Philosophy: Who Needs It ?!? (Arranged as a projects theme for Stimulus 2010)|
For the Love of Wisdom
Philosophy as a Quest
Philosophy as a quest for knowledge, truth, etc;
Why we need philosophy?; A brief
history of philosophy; Philosophy is not a subject, but a progenitor of all subjects;
Ancient Philosophers (Eastern & Western, i.e. more than about 1000 yrs ago)
Demonstrations: A role play of a fun debate between two great ancient philosophers
A timeline of western philosophy by Dolhenty; Why is it important -
A Battleground of Ideas
It is a battleground of ideas - philosophers have different viewpoints and they both could be right in some sense;
Various disciplines of thought (branches & isms) Great Philosophers (Recent, i.e. in the last few centuries); Their work (highlights)
glossary of terms;
The Indian Legacy - The Vedic period
origin and essence of the veda - rigved , yajurved, samved, atharvaved - the differences in their philosophical outlook to approaching God; The
different divisions in them - Samhita, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads; The Astik schools of thought
The Discovery of India (Jawaharlal Nehru);
Bharat Ek Khoj (An adaptation of Nehru’s book, first few episodes)
The Indian Legacy
- The Epic Period
The period of upheaval and questioning of the authorities of the vedas; Chanakya;
Jainas; Buddha; Charvak; Their deviation from the Arya Dharma and its effect on the Indian sub-continent (in terms of demography and sociology)
The Indian Legacy - The modern view
The Idea of
Hinduism as a way of life;
Arya Samaj; Swami Vivekanand; Ramakrishan Paramahansa and recent Indian praxeologists e.g. Amartya Sen, Dasgupta. Which of the thinker have impressions of veda, deviations from the indian tradition? What are today’s Indian Philosophers doing? - research in Hermeneutics, Economics & Praxeology
Doing Philosophy - Logic & Arguments
Logic as a tool of the philosopher; Verbal reasoning and Aristotelian logic; Mathematical reasoning (the syllabus of XII Math);
Arguments – structure, soundness; validity
Pitfalls - Fallacies
Fallacies in arguments – some
important kinds and
interesting examples.( Take examples from everyday experience. If possible, try making a small demonstration about these fallacies.)
Paradoxes & Dilemmas
Paradoxes as motivators for critical thinking ( Give examples of famous paradoxes such as Liars paradox, Zeno, Achilles, etc. and other
classical paradoxes.), Moral paradoxes or Ethical Dilemmas as the referees between philosophies. Give examples such as Prisoners dilemma and many more.
A User's Guide To Society
A User’s Guide to Society
Ethics as Normative guidelines; Ethics as a connection between thought & action; What is more important - thought or action? What is the purpose of action? - happiness, satisfaction, etc; Different ethical systems or ‘isms’ with their viewpoints
Are we conscious of our Ethics?
An Ethical system needs a
moral code, a set of values and a set of virtues; What is
Morality? What are
values? What are
virtues? Identifying or misidentifying them (examples which show misconceptions); Use Ayn Rand’s definitions for
virtue; Does everyone have a code? What about criminals? What about those whose thinking is in some way disabled?
Should values change?
How do changes in technology affect our way of life? Examples from Bioethics & Cyber-ethics; Is yesterday’s virtue, today’s vice and vice versa? Can values remain eternal in a changing world? Should we discard the values which are “useless” and adopt the more “practical” ones?
Are we in control of our actions?
Are our ethics subjective or objective? Do we decide our principles or should others do that for us? Should we accept others authority over us - e.g. parents, teachers, government, god? If we do, then where is our freedom Or what is freedom? If we don’t then how can the society remain stable? (i.e. if people do whatsoever they wish) Examples like Dictatorship Vs Democracy, Sectarian politics
Choosing between ‘One’ and ‘All’
What drives the society- Marxian theory: MPFs & classism- Do societies move in a particular direction? [Perspectives in sociology viz conflict perspective, functionalism and symbolic interactionism; Spencer’s ideas of simple to complex transition] -Human action: rational or irrational
Know Your World
How do we begin to understand the World?
- defining things and classifying them on the basis of their properties; Relating them through equations and reasoning; Checking the relations through predictions and experiments and experiences; re-checking the underlying assumptions we make. (In short the
Demonstrations: scientific method; object definitions, their associations, classifications etc.
