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PHIL 1F91 Lecture Notes - Law Of Excluded Middle, Sophia (Wisdom), Physis

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Brian Lightbody

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PHIL 1F91 September 7th, 2012
- Knowledge is justified true belief
- If P is Q, Therefore P is Q
Lecture One: Philosophical Tools
Chapter One from Ultimate Questions
What is Philosophy? (Ultimate Questions page 1-14) (What is X?)
- The best way to understand what "philosophy" is, is to ask what does it do, what is its nature?
- Sometimes philosophers will as what something is by asking what X qua X. Qua is Latin and
means: "as it is".
- Example: What is the human being qua human being? What is being qua being? What is
philosophy qua philosophy?
Philosophy defined:
Philosophy tries to provide a "big picture view of the universe" by asking "open questions".
For example; what is the universe? What is the meaning of life? What is there something
rather than nothing? Why was I created?
These are all philosophical questions because a clear-cut answer to any of them will
always be incomplete.
What is Justice?
- Justice is fairness
Two other disciplines that ask big picture questions: Mythology and Theology
- Mythology tries to explain the "big picture" via stories. Muthos means "story" and Logos means
"principle" or "the study of". Thus, mythology is the study of stories.
- Theology also tries to explain the big picture. Theos means "God" and Logos means "study of",
thus Theology is the study of god.
Differences between philosophy and theses other disciplines
- Philosophy does not use stories nor does it depend on revelation. Instead, philosophy uses reason
- Philosophers use arguments to support their beliefs
- Indeed, Philosophy means the love (Philo) of wisdom (Sophia). Hence, the philosopher is the lover
of wisdom
The Relationship between Philosophy and Science
- If philosophy tries to answer "big picture questions" by using reason, what then is the relationship
between philosophy and science?
- Answer: Where science answers "big picture questions" via experimentation, philosophy instead
answers such questions conceptually, Rauhut puts the difference this way:
Philosophy vs. Science
“We can define philosophical questions as questions that involve conceptual analysis and
that require for their solution more than observations and experimentation. Philosophical
questions are open questions in the sense that we cannot easily predict what would
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