Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine Sumy State University A. O. Synach A. Yu. Perelomov icon

Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine Sumy State University A. O. Synach A. Yu. Perelomov




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Ministry of Education and Science, Youth and Sports of Ukraine


Sumy State University


A. O. Synach

A. Yu. Perelomov


PHILOSOPHY

Lectures with guidelines

for foreign students


Approved

by the session of the

Philosophy Department

as a course of lectures

on Aesthetics.

Minutes № 01 of 31.09.2011 p.


Sumy

Sumy State University
2011



Philosophy: lectures with guidelines for foreign students / compilers A. O. Synach, A. Yu. Perelomov; editor-in-chief V. M. Vandyshev. – Sumy State University, 2011. – 78 p.


Philosophy Department


The student book provides a brief course in philosophy. The content of the student book allows learning the basic categories and principles of philosophy. Under considerable attention is the history of philosophy of the Ancient World, Medieval and European Renaissance era.

Considering the necessity of mastering foreign students the basic elements of culture and spiritual values of the Ukrainian people, the book gives a broad image of the history of Ukrainian philosophy.

Western European philosophy XIX-XX centuries is presented with its main areas: existentialism, positivism and pragmatism. The general scientific problems are presented by philosophical anthropology, axiology and epistemology.

In preparing the student book, was used the textbook of philosophy by prof. V.M. Vandyshev.

The lectures were prepared according to The State National programme «Education», Doctrine of National Education as well as experience of compiling similar programme of the Centre of humanities of Ukraine, the philosophical faculty of Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University and Vasyl Karazin Kharkiv National University


^ THE THEMATIC PLAN OF A COURSE


Topic 1. Subject of philosophy....................................................................4

Topic 2. Ancient Indian and Chinese philosophy........................................6

Topic 3. Ancient Greek philosophy...........................................................10

Topic 4. Medieval philosophy...................................................................18

Topic 5. Philosophy of Renaissance..........................................................24

Topic 6. The basic stages of development of the Ukrainian philosophy...28

Topic 7. The phenomenon of Russian philosophy.....................................34

Topic 8. The West European philosophy of the XIX-XX-th century........46

Topic 9. Philosophical anthropology and axiology...................................64

Topic 10. Philosophy of globalism............................................................68

Conceptual dictionary……........................................................................71

Topic 1. SUBJECT OF PHILOSOPHY


  1. Philosophy, its origins, subject and principles. The nature and specificity of philosophical knowledge.

  2. The structure of outlook: ontology, epistemology, methodology and a problem of man’s being. Historical types of outlook.

  3. The structure of philosophy. Its functions and role in a life of the individual and society.


The basic concepts and categories: philosophy, wisdom, philosophical world outlook, ontology, entity, objective reality, subjective reality, monism, materialism, idealism, objective idealism, subjective idealism, dualism, pantheism, deism, epistemology, cognition, rationalism, sensualism, agnosticism, methodology, method, development, relativism, metaphysics, dialectics, religion, mythology, science, philosophical anthropology, praxiology, axiology, ethics, aesthetics, logic, philosophy of religion, social philosophy, philosophical idea, philosophical doctrine, philosophical school, philosophical tendency, philosophical direction.


^ Methodical recommendations on conducting of seminar employments

Philosophy is a science about the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence. The word ‘philosophy’ translated from ancient Greek means ‘the love for wisdom’. From the ancient time (in Europe from VII-VI c. BC) philosophy as theory about existence and conditions of its cognition becomes one of the professional activities and comprehensive system of knowledge. Philosophers of all stripes have concerned themselves with what is beautiful (aesthetics), what is good (ethics, political philosophy), what things are in the world (metaphysics, philosophy of mind) and what can be known about them (epistemology, theory of knowledge). They search for answers to ‘eternal’ questions. For what do I live? What shall I do? What can I hope? Is there fate? Am I free in my deeds and decisions? What will happen with my ‘I’ after my physical death? These are the questions of philosophy.

Philosophy is a theoretical form of outlook. Outlook is a way of spiritually-practical person’s attitude towards world (and himself). It can be represented in the form of such scheme ‘man ↔ world’, which shows mutual influence and dependence.

