Introduction To Philosophy - What Is Philosophy?

Introduction To Philosophy - What Is Philosophy? -...

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Unformatted text preview: Introduction Course Overview What is philosophy? (With acknowledgments to Wikipedia and Citizendium and their entries on philosophy, from which this is largely taken and very modestly adapted.) • Philosophy, both the field and the concept, is notoriously hard to define. – The Greek word was philosophia (υιλοσουία), meaning "love of wisdom". ("Philo-" comes from the Greek word philein , meaning to love, and "-sophy" comes from sophia , or wisdom.) – The word philosophos (υιλόσουος) was first used by Pythagoras (~550BCE) to distinguish himself as a seeker of wisdom from those who thought of themselves as the wise ( sophos ; σουός). – Originally philosophy’s scope included all fields of study except for history, the arts, and professional disciplines such as law; as recently as the nineteenth century, what we now call "science" was called "natural philosophy." – In the last two centuries in particular, however, "philosophy" has come to mean an especially abstract, nonexperimental intellectual endeavor. • Very roughly, we might say it is the study of, or wise reflection about, very general things. • More specifically (but still generally), philosophy is the study of the meaning and justification of beliefs about the most general, or universal, aspects of things—a study which is carried out not by experimentation or careful observation, but instead typically by formulating problems carefully, offering solutions to them, giving arguments for the solutions, and engaging in dialectic about all of the above. • Philosophers study a huge range of general concepts, such as existence, goodness, knowledge, and beauty. They ask questions such as "What is the good life?" and "Is knowledge even possible?" And while philosophers do not conduct experiments, they study the methods and foundational concepts of experimental disciplines, such as the scientific method, evidence in law, and life. •...
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This note was uploaded on 04/27/2008 for the course PHIL 2100 taught by Professor Marenda during the Fall '08 term at University of West Georgia.

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Introduction To Philosophy - What Is Philosophy? -...

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