Introduction to Philosophy Running Head: INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY


Introduction to Philosophy [Name of the writer] [Name of the institution]

Introduction to Philosophy Introduction to Philosophy Question 1: Philosophical Insights Introduction In order to go beyond the objects of human reason, Hume proposed that reasoning was based upon cause and effect. Causal relations help us to know things beyond our page 2 immediate vicinity. All of our knowledge is based on experience. Therefore, we need experience to come to causal relationships of the world and experience constant conjunction. Hume stated that he shall venture to affirm, as а general proposition which admits no exception, that the knowledge of this relation is not in any instance, attained by reasoning а priori, but arises entirely from experience. (MacNabb, 2001, 15) Unfortunately, our experience of constant conjunction only tells us about the past. Rationally, that is all it tells us. We can expect the effect to follow the cause, but it is not а sufficient basis to assume the effect will come from the cause in the future. These things are contingent- they could be different. The connection between these two propositions is not intuitive it is always inferred. Hume asserted that the future will resemble the past. This is the assumption underlying all our ideas of causality. If the future does not resemble the past, then all our reason based on cause and effect will crumble. When Hume proposed questions such


Introduction to Philosophy as Is there any more intelligible proposition then to affirm that all trees will flourish in December and January, and will decay in May and June? Hume demonstrates that it is not а relation of ideas that future will resemble the past; it is possible that the course of nature will change. Therefore, what happens in the future is neither а relation of ideas, nor а matter of fact. It is impossible, therefore, that any arguments from experience can prove this resemblance of past to future, since all these arguments are founded on the supposition of that resemblance.


Conclusion Now Hume proposed that all inferences come from custom, not reasoning. Through custom or habits, we have become accustomed to expect an effect to follow а page 3 cause. This is not а rational argument. This argument centers on the theory of constant conjunction, which does not fall under either fork of reason. All inferences from experience, therefore, are effects of custom, not reasoning. (MacNabb, 2001, 17)

Introduction to Philosophy Question 2: People are Complex Machines Introduction Some say that mankind is complex beyond comprehension. Philosophers cannot, of course, speak for every other individual on this earth, but philosophers do not believe that philosophers are а very difficult person to understand. Mostly people’s life is based upon two very simple, sweeping philosophies: pragmatism in actions and idealism in thought. Thus, with these two attitudes philosophers characterize people. Pragmatism in actions, philosophers believe utterly in one of those old clichés: we are given only а limited time upon this earth and every moment wasted is lost forever. Therefore, philosophers do not engage in those things that philosophers view as useless, like hate is а wasted emotion. Hate accomplishes nothing. It does not relieve hunger. It does not alleviate pain. It creates only avoidable aggression. Anger too. What does anger do? Nothing. It frustrates us and aggravates us, and we can avoid it. Philosophers would much rather wallow in happiness. And in people’s happiness, philosophers do not worry much over their image in the eyes of others. The important word here is much, for there are opinions of certain individuals about which philosophers do care а great deal, but these are few. They


Introduction to Philosophy include my family, my close friends, and those who possess the power to affect my life significantly Otherwise, philosophers pay no attention to whispers behind my back or vague rumors circulating in the air above. As long as philosophers know the truth, however harsh it may be, and those that philosophers care about know the truth, philosophers am not troubled. The masses may think as they wish. They are entitled. As can probably be observed from this essay thus far, my outlook on life saves me more than а bit of stress.


Introduction to Philosophy Question 3: Variation to Moral Codes Introduction Cultural relativism is the view that all ethical truth is relative to а specified culture. According to cultural relativism, it is never true to say simply that а certain kind of behavior is right or wrong; rather, it can only ever be true that а certain kind а behavior is right or wrong relative to а specified society. The strength of cultural relativism is that allows us to hold fast to our moral intuitions without having to be judgmental about other societies that don’t share those intuitions. If we reject cultural relativism then we face а difficulty: if we are to be consistent about our moral beliefs then it seems that we ought to condemn those past societies that have not conformed to our moral code and perhaps even seek to impose our moral code on those present societies that do not already accept it. This, though, smacks of imperialism. Cultural relativism allows us to evade this difficulty. On cultural relativism, our moral code applies only to our own society, so there is no pressure on us to hold others to our moral standards at all. On cultural relativism, we can say quite consistently that equality in the work-place is а moral necessity in our society but is inappropriate elsewhere around the globe. In an age where tolerance is increasingly being seen as the most


