Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions …….My ethical view :)

I sit here on the computer wondering why I haven’t taken the time to do this post last week because this week is finals week, and I have absolutely no time or energy to do anything. But I think this is the right thing to do, out of respect to Mr. Jackson and myself. My personal ethics definition is hard for me even to process and to put into words. Since ethics is so “casual” as you may say, the definition of the word comes form the person; no definition is entirely the same. In the dictionary “Ethics” means : moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior. But to me it is simply what is right and what is wrong. How I determine what is right and what is wrong is based upon my own experiences and morals I have acquired over the years, which may be different for many people.

 

I incorporate both parts of ethics in many ways. A Utilitarian part of ethics is used in my everyday life because it describes the way we may view things differently. If you think of the quote I used in my last blog post “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, this quote represents the utilitarian part of ethics. Think about your favorite food, think about the delicious taste, think about how you feel after you eat it, this feeling is unique to you. Some people would view this food that you say is the best food ever, as disgusting or distasteful and that’s there opinion, unique to them. Utilitarian as a part of ethics mean that you have certain opinions and how you view objects an certain things is how you approach them; your view on certain things is not the same as other, you control what you see.

Act always on that maxim which you can, at the same time, will should be universal law.”

  • Emmanuel Kant

Categorical imperative is another key part of ethics. Kant defines an categorical imperative as any proposition declaring a certain action (or inaction) to be necessary. I also incorporate Kant’s view in my everyday life when having to do with moral decisions I may have to make. Lets say that I am stopped at a red light late at night and no one is around me, do I stay and wait for the light to turn green or do I go through. Kant’s view on this subject would be do to the right, moral thing to do and stay. If I were to drive through the red light Kant would view this as breaking universal law which would allow for other people too, causing a ripple effect among others.

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In my own life experience I have acquired many problems I have faced with moral philosophy and ethical views on certain things. One example I would share with you would be an experience I had when I was 10 years old. Once upon a time when Mackenzy sparks-guest was 10 years old she was playing in a usual Sunday soccer game at town center. Now this soccer game was not another game, it was the league final which was the most important game of the year. Young Mackenzy was so excited to play but her mean old coach did not play her due to her ” not being as good” as the other girls on the team. Mackenzy sat on the bench with minute left till the end of the game when a player on her team had been tripped and injured. This injury resulted in her having to come off the field and a new player being entered in, this player so happened to be Mackenzy. Nervous when she entered the field she knew and believed in her skills and with 2 minutes left in the game had scored off a corner kick. The whistle had blew to determine the end of the game and Mackenzy had won the final game for the team. Her smiled filled her face and everyone was proud of her, she proved her coach wrong and ended with an immense amount of happiness in her body and a gold medal around her neck. This is a personal issue that deals with the utilitarian part of ethics because that experience I had went through and the feelings and emotion I had acquired had been so unique to me. If another girl on the team had scored, yes she would be happy, but not the same feelings I had because I had something to prove which I did, along with feelings of doubt, and uncertainty; I was not confident. One simply views every aspect of life, and how you chose to view certain things is up to you; choose wisely.

 

 

 

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Sledding my way to an aesthetic experience

Originally I was going to do a oral presentation on this but I thought that maybe people would not fully understand my demonstrations as well as the words coming out of my mouth. As well as I was embarrassed to share my idea because I thought people wouldn’t take me seriously.

Anyways let me start, Over the holiday I had several questions that I wanted to answer for this aesthetics post but I had narrowed it down to just 3:

  1. What substances contribute to the emotion of happiness?
  2. Can you achieve true happiness through simple action?
  3. What does happiness mean to me and what do I feel in that moment

One of my most memorable aesthetic experiences I had over the break was simply going sledding with one of my friends. This simple yet meaningful experience helped me answer the question of “What substances contribute to the emotion of happiness” This experience helped me answer and really learn about how I view certain things. Starting form the top of that hill to the bottom may have been a slight joy for some, but for me made my mind fill up with dopamine and brought a big smile to my face. I learned through this experience the reasons and substances that help me achieve this feeling of true happiness were through the memories that this had brought back from when I was younger. I was so happy remembering when times were easier, where I didn’t have to worry about getting into university, where I didn’t have to worry about certain drama, and where everything was lived so simply; stress free. I learned that the true reason I was so happy was because of the memories and the thoughts it had brought back to me, giving me that feeling back was like reliving that moment.

