Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Reassess State terrorism


As most of us know, this image not only symbolized  the repentance for the holocaust which Nazi Germany committed to the Jews during the Second World War, but also a faithful gesture in recognition that Nazism which can be interpreted as a form of state terrorism should never be recommitted.

Dec 7, 1970

Warschauer Kniefall

Warschauer Kniefall

Meanwhile, on the other side of the planet, communist China have been executing hundreds and millions of civilians regardless of whether they were guilty(politically categorized) or not (Records indicated most of them were innocent citizens) simply by a cause of domestic political struggle, which was initiated deliberately to establish totalitarianism and grip the populations’ thoughts.

The issue: In what ways should we assess state terrorism?

Unify and we shall gain greater victory-propaganda during the period of state terrorism

Unify and we shall gain greater victory-propaganda during the period of state terrorism

Even though the interpretation to state terrorism still remained arguable, it generally refers to acts of terrorism conducted by a state against a foreign state or people, or against its own people. After the second Chinese civil war, the red government has been constantly exterminating the remaining “capitalism” elements across the country and initiated varies political movement related to the similar causes. Tragically, these events were “misconducted(According to the official)”, then led to numerous falsely-judged cases of death which, were intentional set-ups applied by opposite parties for the cause of total extermination. Additionally, the great leap forward (approx. 32.458mil died of unnatural cause) enhanced the gravity of these events, political struggle expand and deepened horribly. Added by such premises, the Cultural Revolution was launched in the name of class conflict, which again, inevitably led to 7 mil death (Mostly tortured, executed in an organized fashion and committed suicide systemically).

“Domestic economy is at the edge of complete destruction”

-General Lin, the appointed predecessor of Mao, Committed high treason afterwards

Kids were educated to follow their leader and pursue communism at all cost

Kids were educated to follow their leader and pursue communism at all cost

Categorical imperative:

It would not be hard to imagine Kant striving to object for such crimes against human rights due to the fact that categorical imperative recognizes these actions with no doubt unjustifiable. Based on a morality point of view, legally, authorities’ duties were meant to administer the society and protect its citizens’ rights and freedom rather than sabotaging it by exploiting their advantages that eventually turned into organized massacre. Morally destructed and mentally brain-washed, every single individual was too overwhelmed and literally unconscious to consider the ethic as their standard of behavior, which also ended up unpleasantly.


Clearly there is no such need to claim “Maximum happiness” in such tragedies; nonetheless, maximum depression should be taken into account to a fair assessment. Judging by its consequences, which included mass destruction of cultural heritage (still remain uncountable), capital punishments without legal procedure, total suspension of educational institution, deprivation of all civil rights and freedom etc. Generally, the consequences result from state terrorism that did no more good than harm in a sense of totally brutalized humanity.

How can it be addressed?

Theoretically, such incidence should be officially addressed by the authorities unconditionally, authentically and respectfully in order to encourage the citizens to realize the impulsiveness their nation once possessed. Moreover, for the sake of the death which, supposedly deserve to be remembered and honored. Since it is still a delicate matter to be exposed to the public even though its righteous to do so according to both theories, plus the confession may lead to the doubt of the legitimacy of CPC ‘s (Communist Party of China) rule, the official recognition has not been addressed yet.

Regardless of the authorities’ attitude, analyze based on a personal perspective, even if tragedies like those are almost impossible to occur, we as citizens should commit to the goal of evolving the social mechanism to improve the condition of our rights and freedom from tyranny based on a solid foundation of justice system. In addition to that, awareness of the logic is demanded to pursue such goal for a acceptable and reasonable outcome that will be provided to the public eventually through multiple approaches.

“Everything was fake other than the struggle for power”

-Chiang Kai-shek, president of the republic of China, commented after the cultural revolution



The Experience of Beauty

 Three fundamental questions:

  1. What can I know?
  2. What ought I do?
  3. What can I hope for?

And one, into which every other question flows: What is man?


