Introduction to Modern Philosophy

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Qi Saiyang
Philosophy 101

Midterm Paper: Answers to Five Questions on Castell and Borchert's Introduction to Modern Philosophy, 4th ed. (Pearson-Macmillan, 1983).

Question #1: Explain Socrates' view of himself as a philosopher.
Answer: From the Oracle representing the God of Delphi, Socrates firstly got the message that no one is wiser than him. Considering both the facts that it's impossible for him to be the wisest man and also impossible for god to lie, Socrates starts thinking and tries to figure out what god really meant. Then, he decided to challenge god's statement by searching for someone who is undoubtedly wiser than him. After talking with several elders who are known for their knowledge, Socrates concluded that they are not that wise at all while believing themselves to be the wisest ones. At this point, Socrates finally realized that by saying no man was wiser than him, god didn't mean that he is the wisest man in the world. Instead, what god actually meant is that no one knew better than him about how ignorant people are.

Knowing the fact that most people are unaware of their own ignorance, Socrates decided to teach and inspire others to learn better about themselves. As Socrates believes, his efforts actually helped some Athenians to examine the meanings of their lives, however, majority of fellows still didn't trust his ideas, and some of them even set him as their enemy because of his weird opinions. As a result, Socrates received the death penalty in the end, but still, as he said, "The difficulty, is not to avoid death, but to avoid unrighteousness; for that runs faster than death" (17).

Question #3: What does Ryle mean by the "official doctrine," and why he disagree with it? Answer: Basically, the "official doctrine", which has been mentioned several times in Ryle's book, is the idea that every person has both a body and a mind. While each human body has a limited life, the mind one owns can still...
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