DESH RAJ SIRSWAL
सोमवार, 17 नवंबर 2008
DESH RAJ SIRSWAL
मंगलवार, 4 नवंबर 2008
DESH RAJ SIRSWAL
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
रविवार, 24 अगस्त 2008
Sample: Rashmi, Research Scholar,
Department of Philosophy,
Email :(…if you want to add.)
2. Articles are not more than 1000 words.
3. Articles will be of your interest, but must concentrate on the theme of the issue.
4. Last date for receiving articles 1oth of month of publication.
5. Try to give your original ideas about the themes.
बुधवार, 13 अगस्त 2008
To enable development of youth first and foremost, the teacher’s love for teaching is essential, with teaching as the soul of the teacher. The teacher must realize that they are responsible for shaping not just students but ignited youth who are the most powerful resource under the earth, on the earth and above the earth. With their full commitment to the great mission of teaching, the teacher transforms himself or herself as a great teacher only when he or she is capable of elevating the average student to high performance. The teacher conducting himself or herself in a noble way itself is a lifetime message for students. They should encourage the students and children to ask questions and develop the spirit of enquiry, so that they blossom into creative enlightened citizens. They should treat all the students equally and should not support any differentiation on account of religion, community or language and continuously upgrade the capacities in teaching so that they can impart quality education to the students. They should realize by being a teacher, they are making an important contribution to the efforts of national development. The teachers must constantly endeavour to fill their mind, with great thoughts and spread the nobility in thinking and action among the students. Teacher should celebrate the success of the students.
मंगलवार, 5 अगस्त 2008
India is a basket of various gems, pearls, diamonds etc. Indian culture is surely one of the possessed diamonds of India. Our culture is so rich and varied that it becomes the duty of every Indian parent to impart values and traditions of our proud culture. Today, due to western influence on India, the young population of India is deprived of our culture. Parents can impart Indian cultural education at home itself. Encourage your child to read books on Indian dances, Indian Classical music, Indian religions, Indian temples etc. Most grandparents in Indian homes are known to narrate mythological stories to children that have some moral learning. These mythological serials are also shown on television. Children can learn a lot from these serials rather than watching cartoons or music channels.
India also has a lot of variety in weddings as well. Different weddings have different customs and traditions. Take your children to weddings and tell them about the customs that are followed and their significance. As parents, you may not only praise and appreciate Indian culture. Let your child also know about the caste system in India and tribal population and their own customs. Encourage your child to have his own opinions.
India also has a lot of oral traditions that includes shlokas and mantras. You can teach your children these shlokas with its relevance and the Gods and the Goddesses it refers to.
Children love festivals। But most of them are not aware of the significance why the festival is celebrated. Thus while Holi and Diwali is celebrated with colours and crackers respectively, tell your child the reason why these festivals are celebrated and what customs and traditions are followed during these. Cultural education in today’s scenario is as important as other subjects that your child studies!
मंगलवार, 1 जुलाई 2008
Prepared by the Philosophy Department at the University of Florida. © २००७
शुक्रवार, 13 जून 2008
There are many deleterious consequences of this neglect of philosophy in the country. Primarily the intellectual health of a country should be gauged in terms of its philosophical traditions and practices, as much as the scientific and artistic traditions. Also, philosophy is essential for a good grounding in the Social Sciences and Humanities, and arguably for the natural sciences also.
Philosophy offers a rational tradition by which one can participate in the society in various ways. In India today, there is, on the one hand, a continued neglect of philosophy and on the other there is an upsurge of popular interest in philosophy primarily through the agencies of religion and spirituality. Although the latter are important cultural practices, philosophy as a discipline or even as a worldview cannot be subsumed under these practices alone.
Philosophy, not just as a discipline but also as a fundamental agent for both personal and social action, needs to be inculcated and promoted in societies, especially the civil society. In these days of rapid change, in the transformations entailed by the processes of globalisation, a society must equip itself with a 'philosophical temper', much like the emphasis on scientific temper that is now enshrined in the Indian constitution. Moreover there is great public interest in issues of philosophy. Often we hear from those who are not even in the academic field that their major interest is philosophy. The sales of popular philosophy books is another important indication of the desire of the larger public community to partake and participate in the philosophical discourses. The lack of academic training in philosophy has left a large number of ordinary citizens with no access to contemporary philosophical thinking, one which is influencing many new contemporary ideas in the world.