Basically, the contemplation and the production of beauty depend exclusively upon characteristics that only man possesses and that thus allow him to be ontologically distinguished from all other beings which differ from him.
We judge beauty beginning from the feeling of what is agreeable and disagreeable.
And the representation of feeling can be sorted in:

that of ‘pleasant’(simple animal), that of ‘good’(rational being), that of ‘beautiful’(only human).
The experience of beauty originates from freedom.

The beauty of work of art

This shows itself to have characteristics which do not permit going back to a mechanistic model of comprehension, in both of its internal organization and in the means of production.

What in the work of art contrast to its mechanistic reduction is constituted by man characteristics, which place it in an intermediary position between the human techno-practical production, on the one hand,     and the way in which nature produces the organized beings, on the other.

One must be aware that it is art, and not nature.

The basis for the originality and the beauty of the work of art are the inventions or ideations, which Kant calls ‘aesthetic ideas’ are not in control, as to their origins, of the artist who brings them into being.
What the source might be upon which these prerogatives of the work of art depend, Kant’s answer may seem disarming in its simplicity: at the origin of the creation of beauty there is a particular proportion, in which the power of the imagination and the discipline of the intellect play freely with each other.
In man there is an original accord between three heterogenous faculties:

  1. Imagination as the faculty of intuitions
  2. Intellect as the faculty of rules.
  3. Reason as the faculty of ideas.

The other aspect which takes the work of art away from a physico-deterministic consideration is constituted by that complex of characteristics which makes it related to the beings organized by nature.
In the work, considered as whole:

  • Every part is bound to every other part in such a way as to be mutually each to other the cause and effect of their form;
  • Furthermore, every part of the work exists only through all of the others and its existence makes sense inasmuch as it is in view of the others and of the whole

Neural Correlates of Beauty:

A number of researches have demonstrated that every pronouncement of an aesthetic judgement corresponded to the activation of a set of specific cerebral areas (the medial orbito-frontal cortex, the anterior cingulate, the parietal cortex and the motor cortex), operating interconnectedly, even though their quotients of activity were differentiated according to the type of experience.

Nevertheless it is wise to ask:

  • Is this side of research, in addition to being recognized as necessary, sufficient enough to explain the artistic phenomenon?
  • Is the process of naturalization or, the mechanistic understanding capable of exhausting the entire realm of the experience of beauty?

Experts, which are critically attentive, generalized the mind-brain relationship concerns into the following:

Those which are initially presented as neurally ‘correlated’, as substratums or ‘involved’ neural processes, ‘subtended’ or ‘associated’ with the of beauty, are transformed insensitively or with brusque passages (with no forewarning as with those of the authors) into neural processes that ‘generate’ aesthetic judgment, ‘determine the creation’ of the work of art, ‘originate’ the fundamental properties of the conscious experience of the beautiful.



To sum up, a free use of the cognitive faculties is the specific experience of freedom which is the basis of the work of art and that, opening the access to the beautiful, allows for the actuation of a way of being that only man can experience.





Foundation of experience construct knowledge

Knowledge is constructed on a foundation of previous experience.

As the diagram I presented on the board the other day (Pic), clearly demonstrated how knowledge (the house) derived from a solid fact or previous experience (the base, groundwork). Different from the house that was simply a “house” which indicated knowledge is simply knowledge without external support, or in another word, justification. 

In this case, experiences are considered to be the external support of the structure. Of all the decision we made, we intended to refer the same scenarios we’ve experienced, or those similar ones for the sake of better judgement. Therefore, a solid base is formed for future process. When in terms of knowledge, it is the same theory. For example, a government has the intention to conduct a population census, they will definitely go over the previous history of record despite the differences that occured. Since the mode is the same regarding the differences in the new era, we can recognize this as previous history (experience) provides the foundation.


