Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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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????

(please)

 

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Katherine: the cave is gay

Plato’s cave: a beautiful and well-known metaphor about how we perceive life and truth

Also kind of terrifying. Seriously, was I the only one in class thinking “Why are these people chained?? They have been chained since they were born??? THEY CANT MOVE??!?? What the actual h*ck is going on in this cave? Who put them there??”

Needless to say, this cave messed me up for a little while.

But the point of this post is not to talk about my mental scarring (we’d be here for years if that was the case) but to make a connection between me, my life, and this sadistic cave.

When looking at the people in the cave, it’s easy to wonder: why don’t the people chained in the cave try to leave? Why don’t they struggle, break free of the chains and explore? The thing is, we need a prologue. Plato’s Cave: The Early Years. If the people in the cave had been there their whole lives, they have no reason to un-chain themselves. They see nothing wrong with it. They don’t see the chains as anything more than a part of life. At the risk of sounding horribly, horribly cliche, these chains symbolize the shackles or society and how we must break through in order to move forward.

I think I threw up in my mouth a little by saying that.

you have no clue how many wierd photos i found while searching for this. image courtesy of huffington post

But anyway, onto a fun lil metaphor to connect this whole post, my title, and add in some fun images for the visual learners out there.

When Mr. Jackson, asked up to find a time when we were “in the cave”, the only real thing I could think was “BEING GAY” That might just be my brain, but I decided to run with it.

I was in the cave (or the closet) until grade 8. It took me realizing I was not striahgt for me to start seeing “the sun” about lgbtq issues. I’d heard gay being thrown around as an insult. I’d seen my grandparents turn their lips at pride flags and heard my priest warn about the dangers of same sex marriage. That had all passed over my head until I started stepping into the light and actually hearing everything they were saying. While I now know so, so much more about issues and subjects surrounding lgbtq, I’ve realized that certain people I know are still locked in the chains of the cave, and always will be. I’ve likened the man in plato’s cave being unable tos ee well in teh dark and getting mocked for it to me, not finding gay sterotypes funny and getting mocked for it. Maybe I’m just being self centered and trying to make it about me. Who knows??

To finish it off, I have another lil fun metaphor to tie both of these together. Imagine you are in a car. As a child, you sit in the backseat, oblivious to the cars around you. You watch them go by, watch you parents stop at lights and signs, but ultimatly don’t concern yourself with the actions on the road around you. But then you grow up. You start learning how to drive, learning the rules, learning the limits. Now, as you sit in the front seat, you see everyone breaking the rules, speeding, cutting people off. You never noticed it as a child, but now you can’t go back to not noticing. You’re aware. You’ve learned.

This is kinda like being lgbtq. Once you have see what homophobia or transphobia can do, once you’ve learned what’s hurtful and why, you can’t go back to not noticing. Same with Plato’s cave: when you see the sun, theres no going back to the dark.

 

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Spelunking: noun -the exploration of caves, especially as a hobby.

I am certain that Before Philosophy 12 I had never heard of The Allegory of the Cave. Despite this, it seems like such a familiar concept and it has left me with a haunting sense of déjà vu over the past few days. This in turn has made me contemplate the way the cave appears in our society, my own level of enlightenment, and if there is a responsibility of the enlightened to enlighten others.

As we grow up we slowly move farther and farther out of the bottom of the cave, we become wiser, more independent and begin to develop our own beliefs. However, the enlightenment of growing up can only take us so far. I believe that at some point in our young adulthood we face a life altering experiences, be it good or bad, that either drives us back towards the shadows or further towards the light. I think these experiences can appear in any number of ways, from moving out on your own to the death of a close family member or friend, anything that is enough of a shock to make you question your life and beliefs up to that point.

