सोमवार, 17 नवंबर 2008

Editorial of 3rd Issue

In third issue we have selected the title "Problems of Students and its Solutions". Here in this issue we will find article related to this theme. As you that we have started our project of Positive Philosophy after its formulation in last two issues. In these issues we have discussed nature and need of Positive Philosophy with how to do philosophy discussion. We have the theme that the teacher should follow the slogan “Towards Better Living” and “Towards Better Teaching” as permanent values in their personal and professional lives. Continuous development both as a person and as a teacher would make their lives enjoyable, fruitful and worthwhile in the truest sense. 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. Universal values must be our foundation if we are to enjoy a rich, profound and fulfilling life. Our personal and cultural biases limit and distort our perception of the universal wonder that is life. Even as the hands of a clock are powered from the center that remains ever still, so the universal values remain ever at the center of human life, no matter where the hands of time are pointing—past, present or future. And lastly we have conscious about the student’s problems then we should try to solve these by all means. Hope this issue benefited you with some relevant information regarding the main theme.

मंगलवार, 4 नवंबर 2008

Editorial of the 2nd Issue

In the previous issues we have discussed about the concept of Positive Philosophy, its need and related themes. In present issue we will discuss about “How to Do Philosophy.” Auguste Comte said,” The Positive philosophy offers the only solid basis for that social reorganization that must succeed the critical condition in which the most civilized nations are now living.” With this spirit here in the present issue we will find that thinkers of the articles tried to explain their ideas about doing, studying, reading and dialoguing philosophy, as they experienced themselves. And we can found here better way to do philosophy, philosophically.All thinkers agree with that doing philosophy needs great practice and patience। Philosophical inquiry is very demanding, suitable only for those who possess a fair degree of courage, humility, patience and discipline. To do it better we should have a good methodology also, because methodology often decides the fate of a research project and lastly philosophy is a very abstract subject, and it is one of the more difficult , it requires exercise of very advanced analytical skills, and very highly developed language skills. So having endeavored to determine the spirit and influence of the positive philosophy and to mark the goal of our labors, let’s consider this issue positively.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Teacher-Student Relationship

Become a part of the book Philosophy, Education and Indian Value System(CPPIS 2011) Contact:

रविवार, 24 अगस्त 2008

Instructions for the Articles

1. Article should include heading, sub-heading, your name and formal address.
Sample: Rashmi, Research Scholar,
Department of Philosophy,
University of…………….
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

Teaching is a life time mission

25/Jul/2007 : -
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.
www.abdulkalam.com, dated:१३-०८-२००९

मंगलवार, 5 अगस्त 2008

Teaching Indian culture to your children

August 3rd, 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!
Cited From: goodparenting.co.in ,dated:०६-०८-2008

मंगलवार, 1 जुलाई 2008

What is the Use of Philosophy?

To ask what the use of philosophy is is like asking what the use of understanding i One answer is that understanding is something that we very often seek for its own sake. As Aristotle said long ago: “All human beings by nature desire to understand.” We are curious if nothing else, and it is one of the more admirable traits of human beings. We like to know what is going on and why. After we have fed ourselves and put a roof over our heads, and attended to other basic needs, the question arises what we are to do with our time. One suggestion is that we should raise our heads a bit and look around us and try to understand ourselves and things around us. This turns out to be interesting. It is the genesis of both science and philosophy, with science taking the more empirical road to understanding and philosophy the more conceptual. These are complementary enterprises and there have always been important connections between them which continue despite the growth of institutional science and its increasing splintering into more and more highly specialized sub-disciplinnes.
There are universities only because human beings are by their nature curious। Universities are centers of curiosity. They are repositories and preservers of the accumulated knowledge and understanding of humankind as well as the primary centers in the modern of world of the pursuit of pure inquiry, that is, inquiry for sake of slacking our thirst for understanding. Why is this valuable? Well, why is anything valuable? It is a good question, isn’t it? It’s a philosophical question. Curious? You ought to be. To think that one thing is more valuable than another is already to have presupposed answers to a range of questions, questions which most people scarcely raise for themselves. Wouldn’t it be a good thing to know whether you had any good grounds for thinking the things you do, and to know what they were and how they supported what you thought? It would be. But then what you are seeking is understanding. The question why understanding is valuable answers itself. Once you ask the question, any sound answer requires that you seek an understanding of what makes something valuable and what understanding is. Understanding pays its own way.
What about philosophy in particular? Philosophy is a very abstract subject, and it is one of the more difficult ones। It has many values, but one is that it requires exercise of very advanced analytical skills, and very highly developed language skills, the sort mentioned above that are inseparable from being able to think well. Now, what is philosophy? That’s an interesting question.
Here is the beginning of an answer.
Prepared by the Philosophy Department at the University of Florida. © २००७
For full article please go to:
http://web.phil.ufl.edu/ugrad/whatis/useof.html, dated:०१-०७-२००८

