Introduction to Philosophy
Introduction to Philosophy
1. What are the main branches of philosophy? Do philosophers have the same answers to the same philosophical questions? Why? Philosophy is a way of thinking about the big questions in life, from the existence of men to its morality. It is an activity which sharpens our reason. The word was coined by Greeks , meaning “the love of wisdom”. Philosophy can be divided into six big issues it is interested with. * First, the question about the nature of the world and the existence of Men which is under the domain of Metaphysics or also called Ontology.
From the word “meta” which means beyond and “physics” which means physical it deals about beyond physical world- the spiritual. It also attempt to answer the ultimate reality of life, our reason of very existence, Who and what God is and, how everything relates to it. * Second, what are the right ways to think and build arguments which is under the field of Logic. It tries to distinguish the valid reasons from the fallacies. It also examines the different general forms that argument may take. It is primarily studied in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and science.
* Third, How do we know and how do we think we know which is under the area of Epistemology. From the Greek words ”episteme” which means knowledge and “logia” which means study, it basically deals on how do we acquire knowledge and what is the basis for true knowledge. * Fourth, Ethics which generally centers on the morality of our actions. It differentiates wrong from right and studies character’s actions based in his intentions. This field of Philosophy is vital and applied to other disciplines such as business, medicine, science, robotics, and education.
* Fifth, Issues about laws, liberty, rights, property and , politics fall under the Political Philosophy. It is also one of the sub-fields of Political Science. Its purpose is to lay bare the fundamental problems and concepts which frames the study of Politics. It also studies the great thinkers of the past which shapes politics such as Socrates, Plato, Adam Smith and Hobbes. * Lastly, Aesthetics which deals on what is beautiful. Mainly it tries to answer questions which deals in art- music, painting, poetry, and such.
It attempts to distinguish what is beautiful, what has taste, and what has artistic value. Philosophy can also be subdivided into three specific categories which are, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Language, and Philosophy of Science. These are branches which deal to questions their respective field of subject matters such as what exactly is a mind? how does language work? and Does science has responsibility to humanity? An Educator can ask a question to his students and would receive different responses . We can even expect complex answers to a simple question.
It is because people view things in different perspectives, have different degree of intelligence, exposed to different environment, influenced by different people and ideas, and have personal insights and experiences which differ from one person to another. People thoughts varies and no idea can be of an exact match of another. In my opinion, Humans’ mind are like his fingerprint, We all have our fingerprints but its design- the curves and lines is unique in each individual. There might be similarities in ideas between individuals but in some point they contradict.
For example, the two famous philosophers, John Locke and Thomas Hobbes both support the “Social Contract Theory” in which men enter a mutual agreement to surrender some of their liberty to authority in return of protection, both also, believe that men can exist without government and speak of its dangers in this kind of state-State of Nature. For Hobbes, the entire time that man is in a state of nature, he is in a state of war. He states that “if any two men cannot enjoy the same thing, they become enemies and in the way to their end…. endeavor to destroy or subdue one another” (Wootton, 158).
Locke too points out risks, saying that without the “law of nature” everyone may execute decisions, leading to a state of war (Wootton, 290). However, despite of the similarities, Locke believes that people enter to social contract to seek peace and avoid the fear of death and living in State of Nature is brutish and chaotic while Hobbes believes that State of Nature is important and do exist in some ways such as among governments and leaders. Locke’s view on State of Nature is pessimistic in contrast to Hobbes which he thinks has some potential benefits. Philosophers do not have the same answer to a certain question.
Each philosopher present different examples and take different stand on a certain idea. 2. Why has philosophy lost importance in the priorities of contemporary man? Philosophy had the paramount role during the ancient education. It created great and wise thinkers such as Socrates, Plato, and, Seneca and influenced bright minds such as Descartes, Adam Smith, and Karl Marx. Although the subject Philosophy is only introduce in higher level of studies in modern years, it diffuses its idea and being applied to core subjects such as mathematics, science, and language. Philosophy is still vital in learning until today.
The decreasing value given in philosophy arises in the way modern man receive and gather information. Core subjects like Science should teach us to Inquire, to Analyze, to Think, and to Search- which are roles of philosophy but, Educators and with the convenience at reach, Students are being spoon-fed with facts from books and other resource materials instead of encouraging them to explore. They are bound with rules and regulations without giving them a chance to ask why they should follow orders. Students fail to analyze things because most Educators present facts and inculcate it to them through rote memorization instead of validating it.
Learners learn facts but never learn to reason. They become man of knowledge but never become man of substance. The decreasing importance of philosophy in modern days is ascribed partly, to us Educators for failing to emphasize and apply its essence to the students. We teach the students to be dependent on the facts provided in books and internet, for we believe that it offers a vast amount of information forgetting that one’s mind can offer limitless insights on a certain topic. 3. Why should philosophy be restored to its former prominence in the priorities of contemporary man?
Philosophy is vital in man’s learning and improvement. Giving answers to man’s most perplexed questions or even to the simplest question that bother us gives us sense of satisfaction and purpose in life. In modern times, Philosophy is essential in choosing decisions that has impact on our future such as career path, religion, core beliefs, and even to work or business. Philosophy should never be undermine and be restricted to as a mere subject. It is a way of thinking and essential in making a wise decision hence, should be integrated in daily living. 4. How does western philosophy differ from the eastern?
In General, Western Philosophy promotes individualism and more interested in finding and validating the truth while Eastern Philosophy is more interested in finding the balance within one’s self in order to live in harmony with others and thus promoting collectivism. Also, East philosophy which emerged in China is spiritual in nature as opposed to West which starts from Greece is naturalistic and subject to research. Individualism of the West gives meaning to the worth a person as an individual. It gives stress on liberty and self-reliance. “Man is directly a natural being.
As a natural being and as a living natural being he is on the one hand endowed with natural powers, vital powers — he is an active natural being. These forces exist in him as tendencies and abilities — as instincts. On the other hand, as a natural, corporeal, sensuous objective being he is a suffering, conditioned and limited creature, like animals and plants. … A being which does not have its nature outside itself is not a natural being, and plays no part in the system of nature. A being which has no object outside itself is not an objective being. “ Marx, Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy in General (1844)
“Self-expression is individuality, and our individuality is our self, which ought to be our chief concern” Ernest Dimnet (1928) The Art of Thinking p. 250 “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. ” Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods (1854), chapter 18, p. 210. Collectivism of the East emphasizes the interdependence of individual among others. “If I am walking with two other men, each of them will serve as my teacher.
I will pick out the good points of the one and imitate them, and the bad points of the other and correct them in myself. ” “Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts? ” Confucius “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. ” “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. ” Lao Tzu “The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence. ” Rabindranath Tagore.
Subject: Thomas Hobbes,
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 28 October 2016
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