Introduction to Philosophy important virtue of all, this can seem to be an attractive position (Kroeber, 2000, 88). This strength of cultural relativism, however, is also its weakness. Cultural relativism excuses us from judging the moral status of other cultures in cases where that seems inappropriate, but it also renders us powerless to judge the moral status of other cultures in cases where that seems necessary. Faced with а culture that deems slavery morally acceptable, it seems appropriate to judge that society to be morally inferior to our own. Faced with а culture that deems ethnic cleansing morally acceptable, it seems appropriate to condemn that society as morally abhorrent. In order to make such judgments as these, however, we need to be able to invoke an ethical standard that is not culturally relative (Herskovits, 2003, 35). In order to make cross-cultural moral comparisons, we need cross-cultural moral standards, precisely the kind of moral standard that cultural relativism claims do not exist.


Introduction to Philosophy Question 4: Mayors and Governors Politically Entrenched Introduction As time passes by we have come across that governors and mayors are more politically entrenched from their predecessors and as they are more politically entrenched that’s why the can be influential in elections and election campaigns as well. As we go through we find an example that the state's party bosses, an elite group that has controlled the outcome of key elections, had their power clipped by new election laws, а guilty plea and heightened public scrutiny? "I haven't seen any evidence of an erosion of power,” said Weinberg, D-Bergen, who tangled with Bergen County Democratic Organization Chairman Joseph A. Ferriero in 2005 and again this past spring. ”If there has been some erosion, it's because some of us put up some big battles.” Not that there haven't been some changes in the world of New Jersey's political power brokers over the past four years. Some of the biggest bosses are no longer on the scene, and others have seen their power slip а bit as restrictions on payto-play have made it more difficult for county chairs to raise campaign funds. Consider these examples: Former state Sen. John A. Lynch Jr. Using his political action committee, "New Directions for Responsible Leadership,'' and the Middlesex County Democratic Organization he controlled, Lynch raised $17.5


Introduction to Philosophy million from 1999 through 2006, according to Election Law Enforcement Commission records. Lynch is now serving 39 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to obtaining payment for exerting his influence on а public office. Burlington County Republican Chairman Glenn Paulsen. The powerful GOP boss resigned unexpectedly in December 2004, after 15 years as the head of his county's organization, leaving it in turmoil. Records show that from 1999 to 2004, his Burlington County committee raised $12 million.


Introduction to Philosophy Question 5: New Negro Introduction The heart and core of the new negro movement and modern civil rights are very much the same if we look back to 1920’s


movement of “New Negro” than we can easily say that there is not much difference in that movement and modern day civil rights movement except that the canvas has broaden much more than the racism and identity crisis. In the early years of the movement, а number of black artists and writers published their works and established an impression that can be rightly attributed to а certain specific community. Some of these works left long lasting impacts. In the early 1920s three works signaled the new creative energy in African American literature. McKay’s volume of poetry, Harlem Shadows (1922), became one of the first works by а black writer to be published by а mainstream, national publisher (Harcourt, Brace and Company). Cane (1923), by Jean Toomer, was an experimental novel that combined poetry and prose in documenting the life of American blacks in the rural South and urban North.

Conclusion Finally, There Is Confusion (1924), the first novel by writer and editor Jessie Fauset, depicted middle-class life among black Americans from а woman’s perspective. Other works

Introduction to Philosophy that got fame during the Renaissance period included Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man by James Weldon Johnson,


Harlem Shadows (1922) and Home to Harlem (1928) by Claude McKay, The Weary Blues (1926) by Langston Hughes and many more. This was the only period in American history during which the black artists earned their living through their artistic talent and their works were recognized. It was the time when according to Langston Hughes, “Negro was in vogue”. (Hughes 1940)

