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Unformatted text preview: Philosophy Philosophy Philo (love) + sophia (wisdom) Philosophy is the love (or pursuit) of wisdom Wisdom Wisdom is good judgment So, philosophy is the love (or pursuit) of good judgment Wonder Philosophy begins in wonder At the world At what we do At what we are Wonder --> reflection --> critical examination Philosophy involves argument: giving reasons Parts of Philosophy Metaphysics Epistemology Ethics Metaphysics The study of what there is What is the world made of? What kinds of things are there? What is real? What is merely apparent? What am I? Epistemology The theory of knowledge What is knowledge? How do I know? Can I know anything at all? If so, where do I get it? Can I know anything independently of experience, through philosophical reflection alone? Ethics Ethics is practical-- pertains to action So, ethics is the pursuit of good judgment about action-- What should I do? What should I be? What kind of life should I lead? Is Philosophy Practical? Philosophy asks questions What the world is like, How we know it, and What we ought to do about it, Which affect our lives every day Philosophy is the most practical of all disciplines Socrates (-470 - -399) Contemporary of Greek playwrights Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, as well as historians Herodotus and Thucydides Wrote nothing; appears as character in dialogues of Plato (427-347 BCE) First in West to advance philosophical arguments Socratic method (dialectic) Socrates asks what ___ is Someone answers Socrates analyzes the definition and asks questions to show that It's unclear It's too narrow It's too broad Someone proposes another definition, etc. What is a chair? Chairs Let's try to define it Things satisfying our definition Good Definitions We want the definition to pick out all and only chairs Definitions: Problems What is a chair? "A kind of furniture" Chairs Too narrow Unclear: What kind? "A piece of furniture with four legs and a back"
Too broad Things satisfying the definition Definitions and their problems What is a chair? "A kind of furniture" Chairs Too narrow Unclear: What kind? "A piece of furniture with four legs and a back" Too broad: stools, divans, sofas, benches Too narrow: bean bag chairs, chairs suspended from ceiling Too broad Things satisfying the definition What is dialectic for? Socrates was accused of undermining belief in the Athenian gods and of corrupting the youth of Athens His defense, and his explanation of his methods, is in Plato's dialogue, the Apology Apology "I sought to persuade every one of you to look to himself, and seek virtue and wisdom before he looks to his private interests, and look to the state before he looks to the interests of the state; and that this should be the order which he observes in all his actions." Apology Socrates's assumption: To be virtuous, you need to know what virtue is, Or at least engage in dialectic to find out Apology Socrates was convicted The prosecution proposed the death penalty Socrates got to propose an alternative punishment People expected him to propose exile What does Socrates deserve? But he didn't "What should be done to someone like me? Doubtless some good thing, O men of Athens, if he has what he deserves. The good thing should be suitable to him. What would be a reward suitable to a poor man who is your benefactor, who desires the leisure to instruct you?" A Free Lunch! "There can be no more fitting reward than free meals in the Prytaneum, O men of Athens, a reward which he deserves far more than the citizen who has won the prize at Olympia in the horse or chariot race. . . ." Appearance vs. Reality "For such a victor does not need free meals, but I do. He only gives you the appearance of happiness; I give you the reality." Divine Command "Someone will say: Yes, Socrates, but can't you hold your tongue? . . . Now I have great difficulty in making you understand my answer to this. For if I tell you that this would be a disobedience to a divine command, and therefore that I can't hold my tongue, you won't think I'm serious." The Unexamined Life "If I say again that the greatest thing a man can do is to converse about virtue every day, and that the unexamined life is not worth living-- you are still less likely believe me." To philosophize is to Seek wisdom and virtue Lead an examined life Reflect on what life is and ought to be Put your life in perspective To see and reflect on "the big picture" Confucius (-551 - -479) Kong Fuzi (K'ung FuTzu)-- grand master Kong Contemporary of Laozi, Buddha, Thales, Aesop, Biblical prophets Superior person (junzi) To philosophize is to Try to understand the world with an open mind Seek the truth wherever it leads 2:14. The Master said, "The superior person is openminded and not partisan. The mean person is partisan and not open-minded." To philosophize is to Look within ourselves 15:20. The Master said, "What the superior person seeks is in himself. What the inferior person seeks is in others." To philosophize is to Seek clarity 16:10. Confucius said, "The superior person thoughtfully considers nine things: With his eyes, he wants to see clearly. With his ears, he wants to hear distinctly. In countenance, he wants to be warm. In demeanor, he wants to be respectful. In speech, he wants to be sincere. In business, he wants to be careful. When in doubt, he wants to ask others. When angry, he thinks of difficulties that might result. When he sees opportunity for gain, he thinks of righteousness." To philosophize is to Get to the bottom of things 1:2. ". . . The superior person attends to the root of things. From the root grows the Way." To philosophize is to Know yourself 2:17. The Master said, "Yu, shall I teach you what knowledge is? When you know something, to maintain that you know it; when you don't know something, to admit that you don't know it-this is knowledge." ...
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2008 for the course PHL 301 taught by Professor Bonevac during the Fall '08 term at University of Texas at Austin.
- Fall '08