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Download PDF Naming and Reference: The Link of Word to Object (Problems of Philosophy)

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The idea of change is different between Marcuse and Watts. The Marxist idea of change is to change the material world and man will be better. Watt's view of change is to forsake social change for all change is futile. The real change is to attain oneness with the impersonal world-soul. The world of the material is transient and the visible world is not the real world.

Even the Ground of Being, or the Great Pervasive Spirit is changing and manifesting itself in various forms.

Chapter 1 What is Philosophy - Department of Social Sciences | Emporia State University

There is a subtle contradiction in Watt's philosophy. The Ground of Being continues to produce human beings who must continually deny their own being to be able to return to the Ground of Being. This denial of one's own being reflects the fact that the Ground of Being is constantly making a bad thing come into being. Another variation on the theme of mystic contemplation--the attempt to attain oneness with God--is seen in the thought of men such as Eckhart or Plotinus.

Their philosophy encourages a contemplative role. While Eckhart or Plotinus are motivated from a religious or quasi-religious motive like Watts, they do not promote the revolutionary social change as advocated by the Marxists. Philosophy has a long list of topics it has been interested in. Some of these are more interesting and up-to-date than others. Is the world of one or more substances?

Is it matter, mind, or other? Is man only a body? Is he, or does he have a soul? Does God exist? Many other questions could be incorporated here. Some questions have several proposed solutions.

This is true in trying to answer what the nature of man is. Other questions cannot be answered decisively. No scientific proof can decide the question either way.

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Self-Consciousness

Some questions have been answered to the satisfaction of many philosophers for a long period of time only to be raised again. One example of this is the old question of Socrates' day about man being born with knowledge, called innate knowledge. For centuries this was accepted by a variety of people. But John Locke seems to have solved the matter for many philosophers that man is not given innate ideas at birth. Hence, he must gain his knowledge through experience. Now in contemporary thought, Noam Chomsky has raised the question again in proposing what he calls "generative grammar.

When we learn a language we are able to understand and formulate all types of sentences that we have never heard before. This ability to deal with language is regarded by Chomsky as innate, something we have inherited genetically. So the issue comes anew. But other questions have not met with the same success for such a long period of time. In summary, it can be said that defining philosophy as a set of questions and answers is not unique by any means.

Other disciplines or studies could also be defined by the questions they seek to answer. If this definition is accepted as the only definition, one must set forth the particular kinds of questions that are restricted to philosophy. Obviously the answers to the problem of pollution are not the kinds of questions one deals with in philosophy. But the relation of man's body to his mind is one of the kinds of questions that philosophers have regarded as their own.

Early philosophers attempted to describe the world in its simple make-up.

Thales asserted that water, and Anaximenes asserted that air, were the important materials of the universe. Many other proposals have come from other philosophers. But the main issue concerns the nature of the universe. A world-view is the attempt to come to a total view of the universe as it relates to the make-up of matter, man, God, the right, the nature of politics, values, aesthetics, and any other element in the cosmos that is important. In spite of this definition, James is not one of the better examples of a philosopher who carried on the development of a systematic world-view.

If we accept this definition of philosophy, we are not committed to any pre-arranged conclusions. There are many world-views that are contrary to one another.

Causal Theories of Reference

Look at the following brief examples: l Lucretius, in his essay on nature, developed a world-view based on the atomic nature of all things. Even the souls of men and gods are composed of atoms. When atoms disintegrate, things, souls, and gods also disintegrate. Only atoms are permanent. Lucretius dealt with many other facts of existence, but they are all related to the atomic nature of things. What looks like matter is really a sub-unit of Spirit.

Introduction to Philosophy/The Branches of Philosophy

Hegel interpreted politics, the world, and man from the single vantage point of Spirit or Mind. Matter is not mind, nor is mind merely matter in a different form. The three examples above are attempts at world-views. Neither example is compatible with the other. Neither thinker would accept the other's views. But all are seeking explanations of human existence that result in world-views.

The four rules

The modern era of philosophy--since the turn of the century--has seen considerable rejection of the world-view definition of philosophy. In spite of this rejection, it has a time-honored tradition behind it.

Aristotle has a sentence that is widely quoted about this emphasis:. There is a science which investigates being as being, and the attributes which belong to this in virtue of its own nature. Now this is not the same as any of the so-called special sciences, for none of these treats universally of being as being. They cut off a part of being and investigate the attribute of this part.

Looking at the universe as a whole involves questions which cannot be ignored. The questions are not to be isolated from one another, but should be put together to form an integrated whole, or total view of the world. It is this integration that makes this definition of philosophy better than the previous one or questions and answers. This definition of philosophy will have an appeal to the student who aims for consistency and coherence in his approach to thinking. The role of education tacitly leads to such a conclusion.