According to foundationalism, our justified beliefs are constructed like a building: they are separated two parts which contain a foundation and a superstructure. Superstructure relies more on the foundation. Beliefs belonging to the foundation are basic. Beliefs that affiliated to the superstructure are non-basic and receive justification from the justified beliefs in the foundation, which again proved the structure of knowledge derives from the structure of justification. In order to make this statement sound, two obstacles must be resolved

  • firstly, by conscious of exactly what are basic beliefs justified?
  • Secondly, how can basic beliefs justify non-basic beliefs?

In order to clear this confusion, two concepts should be introduced: Doxastic Basicality (DB) and Epistemic Basicality. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_belief

Doxastic Basicality (DB)

Sam’s justified belief that p is basic if and only if Sam’s belief that p is justified without owing its justification to any of S’s other beliefs.


Let’s think of an example. Suppose we notice Mr. Jackson’s stylish shirt, and we also notice that that shirt looks light blue to us. So we believe:

(J) It appears to us that Mr. Jackson’s shirt is light blue.

Normally, (J) is an example of a justified belief. DB tells us that (B) is basic if and only if it does not owe its justification to any other beliefs of us. So if (J) is indeed basic, there might be some item or other to which (J) owes its justification, but that item would not be another belief of yours. We call this kind of basicality ‘doxastic’ because it makes basicality a function of how our doxastic system (our belief system) is structured.                                                                                                                                                   Let us consider the question of where the justification that attaches to (J) might come from, if we think of basicality as defined by DB. Be aware that DB merely tells us how (J) is not justified. It says nothing about how (J) is justified. DB, therefore, does not answer that question. What we need, other than DB, is an account of what it is that justifies a belief such as (J). According to one strand of foundationalist thought, (J) is justified because it can’t be false, doubted, or corrected by others. So (J) is justified because (J) carries with it an epistemic privilege such as infallibility, indubitability, or incorrigibility. The idea is that (J) is justified by virtue of its constitutional nature that makes it possess some kind of an epistemic privilege.

Be aware that (J) is a belief about how the shirt appears to us but not a belief about the hat. So (J) is an belief about a perceptual experience of ours. Think of the thoughts we’re considering, a subject’s basic beliefs are made up of introspective beliefs about the subject’s own mental states, of which perceptual experiences make up one small set. Other mental states about which a subject can have basic beliefs include such things as having a headache. Beliefs about external objects do not and indeed cannot qualify as basic, for it is impossible for such beliefs to own the kind of epistemic privilege needed for the status of being basic.
Some other opinions said (J) is justified by some further mental state of ours instead of the privileged things. And that is a perceptual experience that (J) is about: to us the shirt is light blue. If ‘(E)’ is that experience, based on this, then (B) and (E) are distinct mental states. The idea is what justifies (B) is (E). Since (E) is an experience, not a belief of ours, (J) is, according to DB, basic.

Epistemic Basicality (EB)

Sam’s justified belief that, p is basic if and only if Sam’s justification for believing that, p does not depend on any justification Sam possesses for believing a further proposition.


EB makes it more difficult for a belief to be basic than DB. In order to understand, we turn to the chief question (‘C-question’) that advocates of experiential foundationalism face:

Why are perceptual experiences a source of justification?

Compromise position, which meant to be compromise between foundationalism and coherentism, can be applied to answer. This will show the differences. If we accept this, beliefs such as (H) will qualify as basic according to DB, but according to EB as nonbasic.
Coherentist will say we might think the C-question as: Perceptual experiences are a source of justification because we are justified in believing them to be reliable.
Basically, making perceptual justification dependent on the existence of reliability-attributing beliefs is quite a problem. There is a replacing answer to the C-question that appeals to reliability without making perceptual justification dependent on beliefs that result from reliability to perceptual experiences. According to this second answer to the C-question, perceptual experiences are a source of justification because we have justification for taking them to be reliable. That’s the view we shall call the compromise position.
We have justification to believe that p does not necessitate that we believe p. If we believe that the person next to us wears a blue hat, we have justification for believing that the person next to us wears a blue hat or a red hat. We’re having justification for attributing reliability to our perceptual experiences doesn’t necessitate that we have given thought to the matter and actually formed the belief that they are reliable. Simply speaking, if our perceptual experiences are a source of justification for us, then we must have considered the matter and believe them to be reliable. The compromise position says no such thing. It says merely of that.

