Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Knowledge: A cheesecake factory built with human machines

The dictionary definition of knowledge is,

1) Facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

1.1) The sum of what is known.

1.2) Information held on a computer system.

1.3) PhilosophyTrue, justified belief; certain understanding, as opposed to opinion.

2) Awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.
Knowing this before the free-write (thank you Oxford Dictionary), I was able to get a reasonable handle on the three questions we were presented with:
  1. What is knowledge?
  2. How is it acquired?
  3. Where does it reside?

Which lead me to this following jumble of thoughts.

 

Knowledge is a cumulative expression of wisdom that results from a series of experiences and the collection of others’ wisdom. There is base knowledge (such as how to eat, sleep, and breathe) which is ingrained in the very blueprint of our existence. Other knowledge is gained over time and developed by “The Self” into our own understanding of the skills/facts acquired. Once we have this knowledge, it is stored in the subconscious for ongoing or future use. The knowledge we have is limited and based purely on our current ability to see through or perhaps past the filter of our senses and the current technological advancements that can assist us in interpreting the world. This is supported by the belief that we will never fully know the truths of the world and instead will always be reaching towards the perfect forms mentioned by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle’s Theory of Forms.

 

Of course, this wasn’t nearly succinct enough to stamp as a final product of my epistemological outlook so, I went ahead and created a proposition.

Knowledge is an immaterial substance that is gained, grown, and developed through our existence an exploration of the world, which is proven through personal expression.

This can be easily be plugged into the PPS formula we have used many a time to clarify our ideas in this class. So:

 

If existence is the process of Being rather than being.

and

If expression is the ability to replicate actions/things without hesitation.

then

Knowledge is an immaterial substance that is gained, grown, and developed through our existence an exploration of the world, which is proven through personal expression.

 

Now we must go through and vet this PPS equation we have written out. Since this is philosophy and since the two premises are completely subjective, I can firmly say that because this is my post and I believe them to be true, that they are true (for the sake of my sanity). This, of course, goes along to add up to the proposition which can also be seen as true in this light due to the truths laid out above it.

Taking a closer look at this mess I have created, I suppose I should tidy up a bit. That leads to fleshing out what I have already summarised but, in a way that should make more sense to anyone not currently residing within my mind. Let’s take the example of a cheesecake factory. This is a classic factory with human workers rather than automated machines; humans instead of mixers, humans instead of conveyor belts, humans instead of automated packaging. Coming into this factory as a freshly baked (hired) employee, you wouldn’t be expected to have many tools in your kit for performing your tasks other than those that got you hired in the first place. You’ve been hired into the packaging crew and you have a P.C. leader that is in charge of training you and overseeing your growth and either your success or failure. After being shown how to properly package the cheesecake, you set to work.

Let’s take the example of a cheesecake factory. This is a special factory with human workers rather than automated machines; humans instead of mixers, humans instead of conveyor belts, humans instead of automated packaging. Coming into this factory as a freshly baked (hired) employee, you wouldn’t be expected to have many tools in your kit for performing your tasks other than those that got you hired in the first place. You’ve been hired into the packaging crew and you have a P.C. leader that is in charge of training you and overseeing your growth and either your success or failure. After being shown how to properly package the cheesecake, you set to work. *Level Up* you have gained the wisdom of your superior, the seed that you shall now grow within yourself as you continue to experience your job and commit to your own personal growth. There comes a day you have anticipated for what seems like millennia: Proper Procedure Review Day. Seeing others go through the motions of your future task before you allows a certain uneasy peace to settle within your dairy-filled stomach; you know what you’re doing, right? Stepping up to the task you exhale all your tension in one breath and wait for your cue to begin. Allowing your mind to go blank, you let your body move of its own accord, stacking boxes into cases, labelling the cakes, and ensuring there is sufficient stabilisation within the cases. You’ve done it. Not a single moment was spent worrying about what to do, not a single tear shed at a mistake or flaw, not a single frown on the faces of your superiors.

That definitely didn’t help at all… or maybe it did? In the end, what I’m referring to is muscle memory and being attentive without overthinking the situation. My personal belief is that when you can complete a task without having to consult others or hesitate in your actions, then you have truly attained the knowledge related to that task and can pass that wisdom off to others.

