Tuesday, April 12, 2011


The Nature of Philosophy

Philos - love

Sophia - wisdom


Lover of Pleasure

Lover of Success

Lover of Wisdom

Philosophy is a desire or interest for an intellectual inquiry

It is a discipline not to be defined but to be inquired into.

“Philosophy can’t be defined for it knows no limits just as the human mind knows no boundaries in its search for the rational explanation of reality and of man himself.”

Philosophy: A Discipline of Questioning

Anyone who asks questions is then philosophizing

A question is a conscious search for knowledge.

Authentic questioning:

1. It is for the knowledge of something.

2. It is an awareness of ignorance.

3. It is an awareness that there is more to be known.

As a discipline of questioning, it is:


It is an unending series of questions and answers.

“Questions are more important than the answers and every answer becomes a new question.”


“one man’s answer to a question may be valid for him but not for the next man.”

Philosophical concepts are not immutable doctrines

The Philosophical Method

Questions and answers are correlative.

In arriving at the correct and consistent answer to a question, the philosophical method of rational analysis and argumentation is needed.

Logic, as an art of correct thinking, must always be considered as a tool in facilitating this method.

Studying philosophy improves our reasoning skill. It is improved when it is critical, rigorous, systematic and objective or unbiased.

1. Critical means following the established scientific rules for correct reasoning.

2. Rigorous means avoiding inconsistencies and incoherence.

3. Systematic means observing certain order or procedure.

4. Objective means considering things from a disinterested point of view, honestly considering difficulties and problems, objections and alternative views.

The Major Divisions of Philosophy

Metaphysics - The study of reality or what is real.

Epistemology - The study of knowledge and what we can know.

Ethics - The study of the good.

Method of Philosophy

Philosophy accomplishes a knowledge of the world by means of human reason.

Theology treats God and the world on the basis of a supernatural revelation.

Object and Goal of Philosophy

Philosophy vs. Other Sciences

Other Sciences: also are particular sciences because they concern themselves with just a part of reality and look for the causes operative within the one restricted area of the real.

Philosophy: is the universal science because it considers the totality of reality and investigates the basic causes of all things; it propels toward the ultimate and absolute cause of being.

Logic: A Tool of Philosophy

Defined as the science of correct reasoning.

Science: a body of information concerning the different relations that arise in our mind when it knows things.

- The order that is reflected in our thought and actions is characteristic of the operation of the intellect when it knows the truth.

Man is naturally ordered to correct thinking (natural logic); but he has a special need of specific logic in order to examine his thought processes in difficult or controversial cases.

Logic is not the foundation of scientific knowledge; it is only its tools.

- It is incapable of giving a comprehensive criterion of validity.

- Merely facilitates in organizing ideas, express them with more accuracy and draw from them some legitimate conclusions.

Formal Logic and Material Logic

Arguments must be good not only in form but also in content.

Formal logic concerns itself primarily with the correctness rather than the truth of a logical process (following of the rules).

To be able to reason correctly is not necessarily the same as to reason truthfully.

Material Logic is concerned with truth of the material content.

It considers the correspondence of the thought-contents with reality, a correspondence between the logical and real order.

Division of Logic

Three Basic Operations of Human Thought:

Simple Apprehension is the act by which the intellect grasps the essence of something (apprehension because it lays hold of the thing mentally; simple because the intellect merely takes the thing in without any affirmation or denial about it.)

Judgment is a mental operation that pronounces the identity or non-identity between two ideas.

Reasoning is a mental act that proceeds from the previously known truth to a new truth.

Logic: The Art of Reasoning

Not only is Logic a science; it is also an art.

Art is the power to perform certain actions guided by special knowledge and executed with skill.

Critical Thinking

In college, students are challenged to question, examine and evaluate ideas and information

It is not merely absorbing information and acquiring knowledge

Students are expected to carefully and personally understand what they see, hear and read

Goal of education – teach students not only what to think but how to think – that is, how to effectively deal with problems, analyze issues and make decisions

The word “critical” often carries a negative connotation, implying excessive fault-finding.

It means that it is focused on exercising objective, fair and skilled judgment and analysis of ideas, beliefs and arguments.

Critical thinking is a general term given to a wide range of cognitive skills needed to effectively interpret, analyze and evaluate arguments and truth claims, to formulate logical arguments and to make reasonable, valid and sound decisions.

In short, it means to think clearly, logically and intelligently.

Interpretive skills
determine its precise meaning, what it actually claims. (simple apprehension)

Verification skills
determine whether statements are true or false. (judgment)

Reasoning skills
determine whether or not the what it claims has adequate support or basis for it to be accepted. (Reasoning/Inference)

Characteristics of a Critical Thinker

Critical Thinkers

honest, acknowledge what they don’t know, recognize their limitations and being watchful of their own errors

Base judgments on evidence rather than personal preferences, deferring judgment whenever evidence is insufficient

Interested in other’s ideas, willing to read and listen attentively

Practice restraint, control of feelings and not controlled by them, thinking before acting.

