Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Take a deep breathe…we’re almost done and learned so much, but we haven’t gotten very far yet!

Well, it’s been a long semester!  We’ve all learned so much and come so far, but we have only just scratched the surface.  And with that notion I stand by what I said from day one…philosophy is on going.  I’ve gone on to believe that no one will ever finish their studying of Philosophy because that is an unachievable goal.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.  But that isn’t a bad thing!  But there are a lot of things we know a lot more about anyway.  I sure learned a lot, and I even learned what learning is!  Now isn’t that interesting!

I stand by much of what I said from my first reflection.  My first reflection was brief, and of a more confused version of me who was more than rushed to get his homework done.  But I still feel when looking back on my first post that it sums up how I still feel about philosophy.  It is confusing, but it is important.  Everyday I come to class I learn something new, and it seems that everyday, we have a new topic to discuss that is often a part of our everyday life.  We’ve learned more than just how to put an argument together, or test an ethical idea under the umbrella of a categorical imperative or utilitarianism.  I know that my way of thinking has changed.  I’ve opened my mind to new ideas and thought deeper, for example, on the consequences of the decisions we make on life.  How to treat people, what is just and unjust.  What is subjective and what is objective (if you even believe that objectivity is possible).  But I know from day one, I’ve never faced a more thought provoking or challenging subject such as philosophy.  I never thought that I would go home every night and lay in bed and just think…think about anything.  Think about life and argue life’s limits and what is real and what isn’t.

This class has also opened a new way of learning for me.  Now the rest of the school may call it sitting around in comfy couches until lunch, but we have a different idea of what we do…it’s called class discussion.  Not only did I find it helpful and insightful to sit around with my peers and learn from them and share views and opinions on various subjects, but I also found it helpful that Mr. Jackson wouldn’t just give is the answer, he would make us work for it and actually put us through the process of learning.  If I remember correctly someone had screamed out “my brain hurts!”  And Mr.Jackson said “that’s what it feels like in your head when you’re actually physically learning something!”

Now what am I proud of?!  I’d have to say that I’m proud of opening up to a new way of thinking/learning (class discussions, blog, actual learning).  I am also proud of what we accomplished as a class.  As a class we discussed and feverishly depated some of the most controversial and intense topics out there, from abortion to capital punishment, and the ins and outs of the rights and wrongs of murder under all circumstances, and of course what to call “the Joels” and “the Kevins”.  I’m glad we all furthered our knowledge of the world around us which in turn will make us more conscious citizens and will push us to question all aspects of life and allow us to make more informed and stronger decisions from how to vote to what to make for breakfast (if you choose to use your knowledge in such a way).

Personally I would really love to go back and improve my involvement in this class.  I look back and I missed a blog post or two and I could have commented more.  I do care but that’s on me to be better and push myself.  But no matter the grade I get, I know I’ve learned a lot and I’ll take it with me wherever I go and I will apply my newly formed knowledge to my life.  I know what I’ve taken from this class and that is for me.  I know that I will apply my knowledge to how I live my life from now on.  I have no control over my thoughts now as they will always go through a philosophical filter.  I will think with more purpose on my actions and will consider the possible outcomes of my decisions.  I will allow my new knowledge to make me a better person for those reasons.  I will not be ignorent and intolerant, but will open my mind to all opinions and views and consider them before I argue them or not.  And going forward I know I will continue to learn philosophy, by research or experience…which ever comes first.  I know I’ve only scratched the surface, and I’m sure by the time I’m dead and gone I’ll have only moved up ever so slightly on a philosophical ladder.

With all that has been said in the last few months, and all that we’ve learned, we’ve all taken something different out of this course and our journeys have all been very different even though we’ve all been on the same path.  So just to review, my views on philosophy have expanded more than solidified.  I still believe in the same things I said in my first reflection like that philosophy touches all aspects of life.  It does and I can feel that presence touching mine right now.  Philosophy is kinda like a glove with some holes in it…its still pretty cold but it’s better than nothing.  And I believe it is definately a lot better than nothing.  I won’t say philosophy has made my life easier, in fact it’s made it more challenging.  But life is all about challenges.  Life isn’t supposed to be easy.  I don’t think life should be easy, because it wouldn’t be so amazing if it was.  And thats what we are here to do, we are here to live.  And we should live it to the fullest and do our best as individuals to continue to search for that ever so slippery meaning of life.  Hopefully when it’s all over we can at least figure out the meaning of life for us as individuals.  But philosophy is ongoing and may hold the key to unlocking the door to the room that has the locked vault, and in that vault is the directions to where the meaning of life used to be.  So I’ll say like I said on day one…”If after reading this you are confused, that’s ok, cause you still probably aren’t as confused as me!”

