Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Philosophy is dissociating and making your physical and mental selves fight to the death.

At the beginning of the semester I didn’t know what I was doing. I knew next to nothing about philosophy. I only signed up for the course because people told it was fun and “basically TALONS 12″. While they weren’t wrong, this statement didn’t prepare me for the reality of trying to distill the “truth” of the universe. Especially with people that I’d never talked to. So at the beginning of the term I said that philosophy was like panning for gold in a bathtub (gonna plead the fifth on telling y’all how much time I spent on that presentation). My justification being that I thought that there was only one truth in the universe.
Suffice to say, I’ve adapted my opinions a fair bit since then. Now, I think that philosophy is more like a kaleidoscope. It provides different ways to look at the same topic, and can make familiar things seem foreign to you. The biggest difference is in the new metaphor, everything you think can be true. If it seems true to you, it very well could be. Maybe everyone has a different truth, that’s fine. Maybe you even have a different “truth” every time you look back through the kaleidoscope. That’s kind of what philosophy has become for me over the course of this term. A way to question what I thought I knew and find different ways to look at almost everything.
What happened? Why did I go from thinking that philosophy was the search for THE truth to the search for A truth? The main influence on my metaphor was becoming more educated on the topic of philosophy.
The event that started me on this train of thought was the metaphysics Phils Day Off. When I was writing my post I noticed that many people can do the same activity and react in different ways. This led me to conclude that how people perceive things is different because of who they are. Things like past experiences can make the difference between a traumatic event and a fun one. People aren’t wrong for screaming while they bungee jump, its how they react. Much the same, the opinions of Kant are no more right or wrong than the opinions of Mill. Even while reading the thoughts of others, this class came up with different ways to determine what is moral. Exactly like how two people can look at the same thing through a kaleidoscope and see completely different images.
This continued through epistemology and aesthetics, right up to now. Unlike the first “What is philosophy?” assignment I’m actually very confident in my metaphor. It’s almost a guarantee that everyone who presents will have a different metaphor for what philosophy is. I find that very cool because it shows that philosophy lets people read the same thing, get different opinions about it, and still be right.
But where does that leave me? Do I have to accept that everyone has different opinions and those are their truths of the world? Does that mean I can’t call people out when they exhibit and act upon shitty opinions? Those are their truths after all. No, I can accept that people perceive things in a variety of ways but this metaphor applies to things like philosophy, not things that affect peoples lives and rights. This class as a whole has made me more accepting of others opinions which will come in handy in future. I learned a lot about philosophy as a whole and it’s become easier to see where people get their ideas from.
 

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I’m here, I’m queer, and Fox News can go to hell. (Jordan Chambers)

I can’t really say that ethics was a weird unit for me because what unit isn’t a weird unit for me but let me tell you. Ethics was a weird unit for me. I’ve been weirdly busy since winter break ended so a lot of the time I was too preoccupied to be fully present in class which sucked because I’m sure I would have had a lot of thoughts during discussions but I could pay enough attention to discern some things.

So for personal definitions, utilitarianism is like doing things because they will make you and the people around you happy and the definitions I was given make it seem like actions are good as long as they increase pleasure. On the other hand, the categorical imperative is doing things because they are the right thing to do and carries the belief that actions are only moral if they are done without selfish motivations. So the example I used when I explained all of this to my costume crew (these poor grade nines I work with deal with so much) was that if you see your friend is about to be shot and you jump in the path of the bullet, under utilitarianism this is an ethically good action because your friend will be happy they are not dead and (assuming you survive) you will be happy because your friend is not dead but under the categorical imperative your action is only ethical if your motivation to take the bullet for your friend didn’t take into account your personal feelings (I took the bullet because it is my duty to prevent people from being killed vs. I took the bullet because I would be sad if my friend died).

