Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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Katie Crompton – I Kant Think of a Title (ft. Other Painful Attempts to be Funny)

Premise: Knowledge resides in both the mind and the body

From our discussions on Epistemology, I have found that I get confused really easily (but that’s me with basically every topic in Philosophy so nothing is really new), but this is the topic that I think I fully understand (hallelujah). I started thinking about muscle memory and how we use it in our everyday lives, and I discovered how it connects to knowledge and where it is located. I then came up with this syllogism.

If memory is the faculty by which the mind stores information

And muscle memory exists in the body

And pieces of information make up knowledge

Then knowledge resides in both the mind and the body

Time to dissect this syllogism!

If memory is the faculty by which the mind stores information

I believe that the mind is the processing point for all information, but that information is then stored else where if necessary. This article from Live Science explains the different types of memory. From the definitions of these types of memory, we can see that some information would be stored in different parts of the brain, like short-term and long-term memory, while some may be stored in other parts of the body, like procedural memory.

A chart to help understand the connection between the different kinds of memory (Image by Nick Valmas / QBI)

And muscle memory exists in the body

STORY TIME! Whenever I am waiting in the wings to go on stage for a performance, my mind shuts down and I feel like I have forgotten everything. I forget my lines, my blocking, what character I’m playing, everything. I panic for a solid three minutes and sometimes I’m able to actually calm myself down and force myself to remember what I’m doing. Other times, I have to go on stage in a state of panic and have to have faith that my body knows what to do. Most of the time it does, but I do have the occasional brain fart (way to be mature, Katie). This whole scenario made me realize that it is impossible for knowledge to exist solely in the mind because if it did, I would just be staring blankly at the audience for an hour every time I get on stage (this is probably true anyway and everyone’s just lying to me but hey, at least I have support). This scenario shows not only how knowledge resides in the mind and the body, but also how the mind can deceive itself. The brain is telling me that I don’t know things that I know I know, which causes me to panic and doubt myself. Luckily, muscle memory takes over so I don’t look like a complete lunatic every time I perform.

My inner self before I go on stage (gif from Imgur)

And pieces of information make up knowledge

In Immanuel Kant’s eyes, we gain knowledge through experience as well as rational thought. If we gain knowledge through experience, then we must have some sort of physical form to help us experience things. If we gain knowledge through rational thought, we must have a mind. Therefore, I believe that a lot of the knowledge we gain through experience would reside in the body and the knowledge we gain from rational thought would reside in the mind. This can also relate to competence and propositional knowledge. Competence knowledge can be found in the body because this is the “know how” knowledge, while propositional knowledge can be found in the mind because it’s the “know what” knowledge. We can’t do anything without a physical form, so that is why I believe competence knowledge has to reside in the body. Though I believe there is some separation between the knowledge in the mind and the body, I still do believe that there is a large connection.

Then knowledge resides in both the mind and the body

Even though knowledge may exist in different parts of the body, they still work together. Your competence and propositional knowledge work together to make sure you are a completely functional human being. Rational thought and experience knowledge have worked hand in hand since you were a baby. For example, when you were a baby and your stomach was growling, your mind told you that that was because you were hungry. You also knew from prior experience that if you cried, someone would feed you. The knowledge that exists in the mind and the body are both incredibly important. Can you imagine a life with only knowledge from the mind or the body?

Image from PsychCentral

 

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Everyone is responsible for what they know by Ashlee

Simplifying my theory of knowledge, I managed to summarise how I perceive knowledge in a few bullet points:

  • You should withhold judgement before you investigate the situation
  • belief should exist in correlation to validity and true in order to be perceived as knowledge
  • knowledge is subjective; for every object or matter there exists different ideas
  • Without a human mind that can think, the existence of knowledge is impossible

And with pondering lead by these thoughts, I concluded  that with all forms of knowledge follows epistemic responsibility. The thought process (shout out to Mr. Jackson for guiding me in finalising my rather jumbled and disoriented mind) looks something like this:

  • Premise 1: Knowledge tends to affect the way people view the world
  • Premise 2: the nature of one’s knowledge tends to have an implicit effect (even without the explicit intentions/actions) on the world in which we live in
  • Conclusion: All form of knowledge holds epistemic influence that affects our surroundings, no matter its intentions

