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The view and inclination of philosophy tend to result from the conception human beings have about life. Physical medium for instance is used by innumerable number of people who are ignorant to it (Engel, Soldan, and Durand 21-26). The study of physical science in this case is not recommended because of the impact it will have on the student but for the value and benefits to mankind. Likewise, philosophy has great value to the lives of human beings. The view of philosophy arises from the wrong conceptions that people have about life.
From the world of academia to the full application, the value of philosophy must be sought. Philosophy just like other disciplines aims at knowledge acquisition. The knowledge sought by the philosophical studies entail the conviction people have on life and their belief systems. It cannot be maintained, however, that philosophy has definite answers to the questions (Engel, Soldan, and Durand 21-26).
The fundamental reason behind this account is that the philosophy does not result into tangible objects that can be seen by the eye. It is all about statements and standings that define a specific position. Many people have a view that philosophy as an outdated discipline with little relevance to the world. In this paper, the value of philosophy is discussed citing the reasoning and backing from the earliest philosophers (Engel, Soldan, and Durand 21-26).
As an allegory used by Plato of a cave, study of philosophy enables the students to think differently about the world. People make life be needless complicated while, on the other hand, complexity can be wonderful when it opens up to new opportunities. Philosophy is a way of life with the questions having cosmic meaning and value to existence of human beings. Philosophy as a social science provides human with the deeper understanding of the facts at their disposal. Such facts include life and death (McCoy 45-47). Understanding the basis of philosophy comes from the realization that the facts do not occur in isolation but rather they are connected.
Philosophy is freeing and brings an aura of well being. A person without philosophical beliefs become a prisoner of prejudices that are common sense and the habitual beliefs. These beliefs have grown in the mind or the consent of the person. The viewpoint of such as a person is that the world is finite and obvious. Beginning to philosophize, the viewpoint changes with the world having unlimited opportunities (McCoy 45-47).
Though Philosophy is unable to give certainty to the answers, it suggests many possibilities that enlarge the scope of reasoning. While there is a diminishing aspect on the certainty of the true answer, it enlarges on the knowledge on what the truth might look like. Philosophy removes the arrogant dogmatism among the people who are always in doubt. Philosophy brings a sense of wonder that shows the familiar things in an unfamiliar manner.
Philosophy broadens the contemplation of man from the circle of private interests to the wider scope of the world and safeguard the interests of other people. In the former aspect, life is feverish and confined in comparisons to the liberating latter aspect. Privacy in the world of instinctive interests is limited that is set within the greater world which may put the world in ruins.
Philosophy provides an enabling environment which enlarges the personal interests to include those of the outer world (Huppes-Cluysenaer, and Coelho 119-121). Such as life is characterized with a constant strife between desire and powerlessness of will. Philosophy forms the realization that human life is great and for progression we need to escape from the strife.
Philosophic contemplation insists on always doing good in the society. This formed the philosophic perspective of Plato. The philosophical statement of Plato finds great relevance in doing absolute good in the society. The virtuous aspect of human beings is instilled in getting knowledge. Philosophy as a discipline helps in seeking knowledge on a number of life happenings (Huppes-Cluysenaer, and Coelho 119-121). Plato thought it was appropriate for one to seek knowledge.
According to Plato, ignorance was the prime cause of evil. Plato believed that getting absolute truth resonated the aspect of finding mathematical truth. He found great inclination in doing good that he suggested training program that would make people lead a good life. The philosophical view of Plato targets the developmental and intellectual abilities. Plato was cautious to state that knowledge can find huge manipulation impeding the development of virtuous living. In philosophic contemplation, acquisition of knowledge provides self-sufficiency since it brings a strong union between self and non-self. Everything that fall under the contemplation includes self-interests and those of other people.
Philosophy helps human beings understand their nature (Huppes-Cluysenaer, and Coelho 119-121). This finds the derivation from Aristotle theory on the aspect of human nature. A basic understanding of our personal nature arises from the philosophical viewpoint. Aristotle in his theory states that man has both rational and irrational systems. The personal nature of human beings forms the natural drive in the human society.
