirect or direct, all of our choices and the scenarios presented to us is a reaction of the events from the past, and our choices, the action that we choose to take, pave way for more choices.

Conclusion: Our actions cause an endless chain of reactions that shape our lives

Our actions in itself can come back to affect us, as it adds to the endless chain of reactions. A good example would be the way we treat others, which in turn might discern or invigorate the views of the people around us and that might in turn affect the choices and opportunities that are presented to us. Every action that we make have lasting consequences, and some actions spark multiple chains of reactions, which can multiple to a near infinite causation. A simple action such as saying hi to someone or not flushing the toilet at a public washroom might affect the world and those around us more than what it would seem.

 

Finally, everything that we perceive around us and the choices that we are presented are just simply reactions of the choices and actions that those preceding us have made. Our reaction to their actions, spark a chain of near infinite amount of actions that mark the future!

 

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A case study on bitter foods- David Fang


Bitterness is healthy

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Premise 1: Most bitter veggies are healthy

Premise 2: Medicines widely attribute bitterness, and are healthy

Conclusion: Bitterness is healthy

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A popular notion in China is that, the bittier the food, the more healthy it is. This popular concept of belief influences many parts of Chinese culture, primarily the Chinese cuisine and many traditional Chinese medicines. China’s heavy emphasis on herbal ingredients on both cooking and medicine shows their bias towards bitter ingredients in health related concerns. I will be delving into this notion and hopefully peek into the nooks and crannies of this argument.

Premise 1: Most naturally bitter foods are healthy

Many naturally bitter foods are indeed healthy. Examples include: arugula, bitter melon, brussel sprouts, coffee beans, cocoa and more. Bitter vegetables tend to pack more anti toxins and also more vitamins than non-bitter vegetables in general. Bitter foods also seem to be more easily digestible and helps to move things along in the bowel area much more swiftly.

Premis 2: Medicines widely attribute bitterness, and are healthy

Bitter plants have had a long medicinal history and has been used to cure many problems in the past. Quinine for example is a compound that comes from cinchona bark thats been used to cure malaria in Africa, long before modern medicine was invented. Medicinal leaves and herbs were also grounded to be applied on physical wounds to speed up recovery times and prevent infection as earlier versions of ointments.

Traditional Chinese medicines have also been used in many parts of Asia to cure many different problems such as fevers and stomach aches.Chinese medicine called “Zhong Yao” (中藥) is widely used even today. It involves the heavy use of bitter herbal plants, and herbal remedies to cure complex health problems such as diabetes. This type of medicine is extremely popular in several parts of Asia, namely China, Korea and Japan. Its a very primal way to approach things, and have been growing popularity for a while.

Conclusion: Bitterness is healthy

In conclusion, through the premises that I have presented, the statement that bitterness is healthy is not valid, but the premises are true. Bitterness, may correlate with healthiness, but correlation does not mean causation. Bitterness itself is an abstract taste that humans originally developed as taste receptor to recognize faulty or poisonous foods, it was not a biological mechanism that developed to recognize more nutritious foods. However, it just so happens that bitter foods tend to have more nutrients. Eating bitter foods is definitely a habit to incorporate into a healthy and balanced lifestyle, and if you are incorporating a lot of bitter foods into your diet currently, I would continue doing so!

 

 

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David Fang- A Snapshot into the Mind of an Chinese Immigrant

Through the journey of life, we encounter many travesties that might act upon us as a road block, but we have to overcome them and jump past them. During the philosophy classes, I learned what it means to think, and to question the beliefs that we live by and also to forge our on beliefs, of which may or may not be coherent with societal views.

When I entered this course my expectations were low as I did not know what to expect, but as class began and  Mr. Jackson introduced himself and the concept of thinking my world view as a patriotic canadian-born teenager began to unravel itself like a bowl of Shin ramen. Unwarranted expectations started to spring up and prowl at me and I started to question everything. EVERYTHING.

Through Philosophy 12, I want to explore what it means to challenge current societal views, and how to formulate coherent thoughts. I want to be able to explain to my future generation why Putin decided to start the Soviet Union and also why Apple decided to remove the earphone jack in 2016. My mom once told me to keep expectations low to avoid disappointment, but this class sings a chorus that I cannot wait to finish!

Mr. Jackson challenges us as a class everyday to explore beyond what is presented to us, and think comprehensively at ideas and concepts. He breaks them down to their very roots and makes us ponder. I hope to let Mr. Jackson guide me through this adventure and be able to discover new heights and concepts within myself!

 
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