Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Philosophy is like…

Philosophy was the epitome of a confusing class. Although I didn’t participate in discussions and speak up about my personal opinions, our class was really diverse in terms of perspective. It was interesting listening to the debates and people becoming genuinely passionate about what they were talking about. We are all in the same class, the same age, and going to the same school, yet we are completely different with what we’re thinking about.


 

To put philosophy to comparison, I think that philosophy is like a tree. Trees need seeds in order to grow, without a seed there’s no tree. We need core ideas and morals in order to grow, without an opinion there’s no mindset. Due to experience and emotion, we are shaped into the person we are today. The experience is like the water and sunshine the tree needs in order to develop and become the form they are today. It’s become pretty clear that there’s no right or wrong in philosophy. You decide whether or not you think a certain argument is valid, whether you believe in what a philosopher is talking about, and most importantly just to stand your ground in where your mind’s at. I think my mind has expanded a lot more thanks to this class, writing the blogposts has put me into a completely different mood where I continue to type out what my brain is spilling out. With the creativity and flexibility of this class, I was able to be taken off into a world where I would’ve never gone with any other class.

Image result for trees and brains

Overtime, we are influenced and inspired. Our thoughts and perspectives changes along with our surroundings. Although, sometimes it is scary how the world around us seems to be moving so quickly and we’re not adjusting fast enough to it. That’s kinda like what senior year feels like. Trees that have grown in warm climates will differ from the ones that grew in cold, harsh environments. Environment plays a huge part in how we evolve and develop. We all have a different past and history, some have gone through more than others, some more wise than others. As we go through situations, we “branch” off into new outlooks and opinions, in all sorts of directions. Life isn’t one straight path, there’s always going to be dead ends and unexpected turns. Our brains already look like the roots of trees; realizations, happenings, experience, education, and memories. All of the roots absorbing of new concepts on the inside. With the expansion of our consciousness and fundamental understanding, we are able to embody realizations and new morals.

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Philosophy is dissociating and making your physical and mental selves fight to the death.

At the beginning of the semester I didn’t know what I was doing. I knew next to nothing about philosophy. I only signed up for the course because people told it was fun and “basically TALONS 12″. While they weren’t wrong, this statement didn’t prepare me for the reality of trying to distill the “truth” of the universe. Especially with people that I’d never talked to. So at the beginning of the term I said that philosophy was like panning for gold in a bathtub (gonna plead the fifth on telling y’all how much time I spent on that presentation). My justification being that I thought that there was only one truth in the universe.
Suffice to say, I’ve adapted my opinions a fair bit since then. Now, I think that philosophy is more like a kaleidoscope. It provides different ways to look at the same topic, and can make familiar things seem foreign to you. The biggest difference is in the new metaphor, everything you think can be true. If it seems true to you, it very well could be. Maybe everyone has a different truth, that’s fine. Maybe you even have a different “truth” every time you look back through the kaleidoscope. That’s kind of what philosophy has become for me over the course of this term. A way to question what I thought I knew and find different ways to look at almost everything.
What happened? Why did I go from thinking that philosophy was the search for THE truth to the search for A truth? The main influence on my metaphor was becoming more educated on the topic of philosophy.
The event that started me on this train of thought was the metaphysics Phils Day Off. When I was writing my post I noticed that many people can do the same activity and react in different ways. This led me to conclude that how people perceive things is different because of who they are. Things like past experiences can make the difference between a traumatic event and a fun one. People aren’t wrong for screaming while they bungee jump, its how they react. Much the same, the opinions of Kant are no more right or wrong than the opinions of Mill. Even while reading the thoughts of others, this class came up with different ways to determine what is moral. Exactly like how two people can look at the same thing through a kaleidoscope and see completely different images.
This continued through epistemology and aesthetics, right up to now. Unlike the first “What is philosophy?” assignment I’m actually very confident in my metaphor. It’s almost a guarantee that everyone who presents will have a different metaphor for what philosophy is. I find that very cool because it shows that philosophy lets people read the same thing, get different opinions about it, and still be right.
But where does that leave me? Do I have to accept that everyone has different opinions and those are their truths of the world? Does that mean I can’t call people out when they exhibit and act upon shitty opinions? Those are their truths after all. No, I can accept that people perceive things in a variety of ways but this metaphor applies to things like philosophy, not things that affect peoples lives and rights. This class as a whole has made me more accepting of others opinions which will come in handy in future. I learned a lot about philosophy as a whole and it’s become easier to see where people get their ideas from.
 

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What is Philosophy?