Since all disciplines draw upon philosophical themes, implicitly or explicitly, it is essential to have systems that will empower not only students but also the interested public to learn philosophy. Since philosophy is intrinsically linked with action there is a tangible and immediate benefit in supporting programs in philosophy. Almost all debates today - whether it is on ethics, development, poverty, education, alternative systems of knowledge, ideas of social justice, understanding of conflict and peace, etc., - all involve various philosophical ideas. A clearer understanding of these ideas would enable a more cohesive and rational social response to these issues. It would also help in the establishment of a deeper public discourse on these topics.
We cannot hope to solve the problems in philosophical teaching and research in the country immediately. However, it is time we addressed it in a sustained fashion. One such initiative has just been started at the National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. We have started a Centre for Philosophy primarily to help support and sustain philosophy in India. As part of its activities, we plan to focus on philosophy education both for students in philosophy and in other disciplines, primarily in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Also, there are programs for the public where public discussion of contemporary themes from a philosophical perspective will be arranged. Our outreach program in education extends to the colleges as well. Also, we want to create a coherent and networked community of philosophers in the country through visits and annual meetings. This will enable teachers and faculty members in colleges and universities to spend some time at the Centre using our library facilities and participating in research and teaching.
To support a culture of philosophy in the colleges and Universities.
To establish structures to enable philosophical thinking and practice in the larger society, including organizing public lectures and discussions on various philosophical themes of contemporary interest.
To promote teaching of philosophy in the vernacular, both in the urban and rural areas.
To conduct advanced summer schools for graduate and undergraduate students in philosophy.
To develop outreach programs in undergraduate colleges where courses in philosophy will be offered by guest faculty.
To create an infrastructure to enable students and faculty of all levels to visit the Centre for Philosophy at the National Institute of Advanced Studies in order to pursue research, participate in teaching and access the library facilities.
To enable networking of younger faculty and teachers in philosophy (and in general those in Humanities and Social Sciences) who will meet once a year in order to know about each others' work and create a sustainable network for future action.
To have eminent people from all over the world visit the Centre thereby fostering international cooperation in the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Contact: Prof Sundar Sarukkai (Email)
रविवार, 11 मई 2008
मंगलवार, 22 अप्रैल 2008
The term philosophy cannot be defined precisely because the subject is so complex and so controversial. Different philosophers have different views of the nature, methods, and range of philosophy. The term philosophy itself comes from the Greek philosophia, which means love of wisdom. In that sense, wisdom is the active use of intelligence, not something passive that a person simply possesses.
By studying philosophy, people can clarify what they believe, and they can be stimulated to think about ultimate questions. A person can study philosophers of the past to discover why they thought as they did and what value their thoughts may have in one's own life. There are people who simply enjoy reading the great philosophers, especially those who were also great writers.
Philosophy has had enormous influence on our everyday lives. The very language we speak uses classifications derived from philosophy. For example, the classifications of noun and verb involve the philosophic idea that there is a difference between things and actions. If we ask what the difference is, we are starting a philosophic inquiry.
Every institution of society is based on philosophic ideas, whether that institution is the law, government, religion, the family, marriage, industry, business, or education। Philosophic differences have led to the overthrow of governments, drastic changes in laws, and the transformation of entire economic systems. Such changes have occurred because the people involved held certain beliefs about what is important, true, real, and significant and about how life should be ordered.
For full article go to following link:
मंगलवार, 15 अप्रैल 2008
failing exams or classes?
getting nervous about your sliding GPA?
experiencing severe test anxiety?
having trouble studying?
studying, but having trouble with tests?
thinking about quitting school or changing your major.
गुरुवार, 3 अप्रैल 2008
Productive dialogue presupposes informed participants. This means that during every class session, each of us will have read the material assigned for the day, we will pay careful attention to what others have already said, and we will think carefully before speaking. Of course, each of us will often be mistaken, but none of us should ever speak randomly.
Joint participants in dialogue show a deep, personal respect for each other. We owe it to each other to listen well and to give each other the benefit of doubt in interpreting charitably what has been said, trying always to see the worthwhile point. Although we will rarely find ourselves in total agreement on the issues at stake, we will never attack or make fun of each other personally.
Disagreement with an expressed opinion and criticism of its putative support is not disrespectful; it is an acknowledgment that we are taking the matter seriously. The more significant the issue under discussion, the more likely our exchanges will become passionate, even heated. But we must always deal with each other fairly, helping each other to see the light.
