Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

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“She was asking for it” by Ashlee

After countless nights of pondering, and an infinite amount of research, the vital factor that really helped me solidify my topic was the conversation I had with my good friend, Ben (shout out to you!). The question, “What’s one topic that irks you? Without hesitation, my reflex answer was rape culture and its discriminatory traits. So, why do these thoughts occur? Where is the foundation of such beliefs? It’s time to dissect what has constantly been bothering me: why is there fear generating from the victims, when what’s been done had an absence of consent? Maybe a step by step analysis will help me (and whoever is reading) at least understand the root of such logic.

 

Premise #1: women dressed provocatively evoke men’s sexual urges

Premise #2: men cannot control their sexual urges

Conclusion: Therefore, men aren’t to blame for sexual assault

Let’s start with validity. The definition of a valid statement is a one that has a conclusion that follows from its premises. Considering such definition, the premises above technically lead to the final conclusion. The argument is structured, putting aside its lack of truth or consideration. If the way women dressed did provoke sexual arousal from men, and if men had a difficult time controlling such desire, then men shouldn’t be the ones to blame. It’s as simple as which party pried it out and which party has less control over their vulnerability. As much as I think it’s quite unprofessional to incorporate personal opinions into my work, I will! Personally, I value the “truth” part of a deductive argument more than its validity; anything can be valid because validity is mostly about its structure. For instance, the argument:

Premise #1: all dogs are astronauts

Premise #2: All astronauts are Spanish

Conclusion: Therefore, all dogs are Spanish

aw ye boi

With common sense, most people can detect that such argument is blatantly false (although, never take away a dog’s right to become an astronaut). The way that this argument is structured however, is completely valid. This example can be used to prove the importance of both aspects of an argument: validity and truth.

Let’s dissect the truth aspect of such argument:

The first premise that states, “ women dressed provocatively evoke men’s sexual urges” not only comes straight from the ancient prejudice of labelling men to be more aggressive and sexually active, but is false. This generalization is an attack to not only the reputation and characterization of men, but the safety of women (or any sexual assault victims).

The second premise, “men cannot control their sexual urges” is a biased cliché, and there are countless reasons as to why it isn’t factually correct, but let’s state some of the obvious. The real question here is, what is the difference between the sexual desire of a man versus a woman? The common belief that men have a stronger sexual longing than woman, to mark them as “the gender that has the uncontrollable crave to reproduce” is a myth. This myth exists due to the fact that men generally tend to place the emphasis on the outcome of the relation (in this case, sex), while most women might value the relationship, mood, or their partner more. Although this is also a societal image formed over a period of time. There is no solid answer as to how exactly specific genders feel about sex and the amount of control they have; it’s solely dependant on the person. Being aware that many studies have proven that in fact, men do have a stronger sex drive than women, that can never be an excuse to sexual assault. Everyone, no matter the gender, is entitled to a right to safety; it’s unfair for their rights to be taken away because of someone else’s lack of self-control. A more truer statement would be, “some people cannot control their sexual urges”.

With two false (and biased) premises, it’s impossible for the final conclusion to be sound. “Therefore, men aren’t to blame for sexual assault” is technically valid, but far from being factually correct, therefore, not a sound argument. After reading many articles, my ultimate conclusion was that the main cause of rape are the rapists. There might be a higher statistic in a certain cohort or a recurring similarity in sexual assault cases, but that does not change the fact that what potentially caused it was the mindset of the rapist.

It should never be okay to normalise rape culture. Although, the argument stated above, unfortunately is still the perception of some. I do not aspire to brainwash every single existing misogynist into considering gender equality, yet I do think it’s possible for me to get some people thinking, or at least myself. These things should infuriate us; one of the biggest benefits to such arguments is that it gets us thinking. I do not believe I am doing this “because I’m a woman”, but because violation against other’s rights should never be tolerated. Some might say that this argument is completely sound, but even being the frankly neutral and indecisive person I am, my answer to that is, and will stay in a strong disagreement. 