Think independently, not afraid to disagree with group opinion

Uncritical Thinkers

Pretend they know more than they do, ignore their limitations, and assume their views are error-free.

Base judgments on first impressions and gut reactions, unconcerned about the amount or quality of evidence

Preoccupied with self and own opinions, unwilling to read/listen

Tend to follow their feelings and act impulsively, acting before thinking

Tend to engage in “group think,” uncritically following the beliefs and values of the crowd

Value of Critical Thinking

Concerns not only about what we believe but about why we believe it. (higher-order thinking: active, intelligent evaluation of ideas and information) Understand and critically evaluate the materials used in college

Helps us avoid making foolish personal decisions

Citizen’s decisions be as informed, deliberate and reasonable as possible since the future of our country depends heavily on the kinds of choices and decisions we make. (serious societal problems: environmental destruction, political and economic instability, declining educational standards)

Mastering critical thinking skills is a matter of self-respect. Most people, most of the time believe what they are told. It diminishes us as persons if we let others do our thinking for us. We will remain slaves to the ideas and values of others and to our own ignorance. This can help to free us from the unexamined assumptions, beliefs and prejudices of our upbringing and our society.

Identifying Arguments

All morality is a form of social control. All law is codified form of social control. Therefore, all law is a codified morality.

Logicians call this kind of reasoning an ARGUMENT. In this case, the argument consists of three statements:

1. All morality is a form of social control.
2. All law is codified form of social control.
3. Therefore, all law is codified morality.

Statements 1 and 2 give reasons for accepting the statement. In logic, they are called the PREMISES of the argument, and statement 3 is the CONCLUSION of the argument.

Thus, an ARGUMENT is a series of statements one of which is the CONCLUSION (the thing argued for) and the others are known as the PREMISES (reasons for accepting the conclusion). It is also an attempt to show that a claim is true (conclusion) by providing reasons for it (premises).

Not all groups of statements make an argument. The sentences in an argument must express statements (i.e. they must state something that is either true or false.) Otherwise, they are non-arguments.


This is an argument in which the premises are claimed to support the conclusion in such a way that it is impossible for the premises to TRUE and the conclusion FALSE. In such arguments the conclusion is claimed to follow NECESSARILY from the premises.

DEDUCTIVE ARGUMENTS are those that involve necessary and certain reasoning.

Examples: A dog is a member of the canine family. All members of the canine family are carnivores. Therefore, a dog is a carnivore.

If M is equal to N, and N is equal to P. therefore, M is equal to P.

Kinds of Deductive Arguments

1. Arguments based on Mathematics

Depends on some purely arithmetical, geometrical or algebraic computation or measurement

Eg. A square piece of land measures 100 meters on each side. What is the total land area?

2. Arguments based on Definition

The conclusion is claimed to depend merely upon the definition of some words or phrases used in the premise or conclusion.

Eg. John is virtuous person because he has good moral quality.

3. Categorical Syllogism

Each statement begins with a logical quantifier.

Eg. All life forms need water to for food processing. Plants are a kind of life form. Therefore, plants need water for food processing.

4. Hypothetical Syllogism

A kind of deductive argument having a conditional statement for one or both of its premises.

e.g. If Darwin’s theory of evolution is correct then we will find fossils which shows sequential changes throughout the ages. But, evidence shows otherwise. Therefore, Darwin’s theory of evolution either needs revision or must be abandoned as unsupported by evidence.

5. Disjunctive Syllogism

A kind of deductive argument having a disjunctive statement (either/or statement) for one of its premises.

e.g. Either we study our lessons or we see a movie. We study our lessons. Therefore, we will not see a movie.


An argument is inductive if the content of its conclusion extends beyond the context of its premises. It claims that its premises give only some degree of PROBABILITY (expectation, prediction, likelihood, chance, tendency) but never certainty, to its conclusions.

The weakness of induction results mainly from our failure to realize that it only gives PROBABLE KNOWLEDGE AND NEVER CERTAIN KNOWLEDGE.

“I have seen only six cats, and they were all blue. I must conclude, tentatively, that all cats must be blue.”

All it takes in this case is the observation of one yellow cat to give a fatal blow to a viable hypothesis. Inductive conclusions are always subject to change.

If one should witness three car accidents in the period of an afternoon, all involving the same brand and model of a car, most of us would be tempted to conclude that something is wrong with this particular brand and model of car.

This conclusion would be an inductive hypothesis with apparent validity. But it is NOT A CERTAIN CONCLUSION; it is only a possible and probable explanation. Add ten more involving the same brand and model of the car, is one more certain of the validity of our hypothesis?

Yes, but only more certain, never absolute. Now what happens when you discover that all the drivers were driving on the wrong side of the road?

Kinds of Inductive Arguments

These various kinds of inductive arguments are not always mutually exclusive. Overlaps can and do occur.

1. Predictions

In a prediction, the premises deal with some known event in the present or past, and the conclusion moves beyond this event to some event in the near future. Since future events cannot be known with certainty, thus, we can consider predictions as inductive in nature.

e.g The prices of gasoline and other petroleum products increase during the winter season. Thus, this month of December we can expect another round of price increase.