 

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A change of space: I can’t decide on anything the first time

So. We talked. Talking is extremely helpful. Talking also leads you in circles sometimes. Sometimes it destroys your whole point of view and gets you on an entirely different warpath.

  • Who did you talk to?

Benedict, Emma J., Erinn, Katie, Kirsten.

 

  • What were the main ideas you explored?

How far can you go in the direction of only being just mind or body while still being yourself?

Astral projection & the mind connecting the soul & the body as an amalgamation of the self.

How long can you pretend to be something before it becomes you?

The connection between emotion and being vs Being.

Feelings vs expressing emotion.

Death & life & Being & being & self.

 

  • What new ideas did you encounter?

The majority of these ideas were relatively new to me as I seemed to be entirely focused on my own subjects right up to the moment of discussion. The only topics I was relatively well-versed in were the ones regarding Emma and Ben’s topics as I sit between them and we often discuss our work to better develop our thoughts.

 

  • How do these ideas influence your inquiry?

Typical me, I went ahead and decided that the area I was studying wasn’t what I wanted at all and turned from the connections between physical form, genetics, and the self, to a study of Deja Vu  and the subconscious’ expression within those moments.

 

  • What questions do you still have? What questions came up? What do you want to explore further?

Considering my sudden change in topic, I have a number of questions that have come up in the process. How does Deja Vu differ from memories? How does the subconscious influence our mind in moments of Deja Vu? What exactly is Deja Reve? Is there a connection between Deja Vu and dreams? How could lucid dreams help us better understand Deja Vu or Reve?

So, in conclusion, I’d like to take a path that is more closely related to the mind than the body, as much as I had tried to avoid it in the first place.

 

This is gonna be a mess. Now I’m gonna have to clean it up.

 

 

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Get physical with that meta

 

SO, Metaphysics. What a wondrous topic to explore without any boundaries or constricting guidelines to really speak of. Sometimes the freedom to do what you wish is exactly what you need but, in this case, I feel as if it left me floating just a little bit too much. I did manage a topic to discuss, which is the physical elements of The Self, and more specifically if there even are any. The Self is often thought of as our ‘spirit’ and what makes us truly unique as individuals. My exploration will look into whether or not there are any biological factors that influence the creation and maintenance of The Self, such as our senses.

Therefore, my main question is: Are there any physical/biological elements or requirements of The Self?

Of course, this is almost too specific of a question to answer, as it is a simple yes or no to close the case. But, looking into some sub-questions, we can go on to assume it’s not a simple yes or no that will answer the question above but, a series of debates and hypothesis.

Can genetics influence the self?

How is cognitive functioning related to the self?

If we didn’t have a physical form would we be able to have the self?

 

 

Going into this topic of the “Philosophy of The Self”, I decided it was best to first get a proper definition for this vague term and see how well I could continue on with answering my questions after that.

As shown by the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, The Self is;

The elusive ‘I’ that shows an alarming tendency to disappear when we try to introspect it.

The Dictionary of Philosophy by Dagobert D. Runes and seventy-two other authorities in philosophy give us a larger cluster of definitions. They state that The Self is;

1. Ego, subject, I, me, as opposed to the object or to the totality of objects; may be distinguished from “not-me,” as in W. James’ statement (Principles of Psychology, I, 289) “One great splitting of the whole universe into two halves is made by each of us, and for each of us almost all of the interest attaches to one of the halves; but we all draw the line of division between them in a different place. When I say that we all call the two halves by the same names, and that those names are ‘me’ and ‘not-me’ respectively, it will at once be seen what I mean.”

2. The quality of uniqueness and persistence through changes (Lat. ipse), by virtue of which any person calls himself I and leading to the distinction among selves, as implied in such words as myself, yourself, himself, etc. (By transfer, this applies to the uniqueness of my thing, as in ‘itself’).

3. The metaphysical principle of unity underlying subjective experience, which may be conceived as dependent upon the given organism or as distinct in nature; sometimes identified with the soul.

Some philosophers doubted or even denied the existence of the self. Thus, Hume pointed out (Treatise of Human Nature, I, pt. 4) that, apart from the bundle of successive perceptions, nothing justifying the concept of self can be discerned by introspection.