It’s really hard to try and define your personal ethical perspective using other peoples words because to me it seems like “oh these things are right or wrong because they just are” but theres underlying reasons obviously and trying to justify and explain those is just really hard (A lot of my conclusions relate back to things are perceived differently due to personal background and that comes into play a lot in ethics. Like your ethical perspective is determined by who you are and how you were raised and in what kind of society, etc…). So as best I can figure it, my ethical perspective is mostly utilitarianism but obviously not strictly utilitarianism because that’s just a little ridiculous to think that any person can only do things out of a sense of duty. I agree with some aspects of the categorical imperative though, like there are obviously things I want to do that I don’t out of a sense of duty or because they have been determined ‘wrong’ by society and I think thats okay but also some things are okay to do for selfish reasons if they increase happiness for others (for example I want gender neutral bathrooms to be more commonplace because yes, I’m trans and want a place to feel safe and thats a little selfish, but also because other people who are also trans deserve the same thing because humans should have a right to feel safe). So really I don’t mind things being done for selfish reasons as long as they also increase pleasure for the other people involved.

A problem of ethics that comes to my attention a lot is when advertising companies and brands and artists use the representation of LGBT people (and people of colour but it’s not really my place to talk about that) as a way to further interest in their brands and increase their own wealth. The most recent example that comes to mind is the National Geographic cover that features trans people. Basically, NatGeo ran a piece on transgender people for their january 2017 edition entitled “the gender revolution” and the cover(s) feature photographs of transgender people. How is that an ethical dilemma? Well two things really, National Geographic was just bought by Fox News (yknow, the one with astoundingly conservative bias) and they didn’t actually… compensate their models for the time taken to do the photoshoot. So we have a magazine, owned by a racist and homophobic news source, running a piece that they will profit off of, but not paying their models (trans people, who are overwhelmingly in poverty anyway). Lots of people have varying problems with this cover and so do I but personally I feel like this kind of representation isn’t what some people are calling it, exploitation. When a magazine allows trans people (including a nine-year-old trans girl) to tell their stories in their own way, thats important. It’s selfish of NatGeo to not pay their models, yes, and that may be slightly unethical considering their new affiliations with Fox News but the stories they are telling and the visibility that they are providing the trans community with is potentially lifesaving (The ‘Summary of Reccomendations’ section of this report relates to my point). While it is unlikely that anyone under the age or 16 will actually read a NatGeo magazine, there’s the chance that a young trans kid could see this cover and think ‘maybe I’m not alone’, I know I would’ve liked something like this article when I was younger. To sum up, I don’t think it was unethical for Fox News to use NatGeo to profit off of trans folk, because it does increase happiness of both the people at NatGeo and trans folk/allies, even if it was a little selfish of them.

 

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There’s only one problem with going to a musical about an East German drag queen and that’s when your dad and brother think its about Harry Potter.

My aesthetic perspective is more or less that people find things beautiful if they can relate to them and they elicit an emotional reaction. This is sort of similar to Descartes in that he said “beauty pleases” meaning things that please are beautiful. I kind of disagree with him in that I think things can be pleasing without being beautiful. I also agree a bit with Baumgarten and his statement that called aesthetics the science of sensitive knowing, basically meaning that beauty is found at an intersection of knowledge and emotion. That viewpoint came up a lot over my winter break and with the main three aesthetic experiences I had.

The first aesthetic experience was brought to me by my brother, fresh back from university, and a documentary on netflix called Valley Uprising. Valley Uprising details the history of rock climbing in the Yosemite valley (and outside of it once populatiry grew) from the 50s to the present and if you havent seen it I highly reccomend it. But of course, you may not enjoy it as much as I did. I’ve been rock climbing for about a year now and I spend a lot of time at the gym, discussing technique for different routes, and setting goals for my personal fitness in relation to rock climbing, so when I watched Valley Uprising I was enthralled with the tales from climbers through the ages from the first ascent of half dome to the modern climbers free soloing, base jumping, and slacklining in and around the valley. Even details of living conditions for the dedicated climbers (things like sleeping in caves to avoid rangers and eating cat food because thats what they could afford) which should have been disgusting were understandable to me because these were real stories from real people doing what they love. Anyone not dedicated to rock climbing would not have found some of these things beautiful but thats where my aesthetic perspective came in. I found this documentary and the stories inside it beautiful bcause I know rock climbing and I’ve formed an emotional appreciation of the hard work it takes to be good at it.

