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PHILOSOPHY

Philosophy is a discipline that studies the general and fundamental problems associated with reality, existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind and language. As distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems, Philosophy, by its critical, systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument, . In more casual speech the "philosophy" of a particular person can refer to the beliefs held by that person.

The pursuit of "philosophy" has been an on going endeavor from the times of the Ancient Greeks. The word literally means "love of wisdom". The era of Classical Greece introduced and encouraged an environment of learning. Wise men, "sophists", earned their living as traveling teachers, however, it was the philosopher, who was the true "lover of wisdom" for the sake of wisdom.

What is Philosophy?
Principle Branches of Philosophy
Epistomology: The nature and scope of knowledge in the relationships between truth, belief and theories of justification.

Skepticism begs the question of the possibility of completely justifying any truth. A fundamental problem in epistemology, regress argument, occurs when, in order to completely prove any statement, its justification itself needs to be supported by another justification. This chain can take on three possible options, all of which are unsatisfactory.
1. Infinitism -- the chain of justification can go on forever.
2. Fondationalism -- the chain of justifications eventually relies on basic beliefs or axioms that are left unproven.
3. Coherentism -- the chain becomes circular so that a statement is included in its own chain of justification.


Rationalism is the emphasis on reasoning as a source of knowledge.

Empiricism emphasis observational evidence by sensory experience over other evidence as the source of knowledge.
Rationalism claims that every possible object of knowledge can be deduced from coherent premises without observation. Empiricism claims that at least some knowledge is only a matter of observation. For this, Empiricism cites the concept of tabula rasa, individuals are not born with mental content and that knowledge builds from experience or perception.


Epistemological Solipsism is the idea that the existence of the world outside the mind is an unresolvable question.

Logic: The study of the principles of correct reasoning,
using either deductive reasoning or inductive reasoning
.

Deductive reasoning uses certain statements (premises) and other statements (conclusions) to be unavoidably implied. Using "Rules of inferences"; given a premise, namely “A” it follows then, “If A then B”, then “B” must be concluded.

Syllogism is a common convention for a deductive argument.
An argument is termed valid if its conclusion follows from its premises, whether the premises are true or not,
while an argument is sound if its conclusion follows from premises that are true.


Propositional logic uses premises that are declaration propositions that are either true or false.


Predicate logic uses more complex premises called formules that contain variables.
Variables can be assigned values or can be quantified as universal quatifiers when they always apply
or the existential quantifier when the apply at least once.


Inductive reasoning provides conclusions or generalizations based on probabillistic reasoning.

Mathematical logic is often divided into the fields of set theory, model theory, recursion theory and proof theory.
These areas share basic results on logic, particularly first-order logic and definabliity.


Philosophical logic is the study of the more specifically philosophical aspects of logic in contrast with symbolic logic.

Metaphysics: The study of the most general features of reality, such as existence, time, the relationship between mind and body, things and their properties, wholes and their parts, events, processes, and causation.

Traditional branches of metaphysics include cosmology, study of the Universe, and ontology, the study of being.

Idealism is the belief that reality is mentally constructed or otherwise immaterial.
Subjective idealism describes objects as no more than collections or "bundles" of sense data in the perceiver.
Realism states that reality, or at least some part of it, exists independently of the mind.
Realism takes the position that universals do in fact exist.
Nominalism is the negation, or denial of universals, abstract objects, or both.
Conceptualism holds that universals exist, but only within the mind's perception.


There is an ontological dichotomy within metaphysics between the concepts of particulars and universals.
Particulars are those objects that are said to exist in space and time, while numbers are considered as abstract objects.
Universals are properties held by multiple particulars. Red things have the attribute of redness, trees treeness.

The Early Modern period of philosophical thought questioned whether existence to be a predicate, as opposed to a thing. Clearly in the reality of TimeSpace, Time, as the existence of the Universe, is a dynamic.

Over the ages Essence aquired various definitions. Essence can best describe the identity of a being, that is, its properties of Existence and Form from which emerges its Substance together with its attributes defines, Essence.
Metaphysics

Ethics: Primarily questions of the best way to live, "a set of concepts and principles
that guides humans in determining what behavior may helps or harm them".
Secondarily, it questions whether this question can be answered.

The following are main branches of ethics.

Meta-ethics pertains to the nature of ethical thought, as to the origins of the words both good and bad, and origins of other comparative words of various ethical systems.
Its concers are about absolute ethical truths, and how such truths could be known.
Normative ethics deals with the questions of how one ought to act, and what the right course of action should be.
Here is where most ethical theories are generated.
Applied ethics goes beyond theory into real world of ethical practice.
Currently there is the question of whether or not abortion is correct.

Descriptive ethics, known also as comparative ethics, is the study of people's beliefs about morality.

Ethics is also associated with the idea of morality and the two are often interchangeable.

Morals: While Ethics attempts to set a guide for the best way to live,
Morality attempts to measure conduct or behavior.

What is Morality?