In the beginning of this course, this very same question was the theme to our first assignment. My summarized view was; philosophy is the study of truth by asking questions and answering them with our objective reasoning of our perceptions, thoughts, and beliefs. The metaphor I used to represent this analogy was that philosophy is like a painting. I also stated that philosophy was not as important nowadays as it once was. Are these still my view on philosophy?

First of all, how would we define philosophy? I would say that the definition I gave the first time was quite good but not accurate enough. I would redefine my definition as follows: Philosophy is the study of truth and reality, with a method of asking questions and generating answers from perceptions, beliefs, thoughts, and ideas.

This definition alone may be satisfying but it does not tell us what we can learn in philosophy. I assume the reason most people enroll into a philosophy class is to gain wisdom, more knowledge, and comprehend a new way of thinking rationally. With that said, the study of philosophy can be quite a broad study but, you’ll certainly gain some wisdom. This study is broad in the way that it’s not possible to specialize in all fields of its’ study.

So, what are the fields/branches of philosophy? Well, historically Philosophy was divided into 3 main branches; these were: Natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and metaphysical philosophy. In fact, many modern day studies are rooted from these three branches (e.g. science, psychology, economics). So, that was back in the past, But what about now? Today, modern day philosophy is primarily composed of following branches: Aesthetics, Logic, Ethics, Epistemology, and Metaphysics.

philosophersPhilosophy has played a critical role in human history. It has arguably been just as fundamental and impactful as mathematics. Most of philosophy’s impact has been on individuals’ ways of thinking in societies. Influential philosophers and their ideas were the main root causes for historical events and creation of new political ideologies such as the French Revolution, Utilitarianism, Marxism, Fascism, etc. Influential Philosophers to be noted are: John Locke, Renee Descartes, Immanuel Kant, Adam Smith,  and Voltaire.

My favorite unit was logic. I thought this lesson was quite useful, I didn’t know what constituted a rational argument and now I do. The Logic lessons were also quite fun.

In my personal opinion, Philosophy 12 was not as difficult as some in this class claim it to be. I don’t think the course material and the concepts we went over were too complex and unreasonable to understand and comprehend. But I think that’s because its’ our first year learning what philosophy even is and therefore the units weren’t gone into as deep as actual philosophers in college go into. The class discussions were quite interesting most the time, but I feel that they were constantly being dominated by the same group of people and whenever disagreements arose, a large body of people rose in opposition and their responsive arguments were emotionally structured rather than logically, this disencouraged people from participating and the class did not feel fully open to everyone.

degreeTo conclude my essay, I must say that in the first week of this class I thought philosophy was a useless study in the 21st century and people who chose to major in this in university would be very limited with their career options once done with university. I’m not too sure on whether that second part of my statement is true, but I have changed opinions on the importance of philosophy in the 21st century. I think some of the branches of philosophy can be used in conjunction to several other studies and be quite contributive. For example, Ethics could be used in conjunction as a minor or second major for those pursuing political science as their career; or logic for those pursuing law with theirs. So I certainly don’t think philosophy is a useless study nowadays, but don’t think it’s as impactful on society as it used to be.

 

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What is Philosophy Final. It is a yoga ball in class

My final thoughts of philosophy 12 are great. I think that I learned a lot about the meaning of life and different ways to think about the world.

Final presentation

http://prezi.com/t052nalgi-a4/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy

 

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Philosophy is like a Constellation

Philosophy at the beginning of the semester was simple, like the big dipper. Epistemology was knowledge; metaphysics was the hard, annoying questions that nobody enjoys to answer unless forced to; logic appeared self-explanatory; aesthetics were ‘beautiful’ things; and ethics was where we come from and what we believe. Now, philosophy is much more complicated. According to epistemology, I know nothing. Metaphysics hurts my head. Logic turned into math? Aesthetics became what I consider to be a proper form of gratitude that we are all capable of perceiving. Ethics changed into intentions and what means to an end are acceptable.

I initially thought that philosophy was like rugby. The plays initiated were the philosophical ideas and the players themselves were the philosophers. Now, I believe that philosophy is stargazing at constellations. Essentially the constellations themselves are the philosophical schools of thought while the stars themselves are each individual idea.

In my mind, things I thought about philosophy were the stars that made up the big dipper. This is because ever since I was a child, I have never had to strain too hard to discover where the stars of this constellation were scattered in the night sky, this is the same with my initial philosophical ideas.