Although beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, the feeling of being beautiful exists solely in the mind of the beheld
 -Martha Beck

My aesthetic experience or journey reminded me and connected me with the philosopher Descartes. Descartes really believed in the phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” which I agree with very much. My aesthetic experience was individual to me, I am the only person to feel what I felt in that day and I can choose to make it beautiful which is exactly what I did or I can simply ignore its beauty, which others may do in the situation. It proves in this situation, and I am very confident in that phrase, that things became beautiful to you when you make them. Not all things are valued the same way in everyone’s eyes, we must make them our own and then either view them as beautiful which I had done while sledding, or ignore their beauty; Its all up to you.

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Knowledge? What is it? What does knowledge mean?

Proposition: Knowledge is gained through physical experiences

Syllogism

  • Premise 1: Physical experience is preserved through the senses
  • Premise 2: Physical experience becomes knowledge when you comprehend the details of what the experience entails
  • Premise 3: When you comprehend the details of the experience it becomes knowledge

“The only source of knowledge is experience”

-Albert Einstein

Watch this video below to understand more of what experience may mean or entail too. While watching this video also think about what your own experiences teach you or allow you to learn.

Premise #1: Physical experience is preserved through the senses

By this statement I mean one of many things. Suppose you were to go on a hike while walking up this hill the rain begins to fall hard upon your head and you begin to slip. Still climbing up this hill you are with your best friend communicating with one another on where to go and how long you have left. You end up reaching your destination, the top of the mountain. Eyes widened you take in all of your surroundings and are truly amazed at what you are seeing; this is a truly amazing experience for you. Imagining that and living in the moment can only be achieved through the physical experience of being there and having all of your senses engaged and triggered in that moment, yes I may have told you to imagine it but you have not lived through it engaging your senses therefore not having a physical experience.

Premise #2: Physical experience becomes knowledge when you comprehend the details of what the experience entails

From the little story above that, I had told you I want you to think that you had got stuck in the mud, your foot had been caught and you had not been through this before. Your friend does not know what to do so you stand there in confusion, you must use your mind and think of things that may help you in this situation. The premise connects to this situation because to deal with any situation and to have knowledge about them is to experience them. Being stuck in the mud is an experience because you can learn that all you need to do is slip your foot out of the shoe then pull your shoe out of the mud. Without knowing and having this physical experience you can not comprehend and learn the knowledge that the experience may give you.

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Premise #3: When you comprehend the details of the experience it becomes knowledge

Back to the hike, you are surrounded by all of the things that trigger your senses and allow you to understand more about them. But what you do need to know is if you do not understand these things that you are seeing, hearing, touching etc. then you don’t fully comprehend them hence your knowledge lacking. To fully gain knowledge, yes your senses have to be engaged but really to fully obtain that knowledge you must comprehend or understand what is going on.

Conclusion

In conclusion to all my premises, i hope you understood what i had intended to say. Without having your senses engaged and your mind comprehending and understanding things around you, you are not fully engaged; not obtaining the knowledge you could have. Next time you are experiencing something you have never before allow your self to undedtand your surrounding aswell as how things work and function, this will allow you to soak in as much information as you can expanding your knowledge immensly.

 

 

 

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Phil’s Day off: A journey among different Religions

This past weekend of events has taken me on a very interesting journey which I have never taken before. This past Sunday morning took a different route when I realized that I had to do something that would take me away from my ordinary life; something allowing me to view different metaphysical questions I had stirred in my mind before. My question that I wanted to study and analyze more in depth was “Does your religion play a role in what happens to you after death?” I had a lot of interest in this topic for a while now ever since we had to study each and every religion in middle school, allowing me to understand the way people live their lives through spirituality.

