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Philosophy 1010 Class #2 Title: Introduction to Philosophy Instructor: Paul Dickey E-mail Address: [email protected] A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. ….. Ralph Waldo Emerson Assignment – Due Next Week: Logic Appendix 1.8 (Text, 9th edition. Please see class website -- www.quia.com.) Assign Class Leaders Complete the logic Homework Assignment also found on the Quia site. Philosophy Begins with Wonder! Wonder is an emotion comparable to surprise and awe that people feel when perceiving something rare or unexpected. It is the emotion or passion leading to philosophy and science. The feeling of wonder is the mark of the philosopher, for all philosophy has its origins in wonder. …. Plato Video Video What is Philosophy? • David Tanner, Group Leader Plato’s Myth of the Cave Plato’s Parable & “Doing Philosophy” The Diversity of Philosophy Questions? The Father of Western Philosophy • Socrates, 460-399 B. C. • Socrates' deserves credit for rigorous, ethical investigation. His conversations with his fellow Athenians are the first records we have of an individual, by careful reasoning, trying to discover the guiding principles of moral choices. • But be careful. There were many Greek thinkers (actually known as “The Pre-Socratics”) prior to Socrates who developed profound insights into the nature of the universe and man’s place in it. • Socrates built a reputation on questioning conventional beliefs, thus embodying the nature of philosophy itself. Plato c. 427-347 B. C. Plato is history's first great philosopher because, among other reasons, he provided the first set of answers to some of the largest and most difficult questions: What is the structure of reality? What can be known for certain? What is moral virtue? What is the nature of the ideal state? No philosopher before Plato had ever attempted such a wide and deep exploration of philosophical problems. The Allegory of the Cave Video Plato & the Allegory of the Cave • Plato was a student of Socrates. To better understand what philosophy is, he describes the nature of philosophy in the Allegory of the Cave. • Plato compares the state of man’s ignorance to living at the bottom of an underground cave chained so that such men cannot move. All they see are shadows created by a fire behind them. • Through this symbolism, he then describes the act of philosophy which he likens to the prisoners being freed from their chains. • Plato is suggesting to us that this process is the “ascent of the mind into the domain of true knowledge.” Plato suggests that the aim of philosophy is freedom from unwarranted belief. So How Should We DO Philosophy? Not “just anything goes!” Philosophy is guided by the commitment to careful reasoning which is “playing by the rules.” Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop ... The Matrix / The Allegory of the Cave The Matrix Trailer Video Ten Minute Break! The Traditional Divisions of Philosophy • Jeremy Baldwin, Group Leader Epistemology Metaphysics Ethics Is that all there is? Questions? What Are the Major Fields of Philosophy? WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! (or rather, in contrast to other areas of study such as biology where biology studies a particular domain, Philosophy does not necessarily have agreed upon assumptions that it can rely on to define any domain of study. Thus, metaphysics is more accurately “a collection of questions that seem to group together about what is real and what reality is like.” NOTE: Biology is the study of life or living matter in all its forms and phenomena. To do biology, scientists thus must work with an agreed upon view of what is life. What Are the Major Fields of Philosophy? 1. Epistemology is “the study of knowledge.” (or rather….) What is the structure, reliability and kinds of knowledge we have? What is the meaning of truth? Is scientific knowledge different than other forms of knowledge? Is the nature of knowledge different based on gender? In general, philosophers have explained knowledge in two ways. Empiricists argue that all knowledge begins with the senses. Rationalists argue that is possible for the mind, independently of the senses, to gain knowledge. What Are the Major Fields of Philosophy? 2. Metaphysics is “the study of reality or existence.” Does God Exist? What is the nature of the universe? Does man have a soul? If so, is it immortal? Are humans free to choose for themselves, or are all human acts determined? Monism Monism is the view that all of reality is one kind of thing. If, for example, you believe that all of reality is matter, or that God is the only reality, then you are a monist. Typically, most monists are materialists. (But not all!) In other words, they believe that the single unifying feature of reality is matter. Holding this view, materialistic monists argue that there is no God, Heaven, Hell, soul, or any other "spiritual" part of reality. Dualism Dualism is the view that all of reality is divided into two kinds of things. Thus, if you believe that all of reality is divided between the realm of God and the physical universe, or that there is a "higher world" and a "lower world", or that reality is composed of spirit and matter, you are a dualist. In general, most Christians are dualists. They hold that reality is divided into two parts. Our souls are eternal and nonmaterial; our bodies, like the physical universe, are temporal and material. What Are the Major Fields of Philosophy? 