Author Archives: Luke Roberts

Freudian Discourse on Nature v. Nurture


The classic argument on learning/experience: what has a bigger influence over an individual’s life, his genetics, or his up-bringing? In Sigmund Freud’s “Outline of Psychoanalysis”, he seems to favor the latter.

Within one’s brain, Freud feels that there is different “psychical agencies” that control ourselves. This includes the id, a primal desire that drives us to achieve basic urges; the super-ego, a sort of moral compass; and the ego, a development from the id that analyzes the simultaneous needs of the id, superego, and the stimuli of reality in order to synthesis choices.

In Chapter 1, Continue reading

Discourse on Experience

This will be a short blog compared to others, but it is a tho Continue reading

Media Overlo(rds)ad…

“Discourses produce knowledge and knowledge is always a weapon of power” (Storey130).

I was quite impressed with the way Storey wrote on the relationship between discourse and power. Power, although not defined within Storey, was defined in Michel Foucault’s “The History of Sexuality”. Power is not defined in terms of traditional physical domination, it is a force, much like wind currents, that cannot be pinpointed at any exact location, it moves from all angles to any common point. It does, however, seek to control in a form of categorizing (Storey130). With that in mind, it was interesting looking at the syllogism Storey used to explain the discourse-power relationship. If one examines the thoughts of sexuality in Victorian England that takes on the form of letters, works, paintings, medical texts, etc. one can see the overall opinion, or knowledge of sexuality. It is with this opinion that power is exerted over sexuality in Victorian English society, for the categorization of any thoughts or actions that bear resemblance to sexuality are then grouped, and society has a way of exerting control over its own thoughts.

In the way of education, this comes to be a limiting factor in acquiring knowledge. Paul Freire in his work, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” would certainly agree, as, “Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention” (Friere72). Categorizing no doubt would make it easier to teach subjects, as concepts with common topics will be grouped together such as the STEM programs (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The challenge lies in that these categorizations are only through the discourse at any given time, therefore knowledge and opinion in society at large are responsible for the education structure at any given time. What does that mean? It means that our education is contingent with the public opinion, therefore, could it be said that it is media that controls what we read and understand, since public opinion is transferred using mediums such as newspaper, reporters, radio, and any other such modes of communication?

It means that our education is contingent with the public opinion, therefore, could it be said that it is media that controls what we read and understand, since public opinion is transferred using mediums such as newspaper, reporters, radio, and any other such modes of communication?

It means that our education is contingent with the public opinion, therefore, could it be said that it is media that controls what we read and understand, since public opinion is transferred using mediums such as newspaper, reporters, radio, and any other such modes of communication?

Not an Isolated Case

Pedagogy of the Oppressed, by Paulo Freire explains the issue with education presently is the concept he explains as “banking”.  “Education thus becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor. Instead of communicating, the teacher issues communiqués and makes deposits which the students patiently receive…” (72). In other words, no one is really learning anything from education, for the teacher teaches subjects that are hollow and have no relevancy, and the students eagerly take it, trusting in the knowledge of the teacher.

The problem with Education, Freire explains, is the polarization between the student-teacher relationships. He draws from Hegel in the bottom of page 72, stating that, “…students, alien Continue reading

No Gods or Kings, Only Man

Upon entering the city, Rapture, "No Gods or Kings Only Man."

Upon entering the city, Rapture, “No Gods or Kings Only Man.”

“No Gods or Kings, only Man”

Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s work, “Emile, or On Education”, is a piece regarding his opinion on social institutions and how they affect the education of a person. Within the first sentences, he gives his two cents on the role of humans: “…everything degenerates in the hands of Man…” (37). He feels that there is a disparity between those who live in “…the abyss of the human species” (59), or, cities, are placed with a huge disadvantage to education when compared to those who live in the country. “Men are made not to be crowded in Continue reading

Is it Necessary?

