Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


What If The World Went Vegetarian? – Kara

Our planet continues to follow a trend of climate change around the globe with not enough being done to slow it down. Some people are trying their best to drive more fuel efficient cars, use low wattage bulbs and save water, but there is a better more efficient way to help our planet but going vegetarian has been proven to reduce your carbon footprint by 42% compared to meat eaters. 51% of our greenhouse-gas emissions are contributed by animal agriculture in forms of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.


In this video it touches on a few Truths if the world were to go vegetarian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANUoAdXfA60


  • Premise 1: A leading cause of climate change are green house gasses
  • Premise 2: Animals raised as livestock are a major source of greenhouse gasses
  • Conclusion: Therefore people converting to vegetarianism would make a large impact on stopping climate change


Analyzing its factual correctness:

Premise 1: This is agreed upon by scientists around the word. There are some facts that people do not agree upon though such as whether or not the world is actually heating up because they claim that there are also places in the world that are becoming much cooler. Over all this fact is true unless you refuse to believe the hundreds study’s and organizations and instead look at the couple sources that believe it is a hoax.

Premise 2: This premise is true due the overwhelming facts showing about the causes of greenhouse gas emissions such as CO2 and methane which are largely to be help responsible. The fact that most of these gas emissions are released by animal agriculture is because of the way that livestock is produced in our times. There is the carbon released into the atmosphere from clear cutting and burning down of forests for feed for livestock, as well as the water used for this feed. Then there is the energy used to process and transport the feed to the animals. Afterwards the food is fed to the animals and methane is released during and after digestion in form of released gas and feces. It takes a considerable amount of water to keep an animal alive as well. After the animal is slaughtered there is energy used in the transportation and packaging of the meat as well until it lands on your plate.

Conclusion: This is valid due to the fact that we have considered premise one and two to be correct.





Metaphysics Reading- Kara

intrinsic morality

My question concerns intrinsic morality. Are humans born with an ingrained moral code? Would we be moral without those roots? And perhaps most importantly, is morality, in its entirety, merely just another social construct? These aren’t new questions, so as I’ve been considering them I sought out to clarify some of these terms.

Jeff Landauer writes: The idea of intrinsic value is a rationalization. For morality to be useful, values must exist as absolutes. If values are subjective, then they are mere figments of imagination, and one cannot hold others to one’s personal moral standards, since they are believed without reason. Intrinsic value attempts to solve this problem by creating absolutes that are always true. The value exists as a characteristic inherent in the object.”

Let’s begin with the clarification of “intrinsic.” Intricism is “the belief that value is a non-relational characteristic of an object.” [Intrinsic Value].

When we examine intrinsic morality with this understanding present, we can gain new insight. It would seem paradoxical that an inherently subjective concept such as morality, commonly suggested to be heavily influenced by factors like environment and familial values, could ever be intrinsic.

Indeed, this theory is supported by experimental findings such as the repeatedly referenced, iconic, Stanford Prison Experiment. In an analysis of the study, Saul McLeod states:

“Zimbardo proposed that two processes can explain the prisoner’s ‘final submission’. Deindividuation may explain the behaviour of the participants; especially the guards. This is a state when you become so immersed in the norms of the group that you lose your sense of identity and personal responsibility. The guards may have been so sadistic because they did not feel what happened was down to them personally – it was a group norm.”

This conclusion would support the theory that people readily conform to the social roles they are expected to, even at the cost of individualism, health, and highly ingrained morals. Thusly, this conclusion would argue against the postulate that humans have any intrinsic morality – if it is easily sacrificed in the name of conformity, it was never intrinsic to begin with.

Interestingly, The Stanford Prison Experiment is often cited as proof that humans are born with intrinsic morality, but it is of a far darker sort than most are comfortable to admit.

The swirls are supposed to represent literally "churning evil" inside our heads. :/

The swirls are supposed to represent literally “churning evil” inside our heads. :/

Zimbardo is famous for stating that “that any random human being is capable of descending into sadism and tyranny.” Fortunately for the idealists and optimists of the human race, this premise is widely regarded as false. The true lesson of Stanford is that certain institutions and environments demand those behaviors of brutality, not that those behaviors are quickly and easily coaxed out of us because they are lurking close beneath the surface.

