All posts by Diego

Art from a different prospective

After watching the video explanation from the girl from Ipanema and going through the handouts,  taste for makers and knowledge, & the arts. I’ve completely changed my point of view towards the arts, and how they must be judged. I thought they had the sole purpose of having people give their opinion on whether they like it or not.

After the video, The Girl From Ipanema is a far weirder song than you thought I started seeing the arts from a different perspective.  Understanding that technical merit is different from personal taste. I  also realized that something that seems so simple can be made up in a very complex way making it wonderful. So to quote Paul Graham ” good design looks easy & is also simple. This takes me to my next piece of art by John Latham.

Figure 1

Full stop by John Latham, for years I saw pieces of art in museums where it all seemed so simple; I would see it and wonder, “why is it in a museum, anyone could do this”. But now looking at things from different points of view I see that there is more to it.

The spot was created by repeated action with a spray gun, its curve delineated using weighted sheets of newspaper cut to the correct shape and, as a result, traces of rectangular forms are faintly visible outside the circumference. The circle’s edges are blurred, particularly on the left side where a sprinkling of tiny and slightly larger dots emerges from the dense black of the large spot.

This made me rethink my position, seeing that although it seems simple in fact it’s hard to copy. I also read some of the comments about it and people described it as “a solar eclipse, a black hole or the negative of photographs of light reflecting off planets in the dark galaxy. ” Which also remarks on what Paul Graham suggests in taste for makers which is that good art resembles nature.  This all led me to the conclusion that even if I didn’t like at first, once you understand the merit behind it you grow to appreciate the merit behind it.


Figure 1: Full Stop 1961 John Latham 1921- 2006 Presented by Nicholas Logsdail and Lisson Gallery, London 2005

Economics as a Human Science

The term social science is appointed to any subject that refers to human behavior.

“A fundamental difference between human sciences and natural sciences is in the interpretation of the word “science”. The human sciences might be classified as science because they use the scientific method to test the validity and reliability of hypotheses. However, unlike the natural sciences, the phenomena they try to explain might not possess hard and fast laws that admit no exceptions. They might therefore resort to statistical methods to establish their findings, producing knowledge that is less reliable in terms of issuing predictions.”

This is why many believe that they shouldn’t be considered a science. They are open to so many false positives, for example in physiology. Where we’ve seen many professionals tamper with results. This has been an issue because in the hard sciences someone publishes an article about their experiment they could test it in any part of the world. And is a physiologist publishes an article where we monitored the behavior of 5 teenagers for 3 years. It would almost be impossible that someone would try to recreate the same experiment so the community chooses to believe in the results. This opens the opportunity for false results in all of the human sciences.

So Is economics really scientific? Or do they just call themselves scientific to increase their credibility? I believe that within all of the social sciences economics is one is not the most scientific. I think that this is because it uses the scientific method to predict changes is the economy that can or will be proven eventually. But at the same time I feel they do use the term scientific to increase their credibility.  To quote Mr.Gardner, at the beginning of the year he told us that if you gave the same problem to 5 different economist you would most likely get 5 different solutions to that same problem. So if there are many answers to the same problem, is that really Science?

History as an Area of Knowledge

Based on what I read and already knew I believe that history is an essential area of knowledge. History is one of the few AOK that is composed a hundred percent by all the ways of knowing. For it to be what it is it has to be formed by language, reason/ logic, emotions and even faith.

“History is an area of knowledge that studies the recorded past. It raises knowledge questions such as whether it is possible to talk meaningfully about a historical fact and what such a fact might be, or how far we can speak with certainty about anything in the past. Studying history also deepens our understanding of human behavior, as reflecting on the past can help us to make sense of the present.”