The first time in my life when I felt enlightened was when I took part in the SHAD Program. It was the first time in my life I had been completely alone, away from home and people who knew me. I flew across Canada by myself not knowing exactly what to expect when I arrived. I was excited and scared but my month at SHAD was one of the best things I have ever experienced. I became friends with 47 other amazing youth from across Canada and gained a dozen enlightened mentors. Every day I was exposed to new ideas and possibilities on topics surrounding STEAM, leadership, business, and life in general. In addition to gaining a huge amount of awareness and wisdom, I was also pushed out of my comfort zone and constantly challenging my beliefs regarding my own strength and abilities. I find it really hard to explain the SHAD experience to people who haven’t taken part in the program but I can talk to people who have had their own SHAD experience for hours.

I believe that people that are able to leave the cave are the most successful. They are the innovators and leaders of the world because they are able to turn away from the shadows of the cave and into the light. Not only do they have the capacity to think outside of what is known and expected by society they also have the determination to pursue their ideas no matter the challenges they may face.

Right now I feel like I am near the opening of the cave attempting to turn my head towards the light, I can see flashes of the outside world from my peripheral vision but I can’t quite make sense of it yet. I want to turn my head I’m just not sure how to. I feel like there is more to life than I currently know and sometimes I think I come close to comprehending it but then it slips away. But I can’t help but wonder, if the cave is a spectrum, how far do you have to go before you are right up against the wall again? Until you are so intent on finding enlightenment that you are staring at shadows on a different wall of a new cave.

Another question raised by the class discussion on The Allegory of the Cave was “Are the enlightened obligated to show others the light?” If anything, I think that if you are enlightened you are morally obligated to enlighten others. This moral responsibility is similar to the one that falls on people trained in first aid when they are off duty. I am trained as a lifeguard and if I were to come across a first aid situation I would feel a responsibility to help even if there was a certain level of risk to my own safety. I can no longer relax when I am at the pool or the lake because I am acutely aware of the risk of drowning. However, I would rather be slightly anxious and have the ability to save someone’s life than be faced with an emergency and feel helpless. I think there is a certain level of burden that comes with being enlightened. Ignorance may be bliss but once you discover the truth I think most people would rather be troubled than return to their previous life of obliviousness. With this, I think there comes a desire to educate others and therefore a drive to enlighten anyone who will listen.

If The Allegory of the Cave is a metaphor for life, I still have many questions. How does one become truly enlightened? Do you even know when you are? Does the sheer fact that we are aware we are trapped in a cave make us enlightened? Who places the chains on us? How does one escape? And what is beyond the cave? Is it just another bigger brighter cave?

 

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Play-Doh and other philosophical things-Benedict Mendes

The concept of Plato’s cave just absolutely messes with my head. When I first looked at it, I thought “Wow those guys are dumb don’t they even know that those are just shadows??”, but really, in the same situation none of us would have thought differently to them. The concept that everything we’re seeing is not really in it’s true form and there is more there than meets the eye is kind of terrifying, because we believe all that we observe to be true, after all, “seeing is believing” -An Old Proverb from somewhere probably. Really, how are we to know that what is before us is real or not? We could be in some kind of simulation, just a creation of some higher singular/plural Thing made for amusement. I mean, personally I don’t blame them though because humans are petty and hilarious, but I digress. But in terms of my interaction with the concept of Plato’s cave, the concept of discovering a world you never knew, there’s one time in my life that comes along.

 

