Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Human, all too Human (BBC Documentary on Sartre, Heidegger, & Nietzsche)

From the good folks at the Open Culture blog:

Human, All Too Human” is a three-hour BBC series from 1999, about the lives and work of Friedrich NietzscheMartin Heidegger, and Jean-Paul Sartre.The filmmakers focus heavily on politics and historical context — the Heidegger hour, for example, focuses almost exclusively on his troubling relationship with Nazism.

Beyond Good and Evil, Frederick Nietzsche

Human, All too Human, Martin Heide





Courtney – Links to blogs

Logic – Abortion Debate

Abortion Debate – Courtney Mignot


Is time an illusion?

Metaphysics – Phils Day Off

Phils Day Off – Metaphysics

Epistemology – Discussion AND reading

Knowledge Discussion/Reading Post – Courtney Mignot

Epistemology – Phils Day Off

Knowledge, Phil’s Day Off – Courtney Mignot

Epistemology – Final Synthesis

Epistemology Final – Courtney




“Here’s How Electric Cars Will Cause the Next Oil Crisis” Truth, Validity & Soundness – Jackson Lam



ev-predicting-crash (1)

In the link above, there is a video and an article describing the expected outcome of the downfall of oil prices. They are claiming that with the introduction of electric cars, it will greatly impact the demand for oil and that there will be billions lost.

Bloomsberg Business conclusion is that within 25 years, about 35% of cars will use a plug in

Their argument for their reasoning is that

  • Long-Range Electric Cars will cost less than $22,000 USD by 2040 according to the current projections | Meaning it will be more affordable and sensible for a consumer to purchase an electric car as it is much cheaper to purchase and maintain than a fossil-fueled car, along with the benefits of being eco-friendly
  • Multiple Car Companies are investing billions of dollars into electric cars and will begin selling them in a few years at the $30,000 USD range | The goal for many of these companies is to meet the standards or beat the Tesla Model S in every category there is, which now outsells several luxury class automobiles
  • There is now a greater incentive to produce and electric car | Previously, there were four main reasons why there was little incentive to produce electric cars. Governments must offer incentives to the production and use of electric cars, manufacturers were forced to gain low profit margins, consumers were required to pay more for an electric vehicle, and the price of the battery was expensive. However, there is now a decreasing price in sustainable batteries

With the premises and arguments above, there is a lot of proof showing the truth and validity of how in a short amount of time it will be more logical for someone to purchase an electric car rather than a gasoline car, which will dramatically impact the price of oil caused by electric vehicles.



Why Our Education System is Flawed – Tali Berlin

1:50 – 3:35 tells the main point Ken Robinson is trying to make. He makes the argument that the current education system in place is full of flaws and needs to be changed as it is old, models industrialism like factories putting kids in batches to study separate subjects and learn to come up with only one answer to each question, therefore killing their ability to think divergently and making kids who think differently feel stupid and useless. Continue watching for the explanation.


  • Penalizing kids for getting distracted in the most stimulating and technologically advanced day in age
  • Amount of kids with ADHD has risen with the growth of standardize testing
  • To make kids with ADHD calm down, they are given pills to deaden their senses in order to be able to focus on “boring stuff” and not get distracted by the fun and enticing stuff around them (media, advertising, cell phones, etc.)
  • Instead of “deadening their senses… we should be waking them up”
  • Some kids are much better than different kids in the same age and different disciplines, or different times of the day… or in large groups or small groups or on their own

  • Education system about conformity and standardization, we should go “in the exact opposite direction”
  • In a study done to test divergent thinking (ability to come up with a lot of answers to one question, in ex: how many uses can you come up for a paper clip – can you come up with 10 or 200 answers?), 98% of a group of kids in kindergarten reached genius level;  they kept testing the same kids every few years, and as they became more and more “educated” in schools with age, less and less of them reached genius level.
  • Kids damage their ability to think divergently as school says their is only one answer to each question, and you either get it right or wrong.

Conclusion: Our current education system needs to change as it singles out kids who think differently, tells them that they are stupid, and kills their ability to think divergently.

Truth, Validity, and Soundness: All the premises seem factually correct and make sense to be true, however to know for sure, more research has to be done on the experiments and facts stated in this video. The argument is valid as the premises do lead to the conclusion. This makes this argument sound, unless further research into the factual correctness proves otherwise.




