Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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The Eye of the Beholder ✎

What do you see? A nice painting, the face of “beauty” staring you in the face, or is it the sun grazing the horizon sinking beneath the clouds? These scenes that I described likely painted a picture inside your head prompting you to recall the momentary essence of an aesthetic experience you’ve had in the past. Just as Rene Descartes once said, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” where the defining factor of beauty is entirely subjective to individual taste. My internalized definition of an aesthetic experience is primarily based on this principle of taste. Simultaneously, I am also a believer that an aesthetic experience does require some form of rational thought, sometimes enhanced by more senses initiated by the preceptor sense of vision and even memory. Yes, beauty does go beyond what meets the eye. After all, the etymology of the word ‘aesthetic’ relates to perception by the senses, or as the beloved Kant puts it: “science which treats of the conditions of sensuous perception” [OED].

On a personal note, an aesthetic experience can be enhanced (or created) with the simultaneous stimulation of various senses. Say you’re sitting at the beach as the sunset slowly approaches and you find it aesthetically pleasing regardless of the theories of immediacy (taste) or rationalist judgment (“actual” thinking). If you were to put on some ear-phones and play a fitting tune to the scene, how would this affect the entirety of the aesthetic experience? Now focus on the distinct smell of the sea breeze, the feeling of sand in your hands? If the combined essence of each sense is creating an increase in appeal to the sunset, then your aesthetic experience is being heightened by various external senses— sound, smell, feeling, and of course sight. As the experience is subjective to each individual, my experience would likely be a rational one, not an innately immediate aesthetic experience. The sunset itself may instigate immediate sensations of disinterested aesthetic appeal, yet as more senses are being stimulated, the more thought-provoking the experience becomes—each sense adding an element of internal pleasure in the judgment of beauty. In my mind an aesthetic experience can be one or a combination of the internalist and externalist theories of the aesthetic experience, just as I believe that an individual is not pre-fixed to be a rationalist or an empiricist thinker since conclusions of thoughts are drawn circumstantially.

Internalist theories appeal to features internal to experience, typically to phenomenological features, whereas externalist theories appeal to features external to the experience, typically to features of the object experienced.[1]

In this excerpt, the debate of contemporary philosophers Monroe Beardsley (internalist) and George Dickey (externalist) in the mid-late twentieth-century draws the difference–to put it simply– between the experience of features (internals) and the features of experience (externalism).


Whilst an aesthetic experience can require rational thought there is often plentiful ‘space’ for immediate appeal. As the University of Stanford’s Department of Philosophy puts it: 

The fundamental idea behind any such theory—which we may call the immediacy thesis—is that judgments of beauty are not (or at least not primarily) mediated by inferences from principles or applications of concepts, but rather have all the immediacy of straightforwardly sensory judgments.[1]

When judging the beauty in a landscape, a street corner, a person or a piece of art– whether that be verbal, visual or both– sometimes we activate this sense of immediacy, this seemingly intuitive and pleasing experience not challenged by rational thinking. If we directly refer to Kant’s point of view on the fine arts, illustrating the boundaries of rationalism drawn within aesthetic judgments, he argues that there exists an absence of concepts, or things that can be known about a subject that provides an aesthetic experience purely based on intuitive sensation. In other words, if you find something physically appealing you’re not deliberately thinking about why or how it pleases you, the subject matter just makes you feel that way. When strictly speaking of art, Kant argues that while we may appreciate the technique and skill used to craft an aesthetically pleasing work, it is often forced upon our judgment of beauty. Appreciation of ‘beauty’ derives from its form, but not on its process of creation


During the holidays I went on a trip to Mexico City to see the family. It was a unique kind of trip. Just me and my brother going back to visit after three years of not being back “home”. To be entirely honest, I did not retain many ‘new’ aesthetic experiences in a deliberate form of immediacy other than looking at San Francisco from my airplane window some form of attraction to particular women— I know, it sounds kind of cheesy but we’ve all been there. I did however, re-visit the architecture of the City as well as the good food which all offered their own unique form of aesthetic appeal.

