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					PHILOSOPHY
PHILOSOPHY?

   “Thinking about thinking”
   The word “philosophy” is often used to refer to a set of dogmas or
    ideologies. Examples:
      “George Bush’s political philosophy”

      “Jim Tressel’s philosophy of team management”

      “Christian philosophy of the Trinity”

      “Buddhist philosophy of Karma”

      “My philosophy of taking every opportunity that presents itself!”

   Thus, you might guess that all you will be doing in this chapter is
    merely listening to and memorizing dogmas and ideologies.
   However, this chapter rather consists of subjecting dogmas and
    ideologies to critical thinking. That is philosophy!
    THE TOPICS IN THIS CHAPTER

 Relativism
 Skepticism and Existentialism
 Determinism, Freewill, and Moral Responsibility
 Great Philosophers
    PHILOSOPHY AS CRITICAL THINKING
    - THE HISTORICAL CASE OF SOCRATES -
   The first recognized philosopher, Socrates, lived in
    ancient Athens, discussing things like justice and virtues
    with anyone who would listen and talk. Anyone.
   He lived the slogan that philosophical reflection is the
    essence of everyone’s life.
      One of his famous claims is “Unexamined life is not
       worth living.”
   Through dialogues, Socrates subjects many common
    views to critical examination.
   His method consists of revealing the surprising and
    unwanted implications of these views, and having the
    defenders acknowledge that their views need revision.
    THE CASE OF SOCRATES
   This method of examination does
    not guarantee that the examiners
    arrive at certain knowledge.
   In fact, Socrates never claimed
    any special positive knowledge of
    justice, virtue and so on.
      Socrates famously stated:
        “I cannot teach anybody
        anything, I can only make
        them think.”
   Because he subjected people’s
    common views to critical
    examination, and often mused in
    making those in power look like
    fools, Socrates was tried in court
    and sentenced to death.
PHILOSOPHY AS CRITICAL THINKING
- THE HISTORICAL CASE OF PLATO
                One of Socrates’ students, Plato,
                 thought that philosophical reflection
                 should be guided by the exact and
                 certain path to necessary truths –
                 mathematics.
                    The entrance to Plato’s Academy is
                     marked with the phrase meaning “Let no
                     one ignorant of geometry enter here.”
                Plato in effect downplays the
                 methodology of Socrates as an
                 uncertain path to knowledge.
                Because only a few can master math,
                 Plato ends up denying Socrates’ view
                 that philosophy is for everyone.
                The points of Plato’s tale are two:
                    (1) philosophy tries to apply the best way
                     of critical thinking
                     (2) philosophy questions dogmas –
                     whether held by the majority of people or
                     just one individual.
WHY STUDY PHILOSOPHY?
 If philosophy does not provide
  certain knowledge, what is
  the merit of studying it?
 A 20th century philosopher
  Bertrand Russell presents one
  possible answer:
    Philosophical reflections
     enlarge our conception of
     what is possible, enrich our
     intellectual imagination and
     diminish the dogmatic
     assurance which closes the
     mind against thinking.
RUSSELL, EXTENDED QUOTE:
  The value of philosophy is, in fact, to be sought largely in
  its very uncertainty. The man who has no tincture of
  philosophy goes through life imprisoned in the prejudices
  derived from common sense, from the habitual beliefs of
  his age or his nation, and from convictions which have
  grown up in his mind without the co-operation or consent
  of his deliberate reason…As soon as we begin to
  philosophize…we find…that even the most everyday
  things lead to problems which only very incomplete
  answers can be given. Philosophy…is able to suggest
  many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free
  them from the tyranny of custom. Thus…it greatly
  increases our knowledge as to what they [things] may be;
  it removes the somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those
  who have never traveled into the region of liberating
  doubt, and it keeps alive our sense of wonder by showing
  familiar things in an unfamiliar aspect.
(The Problems of Philosophy, Hackett, 1912, 156-7)
CLASS ACTIVITY:

 Groups of 2 - 4
 Use the extended quote from Russell and
  consider the following in a group discussion:
     1) Why should we study philosophy (in your own
      words)?
     2) Do you agree that, “(philosophy) removes the
      somewhat arrogant dogmatism of those who have
      never traveled into the region of liberating doubt,
      and it keeps alive our sense of wonder by showing
      familiar things in an unfamiliar aspect.”
ABSOLUTE TRUTHS
   Absolute truth: is defined as inflexible reality: fixed,
    invariable, unalterable facts. For example, it is a fixed,
    invariable, unalterable fact that there are absolutely no
    square circles and there are absolutely no round squares.
   Is there really such a thing as an absolute truth? Examples:
    Time and dates. We will all die. Love is always good. Hate
    is always bad. Mathematical formulas. Historical events.
    RELATIVISM?