But this doesn’t mean it is perfect, since history can be so easily manipulated or biased. This is because to every story there are at least two different sides to it, which can make this biased. A example that I’ve seen during my school years is the Spanish colonization over Mexico. I learned in history that the Spanish came killed many people and even built catholic churches on top of mayan temples. I was taught that the Spanish were the bad ones in this story. But as I grew older I saw the same story from a Spanish standpoint where they came to revolutionize my country. My point with all this is that even when you are not telling a lie that may not be the hole truth. Which is why I think that history is not the most reliable AOK, but it is good to analyze human behavior. Some say say that history is for us to see what when wrong in the past for us to prevent doing the same mistakes in the future.


After reading this articles I believe that storytelling might be the most important “way of knowing”. This is because we as humans have learned to save all the important information as stories in our head.

Storytelling is how we know most of what we know—or think we know. The stories we are told, the stories we believe, and the stories we tell—both to ourselves and to each other—shape our view of reality; our ideas of good and bad, right and wrong, normal and strange; our most basic beliefs about what is true, and what is false.

Humans are the only animals that tell stories.

I found this really interesting because it is all true, there is a story behind everything. We create stories in our head about what we should or want to do. Just as the ones that we learned when we where little. And those stories are the same only more complex. A perfect example is in TV and I’m not talking only about the movies but the commercials and the news. Advertising has become a short story of why that product is the best you can get. Or in politics they sell the story of what they envision to accomplish. But the most interesting part is that we are sold in all this stories.

If students do not become adept readers of stories, how can they ever hope to analyse and respond to the stories that will be thrown at them all their lives by politicians, by governments, by marketers—not to mention friends, family members, and perfect strangers? Everything we think, everything we believe, everything we know takes the form of a story. If we hope to understand ourselves and others, we must understand stories.

I think that this is really important, because in our lives we are going to get million of stories thrown at us and if we are not able to understand them correctly we are going to end up gathering the wrong ideas. They say history is big story meant for us to understand the errors of the past to prevent repeating them in the future. But to do so we need more than the story, we need to be able to understand and analyze it in a proper way. And that is why storytelling is the most important way of knowing.


Emotions affect our daily life without us even knowing. They can create irrational behavior that could lead to poor decisions, but at the same time they are a source of knowledge. What I found the most interesting about chapter 6 was The James-Lange theory. 

The fact that primary emotions have typical facial expression associated with them suggests that there is a close connection between our emotions and our bodies.

I liked this part of the chapter because I believe that we all have some type of physical reaction to all six primary emotions. I think that it would be really interesting if we could identify these reactions as universal.

Are there universal moral values?

Based on all the handouts and discussions in class I’ve reached to conclusion in relation to this values. This is that I don’t believe that there are such things as universal moral values. Although I do think that there are universal ideas behind those values. Universal ideas like respect, loyalty, fairness, etc. This have changed throughout history shaping the values that seem correct in different moments time.

In a similar debate, I do not believe that it should be called a fact. This is because as I mentioned earlier this moral values have changed throughout time. And for it to be true it would to be true in any moment no matter what.

Meno part 4

Meno part 4:

In part four they have an encounter with Anytus and at first is seems as if he and Socrates have a same idea of the sophists, they talk about them being the worst. Further on Socrates tells Anytus that how can he hate them if he hasn’t met one of them, this confrontation causes Anytus to leave at the end of the chapter.

I found this chapter really interesting because Socrates expose the truth about Anytus and I happen to relate to it. The truth was that even without ever meeting a sophist he had hate. That use to happen to me with food, even though I had never tried it I hated it. And its something that we all experience and I liked the approach of it in the text.

Meno Part 5

Part 5

in part 5 Socrates makes his effort to discredit teachers as shown below.

“Well, can you name any other subject in which the professing teachers are not only refused recognition as teachers of others, but regarded as not even understanding it themselves, and indeed as inferior in the very quality of which they claim to be teachers; while those who are themselves recognized as men of worth and honor say at one time that it is teachable, and at another that it is not? When people are so confused about this or that matter, can you say they are teachers in any proper sense of the word?”