By understanding our personal nature, we are in a position to seek happiness, God and knowledge. Philosophy help mankind to fulfil their personal desire through an inquiry of their goals and values toward life (Engel, Soldan, and Durand 21-26). Philosophy thus uses our rational minds as a guide to psyche that attains fulfilment. Philosophy thus forms a bridge between the raw form of human nature and the highest attainment of this nature.
Philosophy helps us in defining our virtues that according to Aristotle is the right way of acting when faced by different situations (Engel, Soldan, and Durand 21-26). Unlike Plato who proposes that the virtues exist externally in an unchanging realm, Aristotle thinks that virtues surface when there are excesses. For instance, the virtue of courage exists when there are excesses of timidity and recklessness.
Management and the use of good virtues are analogous to the study and learning of using a musical instrument. Virtuous living forms one of the premises of philosophy. Virtuous living forms one of the values taught by the philosophy. Philosophy warns on a vacuum living (Engel, Soldan, and Durand 21-26). To attain the good life, humans must learn to live and practices the values. Good life is attained through virtuous living and entails the external factors such as good health and fulfilling career (McCoy 45-47).
The value of philosophy cannot be underestimated since it provides a fulfilling aspect in the life of human beings. Philosophy entails contemplation. In many situations, in our lives, people act without foreseeing the consequential outcomes. Philosophy helps in reasoning before acting and thus save us the strife and stress-related to our actions (McCoy 45-47). Philosophy enlarges our conception of the possibilities thus diminishing the dogmatic assurance which closes our minds. The realization from the philosophical studies ascertain the greatness of mind that is capable of uniting with the universe for the greater good in the life of man.
Engel, S M, Angelika Soldan, and Kevin K. J. Durand. The Study of Philosophy. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008. Print.
Huppes-Cluysenaer, E A, and Nuno M. M. S. Coelho. Aristotle and the Philosophy of Law: Theory, Practice and Justice. Dordrecht: Springer, 2013. Print.
McCoy, Marina. Plato on the Rhetoric of Philosophers and Sophists. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008. Print.
Michael Slote’s “Desert, consent and justice”, and Stephen Gardiner’s “A perfect moral storm” are books that focus on our ethical lives. Both of these books argue with logos, pathos and ethos vividly giving examples from our daily simple life. Both of these authors argue different issues, but they both incorporate essential aspects of philosophy to drive home their points.
The thesis of this essay is to compare the two books, “Desert, Consent and Justice” by Michael Slote and “A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate” by Stephen Gardiner. Further, this essay seeks to analyze and compare these two books rationally. Moreover, my essay aims at depicting the key philosophical aspects common in the two books and the uniqueness employed by each author.
Desert, Consent and Justice
In this book, Slote argues about the common scales of justice present in our society. Further, the author argues about the notion on which most people use to make their judgments about other people. Slote states that the nature of defining social justice in our society as irrational. According to the book, Slote describes justice in this society as a conflict of self-interest rather than common good (Slote, 372).
Slote explains that if justice and democracy were perfect, socialism would be more than capitalism. However, if everyone embraced socialism, people would be rewarded on their conscientious efforts. Thus, Slote states that it would be more rational to reward individuals on their contribution to the society rather than mere talents (Slote, 326).
Consequently, Slote poses the concept of desert to explain the scales of justice. He explains that deserts consist of a deserving subject, the deserved object and a desert basis. For instance, figure this sentence “Financial compensation should be given to the innocent victims of the September 11 tragedy because they deserve. According to Slote desert argument, the sentence above has a three-place relation that forms the desert. The deserving subject is “innocent victims”, the deserved object is “compensation” and the desert basis “innocent suffering.” Thus, applying justice on the desert rationale, the level of rewards should be measured on the notion of loyalty and admiration for the contribution to the society. On the other hand, punishment should be given on the level of harm done to the society, which regards to the ethical issues contradicted (Slote, 334).
