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Exam Date: 3/21/03



A. What is Philosophy? (See two relevant handouts)
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951): definitional concept of family resemblance
Etymology: Greek, philosophia (love of wisdom)
Theoretical wisdom (Greek, sophia): science, knowledge, truth, reality.
Practical wisdom (Greek,
phrónęsis): ethics, life, virtue, character, conduct.
Basic branches: metaphysics (inquiry into reality, see also speculative metaphysics below), epistemology (theory of knowledge), ethics, and logic.

Historically Prominent Attitudes:

1. Independence, self-sufficiency. Cf. autonomy (Greek, autarkia)heteronomy distinction
2. Doubt, suspicion toward any position or theory that lacks sufficient evidence (de Montaigne)
3. Impartiality, rational objectivity, logical
4. Adherence to principle over narrow self-interest and pragmatic utility (Socrates)
5. Reflective (Royce, Dilthey); cf. to our typical form of
intentional consciousness
6. Theoretical comprehensiveness: synoptic, speculative, synthetic
7. Practical way of life (Epicurus)
8. Critical examination of what is taken for granted or naively assumed (Dewey, Schopenhauer)
9. Wonder, theoretical curiosity (Plato, Aristotle)
10. Radicality: getting at the roots, persistent
11. Hypothetical attitude, the capacity to suspend judgment
12. Open-minded, not dogmatic, willing to consider counterevidence
13. Universalistic, cosmopolitan orientation

Value of philosophy:
1. Social-political, legal, and cultural (critical function)
2. Educational
3. Moral/ethical
4. Psychological: antirational attitudinal impediments to philosophy:

  • prejudice, bias, partiality
  • provincialism, narrow-minded
  • egocentrism, narcissism
  • superstition
  • dogmatism
  • traditionalism
  • ethnocentrism
  • rationalization

5. Personal
6. Practical or pragmatic

Non Sequitur: Latin, it does not follow
Worldview (German, Weltanschaunng): comprehensive framework of interpretation, meaning, and intelligibility; philosophy of life
Historical definitions: #s 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 13, 17, 22, 24, 27, and 36.

B. Historical Origin of Western Philosophy: From Mythos to Logos
Matrix: generative context, framework, or soil
Mythos: story, tale, fable, account, or legend
Logos: language, articulated speech, account, reason, explanatory principle, intelligible law
Mythical worldview: general characteristics (10); Homer and Hesiod; anthropomorphism; analogical reasoning: human action model of explanation.

Greek Philosophical Revolution:

Thales of Miletus (624-546 BC):
Archę: origin, beginning, first principle, primary element
Physis: nature as an impersonal, dynamic process knowable through methodical and evidential inquiry
Naturalistic-causal explanatory model (“all is water”)
Speculative metaphysics: reality/appearance, permanence/change, being/becoming, theoretical reduction of multiple appearances to the unity of an underlying primary element (archę), cosmology, metaphysical dualism

Xenophanes (c. 565-c.470 BC):

  • Applied consequences of philosophical revolution to the mythic gods
  • Polytheistic gods as anthropomorphic, idealized projections
  • Movement toward monotheism
  • Mythic gods as immoral
  • Philosophical theology and ethics

1. 10 T/F questions (20 points)
2. 25 multiple-choice questions (50 points)
3. 4 short answer questions (20 points)
4. 1 essay question (10 points)
5. Extra credit?