Alexis WattsQuestion #1 (970 Words) Philosophy is an intellectual discipline that concerns itself with the most general concepts, principles, and features of the world. The characterization of Philosophy is broken up into 3 parts which are genus (a category), species (a member or subcategory of the genus), and differentia (the characteristics that distinguish one species from another). These three characteristics help us define and understand philosophy.
Philosophy is broken up into five main subdivisions: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, philosophy of the mind, and logic. Metaphysics is the study of reality, existence and causation. Epistemology is the study of knowledge, and justification. Ethics is the study of what is right/wrong, what is our obligation. Philosophy of Mind is how does the mind work? Logic is the study of inferences and philosophers usually consider these inferences in the form of arguments.
These subdivisions help create different types of philosophical questions such as does God exist? What is true? What is moral? etc. Russel says that philosophy shouldn’t be studies just for the sake of questions themselves, but because these questions enlarge our conception of what is possible, enrich our intellectual imaginations, and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against speculation. One philosophical problem that I would like to discuss is the power of agency that we are given. With this agency we have the power to do whatever we want whenever we want. The problem that comes along with it is, without law there is no order. Many see laws as a constriction of their freedom that they hold so dear but in reality law brings peace and peace brings freedom.
Lets discuss a world without law, a world without order. We have all been given the ability to choose for ourselves our fate. The famous poem Invictus states “I am the master of my fate, I am the keeper of my soul” and these are words many people live by. With this freedom of choice, however, many choose the poorer decision creating a more difficult path for themselves and many others around them. These poorer decisions could be anything from a misplaced sentence being thought of as offensive to actions as vulgar as rape and murder.
Where can the line be drawn? This is the major philosophical debate of this issue. Does creating more laws protect or limit one’s freedom? This is what can be called an orbital argument. To every solution there is a problem and another solution. The creation of laws, in this case, is the solution while many will argue that the more laws that exist, the less freedom we will have.
There is not one simple answer to such a complex issue so there must have balance be made. To an extent both parties are correct in their arguments. Too many laws will limit our freedom and thus give the government, or those in charge of keeping laws and maintaining peace, too much power which can easily be abused. However, too little laws and regulations will also prove detrimental.
There is a wheel taught about in government classes called the cycle of power. This cycle explains how power is often gained and lost until a system is set up that finds a balance. The cycle often starts with a single party in power.
This party will gain lots of power and begin to abuse it. Those affected by the abuse of this power will rise up and overthrow the party responsible. This creates anarchy, or a loss of order and state of complete chaos. This chaos is often characterized by riots, murders, plundering, and a complete disregard for the wellbeing of others. During this time of chaos there are many small parties and leaderships, each trying to maintain some sort of order and gain followers until one party becomes successful and takes control. Soon thereafter however, they too will begin to gain power and begin to abuse it because they know no difference.
Thus we see how fragile a well balanced system of laws and government can be. This being said why does this protect freedom? Many view freedom as the opportunity to do whatever they want to do whenever they want to do it. This too is true but only to an extent. A look at Nazi Germany shows what one person’s desire to do whatever they want will lead to overpowering. Without a well balanced set of laws there will be few people trying to begin a government, not for the good of all that it will affect, but because they want to be the one with all the power and all the so called freedom.
They see freedom as being able to do whatever they want even if it is thought of as morally wrong. Freedom, or moral agency, is not necessarily being able to do whatever you want whenever you want to do it but instead the opportunity to choose between good and evil. A lot of people think that agency is an illusion. They call it the “illusion of free choice”. This illusion stems from the thought that all government wants is power and control. Many believe they will be led or compelled to choose one choice over another only to have it be exactly what the other party wants. True freedom of choice comes when all people have not only their own best interests in mind but also the best interests of those around them.
Thus we will have a world where everyone looks out for each other and there is not one single person or party chasing after power and hurting all others in the process. Not everyone will always be pleased but if we all have each others best interests in mind we may be able to find that the best things in this world are not always simple to accept. Question #2 (304 Words) Philosophy is an intellectual discipline concerned with the most fundamental and general concepts, principles, and features of the world, our relationship to it and to one another. Philosophy is your foundation basis of beliefs and reality. Knowledge or belief in core principles shapes our reality. These principles are either learned through experiences that we have or we are born with the knowledge of some of these principles. For example, fear of snakes may be based on a principle trying to avoid pain by being bite.
At a young age you may have had a bad experience that may shape your philosophy that all snakes are bad. Also if your born with risk aversion this may influence your philosophy of avoiding pain. Philosophy and religion are tied together in the fact that each have principles that don’t change or you believe are universal.
For example, the religious saying “thou shalt not kill” is a religious law but also inherently I have a feeling or belief that killing doesn’t make me happier. Contrast this with helping someone (service in religion) vs helping others is my philosophical belief of doing good. In both cases, I have an overwhelming sensation regardless of religious belief that makes me feel better about myself. Science vs philosophy is an interesting one because science may evolve and change as we learn more about ourselves and our surroundings. These factors could and do shape our philosophy, beliefs and reality. For example, we all believed the world was flat at one time. Science told us so.
So until we learned more and realized you could sail a boat and not fall of the edge ever our philosophy changed with the knowledge gained by experiences and technology (images of earth etc) and thus science and our belief structure evolve as we gain more knowledge.Question #3 (67 Words) Philosophy is an intellectual discipline concerned with the most fundamental and general concepts, principles, and features of the world, our relationship to it and to one another. Also known as the study of basic concepts.
Philosophy started in ancient Greece when philosophers wanted to explain the world without using the greek gods. They wanted to have a more logical approach to solving the mysteries of the world.