Knowledge tends to affect the way people view the world:

Coinciding with the idea of knowledge being perpetuated as a belief, I believe that one’s knowledge is mainly rooted from the way they tend to perceive the world. Knowledge is often interpreted as facts, information, data and what the current education system teaches our adolescents, yet knowledge exists in forms of layers. Its concept is often believed to be subjective among many philosophers; Plato has argued that two conditions must be fulfilled in order for anyone to claim to withhold knowledge: truth and belief. From here, I much agree with Plato, except I personally put the emphasis on the “belief” aspect more than the “truth” part. Often, there is much contrast put between belief and knowledge, but I believe that knowledge stems from individual’s beliefs; if there exists enough motivation to pursue proving a point one possesses, then that is the reality in which they live in. The knowledge that individuals carry is a paradigm that has a direct effect on our emotions, opinions, and thought processes in general. In clarity, you see how much you know, and how much you know is directly impacted by what you believe in.

The nature of one’s knowledge tends to have an implicit effect (even without the explicit intentions/actions) on the world in which we live in:

After much investigation I decided that even without physical or verbal actions being taken, knowledge has its way of making an effect in our world. The way we treat others and our actions derive from the epistemic responsibility that is behind our choices. English philosopher, W.K. Clifford purposed that there is no such thing as a “private belief”, meaning that it spreads not always with our fullest intentions. One example I want to bring up to support this very premise is how epistemic responsibility is of absence when it comes to religion. Clifford suggested that a belief in a God was “epistemically irresponsible” and is proven as a “blind faith”. Clifford believed that a blind faith leads one to live an unexamined, unthoughtful life by ignoring facts and arguments.  Just like how a religious person’s reality consists of believing in a superior being and actions carried out may be through attempts in conversion (of others) to weekly rituals. Although, I want to accentuate even without those religious actions, a religious person relies on a God (possibly more than any other factors in their life), which has an impact on to which they show gratitude towards, thoughts on evolution, and personal morals. For instance, when I was younger I was much more indulged in Buddhism because I attended a Buddhist-kindergarten, located inside a Buddhist temple (I still can’t believe such thing exists, but it was honestly the coolest thing ever). My knowledge and beliefs was raw, and I had first-hand experience in obtaining them; such environment shaped the way I thought and the way in which I expressed myself. Through this, I want to prove that the Buddhist morals and values I gained directly impacted things like my diet, manners, behaviour and personality (to this day).

All forms of knowledge holds epistemic influence that affects our surroundings, no matter its intentions:   

Brought by the above premises, I believe that all forms of knowledge has an epistemic background that have an effect on our surroundings, in regardless of its intentions. The dictionary definition of epistemic responsibility is, “related to capacity to engage in adequate policies in search of truth, the ability to give reasons, or the readiness to revise one’s beliefs in the light of new evidence.”   This leads to my point of epistemic responsibility being what dictates our decisions. Epistemic responsibility is told to hold an idealistic character, that in order for knowledge to exist there must be someone who has the ability to process and appreciate the concepts. With the knowledge perceived by individuals comes an epistemic responsibility as the subjectivity of knowledge comes with a choice. After much thinking, I decided that people choose to believe certain things, and people choose to learn or educate themselves and because of this very thought, belief coexists with knowledge. Of course when the word “knowledge” is used in modern day society, its connotations are known as what is, “true”, but because I personally believe that knowledge is the nature and reality of one, it’s impossible for the person to not have authority over how their belief is shown through. To make it more precise:

  • belief requires knowledge in order to be valid
  • knowledge reflects the person’s reality and,
  • the belief that derives from one’s knowledge holds epistemic responsibility

So basically, our actions or words, or even sometimes our implicit intentions have a way of being carried out. Knowledge is only an illusion of seeming to be the “absolute truth”, but with different realities everyone holds, in no way is it achievable for there to be a universal truth; common-sense realism is viewing the world in a flat approach. From where I stand today, my understanding is that knowledge comes with much responsibility and is a direct reflection on the nature of one’s paradigm.