 

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Morality of Capital Punishment- Jessica Lewis

The argument i’ve chosen for the Truth,Validity and sound assignment is the video attached regarding Barack Obama’s opinion of the death penalty and the morality behind it. During the clip, a question asked directly to Alan Keys  from a reporter in the audience   brought up the topic of Christianity and how could a christian, ( Alan keys) Support the idea of death penalty and abortion. In the clip there are two arguments mentioned; Abortion and Capital punishment. For this assignment id like to highlight the argument for the death penalty.

 

“I believe that the death penalty is appropriate in certain circumstances. There are extraordinarily heinous crimes, terrorism, the harm of children, in which it may be appropriate. Obviously we’ve had some problems in this state, in the application of the death penalty and that’s why a moratorium was put in place and that’s why I was so proud to be one of the leaders in making sure that we overhauled it, death penalty system that was broken. For example, passing the first in the nation videotaping of interrogations and confessions in capital cases. We have to have this ultimate sanction for certain circumstances in which the entire community says this is beyond the pale.”

 

     – Barack Obama, 2004

 

Barack Obama’s argument of the death penalty  is factually correct and valid. Barack Obama’s argument is factually correct due to the facts he use to support his argument. During the argument Obama states how in the past the process of applying the death penalty has been broken and unfair, therefore he mentioned  of when interrogations for  capital cases used to  videotaped and how it affected the cases. Obama recognizes that the death penalty is an extreme punishment and reasons that the application of the death penalty needs to be fair which too is a fact. Obama goes forward to mention (1) The death penalty is acceptable under extreme circumstances, (2) in The past , the application of the death penalty hasn’t always been fair, therefor (3) We need to be collectively certain as a society that its the right decision.

 

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Infants Can Cry and I Can Write a Midterm – And Nothing May Be True

The mind gains knowledge through processing information in stimuli and internally rationalizing it. This I know to be true, but it cannot stand alone. Therefore, the following propositions must also be taken into account for us to all take this statement as true:

If the brain is a blank slate aside from instinctual qualities

And if those qualities include rational thought

And if knowledge does not have to be true to be known

As long as those statements are all true, then our final statement on how we gain knowledge also applies. Therefore, rather than prove my statement, we can prove the propositions that come before it, as the statement would logically follow as true.

The brain is a blank slate, aside from instinctual qualities.

This statement serves as two ideas in one, two ideas that would at face value contradict each other, but that can live in a balanced harmony to explain the brain and how it is. First, we can define what the blank slate is. Although cited in history many times, the theory was popularized in John Locke’s Essay Concerning Human Understanding.

The idea behind the Blank Slate theory is that at birth, an infant emerges with a mind blank of anything – thoughts, personality, instincts, and even the ability to process information. From there, processing, personality, thoughts, and all other basic brain functions are learned through sensory experience.

This theory obviously stands as undeniable pure empiricism, and because my statement does not, we are simply going to modify Locke’s theory as so many others have. Locke wrote his Essay Concerning Human Understanding in the late 1600’s, and by the late 1800’s Wilhelm Wundt had characterized all repeated human behaviour as human instinct, the most basic definition. From there, many psychologists and philosophers alike have toyed with the idea of instincts. For this statement, we’re going to use the criteria outlined in the book Instinct: An Enduring Problem in Psychology. The criteria go as followed:

To be considered instinctual, a behavior must:

a) be automatic
b) be irresistible
c) occur at some point in development
d) be triggered by some event in the environment
e) occur in every member of the species
f) be unmodifiable
g) govern behavior for which the organism needs no training (although the organism may profit from experience and to that degree the behavior is modifiable)

Warning for Baby Nudity

In layman’s terms, an instinct must be a behaviour that can occur in every human being when stimulated in a certain way, and it must be a behaviour that overrides reason and rational thought, therefore requiring no prior skill. Think fight or flight, a popularly cited and discussed human instinct. As for infant instincts, there are quite a few recorded that are cited by psychologists and parenting websites alike.

The instinctual qualities we are born with include rational thought

Once again, to answer this we must address and answer two things. The first is to define what rational thought is (and the purpose it plays in this statement on epistemology), and the second is to state that we are born with that rational thought.