Tacos Al Pastor in ‘El Tizoncito’, Mexico City

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Soumaya Plaza Carso Museum, Mexico City

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Torres de Satelite in the night, Mexico City

Instead, I experienced aesthetic appeal to places of my childhood, with a sense of nostalgia manipulating my sensuous perception. Re-visiting the houses of my family members– and my own for that matter– restaurants, buildings or even parks generated an aesthetic experience where I was fascinated and appraising of settings in which I felt inherently unified with. While I did feel a sense of immediate pleasure upon arriving to Mexico (because I hadn’t been there for so long) this form of aesthetic pleasure was a much more rational one, situated on an epistemological foundation. My experiences were heightened–as seen in my post on epistemology– by the accumulated synthesis of conscious experiences.

As the US National Library of Medicine states, my aesthetic was defined:

as an experience qualitatively different from everyday experience and similar to other exceptional states of mind. Three crucial characteristics of aesthetic experience are discussed: fascination with an aesthetic object (high arousal and attention), appraisal of the symbolic reality of an object (high cognitive engagement), and a strong feeling of unity with the object of aesthetic fascination and aesthetic appraisal.,[2]

What I discovered is that often an aesthetic experience is more meaningful when an epistemological foundation is inherently linked to the aesthetic (which usually tends to occur). In my case, going back to Mexico City re-amped my emotions towards places linked to my memory. Each building, restaurant, house, park and street corner re-visited was an aesthetic experience in itself.

 

References:

Shelley, J. (2009, September 11). The Concept of the Aesthetic. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/aesthetic-concept/#ConAes [1]

Marković, S. (2012). Components of aesthetic experience: aesthetic fascination, aesthetic appraisal, and aesthetic emotion. Retrieved January 22, 2017, from    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3485814/ [2]

Kant and the Problem of Disinterestedness. (n.d.). Retrieved January 22, 2017, from http://public.wsu.edu/~kimander/teraray.htm [3]

 

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Knowledge| An Experience and a Conscious Mind

How much do you know? If someone asked you to spew out everything you know (based on how long you’ve lived of course) you would never be able to do pinpoint each and every moment of your life when a singular experience planted a seed of rational thought evoked through your senses —and even if you could remember every single event in your life, how would you remember each sense being stimulated to unify a conscious experience? Before jumping to conclusions (and propositions for that matter) my stance on knowledge is one that focuses on the importance and meaning of acquiring knowledge where consciousness of the mind evokes ‘hunger’ for knowledge acquisition; all through a diverse range of experiences. My point being: If one seeks to unify rational thoughts through the empirical world— and therefore gather knowledge— then the world itself has more potential to be full of meaning, and therefore so do you.

To break down and simplify my argument, a logical perspective (syllogism) is necessary to lay out my point of view on the importance of ‘knowing more’ when:

  • Knowledge is the accumulated synthesis of conscious experiences that contribute to the on-going enrichment of humanity.

 Premise 1: If knowledge emerges from a unity of consciousness (where experiences in the empirical world and rational thought intermingle), and…

Premise 2: …Conscious minds create new potentials and ideals for humanity, then…

Conclusion: …Knowledge is the accumulated synthesis of conscious experiences that contribute to the on-going enrichment of humanity.

 

Knowledge emerges from a unity of consciousness (experiential theories):

Since the time of Immanuel Kant (1700s) the notion of unifying experiences has challenged how the rational and empirical world co-exist with one another and whether objects in themselves corroborate with space or time or are simply mere representations of what our minds perceive, emerging from knowledge of prior experiences. Why is this important, one may ask, well, the human mind shares similar process of breaking down experiences in themselves through a series of stimulated senses that take place in space and time. There is something called ‘the experiential theories’ composed of the experiential parts theory (EP), which suggests that experiences are composed of separate singular experiences, and the non-experiential parts theory (NEP). I for one support the theory of non-experiential parts that suggests that multiple (singular) experiences contribute to one whole experience; therefore, I’d argue that an experience does not have parts because that is not how one remembers it and any form of knowledge gained from that experience emerges from an accumulative synthesis of multiple stimulated senses. To clarify this statement I’d like to give an example of a personal experience.

  • I was two years old, rocking back and forth on my chair in my kitchen asking for a fish-fillet (for some reason). Suddenly I fall on the ground. The sight of the ground nearing my literal downfall, the taste of blood in my mouth, the sound of my own crying while the smell of the fish fillet being cooked met the agonizing feeling of pain as my face hit the ground effortlessly. Although an advocate of experiential parts may argue that each stimulated sense was an experience in itself I rationalize and therefore unify multiple experiences recognizing them as one, simply because that is how my consciousness makes sense of it— it is how I remember the one experience and is virtually how I acquired a direct form of knowledge from this. I was conscious of each of my senses together, as aspects of a single conscious experience. In turn, I gain ‘useful’ knowledge from this, learning to never rock back and forth on a chair, for I would forgo another unpleasant experience.

