Wednesday, April 20, 16. Introduction to Philosophy

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1 Introduction to Philosophy

2 In your notebooks answer the following questions: 1. Why am I here? (in terms of being in this course) 2. Why am I here? (in terms of existence) 3. Explain what the unexamined life is not worth living means to you. Examine your own life and create a bucket list of 5 short term goals for the next 4 years and 5 long term life goals. 4. What is philosophy?

3 What is Philosophy? The study of the questions that matter allowing people to become autonomous thinkers who are openminded in search for truth and enlightenment. Anyone can be a philosopher when they begin questioning the big questions, which eventually lead to the smaller questions.

4 Branches of Philosophy: LOGIC Study of reasoning and sound judgement. What is a valid argument? What is deductive reasoning? What is inductive reasoning? What are the fallacies?

5 METAPHYSICS Study which pertains to reality, or simply: the nature of things or the nature of existence. What is reality? What is personal reality? What is spiritual reality? What is the meaning of life? Do things have a fixed nature or do they change according to what man thinks, to whatever happens to be true at the time?

6 EPISTEMOLOGY Study that is devoted to the discovery of the proper methods of acquiring and validating knowledge. How do we obtain knowledge? How does one even know that one knows? How do we know that our brains aren t just floating in a vat, like in The Matrix? Is knowledge universal? What is knowledge anyway?

7 ETHICS Study that discovers and defines a code of values to guide our choices and actions - the choices and actions that determine the purpose and the course of one s life. Is it ok to kill, steal and cheat? Why not? What is justice? Who decides what is right and wrong?

8 SOCIAL & POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY Study that determines how man should treat other men and defines the principles of a proper social system. Social & Political Philosophy uses the answers given by ethics What is the ideal society?how should it be governed? Should capital punishment be allowed? What is distributive and retributive justice like today compared to the past? What is it like here vs. elsewhere? Is there a political science or just political philosophies?

9 AESTHETICS Study of art, which is based on metaphysics, epistemology and ethics. What kind of art is good? Is there such a thing as good or bad art? What is beauty? What is the role of art in society?

10 SOCRATES BCE Interestingly wrote nothing himself, but we get the idea from two of his students (Xenophon & Plato) "What makes a man sin is lack of knowledge." He saw his method of questioning as a way of pointing out false claims, and that only with hard work could true knowledge be acquired. Asked questions in the hopes of discovering the truth.

11 SIGNIFICANCE OF SOCRATES Concepts of rational, practical, and scientific ideas in the Socratic philosophers (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle) influenced the thinking and the governmental, religious, and educational institutions of the western world, setting the western philosophical agenda for the next years. Philosopher & Teacher *Devotion to ethics *Development of the Inductive Method *Linking Knowledge to Happiness *Rationalism

12 PLATO BCE All western philosophy since Plato has been merely a footnote of his ideas Founded the prototype of university. Young Athenians joined him in the research of science, mathematics, astronomy, and philosophy Studied as a student of Socrates Interested in ethics, metaphysics, knowledge, and the interpretation of human nature. Developed theories on politics and utopias in his text The Republic In The Republic Plato uses an analogy to illustrate his view of human experience & his theories of knowledge.

13 ARISTOTLE BCE All men possess by nature the desire to know Student at the "Academy", Plato's school. The star pupil. Respected his teacher Plato, but challenged his ideas on forms and his empirical approach. Did work in all the major fields, but was interested in metaphysics, ethics, and founded logic. Aristotle s philosophy is based on what is known through experience. One does not go outside the world of experience in order to know the meaning of universal concepts; we simply apply them within experience. Categorized the sciences (i.e., physics, psychology, economics) Gave us many terms that have dominated science and philosophy (i.e. energy, substance, essence, etc.)

14 Main Philosophical Periods Middle Ages: Medieval Period ( CE) * This period presented philosophical thinkers in logic, physics, theology and politics. * Main philosophers during this time include Arabic Islamic philosopher Averroes CE and Italian theologian Thomas Aquinas CE. Modern: Renaissance Period ( CE) *The Renaissance period showed a renewed interest in metaphysics and classical ideas. * Main philosophers during this time include Thomas Hobbes and French philosopher Rene Descartes known for I think therefore I am and the view that all beliefs are equally open to critical examination and challenge, and that none can claim absolute and permanent truth

15 Main Philosophical Periods Modern: Enlightenment Period ( CE) Main philosophers during this period include: * Thomas Hobbes and his theory on materialism * John Locke known for empiricism and his political philosophy * Immanuel Kant known for his theory the categorial imperative * Jeremy Bentham founder of modern utilitarianism

16 Modern: Contemporary Period (1900-present) * Deconstruction, existentialism, structuralism, and naturalism emerged as philosophies during this time. Began to include women and minorities. Main philosophers include: Sigmund Freud ( ) * Human nature Bertrand Russell ( ) * One of the main founders of analytic philosophy * "The Value of Philosophy" from - Problems of Philosophy (1912) Jean-Paul Sartre ( ) * Existence precedes essence...your essence is defined by your action Simone de Beauvoir ( ) * Great influence on Sartre * Feminist Main Philosophical Periods

17 How Philosophers Have Said It! The Importance of Language It is important to distinguish between first order and second order language. First Order: A caused B Second Order: What does it mean to say that A caused B? First Order: Second Order: Is it right to do this? What does it mean to say something is right?

18 The Importance of Language (con t) * Second order language is more general. It is used to clarify first order language, which refers to specifics. In doing so it also clarifies the thought that lies behind the language. * Philosophy is mainly concerned with second order language *May not be able to tell you if something is right or wrong, but will clarify the grounds in which you can make that decision for yourself.

19 Different Approaches Speculative: Tries to answer most ultimate questions such as what is reality? What is ultimate good? What is the total meaning of things? It makes sense of reality and experience. Analytical: Emphasis is on the analysis of language, definition, conceptual coherence, and evidence. Existential: Human beings are considered as concrete existing beings. The human existence and the meaning of life are the most important issues.

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