Due to the nature of the word rational an the amount of people who have studied, defined, and warped it’s definition. this case, rational thought is the ability to process information, eg. rationalism, the theory that reasoning is the main source of our knowledge. Of course, because of our reliance on empiricism for the blank slate theory, we’ve reached a point here where rationalism and empiricism play an equal part in the gaining of knowledge.

With our definition of rational thought defined as the ability to process information through reasoning, we can safely assume infants are born with the ability to reason at the most basic levels. It’s undeniable that infants cry when they require attention, and in this case we can assume that the following basic reasoning is occurring.

“I’m hungry, so I will call for my mother.”
“My diaper is soiled, I will call for an adult.”
“Something has startled me, I will call for help.”

We can also apply the instinctual qualities earlier defined to rationalizing, further cementing the idea. Infant rationalizing is instant. For example, an infant will cry immediately after being started. It’s irresistible, babies cannot resist crying when they need help, unless serious trauma has rendered them silent. It occurs immediately at birth, a point in development. It is triggered by stimuli in the environment, such as fear, discomfort, and hunger. It occurs in all infants who are born healthy. It does not vary or change. And, finally, it does not need any prior training. In fact, quite the opposite, as most healthy infants come out into the world screaming.

Knowledge does not have to be true to be known.

This is perhaps the hardest statement to prove, if only because once we define knowledge and truth, we are left with something that still must be believed with perhaps a little bit of faith. Or, perhaps not, because even if it’s untrue it is known.

Either way, let us use the most literal dictionary definition of knowledge.

noun knowl·edge \ˈnä-lij\
: information, understanding, or skill that you get from experience or education
Although the dictionary is often not the best source for defining words in depth, in this case I’ve chosen the most basic definition for a very basic reason – this definition is the one most people recognize and ascribe to. Since humans have created language, humans can define language, and in this case knowledge is understood as information, understanding, and skills that are gained through experience.

As for truth… Well, truth is unknown. That is to say, there is no giant checklist that will say whether what we know is really a truth or not, and when so many things are either subjective or wholly based on perspective, we may never know. Because of that, humans have the potential to be knowledgeless if knowledge MUST be true to be known, so we will simply say that knowledge as potentially untrue is fair.

The mind gains knowledge through processing information in stimuli and internally rationalizing it.
Finally, we’ve gone through our propositional statements and defined them to the point where we can say that this statement is true.
The mind gains knowledge, (which does not need to be true,) through processing information in stimuli, (empiricism,) and internally rationalizing, (and instinct all humans are born with, and also rationalism) it.
With this statement, many (if not all,) schools of epistemology can argue their case. After all, as long as the stimuli is there and as long as the brain is functional enough to rationalize it, then it can be known. It can be known as competence and acquaintance, it can be argued as a true belief or not, it can serve itself to foundationalism or anti-foundationalism, and it can do almost any conceivable mixture of these schools.
 

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Experience An Essence

For centuries, philosophers have been arguing over what constitutes knowledge. I have an answer.

Proposition:  Knowledge is experiencing the essence of a truth.

How did I come to this conclusion?

If knowledge must be a personal experience
and if experience is a true event or stimulus that is perceived, understood, and remembered
and if truth is definite regardless of human thought
and if truths have an essence
then knowledge is experiencing the essence of a truth.

Experience

Experience is defined as a true event or stimulus that is perceived, understood, and remembered. What this means is that something external (outside of the mind which is experiencing) has stimulated the mind. The recognition that something is happening is the act of perceiving it. To understand it is done through the act of reasoning. We take in what we have sensed and make conclusions based on our senses. Note that our conclusions must be true for it to constitute knowledge. Finally the experience must be remembered, meaning that somewhere in the mind we must be able to think back to the experience or at least have affected the mind in some way.

The philosophical tool of using the senses to gain knowledge is known as empiricism. Extreme empiricists, such as Locke, rely only on their senses and do not believe that pure reason can lead to true knowledge. The opposite of this tool is known as rationalism which relies purely on reason to gain knowledge. Descartes was a famous rationalist. With my theory, knowledge must start empirically and have some element of reason in order to experience something.

