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Eugene W. Prewitt

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Guide A2 The Terms of Philosophy





Love of Knowledge; Philosopher – one who lives in a way appropriate for knowing and sharing a love of knowledge. The word “philosophy” may refer to the collective ideas one has about philosophical issues.




                What is real? Literally “beyond physics”, metaphysics poses questions that can not be answered by experiment.


Cosmology           How did the Universe come to be?

Theology               What is true regarding God? Does He exist? What is His nature?

Anthropology       What is true regarding man? What is His nature?

Ontology               What is existence? Is there a non-physical existence? Does ‘spirit’ exist?




How do we know what is real and true? Can we be sure? Is truth relative or absolute? subjective, or objective?


To the first question, people posit a variety of answers:

Empiricism            The senses, by experiment

Revelation            Inspired utterances or writings

Authority               From those that know, those that are right, those in authority

Rationalism          Reason, by thinking it through

Intuition                                Gut reaction, 6th sense, enlightenment


To the second, several tests have been suggested


Correspondence   Does it agree with the facts?

Coherence             Does it makes sense internally? Is it consistent?

Pragmatism          Does it work? Is it useful? Does



                What has value?


Morris and Morris                Conceived vs. Operative Values, Tactical and Strategic Values


Ethics                     What is morally upright? What should one do? What is the “good life”?

Aesthetics              What is beautiful? What is attractive?


Education and Philosophy


Our views regarding metaphysics and epistemology may be described in terms of presuppositions. This is because we can not really know “how” to find truth without having truth to tell us “how.” And we can not be sure that the “truth” that tell us “how” is true without having an idea of “how” to know what is truth. This dilemma, known as the epistemological-metaphysical dilemma, leaves man hanging.


Faith is how we start answering philosophical questions. Dead or alive, faith alone is the only basis by which even the absolute atheist can arrive at his metaphysics and epistemology.


Faith: Living by a set of philosophical presuppositions. Living faith has Christian presuppositions.

For the Word Doc, click here:A_Terms_of_Philosophy

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