Category Archives: Uncategorized

nature vs nurture

When reading through chapter 1, the argument of nature vs. nurture appeared. Freud defines the id as everything that is innate, the nurture part. What is interesting is the addition of the ego in this argument. Freud believes that the ego is everything done to satisfy the id, or everything done to satiate innate needs. Freud’s definition of the super-ego is the most interesting. He states “The long period of childhood, during which the growing human being lives in dependence on his parents, leaves behind it as a precipitate the formation in his ego of a special agency in which this parental influence is prolonged. It has received the name of super-ego. In so far as this super-ego is differentiated from the ego or is opposed to it, it constitutes a third power which the ego must take into account.” The way I interpret this statement is that the personality of the child transitions from actions due to nature, to actions due to nurture, which I have never really thought about. Continue reading

The Power of the iDevice

Last week in class, we learned a lot about what constitutes power by definition and in terms of various power relations.  In Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, he states that power is “the multiplicity of force relations immanent in the sphere in which they constitute their own organization”(92).  Power itself can relate to the hierarchy of a boss to his employees or even the more traditional teacher-student scenario among others.  Whatever the case, it exhibits a relationship of inequalities in which one or multiple groups are below another in a system of the “ruler versus the ruled”(94).

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Curiosity and diversity

Upon watching a Ted Talk hosted by Ken Robinson, I was further convinced that the current form of education is broken and must be fixed. The current system implores the banking system, which Robinson would surely find ineffective. Robinson talks about the driving principals of human beings: diversity and curiosity.

When Robinson says diversity, he is referring to both humans and the education system. It is true that not all are alike, even within families. As a result, how can there only be one way of teaching? It is rare that the banking system fits perfectly for the learning style of a student, and even rarer that it works for all student. We must diversify the way that we teach students, as one method may be better for one student than the other. Continue reading

holistic learning

One of the most provocative idea presented in this text is early in chapter
system promote the process of critical thinking, as it now promotes the cramming of information.

Any study will show you that the retention rate for memorization vs. true understanding is vast. As I read this part of the text and the article, I thought of a commercial that aired a while ago. It
was a Sullivan tutoring commercial where it showed a kid shaking out his ears, and, instead of water flowing from them, it was knowledge seeping out. It then states a statistic that students lose 70% of the knowledge that they learned over the summer. Continue reading

The similarities between Dewey and Rousseau

Throughout the reading, I noticed many similarities in how children should be educated between Dewey and Rousseau. The idea of a child experiencing what he is learning is something that can help in the development of the child’s knowledge. However, Dewey believes that not all experiences are equally educative, and some experiences can even damage the child’s understanding. On page 25, Dewey states that “Any experience is mis-educative that has the effect of arresting or distorting the growth of further experience.”(25) Rousseasu has similar ideas regarding experience. Rousseau gives the example of the ice feeling hot on Emile’s lip and the seemingly broken stick in the water of how experiences that can deceive us. But, experiences can solidify one’s knowledge. When Rousseau takes Emile to observe the sun set and the sun rise, Emile is able to eventually understand the concept. This is a case where experience is beneficial to education.

Dewey believes that without the probable application of education to the real world, students become disinterested in the material. So, I believe that Dewey would appreciate the aspect of Emile’s education where Emile interacts with real objects, and uses prior knowledge to try and deduce a solution. An example of that would be Emile learning about magnetism. Rousseau and Emile would gather stones, some being magnetic, and see which ones stuck. Through this, Emile was able to apply knowledge in a real situation when they were at the fair. Emile became overjoyed about what he learned and was excited about education. Even though this eventually became an embarrassing situation, Rousseau was able to give Emile an engaging education on the topic.

Another similarity in ideals is that, both Rousseau and Dewey do not want students to learn when they have become bored. Dewey asks “How many came to associate the learning process with ennui and boredom?”(27) Rousseau clearly understands this notion, and it is clearly seen in the text that Rousseau gives Emile freedom, and, eventually Emile become interested in learning. Rousseau’s ability to create an enjoyable education process for Emile seems to be one of his curriculums strongest points.

Taking away the I

Kant argues that conscious is about the I think, while Hegel argues that conscious is constituted by the I. Julian Baggini, however, believes that there is no I in conscious, but just a  collection of experiences that are not connected. I listened to a Ted talk by Julian Baggini, and his argument against the I seems to fit perfectly with the essay that I wrote.

What if there is no I. We are merely jut a product of what we exposed to, or, as Baggini states, that we are a sum of our parts. But, isn’t it only logical that we see ourselves that way, since we see other items the same way. When you look at a mug, we don’t interpret it as something called a mug with a handle and a brim, but we interpret it as a whole. Thus, like how a cups characteristics defines the cup, so does our experience define us. This is seen in neurological studies where there is no part of the brain that brings our experiences together, or the I.

This may seem to be a scary sentiment, but when we really think about, it actually is very freeing. Firstly, saying that there is no I is not to say that we do not exist. The fact that there is no I shows that our experiences shape us, and it also shows that there is no one thing, the I, that defines us. We can create our own experiences, and, in a way, shape ourselves.

After reading philosopher’s works that emphasize some aspect of I, it was interesting to listen to someone that has a different opinion. Without the I, and the fact that wear shaped by our experiences, we are able to mold ourselves to be what we want to be without the restriction of I don’t like that or I don’t want to do that or deciding that the I is not fit for something. It is not to say that we can perfect what we experience, but it is more freeing to know that we are not bound to a single I, and the I’s characteristics. Baggini ends his talk with a quote:


“Well makers lead the water; fletchers bend the arrow; carpenters bend a log of wood; wise people fashion themselves.” –Dhammapada (verse 80)

So Descartes Walks Into a Bar…

I stumbled upon a philosophy joke a few weeks ago, and I think most people know this one already. The joke goes:

Rene Descartes walks into a bar and orders a drink. When he finishes his drink, the bartender asks him if he would like another. Descartes replies, “No, I think not,” and disappears in a puff of logic.

