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René Descartes Essay

Philosophy begins as an art of wondering. This art of wondering, leads man into asking a number of questions about himself and the world around him. Variations in philosophical thoughts as result questions posed by man, help in modification of philosophy. The purpose of this essay therefore, is to do a comparative analysis of Sophie’s World by Josteen Gaarder with three philosophical texts: George Berkeley’s Treatise on Human Knowledge, John Locke’s Essay on Human Understanding and Rene Descartes’ Passions of the Soul.

We shall also show the roles of authors and texts in Philosophy. TREATISE ON HUMAN KNOWLEDGE VERSUS SOPHIE’S WORLD One of the outstanding efforts of Berkeley in this work was to show that the world exists as it does because of the ideas perceived by the mind of God and as such, existence of things depends on their perception through the senses. Likewise in Sophie’s World, Aristotle through his belief showed a similarity with Berkeley’s stance in this text Treatise of Human Understanding. For Aristotle, highest degree of reality is what we perceive with our senses.

Berkeley also said that existence is the state of being perceived by a perceiver, but on the contrary, Descartes in Sophie’s World believed that he exists because he thinks. It furthermore means that his existence depends on his ability to think. He used such words like cogito ergo sum (latin) and je pense, donc je suis (French) all meaning `I think therefore I am` to illuminate his thesis on this. Plato while stressing the sovereignty of reason in Sophie’s World said that the reason can only give us the true reality of things and as such contradicted the empiricist approach of Berkeley.

ESSAY ON HUMAN UNDERSTANDING VERSUS SOPHIE’S WORLD John Locke illuminated in this work that idea is derived from experience of sensation or reflection, just like it reflected in Sophie’s World in which his fellow empiricists likewise stressed the inevitability of experience as the source of true knowledge. David Hume in particular established that man has two types of perceptions, namely: impressions and ideas. By `impressions` he means the external sensations of reality. By `ideas` he means the recollections of such impressions.

Aristotle the trail blazer of empiricism, in alignment with the empiricists believed our reason to be completely empty until we have sensed something. John Locke in this book made an attempt to refute the notion of `innate ideas` by proving that it does not exist, whereas in Sophie’s World, philosopher like Plato believed in an innate idea, an external world of ideas outside of the natural world. Descartes even believed that the idea of God is innate. PASSIONS OF THE SOUL VERSUS SOPHIE’S WORLD

Descartes defined passions of the soul as a mental state or thought that arises as a direct result of brain activity and such passions can move us to action. He also suggested that one needs to learn to control one’s passions, for they can move one to perform vicious acts. Benedict Spinosa in Sophie’s World, suggested that we must free ourselves from our feelings and passions only then shall we find happiness. Conversely, also in Sophie’s World, the Epicureans through the teachings of Aristippus believed that the aim of life is to attain the highest possible pleasure or passions and by so doing, they contradict Descartes belief.

AN EYE ON THE ROLES OF AUTHORS AND TEXTS IN PHILOSOPHY Authors in philosophy play incredible roles in modification of philosophy through their texts. There various attempts to answer the underlying questions of nature and man have led to the developments of dialectical methods like thesis, antithesis and synthesis used in philosophy today. An eye on the three authors and philosophers: Descartes, Berkeley and Locke whose works where compared with Sophie’s World above showed the vital role they played in philosophy.

While Descartes was a rationalist, Berkeley and Locke were empiricists, but through their texts, they contributed in `epistemology` or theory of knowledge. CONCLUSION Having done these comparisons, we can see the successful deduction of similarities and differences between the Sophie’s World and three aforementioned philosophical texts. I attest that Sophie’s World is necessary philosophical paraphernalia needed by a neophyte in Philosophy as seen from its versatility in the course of this comparison done, and also how it covered aspects of history of Philosophy in such a sublime manner.

POPE JOHN PAUL II MAJOR SEMINARY OKPUNO, AWKA NAME: UMENABA BENJAMIN C COURSE: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY COURSE CODE: PHIL 101 REG NO: PJPS/NAU/013/O69 LECTURER: REV. FR DR. AUGUSTINE OBUROTA TOPIC:

A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF SOPHIE’S WORLD WITH THREE PHILOSOPHY TEXTS WITH AN EYE ON ROLES OF AUTHORS AND TEXTS IN PHILOSOPHY DATE: 28TH NOVEMBER, 2012 OUTLINES INTRODUCTION TREATISE ON HUMAN KNOWLEDGE VERSUS SOPHIE’S WORLD ESSAY ON HUMAN UNDERSTANDING VERSUS SOPHIE’S WORLD PASSIONS OF THE SOUL VERSUS SOPHIE’S WORLD AN EYE ON THE ROLES OF AUTHORS AND TEXTS IN PHILOSOPHY CONCLUSION.


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