Philosophy 1010 Class #3 Hand in Definition and Philosophical Issue Essay. Reading Assignment for Class #4: Read Velasquez, Philosophy: A Text With Readings, Chapter 2, pp. 71-90
Philosophy 1010 Class #3 Title: Introduction to Philosophy Instructor: Paul Dickey E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org • Additional assignment for Class #4: • Write a two-page “play” as a Socratic Dialogue discussing perhaps the question you proposed in your Class #1 writing assignment. Use two characters, you and Socrates. Illustrate the principles of the Socratic Method in your play.
Critical Thinking Rule #3: “Avoid Vague and Ambiguous Claims.”
What Are the Major Fields of Philosophy? • 2. Metaphysics is “the study of reality or existence.” • Does God Exist? What is the nature of the universe? • Does man have a soul? If so, is it immortal? • Are humans free to choose for themselves, or are all human acts determined?
Monism Monism is the view that all of reality is one kind of thing. If, for example, you believe that all of reality is matter, or that God is the only reality, then you are a monist. Typically, most monists are materialists. (But not all!) In other words, they believe that the single unifying feature of reality is matter. Holding this view, materialistic monists argue that there is no God, Heaven, Hell, soul, or any other "spiritual" part of reality.
Dualism Dualism is the view that all of reality is divided into two kinds of things. Thus, if you believe that all of reality is divided between the realm of God and the physical universe, or that there is a "higher world" and a "lower world", or that reality is composed of spirit and matter, you are a dualist. In general, most Christians are dualists. They hold that reality is divided into two parts. Our souls are eternal and non-material; our bodies, like the physical universe, are temporal and material.
Critical Thinking Rule #4: “Support your Claims with Reasons to Believe”
What Are the Major Fields of Philosophy? 3. Ethics is “the study of values and morality and how they relate to conduct.” (or rather….) What is the nature of man’s obligation to other men? How should we live to be good? What responsibilities do governments have to their citizens? Is man essentially selfish? Or can he be motivated by principles beyond his own self-interest?
Ethics comes from the Greek word ethos for character. Ethics is the study of the nature of morality and immorality, of how humans should, and should not, act. A central ethical question is, what is the source of moral values? Here are three of several possible answers: • 1. Moral values come from God. If you hold this position, then odds are that you believe that genuine moral values are unchanging and universal. What is right, has always been right; what is wrong, has always been wrong. God's laws apply to everyone, in all cultures. This position would make you a moral absolutist.
Moral values come from societies. If you hold this view, then you probably believe that moral values can legitimately vary from culture to culture. Each society can have its own standards of ethical behavior. What is right for the Chinese, may be wrong for Brazilians, and vice versa. This position would make you a moral relativist. • Moral values are determined by the utility or usefulness of an action to promote everyone’s best interest. If you hold this view, then you are a utilitarian. Utilitarianism was argued by John Stuart Mill (1806-1873).
Critical Thinking Rule #5: “Evaluate the truth of the premises of the argument.”
Plato Plato is history's first great philosopher because, among other reasons, he provided the first set of answers to some of the largest and most difficult questions: What is the structure of reality? What can be known for certain? What is moral virtue? What is the nature of the ideal state? No philosopher before Plato had ever attempted such a wide and deep exploration of philosophical problems.
The Father of Western Philosophy • Socrates, 460-399 B. C. • Socrates' deserves credit for rigorous, ethical investigation. His conversations with his fellow Athenians are the first records we have of an individual, by careful reasoning, trying to discover the guiding principles of moral choices. • But be careful. There were many Greek thinkers (actually known as “The Pre-Socratics”) prior to Socrates who developed profound insights into the nature of the universe and man’s place in it. • Socrates built a reputation on questioning conventional beliefs, thus embodying the nature of philosophy itself.
Plato’s Dialogues & the Socratic Method • Plato’s dialogues demonstrate the Socratic Method. • In The Euthyphro, Plato shows Socrates questioning traditional religious beliefs and the nature of religious duty. He asks “what is it to be holy” and Euthyphro says that being holy is “doing what the gods love.” • Class, has Euthyphro given a good answer to the question? Does he really understand or is he just assuming that he knows? • Socrates probes further: what makes a thing holy? Is an act holy because it is loved by the godsor do the gods love what is holy because it is holy? • If the first, are the gods capricious and random and be able to select anything to be holy? If the latter, then we have not answer the original question at all.
What is the Socratic method? • “Teaching by Asking Instead of by Telling” • Socrates engaged himself in questioning students in an unending search for truth. He sought to get to the foundations of his students' and colleagues' views by asking continual questions until a contradiction was exposed, thus proving the fallacy of the initial assumption. • This became known as the Socratic Method, and may be Socrates' most enduring contribution to philosophy. • Socrates was both a real philosopher and the major character in Plato’s (his student’s) dialogues. Thus, it is not clear to what degree Socrates was a precursor to Plato’s ideas or was a mouthpiece for Plato to put forward his own views. • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arBTipKocfY • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaIyBIUytR8 • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TKQ-ifC47Bo