Knowledge must be a personal experience. Now that experience has been defined, we can look into this next statement. For a person to have knowledge, that person must be the one with the knowledge. Sounds obvious, right? If Person A knows something, that does not necessarily mean that Person B knows the same thing. Knowledge is not a shared item, it must be known personally.

Truth

What can be defined as true? If you were to look it up in the dictionary, you would come across something along the lines of “in accordance to fact or reality”. Essentially what that is saying is that for a statement to be true, it must line up with what reality shows us. The tricky part about truth is that humans make mistakes. Humanity once thought it was true that the earth was flat. Just because they all believed it, doesn’t make it true. A truth is a truth even if no one in the world believes it or knows about it. If someone states, “there is no God,” then that statement will either be true or false. We may never be able to prove or disprove the statement, but that doesn’t mean that there is no certainty in an answer. Whether that person is right or wrong is the real question of truth.

Essence

Essence can be known as a property or group of properties of something without which it would not exist or be what it is. This definition makes essence almost sound like something that can be seen or observed, so allow me to explain a bit farther. An essence is the very core of something, the very being of what that thing is. When you hear the word sunshine, the feeling that comes over you when you think of sunshine is how you’ve experienced its essence. Its essence does not lie in the word itself, rather it lies in all the indescribable ways that thing exists. The very attempt of describing an essence takes away its essence and turns it into the human invention of language.

Therefore, to experience the essence of a truth means to personally perceive, understand, and remember how you experienced the very essence of something that is true.

The idea of essence ties into what is known as propositional knowledge. We can distinguish the difference between a statement and a proposition. Think of a proposition as being an idea or a concept. A statement is the way that is used to express the idea. The statement consists of words, grammar, and syllables, while the proposition is what is being represented by those words.

Essence = Proposition ≠ Statement

Synthesis

Knowledge is experiencing the essence of a truth. Knowledge cannot be passed on from person to person in a way that is impersonal or untrue. You can gain knowledge from another person if you are actively trying to perceive, understand, and remember what it is they are explaining, if what they are explaining is true, and if you experience the essence of what they are explaining. The fact that you have read this post does not mean you have knowledge of my theory of knowledge. To have the knowledge of my theory, you must experience the essence of what I am trying to explain. The language I am using to describe this theory cannot capture its essence, but if you come to the realization of what the essence of this theory is, then you will have gained knowledge.

If you would ever like to test this theory in a situation, I find it is helpful to lay out premises and find which are a matter of truth and which are a matter of propositional knowledge (essence). Here is an example:

Statement: The sun is bright

Premise 1: The sun exists (matter of truth)
Premise 2: The sun is bright (matter of truth)
Premise 3: You have internalized the essence of brightness and the essence of the sun (propositional knowledge)

With all premises being true, you can successfully say you have knowledge. Congratulations!

 

Images from 1, 2, 3, 4

 

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life is wonders

coming into philosophy class i had no idea what the word philosophy meant or what it was. after learning it was the study of our Morales, truths and “the way life works”, it came to my surprise that i seem to naturally wonder about life’s complex ways and can not seem to shake the curiosity of trying to find some new perspective on life we can say is “right” and feel good about living it.

i find people worry and reflect about their lives being “right” or ” correct” and repeat habits that they value as right or ways of life they are living just to feel like they are successful and happy. I can tell it is a mistake people make and they live lives of being unsatisfied and unhappy. Then they will criticize or judge another persons values based on if it is right or wrong, when who says if it is? who says you are so great? who says you are so bad?  But i truly believe we all find our own truths and integrate it with our own lives and values although we naturally can not help ourselves from being outspoken and sharing our vision with the world by sometimes even enforcing it. so it truly does not matter what your own “truth” is, and you should accept that others believe in a different truth that they will fight to the death for, like you would.Revolution-Fist

through “the cave” class discussion, it came to my attention that the “men locked up” actually had an easier and less emotional attachment to life, when the one who was exposed to the world and new ideas was trying to bring emotion and happiness to the others yet was shamed and killed. makes me wonder. free thought? That is what makes philosophy a never ending discussion is because there are so many visions and truths that are so strongly believed by each individual we would all be fighting till there was only one truth anyway, and there begs the question, is it better to have free thought like a philosopher, or just simply to live to another truth and not question it? which may result in feeling more complete, more at rest,  and less wondrous. are we as humans naturally supposed to have free thought? or are we suppose to learn a way of life and live it like the men in the cave?

