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Anthony T. FloodPHIL 101: Introduction to PhilosophyChapter 1: Why PhilosophyI.Philosophy: the investigation, through natural reason, into the fundamental aspects of reality and the universal characteristics of human existence.a.The big questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Why is there anything rather thannothing? What is the meaning and purpose of life?i.Philosophy is the science of fundamental questions.ii.We seek to understand reality through its ultimate causes; to know the foundational explanations of being itself. iii.Meaning of Life1.Supernaturalism: the meaning of life is found principally in something that transcends the physical, material world.a.God-centered supernaturalism: the meaning of life is found principally in relation to God.b.Soul-centered supernaturalism: the meaning of life is foundin some perfection of the soul, which transcends mere bodily existence.2.Naturalism: the meaning of life is found in the context of the physical, material world.a.Subjectivism: each person creates the values for his or her own life.b.Objectivism: there are intersubjective standards of meaningnot reducible to each person’s own choices and preferences.3.Nihilism: there is no meaning of life; everything is literally pointless. b.Basic method: Rational reflection on and careful logical analyses of ordinary experience; thought, thought out. i.Philosophy examines non-material realities, which cannot be fully addressed by scientific/empirical means.1.Justice cannot be placed on a slide to examine.2.Similarly, the nature of happiness is a philosophical question, particularly humanhappiness; hence the need to ask what is humannature when discussing the nature of happiness. ii.Abstraction: Abstracting to the general features of a situation.iii.Consistency1.Testing abstract ideas with further concrete examples, both real andimagined (thought-experiments).2.Analyzing the logical consequences of ideas.iv.Goal of each branch: a reasoned articulation of the essential elements of the subject matter.c.Quick history of philosophy’s distinctnessv.Ancient world: separated from myth (mythosto logos).vi.Medieval world: separated from theology.1
vii.Modern world: separated from science.II.Truth and Beliefa.Belief: an assent to a proposition/description of reality.i.It is a mental act of judgment; reality is such and such.ii.Its content can be expressed in proposition form.iii.As personal commitments, beliefs significantly shape our personal identities. iv.The more one cares about something, the more one desires to have beliefs,specifically true beliefs, relevant to that thing.b.Truth: the intellect’s correspondence to reality.i.True belief/proposition: one that corresponds to the way things actually are.ii.False belief/proposition: one that fails to correspond to the way things actually are.