I was laying in my bed, wide awake Saturday night, not wanting to get out, lying to myself that Spring Break would never end. I scrolled through the internet, looking through articles that seemed interesting. One of the articles, you can read here, was especially enticing. It explained the story of the alleged roommate of one of the internet’s most notorious owner of drug-trafficking. He lived essentially a double-life: he was a normal guy, graduated from UT Austin, lived comfortably in his house in San Francisco; but when he was behind the computer, he went took on the role of the DreadPIrateRoberts, founder and admin of Silk Road, an underground black-market that oversaw the exchange of illicit drugs and other paraphernalia. Ultimately, he was figured out and is under control by the FBI.  As stated in the article, it came as a shock to his roommate, his parents and now ex-girlfriend.

What I want to know is was it right for him to conceal, or lie in order for him to run his website? Since he was the head of the organization, I feel that he should take full blame for what he did, although lucrative, it was still illegal. I thought of Plato’s Republic, in which Plato described to Glaucon the Noble Lie, and that it was okay for government to lie to the people. In a way, I feel this might be the same case. He was the head of an organization, and in order to keep order in his life, created two identities for himself, one that he showed to the public, and the other behind the glow of the computer screen.

Any thoughts?

PhotoCredit to

PhotoCredit to

Proletariat=Modern-day Bondsman?

Hegel’s work on sense-certainty and the self-consciousness of others is a subject he is noted for in the scholarly world. The way he elaborates on his theories is similar to that of Plato, in which an extended metaphor is applied in order to make it easier to understand. In Hegel, the metaphor is placed between the relationships of a Bondsman to his Lord.

After reading the ending paragraphs of the section, it was almost obvious that I formed a relation to the metaphor of the bondsmen in Hegel, to the role of the proletariat in Marxist Theory.  In Hegel, the bon Continue reading

I Kant Understand This

Immanuel Kant’s writing is very difficult to understand, as many unfamiliar terms and stipulative definitions are made within the passage which is used throughout the piece. In “On The Original Synthetic Unity of Apperception”, new concepts or stipulative definitions are given in italics. From what I read, these seem to be the key concepts:

  • Intuition: Presentation that can be given prior to all thought(B132)
  • Pure Apperception: A spontaneous act of presentation  not belonging to sensibility(B132)
  • a priori: knowledge obtained without experience(introduction)


The passage itself is a foundational piece in which terms are defined and used in order to argue a higher claim.

This was a very hard read, although the introduction to the “Critique of Pure Reason” helped.

From what I read, Kant is influenced by the philosopher Hume(Introduction XIV), where Hume denies any sort of unity between the senses in the human mind, Kant disagrees, saying that, “…the unity of the mind is necessary, because without such unity there would be no cognition at all”(Introduction XIV). By knowing this, it could follow that he writes in support of the unity if senses, as he says that “All presentations given to me are subject to this unity, but they must also be brought under it through a synthesis” (B136). In this, Kant argues about the unity of senses, that they come together to synthesize, or create the things we know around us.

Who did it better?

An Essay concerning Human Understanding, by John Locke is an interesting piece. In chapter 27, he uses an analogy of atoms in order to explain his theory that no two things can exist in the same place.

“let us suppose an atom…if two or more atoms be joined together in the same mass, every one of those atoms will be the same…But if one of these atoms be taken away, or one new one added, it is no longer the same mass, or the same body”(Ch.27;3).

Locke uses scientific concepts in order to reinforce his theory of composition. However, this seems to relate with Plato’s Meno in which Socrates uses mathematics in order to drive his theory.

While different in theory(Socrates trying to prove education, Locke with understanding), they both employ some sort of quantitative medium in which to explain their points.  In regards to who I feel had a stronger analogy, let us analyze the examples. In Meno, Socrates uses a geometric shape with quantitative measurements in the form of numbers. Locke uses atomic theory in its infancy in order to push his point.

I am not saying that Plato’s argument is stronger or better than Locke’s, however in An Essay concerning Human Understanding, Locke employs concepts that were fairly new at the time of his writing, and therefore was not readily understood by everyone. Geometry and measurement has a longer history, with a much more far-reaching audience, explaining how the Slave knew some of what Socrates’ was explaining.

What’s the problem with education?

Book II of Plato’s Republic includes a conversation between Glaucon and Socrates, in an attempt to the get to the heart of what justice/injustice is. To accomplish this, Socrates leads Glaucon down the concept of a city, and tangents off into explaining things that a city needs not only to be healthy, but luxurious as well(373b).

On explaining the role of guardians in a city, Socrates go Continue reading