शुक्रवार, 13 जून 2008

Centre for philosophy,NIAS,Bangalore

NIAS has initiated a new Centre for Philosophy. The inaugural lecture for this Centre was delivered by Prof Richard Sorabji, Fellow, Wolfson College, Oxford and Emeritus Professor, King's College, London on 20th January 2006.

About the Centre

Philosophy in India is in a state of crisis today. There are very few Universities which have a sustainable programme in philosophy. Philosophy teaching is restricted to a few colleges in the country whereas in the universities there is a dearth of both quality and quantity, with a few exceptions.
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.

Some Basic Objectives
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)

From:http://nias.res.in/researchgroups-cfp.php , Dated:१३-०६-२००८

रविवार, 11 मई 2008

How To Have Productive Philosophical Conversations

By Scott Hughes

When discussing complex topics such as philosophy, skillful conversation becomes even more important. If conversationalists fail to use good technique, then they will not communicate with each other effectively, and the conversation will become unproductive. Let me suggest some ways to make and keep a conversation productive when discussing philosoph.

Listen - Most importantly, you need to listen as well as you can to the other people in the discussion. Many people talk too much and listen too littl. Ironically, if you talk too much, you will have a lot of trouble expressing yourself. If you listen well, you can express yourself better because you can tailor your response to what the person has already said. Additionally, if you listen to others intently, they will likely return the favor. If you do not listen to them and just try to talk over them, then they will likely do the same to you.

Ask Questions - Plato's dialogues show how Socrates used questions to have productive philosophical conversations with other. The Socratic Method can come in great use in discussions of philosophy. Asking questions will help you better understand the other speakers, and it will cause them to express their contentions more clearly to you. That will greatly reduce misunderstandings. Additionally, asking questions makes you seem genuinely interested in the other person's ideas. Making disagreeing statements, instead of asking questions, may make the other person feel attacked and may make you seem preachy, both of which will make the discussion less productive.

Speak Clearly - This may seem obvious, but many people instead try to show off or make their ideas seem stronger by using more complex language. However, you will have most productive conversation by having the least misunderstandings, which you can do by expressing yourself as clearly as possible. Using concise, simple, and specific phrasing will usually help you express yourself clearly. Rambling, over-elaboration and the unnecessary use of "big words" will make you less clear. Additionally, you can express yourself most clearly when you match the formality of your speech or writing to the formality of the situation. In other words, use formal phrasing in a formal situation and more informal phrasing in a more informal setting.

Speak Nicely and Politely - If the conversation turns into a contest, or if any of the speakers feel angry or offended, it will greatly reduce the philosophical productivity of the discussion. A discussion about philosophy can quickly degenerate into a name-calling, insult-throwing fight. The other person will listen to you more if they feel more comfortable and respected. Do not just speak as nicely as you must in order to keep the conversation philosophical; instead, speak as nicely, respectfully, and politely as you can. Avoid insults, name-calling, or offensiveness as much as possible. Also, especially if you disagree, try thanking the other person for discussing the topic with you.

If you genuinely try to have a productive conversation, you almost always will. Most people do philosophy for fun out of interest, so why not try to have a productive conversation when discussing philosophy?

Whatever you do, good luck and have fun!

About the author: Scott Hughes maintains an internet-based philosophy club at OnlinePhilosophyClub.com. You can discuss philosophy at the Philosophy Forums

मंगलवार, 22 अप्रैल 2008

The Importance of Philosophy in Human Life

PHILOSOPHY is a study that seeks to understand the mysteries of existence and reality। It tries to discover the nature of truth and knowledge and to find what is of basic value and importance in life. It also examines the relationships between humanity and nature and between the individual and society. Philosophy arises out of wonder, curiosity, and the desire to know and understand. Philosophy is thus a form of inquiry--a process of analysis, criticism, interpretation, and speculation.

