Thoughts on Philosophy

Check back here for some articles related to historical philosophies and other esoteric ideas.


6/12/2018

Philosophy of Learning

The process of learning is certainly not as straightforward as it seems from its definition. Dictionary.com leads us to three interpretations.

Learning:

  1. knowledge acquired by systematic study in any field of scholarly application.
  2. the act or process of acquiring knowledge or skill.
  3. Psychologythe modification of behavior through practice, training, or experience.

Learning is the process of acquiring knowledge in a scholarly field. Learning is acquiring skills. Learning is a systematic approach for understanding our desires. However, learning is open ended. It has no bounds. Scholarly fields have bounds. Human skills have physical bounds. What are we learning when operate outside the bounds of the scholarly? Can we learn anything that is outside of our physical boundaries? And is it a bad thing for humans to be curious? Who places the bounds on curiosity? Is there an ideal human behavior? Where does learning end and wisdom begin?

Here’s what I think of these questions:

As learning approaches higher levels and scholarly works, it allows an individual to sort information according to accepted research. This is where philosophy and information collide. The collision creates the nebulous outline for the paradigm of scholarly research. Learning the bounds of scholarly paradigm is the nexus of philosophical study. Implicit in reaching the bounds of a paradigm is a passionate desire to go where no man has gone before. I don’t know that I’ll ever have a doctoral degree of any sort, but I do intend to go where no man has gone before. My curiosity sometimes leads me towards religion and other times towards chess, but through and through, its brought me onto a path where I can be of service to other humans. In this enlightened age -2018- so many paths are illuminated as ideal and its up to you to ensure your path stays illuminated as a symbol for others. This is where wisdom begins. Leave a trail of breadcrumbs for the next curious learner.

Wisdom:

  1. the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.
  2. scholarly knowledge or learning.
  3. wise sayings or teachings; precepts.

I hope this introduction to my mindset helps you learn about questions you have not asked yet. I hope I help you learn. I hope you find your burning desire. Go where no one has ever been.

Check out some of the following essays which led me toward my previous line of thinking.

At age 18, I worked at McDonalds, attended my senior year of high school, and enrolled in additional college courses. My strongest skill sets were math and science, and – in retrospect – these skills gave me the validation to pursue the study of chemistry and other physical sciences in college. In college, curiosity ultimately got the best of me. Without strong guidance, a learner like myself easily finds himself lost in the sea of knowledge. As I attempted to balance 4 hour chemistry labs with english literature and philosophy courses, I soon found that I spread myself far too thin. I was more passionate about philosophy and pulling meaning out of poetry than I was about measuring chemicals and using microscopes. I should have followed my passions. Instead, I compromised my desires and found hope within Environmental Science. I don’t have regret about the path I have taken. I am here, today, still on a path toward my ideal self. However, as you’ll learn through my writings, self validating ideas like (I’ll be successful if I do what other successful people did) have so much power that they must be handled wisely. Wisdom seldom shows its full self early in life; wait for your path to arrive. Patience is a virtue. These hold true and these give the greatest benefit to a youthful learner. If I were to give advice to someone in similar shoes as I had been in, it wouldn’t apply in the same way because I am now able to see how the world is constantly shifting and sliding. However, an 18 year old working at McDonalds in their senior year of high school with strong math and science skills likely have a far superior opportunity to understand computer science and reach scholarly bounds earliest. That’s a good path to start towards for the sprinting learner. And for the marathon learner, start reading. And don’t stop. Find a library and move in. Enjoy your espresso in moderation.

Cheers til next time!

P.S.

Check out my reflection on a philosophical reasoning course below:

Logic in the words we say and ideas we express is taken for granted but when studied and examined, logic is not nearly as intuitive as it should seem.  Both inductive and deductive reasoning are present in all of our thoughts whether we realize it or not. Now that I realize it, I may sometimes stop to think twice about what has been said during discussion and actually assess it with some sort of intellectual process.

The tools used in logic are very similar to those used in math. This course essentially opened my eyes to the connection logic pulls between language and math. Both language and math are subject to the rules of logic and therefore similar properties can be applied towards both. It makes me see why ancient philosophers were known as masters of many domains because all of the different domains are indeed connected.

However, today we seem to pull apart and differentiate all these domains because we see them as known and deciphered. It is when all the pieces are put together that we see the truth in the world and how the world really exists. Our education of the sciences is based upon a vast amount of knowledge deciphered inductively and collected endlessly. We accept the truth of this vast amount of knowledge because we have these logical systems that assure as that these are true. Logic is the check and balance system for science and our brains are preprogrammed to use this system with only some minor tweaks and upgrades along the way.

Inductive logic is our way of taking a ton of information, plugging it into an equation and assessing the answer. This is the same thing we do for math; we just use different symbols. In math we take numbers (which are symbolizing some other statistic or piece of information) and plug them into an equation and assess the result that the specific equation renders. This course has taught me the proper way to use the symbols towards arguments and what the symbols mean and how they can lead to conclusions.

Deductive logic is the way to assess logical relationships and the truth of the relationships. Knowledge is not gained nor lost in deductive reasoning, it is only found valid or invalid depending on the form of the argument and the truth contained in the original premises and conclusions.

Similarly to inductive logic, deductive reasoning uses symbols and specific forms with specified rules to assign truth-values to statements. Deductive arguments are simplified and generalized with symbols so that the content of the sentence does not confuse the analysis. The content of the sentence is irrelevant because the truth will remain when the original content is substituted back in. The truth is irrelevant if the form of the argument is not valid or is subject to a fallacy.

Overall, the complexity of the concepts discussed in this course oftentimes lead to vague discussions about mechanics. Philosophical reasoning is a vague subject matter in general, but I absolutely learned new ideas about the value of symbolization to represent ideas, simplify arguments and avoid redundant information.