Class Notes for Philosophy 1. Ideas define our place in the world, our relations to other people, the bases for what is fair and what is not fair, what is worth believing and what is not worth believing. We need these ideas; otherwise we are caught up merely in routines. We need to recapture the joy of understanding, of thinking hard about life. This is what philosophy encourages: the love of wisdom, the demand for knowledge of how we fit into the big picture and what we should do. 2. Studying the great philosophers helps in doing philosophy, especially in helping you to put your own ideas together--to offer alternatives that you otherwise may not have considered, and to test your ideas against objections. Always keep the inquiry real: that is, ask "Do I really believe that?" Western philosophy has its roots in the ancient Greek curiosity about the nature of the world and our place in it. Today it is still interested in understanding basic issues of human existence. This course is about developing the skills necessary to engage in such an inquiry.
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