Philosophy 101
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04-09-2015, 10:54 PM
RE: Philosophy 101
tl;dr.

I hate philosophy, but I appreciate the effort of the OP and think it looks impressive. I remember hating the class and thinking my coffee-sipping, sandal-wearing, salt-and-pepper-goatee-sporting professor was just full of shit.

Check out my now-defunct atheism blog. It's just a blog, no ads, no revenue, no gods.
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Atheism promotes critical thinking; theism promotes hypocritical thinking. -- Me
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04-09-2015, 11:07 PM
RE: Philosophy 101
Nice looking OP.

Can't read it now as I'm off to the Singapore Philosophy Meetup meet up.

How's that for a coincidence?

Big Grin

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05-09-2015, 02:03 AM
RE: Philosophy 101
Thanks, Unbeliever. Good job. Thumbsup

I already failed. Big Grin

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05-09-2015, 03:00 AM
RE: Philosophy 101
(04-09-2015 03:30 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  
(04-09-2015 02:23 PM)Unbeliever Wrote:  Same, actually (though I managed an A in the end due to realizing early on that I just had to regurgitate whatever the professor said). It's a sad fact that most philosophy courses in college are more accurately described as history of philosophy than courses on philosophy itself.

I found it extremely odd that none of the philosophy courses I took ever went over basic logic. They were just matters of memorizing names, dates, and terms, and then telling the professor that their favorite philosopher was of course the greatest thinker who had ever lived, without ever actually pointing out any of the glaring issues with their arguments. It didn't help that my professors were all huge fans of Thomas Aquinas, either, particularly since I tend to lean towards Nietzsche myself and slipped up in class once or twice by pointing out the problems with the arguments the professor was pushing.

Meanwhile, everyone in the engineering classes knew formal logic backwards and forwards by the time they finished Discrete Mathematics. Our professor in there was excellent, but good god was he demanding.

Yes! I had to write a paper on Plato, just had issues with the whole thing.

There wasn't any talk of how philosophy applies today (or then when I took the class) or why it was important.

So yes, it was off putting, which is why I'm very interested in this thread.

There is a contrast depending on style of course and the goal of the course in what it's about. A lot of times a philosophy course may be just a History Of Philosophy. There you won't be talking so much about practical means though maybe at some point you may talk about the argument in belief of Gods. That would range heavily on the teacher.

I had friends I know who took philosophy courses with a teacher and felt like Willhopp and friends who loved that same style of teacher. Where your class sits in a semi-circle or goes outside to talk instead of sitting in a normal classroom.

Oh you can go on of the distinctions as well of epistemology, rhetoric, logic, ethics, or metaphysics and be completely indifferent to it or be entertained by the thought.

It's funny though over time I see people who say they don't like philosophy for two semi-opposite reasons. Some dislike it for having only experienced the historical concept of it and thinking it's outdated in use... others I see contrast saying, oh that's not philosophy it isn't anything practical or personal. I suppose as if they only confirm to the idea that it is a personal philosophy.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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08-09-2015, 03:08 PM
RE: Philosophy 101
Unbeliever, thank you! This reads like a great intro. I'll do my best to ingrain the ideas into my brain Smile

What's the next step...? books you would suggest etc?

**Crickets** -- God
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08-09-2015, 03:49 PM
RE: Philosophy 101
(08-09-2015 03:08 PM)Tonechaser77 Wrote:  What's the next step...? books you would suggest etc?

Well, there are a handful of ways to go about it.

The first thing to keep in mind is that learning philosophy is not about memorization. Learning the names of every logical fallacy and exactly what every famous philosopher called their arguments is not important. What is important is understanding what it all means. Knowing that "tu quoque" is a fallacy is not as important as knowing that just saying "you messed up in the same way", while a valid criticism, does not actually solve the problem.

So don't set out to memorize the names of things. Names are unimportant compared to understanding the thing itself. Don't study fallacies intending to just look through a given argument and be able to rattle them off like bullet points; study fallacies so that you can look at an argument and say "oh, but here you equivocate falsely between two different terms", or "here, you make an unjustified leap". Being able to name the specific fallacies will follow this, not the other way around.

In the same way, you shouldn't study different philosophers by just learning the names of the things they argued for, but what those things mean, and how they argued for them. Saying "George Berkeley was an idealist" will not help you to learn. Saying "George Berkeley believed that only two types of things existed - minds and the ideas they have - and that the universe is fundamentally non-physical in nature" is much more helpful.

This is really just fundamental learning advice, though. It's how I tend to go about learning these things; memorization of names follows after the learning of fundamental concepts, because names stick much better if you have a concrete definition of what you are applying them to.