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


Are you…
failing exams or classes?
getting nervous about your sliding GPA?
feeling overwhelmed?
experiencing severe test anxiety?
having trouble studying?
studying, but having trouble with tests?
thinking about quitting school or changing your major.
You are not alone. These are common problems for college students, including really smart and capable people.
What Are Some Common Reasons College Students Experience Academic Problems?

Motivation: Some students don't have a clear vision regarding their reason for being in college. Perhaps they are here at their parent's insistence while not feeling that they are doing what they really want to do with their life. Sometimes courses and majors are chosen to please others, but have little or no relationship to the student's true interests. Many students just aren't sure about what they really want to do in their future career. It takes a fairly clear purpose to motivate a student to successfully engage in the lengthy and difficult process of higher education.

Inadequate Time Management: The majority of U।C. students work at part-time jobs and/or are engaged in time consuming extra-curricular activities at the University. The demands of academic assignments almost require students to have the time management skills of a successful busy business executive. Unfortunately, not many students have had any formal training in this area.

Study Skills: Apart from time management skills, it is known that a large proportion of students entering college have not had much in the way of useful instruction or assistance with specific study methods.

Social Distractions: Love and friendship are the most important things in the lives of most people. It is often difficult to find the needed balance between socializing and studying.

Learning Disabilities: There are several disorders that are currently understood to be primarily neurological in origin that are frequently undiagnosed and treated, and which can be academically devastating. Capable students who may be interested in a topic and who spend a great deal of time studying can find themselves struggling or failing due to these problems.

Substance Abuse: While some college students bring with them serious problems of substance abuse or addiction from their pre-college years, it is know that the college years are those where alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse begin and become serious (sometimes life-long) problems। While not all addicted or substance abusing students flunk out of college, none do as well as they could. Some of these students are actually treating themselves chemically for a psychological problem that they may or may not be aware of.

Psychological Issues: A large number of U।C. students are struggling with the many demands of college life while also dealing unassisted with major emotional issues such as loss, depression, and anxiety. Undiagnosed and untreated, many of these kinds of problems lead to academic difficulties or failure.

What Can I Do? Any of the above issues and problems may cause students to feel inadequate or result in serious academic difficulties and failure। It is important to avoid waiting until it is too late to ask for assistance। You may find one or more of the other counseling services fact sheets helpful. The professionals at your counseling center are trained to help you cope with most of these problems. They can provide strategies that will help you solve your problems, reduce your anxiety, and get back on track. They also provide vocational and career counseling to assist you in making good decisions and choices about your future. In addition, the Office of Student Affairs and Services provide additional assistance and information to The University of Cincinnati student. Experiencing academic difficulties is nothing to be ashamed of. Don't avoid the problem. Tackle it straight on by stopping by or calling…

Source: The University of Cincinnati Psychological Services Center, Evening Clinic, and the Division of Student Affairs and Human Resources

Cited From:
http://www.campusblues.com/acad.asp, Dated:१६-०४-2008

गुरुवार, 3 अप्रैल 2008

Philosophical Dialogue

Verbal discussion of serious topics is in no way tangential to the practice of philosophy. From Socratic gatherings to the philosophical conventions of today, thinking things through out loud—and in the presence of others—has always been of the essence of the philosophical method. (Most philosophical texts embody this give-and-take, either in explicit use of dialogue form or by a more subtle alteration of proposal, objection, and reply.) Your philosophical education demands that you enter into the great conversation of Western thought. A few suggestions may help:

Be prepared
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.

Respect others
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.

Expect conflict
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.

Ask questions
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.

Cited from:

बुधवार, 26 मार्च 2008

Socio-Ethical and Cultural Importance of Philosophy,

Keeping in view the multi-dimensional importance of Philosophy its importance is as follows:-

(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.

Cited From:

Starting the teaching of M.A. Philosophy in Distance Mode through Directorate of Distance Education, Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra

रविवार, 23 मार्च 2008

Is Moral Philosophy Any Use? By Eric Matthews

Is philosophy (and specifically moral philosophy) any real use in practice? This question is sometimes asked, not only by hard-headed practical people, but even by moral philosophers themselves। In both cases, there is an assumption that moral philosophy is a purely theoretical and abstract activity, and as such is divorced from the messy and complex decisions we have to take in the real world. My own experience of serving as a moral philosopher on a number of Ethics Committees, and of having to make my own professional contribution to their deliberations on a number of very thorny practical decisions, leads me to think this assumption is wrong. It involves a misunderstanding, both of the nature of moral decision-making and of the nature of moral philosophy. In this paper, I want to try to defend that claim, using as illustrative examples the ethical problems created by developments in medical technology.