with so many questions in mind, it makes me wonder if any of it even matters, would me finding out the answers of life change who i am? is it something i want to find out? does ANYTHING really matter or are we just atoms reacting with one another?! without driving myself crazy, i would sum up philosophy as the seeking knowledge of others and a perspective of their truth, which u could integrate into yours or throw in the nether of your brain, and that it doesn’t matter, i just have to worry about my perspective and accept others. it is NOT about finding a truth we should all learn and live by, that is what i call government.trut1

-Thomas Caya

 

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NSA Need Not Look Here

Edward Snowden, the whistleblower of the NSA, is arguably one of the better-known crusaders for privacy. When he talks, people listen, which is why Tech Crunch reports:

According to Edward Snowden, people who care about their privacy should stay away from popular consumer Internet services like Dropbox, Facebook, and Google.

Anthony Ha “Edward Snowden’s Privacy Tips: “Get Rid Of Dropbox,” Avoid Facebook And Google”

The argument is made that those who value privacy ought to stay away from popular consumer Internet services. The argument can be broken down into this:

  1. Premise: People who care about privacy take measures to ensure their privacy
  2. Premise: Popular internet services do not ensure the privacy of their users
  3. Conclusion: Therefore people who care about their privacy should stay away from popular consumer Internet services

First, to determine the soundness of Snowden’s argument, we must ensure that the arguments are true/accurate.

  • Premise 1 can be contested, though is mostly accepted.

  • Premise 2 can be contested. Popular Internet services may not have privacy as their highest concern, it may be argued that Internet services are not antagonistic to privacy. Companies like Dropbox actively encrypt files transferred from you to their servers, and are also encrypted while they rest on their servers as well.

Therefore, the flaw in Snowden’s logic lies in premise 2, stating that popular consumer internet services do not ensure the privacy of their users. Though the form of the argument may be valid, premise 2’s error in its contents damages the truth of its premises, and consequently the conclusion reached.

The reason why Snowden may have come to this conclusion is another argument in itself. Though his idea of ‘privacy’ may differ from those of a layman, he should be aware that not all popular consumer internet services disregard privacy, though many do. This misconception may have come from numerous sensationalist titles of news articles:

The Guardian – “Apple’s Tim Cook attacks Google and Facebook over privacy flaws”
BBC News – “Google urged to change privacy rules by data regulators”
Reuters – “German privacy watchdog tells Google to restrict use of data”
ABC News – “How Hackers Got Private Photos Without Ever Breaching Snapchat’s Servers”
Dailymail UK – “We’re not reading your email or your iMessages’: Apple boss Tim Cook hits out at privacy claims following iCloud hacks”

The links above are just a few examples of headlines denouncing popular consumer Internet services like Google, Facebook, and Snapchat so it’s very likely for people to assume that social media and Internet services don’t have peoples’ privacy in mind. However, because many of these companies’ backbones consist of users’ information, they put in place many privacy measures that users can utilize. Though not saints of any kind, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Snapchat servers themselves rarely get hacked. However, the average consumer does not put privacy as the highest concern, resulting in shared or week passwords for multiple accounts, or the usage of third-party apps resulting in privacy issues unconcerning the companies themselves.

Though Snowden brings up a good point that those concerned with privacy should be more vigilant when approaching social media and internet services, privacy is not always in the hands of the company that holds the information. Though hacks on servers are not unheard of, many times the user themselves are what cause privacy-related problems. And because of that, not all people concerned with privacy should stay away from popular consumer internet services.

