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Philosophy 024: Big Ideas Prof. Robert DiSalle Talbot College 408, 519-661-2111 x85763 Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday.

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Presentation on theme: "Philosophy 024: Big Ideas Prof. Robert DiSalle Talbot College 408, 519-661-2111 x85763 Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday."— Presentation transcript:

1 Philosophy 024: Big Ideas Prof. Robert DiSalle Talbot College 408, x85763 Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 12-2 PM Course Website: Instructor’s Website:

2 Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man, for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it? Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the cornerstone thereof…? (Job 38:1-6)

3 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (2 Colossians 8) For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For…the Greeks wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, and…unto the Greeks foolishness. 1 Corinthians 19-23

4 There is no method of inquiry [other than dialectic] that systematically attempts in every case to grasp the nature of each thing as it is in itself. The other arts are nearly all concerned with human opinions and desires, or with the production of natural and artificial things….Geometry and other such studies do in some measure apprehend reality; but they cannot yield anything but a dreamlike vision of the real so long as they leave the assumptions they employ unquestioned and can give no account of them. (Plato, Republic)

5 If your premiss is something you do not really know and your conclusion and the intermediate steps are a tissue of things you do not really know, your reasoning may be consistent with itself, but how can it ever amount to knowledge? ….So the method of dialectic is the only one which takes this course, doing away with assumptions and travelling up to the first principle of all, so as to make sure of confirmation there. When the eye of the soul is sunk in a veritable slough of barbarous ignorance, this method gently draws it forth and guides it upwards… (Plato, Republic)

6 The point of our present discussion is this, that all men suppose what is called wisdom to deal with the first causes and principles of things. This is why… the man of experience is thought to be wiser than the possessors of any perception whatever, the artist wiser than the men of experience, and the theoretical kinds of knowledge to be more of the nature of wisdom than the productive. Clearly then wisdom is knowledge about certain causes and principles. (Aristotle, Metaphysics)

7 That [philosophy] is not a science of production is clear from the history of the earliest philosophers. For it is owing to their wonder that they began to philosophize; they wondered originally at the obvious difficulties, then advanced little by little and stated difficulties about the greatest matters, e.g. about the phenomena of the moon and those of the sun and stars, and about the genesis of the universe. And a man who is puzzled and wonders thinks himself ignorant…therefore since they philosophized in order to escape from ignorance, evidently they were pursuing science in order to know, and not for any utilitarian end. (Aristotle, Metaphysics)

8 We do not seek [philosophical knowledge] for the sake of any other advantage; but as the man is free, we say, who exists for himself and not for another, so we pursue this as the only free science, for it alone exists for itself….Hence the possession of it might be justly regarded as beyond human power; for in many ways human nature is in bondage, so that according to Simonides, “God alone can have this privilege,” and it is unfitting that man should not be content to seek the knowledge that is suited to him…But the divine power cannot be jealous…nor should any science be thought more honorable than one of this sort….All of the sciences, indeed, are more necessary than this, but none is better. (Aristotle, Metaphysics)

9 ….It soon becomes evident that thought will be satisfied with nothing short of showing the necessity of its facts, of demonstrating the existence of its objects, as well as their natures and qualities. Our original acquaintance with them is thus discovered to be inadequate. We can assume nothing, and assert nothing dogmatically; nor can we accept the assertions and assumptions of others. And yet we must make a beginning; and a beginning, as primary and underived, makes an assumption, or rather is an assumption. It seems as if it were impossible to make a beginning at all. This thinking study of things may serve, in a general way, as a description of philosophy. (Hegel, Logic)

10 The theory that is to be developed is based—like all electrodynamics—on the kinematics of the rigid body, since the assertions of any such theory have to do with the relationships between rigid bodies (systems of coordinates), clocks, and electromagnetic processes. Insufficient consideration of this circumstance lies at the root of the difficulties which the electrodynamics of moving bodies at present encounters. Einstein, “On the electrodynamics of moving bodies,” 1905.

11 It has often been said, and certainly not without justification, that the man of science is a poor philosopher. Why, then, should it not be the right thing for the physicist to let the philosopher do the philosophizing? Such might indeed be the right thing at a time when the physicist believes that he has at his disposal a rigid system of fundamental concepts and fundamental laws which are so well established that waves of doubt cannot reach them; but it cannot be right at a time when the very foundations of physics itself have become as problematic as they are now.

12 At a time like the present, when experience forces us to seek a newer and more solid foundation, the physicist cannot simply surrender to the philosopher the critical contemplation of the theoretical foundations; for, he himself knows best, and feels more surely, where the shoe pinches. In looking for a new foundation, he must try to make clear in his own mind just how far the concepts which he uses are justified, and are necessities. Einstein, Physics and reality, 1936

13 A Few Big Ideas The Infinite The Good and the True Certainty and Skepticism Theism and Atheism The Scientific Method Nature and Nurture

14 More Big Ones Money and Markets Freedom and Individuality Evolution and Progress Being and Nothing Time, Absolute and Relative Cognition and Computation


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