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 [1]: 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 [2]. 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' [3], 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

Cited from:http://www।abdn।ac.uk/philosophy/endsandmeans/vol2no1/matthews.shtml
February 29, 2008 12:34 AM

मंगलवार, 4 मार्च 2008

Philosophy as Methodology

-Dialectical Materialism (A.Spirkin)

The general concept of methodology:

A methodology is a system of principles and general ways of organising and structuring theoretical and practical activity, and also the theory of this system। Genetically methods go back far into the past, when our distant ancestors were acquiring, generalising and handing down to new generations their skills and means of influencing nature, the forms of organising labour and communication. As philosophy emerged, methodology became a special target of cognition and could be defined as a system of socially approved rules and standards of intellectual and practical activity. These rules and standards had to be aligned with the objective logic of events, with the properties and laws of phenomena. The problems of accumulating and transmitting experience called for a certain formalisation of the principles and precepts, the techniques and operations involved in activity itself. For example, in ancient Egypt geometry emerged in the form of methodologically significant precepts concerning the measuring procedure for the division of land. An important role in this process was played by training for labour operations, their sequence, and the choice of the most effective ways of doing things.
A characteristic feature of the development of philosophical thought in the 20th century is the rapid growth of methodological research and the increase of its specific share in the general system of scientific knowledge। This is due to the conversion of science into a direct productive force, to the rapid development of science as a special form of intellectual production and to the differential and integrative processes occurring in it, which has led to the specific changes in the classical disciplines and the appearance of many new ones। The development and perfecting of methods is a crucial element in all scientific progress. Contemporary society is confronted with global problems whose solution demands large-scale programmes that can be carried out only through the collaboration of many sciences, programmes designed to cope with the problems of ecology, demography, urbanisation, space exploration, and so on.
There are several classifications of methodological knowledge. One of the most popular is the division of methodology into substantive and formal methodology. The former includes such problems as the structure of scientific knowledge in general and scientific theory in particular, the laws of the generation, functioning and mutation of scientific theories, the conceptual framework of science and its separate disciplines, the definition of the explanatory patterns accepted in science, the structure and Operational composition of the methods of science, the conditions and criteria of scientificalness.

According to another classification, methods are divided into philosophical, general scientific, and special scientific methods. Yet another classification relies on different methods of qualitative and quantitative study of reality. The distinction between methods depending on the forms of causality—determinist and probability methods—is of considerable importance in modern science. For example, in biology dialectics is seen through the prism of general scientific methods (systems analysis, the principles of self-regulation, etc.), in specific research projects through apply ing special scientific methods and systems of methods (electronic microscopy, the method of tagged atoms, etc.). One or another method makes it possible to know only separate aspects of the object of research. In order to comprehend all the essential aspects of the object, there must be complementarity of methods. The whole system of methodological knowledge necessarily involves a world-view interpretation of the basis of the research and its results. It should be stressed that general methodology is always at work in the brain of every scientist but, as a rule, it is kept in obscurity, as the intellectual background of a searching mind. This obscurity is sometimes so complete that the scientist may even deny that he acts according to any philosophical methodology, and insist that he is in general free of any philosophy. But this is merely an illusion of the consciousness.

For full article,please go to the following link:
March 3, 2008 1:01 AM

Career Opprtunities for Students of Philosophy

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।

Cited From:http://baby.indstate.edu/art_sci/phil/careers.html
March 3, 2008 1:02 AM

रविवार, 2 मार्च 2008

Domestic Violence

The Delhi Commission for Women main aim is to protect women from all kind of harassment and it has worked extensively in this aspect over the years till date: -

The harassment of women ranging from physical beatings, emotional torture, mental abuse, sexual abuse, threat of violence, denial of basic necessity such as food and maintenance or where there are children, there is the additional blackmail that custody of the children will be denied to her if she does not fall in line, every kind of help and support, its provided to women who approach the Commission. It is no solace to be told that women can go to court for her rights. As going to Court itself is a long drawn process and torture, and very extensive often the women are simply abandoned and deserted with no means of sustenance.

