Discussion Question 10

Read: Anselm, On the Fall of the Devil
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For our final question, I want to return to the general question we began the semester with: Why do History of Philosophy? To explore this, what was your favorite question (or at least one you found semi-interesting) we approached in the course? What do you think approaching the question from a historical perspective provided? Do you think looking at the historical positions helped you answer the question? think through the options more/less clearly? explained your pre-theoretic view? What use is History of Philosophy? (Totally ok to take a sceptical position here if you would like).

7 thoughts on “Discussion Question 10

  1. I felt, that by looking at the classics, and reading their meditations on things, has expanded my ability to question the world around me.

    I’m not entirely sure if this was a question from a discussion post or from class, but the question I think I found the most interesting was the one about the guy, whom was mistaken for being a thief because of his shirt. I felt that trying to answer that was me, doing something I’ve never done before, questioning what I believe I know. Pushing the bounds of what I believe I can know, as well as, questioning the concept of reality itself.

    I feel people should study the history of philosphy, because it isn’t just philosphy, it shows how people having been trying to define the world around them, for ages giving perspective to how they must’ve viewed the world.

  2. After taking this course, I think it’s important to study philosophy because it makes you challenge your own views. By reading through the arguments of famous philosophers as they go through trying to find answers to questions, made me question the answers I have to questions and the preconceived notions that we all learn through our childhood, social media. etc…

    The most interesting question during the class I found was the question of the forms. I had never thought to analyze the idea of what are typically believed to be positive attributes such as “good” and “beauty” etc… as something to be explained. I think in modern society we focus on trying to explain why things are bad, but fail to analyze why we find certain things good and reading through Plato exploring the forms made me question why I hold my own certain ideals of good versus bad and what falls in line with those forms.

    History of Philosophy is useful because it’s important to look at the type of questions that led to answers that we, today, take for granted. The curiosity that these philosophers had, I found to be inspiring and I think it’s important to learn the process of questioning the world around us.

  3. If I had to choose one favorite question that we covered in the past six weeks, I would choose, “What is Knowledge?”. I liked this question a lot because approaching it from a historical point of view provided me with insight on how people approached such a question, such a long time ago and also showed me where most people stood on the topic. I do believe looking at historical perspectives helped me answer this question because I was able to understand new views, and compare them to mine which made it easier to form my answer and also provided new information that guided me towards my answer. After analyzing all the answers to this question, I do believe that looking at historical perspectives also helped me process my opinions and options of what I think the answer is. I never had a pre-theocratic view before taking this course, so yes; it did help me form my pre-theocratic view.
    I do believe that learning the history of philosophy is important because it allows us to learn from previous views of people in different times and create a new way of approaching questions such as these by combining new ways with the old.

  4. This summer I’ve been taking epistemology and in both classes we have considered the question “What is knowledge?” It’s so interesting to me that in considering this question now at the end of the session I simultaneously know much more about the question and yet do not have even close to what might be my own personal answer to it.

    With this question, studying the History of Philosophy is helpful because it gives the foundations for thinking critically and also for thinking about other philosophy that would follow. We often think of Ancient Greece as a topos in that it provided the foundations for philosophy and it still inspires new thoughts and ideas today. Studying the History of Philosophy may not have given me the answer to such an intense question, but I could probably partially answer with what I think isn’t knowledge after following these ideas. It also at least helped me scrap my previous thoughts on what was included as knowledge. My only regret in studying History of Philosophy this summer is that I had not taken the course sooner because it would have been SUPER useful for classes I’ve taken in the core (lithum/cc) and classics, where they usually expect me to already have these foundations.

  5. As for me, the most intriguing part is about the weakness of will in the discussion 6. As it is very close to our daily life, I just prompted several assumptions towards this question and analyze each motivation behind Joan’s action, And I found my own shadow on them when I made decisions. This was first time that I surprisingly discovered that philosophy was not far from our life, and even thoughts from plate. Socrates and Aristotle can be perfectly applied into each situation, offering different perspectives towards it which really broadened my views.
    So the ideology thousands years before could own its unique benefits and aspects of one question, sparkling their wisdom and giving modern people more thoughts. I changed my initial impression of history philosophy from a very banal, serious and sophisticated subject to a vibrant and practical tool, helping me to construct a certain relationship with those sages. Attempting to deliver my own thoughts, I gradually find that it is a long and challenging way towards formation of my own philosophy and logic, but it also provides some really useful ways for me to understand these ancient work. I know their important meanings and fundamental ideas, which helps me prepare the futures study in colleges.

  6. One of my favorite questions is “What is knowledge?”. It is one of the many abstract questions we have looked at, and looking at this question from a historical perspective provides me with a way to start thinking about the question and build on my own answer. It is surprising how effective I can learn from some of the philosophers’ way of thinking. For example, under Plato’s pen, Socrates is often talking with someone else about a question, but this may as well be a process of self-reflection––similarly, I have learnt to talk to myself in my mind when I find a problem puzzling. I found this method effective and efficient, because I can continuously challenge myself so that my answer becomes more thorough after considering more aspects and possibilities. Also, it is interesting to see how answers of philosophers to this sort of questions came into being and made progress historically. History of Philosophy certainly helped me answer the question, because some philosophers’ ideas really inspired my own; they often reminded me of some aspects of the question which I had not considered. I cannot give a specific answer to the question of “what use is History of Philosophy?”, because I have always believed that Philosophy is useful even in daily life in an unknowing way; I guess I will say that Philosophy (and so does History of Philosophy) trains your mind/logic so that you become a more reasonable human being.

  7. Personally, I have been greatly intrigued by the questions of the extents to which and ways in which people desire the good. Historical context enabled me to see a number of perspectives of the issue – which was very useful and informative – but I think the greatest benefit of historical context is being able to see continuity and change in the questions we have asked and how we have gone about answering them.
    Historical positions were helpful, but, as my experience in Philosophy has revealed, there are few answers (if any) that may satisfy such lofty questions. However, reading about historical positions definitely helped me understand basic contentions, hypotheses, and refutations – preventing me from just rehashing old ideas.
    Interestingly, I have found that if I read enough philosophy, I will often find things that align with my “pre-theoretic” views.
    I think History of Philosophy is useful in producing students who are well versed enough is aspects of the Philosophical canon that they [1] can learn from prior work and [2] develop a foundational understanding of a complex and slightly saturated field of study. I really cannot stress enough how essential I view being familiar with the old to creating the new.

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