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BEGINNING

PHILOSOPHY

Philosophy is an axe.

Everything you believe is questionable .


How deeply have you questioned it? The
uncritical acceptance of belief s handed
down to you by your parents, teachers,
politicians
and
religious
leaders
is
dangerous. Many of this beliefs are simply
false. Some of them are lies, designed to
control you. Even when what has been
handed down is true, it is not your truth. To
merely accept anything without questioning
it is to be somebody elses puppet, a
second-hand person.

Beliefs can be handed down. Knowledge can perhaps


be handed down. Wisdom can never be handed
down. The goal of philosophy is wisdom. Trying to
hand down philosophy is unphilosophical.
Wisdom requires questioning what is questionable.
Since everything is questionable, wisdom requires
questioning everything. That is what philosophy is:
the art of questioning everything.

WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY?
The

word Philosophy (Greek, Philosophia)


means:
the love (philia) of wisdom (sophia).

The Three Basic Questions:


The wisdom philosophers love and pursue arises
from an inquiry guided by three basic questions:
1.Whats

what?
2.Whats good?
3.What do we know? And related questions- Whats
true?

When Man is confronted with Mystery, or with


Something whose causes are still unknown,
he wonders why.
Such for Socrates, was the beginning of Wisdom.
Socrates says :
Wonder is the feeling of a Philosopher, and
Philosophy begins in Wonder.
( Plato, Theaetetus, 155 B. Benjamin Jewett in vol.
7of Great Books, p. 519 )

What does it mean then to wonder?


To wonder means to realize that there is something
strange behind the things that we ordinarily
perceive. To wonder is to notice something
extraordinary in the ordinary things we see.
( For the love of Wisdom by Chris John-Terry, An
explanation of the meaning and purpose of Philosophy )

Philosophy is for those who are willing to be


disturbed with a creative disturbance
Philosophy is for those who still have the
capacity to WONDER.
( Philosophy an introduction to the Art of Wondering by
James L. Christian, prelude. )

Philosopher can be best described as one who


loves truth in its deepest meaning. This is in
keeping with the literal meaning of the word
Philosophy as love of wisdom.
The study of Philosophy is a continual encounter, a
dialogue carried on in search of truth wherever it
maybe found. Philosophy can be termed as an
inquiry which seeks to encompass the whole of
reality by understanding its most basic causes and
principle in so far as these are acceptable to
reason and experience. It is characterized as
beginning in wonder and ends in mystery.
( Reflections on Man by Jesse Mann et al. P2-4)
9

3 BRANCHES OF
PHILOSOPHY

1.

For this reason, the discipline of philosophy


has , over the centuries, come to be divided
into three main branches:
Metaphysics: The philosophical study of
reality (Whats what?)
a. Ontology (being or reality in general)
b. Philosophical Cosmology (cosmos)
c. Philosophical Theology (Philosophy of
Religion)
(God)
d. Philosophical Anthropology (Human nature
and
Human Existence)

2. Axiology: The Philosophical study of value


(Whats Good?)
a. Aesthetic (Philosophy of Art )
b. Ethics (Moral Philosophy)
c. Social and Political Philosophy
3. Epistemology: Knowledge and Truth (What do
we know and whats True)

5 CHIEF AIMS OF PHILOSOPHY


1.The

critical scrutiny of our belief s and


convictions.
2.The bringing to light of our hidden
assumptions or presuppositions.
3.The quest for genuinely worthwhile life.
4.The effort to keep our sense of wonder
alive.
5.The posing of certain questions which are
not dealt with by other disciplines, and the
attempt to answer them.

Two Different Approaches to Philosophy


Philosophy

is a two-sided intellectual

enterprise.
It is a form of thinking that is, on the one hand,
Constructive and, on the other hand, Critical
(Deconstructive)

Thus, in defining the general nature of


Philosophy, a distinction is usually made
between:
1. Constructive (sometimes called
Speculative)Philosophy.
2. Critical (Deconstructive) Philosophy

What makes an answer or belief Rationally


defensible?
An

answer or belief is rationally defensible:


1.In strong sense when it is credible, i.e.,
believable because it is supported by evidence
and/or sound argumentation.
2.In

the weak sense when it withstands or


survives criticismi.e., it has not (yet) been
refuted (that is to say, proved to be certainly or
probably false)

Constructive Philosophy, then, is the


attempt to formulate rationally defensible
answers to questions.
The more ambitious forms of constructive
philosophy aim at the constructions of a
comprehensive,
coherent,
and
intellectually
(and
perhaps
also
emotionally) satisfying world-view or
Philosophical System.

Many constructive philosophers, however,


especially in recent times, concentrate on
analyzing and answering only a few of the
major philosophical questions without
attempting the construction of a complete
world-view or philosophical system
Most of the great philosophers of the past
were constructive philosophers.
Constructive philosophy concentrates on
providing
answers
to
fundamental
philosophical questions.

Critical (Deconstructive) Philosophy


Is

the process of subjecting beliefs and


arguments to logical and empirical
analysis, classification, and evaluation in
an effort to decide whether those beliefs
and arguments are rationally defensible or
indefensible, warranted or unwarranted,
sound or unsound, justified by reason or
not
It
concentrates on questioning such
answers.