A few days later me and my family drove down to Seattle for the weekend and while we did many things (watched Rogue one, shopped for climbing gear, went to the zoo, and the flight museum) the most prominent aesthetic experience was when we went to a showing of Hedwig and the Angry InchHedwig is a rock musical set as a concert being performed by the band Hedwig and the Angry Inch, throughout the “concert” Hedwig (lead singer) provides stories from her life, starting in Communist East Germany, her marriage, move to America, and subsequent divorce from an American GI, and the sex change that allowed her marriage to be considered legal (to be clear, Hedwig was born male, had a botched sex change, lives as female but doesn’t really identify as either). Now, there was a lot of things loved about this show, the theatre we watched it in, the plot, the singing, costumes, music, lighting, and set design (to name a few). But while I had an intense emotional reaction to the show, the rest of my family walked out of the theatre with the only review being “it was okay”. A very “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” type gig. I suspect that while I, a trans kid who is very into musical theatre, found Hedwig, a musical about a trans person, to be just groundbreaking, my family, cis people who kinda like theatre (I wasn’t kidding, my dad and brother walked into the theatre thinking this was a Harry Potter show), did not because our knowledge and emotion appreciations are different due to our life experiences that make up who we are at our cores. Sidenote: while I’m not going to tell you to illegally watch a show that is no longer running performances if you happen to stumble across a good bootleg or some tickets then go for it because DAMN it was such a good show.

The final aesthetic experience I’m gonna talk about from break was more of an “active” experience where I was creating art as opposed to watching art. So I’ve played ukulele for almost a year now and my brother picked up mine over the summer which made it hard for me to practice so I bought him a ukulele for Christmas and he solidly didn’t put it down for three days. SO after Christmas dinner me and my brother were playing around on our ukuleles and the family was all kinda sitting around listening and eventually they started putting in requests for songs they wanted to hear (Mostly Johnny Cash). And it was a very pure aesthetic experience in that I was conscious of the past and future but the most important part was the present and not messing up my chords. I think in this case it would be harder to find people who wouldn’t appreciate the moment but I know that if I had less knowledge of ukulele playing, or I didn’t like Johnny Cash songs, the pleasure I derived from the event would have been lowered.

So basically, I think that we find things beautiful if we understand them and have emotions in relation to them. And I found beauty in a documentary, a staged rock concert, and a two man ukulele jam.

 

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I’ll say its spelled BerenstAin when I’m dead in my grave.

Knowledge is subjective. If I can “know” one thing about knowledge it is that what you know changes from person to person and depends on your senses and how you rationalize things. But I’m mostly gonna talk about empirical knowledge because that’s kinda easier.

P: Knowledge is based upon the senses and how you can rationalize what you sense

  • The two main theories of knowledge are Rationalism and Empiricism. Empiricism as the idea that knowledge comes from your senses and I kind of extend that to knowledge that comes from being told things because you’re using your senses to learn things even if they may be brought about by rational knowledge. Rationalism is the idea that knowledge comes from reason not experience. In my opinion, knowledge comes from a combination of rationalism and empiricism where you experience things and you can know how to use or recreate them without knowing how they work, but if you want to know how they work you need to rationalize them.

P: The senses can be subjective

  • This is more something that needs an example to explain. If you were to wear a pair of red tinted glasses, at first a white surface would appear red. After a while, as the colour-detecting cones in your eye get tired, looking at the same white surface it would appear white, even if you were still wearing the red glasses. If you were to take the glasses off at that point, the same white surface could appear green. Here your sight is interpreting the colour of the same white surface differently due to an outside effect. This is not objective. This occurs other places too, from not noticing pain during a fight-or-flight response to not hearing sounds of a high (or low) enough frequency.

C: Therefore, Knowledge based on the senses can be subjective

  • As shown before for a variety of reasons the senses, and the knowledge based on them, can be subjective. Have some examples:
  • Count the “f”s in this sentence
  • Basically any optical illusion ever but here’s a gallery of some fun ones
  •  
  • And relating to the title of this post, the Berenst*in bears. Which in case you weren’t aware, almost everyone remembers being spelled “Berenstein” but it is apparently spelled “Berenstain” (Which just seems twisted I’m sorry if you think it’s spelled with an A but you my friend are wrong)

The philosopher I can most closely link this to is Descartes with his “Sense Illusion” argument which, according to my notes went like this

    • There are times when our senses deceive us
    • We can detect these times when we have “non optimal” conditions
      • Sometimes the senses deceive us when conditions are not optimal
      • Whenever you are deceived by something you have reason to doubt it in the future
      • Therefore, we have reason to doubt beliefs derived from the senses when conditions are not optimal
        • Trouble being when we cannot tell when conditions are optimal or not

and was part of his “The only thing I can know for sure is that I am a thing that thinks” philosophical rebirth but where Descartes believes that you can’t know anything I’m more of the idea that you can know things, and these things can be true, but depending on how your senses perceive things you might know things differently than the people around you.

