“Philosphy-ing” every day things


Yes, Philosophy-ing isn’t a word. But looking into the everyday things through a philosophical lense can be eye opening…

  • Stimulus material: Gregorian calendar
  • Description: On the wall of every single classroom, office, home, and room all around the world one can find a small checkered calendar with numbers attached to them. This calendar has nothing to do with the solar system or science or fact and is incredibly arbitrary. However, the whole world works with the assumption that everyone understand this calendar. Therefore, if our sense of time is fake, then so much of our identity is as well. The number of days you are alive, the time at which you complete any activity, and your life in general is all based around completely arbitrary concocted ‘time” that we all declare as fact. If time is arbitrary under the gregorian calendar, how real are we?
  • Area on the course syllabus


      1. Does memory make us “people”?


  • Philosophical concept


      1. Personhood


  • Question posed by stimulus


      1. Is our memory real even though it is attached to an arbitrary date?


  • Philosophical stances on this concept


      1. Memory responsible for identity (Locke)
      2. Memory as a wax, impressionable tablet (Plato)
      3. Memory is perfect (Descartes)


  • Preliminary argument


    1. Ask someone their birthday, they will recall a series of numbers from their memory bank. However, if we look at this philosophically this memory has very little meeting. Because the numbers have no meaning, it is impossible to declare that our memory does as well. This means that our memory has little meaning when it comes to time in terms of date, month, hour, or second, because all the time that we are gesturing to is arbitrary. Time was invented as a way to know where we are in the world, yet it was created by christians in the form of an honor to Christ. So if time is arbitrary, then so is our memories and therefore memory does not make us people.



  • Stimulus material: Pearson Baccalaureate History Textbook
  • Description: In order to complete the IB diploma (an international standard of knowledge and college preparedness) students all around the world must take a class that teaches history using this textbook. Unlike math or science, history is a class where there can be a great deal of difference in opinion. However, if tens of thousands of students worldwide are taught using one book with one set of facts, how are humans different and when challenges are facing them later on in life, how will they not all respond the same way because history in the past predicts all decisions on the future?
  • Area on the course syllabus


      1. What does it mean to choose?


  • Philosophical concept


      1. Free will


  • Question posed by stimulus


      1. Do we make our own decisions and what distinguishes us from one another?


  • Philosophical stances on this concept


      1. Mind is blank slate (Locke)
      2. Nature vs. Nurture (Hobbes)
      3. Nature vs. Nurture (Rousseau)


  • Preliminary argument


    1. Every student reading this textbook thinks that what they are reading is fact. However, history has many sides and cannot possibly be told from only one vantage point. This means that what the reader thought was fact that they were reading is actually closer to an opinion. This means that there is no free will because so many decisions are decided by our understanding of the past, and so if we all understand it the same then history will repeat itself, and so will all actions, without our ability to change the outcomes.



  • Stimulus material: Autoplay in the iPhone game “NBA Mobile Live”
  • Description: When playing the game NBA Mobile Live, you may place the game into autoplay while facing a computer programmed opponent. This allows your team to compete while not playing the game actively. When you search your team record, you can find a list of scores, suggesting that your team is 8-0, or 12-1 or 10-5. While your name is attached to this record, you may have not actively played a single minute of any of the games, meaning that a computer program is playing for something that I claim to be. When i search the list of other players, I see a similar record, while they too may have been sleeping while the computer was playing for them
  • Area on the course syllabus


      1. AI: Can AI be afforded personhood status?


  • Philosophical concept


      1. Artificial intelligence and personhood


  • Question posed by stimulus


      1. Where is the line drawn between people and computer and how do we know if human or computer has done the work?


  • Philosophical stances on this concept


      1. Artificial intelligence has to physically act like humans (the robot interview)
      2. AI has to have memory like humans (Google Program)
      3. AI has to communicate like humans (Facebook Program)


  • Preliminary argument


    1. I believe that because the computer plays like a person and the team is still driven with the same mission (score when on offense and prevent scoring on offence with the goal of ending up with more points than the opponent) then the computer can be attached to my name as though it was the person that did the work. For this example, there is no difference between the AI and person, and no way to know and no reason to care about whether a computer is playing for another team

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