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Introductory Class -

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Introductory Class
Course code/course title
CourseOutline1. Philosophyand its Branches2. Logicand its Importance3. TheLaws of thought4. Types, Purpose and Rules of Definition5. TheNature of Argument6. Typesof Argument7. Identifyingand Analysing Argument8. Formsof Basic Valid Arguments9. Argumentsinvolving Relations10. InformalFallacies11. Ethicsand Human Conduct in thesociety12. Some Issues in Applied Ethics
TWO Segments of the course
SEGMENT 1: focuses on general issues and problems in philosophySEGMENT 2: focuses on logic and critical thinking
What is Philosophy?
According to K.A.Olu-Owolabi, “the problem of defining philosophy is conventionally the starting point of the philosophical discourse”Consider general opinion. What do you understand by philosophy?
Two Usages of the word philosophy
1. the General usage: this has to do with employing the word philosophy to denote general worldview about an aspect of life2. the technical usage- this refers to philosophy as an academic discipline with a history and a tradition
What philosophy in the general sense is
the General usage: this has to do with employing the word philosophy to denote general worldview about an aspect of lifeWhen philosophy is used in this sense “one’s point of view towards certain activities might be construed as being philosophical. In this sense, a person’s attitude or position towards an economic policy might be termed as his/her economic philosophy.”When used in this way, philosophy implies one’s attitude to life as well as one’s habitual way of responding to events or circumstances. In this sense, philosophy is a set of beliefs or an attitude to life which guides one’s behaviour. In this sense, a business man may say “this is my philosophy of life…”. When philosophy is used in this sense what it entails is that “this is the principle that guides one’s life”. Hence, people conceive and exhibit their views about life as their own philosophy. Sometimes this philosophy is not as a result of deep critical reflection of a view.
What philosophy in the technical sense is
In the technical sense, philosophy is an academic discipline with history and traditions.
The purpose of all academic disciplines
No discipline is pursued for its own sake. All disciplines are means to further ends, chief among which is meeting a need by providing solutions to problems of life. A discipline studies an area of life to acquire knowledge and to use the knowledge to solve human problems.Like every other discipline, philosophy addresses some problems
Early Historical development of philosophy
One way to understand philosophy ( or even any academic discipline) is to attempt to see what has been done in the discipline through the ages.Philosophy starts through the asking of questions. When we look at our environment there are a lot of questions that can be raised
Among other ways of studying philosophy, one can take a historical approach by looking at how founders of the discipline studied it.The advantages of this approach are:1. one can understand how the discipline has been practised2 one can understand how the discipline has evolved over the ages3 one can see trends that have been persistent in the practice of the discipline.
The three early Greek philosophers
The early Greek philosophers are regarded as the first set of philosophersThey are known asMilesianphilosophers.They are Thales, Anaximander,AnaximenesThese philosophers wanted to know what the main constituent of nature is and why we have change.These philosophers are regarded as philosophers because they departed radically from the kind of explanations obtained before they came into the scene.
The kind of explanations for things and events happening in nature were mystical, mysterious, religious, unscientificUnlike explanations offered before they came, theMilesianphilosophers attempted to give rational explanations. And they gave reasons for their views
Although these philosophers gave different answers to the same question, yet, they were answering the same question. And in answering those questions they were critical and rational.
TheMilesianphilosophers generated ideas that enabled people understand naturePhilosophers aim at helping people understand nature and life generally. This is not like the scientists, but philosophers practice philosophy by raising fundamental questions that will make one think critically
What may be deduced from the way the philosophers practised philosophy?
1. philosophy begins in wonder2. philosophy tries to resolve puzzles (e.gfate/destiny and moral responsibility).3. in philosophy, reasons are adduced for one’s position4. philosophy has to do with the construction and assessment of arguments5. Philosophy is not done in the laboratory but done through reflection in an arm-chair manner.
The role of controversy in philosophy
A lot of the issues that philosophy raise and attempt to resolve are issues that do not have one simple answer that can resolve themIn philosophy there are a lot of controversies. In quite a number of situations one will think that philosophers never agree about anything, including the definition of philosophy itself. So, of what importance is controversy in philosophy?