There are three main components of outlook: ontology, epistemology, methodology. Ontology is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of existence. The basic ontological problem is whether this world is created by the God or the world exists by itself according to its internal laws. Hence there are two main philosophical schools: materialism and idealism. Materialism is the theory, which claims, that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications, belief that consciousness and will are wholly due to material agency. According to materialism this world exists by itself, it is eternal, infinite in space and time. Objective idealism is belief that absolute idea (in religious idealism – God) is primary (determinant) reality, for it causes of existence and development of the objective (nature) and subjective (consciousness) reality. Subjective idealism is the systems of thought, in which the objects of knowledge are held to be in some way dependent on the activity of mind. Materialism as well as idealism can be regarded as monism – a theory that denies the existence of a distinction or duality in a particular sphere, such as that between matter and mind, or God and the world, the doctrine that only one supreme being exists. In the history of philosophy there were also attempts to conciliate these two conflicting theories. The doctrine which admits two independent principles or origins (idea and matter) as equivalent (equal in rights) refers to dualism. Dualists consider that this material world and world of ideas exists in parallel, absolutely independently from each other.

Other component of outlook is epistemology (from Greek ‘episteme’ = ‘knowledge’ and ‘logos’ = ‘explanation’) – the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, scope and the distinction between justified belief and opinion. Hence two main epistemological directions: rationalism and sensualism. Rationalism is the theory that reason rather than experience is the foundation of certainty in knowledge. Sensualism is the belief that cognition should be based on senses and emotions, rather than reason and logic. There are also agnostics, who believe that total cognition of the universe is impossible.

Third component of outlook is methodology. There are three form of methodology as a theory of development: relativism, metaphysics and dialectics. Relativism is the belief that the truth is not always the same but varies according to circumstances. So development is a continuous and irrational stream of events, way from nowhere to nowhere. Chaos is only one absolute law in this world. According to metaphysics development is a cyclic repetition of events. Dialectics consider that development looks like spiral motion. Each new coil of history repeats previous, but introduces new products and changes.

In the history of philosophy there were different types of outlook besides philosophy. Most important of them are mythology and religion. Myth is a traditional story, concerning the early history of a people or explaining a natural or social phenomenon and typically involving supernatural beings or events. There are three main distinctive features of the myth: 1) integrity of the universe, interdependence of all things; 2) the myth tries to explain absolutely all processes, gives an absolute knowledge (about the creation of the world, natural and supernatural being etc.); 3) the myth has a lot of treatments. Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.

According to the saying of the English philosopher ^ B. Russell (1872–1980), philosophy is ‘no-one’s land’, which is situated between science and religion: it is similar to science in its aspiration to reliable, demonstrative (conclusive) knowledge, to religion – the way out of the boundaries of common experience. But there is one essential difference between philosophy and religion. Religion has no theory, as the basis of its teaching is faith, but philosophy is rational: it appeals to wisdom and not only admits, but demand arguments, proofs of given statements and conclusions.

Philosophy is the queen of sciences and includes a lot of disciplines: philosophical anthropology, praxiology, axiology, ethics, aesthetics, logic, philosophy of religion, social philosophy, philosophy of history, philosophy of science, philosophy of technology, philosophy of culture, philosophy of mind etc. So philosophy is the form of accumulation and sorting of world outlook knowledge (world outlook function) which discover and proves most general forms of the organization of process of knowledge (methodological function). Philosophical teachings as well as religion ones has one and the some aim: to lead the man from the sphere of everybody life, to carry him away with higher ideals, put to attack his life with the real meaning, to open him the way of the most perfect values. The question of the meaning of life every person must solve himself. If the scientific truth has universal character, the truth of philosophy contacting particular valuable moment and imperative of behavior, is invaded for the ‘individual usage’.


Checklist

  1. Where, why and how the philosophy originates?

  2. What does this science investigate?

  3. What is outlook, its historical forms and structures?

  4. What are the differences and intersection between philosophy, religion, mythology and science?

  5. What are the functions, place and role of philosophy in the culture?



Topic 2. ANCIENT INDIAN AND CHINESE PHILOSOPHY


  1. The appearance of philosophy in Ancient India. The main principles and notions.

  2. The philosophy of Ancient China: Taoism, Confucianism.


The basic concepts and categories: Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad-Gita, orthodox schools (astika), unorthodox schools (nastika), Brahmanism, Hinduism, Mimansa, Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaishesika, Vedanta, darshana (seeing), Buddhism, Charvaka-Lokayata, Jainism, dharma, maya, karma, samsara (reincarnation), moksha (salvation), sannyasi (asceticism), varnas (castes), Trimurti, four noble truths, eightfold path, Nirvana, meditation, mantra, yin and yang, Taoism, Dao (Tao), De (Te), Confucianism, ritual, rectification of names.