 

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If your friend jumped off a bridge would you jump too? Apparently.

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So my metaphysics topic was originally fight, flight, freeze reflexes in general but after the first blog post and the discussions based on those I kind of narrowed it down to if we are able to control those panic responses (determinism and free will with a good helping of biology). For my Phils Day Off, Matt and I went bungee jumping in Whistler. Thanks to Mr Jackson we were able to get a sweet deal and overall the day was pretty unforgettable.

Going into Phil’s’ Day Off my question was mainly ‘Can you use willpower to control a panic response?’ and I was going to test this by literally just jumping off a bridge. I wanted to see if the effects of a panic response could be lessened by using relaxation strategies recommended by psychiatrists such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation (Tensing and relaxing muscle groups one at a time). The day went pretty much according to plan (if you could really say there was a plan) Matt and I did the jump, tried to use various strategies to control panic, and also had just a lot of fun.

From conducting this experiment I found a number of things which included, but are not limited to:

  • The most effective way to overcome the panic response was to just jump as the panic didn’t really subside until the bottom of the jump. I was shaking pretty intensely while standing on the bridge and the progressive muscle relaxation didn’t really do anything to change that.
  • Although I had very high levels of anxiety regarding the jump, the reality of doing the jump didn’t really sink in until standing on the bridge, hooked into the harness and rope, being told what to do at the end of the jump, until then it seemed as though I could still back out if I really wanted to but after getting into the harness it felt as though I had given up the freedom to back out.
  • The worst section of the panic (for me at least) wasn’t right before the jump but rather during the first free fall and that was a very intense panic with a very real fight, flight, freeze reaction (I froze, also screamed)
  • Higher levels of adrenaline may factor into this but after the worst of the jump I was like, ridiculously happy and amped up and I felt very alive.
  • Essentially, I could control the circumstances that lead to the panic response (Not jumped, jumped forward not backward, closed my eyes, etc…) but the actual panic response was an uncontrollable thing where my higher functioning and “reasonable” brain shut down and my base survival instincts were left.
    • Due to this I don’t have a very clear memory of the jump but I do remember some things and I have pictures and video of the event.

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I was also pretty interested in how personal history factors into panic responses, I go rock climbing fairly often so heights aren’t really a problem for me but in rock climbing the descent is always a very controlled thing and I’ve never been in the position of having to fall long distances. On the other hand, Matt has taken plenty of falls so while we both had plenty of anxiety about the jump we approached the same jump with different viewpoints. We did end up jumping differently, Matt faced off the bridge when he jumped and I faced the bridge when I jumped. Kind of going hand in hand with this, both of us screamed/swore during the fall but I started screaming as soon as my feet left the platform and Matt only swore once he was falling faster than he had ever fallen before. Matt also seemed more eager to do the jump but possibly not less anxious than I was. I could probably put this down to his prior experience with thrill seeking and how the highest thing I’ve ever jumped off of is like, the top of the bouldering wall at my gym (a solid less-than-one-eighth of the height of the bridge). So I would say yes, personal history factors into how panic responses affect you. If you consider a panic response (or at least the lead up to one) as your subconscious detecting a danger to your life and telling your body to freak out then people who can suppress a panic response are either REALLY bad at detecting dangers to life or have a very strong rational brain that can tell the subconscious to chill.

So basically bungee jumping was a really fun and terrifying way to experiment with willpower and panic responses and here’s a link to the pictures that got taken of Matt and my jumps.

 

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I’m not even gonna try to hide it I have no idea what’s going on in this post and I’m gonna blame it on having a freeze response to literally everything.

