Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


what a save by the keeper!

interest plays a huge role in how we have aesthetic experiences; you have to have an interest in the source of the positive aesthetic experience for it to give that “good feeling.” this also applies to a plain old  aesthetic experience not a pleasing one) as well, if you are disinterested in the source will not be a positive aesthetic experience, just a aesthetic one.

for example i am interested in sports, specifically soccer. Whenever i see my favourite goalie, Manuel Neuer, make an absolutely beautiful (by my definition) save, I look a crazy person for leaping out of my seat screaming at the TV “YEAH!” with my arms in the air, also it will be the only thing replaying in my head for the rest of the day. Now to a normal person they honestly could probably care less if some another human-being stopped a sphere from entering the back of a net, but they may find the movie trailer at the commercial break so capacitively that they absolutely need to see this movie, where as i may be say “meh, it looks okay i guess.”

its all about your interests, but then the question might be “Why does interest you?”





The More You Know

the more you know2

Coming in to philosophy class in September I had no idea what I thought philosophy was. All I knew that there was a whole lot of question and very few answers. After the first week of philosophy I was still really confused on what it was and these new, big words being thrown around didn’t really help. So back in September for our first presentation and blog post I had a very difficult time trying to answer the question “what is philosophy?”

Back when we first had to answer this question my answer was:

“Philosophy to me is the questioning of which we try discover and unfold the mysteries of the grey area, and to try and stop ourselves from cramming the world and all of it wondering into this hole that it refuses to fit into. To discover new ways of thinking and living outside of the ‘black and white’ and to venture into the possibilities of which thinking in the ‘grey’ has to offer.”

I still agree with my past self on what I thought philosophy was, but my thoughts have evolved from there. If you asked me now what I thought philosophy was I would say to you that it is discovery.

What I mean by discovery is that you could this big philosophical break through, or you could have these little moments of understanding. For example, during the ethics unit we discussed capital punishment; I have always known that I am against it, but I could never really explain why. Through having talked with the class and looking at capital punishment through different lenses (categorical imperative, utilitarianism, ect.) I became to understand the ‘Why’ behind my beliefs.

Another part about discovery is that it also the journey (cliché, I know).  there was one discussion in class, unfortunately I don’t remember exactly what it was about, and most of us felt like our heads were going to explode from trying to answer a question and all the theories that we were passing around. At one point I remember someone asked Mr. Jackson if he could tell us what the answer was. He essentially told us that if what we are discussing makes your head hurt because the concept you are attempting to wrap your head around is mind boggling and challenging then you are on the right track. Giving you the answer would be the easy way and that would take away from the experience of discovery. Obviously that’s not exactly what Mr. Jackson said but that was what I took away from it.

What I am trying to say is that philosophy class not only has taught me what was in the curriculum but also a lot of how I would like to live my life.  It has taught me that listening to others discoveries and being extremely open minded to ideas that you never could have imagined, can lead me to my own small or big Eureka’s. Also that the journey through life, just like the journey to discovery of the grey areas, will be challenging but that is okay because how it was meant to be. Philosophy has been an amazing class and I am so happy to have experienced, no matter how confusing and challenging it may have been.






Issue: is capital punishment (death penalty) moral/ethical?

In  Kant’s Categorical Imperative it states that we me must always tcapital punishmentreat others as an ends, not a means to end. In relation to criminals, if we punish them we are showing respect to their ends because we are treating them in how they think others should be treated. We are not punishing them for our own benefit or even theirs, but because  it is conjunction with their ethic that has been supported by their actions.

“If an offender has committed murder, he must die. In this case, no possible substitute can satisfy justice. For there is no parallel between death and even the most miserable life, so that there is no equality of crime and retribution unless the perpetrator is judicially put to death….A society that is not willing to demand a life of somebody who has taken somebody else’s life is simply immoral.”

– Immanuel Kant in Metaphysics of Ethics 

Kant  basically had two principles in how we should punish criminals; the first being that only reason we should punish them is because they have committed the crime, and the second being that the punishment must be equal, or parallel, to the crime.

essentially, if you use the moral reasoning of Kant and the Categorical Impactive, capital punishment is moral.


personally though I don’t agree that capital punishment is moral. Even though Kant’s case makes logical sense to me, in my gut it still feels wrong to say that it is okay to judicially kill another person if they killed someone else. I don’t exactly know why my moral compass makes me feel that way, but I usually like to trust my gut instinct. Maybe its because it doesn’t make sense to me that we would kill a person for killing someone?

why do we kill people who kill people to show killing people is wrong?

