Why Philosophy?

1.1 Philosophy: The Quest for Understanding

  • Know the practical and theoretical benefits of studying philosophy.
  • Take an inventory of your philosophical beliefs.
  • Know the four main divisions of philosophy and the kinds of questions they examine.

1.2 Socrates and the Examined Life

  • Understand why Socrates declared, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
  • Explain the Socratic method and how Socrates used it in search of understanding.
  • Relate how Socrates showed that Thrasymachus’s notion of justice was wrong.
  • Explain how reductio ad absurdum arguments work.

1.3 Thinking Philosophically

  • Define argument, statement, conclusion, and
  • Know the two conditions that must be met for an argument to be good.
  • Define deductive argument, inductive argument, valid, sound, cogent, strong, and weak. Understand inferences to the best explanation and how their strength is evaluated.
  • Be able to identify arguments in the form of modus ponens, modus tollens, affirming the consequent, and denying the antecedent.
  • Be able to identify arguments in various contexts and tell whether they are valid or invalid, sound or not sound, strong or weak, and cogent or not cogent.
  • Understand the guidelines for reading and appreciating philosophy.
  • Be aware of common fallacies and how to identify them in various contexts.
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