 

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Racial equality?! I’m not so sure

For years now it is a common misconception that racial discrimination has been either abolished or is somewhere near that low a level of racism. But that is most definately not the case. Racial inequality is still at the forfront of any social encounters in the present. And the issues run deeper than just simply trying to treat people better! And exactly what does that even mean?! “Be nicer!” “Treat everyone equally?!” It’s easier said than done.

Issue:
The issues of discrimination against black men, women and children run deeper than the odd racial slur here and there. These racial issues range from racial slurs to police brutality, and also on an economic front as well, not to mention the way many people still think of a black person as any different from you or me. One of the major nagging issues is just that, thinking of someone in a way that depicts them as “different.” The first issue is that many people will still think of a black person as “a black person”, and not just simply as another person. That’s where social equality begins…I’m a person, you’re a person, why should we allow skin colour to determine how we feel about each other. And that’s the point, it doesn’t matter. The thought process is where the root of the issues on a social level lay, and it branches into “harmless” cracks or jokes at one another, and that is not ok. The social issue is really the root of all issues. The sooner we just see each other as another person, and nothing more than that we can move past much of the inappropriate behaviour towards black people.

The next issue is also a social issue. Police brutality has been an issue for a long time and still is to this day. It seems no innocent black man or woman can be in a possibly suspicious situation (and when I say suspicious I mean some kind of police related situation) and get the benefit of the doubt from a cop. It seems as though cops are told to be more suspicious of blacks than they should be of whites. The fact of the matter is that police brutality is no myth,it is a growing concern amongst all of us. The attacks seem to surround young black men in particular, as they are seen as “misfits” to police. It is no coincidence that young black men are being killed by cops on the spot without much hesitation. I mean, what happened to being innocent before proven guilty?! I guess when it comes to young black men you can toss that rule out the window. And every time these killings or assaults happen, the white cop that has done the dirty deed seems to get off easy or without any issue. Take for instance the case involving Eric Garner, a young black man who was choked to death by an NYPD cop. An illegal choke hold was used, and CPR was not performed at the scene. The medical examiner ruled his death to be a homicide yet the cop was never indited for his crime. Another good example would be the case of Micheal Brown in Ferguson. And it all comes back to the benefit of the doubt not being given, which just leads back to the root of the problem, the thinking process that we are somehow “different.”

Not only does the black community endure awful social injustices, but the issues go to the bank too. There is a major wealth gap between white and black. The average black man only earns 70 cents to a white mans dollar in the middle class. Poverty is also a major issue. Black people make up 27.4% of poverty in the US, compared to 9.9% white. The staggering number is also higher than Asian and Hispanic. The problem really starts in schools. Lower school funding in largely black communities has led too poorer education in those areas which really puts them behind from the beginning. It seems as though they always have to play from behind, they are always playing catch up. Black people also hold the highest poverty rate in chronic poverty (poverty lasting up to 36 months) and second highest in episodic poverty (less than 36 months), and median poverty (highest average time spent in poverty). The rate of episodic poverty is 2 times as high as whites. They also have the highest unemployment rate at 16%, and the lowest home ownership rates at 44.5%. Now here’s a real kicker…black people make up make up 12.6% of the U.S. population and make up 38% of the prison population. Whites only make up 34% of the prison population yet they make up 63.7% of the countries population. Black males are imprisoned at 6.5 times higher than white males. All I can say is WOW!!! I hope people can see clearly now that this is no coincidence…but that they see it for what it is…systemic racism.

