What_is_Philosophy - What Is Philosophy? Unlike other...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
What Is Philosophy? Unlike other disciplines, the first question we have to ask ourselves regards the discipline itself: What is Philosophy? What Philosophy isn’t… A Slogan – Our nontechnical and colloquial (common) usage of the word doesn’t help much because that notion usually ends up sounding like a guiding principle (no matter how stupid or inane). an opinion or cause to which one is deeply committed a mission statement a model one lives his or her life by (while this can be part of having a philosophical attitude, it doesn’t exhaust what we mean by the “Philosophy” we will be studying) Relativism – the view that what is “true” or “right” is merely relative “What’s right for someone else might not be right for me. It’s just best to let others believe whatever they want and I’ll believe whatever I want.” “Truth is different for everybody.” “We should just respect everyone’s opinions as equally valid.” The problem with this attitude is that it results in a logical contradiction: When you say that all viewpoints are equally valid or correct, you are forced to agree when someone argues that you are wrong. Bob: I believe all beliefs are equally valid. Harold: I believe that your belief is wrong. Bob: Well…I guess you have a point there. Basically, when you make the statement “All truth is relative” you are asserting an absolute, objective truth. This statement is self-refuting because it serves as its own counter-example. By claiming that the statement is true, you are also implying that it is false since the content of the statement says something like “there is no objective truth.” In addition to logical contradiction, you run into semantic problems (problems with how meaning is attached to words). Relativism empties the word “truth” of its meaning. “True” is supposed to be a term that we use to evaluate states of affairs, statements, or beliefs. When something is “true,” it is correct or accurate. If everything is “true,” then nothing could ever be false. The terms “true” and “false” end up meaningless and useless. This attitude isn’t very practical. You couldn’t rely on scientific principles or technological knowledge if you really believed that “All truth is relative.” If you want to
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
be an ethical relativist, you’d have to accept that people those who violate the rights of others or act in morally despicable ways are entitled to their own “moral truths.” Dogmaticism – having an unquestioned or unexamined set of beliefs "A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject." - Winston Churchill What does “Philosophy” mean? If we look at the etymological derivation “Philosophy” breaks down into two Greek
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course PHIL 10 at San Jose State University .

Page1 / 6

What_is_Philosophy - What Is Philosophy? Unlike other...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online