Notes on The Subject of Philosophy
What is Philosophy?
• “philo” = to love
• “Sophia” = wisdom
• A love of wisdom
1. Instrumental reason: To gain practical knowledge about the world (not good or
2. Philosophical thinking: Using reason to understand the world
Isn’t Philosophy just saying what you think?
Yes, that it starts with beliefs. BUT you must give reasons and arguments. It’s about
giving a rational justification or defense of a set of ideas
What does “everyone is entitled to their own opinion” mean”?
We need to develop opinions that can be taken seriously
Opinion (vs. Knowledge)
1. About taste of preference
a. Can not be argued
2. About technical matters (climate change, vaccines, etc)
a. Can be argued
3. About topics of concern to all humans (morality, politics, philosophy)
a. What philosophy is about ▯persuasive and effective arguments
What makes a good opinion?
1. You must understand it
2. You have considered alternatives
3. You’re able to give good reasons
a. Otherwise, its not really “your own” opinion
b. Must be open to revision