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Question 1. What is philosophy and how is it different from myth and religion?
The term “Philosophy” comes from a Greek word philosophia, which means “love of wisdom”. It is defined as the study of values, knowledge, and reality. It is based on logical reasoning and not mere observations. Philosophy uses logic and reason to understand reality and answer questions about life, human nature, knowledge, and morality (Schilbrack, 2002).
Religion, on the other hand, is the collection of belief systems, different elements, of cultures and worldviews which relate human beings to spirituality. It tries to explain where life originated from and gives life purpose through narratives or sacred stories. It also focuses on a supernatural being that is powerful, holy, sacred, and respected by the believers. Unlike religion, a myth refers to a story which explains the origin of life. It explores activities of heroes and gods. The word could also mean “traditional narratives”. Generally, they are accounts or explanations of various historical events (Schilbrack, 2002).
Question 2. How and where did Aristotle disagree with Plato in the theory of form?
Plato believed that our minds and our senses perceive two different worlds. The world perceived through our senses is changing, but the world perceived with our minds has permanent elements. The “mind” world is more real and changing world is just an imperfect image of the real world. Plato further said that the physical world and its forms try to imitate the real world imperfectly (Mitchell, 2010).
Aristotle objected this view using logic. He argued that no one can define the type of relationship between two forms. He wondered how real, unchanging, pure, and eternal forms interact with forms found on Earth with all imperfections that they have. He also argued that imitations by Earth’s forms have some faulty thinking to them since there is no proof that such a link exists (Mitchell, 2010).
Question 3. Why did Cogito Ergo Sum become the center piece of Descartes’ epistemology?
Descartes tried to verify his existence through thinking. His words “Cogito, ergo sum” mean “I think, therefore I am”. Descartes originally stated it in French “Je pense, donc je suis”. This is a phrase that was used to conclude his Meditation II. After reaching the highest level of doubt (existence of a deceiving God) he looked at all his beliefs to see if any of them could not be doubted. He discovered that he could not doubt that he existed. Descartes stated that anyone who has the ability to think exists.
Question 4. How did John Locke’s political philosophy influenced America’s Founding Fathers?
America’s Founding Fathers included George Mason, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams. John Locke was the brain behind most of thinking and ideologies pursued by the Founding Fathers. It is clear that without his ideas the American society would not have experienced the revolution and would not have realized the thinking behind political freedom. Therefore, America, as well as the world, owes the existence of political and economic freedoms to John Locke (Younkins, 2008).
Question 6. Who’s is your favorite philosopher and why?
Plato was a great mathematician and a classical Greek philosopher. He was a student of Socrates and the founder of Academy in Athens, which was the first institution of higher learning in western countries. Plato is my favorite philosopher because together with his mentor, Socrates and his student Aristotle they played a key role in laying the foundations of the western philosophy and science. He is appreciated for writing many Socratic dialogues and letters, which have been later published and used in teaching several subjects. This is because he had numerous powerful ideas which he presented in his writings. In addition, his work was so influential that even after many years it is still affecting generations whether people realize it or not.
Question 6. What are the main tenets of rationalism, empiricism, and epistemology?
Empiricism is the theory that proves that knowledge comes only from sensory experience. We can gain access to knowledge about the world through observation and gathering data from senses. Empiricism can be described by the following statements:
-It is founded on the belief that observation is the most appropriate way to know the truth.
-Truth is an interaction between the external world and our ideas.
-Ideas are not inborn but they are accumulated from experiences (Witt & Anthony, 2002).
-Rationalism is a theory that shows that knowledge is intellectual. The following statements describe rationalism:
-The important route to truth is reason.
-Direct access to ideas is possible through thinking, since inborn ideas are found in our minds before we start thinking.
-Truth is an interaction of our ideas (Witt & Anthony, 2002).
Finally, epistemology is the branch of philosophy that deals with shortcomings of knowledge and specifically addresses the definition of knowledge and how it is acquired. It also questions the extent to which a given subject can be known (Witt & Anthony, 2002).
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