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Introduction to Philosophy


Introduction to Philosophy ... Tues Feb 26 Ancient Eastern Hinduism yoga, 3rd largest religion (Islam, Christianity), love, peace Buddhism enlightenment, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Introduction to Philosophy

Introduction to Philosophy
The Great Questions
  • The philosophers asked What is Beauty? What is
    Goodness? What is Justice? What is the best way
    to govern a society? What people are fit to be
    rulers? (p. 6, What the Bleep do We Know?)

  • Philosophy pursuit of wisdom
  • Ontology/metaphysics the study of what is real
  • Epistemology the study of knowledge, its scope
    and limits
  • Axiology the study of values
  • Ethics the study of good and what constitutes a
    good life
  • Aesthetics the study of the beautiful

The Value of Philosophy
  • Seeks knowledge increases knowledge
  • Gives freedom from narrow and practical aims an
    escape from the daily round
  • More apparent than real
  • Asks questions
  • Frees us from prejudices
  • Read the article The Value of Philosophy by
    Bertrand Russell.

  • Philo-sopher one who loves wisdom
  • Knows, in reality, he knows and understands very
  • Draws people's attention to the eternally good,
    beautiful and true

  • Attempt to explain how things came to be, origins
    of the world, connected to religion, supernatural
  • Oral tradition
  • Roman and Greek
  • Most well-known Greek Homer writer circa 850
    BC Illiad and the Odyssey

Rational Thinking
  • Aim of early Greek philosophers is to find
    natural rather than supernatural explanations for
    natural practices 580 Before Common Era (BCE)
    or Before Christ (BC)
  • Emergence of rational thinking, explanations
    without appealing to religion or tradition
  • First teachers who encourage students to think
    for themselves, argue and discuss
  • Eastern Mediterranean was the birthplace of
    Western Philosophy

Aegean Sea
Eastern Philosophy
  • Confucianism
  • Taoism
  • Buddhist Philosophy
  • Hindu Philosophy

Sophies WorldA Course in Philosophy. Handle
with care. (p. 11)?
  • The best way of approaching philosophy is to ask
    a few philosophical questions... (p. 13)?
  • Today as well each individual has to discover
    his own answer to these same questions. (p. 13)?
  • The only thing we require to be good
    philosophers is the faculty of wonder. (p. 15)?

Analogy of the Rabbit's Fur
  • Who is the magician?
  • All mortals are born at the very tip of the
    rabbit's fine hairs, where they are in a position
    to wonder at the impossibility of the trick. But
    as they grow older they work themselves ever
    deeper into the fur. And there they stay. (p.
    18) Where are you?
  • Why do adults stay deep into the fur?
  • What are the benefits of crawling back up to the

Natural Philosophers Pre-Socratics
  • Nature of the physical world
  • Science
  • Thales 625BC 545BC Greek colony in Asia
    Minor first known philosopher everything from
    water single basic substance
  • Anaximander 610-546 BC all created things are
    limited that which comes before and after must
    be boundless - basic stuff could not be as
    ordinary as water
  • Anaximenes 570-526 BC source of all things
    must be air or vapour

  • 460-370 BC
  • everything was built up of tiny invisible
    blocks (p. 43)?
  • Each block was eternal and immutable
  • firm and solid
  • not all the same different shapes and sizes
  • unlimited number
  • Called atoms, un-cuttable (p. 43)?

How accurate is Democritus theory to what we know
  • Atoms theory still exists
  • P. 84 the lego horse Platos idea of the
    model plan World of ideas

Athens circa 450 BC
  • Cultural center of the Greek world. (p. 61)?
  • Focus changed from natural philosophy to the
    individual and the individuals place in
    society. (p. 62)?
  • Democracy evolved
  • Art of rhetoric saying things in a convincing
    manner. (p. 62)?

Prominent Philosophers
  • Sophist a wise and informed person (p. 62)
  • man and his place in society (p. 62)
  • No absolute norms for what was right or wrong.
    (p. 63)?
  • Protogoras (485-410 BC) Man is the measure of
    all things (p. 62)?

  • 470-399 BC
  • there are norms
  • wrote nothing down
  • greatest influence on western thinking
  • taught in the city squares
  • known to us through Platos writings
  • we must use our reason to grasp philosophical
    truths p. 65
  • feigned ignorance Socratic irony

died because of his convictions
The unexamined life is not worth living.

Reading Assignment
  • Athens (p. 72-77)?
  • Plato (p. 78-93)?
  • Aristotle (p. 104-120)?

