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IGNOU BPYC 134 Solved Assignment 2022-23

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Submission Date :

  • 31st March 2033 (if enrolled in the July 2033 Session)
  • 30th Sept, 2033 (if enrolled in the January 2033 session).

Give Answer of all five questions.
All five questions carry equal marks.
Answer to question no. 1 and 2 should be in about 400 words each.


1. Write a note on the salient features of Modern western philosophy.

Or

What is Kant’s view on the Nature of Knowledge? Explain and analyze.

INTRODUCTION

Philosophy is the search for comprehensive view of nature, an attempt at a universal explanation of things. The ideas of philosophy have evolved with social necessity of times. Philosophy is neither science nor religion, though historically it has been entwined with both. In the beginning the distinction between science, religion, and philosophy was not as clear as it became in later centuries. The function of philosophy is critical evaluation of our beliefs and clarification of concepts. Philosophy is the search for conceptual clarity in all areas of life. Philosophy maintains the distinguishing features of abstraction and concern for truth. Philosophers analyse and clarify concepts. Philosophy tries to explore critically the foundations of human practices, such as science, politics, religion or morality. The distinctive feature of philosophy is logical argument. Philosophers engage in arguments either by inventing of their own or by criticizing other people or doing both. Philosophy involves expounding existing ideas, creating new imaginative ideas, and critically assessing the soundness of the arguments put forward in support of views claimed to be true. Philosophers are often debated what is ultimate reality? How do we know that reality? What constitutes good life? What is the meaning of life? These questions gave rise to branches of philosophy such as metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, logic and aesthetics. These questions are interrelated in evaluating the social reality and in understanding the world in order to lead a good life. Western philosophy is a philosophy evolved from western civilization and its historical development. With changing socio- economic and political conditions, western philosophy too changed over a period of time. But it had maintained its continuity from Greek philosophy to the contemporary times.

BRIEF HISTORY OF WESTERN PHILOSOPHY

The philosophical ideas have to be understood historically. The social context plays a crucial role in understanding the ideas of philosophers. In fact, our ideas emerged out of social tensions and chaos of the world. Philosophy is a social expression of this situation and provides comprehensive understanding of social reality. Philosophical ideas not only provide clarification but also lead for betterment of life. In other words, philosophers prompt a direction for humanity by providing the comprehensive and critical understanding of the world in which they live. Historically, Western philosophy has enriched by many philosophers of western countries. In ancient times, Greco-Romans are the leading philosophers. In medieval times, the Greek philosophy has influenced the religion and comes with philosophy of religion. The modern philosophy developed with industrial revolution of the west. Though British, German and French and American and other European nations have different social and political contexts, there are efforts to construct philosophical thought of these as western. Within west, we may find different philosophical traditions with different styles of doing philosophy and at the same time we may find some kind of convergence of philosophical thought commonly identified as western philosophy. The western philosophy finds its roots in Greek philosophy of 6th century B.C. Greek philosophy has considered as a starting point for western philosophy. The later philosophy has shaped by this philosophy. In other words, the very definition and nature of philosophy of west has identified, continued and developed further from the Greek philosophy. The Greek philosophy has not only speculated about the world, but also tries to differ from the religion and theology. It has its roots in naturalism and critical about prejudice, beliefs and tradition. ‘From the very beginning, Greek philosophy was an intellectual activity, for it was not a matter only of seeing or believing but of thinking , and philosophy meant thinking about basic questions in a mood of genuine and free inquiry.’ (Stumf, p.4)

Greco-Roman Philosophy
The early Greek philosophers are concerned about the nature of things. What is everything made of, or what kind of stuff goes into the composition of things? What is permanent in existence? Thales considered the element ‘water’ as the foundation of all physical reality. Others were following Thales with alternative solutions. The Pythagoras came with mathematical basis of all things. There are attempts to explain change and permanence. Heraclitus came with a proposition that ‘ all things are in flux’. Parmenides, the founder of Eleatic school of philosophy is critical about both Heraclitus and Milesian philosophies that all things emerge out of something else. He rejects very notion of change and considered phenomenon of change is basically an illusion. For him, the concept of change was logically neither thinkable nor expressible. Whatever exists ‘must be absolutely, or not at all. Thales believes that every thing is made up of water, Anaximenes believes everything is made of air, Anaximander believes that everything s made up of ‘boundless’, Democritus believes everything is made up of atoms. Ancient Greek philosophy may be divided into the pre-Socratic period, the Socratic period, and the post-Aristotelian period. The pre-Socratic period was characterized by metaphysical speculation, often preserved in the form of grand, sweeping statements, such as “All is fire”, or “All changes”. Important pre-Socratic philosophers include Thales, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Democritus, Parmenides, and Heraclitus. The Socratic period is named in honor of the most recognizable figure in Western philosophy, Socrates, who, along with his pupil Plato, revolutionized philosophy through the use of the Socratic Method, which developed the very general philosophical methods of definition, analysis, and synthesis. While Socrates wrote nothing himself, his influence as a “skeptic” survives through Plato’s works. Plato’s writings are often considered basic texts in philosophy as they defined the fundamental issues of philosophy for future generations. These issues and others were taken up by Aristotle, who studied at Plato’s school, the Academy, and who often disagreed with what Plato had written. The postAristotelian period ushered in such philosophers as Euclid, Epicurus, Chrysippus, Hipparchia the Cynic, Pyrrho, and Sextus Empiricus.