Quality counts more than quantity
No discussion will be perfectly balanced among its participants, and each of us will have days on which we are quieter or more vocal. But no one should dominate the conversation, nor should anyone be utterly silent. If you find yourself speaking too much, try to listen more; if you find yourself saying too little, look for opportunities to contribute. But always remember that it is what you say, not the fact of your speaking, that matters.
Not every contribution to the dialogue needs to be the proposal or defence of a thesis. It is always proper to ask for a clarification of the meaning of something that has already been said or for the justification of a claim that has already been made. (Those who are naturally quiet may find that a well-timed question is the most comfortable way to participate in the dialogue.)
Above all, remember that philosophical discussion is a cooperative activity, aiming at a mutual achievement of truth (or, at least, convergence on a shared opinion). It is not a competition in which "points" are to be scored against an opponent. We are working together, and each can learn from all.
बुधवार, 26 मार्च 2008
(1) The academic and socio-ethical importance of ‘Philosophy’ is immens. Epistemology, logic and scientific method, philosophy of science, aesthetics, ethics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of law and social philosophy are some of the important branches of Philosophy. Epistemology deals with the nature, scope and sources of human knowledge. Logic discusses the basic principles of valid reasoning. Scientific method refers to the methodology of sciences. Philosophy of science analyses the basic concepts of sciences and tries thereby to provide them a rational basis. Thus, it provides conducive to pursuits of scientific researches.
A clear comprehension of the fundamentals of epistemology, logic and scientific method is a necessary pre-requisite of undertaking any meaningful rational activity including theory-formation and decision-making. In view of its importance, ‘Logic and scientific method’ is taught as a compulsory course to all the students in some of the European and American Universities। In India too, some IIT’s and the Department of Economics, Commerce and Management in Universities provide for ‘Logic and Scientific method as a compulsory course of study, and it is also a compulsory paper in the test for Chartered Accountants.
(2) Science & Philosophy are certainly the two most dominant forces that have shaped the course of humanity। It is also true that science alone can solve the problems related to hunger, poverty, illiteracy, environment pollution, illness and unemployment but then through the study of Philosophy one can achieve compassion, love, honesty and integrity, peace, tolerance, discipline and humanism without which the very existence of mankind will be at stake.
रविवार, 23 मार्च 2008
Those who believe in the practical relevance of moral philosophy often invoke a comparison with the way in which a theoretical science like physics can be applied in engineering (although, strictly speaking, their analogy is rather with the way in which they think that physics is applied to engineering problems than with the use which engineers actually make of physical theory)। This 'engineering model', as we may call it, is implicit in the very term 'applied ethics', which has come to designate a whole area of philosophical activity in recent years. I want utterly to reject the engineering model, and with it the description of the role of the philosopher in practical moral decision-making as 'applied ethics'.
What, in greater detail, is 'the engineering model'? It is supposed that what happens in engineering is that answers to practical problems (such as the construction of load-bearing structures or of an efficient machine for achieving a particular task) are obtained by deducing them from relevant scientific theories। The general laws of physics are 'applied' to the particular case which constitutes a problem: that is, the particular case is seen as an instance of a certain general law or laws, and in this way a solution for the problem is found based on rational scientific principles, rather than mere hunch। In the same way, according to the engineering model, moral philosophy provides a set of general rational principles, from which the answers to concrete moral problems can be deduced when the particular case is seen as falling under a general moral rule or rules. These philosophy-based solutions will be better than those which may be offered by people without philosophical training in that they will be more rational, more (as it were) 'scientific'. Like the engineer, the moral philosopher will be, in virtue of his or her specialised training, an expert in the relevant field.
This view is, I want to argue, flawed in a number of related ways। First, the conception of the moral philosopher as an expert in moral decision-making is objectionable. The objection is not so much to the idea of a moral expert as to the idea of the philosopher as such an expert. Some people do seem to be better at making good moral decisions than others, and so might be described (perhaps not very felicitously) as 'moral experts': but their expertise arises, not from possession of some specialised knowledge, but from the acuteness of their moral sensitivity and the extent of their commitment to leading a moral life. In a word, moral experts are saints. But most moral philosophers are patently not saints, and saints are not moral philosophers, except accidentally.