Emotional Confusion

My original question of, “where does emotion come from and what is it?”, it has come to my attention that i will be pondering this for a very long time. Do we have these answers? from my research it has come to my attention that we as people understand where in the brain emotion comes from, and what structure makes it up, yet we don’t have any solid answers on why we feel emotion and aspire for things apposed to other animals of just reacting seemingly unconsciously? Because we don’t have any ways of solving these questions, we only have educated theories of “trusted” scientists and doctors. which really, are just opinions. What ARE emotions?

one interesting theory i came across that seems to be the most mind boggling and opposing opinion of what i thought emotions are. it is called the “James-Lange theory”. composed by psychologist William James, He believes reactions and emotions work hand and hand. most believe that our emotions come first and influence our reactions based on the emotion we are feeling. This theory states the reaction comes before a bodily emotion to the reaction. More of , “we are afraid because we run” as apposed to “we run because we are afraid”…Anger

i find this really interesting as i perceive it in myself as an emotion before a reaction. before i react to something i think about how it made me feel and how i would want to handle the situation. saying that, there are situations where i may be frustrated and i react to something in a way i regret and my reaction came first and the emotions of what had just happened hit me like a wave. lets take on board for a minute if this theory was true, would this be implying that we don’t have control over our actions, but we have control over our emotions? or that we don’t truly have free will, we are more like atoms reacting with things around us?

this opens many more possibilities and questions for me to look into, and has actually changed my own theory a little. although i havent come any closer to finding an answer, this will ponder me for a very long time. i wonder if we even have the technology or the capacity to understand certain things like this, or if we ever will. Something so involuntary and effortless yet so complicated to understand and solve…



The Never Ending Search For Meaning – Thomas Caya

now that i know what “philosophy” means, i know i think about it ALOT. if not too much. but it is an amazing discovery for me to know that i have been thinking like a philosopher and challenging what I already know on my own. “Philosophy” or the “process” of philosophy to me is our natural need and desire to search for a meaning. That is all us humans do is create and apply meanings to everything.

t-philosophy diagram

my Diagram illustrates “you” or “us” taking our path of life. The ground represents what we know, what we live by. and he trees represent life ahead and its typical ways. As we all walk our paths, some of us may walk through the forest and reach the other side no problem and unscathed. or some may come across a “trap-door” which travels beneath you. beneath the ground. beneath what you already know and live by. it represents philosophy itself in that it is an opportunity to search beneath what you know and live by.

This is all sounding so great right? well, i think it can be 1 of 3 things.

1. Philosophy could be a safety net of knowledge and truth and could open your eyes to new possibilities.

2. Philosophy is like a trap door, you can spend too much time trying to force it open, that you could fall into insanity.

3. Philosophy could be nothing, empty and scary, or it could be something you cant handle.

which begs the question, is it better to even touch the trap-door? or to ignore it and carry on walking down your path the way you were?

free thought? or follow?

does any of it matter? or is this me just trying to apply a meaning to it?

I believe that there is no true purpose of life. i believe we all create our own purpose and there is no wrong answer and that philosophy is about being exposed to new outlooks, new truths, other peoples purpose’s and we can take what we want from it, maybe integrate it into our truth, and what we disagree with we should throw away into the abyss of our brain.




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



Racial equality?! I’m not so sure

For years now it is a common misconception that racial discrimination has been either abolished or is somewhere near that low a level of racism. But that is most definately not the case. Racial inequality is still at the forfront of any social encounters in the present. And the issues run deeper than just simply trying to treat people better! And exactly what does that even mean?! “Be nicer!” “Treat everyone equally?!” It’s easier said than done.

The issues of discrimination against black men, women and children run deeper than the odd racial slur here and there. These racial issues range from racial slurs to police brutality, and also on an economic front as well, not to mention the way many people still think of a black person as any different from you or me. One of the major nagging issues is just that, thinking of someone in a way that depicts them as “different.” The first issue is that many people will still think of a black person as “a black person”, and not just simply as another person. That’s where social equality begins…I’m a person, you’re a person, why should we allow skin colour to determine how we feel about each other. And that’s the point, it doesn’t matter. The thought process is where the root of the issues on a social level lay, and it branches into “harmless” cracks or jokes at one another, and that is not ok. The social issue is really the root of all issues. The sooner we just see each other as another person, and nothing more than that we can move past much of the inappropriate behaviour towards black people.