   Relativism is the concept that points of view have no absolute truth
    or validity, having only relative, subjective value according to
    differences in perception and consideration.
   Connecting quote: “Custom is king over all.”
   There are two major points to consider:
   The first point is the uncertainty between
       The claim of diversity: people’s actual beliefs and practices vary with
        their cultures; and,
       Cultural Relativism: what is true varies with cultures. Example- Jesus
        Christ or Jesus of Nazareth?
    THE CLAIM OF DIVERSITY AND CULTURAL
    RELATIVISM

   The claim of diversity is plausible about some subjects, but
    cultural relativism is distinct from that claim.
   We should keep these views separate. Take morality for
    example.
   The claim of diversity about morality merely implies that
    people in different cultures have conflicting beliefs and
    different practices about morality. This is perhaps true.
   Cultural relativism about morality implies that true moral
    principles vary with cultures. This view is controversial.
 A SECOND POINT ABOUT RELATIVISM


 Cultural Relativism
  (“what is true varies
  with cultures”) is only
  one type of relativism.
 Another version of
  relativism makes truth
  relative to individuals.
 Individual(ist)
  Relativism: what is true
  varies with individuals.
             CLASS ACTIVITY:
    AN ARGUMENT FOR CULTURAL RELATIVISM
              (USING LOGIC)
   Individual Activity. Consider the following for a large group
    discussion:
    1.   People’s actual beliefs and practices vary with their cultures.
         (The claim of diversity)
    2.   Despite the differences, people are always convinced their
         views are true and their practices are best. (Ethnocentrism)
-------------------------------------------
           Therefore, what is true varies with cultures.
           (Cultural Relativism)

         SO…Diversity + Ethnocentrism = Cultural Relativism

    Is this argument plausible?
GENERAL AND LOCAL RELATIVISM
   Some people hold what we
    might call General
    Relativism: truth about
    every subject matter is
    relative.
   Other people hold what we
    might call Local
    Relativism: truth about
    some subject matter –
    etiquette, morality,
    aesthetics, science etc. –
    is relative.
THE PROBLEM OF DRAWING A LINE
-CLASS ACTIVITY

