Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


it was a better TIME…

Cyclical is defined as occurring in cycles or recurrent, while Linear means extending along a straight line, and processing from one stage to another. So..what does it mean when we talk about time being cyclical or linear? I mean the clock does go round and not straight. For this project I’m going to break down the big question that a lot or most people have, is TIME LINEAR OR CYCLICAL?

One of the easier question to break down first is what is time? Time is a measurement that we use everyday to calculate events, it allows people to grow old throughout the years rather than getting younger

                     Linear time, Cyclical time

. Like many scientist including Albert Einstein the Big Bang was the beginning of time. Einstein also said “time is relative,” he said that the faster  we moved the slower time will pass, and that in our galaxies time vary. Time for a fact is always going forward and never in reverse since it’s a direction, and still to this day the problem is still unsolved in physics. One way to explain why time can’t go backwards is entropy, the definition for entropy is a law that states nothing ever decreases. Therefore if milk is spilled or wood was used make a fire it can never go back to its original states, which means that entropy can go forward or stay the same, but can never decreases. Since time has a beginning (Big Bang) will time ever end? The pros in life said that time will end when another big event or rip like the (BB), but we can’t be to sure about it. The pros said that time was created by the BB but we have philosophers like Aristotle who believed that time didn’t have a beginning, because when or where we start there is always an imagination of the earlier time. Augustine had similar philosophical inquires like Aristotle but believed that the “universe was made with time and not in time”, this kind of touches on the fact that he to believe time was there when the universe was created, and not the other way around.

On to the next question where it’s not as easy to answer…what does it mean when time is cyclical? When we watch movies or an episode of a cartoon we often see a forward/fast timed of a sunset and a sunrise, that event is consider a short cyclical pattern. Events like sunset/sunrise allows us to measure time even better we can find out growing seasons when to sleep and when to wake up, most people would consider time as cyclical because of these patterns. But not every culture, country and person believes that time in cyclical its been noted that cyclical time depends on the culture. Places like China, Africa and Native American see time as cyclical rather than linear because they believe time controls their lives, which makes sense, since those countries are more devoted on working when it’s morning and sleeping when its dark. They thought that their lives didn’t control time and that they were to adapt to the harmony of the cyclical time. So if cyclical time is describing time being a cycle occurring again does that mean we are just living in a loop? No, we do relive certain events like waking up going to school or work etc but each of those events are different.

So if cyclical means routine/cycle linear must mean straight/continuing? The answer to that question is correct, the definition of linear time is that it keeps going straight with no ends and no repeats or cycles. Some philosophers who were believers that time is linear include: Kant, Descartes, Newton, Locke etc. Linear time was quite different compare to cyclical time, because linear was more based on math and science, whereas cyclical was based more on culture and beliefs. Those who agree with linear time are said to believe that time is continuous without an ending, therefore they need to make every moment count. Linear time is events with a beginning (birth) and end (death), it has three steps Past, Present and Future

In conclusion our definition of time could be similar but if we want to pick a side (Cyclical or Linear) it

would be rather hard and confusing because  I feel for both, because we don’t live in a cycle everyday but not everyday is the same and it will come to an end one day.

PS. i feel like i did this wrong but oh well….

PPS. for all those crazy document lovers, here is one for you.. (click the word here)



kirsten- inquiry of the self

Metaphysics part one:

I have chosen to do my metaphysics inquiry on the makeup of the self. I will be looking into the following three topics in order to try and find a better grasp on what my beliefs on the subject are.


Q1: how much does nature versus nurture come into play with identity?

Q2: to what degree are we identity versus biology?

Q3: is there anything beyond our biology, and is it dependent on our biology?

I am going to start off my looking into the extremes of both nature and nurture. The theory behind our behaviors and personality coming from nature, is based off of science that supports genetic, hormonal, and neurochemical explanations. This way of thinking subscribes to the idea that everything that we do is based off of the way our biology behaves, and how it interacts with the world around us. Nothing is up to choice, and simply made to be based off of what we were born with. The more behaviorist approach suggests that all actions are determined by learning through the environment through conditioning. although there are logical explanations and rationals for both sides of the argument, the truth seems to reside somewhere in between nature and nurture. This leaves me with the conundrum of existence beyond our bodies. this question would be easy to answer if i believed soulfully in biological explanations for the formation of the self. this theory implies that there would be no soul, or eternal self as our physical makeup and brain stimulation end our memories and self when our bodies perish. the other side of the spectrum does not necessarily assure the existence of a soul, but does recognize that our experiences create something more than what we are born with. both arguments provide intriguing points to the topic and i intend to look further into this.


