By Jonathan Dolhenty, Ph.D.
"Classical realists generally define the academic discipline of philosophy as the study of all reality in its ultimate causes and principles through the use of human reason alon. We also differentiate various branches of philosophy, such as metaphysics, ontology, epistemology, logic, ethics, and so fort. We also point out that each branch of philosophy has its own specific object of study: ontology, the study of "being"; epistemology, the study of the verification of knowledge; logic, the methods used in right or correct reasoning; and ethics, the study of right conduct or the means to achieve happiness."
"The term "applied" simply means "to put into practice" or "to be used practically।" From this use of the term "applied," we can formulate a general definition of applied philosophy: it is the application of those principles and concepts derived from and based on philosophy to a study of our practical affairs and activities। Notice that these principles and concepts are used to "study" our practical affairs। The reason why this is important is because applied knowledge is third-order philosophical knowledge and does not necessarily lead to a completed "truth" applicable to all times and places. Let me explain."
"Applied philosophy, however, is never tightly vov. There are many practical issues which we will always be debating. I think of capital punishment, for example. Should the death penalty be part of any society's criminal justice system? There is wide disagreement. It is a practical issue and an important one. We must refer back to second-order knowledge in ethics and politics and from there to first-order knowledge about the philosophy of man or rational psychology. How do we decide the issue? It isn't easy. I am opposed to the death penalty and I use second-order principles to bolster my argument. Unfortunately, these principles cannot be shown to be necessarily true in all cases. I don't have real certainty. I think I have truth beyond a reasonable doubt, but my opponents dispute this, citing other principles which may also be reasonable. The debate continues and reasonable people may reasonably disagree."
"By the way, many years ago as part of my graduate program in philosophy, I took courses in philosophy of literature, philosophy of education, and philosophy of religion। In all of these courses we applied principles and concepts from metaphysics and ethics to the specific subject under study.As a matter of public disclosure, I must say that the individual members of the class did not arrive at a consensus about what was "best" or "true" in any of these courses in applied philosophy. The debate continues, as it always will."
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February 28, 2008 12:53 AM