Phil 201 Study Guide

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STUDY GUIDE: LESSON 2
The Importance of Philosophy in General

Lesson Overview

Having discussed what philosophy is, we now consider why it is important to study philosophy. We will divide our discussion into 2 parts: (1) Why is it important for all persons in general and (2) Why is it specifically important for Christians to study philosophy? We begin, in true philosophic fashion, by examining the question itself: what we do mean by philosophy being important and we introduce the idea of the philosophic mindset. We then examine 5 reasons why it is important for all persons to adopt the philosophic mindset. We will end by providing an overview of the different branches of philosophy.

Tasks

Read and take notes from chapter 2 of Philosophy: Critically Thinking about Foundational Beliefs, “Why is Philosophy Important?” As you read, make sure you understand the following points and questions:

What is meant by the philosophical mindset?
~An attitude or approach to life that involves regularly examining beliefs to ascertain what they mean, if they are true, and what value they have. Could mean taking a course or reading philosophers, but is more than that. It is adoping a new habit as a way of life. “Plausability structure” term by Peter Berger, which means today’s messages are subtly embedded in our culture. We are adopting beliefs without much reflection. ~Phil mindset approaches new info critically. Questioning, reflecting, and considering the meaning, value and truthfulness of what we see, read and hear. ~To adopt a phil mindset is to recognize that phil is not just an academic activity within a college course. May be starting point, but really thinking philosophically entails a specific approach to the whole life.

How does the job/vocation analogy apply to adopting the philosophical mindset? ~Analogy of job vs. vocation: job is task performed to receive compensation. Not something one is tied to in a personal way. Vocation, however, is a way of life to which one is called; to radically change one’s life; become part of one’s identity. Course in phil in college is analogous to a job. But accepting a phil mindset is analogous to accepting the call to a vocation. Some may work as philosophers (teaching, etc), but anyone can adopt the vocation as their identity. Starts with adopting a phil mindset.

List and explain the 5 reasons provided for why it is important to develop a philosophical mindset. 1.It aids in the task of clarification
2.One of the greatest values of a philosophical mindset is the significant role it takes in helping us establishing a comprehensive system by which our knowledge can be categorized and examined. This is called a worldview. 3.A philosophical mindset is necessary to assure that all three elements of a worldview are functioning harmoniously together, which gives confidence that our worldview is well reasoned and intact. 4.One of the real values of adopting a phil mindset: it plays a significant role in solving conundrums. 5.Philosophical mindset is necessary to help us think wisely about life choices.

What are the 2 benefits of examining and evaluating beliefs? 1.Understanding life enhances one’s enjoyment of it. ‘Ignorance is bliss’ is not true. Wisdom and understanding provide more enduring joy than ignorance. We have a natural desire to know and understand: think of when you finally understood something and the light bulb went on in an “aha” moment. That feeling was intellectual appetite being fulfilled. 2.When we evaluate our foundational beliefs, a benefit becomes apparent when we consider how strongly our beliefs affect us. Most of our actions originate from our beliefs, and we often act on a belief whether it is true or not. (Snake in shed example. Misperceived the rope as a snake.) Power of our core beliefs is much stronger; they are built on one another. As we move down the pyramid of our beliefs, we get closer to what the true reason we...
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