3. Ethics is “the study of values and morality and how they relate to conduct.” (or rather….) What is the nature of man’s obligation to other men? How should we live to be good? What responsibilities do governments have to their citizens? Is man essentially selfish? Or can he be motivated by principles beyond his own self-interest? Ethics comes from the Greek word ethos for character. Ethics is the study of the nature of morality and immorality, of how humans should, and should not, act. A central ethical question is, what is the source of moral values? Here are three of several possible answers: 1. Moral values come from God. If you hold this position, then odds are that you believe that genuine moral values are unchanging and universal. What is right, has always been right; what is wrong, has always been wrong. God's laws apply to everyone, in all cultures. This position would make you a moral absolutist. 2. Moral values come from societies. If you hold this view, then you probably believe that moral values can legitimately vary from culture to culture. Each society can have its own standards of ethical behavior. What is right for the Chinese, may be wrong for Brazilians, and vice versa. This position would make you a moral relativist. 3. Moral values are determined by the utility or usefulness of an action to promote everyone’s best interest. If you hold this view, then you are a utilitarian. Utilitarianism was argued by John Stuart Mill (1806-1873). Ten Minute Break! A Philosopher in Action: Socrates • James Brady, Group Leader Euthyphro The Republic The Apology Crito Questions? What is the Socratic method? • “Teaching by Asking Instead of by Telling” • Socrates engaged himself in questioning students in an unending search for truth. He sought to get to the foundations of his students' and colleagues' views by asking continual questions until a contradiction was exposed, thus proving the fallacy of the initial assumption. • This became known as the Socratic Method, and may be Socrates' most enduring contribution to philosophy. • Socrates was both a real philosopher and the major character in Plato’s (his student’s) dialogues. Thus, it is not clear to what degree Socrates was a precursor to Plato’s ideas or was a mouthpiece for Plato to put forward his own views. Plato’s Dialogues & the Socratic Method • Plato’s dialogues demonstrate the Socratic Method. • In The Euthyphro, Plato shows Socrates questioning traditional religious beliefs and the nature of religious duty. He asks “what is it to be holy” and Euthyphro says that being holy is “doing what the gods love.” • Class, has Euthyphro given a good answer to the question? Does he really understand or is he just assuming that he knows? • Socrates probes further: what makes a thing holy? Is an act holy because it is loved by the gods or do the gods love what is holy because it is holy? • If the first, are the gods capricious and random and be able to select anything to be holy? If the latter, then we have not answer the original question at all. Plato’s Dialogues & the Socratic Method • In Plato’s The Republic, Socrates questions Thrasymachus who states that justice is whatever is to the advantage of the strong, that “might makes right.” • Socrates asks what if the powerful pass laws that in error do not benefit themselves. Would not justice then be following laws that do not benefit the strong? Then justice would be in following laws that do not benefit them. • Thus, Socrates has pointed out to Thrasymachus that his commonly held view is quite likely inconsistent, or at least needs to be qualified and made clearer. Plato’s Dialogues & the Socratic Search for How to Live • Plato’s dialogues demonstrate that Socrates was not just trying to be “smart” but was in the profound pursuit of how one should live. • In The Apology, Socrates defends his way of life. He proclaims that his mission came from a divine commandment to seek wisdom. Thus, he questioned everyone he professed knowledge to find wisdom, only to find that the wisest man is he who knows he does not know. • Even in the face of death, Socrates proclaims he can act no differently. It is better to obey the gods than man. The unexamined life is not worth living. His pursuit of philosophy is following the instruction of the gods. Video Plato’s Dialogues & the Socratic Search for How to Live • In the Crito, Socrates is awaiting execution in his prison. Crito suggests that for the benefit of his friends and family, Socrates should escape. “It is the opinion of all of your friends, Socrates.” • Socrates replies that in order to act on reason alone, Socrates asks Crito what is right and wrong and we must not follow the “morality of the many” but follow what is truly right. • Socrates further argues that what is the right way to live consists in obeying the state in which we have contracted to live. Thus, we must obey the laws of the society in which we live, even when those laws and actions are unjust.