   Get into groups of 2-4 and consider the following:
   If you were raised in Nazi Germany as part of the Hitler Youth,
    might you have turned out to be perfectly despicable people.
        If this is true, then can we properly blame the German participating in
        the war?
       More generally, can we properly blame immoral people brought up in a
        certain environment?
       Last question, does the advent of the internet and mass communication
        affect the outcomes of these arguments? If so, how?
CONCLUSION ON RELATIVISM
   Relativism is one of the first philosophies, developed by the Sophists
    (followers of Plato and Socrates). Relativism is linked to all philosophical
    disciplines.
   Relativism also has a place in all the world’s religions, but lends itself more
    to the eastern religions we will uncover in the next chapter.
   People can and do change their moral views as they become reflective. That
    is one reason why some people can and do criticize dominant moral views
    and practices.
SKEPTICISM?
   In philosophy, skepticism is an overall approach that
    requires all information to be well supported by
    evidence.
   Skeptics may even doubt the reliability of their own
    senses.
   Great skeptics include Rene Descartes and David Hume.
RENE DESCARTES
   French Philosopher and
    mathematician-although he lived
    outside France for much of his life.
   Known as the father of modern
    philosophy
   Inspired Hobbs and Locke,
    Rousseau. Indirectly inspired all
    democratic revolutions.
   Most famous work, Discourse of
    the Method and Principles of
    Philosophy”
   2 famous Quotes:
      “Question everything” (even
        your own existence)
      “I Think, Therefore I am” (so he
        believes he exists)
DAVID HUME
                Scottish Philosopher
                Most Famous work completed at
                 age 26: Treatise on Human Nature
                Concluded that human nature is
                 driven by desire as opposed to
                 reason-conflicting Descartes
                Also stated that humans are only
                 as intelligent as their experiences;
                 we cannot comprehend what we
                 have not applied our senses to.
                Human life is a cycle of cause and
                 effect
                Ethics: Said morality is driven by
                 feelings, not principles
                Good friends with Adam Smith,
                 assisted in writing The Wealth of
                 Nations.
SKEPTICISM IS THE DENIAL OF THE POSSIBILITY
OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE:
   By definition, skepticism denies that we can have any
    knowledge.
   However, skepticism is compatible with our having
    reasonable beliefs.
       That is, reasonable beliefs based in empirical evidence can be
        accepted conditionally, but should always remain open to change.
        (World is flat, space is infinite)
       Skeptics believe nothing is absolute, everything is open to change
             THE POSSIBILITY OF AN ILLUSION:
                    CLASS ACTIVITY
        Groups of 2-4. Discuss and debate in groups
        Skeptics point out that our perceptual
         experiences are fallible. What are two
         examples?
    1.     A straight stick looks bent in water
    2.     Mirages in the desert
        Does this possibility of illusion show that we
         cannot have any perceptual knowledge?
EXISTENTIALISM?
   A 19th and 20th century philosophy
    that is centered upon the analysis
    of existence and of the way
    humans find themselves existing in
    the world.
   More simply, existentialism is a
    philosophy concerned with finding
    self and the meaning of life through
    free will, choice, and personal
    responsibility.
   The belief is that people are
    searching to find out who and what
    they are throughout life as they
    make choices based on their
    experiences, beliefs, and outlook.
   Major Existentialists include:
    Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sarte
KIERKEGAARD, NIETZSCHE, SARTE
   Soren Kierkegaard: 19th Century Danish            Friedrich Nietzsche: 19th Century German
    Philosopher (1813-1855)                            Philosopher (1844-1900)
   Known best for his intense criticism of the       Known best for his “will to power”
    modern church while supporting the                 philosophy.
    existence of God and Jesus.                       Basically, the natural condition of life is
   Famous Works: 18 volume set- Edifying              one of profusion, so live life to the fullest.
    Discourse.                                         This line of thinking killed him, literally.
   Famous Quote, “The thing is to find a             Famous Quote, “There are no facts, only
    truth which is true for me, to find the idea       interpretations”
    for which I can live and die"

                                         Jean-Paul Sartre: 20th Century French
                                          Philosopher (1905-1980)
                                         Most Famous Work, “Being and
                                          Nothingness”
                                         Said we live in a society of oppression
                                          and exploitation.
                                         Interesting: Won a Nobel Prize in
                                          literature, but refused to accept it, saying
                                          it would limit his freedom.
EXISTENTIALISM = FREE THINKING
                      The arbitrary act that existentialism
                       finds most objectionable is when
                       someone or society tries to impose
                       or demand that their beliefs,
                       values, or rules be faithfully
                       accepted and obeyed.
                      Existentialists believe this destroys
                       individualism and makes a person
                       become whatever the people in
                       power desire, thus they are
                       dehumanized and reduced to being
                       an object.
                      Existentialism then stresses that a
                       person's judgment is the
                       determining factor for what is to be
                       believed rather than by arbitrary
                       world values.
    DETERMINISM?
   Determinism– is the view that every event has a cause. In other words, everything
    that happens is “caused” to happen.
   Determinism is not fatalism. Fatalism holds that human action has no influence on
    events, everything is pre-determined and we are just acting out a pre-written script.
    Determinism does not deny that human action is the cause (or part of the cause).
   Some use science to refute determinism, specifically stating that quantum physics
    shows that determinism is false because according to the theory the movement of
    each particle at each moment has no cause.
   Others refute determinism by observing that humans deliberate, choose, think,
    confront alternatives and are directly aware of ourselves acting freely.
FREE WILL?