 

Renaissance

The Renaissance saw an outpouring of new ideas that questioned authority. Roger Bacon (1214– 1294) was one of the first writers to advocate putting authority to the test of experiment and reason. Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) challenged conventional ideas about morality. Francis Bacon (1561–1626) wrote in favor of the methods of science in philosophical discovery. Renaissance, embracing the classical tradition, highlighted the Greek culture as supreme achievement in western civilization, and also had a stressing the importance of this world, by emphasizing the dignity of man, by championing the possibilities of reason and pointed to a new scientific age. The ideal of Humanism was the most important intellectual development emerged out of renaissance. It has belief in man and a passion for learning. Humanists believed that reason is self –sufficient and more important than faith. Though the ideals of humanism in renaissance age mostly confined to aristocratic class, it stresses exact knowledge, the validity of reason and need for moderation in making intellectual assertions. Interestingly, the period of renaissance coincided with an expansion of Western Europe. Nature was regarded as the standard of all things. The Machiavelli, the renaissance thinker believed that religion should be dominated by the state. It did not matter whether a religion were true or false. Machiavelli, the realist viewed man not an image of God but as a creature governed by self-interest. In philosophy, the Renaissance refers to the period of the break-up of feudalism (15th to early 17th century), when trade grew up around the merchants and craftspeople of Northern Italy particularly, and a bourgeois society began to flourish and gave rise to a humanist culture in opposition to the official scholasticism.

Modern Western Philosophy

The modern philosophy begins with immense faith in human capacity to know every thing. The authority of the church was diminished and the authority of science got increasing. Though the method of philosophy was radically changed with modern western philosophy, but the much of its content remained same. The medieval philosophy had close nexus to theology, but the modern philosophy was subservient to scientific methodology. The modern philosophy developed the philosophical method, formation of philosophical systems and humanism. The modern western philosophy flourished with philosophical traditions of Rationalism of Descartes, Leibniz and Spinoza, and Empiricism of Locke, Berkley and Hume. The reconciliation of these two can be seen with enlightenment philosopher Kant. It has taken to further heights by the Hegel through his method of Dialectical idealism, and Dialectical Materialism of Marx. The modern western philosophy has further carried by analytical, phenomenological and continental philosophical traditions.


2. Explain and analyze Descartes mind-body dualism.

Or

How does Descartes prove the existence of the External world?

In the philosophy of mind, mind–body dualism denotes either the view that mental phenomena are non-physical,[1] or that the mind and body are distinct and separable. Thus, it encompasses a set of views about the relationship between mind and matter, as well as between subject and object, and is contrasted with other positions, such as physicalism and enactivism, in the mind–body problem. Aristotle shared Plato’s view of multiple souls and further elaborated a hierarchical arrangement, corresponding to the distinctive functions of plants, animals, and people: a nutritive soul of growth and metabolism that all three share; a perceptive soul of pain, pleasure, and desire that only people and other animals share; and the faculty of reason that is unique to people only. In this view, a soul is the hylomorphic form of a viable organism, wherein each level of the hierarchy formally supervenes upon the substance of the preceding level. For Aristotle, the first two souls, based on the body, perish when the living organism dies, whereas remains an immortal and perpetual intellective part of mind. For Plato, however, the soul was not dependent on the physical body; he believed in metempsychosis, the migration of the soul to a new physical body. It has been considered a form of reductionism by some philosophers, since it enables the tendency to ignore very big groups of variables by its assumed association with the mind or the body, and not for its real value when it comes to explaining or predicting a studied phenomenon. Dualism is closely associated with the thought of René Descartes (1641), which holds that the mind is a nonphysical—and therefore, non-spatial—substance. Descartes clearly identified the mind with consciousness and self-awareness and distinguished this from the brain as the seat of intelligence. Hence, he was the first documented Western philosopher to formulate the mind–body problem in the form in which it exists today. Dualism is contrasted with various kinds of monism. Substance dualism is contrasted with all forms of materialism, but property dualism may be considered a form of emergent materialism or non-reductive physicalism in some sense.