Secondly, there is no science of morality which stands in the same relation to practical decision-making as, say, the science of physics stands to engineering decisions (which is why moral 'expertise' does not consist in possession of such scientific knowledge)। The rules of morality are not like the laws of science: they are not established by careful empirical investigation involving the use of specialised technical procedures and concepts, and so knowledge of them is not confined to specialists. Rather, we are all capable of acquiring an awareness of right and wrong in the course of our ordinary upbringing. Every sane, decent, properly brought up person knows that murder, torture, rape and exploitation are wrong, and that kindness, generosity, and cooperation are good things. All decent human beings thus have the knowledge required to make moral decisions: if some are better than others at making such decisions, as said above, it is because they have a more acute sense of how these general values apply in actual situations, combined with a greater willingness to apply them.
Thirdly, moral philosophy, as it has been practised in our culture from Plato onwards, is not to be identified with this universally shared knowledge of the rules of morality। It could not be, since it presupposes that knowledge. Different moral philosophers - Aristotelians, Kantians, utilitarians, intuitionists, and so on - do not disagree about the wrongness of murder or the goodness of generosity, but about how we should account for that wrongness or goodness. Moral philosophers are concerned with understanding the nature of morality in general and the connection of moral concepts with other concepts, such as those of a 'fact', of 'human nature', of an 'imperative', of 'reason' and so on. Training in moral philosophy is not the acquisition of scientific knowledge of what is right and what is wrong, but the development of the ability to reflect on the nature of our judgements of right and wrong.
It is significant that the one school of moral philosophy which does present itself as a quasi-scientific discipline, capable for instance of criticising received views of what is right and wrong, is utilitarianism in its various forms। The principle of maximising utility is supposed to be directly applicable to concrete moral decisions, when taken in conjunction with relevant facts. I say that this is significant because there is a marked (though not universal) correlation between practitioners of 'applied ethics' and utilitarians : those 'applied ethicists' who follow the engineering model, in particular, are almost always utilitarians. They see themselves as moral experts in much the same way that the scientifically-knowledgeable engineer is in that field . This is perfectly intelligible, given the nature both of utilitarianism and of the engineering model. But it gives those who object to the utilitarian conception of morality as concerned with the maximisation of pleasure and pain rather than with the well-being of persons an additional reason for thinking of the engineering model as flawed.
If we accept such arguments, does it follow that moral philosophy can have no possible practical relevance in moral decision-making? Only if the one way in which it could have relevance was that described in the engineering model। I want to argue, on the basis of my own experience, that there is another way. When it comes to making the standard sorts of moral decisions which we all have to make in everyday life, the moral philosopher is in no better position than any other person of equal decency and sensitivity. Should I steal this expensive watch from the jeweller's? Should I betray the confidences of my best friend to a malicious gossip? Should I lie to escape blame for something I have done? We all know the right answers to these questions, whether or not we have had a training in moral philosophy.
Where moral philosophy may come into its own, however, is in those cases in which the guidelines supplied by a good upbringing are harder to apply - cases in which the moral issues are more complex than usual, or in which we are confronted with qualitatively new sorts of moral issue। It is the latter kind of case which I want to concentrate on here, since it is well instantiated by the problems thrown up by developments in medical technology. For what we principally have in mind when we speak of 'medical technology' is the application of scientific knowledge to enable human beings to achieve medical goals which they could not achieve otherwise. Thus, to mention only a few examples, organ transplantation, kidney dialysis, the use of 'iron lungs', ventilators, endogastric feeding tubes and the like, all enable us to prolong human life in circumstances in which in the past that would have been impossible. New reproductive technologies make it possible for human beings who would otherwise be infertile to have babies of their own. And the technologies of gene manipulation may make it possible in future for children who would otherwise have inevitably suffered from some genetic condition causing problems of a more or less serious kind to be born without that condition or those problems.