Give 6 examples of your


beliefs in life and explain why.
3 (PROVEN)
3 (Not Proven)

KNOWLEDGE
How

do we use the word know in English?


In the ordinary use of English we use the word
know in many different ways:
It is very important in philosophy to be clear
about exactly how we are using the word.

Roughly speaking the three correct ways


to use it are:

1. Knowledge

by acquaintance
2. Knowledge how to do something
3. Knowledge that something is the case.

1.

Knowledge by acquaintance

This the kind of knowledge we have of


people and places.
Knowledge by acquaintance is also, but
at a very much deeper level, the way in
which we know friends and members of
our family.

If we know a person, we might not actually know


much about the person-we might not know when
her/his birthday is, or where she/he was
born..and on the other hand we may know the
great deal about the person, e.g famous actor,
the President of the country, a National hero,
without being able to say that we know the
person.
Sometimes we know of a person, meaning
that we have heard a lot about the person, but
perhaps not even met them

In the same way we can know a place:


I know Sta. Maria, because I have been
there, walked around, talked to the
people, I can tell you how to get there and
what it is like as a place.
This is also knowledge by acquaintance,
where as although I probably know more
facts about Boracay than I do about Sta.
Maria, I cant say that I know it, as I have
never been there.

Knowing how
Quite

a different sort of knowledge is when we


know how to do something.
Do

you know how to ride a horse?


Do you know how to drive a car?
Do you know how to play the piano?

Notice that this is quite different from


knowledge by acquaintance.
You might have seen people riding bicycles
almost everyday of your life-you know
exactly what riding a bicycle means,
and you might know lots of facts about
how it is done, but if you have never even
sat on a bicycle yourself, you cannot claim
to know how to ride a bicycle.

Notice also that knowing how is not a


matter of knowing facts.

If I gave you the best book about playing the


violin ever written, and a year to read it, but
only at the end of the year you were for the
first time given a violin, you would not know
how to play it you would not be able to play
it , even if you knew 1,001 facts about how to
play the violin.

These two sort of know, knowledge by


acquaintance, and knowing how to do
something, are also used by philosophers,
but less often that they are used by nonphilosophers.

Example:
Your swimming teacher might say Do you
know the butterfly stroke?, meaning can
you actually do it? He means Do you know
ho to do the butterfly stroke?

Knowing that
The

third sort of Know, to know that


something is the case is knowledge of
Facts, or Propositional Knowledge.
This

is the use of know most often of


concern to philosophers.

Here are some examples of using the word to


know in this sense-notice that these are all to
do with knowing facts:

1. I

know where to catch the jeepney to Guiwan.


(In-such-and-such-street)
2. I know the capita city of Zamboanga del Sur.
(the name of it, Pagadian, not that I know it
by acquaintance)
3. Do you know the where Ateneo de Zamboanga
is located?. (La Purisima Street)
4. Do you know the boiling point of water on the
centigrade scale? (100 degrees)

A. What sort of know is used in each of


the following questions/statements:
1. Do you know Gloria Macapagal Arroyo?
2. A person doesnt know poverty until hes
slept on the ground without the roof over his
head , night after night.
3. I know how to go to school.
4. Do you know how to sing?
5. Do you know kung Fu?

What do we mean by to know a fact?

It comes in three parts:


1. TRUTH- we can only know something if it is

true we never speak about knowing


something which is false.
(this is the objective part of knowing)
It follows that we can only know true
thingsif we (or anyone else) something, then
it has to be true.

2. BELIEF- we have to believe a fact to


know it.
(this the subjective part of knowing)
There are many facts which are True, but
it wouldnt make sense to say that we
know a fact if we didnt believe that it
was true.
It would be very silly to say: I know that
the capital city of the Philippines is
Manila but I dont believe it.

3. REASON- we have to have reasons for


our belief in a fact to know it.
(this is the rational part of knowing)
This is by far the most complex and
difficult part. What counts as a reason,
or as supporting evidence-what counts as
sufficient reason, or as sufficient
supporting evidence is not something
which it is possible to state easily and
clearly.

1. We may know a fact without necessarily


being able TO EXPLAIN it to someone else.
2. We may know a fact without necessarily

fully UNDERSTANDING it.


Maybe we know the planets all move round
the sun in roughly elliptical orbits..knowing
it is one thing, fully understanding it is
quite another thing surely.
3. We may know a fact without necessarily
anyone else BELIEVING it.

4. We may know a fact without necessarily


anyone else AGREEING with us about it.
5. We may know a fact without necessarily
having any EVIDENCE for it.
6. We may know the fact without necessarily
being TRUTHFUL, SINCERE or RELIABLE or in
anyway generally CREDIBLE.
7. We may know a fact without necessarily
KNOWING THE SUPPORTING DETAILS of times,
places, persons, method or anything else.

Are all Three conditions really


needed?
Yes, they certainly are. Just look back
at the three conditions for knowing a
fact:
1. BELIEVE THE FACT
2. THE FACT IS ACTUALLY TRUE
3. HAVE ADEQUATE REASONS FOR
BELIEVING IT.