As for specific things to read or look into, well, another thing to remember is that nothing is beyond questioning, no matter who wrote it. Go into every philosophy book with an open mind; the goal is to learn to think clearly and rationally, not to simply swallow what is fed to you because of the prestigious name attached to it. This applies to everyone, not just theistic philosophers; if you see something that you don't agree with in Carl Sagan's writings, feel free to bring it up. But don't be afraid to agree with something if it seems rational to you.

Specific sources worth looking into:
  • The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan. One of the most famous works of skeptical philosophy in recent years, and wonderfully well-written to boot. The concept of the garage dragon, as discussed in the opening post of this thread, originates in this book, and it covers quite a lot of ground regarding the details of the scientific method and its basis, skepticism, and rationality in general. Sagan's "baloney detection kit" is also quite helpful.
  • Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, by Charles Mackay. This isn't exactly a philosophical work, but ends up being a sort of de facto list of examples of why rational skepticism* is the way to go, and goes into great detail explaining why things like the appeals to popularity, "common sense", and so forth are not actually valid arguments.
  • Introduction to Logic, by Copi and Cohen. An excellent and easily-readable introduction to logic, but extremely basic. If you just want to learn the fundamentals (which is generally a good idea), this will be a great help.
  • Plato and a Platypus Walk Into a Bar... - Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes, by Cathcart and Klein. Obviously, this is much lighter fare, and it's not going to teach you much of the details, but it contains a series of easily-digestible introductions to quite a lot of different areas of philosophy and some of the more famous philosophers. It is, however, a joke book, so just use it as a starting point and take what's in it with a grain of salt.
  • The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. Not actually a philosophy book at all, really, but I can't help but recommend it regardless. It's an adventure story aimed at children, and is notable as being one of the only educational stories in existence which actually educates. The story is about a boy named Milo and his adventures in the Kingdom of Wisdom, and his quest to rescue the Princess of Sweet Rhyme and her sister, the Princess of Pure Reason, from their prison in the Mountains of Ignorance. It's unusual in that it's an education story that is about why you learn, rather than any specific topic of learning, and Norton Juster plays quite a few intricate games with words and basic logical concepts that are sure to entertain, at the very least. Well worth the read, if you've got the time.

Other than the above, I would recommend simply browsing the various threads on this forum for examples of arguments that you can analyze. If the argument is sound, practice constructing formal logical syllogisms of it; see if you can present the argument in that format. If the argument is not, see if you can identify the issues with it.

The main thing, though, is just to think. A lot. It sounds stupid, but that's really it. Most people don't think, really. They just do things. Thinking is an active process. It takes effort and conscious decision-making to make sure that what you are saying is rational, or to make sure that what others are telling you is sound.

Just keep thinking, and you'll get the hang of it eventually.

*: Skepticism is the philosophical position that one should not make things up without evidence, basically. It's the principle of parsimony, as discussed in the opening post, applied. Never be afraid to label yourself a skeptic; many people put undue stigma on the term, in the same way that they do to "atheist", but it just means that you want an actual reason to believe something before you accept it as true.

"Owl," said Rabbit shortly, "you and I have brains. The others have fluff. If there is any thinking to be done in this Forest - and when I say thinking I mean thinking - you and I must do it."
- A. A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner
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17-09-2015, 02:16 AM
RE: Philosophy 101
God does not beget, nor is he begotten. He is One, the Most Merciful, the Cherisher and Sustainer of worlds.
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17-09-2015, 02:37 AM
RE: Philosophy 101
(17-09-2015 02:16 AM)ahp2015 Wrote:  God does not beget, nor is he begotten. He is One, the Most Merciful, the Cherisher and Sustainer of worlds.

Says you.

Laugh out load

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17-09-2015, 05:21 AM
RE: Philosophy 101
(17-09-2015 02:16 AM)ahp2015 Wrote:  God does not beget, nor is he begotten. He is One, the Most Merciful, the Cherisher and Sustainer of worlds.

Funny.... I thought them xtians DID believe that particular item......

.......................................

The difference between prayer and masturbation - is when a guy is through masturbating - he has something to show for his efforts.
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17-09-2015, 05:42 AM
RE: Philosophy 101
(17-09-2015 05:21 AM)onlinebiker Wrote:  
(17-09-2015 02:16 AM)ahp2015 Wrote:  God does not beget, nor is he begotten. He is One, the Most Merciful, the Cherisher and Sustainer of worlds.

Funny.... I thought them xtians DID believe that particular item......

Sure ... but this one ain't a xtian.

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