Part two:

In our class discussions, I was paired with Katherine and Sarah to discuss the makeup of the self. Most of the topics we talked about revolved around physical versus spiritual self and identity. One of the paths we went down that truly intrigued me was along the path of neural connections. This concept explains how when we learn or are thinking new neural pathways are creating, connecting parts of our brain together. this literally changes the physiology of the brain with the changing of the mind. This provides a strong argument for the biological theory as it directly connects parts of our personality and self growth to the changing of our bodies. this also gives a reason of how we can evolve as individuals without necessarily needing something more than our biological self to change. My initial inquiry of nature versus nurture is greatly influenced by this, as the main argument that the nurture perspective has against the nature theory is that humans change through their lives with each new experience making us grow. As I stated previously the neural pathways changing explains actions often credited to the soul or self, through biology. This still leaves me to wonder if there is a part of humans that is created though something more than our physical selves, as I am not entirely convinced that humans are born and die with every piece of who they will be and were.

Part three:

My main question going into phils day off was whether physical and behavioral changes can prove or disprove the biological or behaviorist theories. Our Phils day off happened to fall on the weekend I went to the high school swimming provincials. At first, I thought this was problematic as there is little free time given to us on the trip, and the little free time we had was not going to likely be spent excitingly within the two-block perimeter boundary of our hotel in Kamloops. It was on day one of our meet when I realized that this trip was not actually a bad thing, as swimming relates directly to my questions about physical and behavioral makeup. It is my natural reflex to start swimming once I jump into a pool because my muscle memory naturally starts the motions that I have endlessly practiced throughout my life. my brain allows me to comprehend what I need to be doing to create the most effective movements that will allow me to reach optimal success for that certain type of stroke. These two things alone could not motivate me to swim. If there were not a part of me that loved just being in the water, I would have never made it to where I am. Although I may not swim to be the best, as swimming is not my main sport, I also do not only swim because it is good cardio. I swim because there is something inside of me that is drawn to the water. This love of bodies of water may be connected to some biological phenomenon I am unaware of, or even the way I was raised, but I do not believe that it is simply in my brain or muscle memory. There is something that makes us more than the physical space we consume. That may seam egotistical to assume that because we are human, there is something that makes us worth more than an eraser or other objects mutually agreed to not have immaterial aspects, but I also cannot rationalize humans having a soul to be wrong.



Help, I’ve Fallen and WAIT I’M STILL FALLING! (Phil’s Day Off) – Matthew Gosselin

Upon Mr. Jackson’s proposal of Jordan and I going bungee jumping for our Phil’s Day Off experiment, we laughed it off for a good few minutes until he started getting into the heavy details, such as setting a time and getting pricing. Bungee jumping was something we’d never done before, and it was something that I’ve withdrawn from because of my fear when my brother did it. The whole thing seemed surreal until the moment my feet were on the ledge and my harness was attached. Here are a few excerpts from my days prior to the jump! (I felt like writing this as an astronaut, unsure as to why.)

Thursday, 2 days before launch:

I’m scared. My hands have become sweaty at seemingly random intervals. The main focus has been to find an “instant solution” to the stress and a way to mentally prepare for the jump. All available sources have found ways of tying to one thing. Deep breathing. The main bodily process that this affects is heart rate. With slower and deeper breathing the slower the heart rate. Racing thoughts have been known to cause stress and for this to be the case, “slower” thought would lead to relaxation. I believe the speed of thoughts is tied to the speed of perception. The best example I can think of is a monster running towards you. The faster it runs, or the faster you perceive it to be, the scarier it becomes. If you perceive it more slowly, fear becomes more manageable which makes decision making more logical. On another note, a slow-fall bungee jump would probably be the most enjoyable yet terrifying experience possible.