Another very common form of violence is she taking of a second wife. It makes no difference that bigamy is crime, many men continue to believe that they have a right to home extra martial affairs. Statistics indicate that women in this society do not own property or she matrimonial home, which belongs either to she husband or to his family members. The man is therefore literally the lord and master of the home and hence considers the women to be just a worker in the house mostly and more prove to violence.

However, there are also situations in which people have laid together in what has come to be described as common law manages for several years and such women too face violence within the relationship.

Factors that determine the success of a domestic violence law.

It is therefore be clear to us that the success of any law on domestic violence depends on the following factors: -

A declaration of basic intent of the law, namely, the object of preventing domestic violence;

A clear and unambiguous statement of the right to be tree from domestic violence and the recognition of domestic violence as a violation of the human rights of the women;

The definition of domestic violence, which captures women’s expensive of abuse with some degree of precision;

The definition of the shared household so that rights can be protected within that household;

The relief that can be given to protect the women from violence;

The infrastructure available to victims of violence that can make the remedy accessible;

Clarity and simplicity of Court procedures;

Monitoring of the functions of the law, as it serving its intended purpose;

Providing a coordinated respond to domestic violence by recognizing the role of other agencies such as NGO’s the medical profession, shelter homes and the police in assisting the prevention of domestic violence.

The Government of India passed a Bill on 8th March, 2002 on Domestic Violence. The Government of India Bill defines “Domestic Violence” as follows: -

for the purpose of this Act, any conduct of the respondent stall constitute domestic violence if he,

habitually assault or makes the life of the aggrieved person miserable by cruelty of conduct even if such a conduct does not amount to physical ill-treatment,

faces the aggrieved person to bad an immoral life or otherwise injuries or harms the aggrieved person.

Nothing contained in clause (c) of the sub-section (1) shall amount to domestic violence if the pursuit of course of conduct by the respondent was reasonable of his own protection or for the protection of his or another’s property.

The United Nation framework for model legislation on domestic violence states. “All acts of gender-based physical and Psychological abuse by a family member against women in the family, ranging from simple assault to aggravated physical battery, kidnapping, threats, intimidation, coercion, stalking, humiliating verbal use, forcible on unlawful entry, arson, destruction of property, sexual violence, marital rape, dowry or related violence, female genital mutilation, violence, related to exploitation through prostitution, violence against household workers and attempts to commit such acts shall be termed ”Domestic Violence.”

Though the Govt. of India Bill has been criticized by different organization in India. They say that Govt. of India bill fails to define domestic violence and washes itself off the responsibility of defining it and leaves it to judges to decide. This leaves too much to the mercy of the judge and too little to the rights of the person aggrieved. The definition does not use the language of rights and uses instead the outdated concept of conduct, making ”The life of an aggrieved person miserable.” It does not even define cruelty. There is in the Govt. of India Bill, a persistent denial to recognize that domestic violence exists and the need to articulate its various forms. This definition will defeat the very purpose of the law and will render its meaning less for women, if not make their position worse.

We, in the women’s movement have a long battle ahead of us getting the government to politically commit itself to pass a law on domestic violence is a victory no doubt but an incomplete one.

In a democratic country citizens have a right to participate in the forming of legislation.

We must insist that: -

“Domestic Violence” is defined in accordance with the UN framework for model legislation on domestic violence. The right to reside in the shared household is included.

The law should enable judges to pass orders of residence, restraining dispossession, restoring possession.

Law should enable grant to monetary relief, custody and compensation.

There should be no procession for mandating counselling for the women.

Protection officers are appointed through an open process of inviting applications from all qualified persons through advertisements in a transparent manner.

A suspended warrant of arrest is attached to the protection order or in the alternation. Violation of a protection order is an offence which 15 cognizable and non-bail able.

The government commits substantial funds for the appointment of protection officers and for the implementation of the Act.

Widest possible publicity of the law is given.

The government provide for training of the law enforcement machinery.

The coordination for the prevention of domestic violence is appointed.

Legal aid to victims of domestic violence should be readily available.