 

 

 

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What Makes a Hero? | An introduction to the work of Joseph Campbell

From Wikipedia, here is an introduction beyond the components of the Monomyth presented in the video:

As a strong believer in the psychic unity of mankind and its poetic expression through mythology, Campbell made use of the concept to express the idea that the whole of the human race can be seen as engaged in the effort of making the world “transparent to transcendence” by showing that underneath the world of phenomena lies an eternal source which is constantly pouring its energies into this world of time, suffering, and ultimately death. To achieve this task one needs to speak about things that existed before and beyond words, a seemingly impossible task, the solution which lies in the metaphors found in myths. These were statements that pointed beyond themselves into the transcendent. The Hero’s Journey was that story of the man or woman who, through great suffering, reached an experience of the eternal source and returned with gifts powerful enough to set their society free. As this story spread through space and evolved through time, it was broken down into various local forms (masks), depending on the social structures and environmental pressures that existed for the culture that interpreted it. The basic structure, however, has remained relatively unchanged and can be classified using the various stages of a hero’s adventure through it, stages such as the Call to Adventure, Receiving Supernatural Aid, Meeting with the Goddess/Atonement with the Father and Return. These stages, as well as the symbols one encounters throughout the story, provide the necessary metaphors to express the spiritual truths the story is trying to convey.

I think there is an interesting overlapping with our recent reading about Nietzsche’s notion of Self-Styling, explained here by Cameron Afzal

Self-styling compliments a naturalistic outlook, it doesn’t destroy it. Art will not replace religion, but it can provide partial cures for the nausea we are exposed to in a world of honesty and nihilism. While it may seem to be opposed to naturalism, self-styling is indeed the most pragmatic way to balance aesthetic satisfaction and naturalistic affirmation without compromising a scientific perspective by purporting to represent the self and the world as they exists, only as we might imagine them to be. 

What do you think Nietzsche would make of Campbell’s Monomyth? Or Campbell of the idea of “self-styling”? Are these two sides of the same coin, so to speak?

 

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Epistemology Discussion: History of Knowledge 11.06.13

With pencast notes provided by Julie and the Livescribe pen.

 

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Scientific Philosophy Round Up

Soaring into the eye of the gods

Image courtesy of Gardner Campbell (and the Romans)

I thought it might be helpful to round up the Scientific Philosophy posts here so that we might be able to more easily delve into their contents in the future.

Screen shot 2013-10-08 at 1.11.57 PMHeather & Andrea’s Instrumentalism Prezi

Logical Positivism is an outdated, radical idea that started in the Vienna Circle as far back as the early 1800s. The main view that logical positivists held is that no statement is legitimate or meaningful until it can be proven true or false. In the minds of logical positivists, personal opinions and values only warps science, and it can only be objective through the scientific method. During or class discussion, with the help of a spectrum of ideologies such as instrumentalism and postmodernism, the majority of the class came to the conclusion that science is not objective. This agreement was based on the idea that science is about the process of which we come to a conclusion, rather than the conclusion itself. Logical positivists would disagree with this analogy, as they believe that science is about coming to a proven legitimate conclusion rather than the process.

Ashley, Jessica & Sophie on Logical Positivism

As a byproduct of the horrors of the Holocaust, a lost outlook on art, literature, and science arose rampant. From the works of Kurt Vonnegut to Jackson Pollock, a taste for confusion and abstract perspectives is obvious. After the war, in debt and longing for war, the ambiance was rather angsty… skeptical if you will.

The whole objective of science is to create an objective method to find an objective truth. However, how can one be continued objective in this world of context and personal bias. In the post modernist view, the world should be objective, looking and searching for a single truth… or a set of certain truths. But science is a way of thinking, in which no one can be objective. We have a set of lenses in which we choose what to search for. What can we tolerate? What do we need to discover?