Ethical Theories & their Roots

 



 

Morallity: ain articles: Ethics and Political philosophy

 

One debate that has commanded the attention of ethicists in the modern era has been between consequentialism (actions are to be morally evaluated solely by their consequences) and deontology (actions are to be morally evaluated solely by consideration of agents' duties, the rights of those whom the action concerns, or both). Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill are famous for propagating utilitarianism, which is the idea that the fundamental moral rule is to strive toward the "greatest happiness for the greatest number". However, in promoting this idea they also necessarily promoted the broader doctrine of consequentialism. Adopting a position opposed to consequentialism, Immanuel Kant argued that moral principles were simply products of reason. Kant believed that the incorporation of consequences into moral deliberation was a deep mistake, since it denies the necessity of practical maxims in governing the working of the will. According to Kant, reason requires that we conform our actions to the categorical imperative, which is an absolute duty. An important 20th-century deontologist, W.D. Ross, argued for weaker forms of duties called prima facie duties.

More recent works have emphasized the role of character in ethics, a movement known as the aretaic turn (that is, the turn towards virtues). One strain of this movement followed the work of Bernard Williams. Williams noted that rigid forms of consequentialism and deontology demanded that people behave impartially. This, Williams argued, requires that people abandon their personal projects, and hence their personal integrity, in order to be considered moral. G.E.M. Anscombe, in an influential paper, "Modern Moral Philosophy" (1958), revived virtue ethics as an alternative to what was seen as the entrenched positions of Kantianism and consequentialism. Aretaic perspectives have been inspired in part by research of ancient conceptions of virtue. For example, Aristotle's ethics demands that people follow the Aristotelian mean, or balance between two vices; and Confucian ethics argues that virtue consists largely in striving for harmony with other people. Virtue ethics in general has since gained many adherents, and has been defended by such philosophers as Philippa Foot, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Rosalind Hursthouse.

Political philosophy is the study of government and the relationship of individuals (or families and clans) to communities including the state. It includes questions about justice, law, property, and the rights and obligations of the citizen. Politics and ethics are traditionally inter-linked subjects, as both discuss the question of what is good and how people should live. From ancient times, and well beyond them, the roots of justification for political authority were inescapably tied to outlooks on human nature. In The Republic, Plato presented the argument that the ideal society would be run by a council of philosopher-kings, since those best at philosophy are best able to realize the good. Even Plato, however, required philosophers to make their way in the world for many years before beginning their rule at the age of fifty. For Aristotle, humans are political animals (i.e. social animals), and governments are set up to pursue good for the community. Aristotle reasoned that, since the state (polis) was the highest form of community, it has the purpose of pursuing the highest good. Aristotle viewed political power as the result of natural inequalities in skill and virtue. Because of these differences, he favored an aristocracy of the able and virtuous. For Aristotle, the person cannot be complete unless he or she lives in a community. His The Nicomachean Ethics and The Politics are meant to be read in that order. The first book addresses virtues (or "excellences") in the person as a citizen; the second addresses the proper form of government to ensure that citizens will be virtuous, and therefore complete. Both books deal with the essential role of justice in civic life.

Nicolas of Cusa rekindled Platonic thought in the early 15th century. He promoted democracy in Medieval Europe, both in his writings and in his organization of the Council of Florence. Unlike Aristotle and the Hobbesian tradition to follow, Cusa saw human beings as equal and divine (that is, made in God's image), so democracy would be the only just form of government. Cusa's views are credited by some as sparking the Italian Renaissance, which gave rise to the notion of "Nation-States".

Later, Niccolò Machiavelli rejected the views of Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas as unrealistic. The ideal sovereign is not the embodiment of the moral virtues; rather the sovereign does whatever is successful and necessary, rather than what is morally praiseworthy. Thomas Hobbes also contested many elements of Aristotle's views. For Hobbes, human nature is essentially anti-social: people are essentially egoistic, and this egoism makes life difficult in the natural state of things. Moreover, Hobbes argued, though people may have natural inequalities, these are trivial, since no particular talents or virtues that people may have will make them safe from harm inflicted by others. For these reasons, Hobbes concluded that the state arises from a common agreement to raise the community out of the state of nature. This can only be done by the establishment of a sovereign, in which (or whom) is vested complete control over the community, and is able to inspire awe and terror in its subjects.[15]

Many in the Enlightenment were unsatisfied with existing doctrines in political philosophy, which seemed to marginalize or neglect the possibility of a democratic state. Jean-Jacques Rousseau was among those who attempted to overturn these doctrines: he responded to Hobbes by claiming that a human is by nature a kind of "noble savage", and that society and social contracts corrupt this nature. Another critic was John Locke. In Second Treatise on Government he agreed with Hobbes that the nation-state was an efficient tool for raising humanity out of a deplorable state, but he argued that the sovereign might become an abominable institution compared to the relatively benign unmodulated state of nature.[16]

Following the doctrine of the fact-value distinction, due in part to the influence of David Hume and his student Adam Smith, appeals to human nature for political justification were weakened. Nevertheless, many political philosophers, especially moral realists, still make use of some essential human nature as a basis for their arguments.

Marxism is derived from the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Their idea that capitalism is based on exploitation of workers and causes alienation of people from their human nature, the historical materialism, their view of social classes, etc., have influenced many fields of study, such as sociology, economics, and politics. Marxism inspired the Marxist school of communism, which brought a huge impact on the history of the 20th century.

Aesthetics

Main article: Aesthetics

Aesthetics deals with beauty, art, enjoyment, sensory-emotional values, perception, and matters of taste and sentiment.

Specialized branches

Many academic disciplines have also generated philosophical inquiry. These include history, logic, and mathematics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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