Picture me, at eight years old. My hair was blond, and I was smol and innocent and pure, and also had not yet moved to Canada. Now it’s a little weak to compare the natural ignorance of a small child to the huge concept that is Plato’s cave, but bear with me here. I was a well traveled child, I’d been to Europe and USA and all over South America, but for all those travels I had never actually seen snow. Okay, now imagine telling me, an eight year old living in South America who had never seen snow, that I was MOVING TO CANADA. I was HYPED. I immediately started vividly imagining how I would live. I would get along with the wild life and ride a moose and/or a polar bear to and from school everyday. My family and I would live in a cozy little igloo, our meals consisting purely of maple syrup and poutine. I would ski, or ice skate, everywhere as OBVIOUSLY there would be snow all year round. This was what I thought was actually going to happen, and for some reason no one really contested this misguided knowledge so I just continued happily believing whatever. Now, it was kind of an opposite thing to Plato’s cave, where instead of being amazed and confounded by what I found, it was more of a huge disappointment. When I landed in Toronto, the snow part of my fantasies was instantly fulfilled as it was the middle of March and extremely cold. Oh also I didn’t think it would be freezing for some reason. Now, the disappointment started when I did not see a SINGLE MOOSE OR POLAR BEAR for the entirety of the time when I was in Ontario. It was very anticlimactic really, I went out into the snow and just thought to myself “Wow it’s cold here this sucks” and continued to be disappointed from then on. But, poutine and maple syrup were certainly real things so I was excited to, for the first time ever, try these foreign foods for the very first time. To make a potentially long story short, I don’t like poutine and prefer Aunt Jemima to any kind of maple syrup, so needless to say I was yet again disappointed with this grand new world I was being introduced to. Of course, since then I have come to terms with my early on misjudgement and disappointment with Canada, and have come to realize it’s pretty great all around. But for eight year old me, it was like being led from the glorious outside into Plato’s Cave.

 

Since then I have of course discovered much more about this half-decent place called Canada, and I really love it here. My life here is more than it ever could have been back home, so really even though I was led into Plato’s Cave, I’ve made my own way out and learned to appreciate and be in awe of all that I have before me. And of course, as for my friends back in South America I do not hesitate to tell them of the glory of Canada.

 

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Old Souls Talk About Souls

If you remember from my last blog post, I am looking into the concept of spirits and souls. I was exploring the difference in the two terms, whether or not they exist, and theories of how they affect life (and afterlife). I found this lovely reference website that has allowed me to look into different theories. The soul is a very old concept, so in order to gain a deeper understanding of it I have to research ancient philosophers like Plato and Socrates.

One theory is known as the Phaedo’s Theory of the Soul. In around fifth century Greek culture, it was not a popular belief to view the soul as an immortal thing. People viewed it as more of a substance that could be dispersed or disintegrated like smoke once a person died. Plato had a different view, which he inscribed in the Phaedo. The Phaedo is a dialogue written by Plato. It is important to note that Plato was influenced by Socrates, his teacher, so his dialogues detail Socrates. Also, Cebes was a disciple of Socrates. This website details three argument presented about the immortality of the soul.

The Cyclical Argument: Essentially Socrates states that opposites (ex. small and large) balance each other. He states that being dead and being alive are opposites. In order to balance out these opposites, coming to life must balance out dying. Therefore, the soul must come back to life after death. There are difficulties with this theory, mainly about the how small and large are comparative words while dead and alive are contraries. People question whether his argument can be applied to these two different terms.

The Argument From Recollection: Cebes states that the soul’s immortality is supported by Socrates theory of Recollection. It says that our soul must exist before we are born because it is possible to answer questions that we did not appear to know the answer to, if you use the proper methods.

The Affinity Argument: In this argument, it is stated that there are two types of existences: the visible world that we perceive, and the invisible world of Forms that we can only access with our minds. The body belongs to the visible world, whereas the soul belongs to the invisible world.

There are other theories of the soul, most of which adapted or inspired from these original theories that I have talked about. For the purpose of this post I will not go into detail about the other theories, but you can read about them in the links provided.

I feel that I have a pretty good understanding of different views of the soul after research and discussion. I think I have answered most of my original questions, but this may be leading me towards different topics altogether, like consciousness, the paranormal, or religions (as some of my classmates have been studying). With so many different theories on the soul, I still wonder how these beliefs affect our daily lives. How does it affect my life? I will hopefully explore this during my “Phil’s Day Off” adventure, where I will search out an opportunity to grow a deeper understanding of this topic.

 

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The Bird’s Nest – Derek W.

Bird's Nest

In class so far, we’ve been discussing various aspects of our new unit: Aesthetics. All of us are now picking a piece of art and examining various aspects through an aesthetic lens.