– unknown




Blank Slate

proposition: knowledge is acquired

syllogism: if our minds are a “blank slate” when we are born

and records information as it received

then knowledge is acquired through experience


the proposition and syllogism above pretty much embodies what empiricists believe.

empiricism: philosophy. the doctrine that all knowledge is derived from sense of experience.

when referring to our minds as blank slates the proper term to use in which an empiricist (those that believe knowledge is acquired, not innate) would call it a tablula rasa.

tabula rasa (Latin): a supposed condition that empiricists attribute to the human mind before ideas have been imprinted on it by the reaction of the senses to the external world of objects

another key point is that We experiences that result in simple ideas which then our minds then connect simple ideas into more complex ideas. for example

philosophers that support the idea of empiricism:

  • John Locke
    • “founder of modern empiricism”
    • considers our minds to blanks slates prior to experiences from our senses
    • simple ideas connect into more complex ideas
    • things experienced have substance. the substance in our  sensations is matter, and the substance with our reflections is the mind. thus believing that the world consisted of two basic substances, mind and matter.
  • David Hume
    • refined Locke’s empiricism to say that sensations are impressions, and believe that these correspond to ideas we have in our minds.
    • argued that no idea we have makes sense unless it works and begins with sense impressions.








The Decisions We Make…

What is free will? According to Wikipedia it is the ability of agents to make choices unimpeded by certain factors. I would say that free will is free and independent choice; the ability to make voluntary decisions. But what does it matter if free will may or may not exist? are our lives predetermined by other forces or do have the ability to exercise free will? tthese questions and topics are discussed by philosophers like Harry Frankfurt, Alfred Mele, and Galen Strawson.



free will



To try and keep this post short and sweet, I’ll briefly broach some of the main philosophical positions related to free will. Libertarianism argues that free will is logicically incompatible with a deterministic universe and people have the ability to exercise free will, therefore determinism  is false. Determinism is a philosophical position that for every event there are conditions that already exist that could cause no other event. (basically libertarianism and determinism is free will vs. predetermination). The last philosophical position I will be talking about is compatibilism. Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are ideas that can work together, and that it is possible to believe both while being logically consistent.  Obviously this barely even scrapes the the top layer of free will and metaphysics, but I this is what I would like to pursue through our philosophy course while covering metaphysics.



is the grass greener on the other side?

womens world cup

In June next year, Canada will be hosting the 2015 women’s FIFA world cup tournament. this is a major soccer tournament for professional female soccer players, and you would think that it would be a great thing that Canada is hosting such a big event, right? Unfortunately many of the athletes participating in the 2015 tournament are outrage that they have to play on artificial turf. They claim that artificial turf diminishes performance of the game, and, along with scrapes and bruises, increases the risk of obtaining serious injury. Many professional women players have claimed that they are not being treated equally to men soccer players because the men always play on natural grass for major tournaments. some players have even gone to the lengths to take legal action against CSA (Canadian Soccer Association) and FIFA and filed a application with a human rights tribunal, making claims of gender discrimination. (click for more in depth info)

premise 1:  men have always played the world cup on natural grass surfaces.

premise 2: artificial turf increases serious injuries and diminish quality of play

conclusion: therefore FIFA  and CSA are treating women differently from men

artificial turf

  • premise 1: can be concluded to be true
  • premise 2: it has been proven that 3rd generation artificial turf fields don’t increase the risk for injuries compared to grass fields making the last statement of premise 2 not true. Also the statement in which it claims that artificial turf diminishes quality of play is based on personal preference of each individual player (for example: i personally prefer to play soccer on artificial turf, yet my team mate prefers natural grass). because it is a personal preference it made be true or not true depending on each person. who knows, maybe some men like to play on artificial turf?

Because there is a flaw in premise 2 it harms the conclusion that it has been reached. the form used in the argument is valid, but because there is an error in the content of the second premise it corrupts the truth of the premises and the soundness of the conclusion that FIFA and CSA are treating women different from men.

Even though my dissection of this argument has concluded that the conclusion is not sound, that does not mean I am saying that the women are being treated equal and should stop complaining. Personally, I believe that the female soccer players should have the same opportunity to play on the same surface as the men.

(still haven’t grasped the whole logic and arguments thing, so here is hoping that I did this assignment correctly :P)





Steel Wool, Smoke Embers, and Thunder

Having to try and find a way to even moderately answer the question “what is philosophy?”  has proven to be quite challenging for me. Instinctually I want to say that it is undefinable, and that there is no way that I could even attempt to put a limitation on something that refuses to be limited. But after pondering it for a many days, I had come to a realization that I wouldn’t be trying to define the undefinable (or at least what is undefinable to me), but I would be simply answering a different question, “what is philosophy to me?”

“Human nature is not black and white, but black and grey.”Graham Greene

For those of you who have a better knowledge of how I like things in my life, you will know I am the type of person who the greylikes to have all of their ducks in a row; I like things to be clean cut and not messy and complicated. This is where I become a bit of a walking contradiction.  I refuse to believe that the world is a place where everything is either black or white; that everything is either simply A or B and clean cut. I am someone who is a firm believer in that there is more than just A or B, black or white. I have a strong belief that there are grey areas. “How does this lead into answering, or attempting to, the question of which this very blog has been based upon?” you might ask yourself. Philosophy to me is the questioning of which we try discover and unfold the mysteries of the grey area, and to try and stop ourselves from cramming the world and all of it wondering into this hole that it refuses to fit into. To discover new ways of thinking and living outside of the ‘black and white’ and to venture into the possibilities of which thinking in the ‘grey’ has to offer.