Substance or Cartesian dualism

Substance dualism, or Cartesian dualism, most famously defended by René Descartes, argues that there are two kinds of foundation: mental and physical. This philosophy states that the mental can exist outside of the body, and the body cannot think. Substance dualism is important historically for having given rise to much thought regarding the famous mind–body problem. Copernican Revolution and the scientific discoveries of the 17th century reinforced the belief that the scientific method was the unique way of knowledge. Bodies were seen as biological organisms to be studied in their constituent parts (materialism) by means of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and physics (reductionism). The mind-body dualism remained the biomedical paradigm and model for the following three centuries. Substance dualism is a philosophical position compatible with most theologies which claim that immortal souls occupy an independent realm of existence distinct from that of the physical world. In contemporary discussions of substance dualism, philosophers propose dualist positions that are significantly less radical than Descartes’s: for instance, a position defended by William Hasker called Emergent Dualism seems, to some philosophers, more intuitively attractive than the substance dualism of Descartes in virtue of its being in line with (inter alia) evolutionary biology.

Property dualism Main article:

Property dualism Property dualism asserts that an ontological distinction lies in the differences between properties of mind and matter, and that consciousness may be ontologically irreducible to neurobiology and physics. It asserts that when matter is organized in the appropriate way (i.e., in the way that living human bodies are organized), mental properties emerge. Hence, it is a sub-branch of emergent materialism. What views properly fall under the property dualism rubric is itself a matter of dispute. There are different versions of property dualism, some of which claim independent categorisation.[12] Non-reductive physicalism is a form of property dualism in which it is asserted that all mental states are causally reducible to physical states. One argument for this has been made in the form of anomalous monism expressed by Donald Davidson, where it is argued that mental events are identical to physical events, however, relations of mental events cannot be described by strict law-governed causal relationships. Another argument for this has been expressed by John Searle, who is the advocate of a distinctive form of physicalism he calls biological naturalism. His view is that although mental states are ontologically irreducible to physical states, they are causally reducible. He has acknowledged that “to many people” his views and those of property dualists look a lot alike, but he thinks the comparison is misleading.

Epiphenomenalism Main article: Epiphenomenalism Epiphenomenalism is a form of property dualism, in which it is asserted that one or more mental states do not have any influence on physical states (both ontologically and causally irreducible). It asserts that while material causes give rise to sensations, volitions, ideas, etc., such mental phenomena themselves cause nothing further: they are causal dead-ends. This can be contrasted to interactionism, on the other hand, in which mental causes can produce material effects, and vice versa.

Predicate dualism

Predicate dualism is a view espoused by such non-reductive physicalists as Donald Davidson and Jerry Fodor, who maintain that while there is only one ontological category of substances and properties of substances (usually physical), the predicates that we use to describe mental events cannot be redescribed in terms of (or reduced to) physical predicates of natural languages.[14][15] Predicate dualism is most easily defined as the negation of predicate monism. Predicate monism can be characterized as the view subscribed to by eliminative materialists, who maintain that such intentional predicates as believe, desire, think, feel, etc., will eventually be eliminated from both the language of science and from ordinary language because the entities to which they refer do not exist. Predicate dualists believe that so-called “folk psychology,” with all of its propositional attitude ascriptions, is an ineliminable part of the enterprise of describing, explaining, and understanding human mental states and behavior. For example, Davidson subscribes to anomalous monism, according to which there can be no strict psychophysical laws which connect mental and physical events under their descriptions as mental and physical events. However, all mental events also have physical descriptions. It is in terms of the latter that such events can be connected in law-like relations with other physical events. Mental predicates are irreducibly different in character (rational, holistic, and necessary) from physical predicates (contingent, atomic, and causal).


3. Answer any two of the following questions in about 200 words each.
a) What is the idea of causality? How does Hume criticize the idea of causation? 
b) Compare Spinoza’s idea of Substance with Descartes’ and Locke’s idea of Substance. 
c) What are Innate Ideas? How Locke criticizes the concept of innate ideas? 
d) Explain briefly the significance of Pre-established harmony in Leibniz’s philosophy.

4. Answer any four of the following questions in about 150 words each. 
a) How does Locke distinguish between intuitive and demonstrative knowledge? 
b) Examine Berkley’s refutation of materialism. 
c) “Thoughts without content are empty and intuitions without concepts are blind.” Explain this dictum of Kant. 
d) How does Spinoza prove that God is the only independent substance?

e) Write a note on the idea of pre-established harmony.

f) Write a short note on the Locke’s representative theory of perception. 


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5. Write short notes on any five of the following in about 100 words each.
a) Alienated Labour 
b) Enlightenment 
c) Synthetic A-priori and Analytic A-priori 
d) Tabula rasa 
e) Descartes’s Scientific Method 
f) Cogito, ergo sum 
g) Hegel’s idea of Absolute Truth 
h) The Intellectual love for God


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