Religion is part of the human make-up. It’s also part of our cultural and intellectual history. Religion was our first attempt at literature, the texts, our first attempt at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at health care, believing in faith healing, our first attempt at philosophy.

-Christopher Hitchens

I had planned to go to a church, or a Sikh Temple and view the different orders, instructions and listen to the different teachings and practices that the different religions had offered, but I wanted to do something that was more personal to me and the different people in these religions I was interested in. During my Phil’s day off I decided to interview 2 different people of different religions (Buddhist, and Sikhism) to see what their views were their own religion, morals, and mainly their views on the afterlife and what they believe I going to happen.

Person #1 : Harveen Brar

Religion: Sikhism

The first person I interviewed would be my dear friend Harveen Brar who told me a lot about her religion of Sikhism and how her life may have been different than others of different culture

Q1: What do you think is different or special about Sikhism?

Answer: “Well I believe that Sikhism differs from any other religion, Sikhs believe everyone, men, and women, has equal status before God and we are encouraged to develop our moral character through generosity, humility, and self-reliance. Also, we are taught that “Sikh” means ” The seekers of knowledge” which I always remember to this day”.

Q2 : What morals have you been taught or followed through your religion?Image result for sikhism

Answer: ” Well we have a lot of morals and values that are represented in our life but the way we view war and violence would be one that’s very distinct to my religion. Sikhism views war and violence as something that should not happen, instead of war there should be peace instead.

 

Q3 : What do you believe happens to you in the afterlife?

Answer: “Well Sikhism stresses living your life to the fullest and getting everything possibly out of it, so what my religion teaches and what i believe is that nothing happens to you after you die. The life you live or in this case have lived is the only life that you get and once its done its simply over; nothing follows.”


Person 2 : Martin Norman

Religion : Buddhism

Q1 : What do you think is different or special about Buddhism?

Answer: ” i think we look at the brighter sides of life and more positive outcomes to different things and situations. When i lived in Thailand when i was younger it was mandatory for the boys to train and live as monks for at least 2 weeks or serve in the military to show your commitment and loyalty to the religion”Image result for buddhism

Q2 : What morals have you been taught or followed through your religion?

” Buddhism really relies on again as i have said before “The brighter side of things” because we are taught to almost be the best person we can be and to never take anything for granted. We don’t really necessarily have morals that we follow but rather they are called teachings which are taught to us at a very young age; take in and appreciate everything around you”

Q3 : What do you believe happens to you in the afterlife?

” Buddhism teaches us that when we die we will be reincarnated. Reincarnation is when you die your soul moves on and relocates into a new “being”, so what I’m trying to say is once i die i believe that my body will perish but my soul will move on into something else. I’m not too sure what that something else might be, though, i still think about that today.”

 

Conclusion:

My Phils day off was a huge eye opener to me because it allowed me to see different views and teaching of both Buddhism and Sikhism which are very different from my religion of Christianity. Allowing me to hear the different beliefs really made me question my own beliefs because for instance i really believe and agree with the whole idea of “Reincarnation” in the religion of Buddhism, I really believe that our souls do pass on into someone or something else but its hard to prove any of the beliefs. My question of “Does your religion play a role in what happens to you after death?” simply cannot be answered due to no proof or human experience that has dealt with this subject. I believe that whatever plan or route you may believe in is the one you are going to take but simply no one knows, all we can do for now is wait (hopefully for a very long time) and find out for ourselves when the time come.

 

 

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What does your religion tell about your death?

Main topic question: Does your religion play a role in what happens to you after death?

Sub questions:

  • What is religion?
  • What if you are not religious?
  • What is death?

Sub question #1 : What is religion?