Being able to do radically new sorts of things in this way also means being confronted with new sorts of moral problems for which our upbringing as normally decent and well-meaning human beings has not prepared us। Faced with a young person seriously injured in an accident, we would all say that we must obviously do all that we can to save that person's life: but does it follow that we need to prolong the (entirely unconscious) life of someone in a permanent vegetative state (as it is now called) by intravenous or intragastric feeding? Is prolonging breathing and heartbeat with no other benefit to the patient what is meant by 'saving life' in the moral principle that we should do all we can to save human life? Or again, we may agree with the claim in the European Convention on Human Rights that there is a universal right to have children. But does it follow that those who are naturally infertile have a right to IVF, and that therefore the state has an obligation to provide IVF treatment regardless of patients' ability to pay? Or finally, we would probably agree that cystic fibrosis is a terrible disease, and that we should do all we can to find a cure for it, or at least some way of alleviating its worst consequences. But does it follow that we should, if we can, use germline gene therapy to eliminate the cystic fibrosis gene altogether from the human population, so that no one will ever have to suffer from this condition again?
In all these cases, our ability to do new sorts of things creates moral problems of a new kind। It is in cases like this that a training in moral philosophy can be a help. The ordinary moral training which we receive in the course of a decent upbringing consists in learning to apply standard moral rules (don't steal, don't tell lies, keep your promises, be considerate to others' feelings, etc.) to cases in which their application is clear. But in the cases just cited, what is in doubt is precisely which rules should be applied and how they fit these new circumstances. We need to have developed a certain kind of moral imagination, consisting in a capacity to pick out the morally relevant features of these new sorts of case and so to determine which of our fundamental moral principles may apply to them and how.
What is it about human life, for instance, which makes it worth preserving, and is that feature to be found, say, in the PVS patient whose life can be preserved only by tube-feeding? What does the right to have children consist in, and do naturally infertile people who can have children only by IVF qualify for that right? How far does our obligation to prevent human suffering extend? Does it include suffering which is preventable only by intervention in the whole future development of the human species?
Answering questions such as these requires reflection on the whole nature of our moral concepts - standing back from the demands of practical decision-making in order to think in a more theoretical and general way about the principles involved। But such theoretical reflection is precisely what we mean by moral philosophy. A training in moral philosophy may not be the only way, but it is the best and most obvious way, to develop one's powers of reflection on moral concepts and moral principles. Furthermore, one cannot study moral philosophy seriously without being aware that such reflections may and do lead to differing conclusions, not only about what the moral concepts mean, but about which concepts are important in moral thought. Singer's talk (see endnote 2) about the meaning of the moral concepts results from an excessively narrow understanding of moral philosophy, no doubt inseparable from his utilitarian view of moral philosophy as a quasi-scientific discipline.
In his essay 'Philosophy and Government Repression' , Isaiah Berlin argues that philosophy is not like a science: it solves its problems, not by the accumulation and ordering of facts, but 'by altering the point of view from which the problem seemed a problem; by shifting emphasis, by transposing, by shifting the vision of those who are perplexed, in such a way that they perceived distinctions which had hitherto not been visible, or came to see that the distinction upon which they had laid so much stress did not in fact exist, or rested upon muddles or lack of insight' (p।60). It is my contention that a training in this way of problem-solving is peculiarly useful in approaching the new and particularly difficult kinds of moral problems thrown up, for example, by developments in medical technology.
This still does not make the moral philosopher an 'expert', informing his or her colleagues in medicine, law or whatever what is the 'correct', rational, scientific answer to their problems। Not only would this be offensive, it is also not the moral philosopher's job. The usefulness of the moral philosopher, according to the picture presented in this paper, does not consist in making the decisions for the professional people: that is their responsibility and theirs alone. Nevertheless, the philosopher can perform a useful, indeed a vitally important role, by bringing his or her training to bear on the task of elucidating the morally relevant features of the problem-situation and so making clear what factors need to be taken into account in arriving at a decision. It is my experience that performing that task is making a genuinely useful contribution, and is appreciated as such by most of those who have in the end to make the decisions.
