Introduction 1What does philosophy mean? -Everyone has a philosophy -We have ideas concerning things, people, the meaning of life, death, God, what is good and bad. -We may have certain attitudes to life, certain ways of looking at things. -For example: -I am an optimist. I can always see a positive side to most unhappy situations. -I don’t believe in worrying too much. I think about today. Tomorrow can take care of itself. -Although an individual claim this to be his philosophy and rightly so. But this is not philosophy as a discipline. It is too broad, vague, superficial, impersonal and unclear.
It does not adequately describe the work of a philosopher. -We need to define philosophy more specifically. 2The word “philosophy”. -The Word “Philosophy”. -Philia (love) + Sophia (wisdom) = the love of wisdom. 3Definitions of philosophy a. The study of the nature and meaning of the universe and of human life Online Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. b. Philosophy is a rational attempt to look at the world as a whole. 4What does philosophy seek to do? -Philosophy seeks to examine fundamental questions about the universe and about ourselves with the hope of coming up with consistent principles by which we can understand and live.
5Human beings have always sought answers to certain fundamental questions – What are these fundamental questions? -What makes an action write or wrong? -What is my purpose in the world? -What is truth? -What makes a good life? -Is God important in our lives? -Where does knowledge come from and how do we know that our knowledge is true. -What is the relationship between mind and body? 6Why do we need philosophy? Why do we need philosophy when we have science and technology? -We have advanced so much in science and technology -We live in cities, we have conquered the air and have ventured into space?
-Communication is so developed that distance no longer matters -We have immense power over nature -We are able to produce more goods and services than ever before -So, why do we still need philosophy? 7Yet all these advances cause us to be disturbed and anxious -There is a danger that the very technology we have developed could destroy us. -For example nuclear technology. -We seem to be unable to deal with the problems of war, famine, terror, distribution of wealth, pollution, the threatened extinction of wildlife, exploitation and oppression of the weak . -Knowledge and values appear to be divorced.
-This is where philosophy comes in. It helps us to examine our lives as individuals and groups. -Philosophy may not be able to provide solutions to all the world’s problems. But it helps to examine issues clearly, consider options and help us to make informed decisions. -With poor, incomplete and shallow reasoning we cannot build an enlightened society -If we are unable to distinguish between valid and invalid reasoning, then we become victims of persuasive orators, cult leaders and unscrupulous political leaders. -Philosophy helps us to see more deeply and clearly into an issue.
It helps us to question traditional and outdate beliefs so that we can make informed choices -Knowledge of ethical systems help us to live ethical lives at the personal and communitarian level. -Knowledge of what constitutes beauty helps us to appreciate and respect differences in individual and cultural concepts of beauty and art. -Being able to think critically will help us to be aware of any irrational and oppressive beliefs in religion. 8The traditional divisions of philosophy. a. Logic b. Metaphysics c. Epistemology d. Value Theory LOGIC aLogic.
-The systematic study of rules to distinguish or recognize good arguments from bad. -In an argument, groups will give opposing views. -How do we know which argument is good and which is not good. -Logic helps us to do so by providing rules to recognize right argument from wrong argument. -It is concerned with tests to find out which arguments are valid. -Logic runs through all the other branches of philosophy. METAPHYSICS -bMetaphysics The study of the nature of being and of the world. -It is concerned with the fundamental nature of all reality, both visible and invisible.
-It asks what reality is, why it is, and how we can understand it. Ontology That part of metaphysics that studies being or existence. EPISTEMOLOGY cEpistemology The study of the sources, nature and validity of knowledge. -It deals with issues like: -What are the sources of knowledge? (Origin of knowledge) -Where does genuine knowledge come from? -How do we know? -What is the nature of knowledge? (Appearance and reality) -Is there a real world outside the mind? -If so, can we know it? -Is our knowledge valid? (Truth/Verification) -How do we distinguish truth from error?
Two traditional schools of thought have sought to answer the questions above: -Rationalism -Human reason alone can discover the basic principles of the universe -Empiricism -All knowledge ultimately comes from sense experience, and therefore our knowledge is limited to what can be experienced. There is a relationship between metaphysics and epistemology. Our understanding of reality (metaphysics) depends on our understanding of what can be known (epistemology). Our theory of knowledge (epistemology) depends on how we understand ourselves in relation to the whole of reality (metaphysics).
VALUE THEORY dValue Theory The branch of philosophy that studies values. -It can be subdivided into ethics, aesthetics, and social and political philosophy. iethics: is concerned with morality; right or wrong behavior. -the three areas of ethics are : descriptive, normative and metaethics. -descriptive ethics (what is ) identifies motives, desire and intentions of human conduct and acts. It describes moral actions. -normative ethics (what ought to be) proposes the principles by which people ought to act and live. These are called ethical theories. – –
-Meta-ethics(analysis) on how we understand, know about, and what we mean when we talk about what is right and what is wrong. It deals with the meaning of key concepts, techniques of reasoning and analysis, and linguistic conventions It deals with matters like what do moral terms mean? What sort of mental state is involved in accepting a moral claim – a belief, an emotion? Is there any sort of moral reality or facts? Is ethical knowledge attainable? If so, how? In fact, drawing the conceptual distinction between Metaethics, Normative Ethics, and Applied Ethics is itself a “metaethical analysis.
” ii. Aestheticsis concerned with the theory of art and beauty. -Many philosophical problems in aesthetics involve critical judgements.? -It deals with concepts of concepts of beauty. Is beauty subjective or objective? iii. Social and political philosophyisconcerned with value judgments concerning society, the state and the individual’s relation to these institutions -It deals with issues like -Why should individuals live in society? -What should be the social ideals of liberty, rights, justice, equality and responsibility -Why should anyone obey any government?
-Why should some individuals or groups have political power over others -Who should have political power over others? -What should the scope of political power be? -What are the goals of government? Glossary 1philosophyphilia (love) + Sophia (wisdom) = the love of wisdom 2logicThe systematic study of rules to distinguish or recognize good arguments from bad 3metaphysicsThe study of the nature of being and of the world 4epistemologyThe study of the sources, nature and validity of knowledge 5value theoryThe branch of philosophy that studies values.
It can be subdivided into ethics, aesthetics, and social and political philosophy. 6rationalismHuman reason alone can discover the basic principles of the universe 7empiricismAll knowledge ultimately comes from sense experience, and therefore our knowledge is limited to what can be experienced 8aesthetics Is concerned with the theory of art and beauty.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 28 October 2016
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