Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Katherine: my mom said to stop saying gay to everything so this post is a hetero™ post

Normally, I’m not always a big believer in honesty. but I’ll be honest here: the Aesthetics unit was the most confusing thing I’ve ever experienced. Maybe it was because I was expecting it to be easy; Epistemology and Metaphysics sound waaaaaay out of my league, but Aesthetics? I think about that stuff everyday. Should be easy!

It Was Not Easy.

To start, it took me awhile to come up with my own definition of aesthetics, or what I think an aesthetic experience is. To start, here are some of my beliefs: I believe that you cannot fully tell you are having an aesthetic experience until it is over. It would take away from the moment. In paying direct attention to what you are doing, it break the experience. Two things that really intrigued me were concentration and distance. The idea that staring at a pretty sky or a field of flowers and being distant from it, not overly concentrating but just taking the peace and thinking it is pretty,w as totally new. Contrast that to the idea that an aesthetic experience requires complete immersion, all of one’s focus and concentration, and you can understand why I was confused for a while.

Both distraction and complete concentration bring you a kind of peace. Distraction and distance take your brain away and give it peace, and complete concentration removes all distractions and also leaves a kind of peace. Even the experience of say, bungee jumping, or seeing a rock concert, could be considered peaceful while exciting. It’s pretty hard to think of grocery lists while you are bungee jumping, and an exciting rock concert leave you fully immersed in the music. Either way, they are freeing your mind from distraction.

Does that make sense? No? Too bad, we’re moving on.

Old White Dudes Weigh In: Plato

Let me say this: Plato is one of my least favorite philosophers. Ever since the whole concept of “Plato’s Forms” came into this class, he’s lost me. But I was googling aesthetics, I learned something funny about him: while to him, beauty is one of the greatest goods, and art is one of the greatest dangers. As I had always thought of them as the two major parts of aesthetics, I couldn’t understand why he had such differing opinions on them.

Art and beauty are both subjective. There is no way around it. Everyone’s’ pinions on art and beauty are influenced by their environment, their upbringing, their exposure to the world. You can argue that there are some things that are “universally beautiful”, but I contest that. There will always be someone who disagrees.

Beauty, at its base, is something “pleasing to the eye”, something that fires off positive synapses in your brain. Why do people sometimes say “beautiful disasters” and the like? Because you can find beauty in something being destroyed. Watch a fire roar over a forest, or watch a tornado sweep through a town; devastating, but with form, and precision, and clean lines.

Old (usually) White Dudes Weigh In: Confucius

Of all the philosophers, I’m quite fond of Confucius his opinions on art and beauty are quite similar to mine: they are highly important to society. He always emphasized the role of the arts and humanities, especially music and poetry, in helping human nature and bringing us back to the essentials of philosophy.

Now, I also tend to believe that an aesthetic experience is also a state of mind. You can look at something while in a bad mood and purposely find it ugly. Take one of my aesthetic experiences for example: putting on makeup. (Yes, I know how that sounds lemme explain) If I look at myself in the mirror while im in a bad mood, all I see are my flaws. I can pick apart every part of my face and find ways to hate myself. As I put on makeup, I can see myself as trying to hide how I look because I hate it, I can hate how the makeup looks on me, there are an infinite number of ways to make this a shitty and un-aesthetic time for me. But when I concentrated, looked at myself in the mirror and tried to find all the things I liked about myself, I could make the things I hated into, you guessed it, aesthetic experiences. As I paid close attention to what I was doing with the makeup, thinking of art and beauty and deeply concentrating (hey, I connected it to the paragraph above!), I found an aesthetic experience.

Art can be beautiful, but can Beauty be art?

Can you turn any experience into an Aesthetic Experience if you try?

Can you answer any of my other thousands of questions that I won’t post here but I might comment them because theya re bugging me????




Colin Evans – Epistemology (Reading)



While surfing the net for interesting readings on knowledge, i came across a quote from Confucius that completely summed up my belief.

Confucius said,

“To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.”

To me this means that wisdom is revealed when you understand and are able to find practical applications for the knowledge that you have gained and also when you realize that even though you are well educated either formally or through experience that there’s still lots that you don’t know or understand.

