Chapter 1 QuestionAssignments1) Explain some of the benefits astudent may gain by studying philosophy.The study of philosophy givesstudents more than just knowledge of the world. It gives students a deepunderstanding of how the world works and even how it “should” work.
Besidesthis important reason, there are three clear benefits that a student may gainby studying philosophy. First, philosophy will allow students to develop theability to think, reason, and evaluate ideas all while provoking criticalthought. Philosophy also teaches students how to be happy, have a meaningfullife, and how to know the truth.
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Lastly, the students may gain theunderstanding that truth may be objective and universal, but finding the truthmay be ambiguous and sometimes difficult. Additionally, philosophy also teachesstudents that the journey is just as important and sometimes even moreimportant than the end result. An example of this is outlined in Chapter 1 ofour philosophy text book, where students often study to take a test, ratherthan mastering the substance of their studies. 2) Explain the Socratic Method ofTeaching, Is this a useful way for students to learn?The Socratic Method of Teachingis considered to be a unique approach in teaching because of its methodology.The method fosters critical thinking and involves giving students questions tothink about but not the answers.
This method requires that students use varioussets of tools such as inquiry, analysis, evaluation and synthesis of thoughtsand ideas to come to conclusions. I believe this is a useful way for studentsto learn because the questions posed by the teachers allow students to engagein conversation about the subject. When questions are answered by the students,sometimes it leads to a whole new line of questions which need to be answered.I believe this creates an atmosphere where students are truly learning insteadof retaining information for a short period of time and eventually forgetting.
3) Explain how critical thinkingcan be used to analyze a philosophical issue.In order to analyze aphilosophical issue effectively, one must clearly use the process of criticalthinking. Critical thinking is an abstract idea in which the “thinker” engagesin while investigating facts and reasons and eventually evaluate the argumentsusing the information gathered. With that being said, critical thinking is anessential tool in analyzing philosophical issues. If the thinker can clearlysupport their stance using facts and information gathered, the thinker’sargument cannot be invalid. The great thing about philosophy is that there isnot one correct answer in a philosophical argument, just different stances andpoints of view. 4) Compare and contrastinduction, abduction and deduction.
Deduction is a form ofreasoning/argument that takes a general statement then looks for a conclusionthat is logical. An induction form of argument is the exact opposite from thededuction form of argument. In an induction based argument, the facts are firstgathered or observations are made, then a reasonable conclusion is made.Abduction differs from both deduction and induction due to the fact thatAbduction is based on evidence presented then making a decision or coming to aconclusion. 5) Explain some of the differentareas of philosophy which will be discussed in this course.The following divisions ofphilosophy will be discussed during this course: Logic, Metaphysics (Nature ofExistence), Epistemology (Theory of Knowledge), Philosophy of Religion, EasternPhilosophy, Aesthetics, Ethics (Study of Right and Wrong), and PoliticalPhilosophy. Logic is the study of rational thought which is a basic concept ofcritical thinking and philosophy in general.
Metaphysics deals with the natureof existence. It attempts to answer questions about how the world is.Epistemology is closely related to metaphysics, but instead of wondering howthe world is, it attempts to answer “How do you know?” Philosophy of religionis broken down into two parts. The western perspective deals with proofs ofexistence of three Omni (omni-benevolent, omniscience, and omnipotent) God, therationality of religious belief and the problem of evil.
The easternperspective focuses on discussions of eastern philosophical systems such asHinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. The concepts of reincarnation,karma, and the connection between Taoist principles and traditional Feng Shuiare also discussed.Another area of philosophy thatwill be discussed is Aesthetics. Aesthetics deals with the thought of beautyand making judgements about beauty. Topics such as Art and what defines art are discussed in this section.The area of ethics will also be discussed, wherein the evaluation of whethersomething is right or wrong will be discussed.
Finally, Political philosophydeals with questions pertaining to the foundations, nature, and purpose ofgovernment. This chapter closelyresembles the philosophy of law, and also deals with the analyzation of socialstructures from both an economic perspective and political perspective. 6) Compare and contrast variousviews on substance such as materialism, dualism, and idealism.
When discussing views onsubstance, there are three main views to consider. Materialism is the thoughtthat reality consists of physical objects and their components. Some examplesof this are the car that you drive, the house that you live in or actuallytelevision that you watch. Idealism is the complete opposite of materialism.Idealism is the thought that all the objects that we encounter in the world areconsidered nonmaterial objects and that the only objects we do have access toin our mind is our ideas. In essence, this way of thinking suggests thatreality is immaterial. Finally, the last view to consider was suggested by ReneDescartes, wherein he stated that reality of composed of two substances, whichare the mind and the body.
In this view,the body is considered to be “material”, while the mind is immaterial. Thoughts and feelings are grouped underimmaterial while our body exists in material space. Unlike the two previousviews, substance dualism combines materialism and immaterialism to form a newview.George Berkley believed inidealism. He stated that the only things that were real were ideas and thatworld is composed of only two things, ideas and minds. In his view, substanceis something that we infer exists, but in fact we do not perceive. ThomasHobbes stated that the only thing that exists is a body in motion. He coupledthis thought with the thought that ideas and feeling are all physical entitiesexplained by the emotions of the brain.
David Armstrong was a supporter of thematerialism view, and he believed that “there is only one substance and itsmaterials”. 7) Evaluate the 4 views as to thenature of universals and particulars.To understand the four views asto the nature of universals and particulars, we must clearly understand whatthese terms mean.