  • Aesthetics is the little dipper. It’s a small grouping of stars that can be a challenge to find, but once one does, it’s very easy to appreciate and find aesthetically pleasing.
  • Logic is like Volans (the flying fish) because it comes our of know where and smacks one in the faces, metaphorically speaking. I say this because through philosophy, logic became math which I do not particularly enjoy.
  • Epistemology is like Horologium (the clock) because it pertains to knowledge and what one can truly know. I think that I learnt that there is a sense of time running out when it comes to epistemology because one does not want to forget before they can articulate their findings.
  • Metaphysics is like Microscopium (the microscope) because metaphysics questions anything and everything all the time. It picked apart the world as we once knew it and reforms it to become a new paradigm.
  • Ethics is like Circinus (the compass) because it reminds me of ones moral compass. Nobody can have a direction, purpose or sense of right and  without a something guiding them. Ethics will never be set in stone, just as constellations will never be set in stone.

The main reason I changed my allegory from rugby to constellations is because rugby was a black and white understanding of such a broad topic. Through philosophers, such as Kant, I have been able to develop a greater understanding of what my definition of philosophy is. While researching for various blog posts, I found myself struggling to articular and comprehend my ideas, thoughts and readings to the standards I wanted to. By blogging, researching and philosopher’s days off I began to develop a new sense of what philosophy is to me.

The one thing I wish I could change about my time in philosophy was how involved I was in and outside of class. I think that the lessons I learnt about the world around me and myself will stay in my mind for the remainder of my existence. I will miss sitting (napping…) on the couches in block two. Philosophy has been a one of a kind class that I think every individual would benefit from. And in the words of my favourite philosopher (Phil Dunphy from the TV show Modern Family):

 

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Story Time

Five months ago, I made the claim that philosophy is like The Dress. My reasoning was that everyone has different viewpoints on philosophical topics, philosophy requires a lot of conversation, and that there is a definite truth whether or not it can be determined. I do not disagree with my original statement, but I have learned that philosophy is a lot more complex than that. I was too focused on how people go about philosophizing that I didn’t look into how philosophy impacts the philosopher. The best way for me to explore this is through a fun story!

Disclaimer: This story and its characters are based off of the podcast Welcome To Night Vale, all credit to the rightful creators.

The Traveler

“There is a traveler. The traveler comes across a desert town in the middle of nowhere. Upon initial viewing, the town appears to be normal. There is a radio station, a McDonald’s, and a dog park. The traveler checks into a hotel, and tunes in to the local radio station. The traveler does not understand what the speaker is saying. Well, they understand it, it just doesn’t make sense. The speaker claims that “mountains don’t exist”. The speaker says that there is a world of perfect “forms” on which our whole world copies. There is apparently a faceless old woman who secretly lives in your home and the mayor is a five-headed dragon. The speaker must be crazy, the traveler thinks. Perhaps it is a comedy show, the traveler reasons. The words of the speaker, however, haunt the traveler’s mind all day.

The traveler wanders around town, intrigued by this place they have found themselves in. They look to the north, where a mountain stands tall. The speaker’s words ring through the traveler’s mind, and as they stare at the mountain, they become less sure of its existence. “How do I know it’s real? How do I know… anything is real?” the traveler thinks. “Surely I am real.” The traveler keeps walking. With no escape from these questions, they sit down and think. They admire the beauty that is this strange town, and accept they are content with questions.

The end.”

At the beginning, the traveler (who if you have not figure out by now, represents me) thinks they know what reality is. They think they have the answers. But they are exposed to new ideas that contradict everything they “knew”. The story is supposed to show how absurd some philosophical topics have seemed to me, but yet how necessary they are to talk about. Philosophy seemed a bit illogical at first, like this town, but there is a strange beauty in it. My answer to ‘What is Philosophy’ didn’t change so much in the ideas as it did in the experience. My comparison at the beginning of the semester still works, but it was lacking in personal experience. Philosophy is journey that you never really finish. I don’t (and can’t) fully understand all that we discussed in this class. That doesn’t really matter. The important part to me is that I now know how to go about finding some answers for myself. Since being a traveler in this town we call Philosophy 12, I have opened my mind and questioned the norm.  It’s confusing, it’s weird, and it’s pretty great. Thank you.

 

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Is Philosophy Still Like a Lock? (Final)

To go check out my final for philosophy go check out my Prezi

 

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(Final) What is philosophy?

I walked into this class with little knowledge regarding philosophy and the many philosophers studied within the course. I had a semester filled with the stress of three other academic courses but it was a nice escape to have an hour to listen to different theories and ideologies. I have always had many questions about the world. Even though this class many not have answered every question and I may have had different views on certain topics, I was still happy with the amount of new information I had received. My thoughts on philosophy remain basically the same, mentioned in my original post.

