PHIL 1F94 Lecture Notes - The Big Questions, Physis

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9 Oct 2011
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Two main arguments - Deductive & Inductive
What is Philosophy?
Best way to understand is to ask what does it do, what is its nature
What is X - platonic and Socratic question
Is X Y - Platonic
Sometimes philosophers will ask what is something by asking what is X qua X
Example: what is human being qua human being? What is being qua being? What is philosophy qua
philosophy?
As our author Rauhut explains:
"Philosophy tries to promote a "big picture" view of the universe by asking "open
questions". For example, what is the universe? What is the meaning of life? Why 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."
Philosophy will always be incomplete.
TWO OTHER DISCIPLINES THAT ASK THE BIG QUESTIONS
MYTHOLOGY & THEOLOGY
Mythology tries to explain the big picture via stories.
Muthos means "story" and logos means "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
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PHILOSOPHY & THESE OTHER DISCIPLINES
Philosophy does now depend on the revelations nor does it use stories instead philosophy uses reason.
Faith and reason can go hand in hand
Philosophers use arguments to support their beliefs. (rational justification)
Indeed philosophy means love(philo) of wisdom(Sophia). Hence a philosopher is the lover of wisdom
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PHILOSOPHY & SCIENCE
If philosophy tries to answer "big picture" questions by using reason, what then is the relationship
between philosophy and science?
Answer - Science answers "big picture" questions via experimentation, philosophy instead answers such
questions conceptually
Rauhut puts the difference this way:
" We can define philosophical questions, questions that induce conceptual analysis and
that requires for their solution more than observation and experimentation. Philosophical
questions are open questions in the sense we cannot easily predict what would constitute a
satisfactory solution to them. No scientific procedure can produce a quick answer to
philosophical question.
MAIN BRANCHES OF PHILOSOPHY
Logic - study of arguments and inference patterns
Epistemology - Study of knowledge
Lecture 1: Philosophy Introduction & What is Philosophy -
Chapter 1
Philosophy Page 1
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