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These are the main three branches of Philosophy that form the basis of this course.
This unit takes a brief tour of each before we launch into a detailed study of Argument Analysis and Reason and the Existence of God.
We will also focus on the great divide that resides in our brain and has large impacts on our perceptions and explanations for Reality.
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METAPHYSICS


The great questions of philosophy often start with those about the Nature of Reality.

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  • Why is there something rather than nothing?

  • How and why did the universe begin?

  • What is the nature of time and space?

  • Is there a soul?

  • Does God exist?

  • All of which are Metaphysical questions.






Specific topics that the course design highlights are:


  • freedom and determinism

  • reason and the existence of God

  • existentialism and humanism

  • bodies, minds, and persons.


EPISTEMOLOGY


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This is the study of knowledge and truth

  • We ask ourselves "What is Truth?"
  • Is there one Absolute and Objective Truth or a multiple of relative truths?
  • How do you ever find the truth of Reality?
  • What are the differences between Revelation, Intuition and Critical Reasoning as means to discover truth?
  • Are there differences between cultures in determining the truth of reality?
  • How does the brain's hemispheric structure influence our perception of truth?


These questions and more are the realm of epistemological thinking - let's spend some time examining each.

Topics selected for this key area from the Course Design are:

  • ways of knowing

  • perception

  • scepticism

  • relativism.



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  • How should a person act?

  • What is the basis for our ethical decisions?

  • What behaviours do we consider 'good' and which ones 'bad' and why?


    Are there consistent trends amongst societies over time and across geography for such behaviour?


    Why do ethics change?




Topics selected for this key area are:

  • moral understanding

  • happiness as the goal of life

  • rights and responsibilities


  • equality and difference.



    Questions for deeper response and analysis. Please spend some time responding to these in some detail.Ethics thoughts.jpg

    1. Are there any differences between moral laws and society's laws? If there are, why is this?
    2. What are human beings really like: selfish and greedy or generous and kind? Or is this a false either/or choice?
    3. Are some people 'better' at morality than others or is everyone equally capable of being good?
    4. Are there good ways of teaching children to behave morally?
    5. Does anyone have the right to tell anyone else what goodness and wickedness are?
    6. Are there certain kinds of acts (like torturing children) that are always wrong? If so, what are they?
    7. What do you think is the best answer to the question, "Why should I be a good person?"
    8. Is ethics a special kind of knowledge? If so, what sort of knowledge is it and how do we get hold of it?
    9. Is morality about obeying a set of rules or is it about thinking carefully about consequences?
    10. When people say "I know murder is wrong", do they know it is wrong or just believe it very strongly?

Once you have completed these questions, follow this link to read about the Great Dichotomy of the brain.

Then, if you have done that you should begin the next unit Tools of the Trade.