^ Methodical recommendations on conducting of seminar employments

The first collection of Indian philosophy that was written down was the Vedas. The word ‘Veda’ comes from the Sanskrit ‘vid’, meaning knowledge – the Vedas are ‘sacred knowledge’. Their exact date is controversial, it is possible that the knowledge dates back 10000 years BC, and this books were first written around 3000 BC. Vedas include knowledge concerning the nature of ultimate reality and the proper human ways of relating thereto. Philosophical teachings following or conforming to the Vedas named orthodox (astika). These are Hinduism, Mimansa, Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaishesika, Vedanta. Those schools which did not accept authority of sacred books were called unorthodox (nastika). The most known of them are Buddhism, Charvaka-Lokayata, Jainism. Hindus belief in reincarnation and involving the worship of one or more of a large pantheon of gods and goddesses, including Shiva and Vishnu (incarnate as Rama and Krishna), Kali, Durga, Parvati and Ganesh. Hinduism also called Brahmanism as it early stage. Brahma is the ultimate and impersonal divine reality from which all things originates and to which they returns. So Brahma is the creator god, which has to do with objective reality, who forms a triad with Vishnu and Shiva. Vishnu is an originally a minor Vedic god, now regarded by his worshippers as the supreme deity and saviour, by others as the preserver of the cosmos. Vishnu is considered by Hindus to have had nine earthly incarnations or avatars, including Rama, Krishna and the historical Buddha; the tenth avatar will herald the end of the world. Shiva is worshiped in many aspects: as destroyer, ascetic, lord of the cosmic dance and lord of beasts and through the symbolic lingam as a god associated with the powers of reproduction (a phallus or phallic object is a symbol of divine generative energy of Shiva).

According to Hinduism this material world is only illusion (maya). Real existence refers to Atman or unchanging individual self, a person’s soul. Atman is a Sanskrit word, literally translated as ‘essence, breath’. The understanding of this infinite self-essence is a way to stop transmigrations of soul (samsara) and achieve the transcendent state of blessedness and spiritual unity with Brahma (moksha).

Hindu society was traditionally based on a caste system. There were four varnas (classes): Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. Brahmin is a representative of the highest, priestly caste. Brahmins were unique in they right to learn Vedas. Therefore they named the guru or spiritual teacher. Kshatriya is a member of the second, military caste. The traditional function of the Kshatriyas is to protect society by fighting in wartime and governing in peacetime. Vaishya is a member of the third caste, comprising the merchants and farmers. Shudra is a member of the worker caste, lowest of the four varnas. Their only function in a society is a submission to other classes.

One of the most significant unorthodox teachings of Ancient India was Buddhism. This philosophy was founded by Siddhartha Gautama (c. 563–483 BC). ‘Buddha’ was a pseudonym which meant ‘enlightened’, ‘pure in spirit’. Buddhism has no god and gives a central role to the doctrine of karma as the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences. The ‘four noble truths’ of Buddhism state that all existence is suffering, that the cause of suffering is desire, that freedom from suffering is nirvana, and that this is attained through the ‘eightfold path’ of ethical conduct, wisdom and mental discipline (including meditation). The final goal of Buddhism is nirvana. Nirvana is a transcendent, highest spiritual state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self and the subject is released from the effects of karma.

The first major philosopher who lived in China was Lao Tzu (also Lao Tse, Lao Tu, Lao Tsu, Lao Tze, Lao Zi, Laocius and other variations), about 600 BC. Lao Tzu founded the philosophy of Taoism. The school derives its name from the word Tao’ (‘Dao’) which literally means the ‘way’ or the ‘path’. There are two main meaning of the Tao: 1) source and reason of all that exist; 2) the universal law governing the world. The meaning of Tao Lao Tzu described in his work ‘Tao-Te ching’ (‘The Book of the Way and Its Power’) (the word ‘Te’ means incarnation of Tao in material objects).