A Perfect Storm: The Ethical Tragedy or Climate Change
Similarly, Gardiner argues the multiple ethical dilemmas that are present in the issue of climate change. Gardiner engages the readers in environmental philosophy explaining why environmental degradation poses an ethical dilemma. The author describes the environmental problem as an “A Perfect Moral Storm.” This “storm” as addressed by Gardiner reflects the nature of the global climate change problem, which portrays a spatial dimension in mode of analysis concerning climate change. Gardiner states that the global climate “storm” is a subject to the international bargaining by countries dictated by the current political system (Gardiner, 98).
The author addresses the notion that why some states are acting positively on the issue of global change, while other countries are blaming others. According to Gardiner, there are two approaches to explain the problem of global degradation. These approaches are optimistic and pessimistic approaches. The pessimistic approach entails the fact that marginal decision making widely contributes to the evolving nature of this problem. On the other hand, the optimistic approach argues that state countries tend to post-pone action, blind to the fact that this increases the burden to the future generations (Gardiner, 203).
Comparison and Contrast
The two philosophers engage the right tools of analysis in regards to philosophy. Gardiner and Slote incorporate proper elements of logos, pathos and ethos to discuss the ethical dilemmas. These two authors properly engage the readers in thought as they formulate basic concepts to break down their analysis of the subject, and to arrive at their arguments. Moreover, the two authors provide the right critique in their theories to measure the utmost right decision.
Gardiner focuses on environmental ethics, while Slote focuses on applied ethics. However, both of these authors incorporate the right philosophical literal skills to engage the readers in their judgment intuition. The two authors draw examples from the common situations and scenarios encountered by people while trying to make the best decision concerning situational ethics in ethical dilemmas.
Both of these authors address key issues affecting the society, which is one goal of philosophy. Further, rather than addressing the issues affecting the society they both create a societal perspective that insinuates for a positive response towards these issues. Moreover, both of the two authors engage in conceptual thinking to create their critique rationale.
Slote argues on the subject of desert in the scales of justice, whereas Gardener addresses the problem of global climate change. Gardener describes the problem of global change as instituted by the conflict of interest rather than common good. On the other hand, Slote addresses the common perceptions of justice by the society and he analyzes the effect of the desert rationale while making situational ethics in justice.
Gardiner, Stephen M. Climate Ethics: Essential Readings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Internet resource.
Slote, Michael A. "Desert, consent, and justice." Philosophy & Public Affairs(1973): 323-347.
Rene Descartes is credited as being one of the fathers of modern philosophy based on his many achievements. His philosophical methods, which are very different from the Scholastic approaches, allow philosophers to adopt a fresh new approach towards philosophy. While Descartes is accredited with quite a number of philosophical milestones, one of his greatest achievements was the development of the four-part method of intuitive deduction. This rather unorthodox approach allows individuals to rationally and competently question any matters that arise, and use this proven method to determine the true nature of the matter at hand.
One of the most creative characters in the world of literature, Edgar Allan Poe, is associated with the creation of one of the greatest fictional literary characters. In fact, many credit the development of Sherlock Holmes from inspiration drawn from the character of Dupin in some of Poe’s short stories. As a way of solving some of the crimes that he faced, Dupin utilized an approach that is representative of the four part intuitive deduction method espoused by Descartes. In solving his crimes, Dupin first “accepted as truth only that which cannot be doubted’. According to Descartes, this was the first approach towards analyzing any issue from as solid philosophical foundation. In this respect, Dupin began to analyze his cases not based on that which had been said or argued about the case, but rather from the point of that which cannot be doubted insofar as the case is concerned. A good case in point is the case of the Rue Morgue Murders. Rather than begin from a baseless standpoint, Dupin chose to start from the basic and unchangeable fact that a mother and her daughter had been murdered, and something needed to be done to determine the culprit (Poe, 12).
The second standpoint in the Descartes method lies in “breaking down the problem into many parts”. By breaking down the problem into many parts, a philosopher, or thinker for that matter, is able to critically analyze all the different aspects of the problem. Rather than adopt a uni-dimensional approach towards solving a problem, in which an individual looks at a problem as one big event, this approach demands that thinkers and philosophers look at huge problems as the result of a chain of small problems. In the “Mystery of Marie Roget”, Dupin applies this concept to much success. He breaks down the problem of the mysterious murders into small parts which he is able to solve in a systematic step-by-step fashion. This allows him to delve into the perpetrator’s mind, and therefore catch up with them as soon as possible.