By definition religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods, or in my words something you worship or value to help you guide you through your own life. Religion plays very important roles in people lives from teaching them a way to live or even mentoring people on how to act and behave in a way that is accepted in their values. People turn to religion in times of thankfulness, appreciation, gratitude, sorrow and despair or whenever they think they need to be put back into a mindset that is right for them; people use religion as a therapeutic method of rehabilitation of ones self. Religion plays a huge part in death because each religion has its own belief of what happens to you after your heart stops beating and all of those beleifs are very unique to each religion.

“Religion is part of the human make-up. It’s also part of our cultural and intellectual history. Religion was our first attempt at literature, the texts, our first attempt at cosmology, making sense of where we are in the universe, our first attempt at health care, believing in faith healing, our first attempt at philosophy.”
-Christopher Hitchens

 

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Sub question #2 : What if you are not religious?

If no religion appeals to you, you may be one of eight things. With no belief or religions you are Atheist, Anti-theist, Agnostic, Skeptic, Freethinker, Humanist, or a Pantheist. These beliefs have very unique characteristics for each way of thinking but are solemnly based on scientifically theories rather than super-human beings that may have or have not existed in previous times. If you are not religious, those people have a certain self view on the world which can be very different from those whos religions want them to lead a certain life with guidelines and certain restrictions. The view of death is very complex for people who don’t believe in religion because they don’t really know what will happen next its more of a assumption or a scientific reasoning to make them think a certain way.

“Being a Humanist means trying to behave decently without expectation of rewards or punishment after you are dead.”

Kurt Vonnegut

 

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Sub question #3 : What is death?

Death is a hard word to define because it is not as simple as it may been seen out to be as. Death by definition is “The permanent ending of vital processes in a cell or tissue.” This infact would be a more scientific definition rather than a definition with certain individuals beliefs put in place due to the biology reasoning of the definition. Death is simple , to me its when all the parts in your body can no longer function and your heart stops beating, but to other it may be when as supernatural force tells you that your journey has come to an end and this day was planned for you. Noone can really define what happens after death because no one has experienced it then come back to tell us about it, but death is very different to every person and such things as religion and age can changed our beliefs or outlooks on though of “death”

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Initial thought:

The reason why I picked this topic to talk about is because of how controversial this may be. Everyone has a different view on “death” and everyone’s definition is very unique to them. Having a religious view may alter your beliefs on death in a way which you may belief that you will be reincarnated, or you will go to heaven or hell; all religions own different beliefs and views. It’s hard to come to a conclusion on this question because I will never be right or know what death entails, until I experience this myself (hopefully not for a very, very, very long time). This topic is very interesting to me and I will be doing further more investigating into this topic, and looking at other people’s views.

 

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Homosexuality, Right or Wrong?

Passed by the House of Commons on June 28, 2005, Same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada. Same-sex marriage is between partners of the same sex (as recognized in some jurisdictions), meaning that each gender has the choice to marry their own gender without having it viewed upon as wrong and illegal. Many people view same-sex marriage in different ways, some believe that it is a sin and should not be allowed in the world, when others believe that everyone should be treated with equality and respect with regards of their personal life and relationships. Every year here in Vancouver there is a Gay Pride Parade celebrating and acknowledging everyone rights to equality and individuality, but on the other hand there are places in the world where people protest and view this “LGBTQ” label as a sin or an inhuman way of living.

“Equality is not a concept. It’s not something we should be striving for. It’s a necessity. Equality is like gravity. We need it to stand on this earth as men and women, and the misogyny that is in every culture is not a true part of the human condition. It is life out of balance, and that imbalance is sucking something out of the soul of every man and woman who’s confronted with it. We need equality. Kinda now.”
Joss Whedon

This quote represents all aspects of humanity and the way we should view life

Premise 1:

  • Gay people or people who have relations with the same sex are viewed as sinners

Premise 2:

  • Sinners are spawns of the devil

Premise 3:

  • The devil is evil

Conclusion:

  • All gay people are evil

This argument in my opinion is totally false and should not be viewed as morally correct!

