Philosphy essay

The first part is largely an historical survey. Using specific examples, Rousseau shows how societies in which the arts and sciences flourished more often than not saw the decline of morality and virtue. He notes that it was after philosophy and the arts flourished that ancient Egypt fell. Similarly, ancient Greece was once founded on notions of heroic virtue, but after the arts and sciences progressed, it became a society based on luxury and leisure. The one exception to this, according to Rousseau, was Sparta, which he praises for pushing the artists and scientists from its walls. Sparta is in stark contrast to Athens, which was the heart of good taste, elegance, and philosophy. Interestingly, Rousseau here discusses Socrates, as one of the few wise Athenians who recognized the corruption that the arts and sciences were bringing about. Rousseau paraphrases Socrates’ famous speech in the Apology . In his address to the court, Socrates says that the artists and philosophers of his day claim to have knowledge of piety, goodness, and virtue, yet they do not really understand anything. Rousseau’s historical inductions are not limited to ancient civilizations, however, as he also mentions China as a learned civilization that suffers terribly from its vices.

Descartes, then, has become known for introducing the radical “method of doubt,” which supposedly strips away all prejudice and preconception, every article of belief, to get at the most fundamentally ascertainable core of knowledge. Upon doing this in his 1637 Discourse on Method , the French philosopher famously found that the only thing he could say for certain was that he must exist because he could see himself doubting his existence— cogito ergo sum , “I think therefore I am.” The process involved casting aside all authority and tradition, which made Descartes a hero to French Revolutionists. His freethinking also made him very much the enemy of many in the Catholic church.

Locke attacks both the view that we have any innate principles (for example, the whole is greater than the part, do unto others as you would have done unto you, etc.) as well as the view that there are any innate singular ideas (for example, God, identity, substance,  and so forth). The main thrust of Locke’s argument lies in pointing out that none of the mental content alleged to be innate is universally shared by all humans. He notes that children and the mentally disabled, for example, do not have in their minds an allegedly innate complex thought like “equals taken from equals leave equals”. He also uses evidence from travel literature to point out that many non-Europeans deny what were taken to be innate moral maxims and that some groups even lack the idea of a God. Locke takes the fact that not all humans have these ideas as evidence that they were not implanted by God in humans minds, and that they are therefore acquired rather than innate.

Edmund Gettier called into question the theory of knowledge and the traditional definition of knowledge. Gettier's argument is that there are situations in which one's belief may be justified and true, yet fail to count as knowledge. He contended that while justified belief in a true proposition is necessary for that proposition to be known, it is not sufficient. According to Gettier, there are certain circumstances in which one does not have knowledge, even when all of the above conditions are met. Gettier proposed two thought experiments, which have come to be known as "Gettier cases," as counter examples to the classical account of knowledge. He argued it is possible to arrive at an assumption based on belief which is deemed justified, but happens to be true only by chance, because the outcome was predicted for the wrong reason and so can't be classed to be knowledge.

Philosphy essay

philosphy essay

Edmund Gettier called into question the theory of knowledge and the traditional definition of knowledge. Gettier's argument is that there are situations in which one's belief may be justified and true, yet fail to count as knowledge. He contended that while justified belief in a true proposition is necessary for that proposition to be known, it is not sufficient. According to Gettier, there are certain circumstances in which one does not have knowledge, even when all of the above conditions are met. Gettier proposed two thought experiments, which have come to be known as "Gettier cases," as counter examples to the classical account of knowledge. He argued it is possible to arrive at an assumption based on belief which is deemed justified, but happens to be true only by chance, because the outcome was predicted for the wrong reason and so can't be classed to be knowledge.

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