Knowledge and Reality:
Called Epistemology which is the study of the theory of knowledge.
-Doubt & Certainty
- Knowledge & Belief
-Reasons & Faith
Theories of Reality: Metaphysics this formed the basis of physics and psychology. Aristotle started this
-Changes & Identity seeing how the world is always changing but that there is something stable in the
-Personal Transformation & Personal Identity. How much change does it take to change into another
person and what forms personal Identity.
-The existence of God.
- The nature of mind and body. We experience the mind as if it’s different from the body.
What is Philosophy?
Philosophy encompasses ethics, aesthetics (conception of beauty and rating), social and political issues
and many other areas.
Historically philosophy has been characterized in certain ways.
Philosophy is NOT.
1) Religious Doctrine.
- In the practice of philosophy no idea is immune to scrutiny.
- Good questions is just as valuable as good answers
2) It is not the Psychology/ Sociology of belief
-Philosophers provides justification instead of explanations for beliefs.
Explanation vs. Justification Many ways this defines what philosophy is about
I believe: “There is a hippo in the WLU Bookstore” why?
1) Explanation: I Took a hallucinating drug.
- Not relevant to whether my belief is true; (It explains why I believe about the hippo but not about the
-When others know the explanation of my belief, It doesn’t give them any reason to share my belief.
2) Justification: Hippo tracks and piles of hippo dung that lead to the book store, and hear hippo noises.
- These reasons are relevant to whether my belief is true.
By justifying the belief you can get others to believe in it as well but the explanation doesn’t support the
- When others know the justification for my belief they also have some reason to share my belief. What Is Philosophy
1) Philosophy is love (Philos) of wisdom (Sophia)
-What is “Wsidom”? (application of knowledge, and life experience, knowledge of the highest causes)
2) Philosophy is the attempt to answer the ‘Big’ or the ‘Important’ questions.
-What are the biggest questions (it was the nature of reality but is turning into ethics)
3) Philosophy is the attempt to acquire knowledge of “the Nature (the essences) of things” (Essence is
the heart of something, the thing that makes a thing a thing i.e what makes a chair a chair?)
-What are essences or natures of things? Do they clarify the world or do they make it harder to
understand the nature of reality
Did Romeo actually love Juliet?
This is perceived as a factual question but first you have to give a meaning to love. Sometimes if we
want to answer the question of facts, we sometimes need to find the essence of things. I.e. to know if
Romeo truly loved her we have to ask the question, what is love? What is the essence of love?
1) What is death? (Philosophy is about trying to answer the question that lurks beneath the first
-Is it the permanent cessation of existen