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Philosophy- the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality, and existence, especially when considered as

an academic discipline.

the study of knowledge, or "thinking about thinking"

Metaphysics, the study of existence and the nature of existence. Closely related is Epistemology, the
study of knowledge and how we know about reality and existence. Dependent on Epistemology
is Ethics, the study of how man should act. A subset of Ethics isPolitics: the study of how men should
interact in a proper society and what constitutes proper. Aesthetics/Esthetics, the study
of art and sense of life.

Metaphysics, which deals with the fundamental questions of reality.

Epistemology, which deals with our concept of knowledge, how we learn and what we can know.

Logic, which studies the rules of valid reasoning and argumentation

Ethics, or moral philosophy, which is concerned with human values and how individuals should act.

Aesthetics or esthetics, which deals with the notion of beauty and the philosophy of art.

Goals for Philosophy courses:


Students understand major philosophical ideas accurately

Students apply their understanding of ideas in novel contexts
Students write effectively
Students speak effectively
Students argue with precision, balance, and insight
Students understand the formal structure of arguments and understand rules of inference
Students read analytically, critically, and empathetically
Students critically assess their own commitments and ideas

Specific learning objectives for Philosophy courses:

Objective 1a: Students give accurate and relevant answers, complete with supporting details, to specific
questions about philosophical ideas relevant to the course.
Objective 1b: Students give accurate accounts of philosophical ideas relevant to the course in the context of
criticizing or assessing those ideas.
Objective 2a: Students speculate, in well-informed, well-supported, and plausible fashion, about what a
given philosopher would say about a novel issue or problem.
Objective 2b: Students extrapolate creatively and plausibly from their knowledge of philosophers or
philosophical positions in developing their own related ideas.
Objective 3a: Students write paragraphs that exhibit clarity, focus, a good command of the subject matter,
and an orderly development of ideas.
Objective 3b: Students write multi-paragraph pieces that exhibit clarity, focus, a good command of the
subject matter and an ability to work with that subject matter creatively, and an orderly development of ideas
both within and across paragraphs.
Objective 4a: Students speak in clear, focused, well-informed, and orderly fashion.
Objective 5a: Students state arguments accurately and clearly, and identify strengths and weaknesses of
different arguments.

Objective 5b: Students develop and defend their own arguments, taking into account a variety of
philosophical positions but adding original insights or emphases.
Objective 6a: Students translate ordinary language arguments into symbolic form.
Objective 6b: Students assess formally stated arguments for validity and soundness.
Objective 7a: Students explain difficult passages clearly, accurately, and thoroughly.
Objective 7b: Students use apt quotations and creative, critical, plausible readings of texts in their writing.
Objective 8a: Students are able to explain the weaknesses of their own present positions, and the strengths
of competing positions.
Objective 8b: Students are able to explain why their pre-theoretical commitments have or have not changed
as a result of what they have learned in the course, and if they have changed how they have done so.

One widely held misconception about philosophy is that it has no practical value. Students complain,
"There is no reason to study philosophy!" True, many philosophical questions are esoteric and have no
practical value. For example, some philosophers are concerned with whether abstract objects like
numbers, concepts, and propositions have an existence independent of human thinking.
second misconception about philosophy is that philosophers seldom, if ever, agree with each other, and
cannot present irrefutable arguments in support of their positions. In every period, philosophers have
challenged their predecessor's arguments.
Another misconception about philosophy, and the final one to be evaluated, is that philosophical
commitment is subjective--a matter of personal opinion.

1) Philosophy is about finding the meaning of life, it is a quintessential spiritual

enterprise to improve our way of life.
This isn't entirely a misconception, but it is an overrepresentation. I do not deny that
philosophy can have a spiritual and practical dimension, because the Stoics,
Epicureans, Buddhists (yes, to some extent I think buddhism has a philosophy since
they had a history of rational inquiry), Cynics, and others encouraged a rational
inquiry that extends to how we ought to live a good life as well as implementing it in
Philosophy is any personal doctrine, belief, code, or attitudes that shapes how one lives
his or her life
If this were the case, all religions, personal opinions, and political ideologies would be
considered a philosophy, but they are not because not all religious traditions and political
ideologies foster values and practices of rational inquiry.