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Introduction to Philosophy (DLSU_MAD)

The Value of Philosophy

Bertrand Russell’s The Value of Philosophy:

1. Russell argues that the view that philosophy is nothing but innocent
but useless trifling results partly from a wrong conception of the ends
of life, from a wrong conception of the kind of goods which philosophy
strives to achieve. What are these wrong conceptions and how do they
affect the way a person understands the value of philosophy?
2. What is the ‘practical man’? What are the prejudices of the ‘practical’
men?
3. What sets philosophy apart from other studies?
4. “The uncertainty of philosophy is more apparent than real.” What does
this mean? Isn’t philosophy a mere futile endeavor? Explain your answer.
5. “The value of philosophy is to be sought largely in its very
uncertainty.” What does this mean? Explain your answer.
6. What is philosophic contemplation? How does it enlarge the Self? What
does Russell mean by enlargement of the Self?
7. What is the value of philosophy?
Plato’s Myth of the Cave:

1. What does the cave represent?


2. How does the myth demonstrate the value of philosophical
contemplation/wonder?
3. What does the myth tell us about the nature of knowing/truth?

Discussion Thesis Statements

1. All men by nature desire to know … it is owing to their wonder that men
both now begin and first began to philosophize.
2. Wonder begins with the obvious, but it is as if it begins with a
‘distancing’ of the obvious.
3. When a philosopher withdraws from the ‘obvious’, he does so in order to
restore himself to the freshness of existence.
4. Wonder, then, has this strange double-aspect of placing me before my
experience, yet placing me before it as something altogether strange.
5. Philosophy does not consist so much in a set of formulated answers as
it does in the entering into a kind of question.
6. The value of philosophy is, in fact, to be sought largely in its very
uncertainty. The person who has no tincture of philosophy goes through
life imprisoned in the prejudices derived from commonsense, from the
habitual beliefs of his age or his nation, and from convictions which
have grown up in his/her mind without the co-operation or consent of
his deliberate reason.
7. Philosophy, though unable to tell us with certainty what is the true
answer to the doubts which it raises, is able to suggest many
possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny
of custom.
8. The value of philosophy is to be studied, not for the sake of any
definite answers to its questions since no definite answers can, as a
rule, be known to be true, but rather for the sake of the questions
themselves; because these questions enrich our intellectual imagination
and diminish the dogmatic assurance which closes the mind against
speculation.