Introduction

Foundations of Theoretical and Practical Philosophy

Module Introduction

Topics

  • How are human values evaluated?
  • Where do we come from, and where are we going?
  • Are we free or determined? *What is the examined life? What is knowledge?

This module will focus on the themes of understanding and exploring:

  • The basic ideas of the Pre-Socratic philosophers and other early thinkers
  • The differences among monist, pluralist, and atomist theories of ancient cosmology
  • The contribution that the ancient philosophers have made to the history of ideas

In the last chapter, we learned about how philosophy has been divided in the West into three major branches, and that Pythagoras, an early Greek philosopher was, according to tradition, the first to coin the term, philosopher-“lover of wisdom”. Pythagoras, in the history of philosophy, is known as a Pre-Socratic philosopher, because he lived before the time of Socrates.

In this module, we will study the ideas of some of the other Pre-Socratic philosophers and other early thinkers to discover what questions they were asking and trying to answer about themselves and their world, as we explore the foundations of some of our basic philosophical questions in axiology, epistemology, and metaphysics.

We will also introduce the foundations of philosophical questioning in metaphysics and epistemology in the Indian Vedic tradition and early Chinese experience of Zen. (1)

Learning Outcomes

  1. Recognize the relationships between cultural expressions and their contexts.
  2. Recognize concepts in metaphysics, axiology, and epistemology and the context of their development.
  3. Comprehend the scope of philosophic inquiry and how beliefs are formed and justified especially within a particular cultural construct.
  4. Understand the principles of freedom, determinism and moral responsibility in human interaction.

Objectives

Upon completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • Explain the basic ideas of the Pre-Socratic philosophers and other early philosophers.
  • Define and distinguish the differences among monist, pluralist, and atomist theories of ancient cosmology.
  • Describe the contribution that the ancient philosophers have made to the history of ideas. (1)

Readings & Resources

Supplemental Materials

(Note: These materials are considered supplemental and thus are not used for assessment purposes)

Assignments & Learning Activities

  • Review Introduction
  • Review Readings and Resources
  • Review Learning Unit
  • Take Quiz 1