Taoism emphasizes inner contemplation and mystical union with nature; wisdom, learning and purposive action should be abandoned in favour of simplicity and idea of ‘wu-wei’ (‘non-action’),doing by not doing’ or letting things take their natural course). Lao Tzu believed that the way to happiness was for people to learn to ‘go with the flow’. Instead of trying to get things done the hard way, people should take the time to figure out the natural or easy way to do things, and then everything would get done more simply.

Lao Tzu also thought that everything alive in the universe (plants, animals, people) shared in a universal life-force. There were two sides to the life-force, which are called the yin and the yang. This picture is often used to show how the yin and the yang are intertwined with each other: . The yin (the dark side) is the side of women, the moon, things that are still like ponds, and completion and death. The yang (the light side) is the side of men, the sun, things that move like rivers, and creation and birth. While the yang energy rises to from heaven, yin solidifies to become earth. Everyone has some yin and some yang in them, and Taoism says that it is important to keep them balanced. Chinese doctors believed that a lot of illnesses were caused by too much yin or too much yang. So these two principles are mutually complementary.

Confucianism is a system of philosophical and ethical teachings founded by ^ Confucius (c. 551–479 BC) in sixth-fifth century BC. Confucianism (as opposed to legalism) stress the importance of education for moral development of the individual so that the state can be governed by moral virtue rather than by the use of coercive laws. In his main book ‘Mandate of Heaven’ Confucius stated such manifestations: 1) anyone can become King, 2) the power and authority of the King or emperor is appointed by Heaven, 3) only Kings or emperors were allowed to perform ritual of praying and offering to Heaven, 4) all mortals must obey the order of Heaven, 5) since the mandate is granted by Heaven, it is only natural to name the Heavenly Court as the Celestial Court.

A specialized meaning in Confucianism has ‘ritual’. The term ‘ritual’ (‘li’) was soon extended to include secular ceremonial behavior and eventually referred also to the propriety or politeness which colors everyday life. One of the most important Confucius’s creative works named ‘The Book of Filial Piety’. Filial piety is considered among the greatest of virtues and must be shown towards both the living and the dead (including even remote ancestors). The term ‘filial’ (meaning ‘of a child’) characterizes the respect that a child, originally a son, should show to his parents. This relationship was extended by analogy to a series of five relationships: 1) father to Son, 2) ruler to minister, 3) husband to wife, 4) elder brother to younger brother, 5) friend to friend (the participants in this relationship being equal to one another).

Confucius believed that social disorder often stemmed from failure to perceive, understand and deal with reality. Fundamentally, then, social disorder can stem from the failure to call things by their proper names and his solution to this was ‘zhèngmíng’ (literally ‘rectification of terms’).

In the political realm, a ruler, who embodies the ideal, will care about and provide for the people, who will be attracted to him; the moral example he sets will have a transforming effect on the people. Confucius as great humanist accepted meritocracy – a social system in which people get status or rewards because of what they achieve, rather than because of their wealth or social status.

Checklist

  1. Name the traditional philosophical schools of Ancient India. Identify the characteristic features of ancient Indian philosophy.

  2. Basic principles and features of the philosophical teachings of Lao Tzu and Confucius.

  3. What are the main materialistic philosophical schools of the Ancient East? Characterize them.



Topic 3. ANCIENT GREEK PHILOSOPHY


    1. The philosophy of nature in Ancient Greek and the Milesian school as its original center.

    2. Pythagoras’s teaching about mystery of numbers.

    3. Atomism of Leucippus and Democritus.

    4. The place and role of Socrates in the history of philosophical thought. The peculiarities of the sophists’ philosophizing.

    5. The essence and main principles of Plato’s philosophy.

    6. The philosophy of Aristotle, its influence on the future development of philosophy and science.


The basic concepts and categories: natural philosophy, cosmology, macrocosm, microcosm, geocentricism, heliocentricism, eidos, arche, apeiron, dialectics, logos, nous (mind), atom, determinism, euthumie, elenchus, eristic, guiding questions, irony, induction, anamnesis, matter and the form.

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