Generally, we can briefly consider how justification is supposed to be transferred from basic to non-basic beliefs. There are two ways:
The justificatory relation between basic and non-basic beliefs could be deductive or non-deductive.

  • If we take the relation to be deductive, each of one’s non-basic beliefs would have to be such that it can be deduced from one’s basic beliefs.
  • If we consider a random selection of typical beliefs we hold, it is not easy to see from which basic beliefs they could be deduced.

Foundationalists, typically conceive of the link between the foundation and the superstructure in non-deductive terms.

‘for a basic belief, J, to justify a non-basic belief, J*, it isn’t necessary that J entails J*. Rather, it is sufficient that, given J, it is likely that J* is true.’





Foundationalist Theories of Epistemic Justification

I found this article during my research on foundationalism with epistemology from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. It’s an unique perspective of explaining how foundationalism justify itself into the empiricism category. I copied and pasted on the blog. Hope this can be helpful.

   First published Mon Feb 21, 2000; substantive revision Mon Jun 14, 2010

Foundationalism is a view about the structure of justification or knowledge. The foundationalist’s thesis in short is that all knowledge and justified belief rest ultimately on a foundation of noninferential knowledge or justified belief.

A little reflection suggests that the vast majority of the propositions we know or justifiably believe have that status only because we know or justifiably believe other different propositions. So, for example, I know or justifiably believe that Caesar was an assassinated Roman leader, but only because I know or justifiably believe (among other things) that various historical texts describe the event. Arguably, my knowledge (justified belief) about Caesar’s death also depends on my knowing (justifiably believing) that the texts in question are reliable guides to the past. Foundationalists want to contrast my inferential knowledge (justified belief) about Caesar with a kind of knowledge (justified belief) that doesn’t involve the having of other knowledge (justified belief). There is no standard terminology for what we shall henceforth refer to as noninferential knowledge or justification.[1]

For convenience, in what follows we will concentrate on foundationalism about justification. Everything said about justified belief will apply mutatis mutandis to certain foundationalist views about knowledge. On the “classical” analysis of knowledge, the core of the concept of knowledge is justified true belief and the foundational structure of knowledge simply derives from the foundational structure or justification. It should be noted, however, that the presupposition that the structure of knowledge parallels the structure of justification is controversial. Indeed, in a highly influential book, Timothy Williamson (2000) argues that knowledge is unanalyzable and is a concept that should be employed in understanding a host of other interesting epistemic concepts, including the concept of evidence. In short, his view is that our evidence simply consists in everything we know. Justification may have foundations but only because we end a regress of justification with propositions that are known—the evidential foundation on which all justified belief rests is knowledge (186). A discussion of Williamson’s view would take us too far afield, however, and in what follows I will continue to suppose that our understanding of knowledge is parasitic upon our understanding of justification, and not vice versa.

It is surely fair to suggest that for literally thousands of years the foundationalist’s thesis was taken to be almost trivially true. When an argument was implicitly or explicitly offered for the view it was most often the now famous regress argument. It is important, however, to distinguish two quite different regress arguments for foundationalism—the epistemic regress argument and the conceptual regress argument.





The Actual Being

“And indeed the question which was raised of old is raised now and always, and is always the subject of doubt, viz., what being is, is just the question, what is substance? For it is this that some assert to be one, others more than one, and that some assert to be limited in number, others unlimited. And so we also must consider chiefly and primarily and almost exclusively what that is which is in this sense.”-Aristotle

By introducing YInYang perspective of being, the research of defining actual being became a little challenging since it is perennial. The research of Mr Martin Heidegger well resolved this puzzle.



In the course of over 2,000 years of history, philosophy has attended to all the beings that can be found in the world (including the world itself), but has forgotten to ask what Being itself is.