  • 428-347 BC
  • Pupil of Socrates
  • theory of ideas
  • Myth of the cave denies the reality of the
    natural world
  • We must become enlightened

Myth of the Cave
  • From The Republic
  • What we take in with our senses is not real, but
    rather a poor copy of it we see only shadows
    imprisoned by our senses the shadows are less
    real than the actual
  • Should take in the world intellectually
  • Ignorance is likened to imprisonment

Earthly knowledge is but Shadow.
Put the Myth of the Cave in your own words.
Plato and Aristotle
  • 384-322 BC
  • student of Plato
  • Elemental theory fire, water, wind, earth
  • Rejected Plato's world of ideas
  • Senses are important
  • Good character ethics and morality
  • Women as inferior
  • logic

Four Cardinal Virtues(according to the Greeks)
  • Courage
  • Justice
  • Temperance
  • Intelligence
  • According to Aristotle all virtues necessary
  • According to Plato knowledge (wisdom) most

  • 400 BCE
  • Humans one with nature
  • True happiness is in our attitude is not related
    to wealth or material possessions not in
    fleeting things
  • Only need bare necessities
  • People need not be concerned with health or other
    peoples problems
  • Death should not disturb
  • Virtue

  • 300 BCE
  • Natural laws
  • Everything has a necessity, fate
  • Nothing happens accidently
  • Must endure suffering
  • No use in complaining related to own modern
  • Neg feelings bad judgment

  • 300 BCE
  • garden philosophers
  • Pleasure is the highest good.
  • Pleasure not just physical includes friendship,
    art, self-control
  • Live for the moment (carpe diem)
  • Death is not a concern
  • Today epicurean has negative connotation of
    living for pleasure

  • Cosmic spirit one with God

Jesus Christ as a philosopher
  • Way of life
  • Taught by speaking to the people
  • Never wrote anything down
  • Persecuted for his views
  • Whom does he resemble?
  • Socrates

Christs teachings
  • Love your neighbour, as yourself
  • Love your enemy
  • Definition of Love
  • Love is patient and kind love is not jealous,
    or conceited, or proud love is not ill-mannered,
    or selfish, or irritable love does not keep a
    record of wrongs love is not happy with evil,
    but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up
    its faith, hope and patience never fail. (Good
    News for Modern Man)

Teliology Monism dualism
Middle Ages/Medieval
  • St Augustine - 350 CE religion Platos world
    of ideas is world of God God and nature
    morally responsible
  • Religion and philosophy becoming one
  • Ockham (Occam) Everything should be made as
    simple as possible, but not simpler. (Einstein)
  • Aquinas philosophy and theology -
    christianized Plato
  • Peckam theologian relied on Augustine
  • Scotus Aristotle's views nature senses and

Research Project
  • In a small group (4-6) research an era or group
    of philosophers
  • Ancient Eastern
  • Medieval
  • Renaissance
  • Baroque
  • Enlightenment
  • Romanticism
  • Modern and Existentialism

Research Project contd
  • Library time Fri, Mon, Tues - Who are the
    prominent thinkers of the era? What were the
    key ideas from the era? What did they think?
    How did they differ in thinking?
  • Class time Wed

Presentation of Research
  • Creative How might these thinkers interact?
    Create and present a political campaign, rap or
    music video, tea or dinner party include
    costumes and props (last year someone shaved his
    head to resemble Buddha )
  • Information Teach the class about this era
    include a handout with a summary of key ideas.
  • Length 10-20 minutes
  • Due Date Tues Feb 26

Ancient Eastern
  • Hinduism yoga, 3rd largest religion (Islam,
    Christianity), love, peace
  • Buddhism enlightenment, 3 jewels (Buddha - look
    up to enlightened one, Dharma be like Buddha,
    Sangha community of enlightened), Kharma, end
    mental suffering
  • Confucianism Kung-tzu, 5 classics, Golden Rule
    and Silver Rule (be nice to others), respect and
  • Taoism Yin and Yang, positive and negative,
    balance, duality that forms a whole
  • Wu-wei action through non-action

  • Machiavelli 1469-1527 control populace
    politics, government - two books, The Prince is
    still used today in politics (Stalin really liked
    The Prince), ends justify the means, fear tactic
    in leadership (better feared than loved)
  • Erasmus church is corrupt, opposed to church,
    but remained a catholic, wanted to better/purify
  • Luther reformation, better/clean up church
  • Calvin, Knox, Brahe, Descartes, Bacon
  • Humee

  • Spinoza 1632-1677 Ethics pantheism all
    is God one substance God is the cause of all
    things, which are in him Rationalist Mystic
    Man is the derived mode of all of Gods
  • Hobbes 1588-1679 first materialist
    natural, physical world is all there is
    government and political thinking - The Leviathan
    The value or worth of a man is, as of all
    things, his price.