The biggest issue is how to approach the issue of inequality. Well really, anything is easily said but it is an issue that will take decades to solve. You see, it’s a cycle. The inequality starts in schools with funding which puts black kids behind in their education and then it follows them to adulthood. In their adult years they are forced to play catch up and work twice as hard to earn 70% as much as a white guy does. And then there is no benefit of the doubt in any police situation which seems to put them in prison at a much quicker rate. And this cycle just keeps spinning. For any progress to be made the cycle must be broken, which again, is easier said than done. The first thing that must be abolished is the social thought process that I spoke of before, and then, maybe, just maybe we can go from there. So next time you think that equality Has been achieved in the modern era, think again.

 

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Perspectivism

Now for some reason I thought that I had posted this last week, but I guess I forgot and it was just kicking around in my drafts.  I thought it had been posted, but maybe something went wrong, or I simply forgot.  So sorry to any of you that were eager to hear my mind-melting statements to do with perspective.

 

 

Ted Honderich talked a lot about objective and subjective physicality and what is real and not real.  One of the things that kept creeping up behind me was this idea of perspective.  Ted talks about how what is actual and objectively physical is what everyone sees, and is really real.  Still with me? Okay.  Then comes the idea of the subjectively physical.  Subjective physicality, is to my understanding, real, but can be interpreted differently.  For example, you and I could agree that the hypothetic table that sits in front of us is there, and real, but I may say it is blue, and you may say that it is red.  I may see something one way, and you may see it differently.  Is it in our heads? Is this difference in perspective just our imagination playing tricks on us?

I did some research and I learned the meaning of perspective in philosophical terms.  The idea of perspectivism is that  there are many different ways things can be perceived.   No perspective can be proven to be true or real, and not all perspectives are equal.  Perspectivism denies that anything can be objective, true, real or actual.  The idea of objective physicality or any metaphysical topic, so pretty much our entire existence, can’t be proven objective.  Woah!

A topic like this is interesting because it really just denies the idea or sense of reality for me.  How can it be that nothing can be objective?  But that goes back to the class conversation we all had about logic.  We argued endlessly about the idea of scientific objectivity for an hour or so, and came to the conclusion that science can’t be objective.  Objectivity is a man made idea.  Man is not capable of being objective due to opinion and memories and our past experiences.  I believe it was Vincent that made the point of saying that we can’t see our memories exactly as they happened because we filter it and change what happens in our head.  Forgive me Vincent if I’m wrong.  But I also really like the point about How nothing can be objective unless we don’t know what “it” is.

The more I think about it, the more the theory of perspectivism makes sense.  And it has been proven in our class discussion about scientific objectivity.  How can you know?  Like Kevin said, “If you hold the shoe in the air and drop it, the shoe will fall and hit the ground.”  We all know that the shoe will hit the ground.  But how do you know?!  As humans, if we agree on something, we see that as truth, or objective.  That it is what it is.  But we can never really know.  How can it be proven.  Perspectivism says that that these “greater ideas” can’t be proven.

Now, I’m not sure if I agree with the ideals of perspectivism, but I will say it has made me think about thinks from a different “perspective”  Perspectivism must be the most annoying theory to some philosophers.  Its like that annoying kid who listens to you tell an incredible story to him and his friends, and the story is true, but that annoying little kid just stands there and says “prove it!”  Because, how can you?  How can human beings decide whether or not something is real.  Who are we to say if something is true or not.  So I ask you…can things be proven to be real or objective?  Is perspectivism just a bunch of hogwash?  Is this even real?  Anyway, I hope that you all take a second to just think about it all.  Thanks!

 

 

 

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Hockey and Logic

The NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has made the NHL into a money making machine for just over 21 years.  Since he has been in charge the NHL has seen him expand the league from 24 teams, to 30 since 1993.  Those six teams added to the league are the Florida Panthers in 1993-94, Anaheim Mighty Ducks 1993-94 (Renamed Ducks in 2005-06), Nashville Predators in 1998-99, Atlanta Thrashers 1998-99, Minnesota Wild in 2000-01 and the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2000-01.  He has also moved the Quebec Nordiques to Denver (Colorado Avalanche) in 1995-96 and one of the failed expansion teams mentioned before, the Atlanta Thrashers to Winnipeg.  He has also been instrumental in keeping the Arizona Coyotes (Formerly known as Phoenix) in Glendale Arizona through bankruptcy and a pathetic attendance record.  Now we get to my point.  Why would the league expand to places that are not hockey markets like Atlanta, Florida and Nashville, and not feed hungry Canadian hockey markets.