Notes For further discussion see Anne Maclean, The Elimination of Morality, London, Routledge, 1993। A leading protagonist of this view (and a utilitarian) is Peter Singer: in a book which he wrote with Deane Wells in 1984 called The Reproduction Revolution (Oxford University Press), he argues that we could make more progress with difficult moral issues if we were 'a little more ready to gather together those best qualified to consider the issues in an open and informed manner' (p।199): among their qualifications would be 'an understanding of the nature of ethics and the meanings of the moral concepts' and 'a reasonable knowledge of the major ethical theories' (P.200). Reprinted in Isaiah Berlin, The Sense of Reality, London, Chatto and Windus, 1996. Eric Matthews is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen
February 29, 2008 12:34 AM
मंगलवार, 4 मार्च 2008
March 3, 2008 1:01 AM
Traditionally, philosophy students have found their majors prepared them mainly for teaching positions or as a base for future study. However, it has been proven that no matter how technical or specialized your career field may be, the study of philosophy can give you the basic skills needed for thinking about, analyzing, understanding, and solving problems. Philosophy graduates today are discovering that a wide range of non-academic careers are now opening to them. Among these new careers are opportunities in:
Business: advertising executive; assistant manager; hotels; development manager; manpower services coordinator
Computers: systems analyst, consultant, programmer, technical writer ,Consulting
Education: non-teaching fields of admissions, librarian, residence hall director, provost, archivist
Finance: bank officer, investment broker
Government: officer in armed forces, CIA, congressional staff member, diplomat, immigration, policy and planning consultant, United Nations official, human services agency, county commissioner Insurance
Journalism and Publishing: freelance writer, magazine editor, technical writer
Law: lawyer, criminal justice programs, legal researcher, paralegal, security officer marketing and/or Sales Religion/Ministry
Research: business, education, government, scientific।
March 3, 2008 1:02 AM
रविवार, 2 मार्च 2008
February 29, 2008 11:39 PM
By Monica Thapar
Each one of us must identify the values we want to live by. We need to take the time to know ourselves and penetrate layers of conditioning to arrive at our true selves.
Value education is education in values and education towards the inculcation of values. Implicit in this definition is the conviction that value education is a universal phenomenon intrinsic to all learning and education, whether at home or in an institution. It is not. Neither teaches us to be critical thinkers or to regard ourselves as proactive beings in relation to ourselves, our community and humanity at large. Unwittingly and through habit we accept most things handed out to us by the media, the government and the polity. Unfortunately when there is so much talk about individual capabilities and potentialities, there is so little confidence on the part of the individual about his own power to make a difference. Our educational system is of little help. We are not trained to be proactive thinkers because we are told so little of the life values that are the basis for creative thinking.
What really is education? It is not literacy, nor information. Education is a systematic attempt towards human learning. All learning is subjective and self-related. Educational activity starts with the individual—Who am I? Where am I going? Where have I come from? It is only with an understanding of the Self that we can begin to understand our relationships with others and the environment.
Knowledge should not be made remote from individual reality and irrelevant to the individual. Knowledge can never be 'learned'. Knowledge is the fruit of experience and experience is the sensation of the individual. Individual experience is an internal happening and is the function of awareness. And one of the processes of knowing ourselves, of raising our awareness, is to be able to identify and clarify our values. Education in values is essential in helping each one of us directly encounter the values that we hold, understand them completely, so that we may order our relationships to the environment that lies outside us. Once we are clear about values we shall be better able to sift and control information of the natural world, make wise choices and be creative in our mental processes.
'Know thyself' is what each of us needs to do, yet modern life moves at such a pace that we seldom take the time to examine ourselves. We become strangers to our own selves. We follow the dictates of others blindly. Why should any debate be left to a few 'experts'? Why is not critical thinking an integral part of everyday life? It must be so if we are to create a sane society.
For this to happen we must be equipped to examine our values. These are our internal guideposts. Much of the great literature of the world—from Bhagavad Gita to Socrates to Hamlet—has dwelled on value choices and moral dilemmas that are bound to occur when your values are clearly defined. Values do conflict. Making value choices is not easy, but it is this very thing we must confront and make part of our lives if we are to be truly creative human beings. Moral dilemmas are only possible for those who have strongly held principles and it is through these moral dilemmas that new and revolutionary thought processes emerge and character develops.
Value conflicts are the strongest test of character. Yet, today, moral dilemmas are considered a waste of time, a domain for 'losers'. Ultimately we declare all value assertions unscientific and relative, hence dispensable. We do not realize that value conflict is healthy, necessary and by eliminating it we are also erasing all conviction. Confucius once said: "If a man carefully cultivates values in his conduct, he may still err a little but he won't be far from the standard of truth."
It is time to clarify these values that we speak of. It is up to each one of us to determine the society we will create by deciding upon the values we will emphasize today.
But first, let us be clear about the categories of values. These are three-universal, cultural or ethnic and individual or personal values.