  • Locke 1632-1704 father of empiricism and
    liberalism, education. All mankind is good and
    ought not to harm one another. No mans
    knowledge here can go beyond his experiences.
    primary and secondary qualities in all objects
  • Hume 1711-1776 nothing is certain,
    empiricist, take actions because of morals
    senses Beauty is in the mind which contemplates
    them. sensation is outward sentiment and
    reflection is the inward

  • Leibniz 1646 1716 rationalist borrowed
    reality There is a reason why every fact is as
    it is and not otherwise. calculus (Leibniz or

  • 17th to 18th century
  • Moving from religion to fact/science
  • Age of reason
  • Not a single movement or thought, but rather a
    set of values
  • Figure out a reason why we are here without using
    religion as an answer thinking outside the box
  • The way people thought was changing
  • Politics and how people were governed

European Thinkers
  • Voltaire (French) rationalist - theatre is
    greatest form of art no reason for war
  • Rousseau (French) humans innately good, but
    corrupted by society common good of society
    should live according to social rules
  • Smith (British) wealth and economics money
    shapes the individual
  • Immanuel Kant (German) rationalism and
    empiricism come together
  • Schopenhauer (German) western philosophy meets
    eastern greatly influenced music, literature
    and other arts

  • Kierkegaard 1813-1855 father of
    existentialism - individual finds own identity a
    problem mystery of own existence
  • Existentialism study of existence, questioning
    ones existence, perceive what is thought to be
  • deBeauvoir - 1908-1986 French existentialist
    Sartre - feminism
  • Sartre we create our own purpose, bad faith to
    lie to ones self free choice
  • Descartes I think therefore I am. doubted
    method of doubt - rationalist

  • 1844-1900
  • Influenced by Schopenhauer (1788-1860 the
    philosopher of pessimism)
  • Humans are too dependent on existing values and
    morals, which are derived from the ancient Greeks
    and religions
  • God is dead.
  • There are no facts, only interpretations.
  • √úbermensch Superman what humans should
    aspire to
  • Idealize Socrates like Jesus

Senses or Reason
  • Epistemology the theory of knowledge -nature of
    knowledge what we can know
  • Empiricists believe that we learn through our
    senses we learn based on observation, experience
    we are born with a clean slate (tabula rasa).
    Remember Empiricist Experience.
  • Rationalists believe one has to have an
    understanding of ones self to learn Know
    thyself senses offer a limited world rely on
    truths, logic and intuition
  • Kant synthesized the two need reason and the
    senses to learn

  • Philosophy begins and always begins and has
    always begun with wonder, and nothing is so
    productive of wonder as a little doubt...except
    perhaps a big doubt.

Knowledge as justified true belief
  • At the gates of knowledge the sceptic stands
    guard before we can enter the citadel we must
    answer his challenge. (Annas and Barnes, 1985)
  • Why?
  • Are you sure?
  • How do you know?
  • Might it not be otherwise?

Knowledge the Fortress of Philosophy
  • Doubt
  • Errors
  • Illusions
  • Biases

Innate vs Acquired Knowledge
New words
Priori statements using reason alone Posteriori
judgements using sensory experience Noumenal
pertaining to things as they are in themselves
(not as they appear to our senses) Phenomenal
pertaining to the senses
Descartes Leibniz Spinoza
Locke Berkeley Hume
1. Presentation all categories 2. Intellectual
Journal personalizing your learning Thinking
and communication 3. Quiz - Knowledge (least
weight) 4. Essay Thinking and application
(most weight)
Philosophy Essay
  • Part 1 Biography
  • Part 2 Presentation of key ideas
  • Part 3 How did your thinker break from or change
    previous ideas? (Refer to 2 or 3 other thinkers)
  • Part 4 Historical impact (significance of your
  • Part 5 Relevance to contemporary thinking

Part 1 Biography (Introduction)?
  • Birth time and place
  • Family information
  • Education
  • Hobbies, interests
  • Thesis Why is this philosopher important??

Part 2, 3, and 4
  • Overview of the philosophers ideas
  • How did these ideas connect with or contradict
    with previous thinkers?
  • What new thinking did your thinker introduce?
  • What impact did this thinker have?

Part 5 (Conclusion)?
  • Why do we still talk about this thinker today?
  • What relevance does this thinker still have?
  • Connect to modern day?

Philosophy Essay Planning
  • Plan your thinking before you begin to write
  • Topic Your philosophers importance
  • Audience interested students and adults
  • Purpose To convince your audience of your
    philosophers importance
  • Outline traditional, mind map or cluster,

Draft 1
  • Draft 1 turn-off spell and grammar check
  • Dont worry about fonts
  • Just write its ideas that count

Draft 2
  • Read first draft
  • Are details vivid and convincing?
  • Check organization paragraph structure, topic
    sentence for each paragraph, smooth transitions
  • Fix grammar and spelling errors

Draft 3
  • Get a trustworthy, honest proof reader.
  • Decide which suggestions you will use and which
    ones you will discard.
  • Polish your paper.

Final Draft
  • Neatness
  • Title page, including the title of your essay
  • Double space
  • Bibliography

Writers Block
  • Insecurities
  • Fear of risk
  • Lack of perseverance
  • Remember no first draft sounds polished write
    it anyways
  • Use free writing
  • Manipulate your environment work at the best
    time of the day for you dont write with the tv
    on tell family members not to interrupt
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