The Delhi Commission for Women also discussed the bill extensively and few suggestions have been given by the lawyers and members of the Commission and justified there suggestions which are being sent in regard of proposed Bill for Domestic Violence. It is also being stated that suggestions has been incorporated according to section of proposed by bill which are as follow: -

section 2 (d) of this proposed Bill deals with definition of monetary relief. In this regard, it is being suggested that monetary relief to aggrieved person should be linked with the status of accused.

Otherwise, this will give the scope to accused to hurt the aggrieved person again.

section 4 (1) of this proposed Bill deals with Meaning of Domestic Violence. This section of proposed Bill covers only that act which is done by male members.

In this regard, it is being suggested that this definition does not cover that act which is done by females. There should be mentioned a word which can cover the act which is done by both males and females.

For example, in some cases the violence is caused by sister-in-law/mother-in-law, etc. In this situation this word ‘He’ which is mentioned in definition of proposed Bill will remain in sufficient.

this proposed suggestion in regard of section 4, suggested to amend suitably because the existing provision of proposed Bill provides some scope of safeguard to accused Person therefore it is being suggested to amend this provision suitably.

section 5 of the proposed Bill, deals with the appointment of Protection Officer. In this regard, it is being proposed that the role and the process of appointment of Protection Officer should be transparent and well defined so that appropriate/ qualified person may be appointed.

section 12 of the proposed Bill, deals with the assistance of welfare expert. In this regard, it is being proposed, a coordinator for prevention of domestic violence should be appointed with in society with the help of voluntary organization, which works for family related issues.

This will help to aggrieved person to come out from society and encouraged to file on application from weaker section of society.

this proposed Bill does not cover violence against domestic servants. Thus, this proposed suggestion will entrance the coverance of the Bill and more aggrieved persons of society would be cover by this amendment.

this is in regard of section 11 of proposed Bill, which deals with counselling. In this regard, it is being proposed that mandatory word may be dated and nature of counselling for victim should be Psychological. Therefore, both parties can lead their life smoothly and peacefully.

section 12 of proposed Bill deals with assistance of welfare expert. In this regard, it is being suggested that the guidelines for the welfare expert should be well defined so that he/she can provide his/her service in right direction.

this suggestion also being made that the right of aggrieved person to live in her matrimonial home should be unconditional and clearly brought out.

this is also justified because a aggrieved person who faces violence does not want to go back because of the violence. If a woman restored to her matrimonial home, there is no guarantee for further victimization. Thus, there should be mandatory law directly a woman (victim) to be restored to matrimonial home.

in this proposed Bill, it is not specified that where should an application be made by an aggrieved person. Thus, the jurisdiction of the complainant should be made clear.

Cited from

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.


Freedom consists not in refusing to recognize anything above us, but in respecting something which is above us; for by respecting it, we raise ourselves to it, and, by our very acknowledgement, prove that we bear within ourselves what is higher, and are worthy to be on a level with it.—Goethe

Universal values reveal the essence of the human condition। These arise out of the fundamental questions-Who am I? What is my essence? Who am I when I remove myself from my social and cultural environment? Is there anything in me that cannot be explained by heredity, environment and society?

It is universal values that indicate the essence of the human condition। It is through universal values that we link ourselves with humanity and the cosmos, it is through these that all barriers of time, place and ethnicity are eliminated.

These values are not manifest. They must be experienced, as one experiences a sunrise, the beauty of a flower, as one experiences joy, pleasure, bliss, awe, serenity. These values cannot be contained by words. That the Upanishads and the Bible have remained relevant today as they were centuries ago, tells us that at the core, there are some constants in human condition, that time has not changed. That we are still moved by the wonder of the Taj Mahal, the music of Mozart, the life of Hamlet, the perennial philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita speaks volumes about the mystery and timelessness of universal values.

Universal values can be experienced as life, joy, brotherhood, love, compassion, service, bliss, truth and eternity.


If you see in any given situation only what everybody else can see, you can be said to be so much a representative of your culture that you are a victim of it.—S.I. Hayakawa

Cultural values are the social values of the day. They are specific to time and place and can be used just as much as misused. These values are concerned with right and wrong, good and bad, customs and behavior. They are meant to maintain social order.

