Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course

By

Ashlee’s disorganised cluster of thoughts

You can often find me making metaphorical references to almost everything, as well as scolding my friends when they don’t make sustainable choices, such as putting plastic bottles in the garbage (shame on all of you who commit such sin). So when I was posed with the question, “What is philosophy”, my default mode went into comparing it to how a plastic bottle gets recycled. Philosophy is rather subjective and endless topic, and the question, “What is philosophy” is as challenging, so I decided to compare it to one of my most adored topics.

One of the first stages of recycling is when one starts with a fresh bottle of fluid, and of course, it will eventually disappear. This is much like how in philosophy, you start with a bright new topic and absorb all the knowledge you might need. One of the most fundamental stages of developing a personal theory is to ensure that you can create a strong, deductive argument with valid premises that leads to a true conclusion. In order to do this, it is a priority to absorb in all the relevant information and to practice prior research, yet, like mentioned in Talk with me by Nigel Warburton, the purpose of philosophy is not to become a human ambulant data bank, philosophy is beyond just pure information.                    

If you are a compassionate human being with a place in heart for sustainability, you are aware that plastic bottles belong to the recycling when empty. Subsequent to, it getting sorted according to its type and being chopped up into little fragments. This can be compared directly to how in philosophy; thoughts may be sorted into different people having different “answers”. Often times, those “answers” tend to branch out into smaller fragments to support its root. A key aspect of developing your personal theories is through conversation. It is a gateway to challenges, questions, and a chance to further polish any flaws in your premises. Like stated in Talk with me,

“Without conversation and challenge, philosophy very quickly lapses into the dead dogma”;

without conversation, there is no bone to philosophy, or any topics of that matter.                                                  

A personal favourite stage is when the once-plastic-bottle is cleaned and compressed into tiny pellets… to become an even newer plastic thing! Much like this stage, philosophy tends to greatly affect future outcomes. If knowledge is information you can learn and intake, wisdom is what you do with your past experiences, and personal theories can greatly influence that (Miles Kingston once said, “knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad”). Having the ability to develop your internal conflicts into perfecting your beliefs is an attribute I highly respect. I’m a huge believer that change is by choice, and that means that one’s mindset tends to influence their life the most; more than any external causes.                                                                                                                           

The question, “What is philosophy “makes me think, and it always will. I can only wish that my response to this question by the end of the semester is more strongly developed than it is now.  Although, the past week I definitely did conclude on the fact that philosophy is constantly being recycled; it’s endless. It’s beyond just knowledge, it’s about wisdom and human interactions. However, for now, all I can do is to think and to question myself; to perceive any opposition as challenge, and to be the creator of my life. As for now, I am still in the stage of drinking my delicious juice, aspiring to come across my plastic bottle again after it becomes a new one.   

pondering “what?”

 

 

By

Katie Crompton – Attempt at Communication (DOL #1)

These first couple weeks in Philosophy 12 have got me incredibly excited and thoroughly confused all at the same time. Coming into this class I had no idea what was coming my way. I was worried that my brain, which a lot of the time thinks of things as black or white, wouldn’t be cut out for this incredibly colourful course. After the first day, I realized one of the things I needed to do for me to be successful would be to stretch my mind and learn to be more open, which is much easier said than done.

img_2565

Image from The Art Studio NY Blog

  Our first few discussions really got me thinking about the isolation vs. communication debate. Communication is a huge part of our daily life. In our current society it is easier than ever to spark conversations with anyone at anytime, anywhere, which can be both a blessing and a curse. On the bright side, you can Skype with your cousins who live on the other side of the world, or you can message your best friend who moved to a different province last year. But on the not-so-bright side, there is that anonymous person on a Youtube video you put up who comments, “i h8 u” or your extremely conservative relatives posting anti-everything statuses on Facebook. Communication is something that everyone has to deal with in their daily lives, or is it? Is it better to hear other’s ideas or keep to your own? Does your mind thrive in isolation or when being social?