Introduction to Philosophy Question 6: Organized Labor Introduction During the past two decades, deregulation and government budget reductions have led to а decrease in the enforcement of health and safety laws, wage and hour statutes, pension


guarantee provisions, and other employee protection legislation. As а result, thousands of American workers are seriously injured each year in industrial accidents that could be prevented through mandated safety inspections. Many more workers are underpaid or deprived of earned overtime compensation, and others are denied the protection of laws designed to enhance employment conditions. (Filippelli, 1990, 101) The presence of conscientious union representatives would substantially diminish the likelihood of such violations continuing unabated. As the American labor movement approaches the third millennium, it is confronted by challenges that threaten its very existence. In 1935, when the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) extended organizational and collective bargaining rights to most private-sector employees, labor unions had 3,584,000 members, representing 13.2% of the non-agricultural labor force. Following the enactment of the NLRA and the creation of the new Congress of Industrial Organizations, which organized the major firms in the automobile, electrical manufacturing, rubber,

Introduction to Philosophy and steel industries, trade union membership grew steadily. By the mid-1950s, union membership exceeded 17,000,000 and


comprised nearly thirty-five percent of nonagricultural workers. From the mid-1950s through 1980, the absolute number of union members continued to increase, but not at а rate commensurate with the growth of the overall labor force. As а result, the union density rate began to decline. By 1980, while labor organizations had 22,366,000 members, the union density rate had declined to twenty one percent. (Directory of U.S. Labor Organizations)

Conclusion During the 1980s, the position of organized labor deteriorated from both an absolute and а relative perspective. The illegal air traffic controller strike against the federal government in 1981 had а profoundly negative impact on labor unions. The termination of over 10,000 strikers and the decertification of PATCO signaled а major change in governmental policy.

Introduction to Philosophy Question 7: Why People Settled in Villages Introduction As there could be so many reasons why early people set in to villages as we go deep in to the research we would come to


the analysis that food, water and religion is the biggest reason for people to settled in villages as farming is the first basic reason which cause the early people to settle in villages where cultivation is possible and water supply is in abundance. In the Americas, as elsewhere, the greatest adaptation occurred when some people learned to cultivate plants and domesticate animals. Archaeologists think that farming was partly а response to the disappearance of the large mammals. With fewer animals to hunt,

people came to depend more on other food sources. In Mexico, or perhaps farther south, Neolithic people began cultivating а range of crops from corn and beans to sweet potatoes, peppers, tomatoes, and squash. These changes took place slowly between

about 8500 B.C. and 2000 B.C. Early farmers learned to domesticate animals. In South

America, domesticated animals include the llama and other creatures valued for their wool. However, the Americas had no

large animals such as oxen or horses that were capable of bearing heavy loads or pulling wagons. This lack of draft

animals would limit development in some areas.

Introduction to Philosophy


Conclusion In the Americas, as in Africa and Eurasia, the agricultural revolution helped to cause other changes. settled into villages. Farming people

Populations expanded. Some villages grew

into large religious centers and then into the great cities of the first American civilizations.

Introduction to Philosophy Question 8: Hieroglyphics Introduction By 3000 BC the Egyptians had already developed their hieroglyphics writing. This marks the commencement of the Old Kingdom period throughout which the pyramids were constructed. For instance the Great Pyramid at Giza was constructed approximately 2650 BC and it is an extraordinary achievement of engineering. This presents the clearest of signs that the civilization of that era had attained а tall height of accomplishment, hieroglyphics for writing and counting gave way to а hieratic script for together writing and numerals. The Egyptian number systems were not well matched for arithmetical calculations. We are still today recognizable with Roman numerals and so it is trouble-free to recognize that even though addition of Roman


numerals is rather satisfactory, multiplication and division are fundamentally unworkable. The Egyptian system had parallel disadvantages to that of Roman numerals. On the other hand, the Egyptians were very sensible in their approach to mathematics and their trade required that they might deal in fractions. Trade in addition, required multiplication and division to be probable so they developed noteworthy techniques to prevail over the insufficiencies in the number systems with which they had to work. Fundamentally they had to work out methods of

Introduction to Philosophy multiplication and division, which only concerned addition.


Early hieroglyphics numerals can be originated on temples, stone monuments and vases. They give small information about any mathematical calculations, which may have been done with the number systems.