“Universals” is a namefor ideas or general concepts or terms that can be applied to variousparticular objects. “Particulars” is a term used to described objects orindividual things that we encounter of the world. According to the textbook,the “Universal” term includes words like blue, red, book, or car. Plato arguedthat reality consists of the forms and that these forms exist in a separatereal. This view is known as platonic realism. In this view, Plato viewed ideas as real. These ideas existedindependently and apart from our thoughts.
Exaggerated realism is the idea thatUniversals do not exist in particulars as part of what makes them similar. Inthis view, the particulars have the universals within them and ideas exist inthe physical objects and our minds, but not in a separate reality.Conceptualism is a view whichclaims that ideas are real but they are dependent upon a mind of thought. Thefunction of a universal term is to denote a special relationship between particularobjects.
Lastly, extreme nominalism states that universals do not exist. Inthis view, ideas in the form of universals and forms are not real objects andthey do not have real existence. Only particulars or individual objects exist. 8) Explain and evaluate the viewof Anaximander regarding the nature of substanceAnaximander (610-546 BCE) was oneof Thales pupils, in the city of Miletus (known as modern day Turkey). Thalessought to discover the primary substance of reality.
Anaximander stated thatthe primary substance is in fact boundless or infinite. He doubted whether anyfundamental or primary substance would exist in an observable pure form.Analyzing Anaximander’s idea, we can say that in a sense he was correct,because we do not observe a primary substance anywhere in the world.9) Explain and evaluate the viewsof Pythagoras regarding the nature of substance.Pythagoras (570-480 BCE) was ofthe idea that the truth about reality was in numbers, which never lie. To thisday, Pythagoras is still known for his famous theorem in which the square ofthe hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is always equal to the sum of thesquare of the two other sides. Thistheorem is verifiable and impossible to falsify. In Pythagoras perspective, to get to thenature of a substance, you have to understand the numbers.
Since an answer in numbers can be verifiedand cannot be tampered with, answers in numbers are considered to be the truestform of an answer. 10) Explain Aristotle’s 4 causes.Aristotle believed that if weasked the right questions, we would get a better understanding of reality. Hedeveloped four questions and named them the four causes.
These sets ofquestions laid the foundation for what would later be known as the scientificmethod. The first question is: “What is it”? The first question, while basic,gets the subject to think critically of ways to answer. The second question:“What is it made of?” asks the subject to ascertain the nature of thematerial(s). This leads to the third question: “How was it made or who madeit?” Answering either of these questions would provide clarity to the nature ofthe item and might be useful in answering any of the previous causes. The lastcause: “What is it for?” Answering this question in itself might be difficultto a subject.
If you analyze the last cause and all the previous causestogether, the subject might be able to gain a better understanding of the wholepicture. 11) Compare and contrastrationalism and empiricismRationalism and empiricism aretwo methods that attempt to explain the various ways we can arrive atknowledge. Rationalism is a method of acquiring knowledge by means of logic andreason. Empiricism is a method of acquiring knowledge by means of observation,inquiry, and experience. In rationalism, one does not necessarily needexperience to have knowledge. The difference between these ideas is that inrationalism, once can come to a conclusion by their own thought process usinglogic and reason. Empiricism requires one to observe, asks questions, and mayrequire one to pull from previous experiences to come to a conclusion.
12) Explain the differencebetween A priori and A posteriori knowledge.A posteriori knowledge isknowledge that is acquired as a result of an experience. As a kid, you often drive around with yourparents. Being in the car with them, you know that when their foot hits theright pedal when they are driving, the car will come to a halt. Later in life,when you are driving, you draw from your experience as a child and rememberthat if you hit the right pedal while driving, your car will come to a halt. Apriori knowledge is knowledge that is arrived at without experience and isnecessary and certain. An example of this is found in our textbook. Thestatement “a cat is feline” is an example of a necessary and priori statement.
As long as you understand the concepts of felines and cats, then you understandthat a cat is necessarily a feline. 13) Compare and contrastFoundationalism and Coherentism.Foundationalism is a theory thatargues that our knowledge claims must be based on basic and true beliefs andthat these basic beliefs provide a foundation for all knowledge.
Coherentism isdistinctly different from foundationalism in the sense that Coherentism deniesthe notion that there are basic foundational beliefs and instead argues thatmany of our beliefs are justified by other beliefs. The text has an interestingway of describing these two beliefs in that Foundationalism is a “Pillar ofknowledge, with foundational belief at the base” and Coherentism is presentedas a “web of beliefs that in turn justify each other”. 14) Compare and contrastpragmatic theories of truth with the correspondence theory of truth.The correspondence theory oftruth states that a belief is true and only true if it corresponds withsomething that exists in the world. Alfred Tarski developed a theory of truth.An example of this theory is as follows: “My belief that a table is in the roomis true, if and only if there actually is a table in the room”. Pragmatic theories of truth claim that, in asense, truth is relative. This theory claims that a statement is true if it’suseful to believe.
For example, individual A believes in God as a part of his/herreligion. In this sense, God exist. For Individual B, this is not the casebecause Individual B does not believe in Individuals A God because he does notpractice the same religion. In essence, for something to be true in thecorrespondence theory, something must rely on something else that exists in theworld. In the pragmatic theory of truth, truth is relevant to the individual,science or society, and does not depend on any other factors.
15) What are some of the implications of Gödel’s Theorem?According to Gödel, the humanmind is superior to any machine and can work out truths that no artificialknowledge will ever reach. His theorem demonstrated that there are certaintruths within any closed mathematical system that cannot be proved within thatsystem. Gödel’s theorem also states that if a system is internally reliable,then it cannot be considered complete.
He thought that there would always be atleast one truth that cannot be proved but is nevertheless true. Additionally,his theorem prohibits the possibility of machines, such as computers. The mosta computer can do is imitate the human brain, but there will always besomething that technology cannot prove.