Conscious minds create new potentials and ideals for humanity:

When one is conscious of their own unified experiences one is able to reflect and therefore conceptualize a new idea gained from that experience. This could be one way of defining knowledge, but as the present-day philosopher, David Kolb states, this process of reflecting on a previous experience prompting the emergence of another experience is known as something we all know— learning. Each unexplored opportunity to learn is often what enriches the human experience in reality as a person becomes more knowledgeable. The unlimited boundaries that knowledge offers is quintessential to becoming the best version of oneself which is why conscious minds create new potentials and ideals for humanity. Knowledge arises from a learning process where each experience acts as a mere building block on a pyramid of prior knowledge. Down below is a flow chart (and explanation) of David Kolb’s cycle of learning which thereby unifies experiences, ideas and actions to give knowledge an applied purpose.

1.Concrete Experience – (a new experience of situation is encountered, or a reinterpretation of existing experience).

2.Reflective Observation (of the new experience. Of particular importance are any inconsistencies between experience and understanding).

3.Abstract Conceptualization (Reflection gives rise to a new idea, or a modification of an existing abstract concept).

4.Active Experimentation (the learner applies them to the world around them to see what results).

Saul McLeod on David Kolb- Learning Styles

In essence, when a person is conscious of their on-going experiences in life, and actively takes part in this learning-cycle (stated above) then there is a pool of opportunity to grow simply because someone is more knowledgeable. By a ‘conscious mind’ I am directly addressing those who follow a cycle, causing them to pursue more forms of new knowledge; whether this is indirect or direct. In other words, you could take a history class and have someone spoon-feed you information where you would see the effect of historical events (inferring the cause but never witnessing it), or you could physically experience what it is like to be within a historical setting and therefore gain knowledge from immediate acquaintance of the place you are standing in. Anyways, that gets more complicated so lets not dive into that.

Knowledge is the accumulated synthesis of conscious experiences that contribute to the on-going enrichment of humanity:

Given the stances of the unification of experience on behalf of Immanuel Kant, myself and David Kolb’s cycle of learning, I believe that synthesizing experiences and gaining knowledge from them is essential to enrich a persons life. What I just wrote (as my blog) was one way of communicating my knowledge acquired through this learning process. Although this written process was not all that enjoyable (as it was very time consuming) I was still conscious of this experience and it did not fail to enrich my knowledge. So as my proposition states, knowledge is the accumulation of experiences that together prompts the emergence of an individual who can live a life at their peak of potential.

One thing I’d like you to take away from this is (although it may sound rude): instead of living under a rock and partaking in the blissful ignorance that society already offers in such great quantities, why not read a book, watch some TedX talks, travel more, learn about a culture, learn a language, cook, do anything that activates your conscious mind to unify (and gain knowledge) from meaningful experience.

 

REFERENCES:

Kant, Immanuel

 

McLeod, S. (2010). Kolb-Learning Styles. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/learning-kolb.html

 

Brook, A. (2001, March 27). The Unity of Consciousness. Retrieved from https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consciousness-unity/

 

Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development (Vol. 1). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

 

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Oscar’s Week Off | A Choice of Self- Inquiry

 

My Plan?

Initially I really did not have a plan, in fact, these past weeks have been mind-clogging and in truth, the entire unit of metaphysics has not embedded a seed of clear understanding in my brain as it should be. Regardless, my plan for my P.D.O. was to go through an uninterrupted period of meditation to answer questions of my own self- an ideal I aspire. While I pondered over my existence and jousted mentally with myself, I found it incredibly difficult to decide on how I should go about my P.D.O. as this ‘day off’ was starting to turn into a week off- this ‘plan’ I had ended up being scrapped.

Upon trying to gather and create options, narrow them down and eventually take action through a process of decision making, I realized that I was doing exactly what I told myself not to do- to overthink and strive for perfection. I had too many options to choose from and while I continued to I agonized over this ‘Day-Off’ I had finally arrived to moment of clarity. I could watch some home videos I had never watched but had just been “shelved”, only for me to visit these digitized VHS tapes fifteen years in the future!

First Inquiries going into P.D.O.