Friday, 1 day before launch:

I am simply at another day of school, sitting alongside my friend Jordan. Half of me believes that tomorrow is a million years away, and the other half has an atomic clock counting down every one of the 84,120 seconds left. I am a jumble of emotion, consisting of fear, excitement, uncertainty in my ability to jump, zeal towards matching my brother’s courage, trust in Jordan, regret of accepting Mr. J’s idea in the first place, and a passive feeling of destiny awaiting me on the bridge. I’ve spoken with my brother about how he did it, and in much more vulgar terms than I care to write in a blog post, he told me, “Just jump. That’s all there is to it.” I’ve never seen him scared in my life. I want to fly without fear as well. Tomorrow will be a good day.

Our main question in this experiment was concerning free-will and determinism in a volatile mental state. The question was, “Is it possible to control a panic response through sheer willpower?” There were actually three separate stages at which panic responses in myself occurred. I also noted that each stage had a corresponding event that I hadn’t experienced prior to it. The first stage was once my harness had been clipped on and I stepped onto the ledge overhanging the abyss. The frigid weather, instability of my footing, and distraught mental state suddenly amplified. This was the moment when I knew that my pride wouldn’t let me back out. I was MENTALLY locked in to the jump. No matter what, I knew that it was happening, regardless of how tightly I gripped those handrails. The feeling of a predetermined event of such high caliber was new to me. The second stage was the split-second my feet left the platform. This was the PHYSICAL lock-in. Now, even if both my mind and body wanted to back out, there was no possible way. I physically couldn’t catch myself. The continuation of my destiny was then left to a higher being, or the person in charge of overseeing bungee cord production in who-knows-where. Finally, the last stage of fear was when my velocity had gotten to a point that I’d never felt before. I’d jumped off 7-meter diving boards and the like, but a 160 foot free-fall paled everything else in comparison. My senses were the only things left working. I looked at the beautiful scenery on the horizon, caught the scent of a snow-tipped forest, felt my fingers rush through frigid yet refreshing air, and heard the roar of wind fly past me. (My mouth was busy swearing and screaming.) I’d never felt so alive. As soon as the fear was over, I had the time of my life!

Post-jump reflection:

I don’t think it’s possible to control a panic response, if a panic response is induced by a completely new experience, regardless of what activities (such as deep breathing) are done prior. My reasoning is that the very definition of panic is the loss of control or ability to make a cognitive action of thought. The people working at Whistler Bungee would never have another true panic response at that location because it’s not a new experience. This is why people train for things to avoid panic responses by simulating similar experiences. The only things that can be controlled are the ability to put yourself in a situation that induces a panic response and the ability to find appreciation in the experience itself. All you can do is jump or back out. After the jump, you can either say you had fun or that you didn’t. Some people are inherently better at taking stepping off the ledge, and inherently better at finding appreciation in the experience. That’s it! (I also believe that the possibility of a panic response is directly proportional to how different it is to the summation of all your previous experiences.) If you’re looking for an amusing picture of Jordan or myself during this experience, they are on Jordan’s post. Thanks for reading!

Matthew Gosselin

Falling Virtuoso



Brain workouts!

During my Phil’s day off experiment, I went to the movie theatres to see if i could find results to my questions. How realistic can people make fake reality? I watched The Edge of 17 because “hey, i’m 17, maybe I can relate to the movie!”. Turns out I can’t exactly do that since all of the events in the movie are vamped up to a level of extreme that I personally can’t relate to. I will admit though it was very interesting to see how the movie played out. I laughed, I cried, my emotions varied throughout the film.


I thought it was refreshing to see a film about a teenager dealing with personal issues because I feel like society tries to cover up the fact that teenagers deal with issues too, not just adults. From what i’ve picked up throughout my years, is that some adults think all teenage issues are “nothing” or unimportant. Which sometimes, yes, problems get blown out of proportion, but sometimes we actually do mean it when we say we are dealing with stuff.


When I sat down at the theatre and I looked around and surprisingly I noticed a lot of people ages 30+. I walked in thinking it would be packed with high schoolers, such as myself. I am not sure if the day had any factor in this, but I thought it was pretty neat.  