What Socrates tries to say in this paragraph is that the “teacher” aren’t actually teaching anything to their students. He suggests that they that only teach are taking advantage of those who know nothing.

Then they have a discussion about true opinion and knowledge.

“Hence true opinion is as good a guide to rightness of action as knowledge; and this is a point we omitted just now in our consideration of the nature of virtue, when we stated that knowledge is the only guide of right action; whereas we find there is also true opinion.”

I believe that Socrates was correct by saying that true opinion is and could be helpful but not as much as real knowledge.

Platoʼs ʻMenoʼ Part: 3

Part 3:

In part three Socrates and Meno take a different approach to the true definition of virtue. They ask themselves what could o could not be to form a hypothesis. This to me is an interesting way to approach the situation since you can form an idea what could possibly be what you’re seeking.

“In the same way with regard to our question about virtue, since we do not know either what it is or what kind of thing it may be, we had best make use of a hypothesis in considering whether it can be taught or not, as thus: what kind of thing must virtue be in the class of mental properties, so as to be teachable or not? In the first place, if it is something dissimilar or similar to knowledge, is it taught or not—or, as we were saying just now, remembered? Let us have no disputing about the choice of a name: is it taught? Or is not this fact plain to everyone—that the one and only thing taught to men is knowledge?”

Then in part three they asked a question to which I still don’t know if anyone has a true answer, they talked about men and if they were good by nature or by education.

“No, for then, I presume, we should have had this result: if good men were so by nature, we surely should have had men able to discern who of the young were good by nature, and on their pointing them out we should have taken them over and kept them safe in the citadel, having set our mark on them far rather than on our gold treasure, in order that none might have tampered with them, and that when they came to be of age, they might be useful to their country.”

And I don’t know if I fully agree with this I could argue that we are all good by nature or at birth  but our experiences and education it’s what can corrupt us of from us as “better” people.



Platoʼs ʻMenoʼ Part 2

Part 2:

Part two begins with the same approach as the first but it takes an interesting twist, first Socrates tells Meno that we don’t truly learn anything new but that we recollect information from our past life. And to prove his point he asks a boy with no education to help him solve a math problem.

“Now watch his progress in recollecting, by the proper use of memory. Tell me, boy, do you say we get the double space from the double line? The space I speak of is not long one way and short the other, but must be equal each way like this one, while being double its size—eight square feet. Now see if you still think we get this from a double length of line.”

After when he hit a slump in the road and couldn’t continue answering the problem Socrates decided to not give him the answer but let him learn by his own. Which I found interesting because Socrates had the opportunity to give him the answer but he didn’t. For this I believe he did the correct thing, since the kid can really learn more from asking questions other than getting answers.

“And we have certainly given him some assistance, it would seem, towards finding out the truth of the matter: for now he will push on in the search gladly, as lacking knowledge; whereas then he would have been only too ready to suppose he was right in saying, before any number of people any number of times, that the double space must have a line of double the length for its side.”

Platoʼs ʻMenoʼ

Part 1:

Blog post:

It all started with a simple question from Meno, he wanted to achieve Virtue. But he had the wrong idea, he would’ve ask anyone else he would probably had a simple answer. However we decided to go ask Socrates. The following:

“Can you tell me, Socrates, whether virtue can be taught, or is acquired by practice, not teaching? Or if neither by practice nor by learning, whether it comes to mankind by nature or in some other way?”

To which Socrates said he couldn’t answer without truly knowing what virtue is. This made me makes Meno question his knowledge about a subject he thought he knew. For which Socrates tries to argue that Meno’s believes of the true meaning of virtue were wrong. And that his idea of virtue being the ability to govern is not completely true.

“No, indeed, it would be unlikely, my excellent friend. And again, consider this further point: you say it is “to be able to govern”; shall we not add to that—“justly, not unjustly”?”

From this part I learned that we truly know nothing, or that at least some of the things we think we know can be rebutted by some simple questions