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Transcript
Some basic components of our model of
“philosophy,” derived from the Euthyphro
• The (simplistic) model developed in class is designed to contrast
the mainstream Western tradition with the presentation of most
Chinese approaches in this course. It entails 5 “axioms” that
grow out of the Greek commitment to philosophy as a quest for
knowledge based on Reason.
What is “Reason?”
For us:
Discursive thinking guided by rules (logic);
The rules of Reason parallel (in some way) reality;
Reason is a ground for valid knowledge.
1
Axiom I
THE RULES OF THINKING (logic) PARALLEL
REALITY
The test of rationality is proof (like math: QED)
The model of “certain knowledge” is built on the
certainties of arithmetic and geometry
2
Axiom II
THERE EXIST in some sense UNIVERSALS
There is significance outside the world of entities:
that is philosophical significance
The world of particulars is significant, but only philsophically significant
as it provides access to universal truths
ultimately, Truth is found at the level of METAPHYSICS
3
Axiom III
WHAT IS “REAL” ABOUT A THING ARE
PROPERTIES OF THE THING ITSELF
The real attributes of a thing inhere in it – the way it
relates to other things is not a fundamental property
of the thing itself.
• Aristotle: “Relatedness is, as it were, an offshoot or logical
accident of substance.”
4
Axiom IV
LANGUAGE IS A PRIMARY TRUTH TOOL
• Reason is, essentially, discursive (or fully expressible
in words)
• Philosophy clarifies language, shaping Reason’s
essential tool
5
Axiom V
“TRUTH” = THE SET OF REAL UNIVERSALS
From set of universals, a structural picture of the universe can
arise
The rational nature of universe revealed
(assumed: Nature is rational)
Goal: Architecture of theory paralleling architecture of Reality
Ideal model of philosophy: Euclidean geometry:
AXIOMS, COROLLARIES, THEORIES
6
Philosophy is discovery
• Truth exists independently;
disclosed through language
• Language (spoken/subverbalized)
an adequate “truth tool”
[logical reasoning is an intrinsically discursive]
“Knowledge” a function of real structures
– People are, in a sense, incidental to philosophy
– Philosophy is a-historical
Truth does not change or evolve: eternal
7
CONTRASTS
Philosophical enterprise in West (vastly oversimplified!):
Agenda
–
–
–
–
analysis of terms through dialectic
search for universals by analysis of particulars
structuring of rules by which universals relate (logic)
building a theoretical architecture to parallel Reality
Based on picture of universe as rational structure governed
by causal laws
(which are reflected in logic)
8
Early Chinese philosophy
Some similarities, but ideas guiding essential enterprise
different
different undertaking/project
starting with Confucianism
9
Confucianism
1. ALLOWS AUTHORITY OF HISTORY
(particulars of history embody one type of universal, but not
general laws: truths about this one, historical universe)
2. DENIES ADEQUACY OF LANGUAGE
(knowledge primarily derived from Practice not Reason)
3. VIEWS RELATEDNESS AS ESSENTIAL
(reflected in portrait of the person)
4. PHILOSOPHY “EMBODIED” IN PHILOSOPHERS
(“knowledge” not primarily knowledge of facts but of skills:
not objective reality, but “possessed” truth)
10