Monday, January 9, 2017

Philosophy and its branches

Axiology: the study of value. What is value? Think of something in terms of good or bad, i.e., "I hate broccoli." "I love R&B." "I hate roaches." "What she did to her sister was wrong." "Citizens United vs. FEC is a wrong decision and sends a bad message to the American people." "My grandma's chicken soup is still the best."" I'm not crazy about Picasso's art."

Imagine what law, food, art, economy, human relationships would be without axiology. A wasteland.

An important question at this point is this: is the value we posit objective or subjective? In other words,

Is Catena Malbec 2014 good because I lived in Argentina, or am Argentinian, instead of the juice in the bottle?
When we say "Slavery is wrong" are we talking about now, 2017, or about any time in the past or the future?

Axiology is divided into two:

Ethics: the evaluation of human actions, i.e. right and wrong conduct.

Here we have different branches.
Metaethics, the study of the nature of ethical properties, statements, attitudes, and judgments.
Descriptive ethics: People's beliefs about morality.
Normative ethics: The branch of philosophical ethics that investigates the set of questions that arise when considering how one ought to act, morally speaking.
Applied ethics: the analysis, from a moral standpoint, of particular issues in private and public life which are matters of moral judgment.

Ponder this: What makes an action right?

the action's results
the action's intentions
the emotive responses towards the action
the action itself
what (people, society, culture) think of it 

Key words: right, wrong.

Aesthetics: the study of value in the arts or the inquiry into feelings, judgments, or standards of beauty and related concepts.

What makes something beautiful, ugly, elegant, awful, attractive, charming, clumsy, mysterious, etc?
Are aesthetic properties objective, subjective or inter-subjective?

Key words: beautiful, ugly, amazing (sublime).

Ponder this: Is the sunset beautiful if no one sees it? or better, is there unseen beauty, majesty?
See that though we didn't witness the Big Bang, the idea of such an event has given physicists plenty to talk about. We've seen simulations of it in the movies.

Epistemology: the study of knowledge.

Epistemology investigates the origin, structure, methods, and integrity of knowledge.

How much do we actually know? More importantly: Is our knowledge warranted?

What is the difference between belief and knowledge?

Do I hold false beliefs?

Key words: belief, truth, justification, explanation.

Metaphysics: the study of what is really real. This is a bit heavy.  We're dealing here with principles. The question in metaphysics is the existence status of any kind of stuff.

Consider the truths of mathematics: how is it that a triangle exists? Are points, lines, or planes really real?

What is a soul?

Under what conditions are these entities possible?

Key words: identity, change, being, necessity, accident, category, etc.