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Chapter One


Chapter One. The Fine Art of Wondering. Ray Bradbury writes: 'To grow into youngness is a blow. To age into sickness is an insult. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Chapter One

Chapter One
  • The Fine Art of Wondering

Ray Bradbury writes
  • To grow into youngness is a blow. To age into
    sickness is an insult. To die is, if we are not
    careful, to turn from Gods breast, feeling
    slighted and unloved. The sparrow asks to be seen
    as it falls. Philosophy must try, as best it can,
    to turn the sparrows to flights of angels, which,
    Shakespeare wrote, sing us to our rest.

The World Riddle
  • Can the human mind understand the world?
  • Can it discern the truth about human existence?
  • Does life have meaning? (What do we mean by
  • What is it that we are really after?

Just in Case
  • Is there anything wrong with an Indian physicist,
    who is also a member of the Brahmin caste,
    offering a lucid presentation of celestial
    mechanics regarding a solar eclipse to his
    classand returning home and offering a gift to
    the Black Goddess just in case?

The Human Condition
  • What is the meaning of existence?
  • Panshins Rite of Passage
  • Freud and Jung launch depth probes into the
    inner world
  • Saint-Exuperys Little Prince
  • Eros and Thanatos (the death wish)
  • Schweitzer/Watts on hope

The Search for Meaning
  • Existential vacuum
  • The aggressive individual odyssey
  • Schweitzers positive ethical principle
  • Abraham Maslow on tape
  • Mans Search for Meaning
  • He who has a why to live can bear with almost
    any how.

Why Questions
  • It would be comforting to know that life has
    transcendent meaning it would feel good to know
    that nothing happens without a purpose. But our
    need for meaning lead us to find easy and absurd
    answers to such why-questions.
  • AD 410, November 1755, April 1970

The World-Riddle
  • Life feeds upon itself
  • The Naked Ape
  • Calypso
  • Kierkegaard
  • Campbell
  • Strauss

Marcus AureliusPhilosopher-King
  • The problem was finding a way to live in the
    world and not be destroyed by it. The answer,
    Marcus reasons, lies in making a deep and
    permanent distinction between what you can take
    charge of and what you cant, a distinction, that
    is, between the inner world which we can exercise
    a modicum of control, and the real world out
    there over which we have little control.

  • What if you decide that life is without meaning
    what would this mean to you personally? Do you
    think your life would be less worth living? (Why,
    incidentally, are you attempting to answer this

The Spirit of Inquiry
  • Whether to think and try to understand, or just
    believethat is the question.
  • Each of us is burdened with the task of deciding
    what answers are right for us.
  • This includes inquiry into who and what we humans
    are, what life is all about, and how it should be

The Love of Wisdom
  • Philein to love
  • Sophia wisdom
  • A philosopher is (or should be) a lover of
  • To be wise is to possess the understanding and
    skill to make mature judgments about the use of
    knowledge in the content of daily life

The Greek Miracle
  • The first philosophers were not satisfied with
    the explanation to every question, The gods
    willed it
  • The Milesian philosophers sought a different kind
    of explanation When they asked about the cause
    of events, they made the assumption that the
    answer might be found in nature or within
    matter itself

Freedom to Wonder To Ask Questions
  • Philosophy and freedom of inquiry were born
    together. Neither has ever existed without the
    other. If we possess freedom, we inquire. But if
    our freedom to inquire is too limited, then
    freedom, which is rightly a condition, becomes
    itself the goal of our striving.

A Western Dilemma
  • I have said some things, Socrates once
    remarked, of which I am not altogether
    confident. But that we shall be better and braver
    and less helpless if we think that we ought to
    inquire, than we should have been if we indulged
    in the idle fancy that there was no knowing and
    no use in seeking to know what we do not know
    that is a theme upon which I am ready to fight,
    in word and deed, to the utmost of my power.

Belief, Doubt, Critical Thinking, Faith
  • Belief blind belief, the unthinking
    acceptance of an idea or system of ideas
  • Faith authentic faith is always based on doubt
  • Doubt a philosopher engages in doubt as a
    normal modus operandi
  • Critical thinking taking a good look at the
    ideas that we are thinking and then making a
    commitment to live by the best ideas we can come
    up with

SocratesThe Wisest Man Alive
  • The unexamined life human life is not worth
  • Know thyself
  • His supreme concern was the breakdown of human
    relations ethics. He believed that all
    unethical behavior is committed as a result of
  • Moral knowledge leads to moral action

  • Summarize in your own way the nature of the
    Western dilemma regarding human knowledge. Is
    it either/or for you personally, or have you
    discovered a pathway between the two traditions?

