A blupete Essay

Glossary Of Philosophic Terms
In Support of blupete's Essay
"On Philosophy"
§ Scepticism is a school of philosophy which is rooted deep in Greek antiquity. The school was headed by Pyrrho (360-270 BC). Sceptics doubt that it is possible to gain real knowledge of any kind. They hold "that there are no adequate grounds for certainty as to the truth of any proposition whatever. Also, often applied in a historically less correct sense, to those who deny the competence of reason, or the existence of any justification for certitude, outside the limits of experience." (OED.) Pyrrho "taught that we can know nothing of the nature of things, but that the best attitude of mind is suspense of judgment, which brings with it calmness of mind." (Chambers.)
§ Scholasticism is a philosophic system based on
Aristotelian principles. These principles were preserved through the Dark Ages by certain Arab philosophers. St. Thomas Aquinas was the most prominent of the scholastics. These philosophers, who would have a most difficult time defending themselves these days, are referred to in the history books as the "schoolmen." ("The frivolous Distinctions, barbarous Terms, and obscure Language of the Schoolmen." [Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, iv. xlvii. 383.])
§ Science is the method by which we go about gathering up and analyzing our experiences as these experiences come into being. Science is an
inductive method of thinking. Men like Copernicus (1473-1543), Galileo (1564-1642) and Newton (1642-1727) employed this method. (See treatment of this subject given within on bluepete's essay on "Science.")
§ A system of government advocated by
idealists, whereby certain citizens, who set themselves up as being in charge, go about selling vanishing dreams in exchange for choking taxes. (See blupete's essay, "The Siren's Song.")
Social Contract:
§ The theory runs as follows: Given a choice, a typical person would give up certain of his rights in exchange for peace and security. He would put himself under
government and follow its rules, fairly made and fairly enforced. This arrangement is in the nature of a contract, an exchange. A citizen would be better able to secure his liberty and his property by giving up a little of each to a central authority. The idea of a social contract is premised on the notion that an individual's liberty and property are better secured if we band ourselves together than if we are left alone, each to our own devices.
The social contract theory was first developed by Thomas Hobbes. Hobbes wrote his "masterpiece of political philosophy" Leviathan, in 1651. It was eagerly picked up by Rousseau.
The first question anyone should ask about such a theory is why would pre-social or pre-civil man ever voluntarily agree to submit himself to the authority of another individual or group of individuals. He would only submit to the authority of another, if he figured, by so doing, his lot in life would be better. This in turn raised the question as to what life was like to pre-civil man. Hobbes had a nauseating view of man in his natural state. To espouse the beliefs of Hobbes is to accept that men are no better, seemingly worse, then a bunch of animals. Personally, though he be no angel, I subscribe to a more generous view of the nature of man.27
§ Where one is of the view that "I alone exist"; then he or she subscribes to "solipsism." (See
§ A Sophist is one who makes a specious argument. Such a form of argument is either used deliberately, in order to deceive or mislead, or employed as a means of displaying ingenuity in reasoning. In ancient Greece, a sophist was a person who was "specially engaged in the pursuit or communication of knowledge; esp. one who undertook to give instruction in intellectual and ethical matters in return for payment." This meaning, as dealt with by the OED, is not the meaning today: to call a person a sophist is to disparage that person when contrasted with a true philosopher.
§ A Stoic is a person without a tear, who smiles and lets the world have its way. Stoicism is that which a school of Greek philosophers studied. The school was founded by Zeno (342-270 BC). Zeno's school was named the Painted Porch (Stoa Poikile). The teachings of this school is "characterized by the austerity of its ethical doctrines for some of which the name has become proverbial. The Stoics talk of fate, which is superior to the gods. Stoic Philosophers discard all Passions in general; superior to his own passion and that of others ..." (OED.) (See
Rabelais and see Epicureanism.)
Aristotle, in his Organon, held that any logical argument could be reduced to a sequence of 3 propositions; 2 premises and a conclusion; this is known as a syllogism. (See logic.)


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