The next issue is also a social issue. Police brutality has been an issue for a long time and still is to this day. It seems no innocent black man or woman can be in a possibly suspicious situation (and when I say suspicious I mean some kind of police related situation) and get the benefit of the doubt from a cop. It seems as though cops are told to be more suspicious of blacks than they should be of whites. The fact of the matter is that police brutality is no myth,it is a growing concern amongst all of us. The attacks seem to surround young black men in particular, as they are seen as “misfits” to police. It is no coincidence that young black men are being killed by cops on the spot without much hesitation. I mean, what happened to being innocent before proven guilty?! I guess when it comes to young black men you can toss that rule out the window. And every time these killings or assaults happen, the white cop that has done the dirty deed seems to get off easy or without any issue. Take for instance the case involving Eric Garner, a young black man who was choked to death by an NYPD cop. An illegal choke hold was used, and CPR was not performed at the scene. The medical examiner ruled his death to be a homicide yet the cop was never indited for his crime. Another good example would be the case of Micheal Brown in Ferguson. And it all comes back to the benefit of the doubt not being given, which just leads back to the root of the problem, the thinking process that we are somehow “different.”

Not only does the black community endure awful social injustices, but the issues go to the bank too. There is a major wealth gap between white and black. The average black man only earns 70 cents to a white mans dollar in the middle class. Poverty is also a major issue. Black people make up 27.4% of poverty in the US, compared to 9.9% white. The staggering number is also higher than Asian and Hispanic. The problem really starts in schools. Lower school funding in largely black communities has led too poorer education in those areas which really puts them behind from the beginning. It seems as though they always have to play from behind, they are always playing catch up. Black people also hold the highest poverty rate in chronic poverty (poverty lasting up to 36 months) and second highest in episodic poverty (less than 36 months), and median poverty (highest average time spent in poverty). The rate of episodic poverty is 2 times as high as whites. They also have the highest unemployment rate at 16%, and the lowest home ownership rates at 44.5%. Now here’s a real kicker…black people make up make up 12.6% of the U.S. population and make up 38% of the prison population. Whites only make up 34% of the prison population yet they make up 63.7% of the countries population. Black males are imprisoned at 6.5 times higher than white males. All I can say is WOW!!! I hope people can see clearly now that this is no coincidence…but that they see it for what it is…systemic racism.

The biggest issue is how to approach the issue of inequality. Well really, anything is easily said but it is an issue that will take decades to solve. You see, it’s a cycle. The inequality starts in schools with funding which puts black kids behind in their education and then it follows them to adulthood. In their adult years they are forced to play catch up and work twice as hard to earn 70% as much as a white guy does. And then there is no benefit of the doubt in any police situation which seems to put them in prison at a much quicker rate. And this cycle just keeps spinning. For any progress to be made the cycle must be broken, which again, is easier said than done. The first thing that must be abolished is the social thought process that I spoke of before, and then, maybe, just maybe we can go from there. So next time you think that equality Has been achieved in the modern era, think again.



Gender Inequality in the Workplace

hello 1950s

The Issue:

Even in modern day, women face inequality in many forms, including in the workplace.  Whether through lack of opportunity, receiving less pay than their male counterparts, or are victims of discrimination at work, inequality for women is still strongly prevalent. Women were not even considered persons under Canadian law until 1929, and although great strides have been made since then, injustices still occur. My own mother faced discrimination in her workplace. When she was a young woman working in retail, she asked her supervisor why a male employee with the same job as her was making more money. They replied that “he is the breadwinner of his family” and needed to support a wife and children, while she was just supporting herself. They added that soon she would probably get married and pregnant, and go on maternity leave  anyways.

hisandhersAlthough my mother’s experience was quite a few years ago, one of my close friends also experienced inequality in her workplace. During her first summer job earlier this year, she was frustrated that she was receiving barely any shifts. She later found out that one of the other male employees hired the same time as her with the same amount of experience  was working full time. It turned out the supervisor (a man) in charge of giving out shifts was only giving out shifts to male employees. Another girl working with my friend had to give up a shift for a family vacation (which others had done) and the same supervisor let her take the week off, but also took away her shifts for the rest of the summer. It is surprising when some say that equality for women in the workplace has been reached, and three women I know have been discriminated against.