Premise 1

In the Old and new estimate the catholic and Christian religions, having a sexual relations or relationship of any such with feelings is referred to as a sin. A sin is an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law, meaning that is viewed upon as wrong and also an act of the devil. This statement has no validity or truth to me because I do not believe that homosexuality or being gay makes you a sinner, or should be viewed upon as a sin. In conclusion this premise “Gay people or people who have relations with the same sex are viewed as sinners” is not sound due to any truth or validity present.

 Premise 2

 

Everyone sins sometime in their life, it’s really hard not to. Saying this premise of “Sinners are spawns of the devil” holds no truth to me, but some validity. Saying people who sin are spawns of the devil is completely untruthful because if that was the case mostly every person in the world would technically have relations or connection with the devil, when that is not true at all. From thinking about someone in a bad way, to getting angry, almost every action in a negative way can be viewed as a sin, in this case making it very hard not to be a spawn of the devil. Validity in this case is hard to pinpoint the correct answer, in some ways I think this premise is completely invalid, but on the other hand it does hold some validity. I view this premise as invalid due to no clear evidence presented that all sinners are spawns of the devil, built on the other hand I view this can be valid because it is written in the old and new estimate which has been around for a very long time. I am not a hard core Christian but I believe in god, having this statement written in the bible gives some validity to me but then again there is no proven and possible evidence. Because there is not both truth and validity here, this premise cannot be sound!

 Premise 3

 

Now here we go! We finally have a truth! Yes this is truthful to me; the devil is evil and has been proven through many religions, stories, personal experience and beliefs. Known in many religions the devil is (in Christian and Jewish belief) the chief evil spirit; Satan, this is the main “evil” man, or the one to fear. There is also validity in this premise due to there being evidence in the past that the devil was real. This being said this premise has both truth and validity making the whole premise sound. The devil is evil is a very true statement as well as it being very valid as shown in previous evidence and experiences from others.

“The devil exists and we must fight against him. The devil is real and don’t underestimate him’

Pope Francis

Conclusion

“All gay people are Evil” Are you kidding me? This has to be the stupidest thing I have ever heard if I may say that. That conclusion contradicts itself because only “evil” people in my opinion would say such a discriminatory, completely untrue statement like that. This is such an untrue statement it hurts my brain reading it, gay people are not evil! I’m not too big on this whole grouping situation going on in this conclusion either. Singling out one “type” is already categorized as inequality, then saying such a thing to add to that making it rude, offensive and bias as well based on pre conceived ideas. To me this conclusion is completely false, just because you may be gay does not mean you are an evil person, you are just as everyone else; no different. In my opinion no matter what religion you worship and how strong your beliefs are, no person personal relations should be frowned upon and made “wrong”; every religion should be stressing the importance of equality. If you are straight, imagine how you would be treated and feel if being straight was the “new gay” as in that was frowned upon a viewed as wrong to society. My opinion is, today in society if you are able to come out being comfortable and proud in whom you are, no one should be able to say anything about it, it’s our life, I have lots of respect for those who are just comfortable being themselves. This conclusion also shows no validity to it because again there is no proof, if it’s said that the devil is evil doe that mean that the devil is gay too? All these thoughts ran through my head while written this and none of it made any sense. To be valid one must be having a sound basis in logic or fact; reasonable or cogent. In this case there is not reasonable or logical evidence stating gay people are gay, if you ask me no matter what religion, sex, sexual orientation or race you are, anyone can be evil and anyone can be good; everyone is equal in my eyes. In conclusion because this statement had no truth or sound it was impossible to have it being a sound argument as well.

 

To conclude my blog post I wanted to show everyone a picture that represents my opinion on the equality of everyone especially relating to my topic.

“Before God, we are all equally wise, and equally foolish”

-Albert Einstein

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Platos Cave Analogy

Have you ever went to one of those stores with those “mystery bags”? There usually filled with cheep ugly earring, gross coloured bracelets or even those questionable no name lip sticks that you are afraid to use because you feel like you are going to get an infection. Those mystery bags represent the meaning of platos cave to me, you never know what is held in the bag but it may be worth the $5 you will spend.