Based on the interview of Mr T.Honderich, we’ve learned that the process of defining “actual” inevitably direct to three categories of “Consciousness” which include perception, cognition and effect. what was intimidating was actually the perceptual consciousness. Clear example, perceptual consciousness is being aware the room we’re live in however, the being itself was never challenged based on Heidegger’s quote.

For instance, when a hammer is efficiently used to knock in nails we cease to be aware of it。


As Heidegger defined, the action or the term is called “ready to hand”, and it’s more of a authentic mode, saying the

given (‘past’) has presence in an oversimplified way when reduced to possible future usefulness to us.

In class Kevin’s first presentation, the idea he expressed about the acknowledgement towards the world was that it seems there’s only him but not others were in the “world”. It recognized the actual being, the existence of the objective physical world. On the other hand, the being itself was not mentioned at a significant level. Nevertheless



Contradicted while connected

Majority of the population would normally consider each object or “Being” as what they simply are instead of relate them into their opposite side of “Being”. That’s why “YinYang” has been so intriguingly compelling over the centuries. The base of Taoism or even traditional Chinese culture is the “YinYang” theory which is quite differed from most of Western studies. Rather than simply interpret “what is there?” YinYang intended to be more extensive into the connection between “whats”.


If all men in the world know what is fair,then it is unfair.If all men know what is good,then it is not good-<Tao-te Ching> (classic of the way of power) Second chapter.

A more detailed explanation could be there’s no “extreme” in the world(universe) we live in. For all the “Beings” we acknowledged, they are just characterized to a certain degree but not extreme in certain end. Clear example: why there is fair while unfair exist? Cops and robbers? Each of those existence is relevant to another “Being”, the opposite one (ones). A most obvious example can be man verses women, day and light and so on. The formation of these pairs can be truly defined while all of them truly exist otherwise everything will be meaningless. (Why do we need police if there’s no crime?). This simply demonstrated the connection between the two as well as their contradiction, like the yinyang diagram yang and yin together formed the “universe”. Meanwhile, they’re intuitively separated by a slight curve which represents the bond and power that joint them.


Not only the objective character are shown but also the external meaning of the diagram should be emphasized as well. Everything in life exist in a circulation over yin and yang, passive to active and vice versa. “Being” existence follows the rule of mother nature, from weak to strong then weak then continue whatever stage next. This is the essence of life: everything is changing and stay solid (Changing is solid).This is the YinYang theory that I researched as a part of “Being” study.

Here is a web link that could be helpful: http://www.sacredlotus.com/theory/yinyang.cfm

There’s another video as well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ezmR9Attpyc




Who’s leading HK

As we learned from the news, Hong Kong protesters have occupied major districts in Hong Kong to demand full universal suffrage for the city, a culmination of decades of frustration among the city’s democracy activists. But as protests in this city enter a stubborn second week, there hasn’t been any real breakthrough.

During the movement the leader of HK who is currently C.Y. Leung, was labelled as “unloved leader” judging from how he reacted to the protest. Most suspicion were C.Y. Leung is secret puppet controlled by the central communist government,

“He is in daily communication with Beijing,” says Willy Lam, an adjunct professor at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. “C.Y. is a very obedient cadre.”

Hong Kong's embattled leader, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, speaks at a press conference.

Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, speaks at a press conference-CNN


Since the return of HongKong in 1997, many voices against the system were the un-democratic society would have take place instead of the original “democratic” colony. Therefore the appointed chief executive of HK could be suspected as an internal decision from the central government instead of being voted by HK citizens, so that leads to the confusion, Who is actually leading HK?

Based on the facts and statements we can break the matter into following argument:

  • Premise 1: HK chief executive  is elected democratically by HK citizens based on Hong Kong Basic Law
  • Premise 2: HK Basic Law is a purely.domestic legislation deriving its authority from the constitution of People’s Republic of China
  • Premise 3: The elected chief executive must be appointed by the Central people’s government.
  • Conclusion: The chief executive of HongKong is appointed by China based on the domestic legislation.