  Personally, I feel it is extremely important to speak with others and give people the opportunity to question you on your beliefs. This is something I am working on as I sometimes have a hard time expressing myself in fear that my opinions will be thought of as unimportant. One of my goals for this course is to become more open and not let myself fear sounding unintelligent. After all, you don’t know how much you know until someone challenges you and you have to explain yourself.

“Telling someone something he will not understand is pointless, even if you add he will not understand it” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Image from The Rock School

Image from The Rock School

  This quote got me thinking a lot about the connection between communication and wisdom. I have discovered through our class discussions and the essay Talk With Me by Nigel Warburton that wisdom isn’t knowing a bunch of useless facts that you can blurt out whenever you want to sound ‘smart’. It is having a wealth of knowledge that you are eager to share and discuss with others. Wisdom is also having the ability to see and understand other people’s opinions, though you may not fully agree with them.

  These discussions on communication and wisdom have really helped me realize how I learn and how I can grow as a person in this course. I am looking forward to hopefully letting my guard down and adding a little bit of colour into my black and white brain. It will be a challenge for me but I am excited to see what the next few months have in store.

 

By

Here, Have Some Wisdom!

Current Mood

Two weeks into Philosophy and I feel like I have an infinite amount of questions and no real answers. I came into this class expecting it to be a challenge as well as an opportunity for me to step outside my comfort zone and expand the way in which I interpret the world around me. I have the tendency to become engrossed by difficult questions and problems without a solution until I am able to find an answer. I am beginning to realize that this is not the case for philosophy and I need to be okay with the possibility of never finding an answer and not let it limit my thinking or stop me from asking questions.

One of the many question that has been bugging me lately is the very first questions we addressed in class what is wisdom? I don’t have a conclusive answer and in fact I have more and more questions on the topic every day. However, I currently believe wisdom is a collection of experiences, information and values that is built up over time by your nature and nurture. I also believe that there is nothing that we really know that has not been imprinted on us or shared by other people in our lives. This conclusion supports the idea that philosophy must therefore be “inherently social” as Nigel Warburton refers to it in his essay Talk with me. I believe that sharing information and experiences, or “wisdom”, amongst ourselves is the only way to begin to understand or strive for knowledge surrounding topics like the meaning of life.

I agree with Warburton on his points that philosophy should be a conversation and that philosophers need “an intelligent listener who could criticise and help [them] focus [their] thought.” I also think that the input from another person, with an entirely different perspective and set of experiences, not only adds value and perspective to a philosophical conversation but cannot be objectively replicated by any other means.

I also agree with John Stuart Mill* in terms of his ideas on the value of dissenters. It is very easy to gloss over flaws in your thinking when there is no one there to call you out on them. When conversing with someone of an opposing view point it actually allows a philosopher to strengthen their argument and increase their own clarity of understanding as they work to persuade the dissenter.

*Fun fact, John Stuart Mill was a white man born in 1806 and a feminist*

On the other hand, I don’t believe that philosophy must be a social practice all of the time. Warburton’s essay highlights a recurring pattern of great philosophers seeking out isolation in order to further develop their ideas and complete their written work. I think that there is a place for both heated debates and independent pondering and that taking time as a philosopher to sit with your thoughts is essential.

 

 

Another question posed in class that has resonated with me was what is school for? It was odd to really critically examine and question the motives of an institution that has been a significant part of my life for the past 12 years of my life. However, when it came to exploring educational philosophies, I wasn’t surprised that I agreed the most with progressivism. I consider myself lucky to have been in very progressive learning environments in the form of programs of choice from 6th to 10th grade and I believe they helped me become an autonomous and life-long learner. I really appreciate the progressive learning philosophy because I feel it helps students find and cultivate their strengths and passions in addition to preparing them for the real world. I strongly agree with the role of the teacher in a progressive classroom, as a guide for problem solving and scientific inquiry”. I believe that teaching students in a progressive environment is the best way to raise a generation of people capable of finding innovative solutions to societies increasingly complex problems.