I am interested in the concept of Fight, Flight, or Freeze. The phrase “deer in the headlights” comes to mind often when discussing this because the image of a deer on the highway at night in its’ moments before being hit by a car is so very visceral an image of freeze. When coming up with a topic for this project I spent a lot of time freezing, a lot of time as in like two hours of staring at a blank page or paused with my hands hovering over a keyboard. I also spent a lot of time distracting myself from the matter at hand, choosing instead to talk about cursive writing or other, less important topics. I’d say that even though I wasn’t physically running away from my computer this would be a good example of flight. What I want to start investigating in this post is;

  • If we can be biologically predisposed to one or another of the three instincts
  • If, even with a biological predisposition, your environment can affect your instincts
  • If you can retrain yourself to have a different instinctive reaction

In case the specifics of the fight, flight, or freeze response aren’t too familiar to you, the process basically goes as such (don’t quote me on this though). Your body detects a stressor, your brain sends a message to your adrenal glands, the adrenal glands produce an excess of adrenaline (which gives you a rush of energy and can make people super strong for short bits of time but in most cases just amps up your heart rate). From there you make a subconscious, split-second decision and follow through. What you decide and how you follow through seems to be based upon learned behaviours such as past traumas and a subconscious analysis of the situation. Depending on how you look at it these wouldn’t be based on biological predispositions. People with more testosterone in their bodies are typically more likely to have a fight or flight reaction than people with more estrogen but is that because of their hormone levels or the socialization they grow up with as a result of them? So (as with all metaphysical questions) the answer is a resounding ‘maybe-but-probably-no’, as to whether or not the response to a stressor is biologically predetermined.

The second question is a little more straight forward. Loosely defining environment as “the general atmosphere of your life” would lead us to say that a-little-more-than-probably your environment affects your instinctual fight, flight, or freeze response. As previously discussed, past traumas can greatly change how you react to any situation, but especially ones that are stressful, and especially ones that are stressful in a way that relates to past traumas (basically don’t judge people for what makes them upset because its rude but anyway). The here-and-now of a stressor can also affect how a person would react but generally a longstanding trait will have more impact than an immediate problem.

Lastly, I wanted to figure out if it would be possible to retrain someones predisposition from one reaction to another. Personally this point has a lot of weight for me because I’ve got some wild stressors that usually result in a freeze reaction and me dissociating for an hour or so which just isn’t fun. Unfortunately, the parasympathetic (fight, flight, freeze) response is an automatic thing and really can’t be stopped. What can be done is conditioning how you react to the rush of adrenaline and that can be done with things like controlled breathing and more long term counselling. So like, long story short no.

So um, if I’m being real here I don’t really know how to relate this to metaphysics because I spent basically the whole unit dissociating so I hope this is sort of what is being asked of us and I know I’m supposed to do a “so what” bit here but I sort of addressed that in the answer to the third question and the “where to next” is basically like we could find out more about the first question if we did fight, flight, or freeze response tests on babies but that’s just messed up on so many levels so no one really wants to. Also there isn’t really a lot of philosophical reading related to this because as I realized about 500 words into this post this is more of a biology-and-psychology problem than a philosophical one but I used this website to determine how the parasympathetic response works and if it can be controlled and all that fun stuff.

In conclusion, I’m so glad this post isn’t included in our November report cards.

 

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Platos cave is real and it stole my entire grade ten year – or the story of that time I, Jordan Chambers, costumed almost an entire musical by myself.

So in my Grade ten year (last year) our musical theatre department did Beauty and the Beast for our big production. Somehow, I thought that it would be a good idea to sign up and take charge of the costuming department. What I didn’t know was that I was the only person who signed up for this task. I honestly can’t even blame anyone else like who in their right mind wants to make almsot 100 costumes for a fantasy musical? Previously in theatre I had done lighting which was very low-effort (for the most part) and even allowed me to take naps during performances and while I was not new to sewing, I was new to the art of costuming which is like sewing, but you dont have patterns to follow and no one tells you what the budget is, only that you cant spend a lot of money which is fine in theory but then im expected to make ball gowns and wardrobes and organize quickchanges and glue masks to peoples faces twice a day and I’m getting away from myself but long story short i had no idea what I signed up for but hell if I was gonna step down from the task.

So ironically enough, my Platos Cave was being the person creating shadows, and when I left the cave, instead of seeing the sun I got stuck in a small room with piles and piles of clothing. And when I say that Platos Cave stole my entire grade ten year I quite literally mean that from November to mid-May, almost the only thing on my mind was these costumes. I went to Disneyland and the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas in this timeframe and I would like, stand on the edge of this huge crack in the earth that can be seen from space and the other side is so far away it’s hazy and I would be thinking, “Man I wonder how I’m going to make an actual teapot that someone can still act and dance while wearing.” It was wild. (That’s like, the part in the allegory where the newly freed guy is just wandering around kind of blinded by the sunlight and wondering why he’s out there.)

