Both Hegel and Freud venture to explain the consciousness and how we interpret our surroundings. In Freud’s piece, An Outline of Psycho-Analysis, he explains how we interact with internal and external events in terms of the id, ego, and super ego, while Hegel explains his ideas in Sense Certainty using the all-excompassing ‘I’. Continue reading →
Posted in Contemporary Philosophy, Experience, Knowledge
Tagged Alexia, Consciousness, ego, freud, hegel, I, id, sense certainty, super ego
In class, we have discussed phrase working adults often say to younger students, “Once you enter the real world…” (see cartoon below). This phrase has made us ponder, are we as students not part of the “real world”? What is the “real world”? What skills are required in the “real world”? In my attempt to understand what the “real world” is, I remembered an idea we studied in Anthropology 101 which was “liminality”. Continue reading →
In John Dewey’s Experience and Education, he mainly discusses his ideas regarding progressive versus traditional education and how they both relate to experience. One section I found interesting was on page 76, and I thought it might be interesting to compare this example to standardized testing or AP classes.
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In many classes I have taken, one topic that is often covered is the cave paintings at Lascaux. I have encountered these in numerous French classes, an anthropology course, and an art history course. They have always been interesting to me because in different classes they are interpreted differently. If you are unfamiliar with the caves and interested in a quick background I found a great page here and it is a pretty short read.
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One thing that has really shaped who I am as an individual was having the opportunity to play an instrument and be part of my school’s band. I started taking lessons at a young age and as I grew older I became more involved with marching band, concert band, and wind ensemble. Personally, I have found that music education has made me a better person, and you can find countless articles out there that explain why learning music is beneficial.
Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit is definitely one of the harder pieces we have read so far. However, reading it aloud in my room alone has helped me understand the gist of his arguments of Here, Now, and I. One thing I found interesting is that he uses the tree example, and this made me think of the common philosophical question “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to here it, does it still make a sound?” And I argue that if Hegel was asked this question, he would have said no. Continue reading →
Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason uses difficult language, and I found myself constantly referencing the introduction or making a quick google search to help guide me through this piece. One word that stuck out was “empirical” because I had seen it before in chemistry classes referring to the “empirical formula” of a compound. This piqued my curiosity and so I went searching for what this word was doing in a philosophical piece, because I had only seen it in a scientific context. Continue reading →
In Book VI of Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle delivers an intriguing example explaining the connection between practical knowledge and experience.
“This is why some who do not know, and especially those who have experience, are more practical than others who know; for if a man knew that light meats are digestible and wholesome, but did not know which sorts of meat are light, he would not produce health, but the man who knows that chicken is wholesome is more likely to produce health” (7, page 1802).
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After reading the dialogue from Plato’s Republic, I have found myself disagreeing with certain aspects of Socrates’ arguments. Particularly, Socrates makes claims about people that are black and white, but in reality people tend to exist in the grey area. Continue reading →
Write about the role of “perplexity” in learning or knowing (80a-d, 84a-c).
To summarize the two selected sections of Plato’s Meno, Meno begins by saying that Socrates has “baffled” him about what being good really means, and that he has “got no idea how to answer the question. And yet, damn it, [he’s] talked about ‘being a good man’ thousands of times” (80b). Then, in the next section, Socrates explains to Meno that baffling his slave by proposing a difficult geometry question was not intended to mistreat or mislead him, but rather guide him to the true answer.
The combination of these two passages leads to the “perplexity” in learning or knowing. In the geometry question, Meno’s slave thought he knew the answer, but with a few simple questions posed by Socrates, he was thrown into confusion and doubted what he previously thought he had known. So by baffling the slave, Socrates helped him realize, what he did not know, thus what he needed to learn. This is also echoed in Meno’s Paradox, “that it’s impossible to try to find out about anything – either what you know or what you don’t know” (80e). Exemplifying the first part of the paradox, the slave thought he knew the answer so there was no point in trying to find out anything more about the problem at hand. And for the second part of the paradox, before Socrates’ perplexed him with probing questions, he had no idea that there was anything wrong with his answer or there was a different method of obtaining the correct answer. Through perplexity he was able to dismiss what he thought he knew and get out of the paradox to learn the true answer.
I find that most students have a similar experience with the confusion of knowing and learning in science classes, specifically chemistry. In every chemistry class I have taken, the professor teaches students some property or rule that the students are expected to master. Then students fall under the assumption that they know the property and are content with the explanation given of why that property is true. But as students move on to later semesters and more advanced material, they get confused very quickly. I have had professors directly tell the class that a rule we have learned is actually untrue, or that the explanation is not as simple as we thought. This is often perplexing and, more recently, I thought I knew everything there was to know about significant figures, which are essentially rounding rules for numbers. But on my first day of analytical chemistry class, the professor told me the rules I had known from previous classes were false and I was confused so I had to learn how to arrive at the correct answer. In conclusion, chemistry students are constantly thrown into the perplexity of believing they know something, then entering a state of confusion in order to reveal what they do not know, so they learn something new, like Meno’s slave and Socrates.
Plato, Protagoras and Meno, Penguin, 2006. Trans. Beresford.