Cultural values are speculative and there is nothing wrong with speculating. But it becomes wrong when speculation becomes 'truth', when opinion becomes 'fact' and when prejudice becomes the 'cause'. When cultural values are elevated to the status of universal values, there is the risk of intolerance, oppression, demagoguery, brutality and aggression. A cultural value may serve a function in a particular situation and circumstance, but in no way can it be seen as the only or the best way of doing things. A spoon can serve the function of lifting food but so can a fork, a knife, a spatula or bare fingers. A cultural value similarly has limited relevance and the fact that it serves a particular function in a given society does not imply that it is the only or best way of doing so.

When seen in this light, cultural values have the advantage of becoming a source of insight into a time and society. Creative development of ideas often emerges out of an interaction of different cultural values and an understanding and respect for differences. Much of what we find exciting and interesting has in fact come from a meeting of cultures. The Renaissance came about from a meeting of the ancient Greek and medieval European cultures. Jazz is African-European music and the American Transcendentalists studied the Indian Vedas and Upanishads. The East heavily influenced writers such as Aldous Huxley, Somerset Maugham and Carl Jung. Gandhi drew inspiration from Tolstoy, and Martin Luther King Jr. was in turn, deeply affected by Gandhi.

If all one knows is one's own culture, there is narcissism. The study of other cultures gives us a wider frame of reference. And the study of other cultures is through its sacred (poetic, mythic, religious) traditions and not only through studying history.

Cultural values are reflected in language, ethics, social hierarchy, aesthetics, education, law, economics, philosophy and social institutions of every kind.


That civilization perishes in which the individual thwarts the revelation of the universal.—Rabindranath Tagore

Individual values are our private principles, the result of individual personality and individual experiences. Parents, teachers and one's peer group shape individual values. Personal values determine the differing reactions of people to similar events. A crisis may dim one person's enthusiasm and land him in depression, while another may be propelled into greater action.

Individual values are reflected in individual goals, vows, relationships, commitments and personal preferences. These are often colored by memories of the past and therefore there are differences in the meaning attributed to a common experience. To one person children denote happiness and strength, to another they may denote bondage. Individual values are malleable, often contained in a time and memory warp. They can transform themselves into universal values when you practise awareness and living in the moment.

After clarifying our values, we must determine which of the three are most meaningful for us after considering the relative priority of each category, so that we may be able to confront these and understand our own psychological and social conditioning.

Beyond our ego (sense of self) and identity (sense of belonging to a group) that dictates what we know, think, feel and how we act lies the universal identity. Dissonance between ego and identity can create anxiety and alienation but acting upon universal values will not, for here it is authentic action emanating from an authentic Self. Universal values are at the top of the list. The others have their place but it is through universal values that we experience a sense of oneness with the human race.

Universal values must be our foundation if we are to enjoy a rich, profound and fulfilling life. Our personal and cultural biases limit and distort our perception of the universal wonder that is life. Even as the hands of a clock are powered from the center that remains ever still, so the universal values remain ever at the center of human life, no matter where the hands of time are pointing—past, present or future.

Life Positive, May 2001

Cited from:

February 28, 2008 1:06 AM

शुक्रवार, 29 फ़रवरी 2008

What is Philosophy?

By Mark I. VuleticLast

The Nature of Philosophy
The word philosophy literally means love of wisdom;1 this tells us something about the nature of philosophy, but not much. How does philosophy differ from other disciplines that seek wisdom? A look at the historical development of the field will help us to answer this question. On the standard way of telling the story, humanity's first systematic inquiries took place within a mythological or religious framework: wisdom was ultimately to be derived from sacred traditions and from individuals thought to possess privileged access to a supernatural realm. However, starting in the sixth century BCE, there appeared in ancient Greece a series of thinkers whose inquiries were comparatively secular. Presumably, these thinkers conducted their inquiries through reason and observation, rather than through tradition or revelation. These thinkers were the first philosophers. Although this picture is admittedly simplistic, the basic distinction has stuck: philosophy in its most primeval form is considered nothing less than secular inquiry itself.2
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.

Tips on Doing, Reading, and Writing Philosophy

Doing Philosophy

Philosophy is a rigorous discipline that demands precision, accuracy, and careful thought. Contrary to popular belief, philosophy isn’t merely about airing one's opinions. In a word, philosophy is about arguments. By arguments, we mean a logically structured set of statements or propositions that, when put together, entail some sort of conclusion. For example, the following is an argument:

(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

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).

Writing Philosophy

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.

Cited from:http://www.colorado.edu/philosophy/robertsm/tips.html