Sources:

http://www.giffordlectures.org/books/belief/lecture-3-belief-and-knowledge

https://www.bu.edu/arche/5/cusimano.pdf

http://www.province-of-the-mind.com/exploring-epistemic-responsibility.html

 

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Emojis, Expressive Interjections, and Epistemology, All In One Convenient Blog Post!!!!!!!!!!

Side note:

For this post, “subject” will be used to define anything that can be understood e.g. an idea, a person, an object, etc. Please don’t take it as a dehumanizing word, because it isn’t intended to be. It’s just the most convenient word I could think of.

Do you ever just have a feeling about someone or something; like some indescribable knowledge of how that person or thing is, even if you may not know every fact there is to know about said person or thing? The ability to understand without ever receiving a comprehensive list of facts and information about the subject is a phenomenon that occurs all the time in the human mind, and it is a phenomenon that I find utterly fascinating.

I, myself, have friends and family members who I understand to varying degrees, or rather, I have come to an understanding about them. I think that phrasing fits better, since the understanding I have may not be the “Ultimate Understanding” of said person. I am tempted to cite Kant in saying that only one person, in being themself, is able to have an Ultimate Understanding or know the Truth about who they are, but even that is untrue. There are two reasons why this is wrong.

For one, a person may understand themselves less than the people who know them.

Secondly, the fact that the mind and the brain rely on different sections of themselves relaying information which is then interpreted by different sections of themselves refutes the possibility of any one section having a full understanding of the brain or mind.

Let’s assess these two points further, shall we?

Read More

 

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If you practiced yodeling enough you could probably do it in your sleep-Benedict Mendes

So, for this midterm I had no idea what I wanted to do at first, but after the first free writing session I came up with a proposition.

Knowledge can be presented in practiced actions that do not require thought

I came up with this because when I thought of really knowing something, I thought of being familiar with an action or a subject. When one is extremely familiar with an action they can reproduce it at any time without effort or even thinking of it, save the momentary “I am going to do this action” thought. In a sense, to me knowledge it at it’s most valuable when it can be reproduced without thought, because of experience and familiarity with it. The premises preceding this proposition make things a little more clear.

If knowledge is defined by being familiar with a subject

and

If knowledge in the mind can be separate from knowledge in the body

then

Knowledge can be presented in practiced actions that do not require thought

 

The truth of the premises is debatable, as both premises are subjective to the reader or writer, but to me these premises are true and they are what I base my opinion of knowledge on.

 

For the first premise, the reason I define knowledge as being familiar with a subject is that the definition of experience is pretty much being really familiar with something. For example, an experienced chef will be able to tell you how to make dishes in certain ways and how to bring out certain flavours because they themselves have gone through these processes hundreds, even thousands of times. Because they have experience with it they are able to easily produce dishes with their gained knowledge.

 

The second premise basically is talking about the difference between conceptual knowledge and applied knowledge. Reading a manual on how to set up an IKEA chair is different than actually physically setting up the chair, that’s the idea that this premise draws from.

 

And of course, the conclusion. If my premises are true, then the conclusion must be true. Basically, what I’m saying is that once you become familiar enough with something, especially an action, you can replicate it without thinking, and it is in that action that the most valuable knowledge lies. This means that something like muscle memory, when your body physically remembers certain actions, is more valuable than knowledge of how to do an action.  For example, I am a musician and I play piano. When I learn a song I learn it slowly, I have to think about each and every note I hit and constantly use the sheet music for reference. As I get more and more familiar with the song I can start to go faster, and when I’m going faster I can’t rely on the sheet music as much, I have to simply know where some notes are. Eventually I can memorize the song and play it anytime that I sit down at the piano, this is because I have ingrained every key hit, every note into my body and I can replicate it without hesitation. Even when I’m playing a song I have memorized completely, I can think about something else while my body continues the action. Even if I make a mistake, I know the song so well that I can register it and remember to correct it in the future. It is at this point that knowledge is at it’s best and most valuable. Being able to reproduce a song without thinking means I have to know every little detail, every rhythm, every note, every key, I have to have a lot of experience with the song. Because of this, I have more knowledge of the song than someone who does not have as much experience with it but is able to look at the sheet music. Of course, the mind is part of the process of learning the song and transferring what I see on the page to the actions in my hands, but once I know the notes and keys I no longer have to rely on the mind to monitor my actions as I perform them. When the body no longer has to rely on the mind to replicate an action is when you know you have basically the best knowledge possible of that thing or action.

