The Age of Philosophy
The Age of Philosophy
The term philosophy was brought about from the ancient Greeks meaning “wisdom of love. ” The true nature behind this social science is to use reason and logic to fully understand certain things. It is the study of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially as an academic discipline. The question every philosopher wants answered is, “How do we know the knowledge that we do? ” There is a process they go through to help them understand this phenomenon. They first examine their own beliefs and find doubt within them.
Questions begin to emerge which causes them to analyze each question to a precise answer. They make reasoned arguments for their answers and begin to hear criticism from others. Through the judgment and criticism, they prove the rationality of their beliefs and find the fundamental truths to understand the phenomenon. When studying philosophy, asking a question is more fundamentally important than answering. Questions bring about skepticism, which brings up opposing views and Philosophy relies on rational argument to fully understand a concept.
Philosophy is said to have six main branches of thought embedded in it: metaphysics, which is the nature of reality and the universe, epistemology, which is the study of knowledge and how it is acquired, and logic, which is how to get a valid argument. There is also: ethics, which is the study of right and wrong and how people should live, politics, which is the study of government and citizen rights, and aesthetics, which is the artistic perception of a person or thing. Plato, Descartes, and Bell Hooks are three philosophers whose work is evolved around these concepts.
Their train of thought explains how each of these can have a part in real life; their works dive into the depths of each concept and allows them to generate a mindset of fundamental truths. Plato was amongst the earliest philosophers who were a student of Socrates. He was not only a philosopher, but a mathematician as well. He also was the founder of the Academy in Athens, Greece. Plato helped shaped and laid the foundations of Western philosophy. His dialogues have been used to teach many subjects, including philosophy, logic, ethics, and mathematics.
This philosopher used interplay of ethics and epistemology throughout the works of his that we studied. In his work , Crito, for instance he spoke on the subject of rationality. In this work, Socrates reminds Crito that his actions have followed certain reasons. This means that everything he has always done has been what his inquiries led him to do. He goes on to explain that he does not act on impulse, but by argument, because if he acted on impulse, he would throw away his past and he does not want to rationalize his escape. Socrates wanted to find a common ground with Crito so they could decide what to do together.
This can be called dialectical Rationality, which could be described as moving from what we do agree on, to what we didn’t agree on. Socrates wanted the situation to end where both he and Crito both were satisfied that the best thing was done. This ethical decision ties into epistemology, because this concept deals with things that must be proved by a justification, one that is brought on by the inquires of Crito. On the subject of metaphysics, Plato also argued that essences are mind-independent forms that humans can come to know by reason and by ignoring distractions.
He based his works off of essence, which is the set of attributes that make an object what it fundamentally is. The Allegory of the Cave is a good example of this, because it depicts the difference between appearance and reality. The shadows on the wall were just forms that he saw, but the reality was, there was a whole world beyond those shadows. Ethics, plays a role in this story as well, because the reality was the truth of the knowledge one is supposed to live by, as opposed to a life in the shadows.
The Father of Modern Philosophy, Rene Descartes, is a French philosopher that integrates a few of the six main branches of thought into his works. Aside from his philosophical works, he is known for developing the Cartesian coordinate system during his time as a mathematician. This system gave reference to points in space, allowed algebraic equations to be expressed as geometric shapes, and for shapes to be described as equations. From the philosophical standpoint, Descartes is widely known for his work, Meditations on First Philosophy.
In these six meditations, Descartes rejects all belief in things that he doesn’t know for certain and then tries to ascertain what he can know for sure. He gives an example of metaphysics when he talks about objective and formal reality in meditation three. He describes objective as the content or idea of an object. Formal has the meaning that the object actually exists in its own right. It is independent of being perceived. These two expressions speak of the general features of reality in terms of existence and objects and their properties.
Descartes also takes metaphysics into account when trying to discover who he is. He claims that eating, walking, and sight are not his attributes, but thinking is. He says that he exists, because he is a thinking thing. He says what he imagines may be false, but since he exists that which he imagines can’t be. Logic and Epistemology are seen when he involves the big “Reductio Ad Absurdum” in meditation two. He uses skepticism to justify and refute more skepticism. In meditation one he doubts everything, but he runs into absurdity in meditation two.
He can’t be deceived of existing if he has to exist to be deceived. He illustrates this concept when describing the ball of wax. The wax has certain qualities, such as, taste, smell, and color that we take very real. However, as it is taken near a fire, those qualities change, but the same piece of wax still remains. The true essence of the wax is what exists independently of our perceptions of it. It is about the substance underneath the qualities we perceive. We recognize the true essence of the wax through our intellect.
Our mind is what perceives the reality. Bell Hooks is the third and final author of my paper. She is not only an author, but a feminist and social activist as well. All of her writings are on the interconnectivity of race, capitalism and gender and how they have the ability to produce and perpetuate systems of oppression. She writes through a postmodern perspective and is well known for her book, Teaching to Transgress. This text enriches the concepts of ethics and politics in the philosophy definition. She pushes for a more holistic education in terms of ethic.
She believes teachers should teach not to just share information, but to share intellect that helps the students grow. Hooks says that learning is easier if the teacher “respects and cares for the soul of their students. ” Also in the ethic category would be her perception of authenticity and commitment in the classroom. Teachers should be committed to who they are and their well being. If a teacher has that overall stature and attitude, it will empower the students to learn more. Hooks also paid close attention to the eroticism in the classroom, as well as the emotion and feelings of students.
She believes having them aware of certain things will help them gain insight on important information that they may need in particular situations in their lives. Moving onto more of the political side of Bell Hook’s writing, she discusses when the schools became intergraded. Being a feminist, she believed that woman should have the same rights and opportunities as men. Hooks main discussion on integration was how the teachers were disrespected. She spoke on how the teachers should morally be treated as. Also from her political standpoint, she wanted to educate for liberation.
This meaning, she thought women should have the same educational rights as men. She thought women should have the right to become anything she wanted to be without being looked down upon about her gender. In this text, she stood on a platform for women’s progress, as well as, a platform for a more morally correct educational atmosphere. These three philosophers have different expressions of the six main branches of philosophy. Their works go beyond the norm to explain their personal views in a way that depicts the true essence of philosophy.
Their views study the nature and scope of knowledge and help us to explain the reality of how we know certain things. It also helps us to explain how rational arguments lead to a more, morally correct answer to any question. Philosophy has been a big subject to study over the years. It teaches life lessons that can be used by every individual. Bertrand Russell couldn’t have said it better in his quote, “To teach how to live without certainty and yet without being paralyzed by hesitation is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy, in our age, can do for those who study it. ”
University/College: University of California
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 28 October 2016
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