The meaning of self, with its metaphysical, linguistic and psychological distinctions has become so ambiguous that it may be useful to distinguish between

(a) the self as applied to the bearer of subjective experience, or the physical or somatic (G. S. Hall, The American Journal of Psychology, 1897-1898) self; and

(b) the self as applied to the contents of that experience, or the psychological self, which is “an organization of experiences in a dynamic whole.” (W. Pillsbury, Attention, 217). — R.B.W.

 

In the second set of definitions, we can clearly see that there has been no solid decision on whether or not The Self is made up of any physical parts and what those parts may be.

Continuing on with my philosophical discoveries, I wandered into an article titled “The Illusion of The Self” which discusses the idea that The Self is something we have created within our conscience and subconscious in order to fill in a blank for ourselves that didn’t truly have any shape to begin with. It refers to books such as; The Self Illusion: How The Social Brain Creates Identity (2012), The Principles of Psychology (1890), and The Man Who Mistook His Wife For a Hat (1985) and makes several comparisons to the Kanizsa triangle and how our brain automatically fills in perceived blanks that required no filling at all as there was nothing that exists to fill them in anyways.

Triangle

So far the only question we’ve really been able to address here is How is cognitive functioning related to the self? This, of course, is related to the illusion of The Self we have created and its dependency on the ability to create a narrative of our lives and remember experiences that imprinted themselves on our forward path. The other two questions are mostly dependent on hypotheticals that we can’t fully comprehend or answer, especially the final question, which would require us to have absolute knowledge and an understanding of the pieces that make up The Self, as well as a hypothetical reality in which the senses are not present in order to study what it required to have The Self function. We would need to separate a self-conscious entity from its physical form at an extremely early stage and witness it’s development without physicalities, which is an experiment we just do not have the technology to conduct.

 

This has all lead me to the astounding discovery that I am no better prepared to explore The Self than I was initially. I have only lead myself into a multitude of confusing loops and dead ends in which my question has frayed to its core and gotten even more narrowed down and yet exponentially more widespread. This is going to be a bit of a challenge but, I’m fully prepared to break my brain in order to get even a smidgen closer to some form of truth.

 

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Watch Out Trump, Here Comes Carson-claus

Due to the recent upheaval at the possible candidates for the American Presidency, I have decided to highlight a particularly sparkling member of the Republican party who continues to surprise; Ben Carson, Dr. Ben Carson. As a neurosurgeon and Senator, you would assume this man is an outstanding citizen with everything going for him. This man is a gun enthusiast and has many a controversial view on many of the US’s major topics in politics.  Allow me to shed some light on his views.

At the Values Voter Summit in October 2013, Carson remarked that “Obamacare is really I think the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.”

“And it is in a way, it is slavery in a way, because it is making all of us subservient to the government, and it was never about health care. It was about control,” he said.

On a separate occasion, Carson suggested that Obamacare was worse than 9/11 … 

 

We will take this creative work by Carson and continue on to create a series of premises that would support such a statement.

 

Premise 1: Obamacare affected more people as it caused a major shift in power between the people and the government.

 

Premise 2: Unlike 9/11, Obamacare has spread over a large expanse of time and is continuing to cause problems for Americans.

 

Conclusion: Obamacare was worse than 9/11.

 

 

Now, take into account that I am not supporting this man in any way, and I strongly disagree with his comments on this topic.

If we are to look at truthfulness, we can mathematically state that Obamacare has technically affected more Americans than 9/11 if looking at it from an objective standpoint. Obamacare was set out for the whole 318.9 million citizens to make use of and supposedly ‘took away’ their ability to regulate their own healthcare. On the other hand, the 9/11 incident left us with a memorial to only 3000 men and women. So, the first premise can be passed off as true. The second premise states that the effects of Obamacare stretched over a longer period of time than those of 9/11. Again, looking at this objectively, Obamacare has so far lasted 7 years starting March 2010. 9/11 took 9 months after September 11th, 2001 to clean up the tragedy and attempt to patch up the gaping wound. Alright, so the truth of the statements checks out, what about the validity?

