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PHIL 201 study guide lesson 1

PHIL 201 study guide lesson 1 - PHIL 201 Study Guide Lesson...

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PHIL 201 Study Guide Lesson 1: What is Philosophy? Points 1) Three preliminary qualifications in studying philosophy – 1) it is impossible to distinguish rigidly and conclusively between what counts as a philosophical problem and what does not – borderline cases / 2) none of the characteristics we shall examine is unique to philosophy; each by itself may be found in another discipline (approximations that, when applied collectively, describe reasonably adequately a broad range of philosophical issues) / 3) when it comes to describing what all (or nearly all) philosophical problems have in common, it is useful to bear in mind that philosophy always begins in wonder (asking what everything is made of or debating the ethical implications of genetic manipulation) – desire to know more than just platitudes dictated by authorities, to question what may seem obvious to others, and to respect the process of inquiry that may lead to unusual and uncomfortable places 2) The characteristics of a “fundamental idea” - Fundamental ideas are usually general (Christianity more general than Protestantism, yet less general than religion). As a rule, fundamental ideas are not only general, they are also pervasive (depends on extent to which an idea is found in different contexts). Fundamental ideas are found in such diverse areas as religion and science. * Philosophical interest with their meaning, truth (basic concern with Philosophy – a belief about the nature or existence of something, supported by the best reasons), and interrelatedness. 3) The three areas involved in philosophical problems - Philosophical problems involve questions about the meaning, truth, and logical connections of fundamental ideas that resist solution by the empirical sciences or by appeal to religious authority – 1) Questions of meaning – what is an infinite spirit; if it is infinite, is it literally in all things; is consciousness definable; what is a direct experience of God / 2) Questions of truth or rational defensibility – of the two competing interpretations, which is correct (which most plausibly describes mystical experiences); are there any legitimate mystical experiences at all / 3) Questions about the logical relations or connections between ideas – what is the logical relation between what I say I experience and what others say I experience, particularly if our descriptions conflict * two
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