b_1_philosophy2

b_1_philosophy2 - 1 Your name Assignment # WHAT IS...

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Your name Assignment # WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY? 1. Philosophers explore concepts Philosophy (Gk., love of wisdom, from ‘philos’ - lover of, ‘sophia’ - wisdom) has a tradition that stretches back to ancient times. Philosophy can be distinguished from (the popular image we have of) science in at least the following respect. In science, we continually find satisfactory solutions to problems raised by our predecessors, and when we have not discovered the solution to a scientific question, we believe that future science will be more fortunate and discover what we have failed to discover. Science rests on such optimism. But a similar kind of optimism does not exist in philosophy, for philosophical questions, unlike scientific questions, have no definite final solution. Philosophy can be thought of as a science insofar as it adopts the methods of science, and we can say that the phenomena it tries to understand and explain are the fundamental words or concepts of our language. We can think of a philosopher as a ‘ conceptual engineer ’. Just as the engineer studies the structure of material things, so the philosopher studies our most basic concepts and the conceptual network that surrounds them in order to illuminate them. Insofar as philosophers try to illuminate our fundamental concepts by generalizing from observed facts about how words are used in a given community, they employ the methods of science. But philosophers also go beyond the methods of science in employing their imagination as well. The concepts explored by philosophers have given rise to different fields of philosophical inquiry. For example, philosophy of religion (Who or what is God?), epistemology (What is knowledge?), metaphysics (What is existence? What is truth?), philosophy of mind (What is a mind? What is consciousness?), philosophy of language (What is meaning?), ethics (What is virtue?), aesthetics (What is art? What is beauty?), political philosophy (What is justice? What are rights? What is a democracy?), existentialism (What is an individual? What is the meaning of life?), philosophy of science (What is space? What is time? What is it for one event to cause another?), philosophy of math (What is infinity? What are numbers? What is a proof?), and so on.
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course PSY 3042 taught by Professor Engle-friedman during the Fall '05 term at CUNY Baruch.

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b_1_philosophy2 - 1 Your name Assignment # WHAT IS...

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