Conclusion While these hieroglyphs were being carved in stone there was no requirement to expand symbols, which could be written extra rapidly. On the other hand, once the Egyptians began to use flattened sheets of the dried papyrus reed as "paper" and the tip of а reed as а "pen" there was motive to expand extra fast ways of writing. This provoked the expansion of hieratic writing and numerals. There must have been а huge number of papyri, many dealing with mathematics in one form or another, but sadly in view of the fact that the material is rather fragile approximately all have perished. Two major mathematical documents survive.

Introduction to Philosophy Question 9: Indus Valley Civilization Introduction Indus Valley civilization was one of the world's first great civilizations. The civilization began to flourish about


4,500 years ago and was centred in the vast river plains of what are now Pakistan and northwestern India. This civilization is sometimes called the Harappan civilization. It is named after the Pakistani town of Harappa, where archaeologists first discovered evidence of the culture. The Indus civilization developed out of farming and herding communities that carried on trade with each other. About 2500 B.C., the communities became more unified culturally, and in some places people began laying out carefully planned cities. In time, the Indus civilization grew to cover most of present-day Pakistan and parts of what are now Afghanistan and northern India. The heart of the civilization was the vast flood plain of the Indus and Hakra rivers. The Hakra River (also known as the Ghaggar River or Sarasvati River) is now dried up. It once flowed east of--and parallel to--the Indus River, in what are now India and Pakistan. The civilization developed а standardized system of weights and measures and а system of writing that used pictographs (simple drawings representing words).

Introduction to Philosophy In the early 1800's, British scholars learned that people


had found ancient artefacts buried in huge earthen mounds in the region. But it was not until the 1920's that archaeologists began excavating these sites and realized that they contained the remains of cities from а previously unknown civilization. Hundreds of Indus sites have been found.

Conclusion The Indus people planned their cities carefully. They built many of their buildings on mud-brick platforms that protected the buildings from seasonal floods. Houses were made of baked or sun-dried brick. Many houses had two storeys. Most homes had а bathing area that was supplied with water from а nearby public well or from а well in the courtyard of the house. In larger communities, each house was connected to an elaborate city-wide drainage system. Other structures include large buildings that may have been used for storing grain and for other purposes.

Introduction to Philosophy Question 10: Environmental Problems Introduction


The above argument can be extended further by recognizing а second key aspect of the tillage discourse the promotion of conservation tillage as the means of reducing water pollution arising from the movement of fertilizers and pesticides into the water table. Since Lake Erie borders the county in this study, this issue was of considerable regional interest to the farmers and government officials interviewed. In particular, the American environmental movement had been successful in gaining the inclusion in the 1985 Farm Bill of specific environmental requirements for farmers to address conservation and pollution issues in order to gain access to government financial support programs (Batie, 1990). Increasing political pressure on the state to act on the pesticide and fertilizer issues within Canada also came from sources other than the environmental movement. Finally, there was an increasing concern developing within agriculture about the health effects of chemicals both for farmers and their families (Wilk, 1993). As in the case of the soil conservation discourse, the problem of chemical pollution was identified as having various possible solutions. To begin with, of course, there was а significant effort to promote chemical free or organic farming

Introduction to Philosophy (MacRae, Henning and Hill, 1993). Along with the proposal for chemical free-farming, there were increasing demands for reductions in the overall use of chemicals, stricter testing, and regulations on practices and storage (Castrilli and Vigod, 1987). It was evident in my interviews with farmers and farm leaders that the pollution issue and the call for restrictive regulations on farmers'' access to chemicals were seen as major threats.


Conclusion AGCare was formed specifically to promote the idea to the public that agriculture was making the changes necessary to prevent pesticide and fertilizer pollution, while ensuring their continued capacity to use pesticides and fertilizers as their major tool for achieving consistent and high levels of productivity (Interviews with Farmer and Government Representatives). The strategies developed by this organization included the development and promotion of а pesticide-user safety course as а licensing requirement for farmers, and the endorsement of various other safety related measures aimed at reassuring the public and the environmental movement that farmers were using agricultural chemicals in а responsible and safe manner (AGCare, 1992). This has been followed up by the

Introduction to Philosophy development of а voluntary environmental audit program called the Environmental Farm Plan (AGCare, 1992).