After thinking about works of art worth blogging about, I finally settled on the Beijing National Stadium. This iconic building has been considered by the NY Times as “Intoxicating” in its beauty. Our question, however, is simply why?This is why Aesthetics has been intriguing for millennia and continues to be so today.

Just so we all know what I’m talking about, the Beijing National Stadium, or perhaps better known as the “Bird’s Nest” Stadium, was completed in 2008 for that year’s Olympics in Beijing.  The architectural design of the structure is the creation of Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron. The duo’s design submission was the winner of hundreds that had been systematically eliminated. Historically, nations have occasionally built facilities to host the Olympic Games, and often the design reflects the host nation itself. From Berlin’s ring of stone columns signifying the fascist regime of the time, to the transparent roofs of the Munich in 1972 signalling the growth of Western style society in Germany. Now it was China’s turn. The Beijing Olympics was an honour to China and thus was an occasion for the nation to show national pride as well as present itself as a generous and grand host. The nature of the space around the stadium was made to portray whatever was in the centre. The hill upon which the Beijing Stadium would be built would act as a pedestal to display another jewel in the architectural world. Construction on the project started in 2003 and suffered several setbacks but was ultimately completed in time for the opening ceremony.

Now that we understand the context, history, and authors behind the Bird’s nest, we can start to aptly examine its aesthetic value. Seeing as it has been one of the most memorable structures of the last decade there must be certain aspects that universally draw the mind’s wonder and respect. This evaluation based on predetermined principles is, in the world of aesthetics called the Normative approach. If Plato were to comment on this piece of structural art, he would most definitely comment on the representation of nature in the building. Shaped like a bird’s nest the stadium does have a connection to nature but not in the way that Plato would consider proper. Although inspired by the nest, the Stadium was never intended to represent realistically the bird’s nest. It is a stadium after all. Another normative appraisal of this structure is the sheer size and architectural skill that went into creating the global landmark. The stadium seats an impressive 80,000 people, down from 90,000 during the Olympic Games.  On another technical note, architects and artists alike would appreciate the construction of the supporting pillars around the stadium. Not clearly visible, the supports are blended with “Random Beams of Steel”, with each weighing a hefty 1000 tons. As a result, the supports are indistinguishable from the steel camouflage.  The effective organization of formal art elements and principles, as Clive Bell would say, certainly accounts for part of the Stadium’s aesthetic value.This skill in construction clearly deserves a Normative thumbs up from the aesthetics camp.

Beijing-Olympic-stadium     Now if we were consider the other side of the aesthetics camp, we would need to delve into the realm of descriptive aesthetic evaluation. In other words, what is it that makes the Bird’s Nest something more than a respectably organized heap of twisted steel? Well as philosophers in the descriptive camp such as Tolstoy, Dewey, and Croce, would say, it is the experience and ideas that one receives from the piece that makes it aesthetically pleasing. When we look at the Bird’s Nest, we can see symbols and things to be learnt and experienced. Looking at the monument it represents the growth and development of an old empire prospering in the modern world and thus is regarded with pride by many citizens of China. Also, we can see the cosmopolitan trend of our global society in the Swedish design, a trend that would have been unacceptable centuries prior. Finally, the Beijing National Stadium also continues and honors the tradition and spirit of the Olympic Games an age old event now held around the world. From the descriptive camp, the meaning behind the Bird’s Nest is what holds its Aesthetic Value.

Personally, I agree with the descriptive camp. For me I find I enjoy art the most when I can appreciate and gain insight into it. When I saw the Stadium for myself the camouflaged supports and interweaved steel did not impress me as much as what I found going through my head. Make of this landmark what you will, but it can be surely said that the Bird’s Nest is an Aesthetic gold mine.

 

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Curiosity – Emily

Plato’s Allegory of the Cave is a famous philosophical tale told to illustrate the philosophical way of thinking and how it can change us. What struck me most when we discussed the allegory was the why. I tried to imagine why and how such a thing could take place.

Curiosity. Isn’t that why experiments like the Stanford Prison and Milford Experiments happened? I always guessed these scientists and psychologists had some information or hypotheses about what people would do in such situations, but they went and conducted these experiments to learn more. Because they were curious.