                Free Will- to have what it takes to act
                 freely. When an agent acts freely—
                 exercising their free will—what they do is
                 up to them. A plurality of alternatives is
                 open, and they determine which path to
                 pursue.
                As we act we have the sense that it is up
                 to us whether or not we do it, or which
                 action to take.
                For example, as we move our arm, we
                 immediately sense that it is up to us
                 whether or not we move our arm.
                Further, this ‘awareness’ is shared by
                 everyone.
                From this ‘awareness’ of free will, some
                 argue that determinism is false.
CAN DETERMINISM AND FREE WILL CO-EXIST?
            CLASS ACTIVITY
                    Groups of 2-4. Consider the following:
                    Many people assume that the denial of
                     determinism guarantees the existence
                     of free will. This is actually false.
                    That is not to say that the two can’t co-
                     exist. Maybe they can and maybe they
                     can’t. There is no absolute truth in this
                     regard.
                    Discuss:
                         Do you personally believe in free will or
                          determinism…or fatalism?
                         What are the implications of your belief on
                          your everyday life?
                         Can free will and determinism co-exist?
     MORAL RESPONSIBILITY?
     Moral Responsibility can mean
      several things, such as
      trustworthiness, blameworthiness,
      and moral obligation. Simply
      stated, it is doing the right thing for
      the right reason.
     However, the concern is that with an
      individual’s moral responsibility for
      an action and its result, two
      conditions must be in place:
1.    Knowledge condition: an agent is
      morally responsible for an action
      and its result only if the agent
      recognizes, or it is reasonably
      expectable to recognize, what they
      are doing and what it will bring
      about. (mental impairment)
2.    Control condition: an agent is
      morally responsible for an action
      only if the agent has control over
      what they are doing. (sleepwalking)
    MORAL RESPONSIBILITY AND DETERMINISM

