Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


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.



What is Philosophy?

Dictionary Series - Philosophy: philosophyAt the beginning of the course I felt that philosophy was composed of two main ideas- questioning and challenging. However, I’ve come to the decision that in order to fully form my opinions and develop my ideas about philosophical topics I must question, challenge, and gain a different perspective from others.


Philosophy allows us to question reality, existence, truths about ourselves, and the world around us.


Challenging our own ideas about reality, existence, truths about ourselves, and the world around us allows us to expand these ideas within ourselves.

Gaining perspective:

This is where my new understanding and opinions on philosophy come into play. I’ve expanded my learning to include gaining perspective and understanding. 

I’ve come to learn that although our opinions may seem to be solidified, gaining a new perspective from others who may be able to challenge or prove our ideas wrong, is beneficial in that without the contribution from others our ideas cannot be expanded in the same way.

philosophy (1)

Gaining perspective is, in a sense, just like being freed from Plato’s cave in that you are forced to see something you couldn’t before.


It is simple to form ideas about philosophical topics, however, understanding and being able to share these ideas with others is what makes the search for answers worthwhile. Being able to inform others and receive feedback on your ideas is what makes fully understanding and being able to transfer your ideas to others so difficult.

Philosophy 12 has helped me develop my skills in being able to translate my ideas into words. I felt that most of my learning and growth came in the form of blog posts. I work best when I am able to organize my thoughts, so the blog was the perfect place for me to do that. I am most proud of my solipsism post where I talked about the idea that the only thing that is sure to exist is one’s mind as I have been able to further develop my knowledge on this topic in other classes. Moving forward, I am going to continue to work on my skills in translating my ideas to words by considering many perspectives when coming to a conclusion.



Philosophinal 12

cassidy philosophy childrens book

What Is Philosophy: a children’s story. Click on the cover to read.