On my journey I learned that fake reality is as real as your imagination takes you. If you walk in completely blocked off to your creativity, and stay within the walls, then you will probably start dissecting every factor of the film and find each flaw- or at least that’s what happens to me. If you sit down, dismantle all the boundaries in your brain then you will probably enjoy it way more because you’re allowing your brain wander. It’s amazing how an activity that is so relaxing, such as watching a movie, can give your brain a workout.



Metaphysics Phil’s Day Off

Like I said in my previous post, I am a Christian. I go to church every Sunday like every other Christians do but the difference is that, I don’t pay attention to the sermon at all. I just go there because its a drill for me to go every Sunday. This time round, its different. I had forced myself to pay attention to the sermon. Did I get the answers i was looking for? Eh, not exactly. But did i get some understanding about the Christianity belief? Yes.

I attend Northside Foursquare Church and in the sermon that was read by Pastor Barry, he talked about Josiah and how he was only 8 years old when he was chosen as king in Israel in the most darkest times. Can you imagine being the King/Queen of Canada at 8 years old? What would be the first thing you would do? Fast forward when he turned 16, Josiah made a life changing decision, he understood the history of his people and instead of following in his fathers footsteps, he made a covenant of God and decided to follow God instead. The one thing that stuck with me was when Pastor Barry said “If we had been taught the word of God, taught about Adam, taught about Mark, taught about Josiah when we were children and we have this markers in our life, when we reach the age of 16, 21, 30 or whatever age we are, we will look back on our markers that we have laid out that will help guide us. “The word of God is like our GPS in life.”” The amount of information that I had gathered just from that one sermon is incredible and overwhelming because like i said, I don’t pay much attention at all so having my attention on the pastor preaching is like a ‘WOAH, congratulations” moment.

All that being said, my curiosity grows stronger about what the bible has to say and what christianity really is. There are obviously more questions out there that i want answers too that can’t be answered but in the present time, all i can do right now is just to learn the word of God because the Bible, according to christians it is the “Word of Life” what do they mean by that? I semi don’t know. But all i know is that the bible holds everything we need to know, it has all the answers to life. Reading it is going to be painful so the only way i can gain more knowledge is by attending church. I did not expect to grow more curious about Christianity, I always thought it was a boring religion which had a lot of rules like “can’t have sex before you’re married” and yada yada but it isn’t considered philosophy if you don’t add on the “Why”. 😉  But again, how was God created? Is he a girl or a guy? Did he create himself? Was there another planet before us which is where God was born and that planet is extinct now so here he is as God? I mean, who knows?.. Thats metaphysics for you.



The modern and stoned-age both make me wanna kill myself

To be honest I didn’t have a really in depth question going into my Phil’s Day Off. Over the course of two days I wanted to test if time passed differently while using technology, or if being isolated yielded the same result. Over the weekend I planned to use half of my day isolated from any form of tech, and another half fully immersed in it.

How did it go??
During my Phil’s Day Off I went in assuming there was going to be a huge difference in how fast I thought time was moving. I mean, there are so many more things to do on the internet than there are without anything inside your house. As it turns out I was wrong. I haven’t yet decided if it was because of my own personality or just a general thing; but being on the computer without moving was awful. Other than the extreme headache I got while on it, it became simply repetitive. I would look at buzz feed articles, do a random wiki search, and play a video game. The process became so boring, I ended up zoning out and just thinking about random topics.

The stone-age half of my day wasn’t any better. Despite having a collection of books to read, a friend by my side, and a collection of paper and pencils, I was bored. Much like the computer I would bounce around between these few things before repeating the process. After about an hour I would zone out and do anything to avoid the terrible reality of what I was doing.

What I learned!
To my own surprise, I learned a lot about myself. Those moments of “zoning out”, as often as they were, became times when I questioned my own beliefs and such. Anyway peace out *peace sign*



Metaphysics: Does God exist?