Right out the gate we can tell that the first premise isn’t valid. If we are to take into account that the whole world was shaken by the events that day, it automatically destroys the argument that Obamacare affected a larger mass of people. In terms of governmental power, 9/11 triggered several wars in the name of justice and retaliation which cost America more lives than the original tragedy. 9/11 is also still recognised ’till this day on multiple continents with a great deal of empathy for the families who lost someone dear to them. That’s both statements debunked. Global recognition just seems to be a little larger than America.

 

Ben Carson needs to stop. Kthxbye

 

 

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Draw-String Theory (Philosophy Presentation Post)

This is my post just showcasing the presentation I did on how Plato’s Cave is comparable to a hoodie drawstring.

 

  1. Philosophy as a whole = a hoodie.
  2. The specifics (categories/branches) of philosophy = drawstrings.
  3. When you look and notice that one end of the drawstring is longer than the other = initial discovery/question
  4. Pulling on the drawstring to adjust the lengths = first question and attempting to solve the question.
  5. The other end of the drawstring becomes shorter than the first = new question.
  6. Even on a molecular level, the drawstrings would be uneven = specifics/details.
  7. Every movement of even the finest strand would make another uneven.
  8. Plato’s Cave is the ignorance towards uneven drawstrings.
  9. Enlightenment = When you accept the drawstrings will never be even but continue to pull ( continue to question and accept new thoughs and point of view).

 

Tada!

 

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Just When I Thought I’d Escaped (P.S. Don’t Forget to Save Your Work: A War Story) – Fiona

I am thoroughly convinced that my blogging karma has come back to bite me in my mule… Not only has my work been devoured twice despite saving it constantly (out of fear of the dreaded text muncher) but, it has now crashed on me and will not load regardless of what methods I use. So, after several days of attempting to get anything accomplished, here is a half-recalled segment that will hopefully explain my original thoughts sufficiently.

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While discussing the philosophies around teaching/school and speaking/interacting as separate topics, I came to realize; the deep connection between the two areas, how they influence each other, and how they relate to the other topics we have discussed so far in Philosophy 12. On the other hand, I had flashbacks from Talons as well as an oddly comfortable confusion in regards to this entire document.

Going into Philosophy I knew it was going to roll out in a similar way to Talons and our socials projects. I knew there would be the standard self-made rubric with a smattering of ‘guidelines’ to keep us from going over the edge, but in a similar fashion; I had absolutely no idea what to do or expect. I have always had my own idea and image in my head of what Philosophy is/was and what it should look like when being communicated in a class. I find myself often relating my image of Philosophy to one of the forefathers of this field, good old René Descartes. As odd as it is for someone to be relating their daily lives with a philosopher without any real meaning to their readings, I have read of him a number of times before and find his views that philosophy,

“was a thinking system that embodied all knowledge, and expressed it in this way”

I’ll admit that I was first drawn to him because of our similar heritage (who doesn’t like a friend from the motherland) but, I dug deeper and realized his views were the vague breath of practical air I needed. A rationalist. Ah, the beauty of accepting that the liquid in that cup should not be valued based on the volume, but taken into account that it may, in fact, be quite unsavory.

During our discussions in class about the value of dissent, I found another item that linked me with my philosophical ‘bromeo’. I am a firm believer that if dissent is formatted, presented, and researched properly, it can add a wide variety of branches in the road for various types of philosophers to explore; however, if your dissent is invalid due to lack of information or just general incorrectness I believe it to be a waste of space in the grand scheme of the discussion, especially since it most likely wouldn’t contribute any significant points of discussion. René, of course, said this in a much more eloquent way (though I doubt it was accurately quoted by Wikipedia but, at this point, I can’t care anymore), stating that,

“the quality of this reasoning depends on knowledge, because a well-informed mind will be more capable of making good choices, and it also depends on mental condition”

This also came to play during our discussion on the definition of Philosophy, “To Love Wisdom”. As my auto-correct would like to agree, this is a very odd phrase that is difficult to comprehend considering the two abstract phrases involved. I decided to leave behind my companion on this journey and try making my own philosophical trail into the unknown along with my deskmates as we struggled to grasp at the hems of the greats’ robes. This is what we came up with after dissecting the two words “Love” and “Wisdom” and then smashing them into a sentence:

“To appreciate the knowledge and experiences of yourself and others.”