 

This argument lines up a little bit with the thinking of Kant with his mindset of “All knowledge comes from experience” and the belief that the physical world is real. It opposes Descartes because if there is no physical world then the actions I perform would not matter, and therefore would have no place in knowledge. It’s based a lot more empirically than it is rationally, because really an action is about the feel of it. The experience of how your body moves and how it performs the action is more important than the concept of what the action does, it’s using your senses to judge how you’re performing the action rather than the mind and reason.

 

In conclusion the entire argument is a little bit like a more complicated version of “practice makes perfect”, it’s all about repeated exposure to an action or a subject. The longer you practice an action for the easier it will get until you can do it without needing to think, your mind can think about something else while your body does the thing. It is in this that the most valuable knowledge lies.

 

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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

 

 

 

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Colin Evans – Epistemology (Discussion)

Discussion

My in class discussion started off by having a discussion with Courtney about her belief that “knowledge is endless“. Not only is it endless but it’s physically impossible to attain that much information in a single life time, let alone your brain having the capacity to store that much knowledge. The universe is forever expanding and an incredible rate and we still haven’t even grazed the surface of knowing about the planet we live on. We are always finding new species, coming up with new theories, and discovering past theories to be true. We both agreed that knowledge is endless in every way, shape and from.

Next In the class discussion I talked to Nick about his theory of “knowledge is power”.

“The more one knows, the more one will be able to control events. This sentence is found in the works of Francis Bacon.”

-dictionary.com

That pretty much sums up the core of nicks opinion. The more knowledge you obtain, the more control and power you can obtain, its as simple as that. We both agreed that in some ways, knowledge is power.

Aaron and I discussed the classic Tripartite Theory of Knowledge.

The tripartite theory of knowledge, analyses knowledge as justified true belief. The tripartite theory says that if you believe something, with justification, and it is true, then you know it; otherwise, you do not.

There are three “Conditions” that went along with the theory and they were Belief, Truth, and Justification. This theory was pretty confusing so our conversation didn’t go very far in depth but from what we could understand we generally agreed with theory as a whole.

 

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Phil’s Day Off- Alysha Gillis

My goal during this phils day off was to find out how language relates to how knowledgeable you are percieved as by others. I was struggling to figure out what to do because I couldn’t just go on with my weekend becuase nothing I was going to do was going to help me with my topic. I decided to do to exact same thing as I did last Phil’s day off because my topic again has to do with words and the use of language so I figured that this would be a good idea. So I went back downtown to the Vancouver art gallery. This time I went to a different part of the gallery and this time it was based on Picasso’s artwork and this kind of fit perfectly with my topic becuase it got people talking about their opinions of all of the artwork.

During my afternoon at the art gallery I was just walking around and looking at the different art and listening to what peoples opinions on the art and the difference between last time and this time was last phils day off I was trying to listen to how people’s opinions affected my view on the artwork but this time I was trying to see if I could tell how knowledgeable people were about the art.

I discovered that it was clear who was an artist and was the “smartest” and had the most information on the artwork and who was just there becuase the art was pretty or for something to do on the weekend. I was listening to the people who were actally artists and had a lot of knowledge about art and it was much more interesting listening to people who actually knew what they were talking about becuase I felt like I could really learn much more about the piece than if I was listening to someone who didn’t know much about art and just thought it was pretty. I learned that when I was listening to people who used proper language about the topic, it seemed to me that I assumed that they had more knowledge than the people who spoke with less artistic vocabulary.

I think that I still would like to learn more about how smart I think people are about things I have knowledge about  becuase I could have been biast because I don’t really know much about art. Maybe if I did know a ton about art, those people that I thought knew what they were talking about, could have been completely wrong but since I knew basically nothing, I couldn’t have known any better.

I think that this phils day off was equally as sucessful as last because in both, I ended up sucessfully achieving my goal that I set out to complete. I also think that I learned more about my topic and answered a few of my unanswered questions so I would consider this a sucessful phils day off.