Metaphysical questions. Always present, often never conclusive. After finally deciding what I was going to do going into my P.D.O I generated too many questions to be comfortable with answering; most of which subsided into my sub-conscious mind and never made it out alive onto this web-page. In any case, here is a handful of questions I gathered going into my P.D.O:

  • How is my mind and body actively contributing to each and every choice I make?
  • Are the choices I’m making actively making me grow in the mental essence? In the physical essence?
  • As I believe in free-will, at what extent am I living the best version of myself? How do I know the choices I am making are contributing to the unveiling of my best ‘self’ version? 

As these questions continued to expand, I questioned whether I was or was not living an optimal version of myself during the course of my ‘day off’ or whether my choice to sit down and view “ancient” home videos was to bring the best e-motions (literal energy motions) within me; emotions that could prompt me to seek more questions about self-knowledge.

What Actually Happened:

Everything actually worked out pretty nicely despite my indecisiveness that prolonged throughout the week. I sat down at around mid-night, uninterrupted on a Friday night where I rolled back the tape (literally, well maybe not because it was digitized) and took three solid hours to be left mesmerized by my existence throughout 1999-2003. These years fabricated the detachment from my own existence where my existence preceded my essence. Essentially, these years marked the transition between the mechanisms of a being and a Being. In hindsight, the year 2003 marked the beginning of my essence in which viewing these videos prompted me to think how much I actually knew of myself? If memory does support the bundle theory, than my past is simply a mere conjunction of qualities and not a substance- what would be of myself if my own memory was suddenly withdrawn from my physical essence?

Suddenly, I found myself choosing to take a path of self-inquiry; I was striving to seek answers to strengthen the knowledge of my own self based on past and present but not future.The American/English philosopher Stuart Hampshire’s argues that the question, ‘Who am I?’ requires a person to engage in a process of rational, reflective detachment from the first-person point of view. In direct correlation to this statement, viewing a periodic video of myself that took place at the beginning of my life states that I could now pursue my aspirations- to be more self-knowledgeable. Being self-knowledgeable in my views, lays on the foundation of every choice and action you make because that is the only realistic or “action-based” way to go about ‘things’; when thoughts and choices formulated within the mind can be expressed in the physical, spacial world.

 

Remaining Questions? Artefact?

Now that this blog is quite literally giving me a headache I’d like to introduce my artefact. I found the original VHS tapes laying somewhere in the depths of my basement. Each tape, essentially being a consequential chapter in my mind, can be rolled back and ‘fast-forwarded’ much like my brain can do within my own memories. I may wish to roll the tape back or fast-forward towards any point in my life but never in the future, for that would require the creation or introduction of another new VHS tape.

In short, none of my questions were answered but I only formulated more doubts and reasons to comfort myself because metaphysics has just clogged my mind with the nature of ‘things’ being too complex to discuss.

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As this post is beginning to become somewhat of a headache, I’d like to state my remaining questions as follows:

  • What is the bridge between freedom of choice and self-awareness? How are they linked together?
  •  How is ‘reflective self-detachment’ possible in our day-to-day lives? Is this only possible through travelling through memories (in the mind, through pictures or videos?) and through lucid dreaming?
  • What kind of power can “successful” reflective self-inquiry bring upon our lives? Would we be able to make the ‘best’ and right choices without much doubt?

Questions I will try to never answer but will always want to answer…

 

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Choices- It is MORE than just Free Will and Determinism

Primary Question: How does our physical and mental consciousness contribute to the ‘simple’ notion of choice?

I’ve stumbled across multiple blogs analyzing the nature of free-will and determinism, and while my topic does lay on this foundation, I’d like to discuss the essence of choice on a more pragmatic approach; in a world where choice(s) do exist and favour the notion of free-will while effectively negating the principles of determinism. As a “newby meta-physician” I could’ve chosen any metaphysical topic to discuss across the pool of interesting “things” in our world, deeming the topic of  ‘choice’ somewhat ironic. Without further ado, lets dive into the world of choice.

 

 What is a choice, and what are its processes?

  • Defining a choice and breaking it down

In its essential “Googled” form, a choice is an act of selecting or making a decision when faced  with two or more possibilities. As a choice directly complements the ideals of free-will, a choice -in literal essence- denies the possibility of any other event from occurring. This mere act of choice can be broken down into four essential choosing processes. I picked up a book called Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans that clearly contrasts the dysfunctional process of choosing versus the more functional process of garnering satisfaction or simply being “ok” with a choice that you’ve already been made.

