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Outlines of these slides may be viewed at www.creighton.edu/~eeselk or people.ceighton.edu/~ees33175 Choose this course and follow the links.

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slide1
Outlines of these slides may be viewed at
  • www.creighton.edu/~eeselk
    • or people.ceighton.edu/~ees33175
  • Choose this course and follow the links.
  • I highly recommend that you print the outlines of the slides before each class & then use your printed copy for filling in notes of the classroom discussion.

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general introduction
General introduction
  • 1. Why philosophy at Creighton?
      • A distinctive feature of Jesuit, Catholic higher education:
      • (1) addressing ultimate questions &
      • (2) doing so from two viewpoints
          • revelation
          • critical reason
      • with the goal of?

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General introduction
  • Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) established this as one of the distinctive goals of the universities he founded.
    • Ignatius assumed that these two perspectives are harmonious

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General introduction
  • 2. The two principal parts of the course:
        • Historical - will study some classics
          • What is the value of studying classics?
        • Problems
          • What problems will we cover in this course?

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General introduction
  • (1) the legitimacy of the state
  • (2) justice
  • (3) civil disobedience
  • (4) existence of God
  • (5) theories of truth
  • (6) liberty & its bounds
  • (7) choice vs knowledge
  • (8) cognitive, ethical, & aesthetic relativism

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General introduction
  • 3. The nature of philosophy
      • 7 traits
      • (1) Types of issues are very general & very fundamental
        • e.g., truth
          • morality
          • foundations of knowledge
          • limits of liberty
          • existence of God
          • See Blackburn’s list on p. 3

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General introduction
  • (2) Is critical
      • in the sense that philosophy raises questions, very basic questions
      • quote from Stuart Hampshire
      • Socrates in the Apology compares himself to a fly buzzing around a lethargic horse.

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General introduction

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General introduction
  • "Almost all the philosophers who have survived and are still read were to some degree subversive and unsettling, loosening the hold of accepted categories and habits of classification, and suggesting a scheme of description of their own design. This radical resistance to the usual certainties, and particularly to the usual pictures of the mind, is the beginning of philosophy. . . .”

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General introduction
  • “After all, our adherence to customary categories and classifications are largely a result of family inheritance. It is a contingency of birth. Thus at a certain stage in our lives it seems proper to leave our familiar home and look the strange clothing that will fit a deviant and unsocialized consciousness." (Stuart Hampshire, "Philosophy and Fantasy," NYRB, 26 Sep. 1968: 51.f)

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General introduction
  • (3) Philosophy is integrative
      • attempts to build grand visions of human life and the world which include all dimensions
  • (4) The method of philosophy
      • argumentation
      • empirical vs conceptual questions (Blackburn 3)
      • Blackburn’s notion of philosophy as “conceptual engineering” (2)

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General introduction
  • (5) Philosophy is primarily reflective rather than practical
    • Philosophy “bakes no bread”
    • So why study philosophy or any subject which bakes no bread?
    • The “high ground” reply (Blackburn 6)
      • Philosophy seeks answers to big questions because it wants to understand. It seeks knowledge for its own sake rather than for utility.

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General introduction
  • The “middle-ground reply” (Blackburn 7)
    • Reflection is continuous with practice, and practice can get worse or better depending on the soundness of our reflections.

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General introduction
  • The “low-ground” reply (Blackburn 10)
    • Continuation of point made in middle-ground reply but brought to the level of life & death.
    • Ideas about rights, the value of other persons affect how we treat others. “In the end, it is ideas for which people kill each other” (Blackburn 11).

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General introduction
  • (6) The history of philosophy is an essential part of doing philosophy
    • This is true of all of the humanities
    • Why?

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General introduction
  • (7) The similarities & differences between philosophy and theology
    • Similarity  both are concerned with big and fundamental questions (e.g., the existence of God, meaning of human life, ultimate destiny).
    • Difference  but philosophy & theology approach these questions from different perspectives: reason & revelation.

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General introduction
  • Difference  some branches of theology, especially systematic theology, are parasitic with respect to philosophy. The reverse does not seem to be the case.

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General introduction
  • 4. The areas (sub-disciplines) of philosophy
    • (1) Epistemology
    • (2) Metaphysics
    • (3) Ethics
    • (4) Logic
    • (5) Philosophy of studies
    • (6) Historical studies

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