Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Gen Eds Series: P1. Philosophy Overview

School of Athens, by Raphael
Last week I started a series, "The Gen Eds in a Nutshell." The first subject in the series of ten general education topics is philosophy. So for the next few weeks, I will slowly be summarizing the primary take-aways a person should have if they have taken a college (or high school) class in philosophy.

1. It is traditional to say that philosophy is the pursuit of wisdom, but this definition isn't really that helpful. It's vague and doesn't really tell you anything. Philosophy is the exploration of all the ultimate questions. What is real? What is true? What is right?

Philosophy is the ultimate "meta" discipline. It stands alongside all other disciplines and asks what they are doing. Philosophy of science asks what science is really about. Philosophy of the person asks what people really are and what psychology is really about. Philosophy of history asks what history is really about. Philosophy of art asks what art and beauty are? Social and political philosophy ask what the best ways are for humans to live together. Philosophy of religion asks what God and religion are really about.

2. The following ten posts overview these topics in philosophy as an introduction to this entire series on a general education and the liberal arts. We will pursue these topics in the following order:
  • philosophy of religion - Does God exist and how does he relate to the world? What is the meaning of life?
  • epistemology - How do I know that I know what I think I know? (what is true)
  • logic - What does good thinking look like? (critical thinking)
  • philosophy of science - How do we go about discovering truths about the world?
  • metaphysics - What is real?
  • philosophy of the person - What is a human being?
  • ethics - What is right? What is valuable? How should we be and live as individuals in the world?
  • social and political philosophy - How can people best live together in the world?
  • philosophy of history - Does history have a direction? How do humans go about telling their stories? How do those stories relate to "what really happened"?
  • philosophy of art - What is beautiful? What is art?
Let philosophy begin.

Next Week: Philosophy 2: Does God exist and act in the world?

Classical Reading
  • Plato's Apology

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