This is a popular question that many people ask about but can’t put a finger on what the truth is. Does God exist? How was the world created? How did it all start? If Mary gave birth to baby jesus, how did God come about? How was God itself created?…

Scientists are convinced that our universe began with one enormous explosion of energy and light, which we now call the Big Bang. This was the singular start to everything that exists: the beginning of the universe, the start of space, and even the initial start of time itself. But are what the scientists saying true because there is another perspective that we have to look at. Did you know that in every cell of our bodies exists a very detailed instruction code? DNA is a three-billion-lettered program telling the cell to act in a certain way. It is a full instruction manual go how to get our body operating. You ask yourself, how is our body able to be so precise in coding and how it winded up in each and every human being. Scientists are lacking an explanation as to how this works because you can’t find precise information like this without someone intentionally constructing it.

I’m a Christian and even I have my own doubts if God is even real. Is he even a real figure or are we so influenced with society beliefs that we are just following along with them. I hear my friends and family talk about miracles that have happened in their lives but can it be just luck or is there another figure out there that we can’t see with our own eyes? In the bible, Jesus was known to everyone as the Son Of God. He performed miracles in front of everyone that no one was ever capable of. He healed people, blind, crippled, deaf, even raised a couple of people from the dead. He had power over objects, created food out of thin air, enough to feed crowds of several thousand people. He performed miracles over nature, walked on top of a lake, commanding a raging storm to stop for some friends. In the bible, he was physically there but now in the present time, we are believing something that we can’t even see. Miracles happens, some things happen that can’t be explained but Jesus itself isn’t there to prove that his there, it could be something else but how would we know? I know that my questions can’t be answered and its going to be up in the air but I want to know more about God.



I ate the body of Christ this weekend – emma m

When I was younger I didn’t really understand what church was about. From what I can recall, church for little emma was Veggietales and absentmindedly listening in Sunday School.

courtesy of http://www.tbn.org


Going into Phil’s Day Off, I didn’t really have a plan. The weekend that we were assigned p.d.o. was probably one of the busiest weekends I had this month, including my final shift at my old job, my first shift at my new job, family dinner(s), a birthday party, and a massive biology test coming right up afterwards on Monday. So I had to think of something that wasn’t too time consuming, however would actually make a lasting impact on me so I could wholeheartedly blog about today.

That’s how I ended up at church.

On a chill Sunday morning I attended the contemporary 11:00am service at the Hope Lutheran Church in Port Coquitlam, what I didn’t know, is that they were doing communion. Communion, for those who don’t know is “the breaking of bread”, is the service of Christian worship at which bread and wine are consecrated and shared (taken from the dictionary). The bread, or cracker is to represent the body of Christ and the wine (or sometimes grape juice) is to represent the blood of Christ. From what I could tell, this is something very important to these people’s faith.

My plan was to go in, remain anonymous, and just observe the service. That didn’t happen. I was instantly greeted by the pastor, who introduced himself and soon realized that I had never been there before. He briefly explained what communion was, and directed me to a few rows of pews where some “younger adults sit”. I said thank you and went and sat in one of the pews in the farther back of the church. I thought it would have been weird to start taking photos but trust me when I say that the church was beautiful. Beautiful in the sense that it looked exactly like I thought a church would look like. Dark exposed beams contrasted against the stark white walls and when the sun came out to shine, rays of coloured beams shone through the stained glass depictions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. The bibles were old and slightly worn, however the massive cross hanging on the main wall was the centerpiece. My anonymity continued to fail when a woman sat next to me and introduced herself, and then invited me to sit with her and her friends, guessing we were about the same age. Turns out, Sarah (the woman I was talking to) is married and all her friends have graduated from post-secondary. She was very surprised when I told her that I was 16. She asked me why I had come, my mind drew a blank, and I stumbled through an answer of “oh I just live down the road… I’ve always been interested in going.” When in reality I was just doing this for my philosophy class and my study of religion and morality. I didn’t think that answer would have been the best. However, I was very thankful that I sat next to her, because she walked me through all the praying and the communion part, where I didn’t drink any wine but I was blessed by the pastor.

The service was really nice, there was a lot of standing up and then sitting down between songs and the pastor spoke about the book of life and the starting of the christian advent. The book of life is (metaphorically I think) this massive book with all the names of every christian in it. If your name is in the book, you’re going to heaven. The one thing that I did like about what the pastor was saying is that you can join the book of life at any time in your life. You don’t have to be a practicing christian since day one to get your spot up in heaven.