The answer to this is that controversieshelp enrich philosophy because they help enrich the debate on an issue in philosophy.
Branches of philosophy
Philosophy is studied under two broad categories. They are:1. Primary branches or Cardinal branches2. Second Order Discipline
Primary branches
The primary branches are areas of the discipline that are traditional to philosophy. They have been with it from early periods of the course. They are areas of study where issues and problems that are fundamental to the discipline are studies
The primary branches are1. Metaphysics2. Epistemology3. Ethics4. Logic
This is the branch of philosophy that has to do with the study of realityIt also addresses issues dealing with existenceMetaphysics is an inquiry about reality.
Why study metaphysics
Metaphysics is studied because there is the desire to understand the universe, its structures, its constituents, its origin, its final destiny, and how best human beings can relate with things in the world.
Some problems addressed in metaphysics
The problem of appearance and realityThe mind-body problemThe problem of substance and accidentThe problem of cause and effectThe problem of change and permanencethe problem of freedom and determinismThe problem of the existence of GodThe problem of universal and particular
This is the branch of philosophy that deals with addressing issues and problems relating to knowledge.Questions relating to the origin, nature, justification and limit of human knowledge are dealt with in this field of philosophy.
Problems tackled in epistemology
Epistemology deals with clarifying what knowledge is, and what distinguishes knowledge from mere beliefEpistemology deals with the scope and limit of knowledge claims; and how knowledge is acquired- do we know through experience or reason?What is the right method of obtaining knowledge?The problem of scepticism, which is the problem of doubtThe problem of the value of knowledge
This is the field of philosophy that deals with issues and problems regarding morality.Ethics is also referred to as moral philosophyIt is the branch of philosophy that deals with moral rules that ought to guide social relations among humans as well as guide human conduct regarding other living and non-living things around.
In ethics, theories dealing with standards that can be applied in the evaluation of the action of humans are studiedWe learn to evaluate human action in order to determine whether the actions are just/unjust; right/wrong; good/bad.
Subject matter of ethics
The subject matter of ethics ismorality. This has to do with what action is good or thought to be good, and which should be done; and which action which is bad, which should be avoided.
The basis of morality
1. This is the rational nature that human being possess. Human being by nature are rational beings and through this ought to be able to project what is good for them which should be avoided when relating with other humans.
2. human beings are rational and should through their reasoning faculty be able to know what is good or bad for people, animals and the environment.3. the rational capability of humans should enable them to understand arguments presented that show that one action is bad or right
Some questions asked in ethics
What makes an action right or wrong?What is the moral standard?Who determines what is morally right- God, society, or the individual?Is what is morally right subjective, relative or absolute in nature?What do the terms employed in moral judgement like good, right, or just, mean?
Branches of ethics
1.Metaethics(it deals with the clarification of concepts employed in moral discourse). Concepts like good, bad, right, wrongetc2. Normative Ethics (this is concerned with developing norms that can guide humans in making moral decisions)3. Applied Ethics (this has to do with applying ethical theories to actual life situations
This is the branch of philosophy that has to do with learning the rules, principles, and techniques that should guide argumentsIn logic,knowledge of what an argument isistaught; the various forms of arguments, as well as the properties that make an argument good are also learnt. In addition, an understanding of the major pitfalls, in form of fallacies, to avoid is imparted.
Philosophy as a Second Order Discipline
A second order discipline examines some issues arising in another discipline.Whenever philosophy is practised as a second order discipline, it is concerned with interrogating or scrutinising certain problems and issues arising from studies going on in other disciplines
The aims, the methodology, and outcome of other disciplines are subjected to rigorous analysis and evaluationThere is also ethical evaluation of the practice in other disciplines
Philosophy as a Second Order Enterprise
Philosophy, as a second order enterprise, examines salient issues in other academic fields like Law, Social Science, Science, Education, ICT, etc.





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Introductory Class -