Philosophy isn’t necessary for survival, but it remains beautiful like art and things that make us feel content. Curiosity gives us reason to continue living and discovering. This curiosity is existent about visiting new places, meeting new people and/or learning about new ideas. They all add meaning to our life whether you believe our world is a reality or an illusion, it makes us feel different emotions, that’s what is important (in my personal opinion lol)

 

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What Is Philosophy? (Final) – Arden

At the beginning of the semester I walked into philosophy nervous but excited about what I was about to learn. The first
question we were asked was What is Philosophy? at the time I had no idea and to be honest I still don’t. For my first What is Philosophy blog post i said: Philosophy is like a child both are very open, both random at times and children grow just like the ideas. Today nearly five months later I can still say that I believe philosophy is like a child. Several of the topics we covered and discussions we had are still able to support this including; the logic unit, the discussion about whether or not its ethical or moral to kiss a robot, and even just the conversations themselves.

As I said in my previous blog children are known for being very open to other opinions and don’t have a view clouded by life experiences and influences, this openness reminds me of the class environment and what our class discussions are like. Philosophy as a whole is a very open study and that was proven in the class discussions.

Children grow as do the ideas in philosophy as a child grows so do there opinions and there ability to articulate these ideas. In this class I was able to learn more ways to articulate my views in the logic unit when we formed our logical arguments.

The third reason that philosophy is a child is because some of the things that kids say are completely random and I think that in this example the child is the philosopher. In this course has proved that philosophy can be pretty random. An example of this would be the discussion on whether it is ethical or moral to kiss a robot. This was a very strange conversation with very strong and varying opinions. It was quite interesting to learn new things about my classmates even this late in the semester.

From this class I have learned how to form my opinion and share it in the way I want to, as well as how important it is to look at the other peoples perspectives using reason rather than responding emotionally. I also learned that philosophers are children, they never stop learning and they are never satisfied with a simple answer. Philosophy is about asking questions and always asking why.

-Arden

 

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What is Philosophy Final

Coming into this course, I didn’t really know what to expect. When we were asked the question, “what is philosophy?”, I thought of a bunch of people (traditionally old white guys with white beards, preferably stroking those white beards) sitting around asking, ‘what is the meaning of life?’ and ‘who am I?’ and ‘why are we here?’, etc. A bunch of questions that we’ve been asking for thousands of years at least, and yet… there is no answer.

Philosophy seemed pointless, non-applicable, and quite frankly a waste of time. But I still liked the idea of it.

 

Throughout the year, we have learned about different topics of study in philosophy:

Logic – here we learned to form a logical argument. This is quite applicable as it can be used to prove your point, disprove someone else’s point, and it can be used in any argument you may have.

Metaphysics – This is the more stereotypical philosophy like the questions I was talking about earlier. Despite this, I think that this is important because I have noticed that in almost every unit of study and issue we looked at, it all depends on what your answer is to the question, “what is the meaning of life?”. To answer tough questions or take a stand on an issue, you need to establish your purpose in life, which is why I wrote my post about the meaning of life.

Epistemology – Here we learned about knowledge and knowing and learning. This unit is also very applicable and helpful, because the more we know about what and how we know, the better we can know how to know and learn more. (just read it again if you didn’t get that)

Aesthetics – In aesthetics, we learned about beauty and how and why something is perceived as beautiful. This section, I’ll admit is not quite as applicable or ‘important’ as the others, but still interesting and maybe helpful.

Ethics & Social and Political Philosophy – Here we studied different theories about right and wrong and justice. This sections is extremely applicable because it helps us to be better people, and better as a society. It is also about deciding how to run our society in a way that is fair and just.

 

I understand know that philosophy encompasses so much more than I originally thought. I was looking through this little lens and I was not seeing the whole picture, only this very small (somewhat incorrect) part of it. I now know that philosophers actually do come up with solutions, that are often very useful in society.

Imagine what the world would be like if everyone thought about how they would like people to be treated from behind the veil of ignorance, and then treated other people accordingly. Or try to imagine if everyone thought about whether they would be okay with the action they are about to take becoming a universal law (so it could be done to them often) before they did the action or said the words. The world would be a much better place to live if these things happened. So that is a main part of the importance of philosophy, it makes us better and it makes the world better. Plus, it expands our understanding and helps us grow as humans.

Philosophy also deals directly with issues that arise in the world and aim to to answer with logic and reason.

I just feel like my knowledge and understanding of philosophy has expanded tremendously, and with it my knowledge and understanding of myself, people, and the world.

 
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