So  I wondered: could something similar happen with Plato’s Cave? Could this possibly ever happen? With the Nuremburg Code, however, this is unlikely, but there have been experiments and more experiments before and supposedly since the Code was put in place. The David Reimer Experiment, MKULTRA, The Well of Despair and The Monster Experiment are all examples of experimentation that did not follow the Nuremburg Code and cause amounts of disgust and revulsion in many. In the Monster Experiment, groups of orphans were given specific feedback that affected them throughout the rest of their life.

The psychologists did this experiment to see the effects of positive and negative feedback. Those who had received the negative feedback on their fluency and speech imperfections had psychological issues and speech problems throughout the rest of their lives. Pardon me, but who are these scientists to do such a thing to a child, something that rests with them all their life?

The Allegory of the Cave is quite similar – from a young age, the participants or subjects would be forced to see only the shadows on the cave wall. When released, such an experience would surely affect them the rest of their lives, as did the negative speech therapy in the Monster Experiment. Some may argue, “But at least the kids in Monster actually got to experience life, even if they had speech impediments! The ones stuck watching shadows never got to do any of the things we do!”

This brings me around to Mariana’s and Kristina’s points: is ignorance bliss? If all you had ever known was the cave wall with the shadows, would you ever dream of there being more to life? Maybe you live watching shadows, or you’re the best or the fastest at identifying them. You might be the biggest fish in your little pond. Living in the cave with the shadows would be a completely different life, not one as we know. Perhaps living with the shadows in the cave is a far better existence and a more pleasurable and fulfilling life than we’ve ever known. We can’t know. Maybe you would have more time for introspection and thought. Or, what if you were freed and guided into living in modern society? I doubt you would take as many things for granted as we do today.

How would we find this out, other than putting some kids through this kind of existence? We’re curious. Maybe, there’s a small egoistic part of us that wants this experiment to happen – as long as it’s not to us – so we can find out a little about what it’s like.  It’s our curiosity that led us to learn so much thus far. And to me, that’s philosophy. Wondering. Thinking. Curiosity.

 

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Jennifer A: I Cry When I Do Math (and English, and Physics…)

I often cry when I do math. No, seriously. One second the problems seem straightforward and clear and I know exactly which formulas to use. The next, I’m faced with a jumble of numbers which present to me no way out of their trap. I feel inadequate. Slow. Dumb. And I can’t control my tears.

I found a boy just like me (minus the waterworks and a little more 2D) in a YouTube video showing Tim Wilson’s analysis of Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave.” He had fallen apart when he could not find the answer, but then he got back up again. He listened, he learned, and he succeeded.

When we encounter subjects that we feel we should already understand or be able to grasp faster, it is frustrating and disheartening, some may even say painful, to go on the long trek towards understanding that begins with the embarrassing acknowledgement that we have failed in our initial attempt. Still, we set off on the journey, because we are aware of the payoff. The harder something is to learn, the more satisfied and accomplished we feel when we have “mastered” it. Now, the next time we’re faced with the same sort of problem, we will have the ability to solve it and therefore increase our overall confidence.

It’s give and take. We must endure the frustration and unsatisfactory feeling that comes from entering a new realm of study in return for the happiness and pride that couples success. A perfect example of this?

I conquered my math provincial.

 

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Which way out of the cave? “What cave?” – Derek W.

Over the past few days in our classroom, there have been things going on that I feel don’t happen very often at our school. We’ve just gotten into Philosophy and the basics of it and the tip of the iceberg has already astonished me. I feel as though I have never thought before.

However, through the many things that we got a taste of, a select few really had me thinking late at night. I found myself thinking more and more about the ideas that I had never thought about before. Things that, if true, would tear and ruin the foundations of human knowledge and all we’ve ever known.

The most vivid thing I remember of my first few days in Philosophy was the word TRUTH. The capital T. I remember watching a video of Dr. West talking about Plato’s “Examined Life”. He touched on truth while presenting his reasoning and opinions and I started really liking the idea of a “Truth”.