   It is sometimes argued that if determinism is true, nobody has control over their
    actions; thus, nobody satisfies the control condition of moral responsibility;
    therefore, nobody is morally responsible for his or her action.
   Arguments to show the incompatibility of free will and determinism are used to
    show the incompatibility of moral responsibility and determinism.
   Most philosophers (and most governments/justice systems) believe in free will
    and moral responsibility.
    MIND AND SOUL
   The discussion of free will, determinism
    and moral responsibility inevitably leads
    to a discussion of the soul.
   Most, but not all, identify the soul with the
    mind.
   It is fair to ask those who believe that the
    soul is distinct from the mind the
    following questions:
   What is the distinction between the soul
    and the mind? What is a soul anyway?
   Given that a soul is distinct from the
    mind, can we know whether someone has
    a soul? How?
   Given that a soul is distinct from the
    mind, is there any reason to believe that
    some beings – human beings (only?) –
    have soul but others – rocks, plants, non-
    human animals etc. – don’t?
SOUL
          When relating the soul back to
           determinism, freewill, and moral
           responsibility a number of
           interesting philosophical questions
           arise.
          Can an agent believe in determinism
           and believe in a soul? If so, are
           souls pre-determined to go to
           heaven and go to hell? Would a just
           God pre-determine a soul to hell?
          Believing in a soul lends itself to
           freewill, An agent has the ability to
           make a decision (freewill) based on
           their understanding of right and
           wrong (moral responsibility). Based
           on a lifetime of these freewill
           decisions, the soul is rewarded or
           punished in an afterlife.
GREAT PHILOSOPHERS
    ARISTOTLE – METAPHYSICS & LOGIC
   Aristotle was a student of Plato (for 20 years) in ancient Greece,
    thus he was also influenced by Socrates.
   He was a teacher and advisor to Alexander the Great.
   Considered by most to be the worlds greatest philosopher, he
    worked across multiple disciplines. His contributions include;
    physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, linguistics,
    politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology.
   First to discuss Metaphysics (AKA Natural Philosophy),
    connecting science to philosophy. Metaphysics is a branch of
    philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature
    of being and the world.
   The metaphysician attempts to clarify the fundamental notions
    by which people understand the world; existence, objects and
    their properties, time, space, and cause & effect.
   Aristotle created what we know today as formal logic, or
    deductive reasoning. Formal Logic is a specific and tested
    method for obtaining conclusions, using “if-then” statements.
   Famous Quote, “Excellence is not an act, but a habit”
THOMAS AQUINAS
   Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274):
    Medieval Roman Catholic
    Philosopher, part of the Dominican
    Order of Monks.
   Contribution: First Cause-
    Attempted to prove the existence
    of God by arguing that everything
    in the universe has a beginning
    and an end. Therefore, Aquinas
    surmised, God is the first cause.
   Aquinas spent his life attempting
    to prove the existence of God. He
    made 5 total attempts to prove
    God’s existence, all of which are
    still hotly debated to this day.
IMMANUEL KANT
               Immanuel Kant (1724-1804): German
                philosopher and anthropologist
               Famous work: The Critique of Pure Reason
                discussed skepticism and metaphysics
               His work was in opposition to Descartes and
                Hume.
               He argues that human understanding is the
                source of the general laws of nature that
                structure all our experience; and that human
                reason gives itself the moral law, which is our
                basis for belief in God, freedom, and immortality.
               Therefore, scientific knowledge, morality, and
                religious belief are mutually consistent and
                secure because they all rest on the same
                foundation of human autonomy.
               He is immensely influential to 19th and 20th
                century philosophy.
JOHN STUART MILL
   John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)
    British Philosopher known for his
    work on liberty and tyranny.
   Said government exists to maintain
    the people’s liberty.
   Also said the “majority” is
    dangerous to the individual,
    because the majority can lead the
    minority into uniformity, thus
    creating social norms that limit
    individual liberty.
   Coined the term, “majority of one”,
    which basically states that if
    thousands of people believe in a
    false premise and one person
    believes in a true premise, the one
    person is the majority.
WILLIAM JAMES
                   William James (1842-1910):
                    American Philosopher.
                   Ralph Waldo Emerson was his
                    Godfather. Very well connected to
                    the great minds of the time.
                   Spent his entire career at Harvard.
                   Also a very well rounded
                    philosopher, but best known for his
                    religious convictions.
                   Popularized idea of personal
                    religion, which is that a religion is
                    what the believer believes on any
                    given day. Religious dogmas are
                    second to individual religion.
LAURENCE KOHLBERG
   Laurence Kohlberg (1927-1987) American Philosopher known for his work
    in Morality
   Famous writing: Stages of Moral Development
   Level 1-Preconventional. Get away with what you can, don’t get in trouble.
   Level 2-Conventional. Blindly obey rules, follow example of peers and family
   Level 3-Postconventional. Question right and wrong, develop personal
    moral and values. Take care of those close to you.
    POST-CONVENTIONAL MORALITY AND ETHICS
               CLASS ACTIVITY
   Individual. Discussion questions on the following scenario. Formulate your
    own opinion for a large group discussion
   Situation: In the last 24 months you have lost your job and your health
    insurance because your company decided to outsource to a third world
    country. Your spouse of 30 years has a life-threatening illness that has
    been stabilized in the last 10 years with a very expensive medication.
   Your spouse is now out of medication and you are out of legal options. With
    welfare money you can barely afford food on the table let alone the high
    price of the medication. Your spouse will die a horrible death in just a few
    months without the medication and you do not have anyone to turn to for
    the money. You decide to break into the local chain drug store and steal the
    medication for your spouse.
   Are you morally correct in your decision? If this was real, would you steal?
   Have you ever been in a situation where you used post-conventional
    thought?
14TH (CURRENT) DALAI LAMA
   (1935-?) Religious leader of the Tibetan order of Buddhist Monks.
   2nd most recognized religious figure in the world, next to the Pope.
   Is granted the ability to change the religion and has. Said the next Dalai
    Lama may be found outside Tibet and could be a female (both would be a
    first).
   “Retired” in March of 2011, but still very active.
   Very practical approach to life and problems. He does not deny reason, logic,
    or science; but rather attempts to marry it with the spirituality of the religion.
   Encourages:
        Compassion
        Religious tolerance
        World Peace
        Living as one with nature
        Accepting scientific reasoning
        “The Middle Path” approach to life
CONCLUSION
   Philosophy gives us very few
    answers, or absolute truths, but it
    does give us the opportunity to
    consider questions that shape our
    society; specifically politics,
    economics, justice, and culture.
   Understanding philosophical
    questions and coming to personal
    conclusions is the mark on an
    educated and socially conscious
    individual.
   Careers within philosophy:
    teacher/professor, author, lawyer,
    politician (political science),
    religious figure, social worker, and a
    career in criminal justice.

				
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