Philosophy 201

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Study Guide: Lesson 1
What is Philosophy?

Lesson Overview

Welcome to this introductory course in philosophy. For our first lesson, we are going to examine the question: What is philosophy? There are 4 ways you can get to know what a discipline is: define it, describe it, contrast and compare it with other disciplines, and finally experience it. In this first lesson, we will aim to accomplish the first 3 of these activities. The rest of the course will be an exercise in experiencing philosophy.


View and take notes of the presentation, “Misconceptions about Philosophy”.

Read and take notes from chapter 1 of Philosophy: Critically Thinking about Foundational Beliefs, “What is Philosophy?” As you read, make sure you understand the following points and questions: * List 4 reasons students often presuppose a low view of philosophy. * Know Socrates’ quote: What is the unexamined life? What did he mean when he said it wasn’t worth living? * Know the etymology of the word “philosophy.”

* Know the working definition of “philosophy” and explain each of its elements. * List and explain each of the 6 characteristics under the description of philosophy. * Contrast and compare philosophy with religion, science, and art. How are they different and how are they similar? * Explain the value of experiential knowledge in distinction to propositional knowledge.


Make sure you fully understand the following terms and concepts:

* The unexamined life * The rational animal * Normative claim * Wisdom * Philosophy * Critical examination * Clarification * Justification * Evaluation * Foundational beliefs| * Presupposition * First-order discipline * Second-order discipline * Ambiguous * Vague * Worldview * Scientism * Propositional knowledge * Experiential knowledge|

List 4 reasons students often presuppose a low view of philosophy. 1. It’s the image that one has to be...
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