Each of the statement can be further explained:

  • premise: It is obvious fact that this is acknowledged both by law and common sense
  • premise: This is a little controversial that some scholars consider it as part of the domestic legislation while some HK citizens recognize “Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong” as the source of HK administrative authority.
  • premise: after the process of election, the effectiveness of the outcome must be confirmed and signed by the central people’s government (state council).
  • Because of these statements and form of argument, I think this should be a valid argument. Since the chief executive is not directly decided by the central government.

To elaborate this matter, I found it necessary to go a little more specific. The basic law guarantee the fixed capitalism system for HK another 50 years however, due to the uncertainty of the HK social condition, majority of the population sense a early move from the central government which means that the capitalism system is possibly shifting towards a similar socialism system that is implemented in the mainland. Therefore, the democracy of HK is desperately concerned.

P74 b.jpg

Joint Declaration of the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on the Question of Hong Kong, was signed by Prime Ministers Zhao Ziyang of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom (UK) on behalf of their respective governments

Moreover, the un-transparent government mechanism have influenced mainland for so long that the population of mainland China may not have the solid fact to support the HK citizens for their best interest. some anxiously worried that HK is gradually losing it title of “the last free soil of China”, due to the influence over the central government.

Either way, the pursuit democracy will witness more sacrifice and setbacks for both sides of the people. Reason is the best way to find the truth.



what is philosophy

Sorry for the delay

Personally, philosophy is a diverse study that includes everything. It appears that philosophy is capable of question or even deny the existence of objects and facts that have already been acknowledged in human history.

By questioning the world we live in, the way we think of the world and the method to process, I concluded that Philosophy is everything.

nikitanikita 1

1803xpk6r2tz2png wikipedia



Reflection on Philosophy

The phrase “weigh the fish” was raised by Charles II who asked philosophers why a fish weigh more after it has died. To interpret, Mr Pasnau elaborate the conditions of modern philosophy development as well as the comparisons between science and philosophy.

Based on the background of “dying philosophy” of modern world, author questioned that a significant decline of humanities might occurred, of course I partly agree this point. Regardless the real situation, the well incidence of Thales is impressive because of the ridicule subject of philosophers. Truly it was ridiculous in a certain degree but should not be disregarded it since those are the great souls that were founding figure not just for philosophy but also for science (stars were studied in this case). Therefore, the debate between philosophy and science of whether we should outweigh one over the other or not turned critical. What’s the point of philosophy? Does science had turned completely “non-human”? or that could be the very reason why philosophy exist, because we have to make ourselves more human?

Personally, the discussion of how science and philosophy related to each other gave some inspiration. The development of science enjoyed a significant growth which questioned the philosophers even harsher why don’t just weigh the fish? Personally, what scientists ignored was that science is physical study of matters that do exist while philosophy is more “theory” type of study that explore the “why” part of science as well as the nature of humanity. By raising the doubt, my point of view is that philosophy directs science by its abstract reasoning while as science develops a better platform for philosophy to keep directing science, of course as well as human life and nature.

Also, from another perspective of my understanding, in order to bring some cross-era inspirational minds and thoughts, philosophers tended to be in a solitary condition rather than having communications with other philosophers. “Philosophy in its highest forms seems intently solitary and often damaged by the presence of others”, quoted from the first article which also emphasized “…need an audience, and an intelligent listener who could criticise and help him focus his thought…”. Two of these sayings appeared to be conflicting but I think the emergence of an idea demands a vast extent of imagination then it proceed to a socializing phase where debates exchange of opinions take place in order to turn the “immeasurable” to a or some common sense that the majority of the population would be able to understand, further more, they will finally determine those as philosophy.

This point of view may not be correct but “there are not trivial questions we are discussing here, we here discussing how to live”. of course, the quote itself it’s a philosophical question that is worth to discuss.