These are only a few cases of countless incidents that occur to women. Women are promoted to CEO’s less than men, because it is assumed they will not be hard enough on others and make tough decisions. Employers see hiring women as a risk, as they could get pregnant and go on maternity leave. Women are paid less than men for the same job and amount of work.

The Approach:

“We must raise both the ceiling and the floor.”

-Sheryl Sandburg, Lean in: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Although the gap of inequality for men and women has been slowly closing over the years, the workplace is not equal for both we can do itgenders. However, despite what is done to increase equality, I don’t believe equality for both genders is ever attainable as long as women have children. (Which is essential for the continuation of the human race). Even behind Rawl’s veil of ignorance, if we decide to have equal opportunity, equal pay, and no discrimination against women, there will still be inequalities. To start, women are the child-bearing gender, a huge disadvantage for a career woman who also wants a family. This woman will have to take time off work, putting her even farther behind advancing on the career ladder.

To conclude, although equality in the workplace for women is not attainable, I believe the best solution is closing the gap as much as possible. At least controlling the aspects employers can, such as equal pay, would bring about so much change for women.



Jess and Jeff discuss abortion

What is the issue?

Controversy surrounds the topic of abortion. For some, it’s been a tool of great social change, reducing crime-rates while inducing other beneficial effects. To others, it can’t be sugarcoated and is simply murder of the most innocent, defenseless members of our society. Evaluating this issue with a variety of different perspectives is integral in order to find the ‘right’ way to approach it. With a tie-in to subjects such as religion and ethics, evaluating the ethical implications of abortion can allow one to see the different viewpoints that people see the world through.

photo taken from the conversation.com

How can it approached?


  • Women who have had abortions
  • Women who will/may get pregnant in future
  • Men whose SO’s may get an abortion

Categorical Imperative:  

People who both a) do not agree with murder and b) do not agree with abortion would be agree with the categorical imperative. The categorical imperative would see abortion as bad because if you see murder as a negative or something completely unjustifiable, then abortion would, in terms of the categorical imperative, be seen as just as bad as, say, shooting someone on the street.


Utilitarianism is for the benefit of the whole. An article was cited in saying,

“The reasons most frequently cited were that having a child would interfere with a woman’s education, work or ability to care for dependents (74%); that she could not afford a baby now (73%); and that she did not want to be a single mother or was having relationship problems (48%). Nearly four in 10 women said they had completed their childbearing, and almost one-third were not ready to have a child. Fewer than 1% said their parents’ or partners’ desire for them to have an abortion was the most important reason. Younger women often reported that they were unprepared for the transition to motherhood, while older women regularly cited their responsibility to dependents.”

Many of these reasons are ones that we, if we were a utilitarian society, could approve of. To bring a child into the world when the financial situation of the parent(s) would not guarantee them a good life would mean that the child would have a higher likelihood of growing up and being imprisoned, homeless, impoverished, or a number of other things. Ultimately, to bring a child into a scenario where the parents are unable to care for them as they should would be seen as a negative thing, if viewed in a utilitarian sense.

photo taken from cbc.ca


Ignoring the fact that Rawls’ theory requires you to be behind the veil of ignorance and therefore a fetus (and thus, very much not in favour of being aborted), this theory still has the possibility of going in either direction. Perhaps it is more likely that one would be in favour of abortion if they were able to be put in the situation of having to decide — ergo, if they were born an impoverished woman — but it is still quite subjective.

How can it be addressed?

Abortion can only really be addressed on an individual level. Viewing it through a variety of different perspectives only enlightens the person further into which direction would be the ‘ethical’ way. Whereas utilitarianism would welcome abortion if it were done to people who could not raise their children in a safe environment, the categorical imperative would argue that there is no way to justify murder and that abortion is ethically wrong no matter what the circumstance. With Rawl’s theory, however, it all comes down to personal preference, and in the end, isn’t that all that it is?