Critical Analysis
  • How does the world work?
  • What is our place in it?

The Philosophic Mind
  • How does one go about dispelling the feeling of
    ignorance and moving toward the truth of things?
  • The first step is to ask questions
  • Philosophic mind question-asking mind

Critical Skills
  • Fact-claim verification
  • Concept clarification
  • Inference validation

Fact-Claim Verification
  • Fact-claim any idea submitted for consideration
    as an item of knowledge
  • Example Its raining outside

Concept Clarification
  • No evaluation is intelligible unless the
    criterion used to make the judgment is made
    explicit and clearly understood
  • Any action or event can logically be evaluated as
    good or bad, right or wrong
  • The ethically informed person is aware that
    different and distinct criteria exist and are
    used in daily life

Inference Validation
  • Logic the science of valid inference, used to
    clarify the relationships of ideas. It includes
    both inductive and deductive reasoning
  • The problem of evil

Brief Skirmishes/Examples of Critical Thinking
  • Enquiring minds want to know
  • Call us now!
  • Mommy, Ginny told me
  • It was a fever of the gods,
  • I hate broccoli. It tastes awful!
  • Time had a beginning at the big bang.
  • The swastika is the hated symbol of Nazi
  • Who discovered America

A Special Kind of Listening
  • A philosopher listens not only to what you say
    but even to the more implicit thought processes
    that got you there

PlatoThe First Educator
  • Platos life is marked by two extreme
    achievements the establishment of the Academy
    and the immortalizing of Socrates in writing
  • Plato wanted to education young men and women to
    seek the truth, with the hope that they will be
    qualified to assume positions of leadership in
    the world where they could put that truth to work

  • If you had been Job and had lost everything that
    was precious to you, what would you say to your
    friends who have come to comfort you? What
    would you say to God? (Do you know what Job
    actually said, according to the Book of Job?)

Synoptic Synthesis
  • The world is truly like a great Picture Puzzle,
    and the goal of synoptic philosophy is to see the
    picture on the Puzzle the whole picture and
    to see it as accurately and clearly as humanly
    possible at a given point in space and time

And He Wants to Understand It
  • Synoptic philosophy is the love of the wisdom
    that comes from achieving a coherent picture of
    everything seen together a vision of the whole
    of life
  • Example A cat named Tyger

Life on a Picture-Puzzle
  • Synoptic philosophy encourages each of us to
    wander over the puzzle, visiting neighboring
    parts and trying to see how the pieces of the
    puzzle all fit together

The Annihilation of Boundaries
  • The synoptist never tries to know everything.
    He makes no attempt to memorize the reams of hard
    data that have accumulated in the specialized
  • The task of the synoptist is to keep himself
    informed on the latest conclusions, general
    principles, hypothesis, models, and theories

How to do Synoptic Philosophy
  • Place yourself in the center of the synoptic
  • Proceed with philosophic analysis
  • What fields contain information related to the
  • Criss-cross from field to field, interconnecting
    lines of illumination

The Synoptic Venture Risks Reward
  • Risk the more one specializes the more he tends
    to neglect a general knowledge of life necessary
    to remain human
  • Risk loss of the ability to communicate
  • Reward learning to think bigger
  • Reward produces greater awareness in our
    perception of daily life
  • Reward coherent worldview

Epilog I can float over the Orchard
  • Asimov writes, I have never been sorry for my
    stubborn advance toward generalization. To be
    sure, I cant wander in detail through all the
    orchard, any more than anyone else can, no matter
    how stupidly determined I may be to do so. Life
    is far too short and the mind is far too limited.
    But I can float over the orchard as in a balloon.

Aristotle The First Scientific Worldview
  • Eudaimonia happiness
  • The journey to Athens
  • The royal summons
  • The Lyceum
  • Inventor of formal logic
  • Laying the foundations for the science of
    physics, astronomy, ethics, etc

  • Rephrase in your own (meaningful) way the
    essential goals of synoptic philosophy and make
    your own assessment of the rewards of the
    synoptic venture. Would your thinking and feeling
    change if you could achieve the rewards mentioned
    in this chapter? Are you willing to accept the