But as the actual run of the musical got closer the process became easier (who am I kidding it was like the second show before things got settled) and I knew why I had left the cave of lighting to explore the wide world of costuming. But jsut yesterday actually, I reentered the cave to teach new students hwo to use the lighting board. And it was just bad. I don’t even want to go into it but I understood the emotions that our Platos Cave explorer must have felt when he reentered the cave and was baout to get brutally murdered by it’s inhabitants. Luckily, (and obviously) I didn’t get killed but the whole experience widened my eyes and reminded me not only that lighting is not for me, but that I still had this blog post to write.

So there we have it. My Platos Cave was the lighting booth, and the stressfull process of being freed from it was that time a young, grade ten me decided to costume an entire fantasy musical.

 

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Neil Armstrong is (maybe) a liar, sorry to break it to you. Jordan C

In my lifetime I have encountered many, many, many arguments. It happens when everyone in your life is opinionated and loud. And of these arguments, a lot of them have revolved around various conspiracy theories which include, but are not limited to, the moon landing.

The moon landing is said to have taken place on July 20th, 1969 after launching the Apollo 11 spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center on July 16th. It was apparently streamed live to televisions across North America and there have been numerous photographs of the supposed landing site, surrounding area and astronauts. The problem? Many people believe that the moon landing was faked. This is mostly based off of the photographic proof having flaws such as the flag seeming to wave in one photo.

Photo cred: National Geographic

There are other problems with various photos from the moon “landing” but I like this flag example because it is easy to break down into a simple argument. So, basically I am going to break down two arguments from moon landing theorists.

Argument A – The moon landing was faked.

Premise 1 – All accessible record of the moon landing comes from photographs, video, and vocal accounts.

Premise 2 – Photographs and video can be faked.

Premise 3 – Vocal accounts can be false.

Conclusion – All accessible record of the moon landing was faked.

Obviously, this argument has some flaws in its form.

  • Premise 1 can be accepted as true, there have been interviews with the astronauts who say they went to the moon, as well as the ground team at NASA. There is video of these astronauts supposedly taken on the moon, and I have included a photo in this post. Other than that, there is no record of the moon landing, no technical readouts from the ship.
  • Premise 2 is true. While photoshop may not have existed at the time of the supposed moon landing, since the beginning of film cameras there have been fake photographs.
  • Premise 3 can also be accepted as true. Just listen to Donald “I think I am a nice person” Trump talk for a short while and it becomes obvious that people can lie vocally.

While this argument is factually correct, it is not valid. I’ve made a handy little diagram to demonstrate how you could visually represent these premises. As you can see, from the premises we are given it is impossible to concretely place the heading of “Moon landing proof” in the diagram, we just do not have the information needed to prove that these accounts of the moon landing are faked. Therefore, this argument is not sound. However, a dedicated person could dissect the “the moon landing was faked because of X” argument further into its parts, such as problems with certain photographs. Certain photographs such as the one from earlier in this post of the american flag. The argument that that photo is faked can be broken into simple premises and a conclusion much like the original argument, but to a different form and scale of validity, truthfulness, and soundness.

Argument B – The photo of the american flag on the moon is faked.

Premise 1 – The flag is waving in this photo.

Premise 2 – Wind causes flags to wave.

Premise 3 – There is no wind on the moon.

Conclusion – This photo was not taken on the moon.

This argument can be assessed differently from the first one.

  • Premise 1 is true, looking at the flag certifies that it is, in fact, waving.
  • Premise 2 can also be accepted. Wind causes flags to wave.
  • Premise 3 is easily proved. The moon has no atmosphere to speak of and a celestial body needs an atmosphere to have wind.

So yes, this argument is factual, all the premises are true. And as the conclusion is supported by the premises and is the only conclusion that could be drawn from the premises the argument is valid. Therefore, as the argument is both factual and valid, it is sound. You could have arguments about other ways with which flags can be waved, such as movement of the post but from the wording of the argument which only presents wind as a flag-waving method yes, this argument is sound.