Third, this approach requires that an individual “deduce one conclusion after another” (Jacobus, 463). This is in reference to the main parts into which one broke down the problem. By now choosing to make conclusions on all the small parts of the problem, an individual is able to make minor conclusions on all the small problems, which ultimately allow the individual to draw a logical and informed conclusion on the whole matter at hand. For instance, the approach adopted by Poe’s character, Dupin, in the ‘Rue Morgue Murders’ works extremely well towards determining the final conclusion made by Dupin. Minor conclusions, such as that of determining that the ‘language’ of the perpetrator was not human, and that the hair obtained at the crime scene was not human as well, allowed Dupin to conclude without a doubt, that the perpetrator had to be an animal (Poe, 33). The fact that an orangutan had been in town heightened the possibility of the animal being responsible for the murders, a fact which Dupin later proves.
The final, and arguably the most important aspect of the approach, is ‘conducting a systematic synthesis of all things’. Once many conclusions have been deduced from the information gathered concerning the murder based on the numerous minor problems that make up the major problem, it is essential that an accurate process of systematic synthesis begins. Through this approach, an individual is capable of determining the true cause of the problem. By analyzing every problem and synthesizing the true effect of the problem with regards to the main issue at hand allows the philosopher, or thinker in this case, to make proper deductions on the problem or issue being investigated. This approach enables one to make an informed and logically sound conclusion on whatever is being probed. In this way, generalizations, fallacies and assumptions can be avoided in making the final conclusion. This will allow for the conduction of proper studies and the drawing of sound conclusions.
Deductive Reasoning in the Characters
The characters used by Poe to put forth his stories have clearly portrayed the writer’s inclination towards modern philosophy and Descartes’ methods. The character of Dupin, for instance, has portrayed a great amount of deductive reasoning insofar as solving crimes is concerned. One of the most profound instances where Dupin uses deductive reasoning to make a logical and accurate conclusion is in the ‘Rue Morgue Murders’. When Dupin probes the witnesses for information on the incident, he gathered that all the witnesses could not decipher the language that the perpetrator spoke. In spite of the fact that French was the language spoken throughout Paris, witnesses would have still been able to decipher whether it actually was a human language being spoken. Once no witness could confirm the language in question, Dupin made the conclusion that the perpetrator was not human. To add to this, the existence of non-human hair on the floor as evidence signified two things, either the perpetrator was indeed not human, or there had been an animal such as a pet in the room at the time of murder. Since there was no pet in the room at the time, deductive reasoning points to the fact that an animal was actually in the room, and was the likely suspect in the murder (Poe, 26). To arrive at this point, Dupin uses the evidence at hand to make minor conclusions on the case (that concerning the language and the hair) which allow him to draw a well informed and major conclusion that the perpetrator of the murder was actually not human.
A second instance in which Dupin makes use of deductive reasoning is in the case of ‘The Mystery of Marie Roget’. Having been tasked with the need to determine the murderer that was dumping bodies in the river, Dupin makes use of deductive reasoning once more. After the first scare that Marie had been murdered but returns home safe, Dupin establishes that the perpetrator of the murders must have been someone who either wanted Marie dead, or was an enemy of Marie. Once Marie returns home safely but refuses to answer questions on where she had been, Dupin senses that something is wrong. The refusal to explain herself highly pointed to the fact that she had been doing something wrong (Poe, 65). When he learns of Marie’s affair with Marcel, he comprehensively deduces that Marie and Marcel are the key suspects, based purely on their desire to kill Camille, which he later discovers. Through the use of deductive reasoning, Dupin is able to apply the four-part method of intuitive reasoning to determine that Marie and Marcel are the co-conspirators of the murders, and that they plan on killing Camille. as well.