Ways to know?
Ways of reasoning - induction, deduction etc...and their reliability
Epistemology; Guide to Theory of Knowledge, Adam Morton
How do we Know?
Beliefs & Knowledge; The Justifiable-True-Belief idea and the extra factor
Epistemology; Guide to Theory of Knowledge, Adam Morton
Can we trust our senses? Do we see what actually is or is what we actually see only an impression of the real world? If latter, then how do we know what the world actually is?
Can our beliefs or concepts affect the way we perceive something new??
Perception, Observation and their
Different ‘isms’ like realism, naturalism, pragmatism. representationalism & objectivism. Variety of examples...
Demonstrations: Demonstrate examples of illusion
Resources: Guide to Theory of Knowledge, Ch.2, Adam Morton;
Definition; Determinism in various scientific theories like Mechanics, Relativity, Quantum Physics; Chaos; Is the world deterministic or chaotic?- are they opposites- if not then soft determinism-compatibilism-what is acausal
Does science have
all the answers?
Understanding the “rationale” behind the pseudo-sciences like astrology, palmistry; Explaining the paranormal like ghosts, UFO’, etc. The argument of “Faith as a means to know”; Can science explain everything? Can it ever? Is science incomplete and should we look up to something else to explain the world?
Faith And Reason
Know Your Self
What is our Identity?
Who are we? How do we identify ourselves? Are we what others see us to be or are we what we think of ourselves? Are we what we think or are we what we say & do? Is our body our complete identity?... or is it our face? ... or our mind and its thoughts?
What is the Mind?
What is the seat of our thoughts? Where is the mind – inside or outside the body? Is it real or only an illusion? How do you relate the brain with the mind? What is consciousness? How do we know we are conscious? How do we know we are aware?
Mind Your Behavior
Behaviorism; Conditioning- classical and operant ; Is Behaviorism complete?? (Explain the shortcomings), Therefore how can one access the mind
How do humans learn- conditioning [classical, operant] vs other theories [cognitive theory, observational learning], place of original thought- can man have free thoughts or is he highly conditioned, can he not unlearn what is observed? Generalization and induction
Encyclopedia of Informal Education
Idea of intelligence, Criteria for intelligence, Theories about intelligence such as Psychometric (IQ) approach, Multiple intelligence, General factor of intelligence etc.( Discuss the factors describing intelligence in each of these theories and their comprehensiveness ) ; Are their factors that affect intelligence such as biological( heredity, gender, race etc.) and environmental.
Encyclopedia of Informal Education
Can Machines Think?
Turing test, is consciousness necessary for a machine to be intelligent? (coz a machine may pass turing test, but can it be considered as a thinking entity??) is it necessary to be aware of one’s thinking process?
, intro to AI
How do we define Beauty?
Is beauty relative to the observer? Why are we so obsessed with beauty? Is beauty that which is “good” for us and ugly being that which is in some sense “bad” for us? lots of examples of both; Can you describe beauty in numbers? If beauty is absolute, then who decides what is beautiful?
Philosophy Talk, The Blog(14th and 17th March 2005);
Metaphysics of Beauty
What is Good?
Why do we need to distinguish things as good or bad/evil?? How is good defined?? Is there any ultimate idea about good?? If not then which idea of good should one accept??
Quest for Truth?
Is there only one kind of truth? The
versions of truth, universal Vs personal, physical Vs metaphysical, social, political, etc; How can one know what is true? What is the “ultimate truth” that some mystics search for?
Is it a meaningful question to ask “What is true”?
Are All Men Equal
What are the different senses of equality? Does lack of equality mean discrimination or subordination?
Equality & Liberty
Everyone tried it; Common problems - Varied solutions; Learning from other civilizations; Religion as a philosophy; Religion as a bridge between cultures (eg. Sikh). Various forms of discrimination. Given all the conflict in the world, given our natural tendency to be biased and discriminating and jealous can we appreciate a world without conflict? Can we actually work towards a harmonious co-existence amongst all mankind? What kind of philosophy would allow us to do that? Should we value our emotions towards others more than the rationale of survival? Can the feeling of brotherhood solve the problems of survival?