While this may seem like a very simple phrase that doesn’t even begin to address the massive scope of what we were assigned, we felt it was a decent way of sandwiching all of this…

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Into some form of coherent sentence or phrase that would mean anything to ourselves or any outsiders not privy to out thought process. Unfortunately for me and my lack of motivation (*cough* senioritis is going to be the death of me *cough*), we didn’t stop there.
As we continued on and dove into the writings of Nigel Warburton in his piece Talk with me, I found that my opinions on that piece were mixed (hence my blurb about dissent earlier on). He addressed the viewpoints of philosophers such as Moore, Machiavelli, and Plato, while always making it clear that his opinion was that of dissent being the almighty foundation in which to build your own arguments and theories. While I did find the article to shed some light on how the other side lives, I didn’t feel it speak to me on a very personal level due to our differences in opinion. This made me question what my passions regarding this course may be, which logically (and with some guidance from the rubric) led me to the forming of some goals for this semester’s philosophical journey I am about to undertake.

My Goals:
– Remove self-censorship: share more individual/personal perspectives, even if they are outside the ‘norm’
– Allow myself to be more open to the opposition, and, as much as I love arguing, learn to accept the open ended questions as being eternally open ended
– Develop methods and experiment with ways of narrowing down a topic of research/exploration rather than blowing it out of proportion

This is just a basis for me to extrapolate from and continue to grow and form new goals and timelines for myself. I am hoping that this will be a fantastical journey and that this is just the beginning for all of our trippy texts.

 

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Why Dough-n’t You Turn Around?

Plato’s idea of the prisoners in a cave is one that not many think of relating to our daily lives. That seems to be a theme with those on the outside of the philosophical sphere we have stepped into during the last few weeks. Plato raises an interesting and somewhat baffling concept; all things are not as we see them. To think that those shadows on the wall were nothing but figurines after a lifetime centred around them would be earth-shattering, to say the least. The very fact that what your eyes tell you is true might be a trick is almost impossible to grasp with our supposed knowledge of the world around us through our own experiences.

 

Now, I may attempt to claim I have no recollection of a ‘cave’ that I have been trapped within but, isn’t that a cave in and of itself? To take a moment and think about this more in-depth, I was, of course, quite quick in coming up with a sketch of my own cave. As a child there are many caves, most relating to fairy tales and figures we see during holidays and celebrations. Unfortunately, I can’t be bothered to fluff my post enough to get a pleasant story out of this so, we are going to talk about the 50% of marriages that don’t end in happily ever after. Having divorced parents isn’t something anyone aspires to achieve but, there are as many stable and cohesive divorce relationships as there are destructive and spiteful. I was an adorable child. I’m not even leaving that up to argument; I was the cutest baby ever.

 

And, being an adorable baby, it was only a matter of time before two forces attempted to brainwash me into being theirs’. My childhood was a minefield of caves into which I was dragged or pushed. My initial outlook on life was that my father was amazing. No, like he was actually the best thing to ever have existed and he could do nothing wrong. My mother slowly shifted me to her side as my parents began the splitting of everything, showing me shadows on the wall to calm me and give me something to focus on. Next came my dad’s twisting of my mind as he turned me to an alternate wall in the cave, thoroughly convincing me that it was he who was my saviour and caregiver. As my parents’ relationship as co-parents grew strenuous my false beliefs only deepened. My father was, once again, the one who was untouchable and the only one who truly loved me (I just realised this whole thing makes a really good argument for how easily impressionable children are and why you can’t really trust their opinions on anything haha).

After a few years, I stepped out of the cave for awhile after my father not speaking to me for over a year and a few deep conversations with my mother. I had an understanding of the relationship which had gotten me to this point and my own place within it as the common denominator. I knew neither of my parents were what I had thought as a small child but, there were some core aspects that held strong despite being exposed to the air outside the cave. It wasn’t until an incident with my father that hastened my step-mother leaving that truly brought me to my senses and allowed me to critically analyze my place and value within the family as I believed it should be rather than what I was informed it should be.

 

Okay enough talk about that boring stuff, have another picture of me!

 

 

 
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