 

In terms of my personal goals for philosophy, I am really interested in working to finding a mix of science and philosophy with which to approach big questions or problems. Although I am very scientific and left brained I also believe there are some things in life that just can’t be explained by science and that sometimes there are multiple correct answers. I am also excited about working to develop a personal philosophy and my own definition of a “good life”. As a grade 12 student, I’m approaching one of the most significant changes of my life to date. Within the next year I will be transitioning into adulthood and heading to university to start out on my own. I want to go into this new chapter with a strong personal philosophy and a defined “good life” to strive for. Most of all I would like expand my thinking ability by developing the skills necessary to conduct philosophical conversations and approach situations with an open mind.

Moving forward I am looking forward to discussing topics including intuition and coincidence, why some people don’t like bagpipes, and the effect of social media on philosophical discussions.

 

 

By

The Golden Ball

Philosophy can be seen as questioning the mere existence of reality, and this questioning goes beyond our material world. In the material world, reality is confined to “facts”, information and experiments that give us a false sense of reality and logic. Further more, this fascination the human brain has with the materialistic world may have its essence in the way we think, the way we think on the surface.Things we can understand that fit in with our experiments and laws that have been declared by sets of theories that have been only developing for only couple hundred years seems to give us comfort, a sense of security about this mysterious phenomenon we call life. On the contrary the human brain is so complex it also finds comfort in “abstract ideas”, such as theism and variety of dogmatic, ritualistic practices that give the illusion of an higher being, a deity that keeps you safe or destroys you with his wrathful will. A loving god that will take your soul to heaven, after you die. Death, A concept that has fascinated the human brain as far as the time our story began. Science argues that after death there’s no more existence as we know it. Our biological body decays as cellular death occurs. Does this mean our consciousness cease to exist as well? Or is there more to this phenomenon more than we can imagine. Philosophy, aims to ponder deeper into these thoughts. Is there a certain, ultimate answer? Probably not, as most of these abstract ideas such as the nature of self or how human consciousness really works ; create more questions that seem to have no answer. So? What’s the point of spending time and energy on philosophical ideas? If you would like to be believe the human race is even more fascinating than the way science perceive to be, then perfection of wisdom, pursue of enlightenment would be the path that you wouldn’t be able to wonder of another way. Philosophy is transcendental, it doesn’t favor different perspectives but the wise and the enlightened. Philosophy does not have facts to be discovered it doesn’t have information to live upon. Philosophy is a gateway to higher state of thinking and consciousness, where you can discover more about the very nature of human existence and more about you. Philosophy satisfies our fascination with mystery while having you guessing and questioning the idea of mystery it self. If knowledge is an ever expanding ocean of ideas that has existed and will exist in the future, than philosophy is a golden, glowing ball of fascination thrown into to the ocean of knowledge. It sinks and sinks to the very essence of the ocean. It doesn’t stay in the surface, for the surface of this ocean is visible. It is visible to the by standers whom have no idea how deep the ocean is. They are too stunned by the beauty of the ocean they see yet they refuse to acknowledge the dept of ocean. Praising the beauty of the ocean from the shallow end seem to be safer, it gives them comfort But the enlightened,he follows this golden ball of fascination deep into the ocean. As the ball goes deeper it sheds light upon the very darkness of the ocean of knowledge. The enlightened dives further, following the ever sinking ball. it gets darker and colder as he leaves familiar waters. As it gets darker, the ball still sheds light into the darkness, clearing a path for the man. Then he realizes, he finds comfort discovering the unknown. He realizes that the darkness will continue as the golden ball seem to shed more and more light as it sinks. This satisfies his curiosity, his craving for wisdom. Now that he’s deep in the ocean, he doesn’t see the purpose of admiring the beauty of the waves that hit the shallow shore, where people stand and watch. Does he keep following the golden glowing ball or does he go back to share what he has seen?

 

 

By

Jennifer: In My Opinion Spoken Word Poem

 
css.php