The service ended and I talked to Sarah a bit more and she invited me to the youth group that she runs, sadly I work every night that they run it. I still went however, and enjoyed a cup of coffee (which was free?? there were free baked goods that people had brought from home?? I was really into that) with her in the hall across from the sanctuary.

Soon enough, about three days following that Sunday I received a welcome email from the church.

Like I said before, I didn’t really have a plan, and I hadn’t developed any more questions before going into p.d.o. except for the first two that I explained in my previous blog post. Then, as I was typing this out and remembering what the pastor was actually talking about, I thought of reversing my second question, thus thinking, how has Christianity been influenced by western society?

I went to a contemporary service, where there was live music and more upbeat songs. The pastor even referenced The Grey Cup and Instagram. This service was definitely different and more modern than the traditional service at 9:00am.

So there you have it, the long and endearing tale of how I went to church for the first time in a really long time and got a good cup of coffee out of it.





Phil’s Day Off. Alternatively Known As: What Did I Just Watch?

SPOILERS for episodes 1-8 of Westworld under the cut.

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Phil’s Day Off

Does a god exist? Can it be proven? These are the questions which I’ve been looking into, and what I attempted to answer for my Phil’s day off. Last Sunday, I went to my local church, to find some people who could potentially add some insight, or challenge the arguments provided by Descartes. Not being religious myself, the goal was to find some new points of view, from people who already believe in God’s existence, and find out if and how that affects their stance on the argument. I was also curious to after hearing Descartes, what they thought of the argument proposed by Kant or Sartes.

To refresh, Descartes came up with the initial argument being,

  1. I have an idea of a perfect God
  2. Perfection requires existence
  3. The perfect god exists

This argument rests on the idea that something cannot come from nothing. Based on that, just the idea of a perfect God that we are conceiving, is an idea that we could not have created ourselves, but placed in us by something just as perfect. Additionally, one character of this perfection, must be existent, arguing one cannot be perfect and non-existent (then it would not be perfect). Therefore proving something perfect(a God) exists.

Kant refutes this argument, by challenging the factual correctness of the second point. Kant argues that existence isn’t a characteristic of one thing, but a ‘state’ where it is either present or not present in the physical world. He gives an example of two boxes, and gives a list of descriptions for each: tall, red, soft. One now has the idea of two boxes, which comparatively or equal. Now, he states one exists and one doesn’t. The idea of these two boxes are still the same, and Kant uses this reasoning to show how existence is not a distinctive characteristic of an object, because whether or not it exists does not change the idea of the object. This logic contradicts the idea of existence being a necessary trait of perfection, and challenges Descarte’s theory.

Sartes also challenges Descartes, but in a different way than Kant. Sartes challenges one of the assumptions that Descartes’ argument is built on, which is the idea that essence comes before existence. Sartes argues that humans have inherit identity or purpose, and through experience and consciousness, humans create their own meaning of life and values.

Alvin, a recent graduate from SFU, was the only person willing to talk.  After explaining each philosopher’s position, Alvin’s initial reaction was of complete confusion. Despite that, after some further consideration, he found himself accepting Descartes(or not accepting the other two). His reasoning came from the fact there are some ideas that humans are innately born with, like a sense of morality or knowing 1+1=2. Because of this, Alvin believes that essence precedes existence (Like how the idea of a tool that we want comes before the actual tool). He also didn’t fully agree with Kant, saying that there is a intangible difference between two things that exists and doesn’t exist. Afterwards, when I asked for any other thoughts he had about this topics, he said that despite the fact that Descartes made the most sense to him, at the end of the day no one can say with certainty of the existence of a God, nor recognize if it did exist. At the end of the day, it is about one’s belief that determines the truth for that person.

This was an interesting idea that I never empathized with before. For my whole life, I defined the truth as an objective view of the world, that cannot be argued with. An  unchanging constant. No one could dispute 2+2=4, or the fact that the apple WILL  fall if dropped. However, Alvin suggests the idea of the truth becoming subjective. Subjective truth: is that possible? When does truth become belief?  Anyways, by pointing some of the holes in both arguments, the only truth I can logically deduce is that we cannot objectively prove God’s existence/nonexistence.