Introduction to Philosophy Question 11: Problems if Population Doubled Introduction As we know that the only global issue which threatens our world in 2050 is the population crisis which will almost be double as compared to this era. As long as we imagine humans retaining their present physical form, one obvious limit can be computed by dividing the cosmologists' estimated mass of the universe by the mass of а human. If you consider the human personality more important than its material embodiment, then you could get а larger number by embodying human personalities in smaller material forms. The past 50 years have witnessed unparalleled demographic changes occurring in the Asia Pacific region. It looks at the


future prospects and underscores some of the challenges that lie ahead. Asia Pacific displays one of the most diverse social, economic and demographic profiles. This largest of all regions contains countries at virtually all stages of demographic transition. It provides examples of the possibility of rapid change and examples of the stubborn persistence of social and demographic trends. Population growth rates in the Asia Pacific sub region vary more widely than elsewhere in the world.

Introduction to Philosophy


Conclusion According to ESCAP's 'State of the Environment in Asia and the Pacific', ecological disasters may become increasingly devastating in the Asia-Pacific because of its rising population. The region now has the largest concentration of people in the world and population figures are not expected to stabilize in the next 20 to 30 years.

Introduction to Philosophy Question 12: Nuclear Waste Disposing Introduction


Nuclear Waste Nuclear waste is one of the most pressing and provocative environmental issues of our time. This radioactive waste, which remains deadly for thousands of years, is incredibly difficult to deal with. Unfortunately, time is running short for а solution, as а growing number of reactors, (111 in the United States alone), radioactive remnants of Cold War weapons, and increasing medical uses of radioactivity will soon create enough waste to exceed the current holding capacity for radioactive materials. There are two types of nuclear waste. The first is low-level radioactive waste, which contains small amounts of radioactivity. This sort of waste usually comes from medical facilities and pharmaceutical companies and includes clothing, test tubes, and all kinds of diagnostic waste. The other kind, which is of most concern, is high-level radioactive waste, which is created when reactor fuel is mined and processed and when atoms are split in reactors. This "hot" waste includes spent uranium fuel rods and the liquid waste produced when those rods are dissolved in acid to make plutonium for nuclear weapons. Disposing of lowlevel waste presents difficulties, but not insurmountable ones. As of now, it is shipped to special disposal sites in the United States. Expectedly, the public is not pleased to have any

Introduction to Philosophy type of radioactive waste in their own backyards, even the relatively harmless low-level trash. The main obstacle in dealing with this type is to educate the public, which tends to equate anything radioactive with that of the highly dangerous,


nuclear fuel cycle variety. Without good information, the people will always fear anything remotely connected with nuclear power and will continue to incorrectly liken what goes on in an X-ray laboratory with what goes on in а plutonium bomb.

Conclusion Of far more concern is how to dispose of the high-level radioactive waste. This problem has plagued scientists and politicians since the beginning of the nuclear age. "Hot" waste contaminates the earth, the water, the air, and even minute amounts of it can be extremely poisonous to humans. Short of abolishing nuclear waste altogether, it looks like there is little that can be done about the growing accumulation of nuclear waste. Scientists are doing what they can to deal with the problem, although the solutions are admittedly not long-term ones.

Introduction to Philosophy Reference MacNabb, D. G. C. (2001). David Hume, His Theory of Knowledge and Morality Hutchinsons University Library. Herskovits, M. J. (2003). Cultural Relativism: Perspectives in Cultural Pluralism. New York: Vintage Books; pp 32-56. Kroeber, A. L. (2000). "Anthropology," Scientific American 183:87-94. Filippelli, R. (1990). Labor Conflict in the United States: An Encyclopedia. Garland. Goodman, D. and Radcliff, M. (1991). Refashioning Nature: Food, Ecology and Culture. New York: Routledge. Hershey, E. et al. (1990). Low-Level Radioactive Waste: From Cradle to Grave. New York, NY: Van No strand Reinhold. Hughes, L. (1940). The Big Sea Jackson. (2001). The Black Atheists of the Harlem Renaissance: 1917-1928.