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In effect, this image corroborates with the rather metaphysical questions stated above and below this process of choosing.

What is the ‘substance dualist’ construct of a choice?

  • Where mind and matter exist independently but work comprehensively in the process of decision making?

Since we only know ourselves and we live a life through one subjective lens, I would argue that decision making solely relies on synthesizing thoughts from the mind where ones physiology (or physical state) reacts to outside forces, that in turn, have an effect on what a person decides to do; all based on the given situation that person is in. To support my point, I’ve explained two situations (rather extreme in the physical sense) when the options at your forefront may limit your overall ability to make a choice: matter over mind or mind over matter?

  1. Matter over Mind: if you were to be in a physically dangerous situation, the physiological processes in your body would send signals to your brain, essentially forcing you to make a decision. If you were being mauled by a bear you wouldn’t necessarily think about good choosing because your body is deliberately telling you to ‘get the !@#$ out of danger’. A person would instinctively do what is best to survive, and while the mind does play a roll in ones ‘search for survival’, in such an instance of physical danger, the physical essence is predominantly more influential than your “mental” essence.
  2. Mind over Matter: As many of will be doing sometime in the future, choosing a career path (for many) is one of the most stressful and toughest decisions we will ever have to make. My point is, the mental essence is an active ingredient in this type of decision making. As your body is in a state of mental stress and not physical stress, your  mind (not your physical brain) influences your path of decision while you may experience that physical “gut feeling”.

In short, I would argue that the all important process of choosing involves both the mental essence and the physical essence, while one may be predominantly influential than the other given the circumstance.

What is the best or “right” choice, and is there even such a thing?

  • A topic of decision stress- woo…

Making the right choice is often a dysfunctional belief that often exists as an empty void in our minds. Whether the choices we make are simply a mundane portion of our every-day lives or the choices we make have great significance for our short/long-term future, the image above directly corroborates with the principal of decision-stress. The process of choosing is anything but simple; often times the more options available to the mind, the less likely you are to make a choice.

  • Real Life Example: Say you’ve come home from school after an ‘agonizingly’ long day. Your teachers have piled on the homework and you don’t know whether you should do your English homework, your chemistry, or your philosophy homework. Realizing there are too many options, those options never grow to become choices because you’ve spent too much time pondering over which one to do first. You finally choose you’re going to do your English homework for whatever reason but Instead of moving on and actually doing one piece of homework, being happy with your choice as the diagram of choosing suggests, you agonize over this choice. In this case your brain has been flooded with seemingly important information- this information, however, is useless.

The process of making a choice often leaves us agonizing over a choice we have already committed to. Sometimes we are so caught up on agonizing over our choices that we can’t design a future with prospect. On an ontological perspective, the process of making a choice, and in some cases agonizing, can actually characterize the principal of Being; where the concept of being self-aware and actually thinking about your essence in this world does exist. In short, there is no “right” choice. The key is to re-frame your idea of options by realizing that too many options equate to zero choices. You’re just frozen, thinking of the best way to go about ‘things’. To answer the question, I would argue there is no “right” choice – only good choosing. In my views, there is simply no such thing.

Where to next?

Choosing is never an easy topic. I’m ‘choosing’ to discuss this topic to further understand the “culling” process of decision making- to do myself a favor. Breaking down options towards a short and manageable size is often the ‘best’ way to be happy with the choice you’ve made, regardless of importance. I’d also like to help others choose wisely, primarily with subjects that are important to them so they can avoid the dangerous notion of agonizing that can suddenly creep into their heads. On a more metaphysical note, I’d like to further understand how my mind and body work comprehensively to make important choices and to prevent my eyes from being caught on the rear view mirror of decision regret. Remember, there is no right choice- simply good choosing.

 

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The Blind Man and the Prisoner

Photo credit: Philosophy Monkey- Plato’s Cave (Blogspot)

Seventeen years, only a mere fraction within the history of humanity and the universe itself. This number (our age) defines all that we’ve seen, questioned, experienced and deciphered in our entire existence. Isn’t that somewhat daunting? That all the information and people we’ve known has been limited to a value defined by our age? I would argue that acquiring or dismissing knowledge is a direct consequence of ignorance; where the absence of curiosity can dictate, to some extent, the subduing effects of our own free will and creative thought. While some are comfortable to live in ignorance (although they may not know it), others are more inclined to give in to that nagging feeling of wanting to know more; to know if there is more to know. I for one think that it’s not really a “duty” for people to acquire knowledge for they might live a happy life, however I perceive it as the nature of our humanity and a part of our everyday lives. To simply know more of our copious world can be seen as a learning process and for some a necessity. As Warren Buffett once said “The more you learn, the more you earn.” However, as some crave the desire to expose themselves to new realities, some are not willing to “escape their cave” which brings me to my next point.