Does she know the weight of those words?

Later in the last week, we began talking about the nature and foundations of human progress. First of all, we talked about scientific theories and the fact that they cannot be “proved” absolutely, but can be definitely disproved. The nature of our science is based on trial and error, and observations. We began to see that process itself cannot occur without previous work. Our class then started tracing the line of knowledge: blocks of information built on each other. Eventually we found that, however logical our theories and conclusions, they are all based upon the assumptions of truth. How can we base our knowledge on things that we cannot prove? How do I know that I am sitting in a chair typing on a laptop? There is always the possibility that what is happening to me right this instance is false. The possibility that my senses are faulty and that what I perceive this instant is artificial. To begin our quest for knowledge, we took must have assumed a constructed truth to work upon. We’ve become masters and experts of a contrived truth.

We may have built a grand palace on assumed foundations, but does this mean that what we have built is not a truth? Is there a better truth to be searching for? Yes: possible, but not plausible. The capital T truth that Dr. West talks about is something that could be at the end of any of the infinite lines of knowledge we could have assumed at our very conception. The beginnings of human knowledge must have made assumptions to ensure its survival. There was no other choice, our progress may be in vain but for us it is our truth.

Is our palace of knowledge simply just assumption?

As though in answer to the thoughts swirling around in my head, our class covered and discussed Plato’s Allegory of The Cave. If you aren’t familiar with this electrifying tale, take a look here. Within this story, the prisoners chained to face the wall have done what human knowledge has done. The prisoners have taken the shadows that dance upon the wall as reality and have assumed such. Within their assumed reality they cannot even imagine the working of the relative truth of the outside world. They in fact have become quite adept at discerning shadows and projections on the wall. So much so that, when a prisoner was freed and enlightened to the relative truth outside, the captive prisoners denounced him and his reality as ludicrous to them masters of discerning shadows. Plato’s cave, for me, really brought out and made tangible my scattered thoughts. For me, it brought acted as a keystone and solidified my previous nebulous ideas.

It was the scale of what philosophy impacted that really had me captivated. Sitting in philosophy trying to imagine what truth would be but ending up with more and more layers to be peeled back was like trying to imagine infinity. The moment you think what you’ve thought of might be close to it, you realize that it is literally infinitely larger than that. I can only wonder how many strains of subjective truth there are. Starting at square one, wherever that may have been, we must have assumed something and started in one direction. Was our primordial direction the one that leads to capital T truth? Maybe. Maybe not. I admit that we don’t know if what we see and think are just shadows on a wall or not. Is it still worth trying to work with shadows? Or should we abandon them and search for light? If so, how do we know our light is just a different way of looking at shadows? Should we even try?

Image Sources:
http://philosophy.talons43.ca/files/2012/09/tip_of_the_iceberg.jpg?w=300

http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/seek-truth.jpg

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/56/Karaweik-Palace.JPG

http://taicarmen.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/platos_cave_verysmall.jpg

 

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Links & Assorted Philosophical Collegiality from @DrGarcia


The last few days has seen the activity in #Philosophy12 expand across the Internet with the use of DS106 Radio, a user-maintained web-radio station I’ve been working and playing with for the last year and half, that has allowed our class readings and discussion to be shared with a wider audience and learning community.

No stranger to the #ds106radio airwaves and many a broadcast from the halls and auditoriums of our highschool, GNA Garcia has been an active listener and participant in the last two days’ discussions of Plato’s Allegory of the Caveand in the true spirit of open-online learning has become a teacher-learner-facilitator node in what I hope is beginning to form as a working blended learning network: a classroom supported by co-learners participating at a distance.

To this end, GNA has shared a host of links, videos (the one embedded above is from her) and readings to supplement our learning in the last few days, which I’ll share here so that those not yet immersed in the burgeoning twitterstream for the course can keep up.

A big thanks to GNA for her contributions this week and for (always!) listening along: we’re fortunate to have you as a part of our learning community!

 
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