So perhaps intrinsic morality doesn’t exist. Most of my findings have echoed that hollow truth. However, perhaps a shade of it persists in all of us, in a very base form – that of the basic and fundamental perception of pain and pleasure. James Grey has a FAQ that elaborates on this, but for now we can just look at this excerpt:

We know what has intrinsic value through experience. We experience that pain is bad and pleasure is good. We know other people have the same kinds of experiences for similar reasons. We know other people’s pleasure is good just like our own and their pain is bad just like our own. That is why it makes sense that we care for other people. To not care for other people is irrational because we aren’t the center of the universe. Other people also exist and they are just as important as ourselves. To act like one’s own pleasure matters, but no one else’s pleasure matters is a strange denial of intrinsic value.

If something is intrinsically good, then we should have reason to believe that it’s not merely good in some other sense. We shouldn’t merely desire it, and it shouldn’t merely be useful. Pleasure in particular seems like something we desire precisely because it feels good and it “feeling good” seems like a good reason to think it really is good no matter who experiences it.”

Perhaps the only real intrinsic morality we are born with is that pain is bad, and that pleasure is good. If to be “good” is our end, or even if the actual experience of pleasure is the end, then the only real subjective part is the means by which we achieve that end. Violence, dominion over others, spiteful behaviour, and the dispensation of wrath are all known and documented to give pleasure, so it could be said that these actions, as means to a “good” intrinsically moral end, are intrinsically moral in and of themselves – except that, they are not known to give the MOST pleasure. Humans are drawn towards compassion, empathy, love, forgiveness, and peace because it is known to give long term fulfillment and pleasure, far surpassing the former list of concepts.

And, if:

  • To bring pleasure is “good”
  • To not bring pleasure is “not good”
  • Something that brings less pleasure is “less good” then something that brings more pleasure
  • To be “good” is the only form of intrinsic morality we have

Then the more commonly cherished concepts like compassion are more intrinsically moral than the more fringe concepts such as spite.



FAQ on Intrinsic Value. (2011). Retrieved April 20, 2016, from https://ethicalrealism.wordpress.com/faq-on-intrinsic-value/

Intrinsic Value. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2016, from http://www.importanceofphilosophy.com/Evil_Intrinsicism.html

McLeod, S. A. (2016). Zimbardo – Stanford Prison Experiment. Retrieved from www.simplypsychology.org/zimbardo.html

The Real Lesson of the Stanford Prison Experiment – The New Yorker. (2015). Retrieved April 20, 2016, from http://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/the-real-lesson-of-the-stanford-prison-experiment




Final Synthesis, Knowledge- Kara

For my find thoughts, I feel like there is no way of knowing for certain the absolute Truth about anything. But through memories and exploration we prove what knowledge we know. I felt like the reading and Phil’s day off really helped me learn and explore my topic more with more detail. the class discussion ended up getting off topic a lot but did make me think more, even though it wasn’t necessarily about my original topic.



Epistemology Phil’s Day Off- Kara

For my Phil’s day off, thought that going on a hike that I’ve never done before would be a good idea. I hiked Crown Mountain it was a new adventure for me. Although it was fun, I didn’t learn much. I found new places to hike and saw different scenery. One thing I noticed was that I had memories of the trail. I remembered passing a few things or where we stopped to look. So it was easier getting down. Thinking about how I learned on that hike really helped me with this project because it made me feel like my theory was justified a bit more.



Epistemology Reading and Discussion – Kara

If you gain knowledge through memories and exploration. All the experiences you go through help aid you to be a more knowledgeable person. My view of knowledge is how you take everything in around you.

Reading about memories I found a lot of things that interested me but this line really stood out to me, “We remember experiences and events which are not happening now, so memory differs from perception. We remember events which really happened, so memory is unlike pure imagination. Yet, in practice, there can be close interactions between remembering, perceiving, and imagining. Remembering is often suffused with emotion, and is closely involved in both extended affective states such as love and grief, and socially significant practices such as promising and commemorating.” Showing that every experience and memory gets sorted into, if its need or not. So in the future you can remember the important things.

Another quotation that caught my eye was “There is a difference though between this types of knowledge and practical knowledge. The type of knowledge that you are speaking about is awareness. Knowledge of awareness works in conjunction with practical knowledge. Practical knowledge (science, math, reading, writing, etc.) is very important. Practical knowledge allows our awareness to manipulate the surrounding universe in a number of beneficial ways.” This quotation supports my opinion that you gain knowledge through memories and exploration.

I spoke with Shem and Courtney. We got a little off topic talking about how we learn and the capital “T” truth but talking about my statement they both agreed with it and thought it was a really good look on it. I agree with both Shem and Courtney’s point of view, I found there statements very interesting and it gave me some new ideas.

After talking with my classmates and researching my topic online, this helped me realize that no matter what everyone can have a different opinion on every topic. I also realized that knowledge as a whole is harder than I thought and it’s very scary to think about because we never can realistically know what knowledge it.