As seen in the allegory of Plato’s Cave, three chained prisoners are born with a limited capacity to perceive and understand only what they can see in front of them; projected shadows of “reality” itself. They do not know that what they perceive is limited to the physical realms of the cave until one of them is freed and ventures off into this true depiction of reality. Upon returning to the cave the freed prisoner feels that his journey out to “reality” may have actually harmed the freed prisoner since the shadows in the cave no longer appeared with clarity. These shadows the prisoner could not make out are almost like the people who go through some form of enlightenment that shifts the paradigm in which they live in. These ‘unclear’ shadows represent your previous paradigm; one that you are not able to see clearly anymore (and not necessarily agree with) but is still present in your mind. Let’s say you are exposed to an enlightening reality that challenges everything you’ve known about reality. Whether this arises from a conversation with your friend, a movie you watched, a talk you went to, until you feel exposed to an extensively new reality are you able to escape your own version of ‘Plato’s Cave’.

I tend to think that we’re always in a cave. We are essentially encapsulated in a series of caves where we uncover them through gaining knowledge, questioning, and experiencing a new reality. In other words, being exposed to “enlightening” situations in your life. Whether you are a person who chooses to cultivate knowledge or simply dismiss it, we are all still very ignorant people in one way or another. Just stop think and think to yourself, you will find that in certain situations in life you might be the chained prisoner witnessing the returning man’s blindness,  when in other cases you may be the returning ‘blind man’.

 

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Marijuana at Its “Finest”

Photo of Cannabis Plant shared via Herb.co for Cannabis Enthusiasts

In recent history, the use of marijuana has gone up considerably where people not only smoke it, but bake it, cook it, dab it, vape it. In contrast to our “adult” counterparts, we live in a generation where marijuana has become increasingly accessible among teens and young adults in specific. Many people have used or do use marijuana for recreational purposes to achieve the desired high that marijuana gives them, and while extensive research has been conducted and has proven the long-term and short-term negative effects of marijuana, there is often a societal bias that targets your typical “every-day” user. I will try to avoid as much personal bias as possible to avoid any controversy, however, I can’t help myself but give one personal statement if I may: just because a person has knowledge of, uses or has used marijuana does not mean they’re a “stoner” who lacks ambition for anything. Even if you are one, “Stoners are also entrepreneurs, mothers, CEO’s, celebrities, politicians—the list goes on”.

By taking the societal views of marijuana and breaking it down into various premises, the truth and/or accuracy of the following statements will allow us to dissect the validity and soundness of this argument.

Premise 1: Drugs that are widely accessible can be used in an abusive manner.

Premise 2: Drugs such as Marijuana are easily accessible in our society.

Premise 3: Using Marijuana makes you a “dead-weight” in society.

Conclusion: Therefore, the extensive accessibility of Marijuana prompts users to abuse of the drug, where they fall into the dregs of society.

  • Premise 1: This statement is factually true and easily agreed upon as drugs that are widely accessible to us (illegally or legally) can be easier to use in an abusive manner, rather than drugs that are not widely accessible.
  • Premise 2: This statement is also factually true and easily agreed upon in society, regardless of ones opinions with marijuana. Most people, if not everyone can agree that acquiring marijuana is very simple in our modern day society.
  • Premise 3: Within the third premise, there is lots to be contested regarding the societal views of marijuana. As an example, considerable evidence suggests that students who consume marijuana have poorer educational and/or social success than their non-consuming peers, while this may be true, this premise does not address the other portion of individuals who consume marijuana without necessarily being educationally/socially troubled or ‘stupid’ for lack of a better term. Not to say that marijuana does not have negative implications to peoples health, but it is important to note the seemingly unjust notion that marijuana is often considered the drug of the “dead-weights”. For this reason, the premise could be argued, for or against using marijuana, but for the sake of factual correctness, this statement is not true, nor is it valid. It disregards those who may use marijuana for their own purposes, without excess use, while often being labeled as mere “stoners” who fail in our society.

