Tag Archives: experience

Discourse on Experience

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

Lesson Learned

In 1968, a third grade teacher named Jane Elliott decided to take an unconventional approach to teaching about inequality. She divided her students into brown-eyed and blue-eyed groups. Each day, she told one group they were more superior than the other. The children learned an important, enduring lesson over those two days about the injustice of discrimination, which was documented by PBS Frontline.

This approach allowed the children to learn directly from experience, a type of education our philosophers touted. Continue reading

Experience’s Affect Upon Society

“But there is another aspect of the matter. Experience does not go on simply inside a person. It does go on there, for it influences the formation of attitudes of desire and purpose. But this is not the whole of the story. Every genuine experience has an active side which changes in some degree the objective conditions under which experiences are had. The difference between civilization and savagery, to take an example on a large scale, is found in the degree in which previous experiences have changed the objective conditions under which subsequent experiences take place. The existence of roads, of means of rapid movement and transportation, tools, implements, furniture, electric light and power, are illustrations. Destroy the external conditions of present civilized experience, and for a time our experience would relapse into that of barbaric peoples” (15).

I found this quote very interesting for its exploration of experience in relation to civilization. In the first few sentences, Dewey claims that experience takes place within the person, as it “influences the formation of attitudes and desires” (15); however, he goes on to state that experience exists beyond the person. It is a genuine experience that can be either active or passive, changing based upon the degree of objectivity under which the experiences are had. Dewey claims that the difference between civilization and savagery is founded in the transformation previous experiences have had on the “objective conditions” (15) under which such experiences have taken place. According to him, the existence of tools are all “illustrations” (15). If we were to destroy the conditions of society, what we consider to be society would fade away.

In my Anthropology 101 class right now, we are learning about the four stages of civilization: bands, tribes, chiefdoms, and states. Therefore, this comparison between civilized experience and barbaric experience can be related to what we are discussing in the Anthropology lectures. Its really fascinating to be able to relate what I learn in Philosophy to what we are discussing in Anthropology.

I agree with Dewey in that I believe that experience is the basis upon which society progresses. Previous experience allows us to make more educated decisions and serves as the foundation for the obtainment of new knowledge. The external conditions created by experience make us view society a certain way because of the social values, norms, and objects that are part of it. Take away experience, and what makes a society a certain society fades away.

However, I do not agree with Dewey in that experience defines something as barbaric versus civilized. Just because we call something barbaric does not mean it actually is. Societies function differently and are composed of different norms and tools. These differences in lifestyle, etc. do not mean that a society is less developed than ours. So in the sense of differences in culture defining the level of society, I do not agree with Dewey. I think that experience is important in forming society, and progressing society forwarded, but not in defining a society as either developed or civilized.

Experience This

In the reading we were assigned for Monday, John Dewey put a lot of emphasis on the importance of experience in education. His connection between personal experience and education remind me of my first blog post, “To Practice or To Preach?”

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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.

Rousseau and Dewey on Education

While reading Experience and Education, I couldn’t help but notice how Dewey’s discussion of education directly connects to Rousseau’s discussion of raising a child. This comparison first became clear when Dewey began discussing the negative qualities and the consequences of habit formation when he stated, that some “experience[s]” may “generate” “habits,” which he suggests creates the “inability to control future experiences,” a similar stance to Rousseau (26). Continue reading

Duel Identity

I really hate the movie “Avatar” for several reasons. I recognize that it was a landmark in computer generated (CG) movies and that it looked pretty. But I also know that it was a boring story that manipulated emotions to make people root for one side using a combination of white guilt, forced romance, and the seemingly perfect Na’Vis. But, the story-line is something we see in fiction a lot. If you are part of two cultures, where you do you side with?

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Reflections of Sense-Certainty

Hegel’s concept of sense-certainty in Phenomenology of Spirit reminds me of many others concepts, including experience and embodied cognition (psychology). “Certainty as a connection is an immediate pure connection: consciousness is “I”, nothing more, a pure “This” (91), Hegel emphasizes the importance of direct connection to something in order to verify its own truth. For experience, we are sure that we see what actually happens. In Hegel’s terminology, we sense this “Now”, and our “I” confirm that the truth is “Here”. Beside experience, embodied cognition somewhat illustrates Hegel’s point.  Embodied cognition focuses on human behaviors and thoughts based on the environments. Let’s consider Hegel’s usage of the tree falling into the woods. The noise does not exist when there is no one around it, for we cannot certainly say that it is there without being there. One condition of hearing the truthful sound is being there in the woods. Our body has to show our mind that we hear (sense) the sound (certainty).

“But what has been, is not; I set aside the second truth, its having been, its supersession, and thereby negate the negation of the “Now”, and thus return the first assertion, that the “Now” is” (107) Does the truth change? Answer: Yes, it does. We experience and see changes every day. Our body changes in many small ways, and we can say that we are physically not the same person we were yesterday, or even a minute ago. Yet, there are many things that make up the truth of one thing as Hegel would argue. A truth is not simple, but contains many other things. For example, one person reads for five hours straight. What is the absolute truth? In this case, he tells himself that it is him cramming for his exam. His body (embodied cognition once again) assigns this intense condition as cramming for an exam. However, after the exam, he reads books for eight hours straight. Does it mean that he still studies according to his experience/embodied cognition? In a way, he does. In a way, he does not. The truth is not what it seems. Did you just read all I wrote? Are you sure that you did not imagine hearing what I just wrote?

Empirical Consciousness

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

Me, Myself, and I

Locke’s argument of identity and diversity made my head spin, simply because he examines it way more thoroughly than most people do. When I think of identity, I mostly define it as something that makes it who or what they are. However, Locke goes farther than that by describing in terms of existence; there is only one version of you, and every place and second that the state changes, that version of you is no more. It exists by itself. Even though you still continue to be “you,” those versions of you are only the diversity of your existence.

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