“To know what you know” to me means that you need to be aware of the things you actually know for a fact, and not fool yourself or others into thinking you know something when you really don’t. “To know what you don’t know” By this I feel as if he means that you need to know when you’re stepping out of your range of knowledge, and to be aware and be able to accept that you cannot know everything.

While reading I came across topics like “Knowledge is knowing nothing” which right away without reading into the quote I was already confused as to how that was possible, so I didn’t go much deeper into that.  Also on the scientific side, knowledge is the thing you gain and store from experience and study which enables an Individual to be able to preform certain tasks and actions. And then Confucius’  belief “To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.” Between the three I 100% agree with scientific statement because its the most realistic, logic and I can actually wrap my head around it but I’m usually drawn to the scientific side of things. In this unit I tried to stray away from my mainstream train of thought, trying to go deeper and more philosophical with the process of forming my opinion. So overall I agree with science but when it comes to philosophy I agree with the weird facial hair man Confucius.




Philosophy Transcends the Boundaries of Space, Time, and Communism

Philosophy is Universal

Prezi Presentation

When you look at my Prezi presentation, you’ll see that the background is a very generic, cliche picture that many use to denote philosophy — a universe. “Now Jeff,” you might say “why are you choosing such a cliche picture?”

And my response would be, “Because I’m a very unimaginative person.”

But in reality, I would say that it’s because sometimes cliches are true.

The simplest reason why we associate the picture of the universe with philosophy is because people often mistakenly believe all philosophers to be hippy, left-leaning, life-pondering individuals. Now that may not necessarily be wrong, but at the same time it’s not correct either. Philosophy is so much more than just the question of “Why do we exist?” or “What role do we play in the universe?” but to many, that’s all they’ll care to think about regarding philosophy.

Let me introduce you to another reason why the philosophy can be represented by the universe — philosophy is universal. Before I get to the dudes chilling on the universe background, let me talk more about what I mean by that statement. First of all, let me define my version of universal as “transcending the boundaries of space, distance, and time up to the point of human existence.”

The reason why I choose the point of human existence is because philosophy, or what we know it as today, existed ever since the first human with the full or even lesser cognitive ability as us walked the Earth. If we look at ancient religions, cultures, and artworks, we can see that even the earliest of humans pondered philosophical questions. A common one is “where do we come from?” Almost every civilization in the world has come up with an answer to that question. The ancient Romans adopted the beliefs that the modern-day Christian God molded humans from his own image.

Next is, “where do we fit in in the universe?” Many civilizations believed us to serve the gods, such as the Mayans who sacrificed people to satisfy their bloodthirsty gods, or the Aztecs who also sacrificed people for their bloodthirsty gods, the Indus River Civilization who sacrificed people for… you get the point. But joking aside, besides human sacrifice, philosophers from across the world, across space and time, and even still today are just debating about what we truly are in the grand scheme of things.

Now, let’s get back to the actual presentation. Now that I’ve talked about ancient history, let’s get back to…. last century. First off is Marx — if you don’t know him, he’s the one who inspired the not-so-music loving Lenin (to clarify, that’s the one who founded the Soviet Union, not the one who co-wrote Yellow Submarine with Paul McCartney). His thoughts are what inspired the formation of the Soviet Union, and consequently the Cold War, and today’s (or moreso yesteryear’s) People’s Republic of China.

Next, we go back 2500 years, to the warring states period where Confucius, that handsome dude over there, founded the principles that most, even modern Chinese people, have been influenced by. Ideas of respect for elders and even some aspects of the divine right of rule for kings still exist in the mind of many Chinese.

Next is Lao Zi, another Chinese philosopher who founded the ideas of modern-day Taoism.

Finally, going back to the stereotype of old, dead, white men, we see Aristotle. His ideas and his studies still permeate society today. For those of you who remember yesterday’s philosophy class, he was one of the first people ever to study logic, and he probably went through much of the same process as us!

To conclude, I just want to express the idea that philosophy, at least to me, is subjective — which is why it fits so neatly into every human being and civilization that has ever existed. It’s fitted and molded with the times, whether it’s during prehistory or the modern age. It’s fitted and molded by local geography, traditions, cultures, and so many other factors that it’s nigh-impossible to define it markedly for everybody at once. Which is why to me, the only real answer that I can really express about philosophy, as of right now, is that it’s universal.