Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Midterm Review for Intro Philosophy

These are the topics to review for the Introduction to Philosophy Midterm


Shamanism: “One who knows”, common world culture of early tribal society, forms that appear in world religions, ecstatic experience as ‘standing outside’, initiation rites and ‘rebirth’, investigating problems and seeking visions of solutions, the All-Tree, the problem of the One and the Many, the problem of destiny after death, stories as transmission of knowledge

City State Priests & Egypt: Societies gather into larger societies and settle, authorities become traditional, specialization of experts and scholars, eternal stars of fire as order above, water as chaos below, air as ordering breath or communication, Egyptian wisdom texts show criticism of society and human behaviors, heart centered individual, warring state periods good for thought, polytheism to monotheism to abstract solar monotheism

Hinduism, Jainism & Buddhism: Three paths of worship (Bhakti devotion, Raja asceticism, Jnana scholarship), trinity of Brahma, Vishnu (salvation) and Shiva (destruction), multitude of gods who are yet are not these three, two types of afterlife (reincarnation and release of Nirvana), Vedas as multiple origin stories, Upanishads as philosophical ‘that is you’ inner meaning, Jain influence on Buddhism and Hinduism, Mahavira and the Tirthankaras, two principles of skepticism (non-one-endedness and postulation), practice of asceticism and austerities (fasting, postures, meditation), Jain all karma as negative and total release as joining the order of the cosmos, the Jain metaphor of the leaky boat (plugging and bailing), Buddhism concepts of Four Noble Truths, Doctrine of the Mean, Codependent Arising

Heraclitus: All is One/Fire/Cosmic Mind, all particular things are impermanent (even gods/planets), experts do not know much more than the common people, we are all apes to the gods, can’t step in the same river twice, perspective changing how things are

Plato: Parmenides over Heraclitus, Forms/Ideas as eternal models of things, the three parts of the soul (appetite, spirit and reason) corresponding to the three classes of the city (workers, police and philosophers), allegory of the cave

Confucianism: Mandate of Heaven as abstract monotheism, social order and rites (Li) as strength of society, study and civil service over meditation and nature of Daoism, criticism of the individual and equating others with oneself, right mind/intention over right body/action, love (Ren) as center of human and system, recognition of the lowest as oneself and self criticism, Neo-Confucianism as blend with Daoism and Buddhism

Daoism: Return to nature and stillness, seeing both sides of judgment, Yin and Yang symbol, influence on Chinese Buddhism and Zen, the great One/Way as nameless above all named 10,000 things, water-like in fluidity and getting everywhere, the wheel as both solid and empty together, Zhuan Zi and perspective, Cook Ting, all humans are ugly to minnows and deer, the Peng bird vs. dove and cicada