February 28, 2008 1:06 AM
शुक्रवार, 29 फ़रवरी 2008
The Nature of Philosophy
Philosophy is characterized as much by its methods as by its subject matter. Although philosophers deal with speculative issues that generally are not subject to investigation through experimental test, and philosophy therefore is more fully conceptual than science, philosophy properly done is not mere speculation. Philosophers, just like scientists, formulate hypotheses which ultimately must answer to reason and evidence.3 This is one of the things that differentiates philosophy from poetry and mysticism, despite its not being a science.4
The Branches of Philosophy
The four main branches of philosophy are logic, epistemology, metaphysics, and ethics:
Logic is the attempt to codify the rules of rational thought. Logicians explore the structure of arguments that preserve truth or allow the optimal extraction of knowledge from evidence. Logic is one of the primary tools philosophers use in their inquiries; the precision of logic helps them to cope with the subtlety of philosophical problems and the often misleading nature of conversational language.
Aspects of each branch of philosophy can be studied in isolation, but philosophical questions have a way of leading to other philosophical questions, to the point that a full investigation of any particular problem is likely eventually to involve almost the whole of the philosophical enterprise.
The Demands of Philosophy
Philosophical inquiry is very demanding, suitable only for those who possess a fair degree of courage, humility, patience and discipline.
Doing philosophy requires courage, because one never knows what one will find at the end of a philosophical investigation. Since philosophy deals with the most fundamental and important issues of human existence, and since these are things that most people initially take for granted, genuine philosophical inquiry has great potential to unsettle or even to destroy one's deepest and most cherished beliefs. Genuine philosophical inquiry also carries the risk of isolation among one's peers, both for the unorthodox views to which it may lead one, and for the simple unpopularity of critical thinking. A philosopher must be able to face both consequences.
---------Doing philosophy requires both patience and discipline, because philosophical inquiry requires long hours of hard work। One must be prepared to commit huge amounts of time to laboring over issues both difficult and subtle। People who avoid philosophy often complain that thinking about philosophical questions makes their heads hurt. This is unavoidable: if the answers come easily to you, your inquiries are almost certainly superficial. To do philosophy, one must commit onself to pain. The only difference between one who chooses to shoulder the pain and one who does not is that the former recognizes that there is no shortcut to truth: every advance must be fought for tooth and nail.
The Rewards of Philosophy
But if philosophy is so demanding, why should anyone even bother with it?
In the first place, there is great utility in philosophical inquiry, even for someone who does not innately care about the pursuit of truth. Consider a random handful of classic philosophical questions: What is the meaning of life? What is the nature of justice? What does it take for a belief to be justified? Is the world we see illusion or reality? The answers to such questions cannot help but to have a critical impact on how one ought to live one's life. Surely one should subject one's intuitive beliefs about these things to critical scrutiny, and work hard to come as close to truth as possible. Many philosophical questions are fundamental to human life; the only reason it often does not seem that way is that people simply assume they know what the answers to these questions are, without ever daring to make a serious inquiry.
This leads us to the second reason why one ought to do philosophy: to understand is ennobling. To go through life simply assuming one understands, is not. To be sure, one can be happy if one manages to make it all the way through life without questioning anything. Philosophical inquiry, on the other hand, can be disquieting, offering no guarantee that your hard work will yield the conclusions you hope for. Even worse, philosophy gives you no guarantee that your investigations will yield any conclusion at all: at the end of the day, you may find yourself not only minus the certainties with which you began, but also with nothing else to put in their place. If you do philosophy, you may well have to learn to live with perpetual uncertainty, while others, in their ignorance, happily profess perfect knowledge of things they do not understand at all. But it is clear who has the better life: far better to understand, even if the main thing you understand is the limit of your own knowledge.
And a final reason for studying philosophy is that, for all of the pains and difficulties associated with it, the pursuit and acquisition of knowledge is enjoyable. To be sure, it is a refined enjoyment, and it is often hard to see from the outside what the appeal is. But once you become immersed in it, it carries its own immediate rewards, and it is difficult to resist becoming addicted to it. I have experienced most of the same pleasures everyone else has,6 but in the end, none of them hold a candle to the pleasures of the mind: the sheer pleasure of studying and investigating, and sometimes even understanding.
Copyright © 2006-2007, Mark I. Vuletic. All rights reserved.
(1) All C.U. students are brilliant.
(2) Jill is a C.U. student.
Therefore,(C) Jill is brilliant.
Here, the truth of premises (1) and (2) make the conclusion, (C), true, i.e., it could not fail to be true if the premises are true. Premises are simply statements offered for consideration.
