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Definitions Defining philosophy is as difficult as trying to define love. The word philosophy is not much help. Philosophy is a combination of two Greek words, philein sophia, meaning lover of wisdom. In ancient times a lover of wisdom could be related to any area where intelligence was expressed.
This could be in business, politics, human relations, or carpentry and other skills. Philosophy had a "wholeness" approach to life in antiquity. In contrast to this, some modern definitions restrict philosophy to what can be known by science or the analysis of language.
Philosophy is a term applied to almost any area of life. Some questions may express this general attitude: If this popular misuse of the word were to prevail, one may admit that anyone who thinks seriously about any subject is a philosopher.
If we do this, we are ignoring the academic disciplines, or study of philosophy. If this very general definition is accepted, everyone becomes a philosopher. It becomes true, paradoxically, that when everyone is a philosopher, no one is a philosopher.
This becomes so loose a definition that philosophy becomes meaningless as a definition. If this definition prevailed, it would mean that a philosopher is anyone who says he is a philosopher.
Because of this inadequacy it becomes apparent that we have to look elsewhere for a definition of philosophy. Because the original meaning of the word, philosophy, does not give us much for specific content, we will turn to descriptive definitions.
A descriptive definition of philosophy is that it seeks to describe its functions, goals, and reasons for existence. In the following pages a number of these definitions will be set forth and examined.
A word of warning is offered to the beginning student of philosophy.
The beginner may despair over diverse definitions. Students who come from a scientific background frequently expect concise, clear, and universally accepted definitions. This will not be true in philosophy and it is not universally true concerning all issues in any science or non-scientific study or discipline.
The diversity of opinion in philosophy becomes a source of embarrassment for the beginner when asked to explain to parents or unknowing friends just what a course in philosophy is all about.
It might be expected that one of the oldest disciplines or subjects in academia should achieve some uniformity or opinion, but this is not the case. Yet in spite of diversity, philosophy is important. Plato declared that philosophy is a gift the gods have bestowed on mortals.
Plato also warned against the neglect of philosophy. He wrote that "land animals came from men who had no use for philosophy. But more seriously, men live by philosophies. Which one will it be? We now turn to consider several definitions of philosophy.
These will include the historical approach, philosophy as criticism, philosophy as the analysis of language, philosophy as a program of change, philosophy as a set of questions and answers, and philosophy as a world-view. Along the way we will also analyze the definitions and attempt to reach some conclusions about this analysis.
The Historical Approach Remember our question: According to this approach philosophy is really the study of historical figures who are considered philosophers. All are considered philosophers. What holds them together since they are so diverse in many of their views?
One answer lies in their common set of problems and concerns. This may serve as a link to another definition to be considered later.
The argument for the historical approach is that no real understanding of philosophy can be had unless one understands the past. Philosophy would be impoverished if it lost any of the names above.
Some argue that knowing the history of philosophy is required for a positive appreciation of philosophy, and necessary if one is to make creative contributions to the advancement of philosophy. This definition of philosophy has its problems: This would make philosophy a sub-unit of history.Sample Concept Paper (not a rhet/comp concept, though) - Sample Concept Paper (not a rhet/comp concept, though) For John Wheeler, defining the term “quantum” in his essay “How Come the Quantum” (Best ) seems the least of his worries.
David Hume (—) “Hume is our Politics, Hume is our Trade, Hume is our Philosophy, Hume is our Religion.” This statement by nineteenth century philosopher James Hutchison Stirling reflects the unique position in intellectual thought held by Scottish philosopher David Hume.
Part of Hume’s fame and importance owes to his boldly skeptical approach to a range of philosophical subjects.
Four Arguments for Skepticism 1. The Infinite Regress Argument Mike Huemer offers the following summary of this first argument: "1. In order to know something, I must have a good reason for believing it. 2. Any chain of reasons must have one of the following structures: Either.
Essays on Skepticism Introduction. I TRANSCENDENTAL ARGUMENTS AGAINST SKEPTICISM. II SEMANTIC ANSWERS TO SKEPTICISM. PART A ON PUTNAM.
7 Brains in a Vat. 8 Semantic Answers To Skepticism. 9 Trees, Computer Program Features, and Skeptical Hypotheses. 10 Cartesian Skepticism, Content Externalism, . Skepticism: Skepticism, in Western philosophy, the attitude of doubting knowledge claims set forth in various areas.
Skeptics have challenged the adequacy or reliability of these claims by asking what principles they are based upon or what they actually establish. They have questioned whether some such claims. “The thorny and controversial issues of “ethnicity” in concept, theory and practice are responsibly handled through word studies, theological discourse, theoretical debates, and practical discussion.