The deduction in ‘The Purloined Letter’ that the minister D was actually hiding the letter in plain sight also stemmed from proper deductive reasoning. The minister understood how the police operated, and knew that they would break into his apartment and attempt to look for the letter in concealed hidden spots (Poe, 92). His hiding the letter in plain sight greatly confuses the police and diverts them from the comfort of his home. However, Dupin knew the minister to be an intelligent man, and believed he would not bother hiding the letter, but would instead choose to hide it in plain sight. His reasoning turned out to be true, based on the fact that the minister actually changes the appearance of the letter and puts his own seal on it to confuse the police (Poe, 94). Dupin, however, sees through him and is able to draw a proper conclusion on the situation, allowing him to recover the letter.
This, I believe, is an integrated and efficient approach on solving any problem one faces. It allows for elaborate applications in real life, where problems can be resolved using this approach. By determining the cause of the problem between the parties involved, this approach can be used to draw conclusions on what to expect from the parties, and consequently what to do to resolve the disputes.
Concepts in Gula’s Book
Gula espouses, with great in depth and keen attention, the improper use of logic in the everyday language of individuals (Gula, 74). His book focuses on developing a critical analysis of the instances of logic abuse that any normal individual would unwillingly make. One of the logic abuses that Gula illustrates is the drawing of incorrect inferences. Many at times, such inferences are the result of misguided opinions or persistent rumors (Gula, 111). For instance, individuals who are alcoholics are drug abusers. However, the fact that they are alcoholics does not imply that they abuse any other drugs. A common example of incorrect inferences is the matter of such alcoholics being labeled as users of many other drugs, since one drug has held them in addiction. While this may be the true in many cases, it is an incorrect inference if it is baseless and devoid of research.
The case of the conclusions drawn by G, the Prefect of Police, regarding minister D and his possession of the purloined letter are clear instances of incorrect inferences. This is because G makes ‘certain’ inferences on the school of thought of another individual, a feat that is virtually impossible. Another instance in which suggestion has been used lies in ‘The Mystery of Marie Roget’ where Gobelin hypothesizes that Cecile used a leopard to kill Marie. This was based on the mutilated face that the corpse had. However, this argument put forward by Gobelin fails to prove the use of or existence of any leopard, and only serves as suggestion that is completely devoid of thought. Another instance of suggestion occurs when Beauvais states that the characteristics of the body found in the river match those of Marie. He ‘asserts’ that the body found is Marie’s, while in reality very many women in Paris at the time had bodies similar to Marie. In reality, all he does is suggest that the body could be Marie’s. This statement also makes a strong and false assumption. Through the words of Beauvais, an assumption is made that simply because Marie had been missing and a body had been found in the river, mutilated, then it is most likely to be Marie. This assumption is very vague and lacks any sense of reason. While there was a possibility that it could be Marie, evidence would be needed to conform to Descartes’ first principle which states that one should “accept as truth only that which cannot be doubted”.
The texts of Edgar Allan Poe show a strong inclination towards the concepts espoused by Rene Descartes on philosophy. By using one of his fictional characters to employ the use of Descartes’ four part method on intuitive reasoning, Poe essentially agrees with Descartes’ approach as a proper method of addressing matters. Unlike previous philosophical approaches that hinged mainly on historical approaches of the first philosophers, Descartes uses his methods to analyze situations in a different and arguably better way. Based on the results of the fictional character Dupin, it is possible to apply Descartes’ methods and still obtain accurate and elaborate results on any investigation. I believe that the approach espoused by Descartes and practiced by Dupin is the best approach. It allows individuals to critically assess situations with the aim of determining the matter at hand. Descartes’ method of intuitive reasoning is a well thought out and elaborate process of conducting any philosophical or logical inquiry, since it steers clear of any logical fallacies that might creep into arguments.
Gula, Robert J. Nonsense: Red Herrings, Straw Men, and Sacred Cows : How We Abuse Logic in Our Everyday Language. Mount Jackson, VA: Axios Press, 2007. Print.
Jacobus, Lee. A. A World Of Ideas Essential Readings For College Writers. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009. Print.
Poe, Edgar A. The Murders in the Rue Morgue and Other Stories. Whitefish, Mont.: Kessinger Pub, 2007. Print.
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