Premises 1: Gary Bettman has been instrumental in turning the NHL into a money making machine.

Premises 2: Large American markets like New York and Boston are strong hockey markets, just like markets in Toronto and Montreal are equally as strong.

Premises 3: Canadian markets like Quebec and Hamilton have been hungry for a hockey team for a long time, and would have substantial fan support and very strong attendance in arenas.

Conclusion: Hockey is strong in markets like Florida and Arizona, and those teams should not be moved to hungry Canadian markets.

 

Now that is not a true conclusion.  It has been proven time and time again that markets like Florida and Arizona are not strong hockey markets and have weak attendance records.  Arizona has been through two long ownership disputes and claimed bankruptcy in 2009.  The NHL paid to keep the Coyotes in Arizona until 2013.  Florida has the second lowest attendance record in the league before Arizona and ownership has already stated they are willing to sell the team and are willing to have the team moved.  So if Bettman is out to make money, then why is he keeping teams in weak markets.  Most NHL arenas average around 20, 000 maximum capacity and in Florida, usually they average less than half of the maximum capacity on paper.  And when I say on paper it means the amount of tickets sold for the game, the amount of people that actually show is usually less than a quarter of the max capacity. It was just the other night that the Ottawa Senators were in Florida and they had a franchise low 7,311 attendance record.  There were far fewer than 7,000 actually in the crowd.   Panthers

That is just a little taste of the dismal turnout.

“There was a lot of air and a lot of silence up in the stands.” is what Clarke Macarthur had to say about the crowd.

A poor team often leads to low attendance but in this case you could argue it the other way around.  A good crowd leads to a good morale and gives energy to the team.  It was similar in Atlanta before they moved to Winnipeg.  The Winnipeg Jets have the smallest arena in the league with a capacity with just over 15,000 and they sell out every night.  At the end of the day, wins lead to fans, fans lead to attendance and attendance leads to money.  No attendance in these markets, means no money to be made.

Below is a list of the overall attendance record from last season and the nightly average of attendance. Don’t apply attention to the road record it doesn’t apply to this article.

 

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What is Philosophy??

What is Philosophy?  Is it a way of thinking, or a way of living?  Or is it more than that?  It seems to me philosophy is different for everyone.  We all relate to it differently.  A study of the immeasurable would be a good way to describe it.  But it’s iso much more.  To me it seems that it is something that can’t be defined.  It is different to everyone.  At times it is not understandable whatsoever.  Philosophy is such a broad topic to and reaches all different aspects of life and makes us question all aspects of life.  I often find myself sitting in class trying to get a trip on the conversation and I sit back and laugh and think “is this even real!!” I’ll hear someone say something so interesting and mind boggling that the only thing that comes to my mind is “BOOM…that just happened!”  I’ve come to define the subject of the undefinable!  The study of everything that is, isn’t and in-between.  Maybe my thoughts on philosophy will change in the coming months in this course but at this point my ideas are quite primitive.  But don’t take this negatively, it is quite honestly one of the most intriguing subjects I’ve ever been exposed to.  Right now, the most basic way I see philosophy as a way for humans to try and understand what it means to be human.  Why we do what we do.  Why we want, why we need, why we feel and why we want to know why we want and need to understand humanity.  It keeps us on our toes, and gives us meaning.  I believe it will be a never ending search for for answers on what it means to be human, and in turn it will keep us human to strive for the answers but maybe never get them.  Philosophy to me = MIND BLOWN!!! BOOM

 

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First Reflection

Well, I’ve only been in this course for a week and I guess the least I can say is that I am intrigued and confused.  With a topic so broad I have a difficult time understanding the basic idea of philosophy but I guess I could say I know more now, than I did just one week ago.  So far my understanding of Philosophy would be that this subject touches most aspects of life.  To me it is a whole new way of thinking about what you do from day to day and in the long run of life.  The last thought I have so far is that philosophy is essential to life.  To me, it is important to try and have an understanding of why we are here, what to do with our time here on earth and why we should want to have an understanding of why we are here.  I hope you all find this the least bit insightful and, that if this paragraph confuses you, well, I’m probably just as confused, if not more than you are.

 
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