Julie on Postmodernists’ Science

In science, a paradigm is a theory or set of thoughts that is widely accepted and practiced as the truth at that time. A paradigm shift is a total change in your set of view about a particular paradigm and it is most closely related to scientific progress but you could use it as a way to describe your own personal beliefs. We all exist in our own different paradigms. We all have our own personal beliefs on certain things and our outlook on the world is affected by those beliefs. And we can experience paradigm shifts in our own lives where our views on certain things are turned upside down. And as well, the scientific community and society exists in certain paradigms through out history at all. For example, right now we exist in the paradigm that landmasses are being moved constantly by continental plates. This is different from the old theory that the continents were always where they are. Thomas Kuhn believed that there are so many different paradigms going around, and that all the time they are changing, that there is no way that science can just settle on one of them. The existence of paradigms and paradigm shifts make it so that science isn’t just based on one total truth, but instead many different ideas of the truth.

Dylan, Katherine & Aidan on Kuhn’s Paradigms

Karl Popper stated very simply that science can only get as true as long as one cannot deem it false. This is his theory of falsification, regarding that in science, one can never reach 100% objectivity; that a scientific theory will infinitely approach this asymptotic mark we call truth. For example, Galileo disproving that our planet is the center of our solar system and Einstein redefining the method of which we consider the gravitational pulls among interstellar masses from Newtons original gravitational theory.

Although Popper nicely answers our question, which I do mostly agree with, I still remain persistent and a little disagreeing with the concept of science being nonobjective. With that, I went and searched for the definition of science, which states:  knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation (Note: this is only one definition, there are many, however they all float around the same vicinity). The thing about science is that it is used to create facts, with the least subjectivity as possible, and to distinguish these facts with the most accuracy as possible. In the out come, a fact is only one element, meaning, that even though many different people can view and consider the function of a box in many different ways, in the end, it is still cubic object and that doesn’t change. It will be the same shape for everyone, the only difference is other’s may name it differently and use it differently.

Lazar and Deven on Karl Popper & Scientific Objectivity

In one of my reports I was writing for Quebec called: La Condition postmoderne: Rapport sur le savoir (The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge) I simplify narratives of narratives that are called meta-narratives which are essentially big, universal theories and philosophies. The one I will be discussing is the meta-narrative of the knowability of everything by science.

The first question I have is why is this theory putting all of us under the same category? People in developing nations don’t have access to learning about science or performing science, or what we perceive to be science.  They survive and know how to survive, not by science, but by the need to live. This leads to the question: isn’t needing to survive a primal instinct? Isn’t it science? Well yes, but is it an objective truth? Do we know what the earliest humans were thinking? How do we really know what primal instincts are for everyone? There different for people in countries in African and they’re different for people living in Canada. I’m sure we could all come up with ideas and words that were said by the earliest humans, but we don’t know. However what we do know is that every word or idea we think is different than what another person thinks.

Aman’s Ghost Report 

Quine in lesser words basically said that it’s hard to find an exact definition of a word, so it becomes impossible to use as a basis for a hypothesis or a theory. Every word has a definition, but the it’s hard to know the exact definition of the word. For example,  a definition of a word is someone’s opinion and everyone’s opinion is unique; therefore there are many types of definitions for every word. The definitions are not correct nor incorrect because its an opinion and opinions vary for every individual.

Van Ormine Quine by Imtiaz, Leon & Tyler

Dear readers. My name Martin Heidegger and my work as a philosopher was instrumental in understanding postmodernism and their views on science. My book, Being and Time, is considered one of the most important philosophical works of the 20th century and my work is said to have played a crucial role in the development of existentialism, hermeneutics, deconstruction, postmodernism, and continental philosophy.

Is science objective: No, of course it is not.

Emily’s look at Martin Heidegger

I will update this post with quotes and links to both the Feminists’ view on Scientific Objectivity, as well as the Anarchistic Epistemologists, when they are posted.

 

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Playing God or Frontier of Science?