Philosophy revolves around giving arguments for various positions one might take on the nature of reality (metaphysics), the nature of knowledge (epistemology), the nature of morality (ethics) or the nature of a particular subject like aesthetics or science.
There are two important distinctions that should be with respect to arguments like the one above. First, arguments are either valid or invalid. Though we often use the word "valid" in our common everyday language to label a person's point as good or strong, the term as it is used in philosophy is a technical term that refers to the nature of a deductive argument. If a deductive argument is valid, the truth of the premises guarantees the truth of the conclusion. That is to say, if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. An invalid argument is an argument whose premises do not entail the conclusion. That is to say, even if the premises are true, the conclusion may not be true.
The second distinction with respect to arguments in philosophy lies between sound and unsound arguments. If an argument is sound, then it is not only valid, but its premises are indeed true. An unsound argument is an argument in which one or more of the premises are false. Note that an argument can be valid, but unsound.
Here is your first test in philosophy: First, is the above argument concerning the brilliance of C.U. students valid?
If your answer is no, there are no more comments to make, for if an argument is not valid, there is little sense in discussing it beyond making this determination.
But, if our answer is yes, we can ask the further question as to whether the above argument is sound, i.e., are the premises true? Well, what do you think, are they true? Premise (1) is of course the controversial premise; premise (2) we will assume, is a given. Well, premise (1) is probably false, if we mean by "brilliant," incredibly intelligent. Unfortunately, there are most likely at least a few C.U. students that do not fall into this category of brilliance. The good news is that life is not just about being intelligent.
Now that we have the two basic concepts of validity and soundness under our belts, we can begin to do philosophy. To do philosophy well, you will have to think in terms of arguments all the time. This thought process can be a bit daunting for the neophyte, but after a while it becomes second nature. Along with this process of thinking in terms of arguments, you will also have to put your thinking cap on; philosophy, by its very nature, requires you to think hard, to make fine distinctions, and to be extremely careful with how you use words. Often, philosophers use common everyday words in uncommon ways. For example, the word "necessarily" is a word loaded with meaning for the philosopher, though not for the person on the street.
Reading philosophy for the beginner can also be a daunting task. Because philosophers use language so carefully, one can often find their first reading of a philosophy article quite dense, slow and laborious. Philosophers like to condense their ideas into the fewest words possible needed to express them, so reading philosophy can be akin to untying a shoelace which has several knots in it. Unlike reading fiction or the newspaper, reading philosophy is often a grueling process. Adequately understanding what a particular philosopher is arguing may require re-reading the article several times. As with many sorts of texts there are values in reading the text quickly and slowly. If you know that you are going to read a text more the once, it is sometimes profitable to read through it the first time quickly, not getting bogged down too much with sections that are not readily clear to you. On the second time through you can slow down and digest the more difficult parts of the reading. The quick read-through often gives you context such that when you read through the article a second time, you already know what will later be said in the article, thus helping you to understand the difficult passages found earlier in the article. Above all, reading philosophy takes patience. Even if you read an article through several times, there may be portions of the text that are still unclear. Philosophy often leaves one with more questions than answers; hence, if you have in mind that you will develop a bulletproof personal philosophy at the end of one class, give that idea up now. Philosophers study for decades and often never reach a firm conclusion on some matters. Lastly, you will almost certainly come across words that you are not familiar with. Though it is easy to just skip these words, you will gain greater understanding and pleasure from your reading if you look unknown words up. You may have even come across unknown words on this web page like "neophyte." A great tool for the college student is an electronic dictionary, which can be purchased on CD-Rom and then transferred to your hard drive (if you have enough room). Good, unabridged dictionaries on CD-Rom can be purchased for about $25. This tool helps you to look words up quickly (if you're near your computer).
As you can imagine, writing philosophy involves the skills of doing philosophy and reading philosophy. To write philosophy, you must learn to use your own language well. You must learn to use language precisely; you must master syntax (which includes spelling) and grammar. You must also learn to write stylistically, and not in the manner that you speak on a daily basis. Philosophy requires a formal writing style. You must learn to be well-organized in the presentation of your ideas. You must learn to present an argument, and then evaluate it, i.e., give your own argument for why you think the argument under question is a good or bad one. Philosophers are picky, anal, and fastidious when they write, and so must you be if you are to succeed as a nascent philosopher.