Validity and Soundness

As one may notice, this argument is not valid nor is it sound, in which the third premise creates damage to the truth of the conclusion. Though the accessibility of marijuana does influence people’s frequency of use of marijuana to a certain extent, using marijuana does not necessarily mean you are a “dead-weight” in society. There is a good portion of users who may consume marijuana “responsibly” which are directly disregarded in the third premise, challenging the statements truth. Though the sequence of the argument is valid, it is flawed within the false truths presented in the third premise, challenging both the validity of the argument and the soundness of the conclusion.

Origin and Conclusive Statements

The origin of this argument can be directly linked to the societal bias most people withhold against marijuana. Although our generation may be a bit more “embracing” on the recreational and medical use of marijuana, many people still remain skeptical and look down upon those who consume the drug. This can be traced to the values held in the households of many, primarily in the families of “old-gen” people, like our parents. The conclusion that many “marijuana-opposers” draw essentially comes from the strong belief that all marijuana does is impair learning capacity and prevents people from reaching their maximum brain-power; when being someone who has used or uses marijuana is someone who is just throwing their life out the window, right? Not necessarily. Marijuana can definitely impair ones ability to process and execute complex tasks, but lower levels of intellectual capacity is usually a consequence of continuous use over long periods of time; where problems such as addiction or depression may arise. While drug abuse (in this case marijuana) may be a consequence of ease of accessibility, it all comes down to how the person chooses to use the drug while generally using marijuana doesn’t necessarily lead to the demise of an individual. Consequently, the negative societal bias regarding marijuana consumption is only reinforced through the origin of its legality issues, but that’s something we can save for later.

 

 

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Oscar’s First Philosophical Inquiries

What is Philosophy to me?

Would it be ‘wise’ of me to say that to have inquiries on philosophical concepts can be all too broad  to discuss? As I have learned throughout my brief history in this class, philosophy is just a matter of activating (and communicating) ideas that have otherwise just sunken into the inconceivable depths of our brains. My objective in life (and in this course) is to narrow these “inconceivable” thoughts and ideas into pathways that can be articulated through the simple act of speech.

With that said, the ideas we have about human nature should be “baked” in our minds so that in the future we have dissent to rely on.  We might not have to live as hermits in Norway just as Ludwig Wittgenstein did in 1913, but as Nigel Warburton’s Talk With Me essay suggests, “Philosophy in its highest forms seems intently solitary and often damaged by the presence of others.” While this may be true, it is important to  create thoughts that engage us, along with others, so that we can partake in collective conversation, enriching our desire to pose questions and encounter topics of debate with the people around us. “Social activity that thrives on the collision of viewpoints” is what fuels our very own goals so that we can move forward as individuals and as collective groups in society; both in this course and outside of it.

(Bellarmine Philosophy)

 

The beauty of this course is that every idea or topic of discussion can be tangible to our very own nature In humanity and that there are multiple ways of approaching an answer (if there even is one). During the past week of class we collectively gave opinions of learning styles and how our knowledge and personalities can manifest into these different ways of absorbing information; from perennial to reconstructive methods of learning. I for one don’t exactly know where I fall into because I rationalize my own thoughts depending on what I am being taught. Where “telling someone something he will not understand [isn’t] pointless…”.

In addition, I’d like to discuss that it can be insanely difficult to discuss something to do with philosophy. Simply by breaking down the word ‘philosophy’ (meaning love-wisdom) there is a lot that can be discussed. I could argue that loving to be wise is what philosophy is inclined to mean, or that it is merely a statement that tells you that you should love wisdom. There are simply so many different ways to approach such an argument which is what makes the learning process of philosophy so interesting. However, it is almost too easy to generate ideas that conflict with our very own thinking or that compromise our ability to communicate such an idea. The mere thought of confusing ourselves with our own  ideas can be all too overwhelming.

Neil Warburton suggests in his Talk With Me essay that for Wittgenstein to ‘give birth to new ideas’, there is usually the need of an audience to effectively and intelligently criticize such topics of humanity. As a keen observer in this Philosophy 12 class, I see every single individual in this class as philosopher yet also a listener much like G.E. Moore. Yeah maybe you’re not Socrates or Plato but hey, the fact that you’re questioning your own thinking is close enough.  I could ramble on and on about deep thinking and what not, but the true message is, that the truth about humanity is that when it comes to questioning  philosophy “these are not trivial questions we are discussing here, we are discussing how to live.”

 
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