On February 23, 1997, Dolly the lamb was literally made. She is not the work of nature but of a man named Ian Wilmut and his team of scientists.  Dolly came into being as the genetic replica of an ewe, of whom she is a clone. When the bewildering news spread around the world, there was substantial debate over the issue as Dolly opened the doors for other types of cloning, including the possibility of cloning humans. Most concerns that were raised emphasized on the ethical issues, yet there are no clear answers to the questions. The Los Angeles Times opined that such a discovery” opens the door to a “blade Runner” world of human replicants. The Wall Street Journal asked business leaders and newsmakers whether they would like to have themselves cloned.

So, what is cloning exactly?

“Cloning is the creation of an individual that is a genetic replica of another individual. The process transfers a nucleus from a somatic nonreproductive cell into an “enucleated” fertilized egg, one that has had its own nucleus destroyed or removed. The genes in the transferred nucleus then direct the development of a complete organism from the altered fertilized egg. Two individuals who are clones have identical genes in their cell nuclei, but differ in characteristics that are acquired in other ways.” ~ Bookrags Research Article

For decades, cloning has caused ethical, moral and religious debates.  This controversial medical evolution brings about two points of view, either good or bad, there are no greys in between.

As cloning gives rise to an organism with the exact DNA as the original, the promising benefits that cloning may offer would be welcomed by those who suffer from immobilizing diseases, those that wish to save their loved ones or those suffering from infertility.  Just imagine, if you could clone the vital organs of humans and use them for transplantation, many lives could be saved with new organs.  There is no doubt that scientists with this new found science will get bolder; it would probably won’t come as a surprise that the world will try to clone influential people such as Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Martin Luther King Jr. so they can carry forward their legacies for generations after.

Cloning brings hope for those who are unable to have children.  People can just get themselves cloned and have a baby exactly like themselves.  With a little help from genetic engineering, “designer babies” are exact copies of the parents with some additional talents and looks; people can choose certain genetic traits (which Megan’s post further explains).  In addition to human cloning, plants and animals can be cloned as well.  If you have ever watched Jurassic Park, the scientists managed to recreate the entire species from the Lost World with a single strand of DNA.  Perhaps the world repopulated with clones of extinct animals isn’t such an absurd idea anymore.  Plants that are cloned can be modified with genetic engineering, thus providing more enhanced plants that features more than just the characteristics of the original. All these possibilities make cloning look like necessity to help save not only the human race, but also plants and animals.

However, with the good, comes the bad.  The idea of being able to use exactly compatible cells to save lives sounds like a beautiful vision…but is there a way to actualize this miracle without creating an embryo and killing its life?  Cloning, in a sense, is playing God; where we test the boundaries of the natural order of life. Many Christian ethicists argue that human cloning would “create substantial issues of identity and individuality.”  With two identical organisms living, people will lose uniqueness that is so accentuated in the society today.  Or let’s say the scientists recreate a different version of yourself, where the clone bears no negative traits of the original human.  It has the best physical features, the highest IQ possible, and the inhuman qualities that humans can only covet.  Wouldn’t you develop an inferiority complex if your own clone was better than you? What would if be like to live in the shadows of your clone when you are the original? Imperfections is what makes a human, a human.

There are also the individuals who want clones to meet their selfish motives.  If say a man is diagnosed with brain cancer, to clone another man to provide a compatible brain is for the benefit of the original; resulting in the death of the clone without the clone’s consent.  And how far does it go for a clone to demand his/her or even its rights?  Religiously, cloning is a denial of the basic aspect of reproduction, according to the Catholics, clones “lack a spirit and soul as it fails to go through the natural cycle of reproduction”.  Cloning is also highly ineffective: Dolly had taken 277 attempts and its life span was half of that of the original clone.

Though no one knows how human clones will effect the human identity and relationships, but can you imagine how the clone would feel to be called a copy of someone who is already existed and not someone who is unique? But ethically, it is already wrong to inflict harm to one’s feelings and confidence.

Human cloning seems to be an ambitious idea for the moment, but both sides of this issue are presented to you.  What’s your take?

http://www-hsc.usc.edu/~mbernste/ethics.cloninghumans.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolly_(sheep)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloning

https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/353-the-ethics-of-human-cloning

http://www.buzzle.com/articles/ethical-issues-of-cloning.html

 
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