A Student’s Guide to Philosophy

Topic: EducationTeacher
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Last updated: April 3, 2019

In his book, “A Student’s Guide to Philosophy,” Ralf M.

Mclnerny teaches the true meaning of philosophy. He also discusses the past, the present, and the future of philosophy. He describes how philosophy changed from how it was in the beginning of time to how it is now.

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According to McInerny, philosophers used to have more common sense and believe in the truth; but now they seem to lose the main purpose of philosophy. Now they’re more concerned with being poets. McInerny talks about the most famous philosopher of all time, Aristotle, and all his accomplishments, and how he shaped up the world. But most importantly he talks about how everyone is a philosopher and that it cannot be avoided.Philosophy was first studied by the Greeks in 6th century B.C; but that does not necessarily mean that they were the first philosophers. Everyone has always asked themselves the most famous of all questions, “Where did it all begin?” They are surprised when they find out the truth about philosophy; but they do not realize that they themselves where doing the same thing all along. For one to really understand philosophy you must grasp the true meaning of common sense.

According to Aristotle, everyone desires to learn the meaning. “A sign of this is the pleasure we take in our senses…” (page 12, line 8). You are walking down the street you smell a bad odor you wonder, right away your mind starts to create an image of what it is that is causing this scent. Even though you might not care, your intellect will react to it, trying to acquire knowledge of that scent.I don’t blame the author for thinking that Descartes is absurd for his ideas.

Descartes limits the knowledge of man; he argues that man does not know anything in this world and never will. In my opinion, Descartes closed his eyes and tried to see the world for what it is; meanwhile, Aristotle used all his senses and most of all his intellect to find out the truth of this world that we live in. Aristotle gave everyone hope and truth about the world that we live in; meanwhile, Descartes and the rest of the sophists took that away from everyone when they told them that all that they know is not true.There are two types of philosophers: Sophists and Realists. Sophists do not believe in truth; they believe in imaginary worlds. They are more concerned about becoming poets than philosophers; they are merely trying to distinguish themselves from the rest of the philosophers. Realists, on the other hand, believe in common sense, the truth, and the real world. The big problem the sophists caused this world was a huge setback; they made us go back before the times of Aristotle.

They lost all his beliefs and his truth. “Nietzschean phase, we have now reached, philosophers are urged to forget about the truth and become strong poets” (page 9, lines 8-10). The author explains how the true meaning of philosophy is lost, and how it is merely money they are after.Aristotle’s studies were passed onto the early Middle Ages.

The rise of religions was a successor of Aristotle’s studies and vice versa. Reason and faith both go together and develop the world. Aristotle explains how the soul is immortal: since the soul is alive, it lives on after the body dies. Aristotle also states that the intellect will always keep learning even after the body dies. It will live along with the soul. Religion also talks about how the soul is immortal and takes Aristotle’s studies a bit further with heaven and hell. During the Middle Ages, a lot of monasteries, cathedrals and schools arose which followed the teachings of both Aristotle’s philosophies and religion.Common sense is an essential part of philosophy.

According to Aristotle, common sense starts from the very beginning or fixed beliefs. That means what is right in front of your eyes and then you can assume what will happen next. If you throw a rock in a container of water, the water will splash.

Therefore the water splashing was the result of someone throwing the rock. Aristotle would agree, but modern philosophers would say that the water was splashing before you threw the rock; your mind fooled you and you imagined the effect which would be the water splashing. Based on this, we can conclude that common sense is an essential part of philosophy and in order to study philosophy one must come to understanding what common sense is.

Ralf M. Mclnerny also discusses the famous story of Socrates’ allegory of the cave. Socrates gives an example of a group of prisoners sitting facing a dark wall, behind them is a fire, and people talking and their shadows are drawn on the dark wall. if you turn those prisoners around, their first reaction would be their eyes hurting, then they would try to figure out what is around them by using all their senses and their intellect.

And the story continues and they leave the prison and so on. They soon discover what is real, and learn to see the world. Following the Socrates story, Aristotle says “everyone has a capacity to know”.”Principle of contradiction” has a lot of definitions, but all same meaning: one cannot be one thing and another at the same time; a thing cannot be true and false at same time, and many others. In my opinion, this falls under common sense. Of course you cannot agree and disagree at the same time, you must choose one and follow it with facts.

A lot of sophists fall under this principle. They would say one thing and oppose themselves at the same time. For example, Immanuel Kant, who created categories, says that man does not know anything; the mind tricks man into creating reality which is really an illusion and an imaginary world. But if you show him an apple and ask him if it’s real, he would say that he does not know, he sees it in front of him and he can hold it and taste it and enjoy it, but yet he would say it is just an illusion.

“A Student’s Guide to Philosophy” is a great book, for a second I thought the world has lost its common sense. I was really disturbed by how people actually believed and followed what Descartes, Immanuel Kant, and all the other sophists who caused this chaos in the world. Sophists are people who destroyed the future of mankind and believe in nothing and contradict themselves and their theories.Mclnerny really revived my soul; I was really satisfied to see someone else who is outraged by the nonsense that these modern philosophers have said. I also agree with him, Aristotle’s studies did shape this world into a better place, until the sophists came about. But let us not forget Socrates and Plato because they are both teachers and they taught Aristotle, who later on advanced in their teachings and perfected them.

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