2. Arguments based on Analogy

This is an argument that is based on the existence of an analogy or similarity between things, events or state of affairs.

A and B have characteristic X.
A has characteristic Y.
Therefore, B has characteristic Y.

e.g. Togo sardines was made by the same company that made 888 sardines. 888 sardines are very tasty. Therefore, Togo sardines must also be tasty.

3. Arguments based on Signs

This is an argument that proceeds from knowledge of the meaning of a certain sign to a knowledge of another thing, event or situation that the sign symbolizes. A sign might be misplaced or misinterpreted, thus the conclusion is only probable.

Natural Sign
Conventional Sign
Formal Sign

4. Argument based on Authority

This kind of inductive argument rests its conclusion upon a statement by a presumed authority or witness. Such arguments are essentially probable because an authority or witness could either be mistaken or simply lying.

e.g. The Law of Universal Goodness and Love must be indeed true and universally valid. It was first proposed by the great mathematical physicist who is a friend of the current Pucasian Professor of Mathematics at Hambridge University.

5. Inductive Generalizations

An argument that proceeds from the knowledge of a selected sample to some general claim about the whole group.

Z percent of observed F’s are G.
It is probable, therefore, that Z percent of all F’s are G.

e.g. I tasted some sweet fruits from a whole kaing of iba fruit. I think the whole batch must be sweet.

6. Causal Inference

They underlie arguments that proceed from knowledge of a cause to knowledge of the effect, or conversely, from knowledge of an effect to knowledge of a cause. Because specific knowledge of cause and effect can never be known with absolute certainty, one may interpret causal inferences as inductive arguments.

Examples: This can of softdrink was frozen hard. It must have been left accidentally in the freezer over night. (EFFECT TO CAUSE)

This can of softdrink was accidentally left overnight in the freezer, thus it must have been frozen hard. (CAUSE TO EFFECT)

Deductive arguments claim that

If the premises are true, then the conclusion is certainly true.
The conclusion follows necessarily from the premises.
The premises provide conclusive evidence for the truth of the conclusion
The truth of the premises guarantees the truth of the conclusion.

Inductive arguments claim that

If the premises are true, then the conclusion is probably true.
The conclusion follows probably from the premises.
The premises provide good (but not conclusive) evidence for the truth of the conclusion
The truth of the premises makes the truth of the conclusion likely.

Deductive indicator words :

It is logical to conclude that
This logically implies that
This entails that
It must be the case that

Inductive indicator words :

Chances are
One would expect that
It is plausible to support that
It is reasonable to assume that

Understanding the Problems of Language
 Thinking and reasoning are mental processes. (they happen inside the mind)
 Is it possible for others to read our mind?
 How then can we communicate to others what’s going on in our mind?
 (answer: use of LANGUAGE – most effective means through which we can express our thinking and reasoning.)
 However, the relationship between thought and language is not that simple.
 It can be a source of miscommunication and misunderstanding between people.
 A term is vague when it lacks a clear or precise meaning.
 A term is ambiguous when it has more than one meaning.
 Refers to lack of clarity in meaning.
 Meaning has no exact boundaries.
 Example: If a buyer tells a real estate agent: We need a big house.
 How BIG is BIG? Does she mean a bungalow or a mansion? How many bedrooms should there be?
 In order to remove the vagueness of language, we may use a more specific term.
 Arises when a term or a sentence has more than one meaning.
 “Pen”
 “Lie”
 A word is ambiguous when it is not obvious which of its meanings is intended in a situation in which the word is used.
 Semantic Ambiguity – results from uncertainty about the meaning of a particular word or phrase in the sentence.
 Grammatical Ambiguity – sentences can be interpreted with more than one meaning due to the way words are put together. (faulty grammatical construction)
 “My friend saw a bat at the corner of the room.”
 “Congressman Perez spoke against gender discrimination in the House of Representatives.”
Verbal Disputes
 Disagreement over certain issue because of different notions of what the term means; or which arises from linguistic problems (such as vagueness and ambiguity)
 Q: “Did the Philippines achieve economic progress during Arroyo’s administration?”
 Person A: “YES!” – thinking that the GNP improved significantly from the time Arroyo assumed presidency.
 Person B: “NO!” – thinking that the rate of unemployment did not grow down but to continue to rise.
 They disagree with each other due to the simple fact that they understand the term economic progress in different ways.
 How to avoid?
 Clarify from the very beginning what the words in the sentence actually mean.
 “What do you mean by that?”
 “In what sense are you using the word?”
Genuine Disputes
 Arises NOT because people have different understanding of the terms but because people have DIFFERENT knowledge, information or belief about something.
 Person A: “The Philippines achieved economic progress because there are less unemployed in the country compared before.”
 Person B: “The Philippines did not achieve economic progress because the rate of unemployment now is higher than before.”

1 comment:

  1. sir tane ang next mu na topic,,post muman d..hehe :) tnx..