Plato’s cave reminisces on the idea of comfort, not as in how something may feel but how something may make you feel inside. Comfort to Plato would be staying chained up, head forward and knowing what to expect day by day, when the thought of seeing more of the world and experiencing other things than the cave comes to surface some people may embrace the unknown while others will simply stay withing comfort, metaphorically staying in the cave. When asked to think about an experience or moment in my life that had the same analogy as Plato’s cave , it was quite hard to wrap my head around my ideas or memories that best represented the cave until I had remembered these bags I used to buy at various stores filled with unknown objects.

Looking at my idea of a mystery bad representing Plato’s cave is hard to comprehend without me explaining to you. That $5 that you will need to spend on the mystery bag represent the cave, you know exactly what the bill looks like, you have held that bill, and you will always have that bill unless you spend it. The mystery bag represents the unknown outside world that the people in the cave have not seen, yet because we have not bought the bag we cannot see what is inside; leaving us at a state of uncertainty and questioning.

Plato’s cave is the mystery bag to me because sometimes I don’t want to give up my $5 bill to some cheep things I imagine to be in a bag, sometimes I just want to hold onto that money or comfort because then I will know for sure. But on the other hand, sometimes that risk of spending my $5 and getting something of higher value is worth the chance even if you don’t believe it. So to end things off with a question… Would you take the risk and buy a mystery bag?

“A ship is always safe at the shore – but that is NOT what it is built for.”

-Albert Einstein

picture courtesy of ETSY

 

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The Idea of Philosophy

“When a tree falls in a lonely forest, and no animal is near by to hear it, does it make a sound? Why?”

-1910 book Physics by Charles Rigborg Mann and George Ransom Twiss

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. When you think of philosophy what do you think of? What is your meaning of life? These are all philosophical questions we may ask ourselves daily, because we are all philosophers in our own ways. Back to the quote at the top of the page “When a tree falls in a lonely forest, and no animal is near by to hear it, does it make a sound? Why?” What is your answer to the question? Many people would feel as if they would know the answer to that question but its much more complex than that, because in reality we don’t know but we can make assumptions and question our ideas and theories, and that’s what philosophy is all about. 

“The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.”

-Aristotle

But my questions to you are, what do you know? and how do you know that you know that?

aristotle

This photo is courtesy of communicationtheory.org

Week 1 in Philosophy 12 was not what I expected it to be. I expected philosophy to be just as any other course meaning that it had structure, guidelines and homework that was out of a book. But philosophy so far has not been any of that but rather the opposite, philosophy has proven to have some structure regarding the topics we discuss but mainly focusses on the areas of questioning, knowledge, and having no direction but still an end destination. My initial views on philosophy would be that it would give me direction for what I needed to do to be successful, but in the past week I have inquired that philosophy does not do that but rather helps you gain the skills and experience to help shape you to be a well round and well thinking person. Looking forward into the future some of my goals over this course include learning to direct myself, be able to tie my thoughts and ideas together, become a more open minded person, as well as learn to show my ideas and thoughts in a variety of way i am not used to. Having these as my goals over the semester will push me to be the student i want to be as well as person and i hope i can achieve them too.

This first week we had the opportunity to read a essay called “Talk with me” which had great ideas on the concept that philosophy should be conversation, not dogma. While reading this i stumbled upon the quote

“Philosophy is best taught using the Socratic method of question and answer”

Looking at this quote I initially did not fully understand but analyzing it more i came to the conclusion that philosophy does not exist without communication. Simply you cannot have philosophy without the basis of questioning your own, and others idea and beliefs as well as having them answered. So my question i would like to ask is “What is wisdom?” When i think of wisdom i think of great knowledge gained over time through experiences, but how do we know that we know things? What is knowledge to people? Hopefully during this course of philosophy 12 i will acquire the skills to put together my thoughts and ideas to conclude on what i think wisdom, but for now i am content with not knowing and figuring out.

This picture courtesy of wink.pics

This picture courtesy of halalfous.net

 

 
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