Archives for category: reason

Q1. Is languages more than words? Respond with reference to one of the activities completed in class in Week 1 or to AT LEAST two haiku.

Haiku can be found here (

Q2. Consider Mark Pagel’s argument about the evolution of language. Do you agree/disagree? Why?

Mark Pagel’s TED talk can be found here (

Q3. In your opinion, where does language come from? Is it innate or learned? Respond with reference to Noam Chomsky, Steven Pinker, and/or Daniel Everett.

Click through to find out more about Noam Chomsky (, Steven Pinker (, and Daniel Everett (

Q4. Evaluate the usefulness of Natural Semantic Metalanguage

Pages 464-469 in this resource will be helpful (

Q5. Does languages reflect or determine thought? Respond with reference to emotion or colour.

For more about colour, watch this documentary from 11:45 ( For more about emotion, read this journal article (

Q6. Does language express our identity or does it constitute it? Is our language just a reflection of who we are or does our language make us who we are? Respond with reference to endangered languages or translation.

Discover the magic of this website on endangered languages (

Q7. Edward Sapir said “Language is a symbolic guide to culture” and “Vocabulary is a very sensitive index of the culture of a people”. Do you agree/disagree? Why?

We’ve covered this pretty extensively in class, but consider all those words that are “not translatable”…

Q8. Should we fear or welcome netspeak? Why/why not?

For more information, click through to this article ( or this one (

Q9. Must language always change? Can we “protect” it? Keep it “pure”?

To find out more about L’Academie Francaise, read this article ( Alternatively, here’s a link through to an article about new words added to the Oxford English Dictionary (

Q10. Does censorship change thoughts? Why/why not? Respond with reference to scandals about censoring books that children read.

For more information, click through to this article ( or this one (

Q11. Can we “reclaim” words? Why/why not?

For more information, click through to this article ( or this one (


No seriously. He thinks that the mind can be reduced to a series of “mechanisms” that if we can deconstruct and look through their operations, then we’re all good. In his latest book, “Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking“, he goes through a load of these so-called “mechanisms”, trying to explain what they’re used for, why they came about, and how we can take advantage of them better. Interesting, no?

Read more:

the cat in the hatRemember back to your childhood with Dr Seuss and The Cat in the Hat. The cat comes from no where and throws two kids’ lives, Sally’s and Sam’s, into a crazy mess. Let’s read this philosophically though. Isn’t this actually a story about trust? Sally’s and Sam’s mother trusted them both not to let strangers in the house. Sally and Sam trusted the Cat enough to let it in and  do crazy things. I guess it’s also a story about responsibility, right? Who had responsibility? How do we give people responsibility?

But wait… it’s just The Cat in the Hat.
We’re over thinking it here, aren’t we?

You decide. Read more:


the-story-of-ferdinand-book-coverThis is all part of a greater initiative bringing philosophy into primary schools. After 7 weeks of philosophizing yourself, do you think trying to get philosophy in schools at a younger age is a good thing? (I’m in favour of it, but after all, I’m a philosophy teacher so it’s good for job prospects!)

Here’s another blog philsophizing one of my favourite picture books: The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf. I’ll bring it in if you’d all like to read it. It’s about a bull who like to smell flowers.

What the, yeah I know.

Check it out:


from the great folks at:


Roman Opalka was incredible. He spent a large part of his life writing numbers on canvases, from 1 to infinity. The last number he wrote before dying on August 6th, 2011 was more tha 5 500 000. The exact number was difficult to discover as Opalka wrote in increasingly lighter and lighter tones until he started painting white numbers on white canvases.

Opalka argued he was finding a way to conceptualize time, to reason what that thing really is that commands all of our lives.


Read more:

Poetry and philosophy… have severed themselves from life. In Greece, ideas went hand in hand with life; so that the artist’s life was already a poetic realization, the philosopher’s life a putting into action of his philosophy; in this way, both philosophy and poetry took part in life, instead of remaining unacquainted with each other, philosophy provided food for poetry, and poetry gave expression to philosophy. Nowadays beauty no longer acts; action no longer desires to be beautiful; and wisdom works in a sphere apart.

                                       From Andre Gide’s The Immoralist

Philosopher Julian Baggini fears that, as we learn more and more about the universe, scientists are becoming increasingly determined to stamp their mark on other disciplines. Here, he challenges theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss over ‘mission creep’ among his peers.

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M C Escher's Convex & Concave Lithograph, 1955