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Knowledge in Terms of Business

In my research for the blog, I came across an article titled “Knowledge is Our Comparative Advantage.” It really threw me a loop. The author of the article not only designates knowledge as an asset, an economic term referring to something either tangible or intangible that provides future benefit, but also emphasizes the shift from explicit knowledge to collective knowledge through the development of social media. In his short article, he completely changed the way in which I view knowledge in the context of the real world.

In the article, the author explains how knowledge is our comparative advantage as a species because unlike other animals, humans can accumulate knowledge and share it with each other. In the 1990’s, businessmen began to categorize knowledge as an asset, as it is a medium that can generate profit in both tangible and intangible forms. Suddenly, focus was set on capturing, saving, and sharing explicit knowledge. Many organizations worked to save information in large database repositories that stored masses amount of knowledge in the form of data. Next, researchers began to realize that the immense amount of knowledge embedded in people could best be shared through the opening of these databases to the public in the form of information sharing websites. Hence, the birth of Myspace, Twitter, and Facebook- social knowledge soundboards. These social networks allow for incredible amounts of information, or knowledge, to circulate globally and increase the amount of data open to the public. Only through the designation of knowledge as a communal asset was the era of social media made possible.

This is where I was completely shocked. I had never really thought about what Facebook really was. Of course I knew it was a site where people shared information about themselves with others, or their supposed “friends,” but I never really considered it as the repository of knowledge that it really is. Facebook and other social media sites are representative of the shift from explicit knowledge, information in databases, to explicit knowledge, or collective, dynamic knowledge. Social media is a way in which knowledge is accumulated and then shared with others, increasing the amount of information open to people. Facebook serves as much more than a website where people stay informed about their friends lives and keep updated on current trends; it symbolizes the shift from personal knowledge to communal knowledge.

Furthermore, even though I am pre-business and have taken Business Economics, I never considered knowledge as an intangible asset. It just never crossed my mind to place knowledge in an economic setting, and to think of it in terms of its implications in terms of financial statements. When I think of the author’s categorization of knowledge as an asset it makes complete and total sense, but by myself I don’t think I ever would have made that connection, or at least not until I had more experience in the business world and with financial statements more specifically.

In conclusion, I thought this article was fascinating for its explanation of knowledge’s role in a modern setting, such as in social media and business. Although the article was a bit long-winded and got a little to into the author’s connections in the business world, I found “Knowledge is Our Comparative Advantage” to be a great read in terms of the emphasis it places on the practical application of knowledge in the business world.

Loss of identity

In the novel 1984 by George Orwell, the citizens themselves are turning more into objects than they are humans. The citizens in this dystopia seem to lack what makes humans unique, our consciousness. I believe that having a conscious, but not being able to act on it is far more restricting, as one can recognize oneself not adhering to oneself. As a result, they have become mindless drones.

When Hegel describes sense knowledge as the poorest form of knowledge, he is describing an object. An object that has no conscious, and, therefore, no ability to act by itself. Only others may manipulate it. But, the citizens of the dystopia seem to act in a similar fashion. They are unable to make their own decisions, and can only act in ways that benefit the state. As a result, they have no choice but to adhere to exterior will, similar to how an object can only be moved by an exterior force. The citizens also have their identity given to them. From their job, to their home, the state has complete control over their lives. As a result, they have no room to form a personal identity. Hegel states “All that it says about what it knows is just that it is; and its truth contains nothing but the sheer being of the” (91). The state has somehow created citizens that fit this example. Since they have little personal identity, what they are is simply what they are. They are an entity that exists in this home, that does this function, etc. and that is all that is known of them. Essentially, the state has successfully created a state where citizens are more object than human.

In regards to how the state treats their citizens is not what Hegel would describe as an interaction between two conscious’. In order for self-consciousness to exist, one must recognize the other as a being of conscious. As Hegel states “Self-consciousness exists in and for itself when, and by the fact that, it so exists for another; that is, it exists only in being acknowledged. The Notion of this its Unity in its duplication.”(178) So, since the state does not acknowledge the conscious of its subjects, it has effectively rendered its subjects to have no consciousness to them.

The citizens of this dystopia lead an obviously miserable life. Their destiny is basically pre-determined, and their available actions are limited. As a result, I wonder which is better: To have a conscious but not being able to follow it, or just having no conscious at all.

recognition in context

The way that I interpreted Kant’s belief about observing known and unknown objects is that, known objects will cause one to subconsciously recognize it, requiring no new cognition. However, unknown objects need forms of cognition to perceive and understand the uses and identity of an object. Yet, I think that even if one is able to subconsciously recognize the object, one can still not know the identity and purpose of the object.

The way that we differentiate between objects and store them into our minds is through the objects characteristics. We look at a television and see that it is rectangular, the more modern one are flat, chords are running from the back of it, and it provides images. Hypothetically, if I were to look at a rectangle with chords running from the back of it that also provides images, I would assume that it was a T.V. But, these qualities are shared by a desktop monitor. Which is similar in all of these ways, as well as size. In this case, the two objects are not differentiable, if they were provided in an environment that does not appeal to one of the object’s inherent stigmas, as a desktop would normally be seen in an office setting, and a TV would be seen in a living room. Therefore, I do not think that one can subconsciously identify all objects known to him. There must be some subconscious decisions that require some cognitive input to achieve the identification of an object. If one were in a office building, they would initially think that I am in an office building, and, from that, if they were to see an object that has the similar characteristics of a television, they would not assume that it were a television, but a computer monitor. But this is achieved through the initial input that they are in an office.