 

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Colin Evans – Epistemology (Reading)

READINGconfucius-757900

 

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.

 

 

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Epistemology Reading and Discussion – Kara

If you gain knowledge through memories and exploration. All the experiences you go through help aid you to be a more knowledgeable person. My view of knowledge is how you take everything in around you.

Reading about memories I found a lot of things that interested me but this line really stood out to me, “We remember experiences and events which are not happening now, so memory differs from perception. We remember events which really happened, so memory is unlike pure imagination. Yet, in practice, there can be close interactions between remembering, perceiving, and imagining. Remembering is often suffused with emotion, and is closely involved in both extended affective states such as love and grief, and socially significant practices such as promising and commemorating.” Showing that every experience and memory gets sorted into, if its need or not. So in the future you can remember the important things.

Another quotation that caught my eye was “There is a difference though between this types of knowledge and practical knowledge. The type of knowledge that you are speaking about is awareness. Knowledge of awareness works in conjunction with practical knowledge. Practical knowledge (science, math, reading, writing, etc.) is very important. Practical knowledge allows our awareness to manipulate the surrounding universe in a number of beneficial ways.” This quotation supports my opinion that you gain knowledge through memories and exploration.

I spoke with Shem and Courtney. We got a little off topic talking about how we learn and the capital “T” truth but talking about my statement they both agreed with it and thought it was a really good look on it. I agree with both Shem and Courtney’s point of view, I found there statements very interesting and it gave me some new ideas.

After talking with my classmates and researching my topic online, this helped me realize that no matter what everyone can have a different opinion on every topic. I also realized that knowledge as a whole is harder than I thought and it’s very scary to think about because we never can realistically know what knowledge it.

 

 

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Knowledge is language- Reading Post

In trying to figure out the original question What is knowledge? I really was struggling to figure out what to do with this becuase it was so open to so many different interpritations of what it could be. I knew that I wanted to connect this to my metaphysics question which was What Are Words? I couldn’t figure out how to connect knowledge to words so I simply stated that Knowledge is Language. I was really eager to find connections between the two topics or even if there was a connection becasue I think that these 2 ideals are so complex in their own ways that it would be really difficult to narrow them down to find the connections. We can all agree that when you are using language, it is used as reference to the knowledge that you know but how does our knowledge affect our language and words? My original idea at the beginning of this unit was Knowledge is language and as I was reading more and more posts and websites, it really started to solidify my concept. One of the more interesting articles I read was from the Encyclopedia of Philosophy and It was about the Language of Knowledge it states 3 sets of ideas that philosophers claim about an individual who speaks with knowledge must have/know:

(a) That speakers of a language know the grammatical properties of individual expressions of their language;

(b) That speakers of a language know the particular grammatical rules of a natural language; and

(c) That speakers of a language know the principles of universal grammar.

It basically states that a person who speaks with knowledgeable language must be aware of their grammar and knowing how to CORRECTLY use different grammatical expressions that differ from person to person, a person must know the rules of grammar in common/everyday language and finally, the speaker must know how to use universal grammar which is basically every concept and idea that you learn in english class. So this means in order to be considered “knowledgeable” language you first must know and understand what you are talking about. You also must be aware of how you are stringing together the way you are demonstrating this knowledge. You have to be able to connect with grammar, spelling, punctuation ect. To put together your opinion or thoughts on the subject you are knowledgable about. We must experience the world and explore different types of people and ideas in order to become intrigued or interested in our area of knowledge and this can affect how you are using your language because if the person who teaches you how to “correctly” use words and language doesn’t know how to use it, you would probably be considered less smart and sound like you don’t know what you are really talking about, even if you are completely right in your ways of thinking.

As I was reading numerous articles, of course the more I started to read, the more questions I began to have. I think that as with anything that interests you, you begin to find more and more interesting points and ideas from different people, the more you dig deeper into any given topic. My questions that I had after I continues reading were:  What relationship do speakers have to the system that regulates the language they speak? and also, What experiences are we missing in order to acquire understanding from words about a particular subject or concept?

 
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