These arguments have many origins, cynicism, distrust of the government, and yes, logical observations. For me at least, I’ve been raised in a family that believes many conspiracy theories and I’ve spent plenty of time looking into other conspiracies much like this one. At their core though, these arguments are mostly created by people with too much time on their hands, that have chosen to spend their lives analyzing pictures taken 47 years ago.

 

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Let’s all pretend that I, Jordan, said this instead of the mess that was my in-class presentation.

Philosophy is like panning for gold in a bathtub. Lemme just make sure you guys are on the same page as me because I know I read probably too much but not everyone else does. Panning for gold you all know right? Swirling sand and dirt around and out of a pan until you’ve only got gold left in the pan. We’ve all heard of the gold rush. So basically that, but in a bathtub. Pretend bathtubs have sand in them.

 

Back to it then. Philosophy, the search for the truth of existence, is like panning for gold in a biiiig bathtub, more like an olympic sized swimming pool. Also almost everyone else in the world will at some point try panning the tub at some point or another. And there’s only like, one actual nugget of real gold, it might not even be there. Sure there’s a chance you can find gold, it’s just more likely that you won’t. But if you really want to find the gold, you will spend the rest of your life panning the same pool because maybe, just maybe, you’ll find the gold this time.
I don’t mean to say that looking for the truth is useless, iron pyrites/fools gold made many (delusional) men into happy gold panners, and much the same we’ve already read of philosophers who found their own version of “the truth” through discussion with themselves and others. Maybe one day while panning the bathtub someone else says they’ve found gold, but to you what someone else sees as gold could be just more sand. Who knows though, maybe fools gold will be valuable one day, and maybe David Hume was on the right track when he wrote his dialogue on the nature of Gods’ existence (mentioned in the Talk With Me reading). Unfortunately, for now fools golds’ only value is as a souvenir and David Hume wrote the phrase, “[A] planet, wholly inhabited by spiders, (which is very possible)”  in complete seriousness. So I guess philosophers are going to have to keep panning this large, large bathtub until they find their truth

 

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Jordan’s vicious cycle of participating in class and writing better blog posts because of it.

I was 100 percent not prepared for the first two weeks of philosophy, having taken a few courses with Mr Jackson before I knew what to expect, and the course met all those expectations, but through a combination of confusingly theoretical subject matter and complete exhaustion, at any point in the first two weeks I was the literal embodiment of this video.

Accurate representation of me in the first week. Image from wifflegif.com

But now I’m more used to the course and I’ve developed goals! (I probably should have had goals for the course before the course started but whatever, they’re here now) And so these goals include, but are not limited to:

  • Participate in discussions!
    • This includes actually asking questions when I’m confused and not just willing other people to ask the exact questions I have.
  • Understand what it means when someone says “epistemology” or “metaphysics” or any of the other subjects we’re supposed to be covering in this semester.
  • Be able to articulate my ideas & opinions in blog posts such as these.
    • Yes we all more or less agree with Talk With Me in that speech carries more meaning & emotion than textual communication but if I’m not speaking up in class discussions and I’m not getting my point across in blog posts then who’s being the annoying grade 11 in a grade 12 course?

Wow! What a great list of goals! Do I have any idea how I’m going to complete these goals? No!

Well that isn’t exactly true, I know that the “participate in discussions” goal is just a matter of biting the bullet and raising my hand. And I guess if I’m actually raising my hand and asking questions I’ll start to understand the subjects better. And like if I understand the subject matter then I suppose blog posts will become easier to write. And if I’m writing better blog posts I’ll probably have more stuff to talk about in class discussions. Refer to this blogs’ title for my thoughts on that.

So, to revise my earlier statement, I know how to accomplish these goals I’m just kinda reluctant to take the first step.

But let’s take it back now y’all, more on the first week or so and what I actually was able to focus on.

Our first discussion about love, and wisdom, and the love of wisdom I was able to come up with a fair amount of ideas, which was nice, but they basically boiled down to “Love” being when you care so much about a thing that you want to know everything about it and can’t stop thinking about it, “Wisdom” being when you have the ability to see the connections between facts and knowledge, and “Loving wisdom” being when you basically can’t stop thinking about how everything fits together & makes up this weird world. And I think that’s pretty cool, especially when you apply it to old men being driven to creating apparitions of “Lady Philosophy” just so they can theorize with their own best critic.

So yeah. Here’s to a semester of actual participation!

 
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