Saturday, June 8, 2019
Philosophy of Man Essay Example for Free
Philosophy of Man EssayMan seems to substantiate been quite a neglected subject in the history of Western philosophical system more attention has been paid to God and universe than to musical composition. Though there are many reputable histories of the specific branches of philosophy and tied(p) of some of its specific subjects such as logic morality, aesthetics, politics, law and history, a history of the philosophy of man has yet to be written and even vet to be conceived. h iodinest man has some cartridge holders been discussed as a part of this or that theory or system in ethics, politics or education, but such auxiliary discussions by their truly nature remain controlled by the requirements and presuppositions of a particular theory or system. al whizz this strikes rather ironical in view of the circumstance that, to the majuscule Socrates first of the founders of Western philosophy, the central theme of philosophy was non the manhood, but man. Socrates deep concern for the well- beingness of man makes him look like a prophet moving amongst the Greeks.In the celebrated Platonic Dialogue the Apology, Socrates is reported to have gone to God, hardly to be graced with a special message for his workfellow men. This Divine message exhorted the Athenians to take the greatest practical care of their souls and non to ruin their lives by letting the care of the body and of the possessions take precedence oer the thoroughly of the soul. Nay, they mustiness make their souls as good as assertable, making them like God. Socrates is, however, better kn suffer to us for his detailed and meticulous analyses of the good qualities of man such as justice, goodness, courage, temperance and so on.But what is more historic for us to note here is the woeful item that nowhere in completely the twenty-eight platonic Dialogues, we find Socrates giving as a definition of man. Perhaps even for Socrates, man was too much of a mystery, and a veritable ri ddle to be comprehended by a philosophical definition. Both Plato and Aristotle, after Socrates, ventured to give us definitions of man but these definitions, with collectable obligingness to these two great masters, unfortunately, are no longer tenable on confirmable grounds.Platos definition of man as a political animal, perhaps, reflects completely the intensely political atmosphere of the city-states of his geezerhood. We in our own days know aboundingy well that man in the pre-literate and primitive societies has neither state nor politics. Aristotles definition of man as a social animal, very sadly, casts a slur on his otherwise well-established reputation as the founder of a systematic and comparative Zoology. Soci business leader cannot be said to be the real hallmark of man to distinguish him from the animals. well-nigh of the animals, at quite a turn a federal agency rung of the exploitationary ladder, manifest as much sociability in their behaviour as man. The social insects like termites, ants, bees and wasps live in colonies and give do evidence of group-integration and division of lab our they have their kings and queens and workers and soldiers much as the homophile beings have. The definition of man as a rational animal not only carries the formidable authority of Aristotle but in any case the weight of a long tradition running finishedout the ages.This definition of man, to my mind, is more prescriptive than descriptive. It exhorts man to think rationally rather than describe the fact of mans actually thinking rationally. But it is an imperative or a command, and a good command indeed but for that very reason not a definition. It may be insisted that Aristotle, in his definition has made an empirical literary argument of the benign that man by virtue of the quality of rationality (differentia) inherent in him, al styles thinks rationally.In that case this definition is not satisfactory, beca habituate it is an incomplete defin ition which has taken rationality as the sole distinctive quality of man as it differentiates him from the animals. There are, however, other similar whimsical qualities of man differentiating him from the animals, which have been completely by-passed in Aristotles definitionqualities, for example, of artistic imagination and numinous sense of the presence of the Divine to all things. Aristotles- definition could give us only a fragmented man as if a featherless biped.Aristotles definition of man in terms of genus and differentia, Platos in terms of the tripartite division of the soul, and the great scholastic philosophers in terms of the indivisible soul-substance which does energy to us nor we do anything to it all of them seem to be some of the blind alleys in the history of philosophy. These definitions, however, are not all in all intendingless in any case they are better than Cartesians definition of man as an assembled organic machine ready to run, or behaviourists defin ition of him as a toy in the Watsonian box mercilessly caught between the stimulii and the responses.Classical philosophers definitions or conceptions of man are to be construed not through the detailed analyses of their philosophical terms but through a close and deep understanding of their whole philosophical posture. In case their definitions continue to remain unacceptable to us, even then we are to change not the definitions but the philosophical perspective from which these definitions have emerged. This is much like moving from the geocentric perspective to the heliocentric perspective in astronomy.But the change of a perspective in philosophy, as in other domains of human knowledge, usually entails a change in the methods of its study, like, for instance, examine the moon, through a telescope and studying it by landing on its surface, or more precisely, as Max Weber puts it, like studying the heathen phenomena through the usual methods of scientific explanation and studyi ng them through the method of interpretative understanding.Quite a few newborn perspectives in philosophy and even the new methods of their study came to be keenly discussed and elaborated in some of the major universities in Germany such as Munich, Hamburg and Berlin, somewhere in the 1020s. Some of these new perspectives or branches of philosophy and their methods may be roughly translated in English as Philosophy of Life, Study of the world Sciences, Study of the ethnic Sciences, Method of Spiritual Interpretation, Method of understanding (verstehn) in Human Sciences, and Method of Phenomenology.From the very titles of.these new branches of philosophy, it becomes clear that they especially focus their attention on man. The method, that the proponents of the new sciences of philosophy employ in the study of man is a highly technical affair broadly speaking, it may be characterized as an empirical method of the highest order. From the new undertakings and preoccupations of some of the distinguished German philosophers in the new philosophy, there emerged quite a few new disciplines such as a Philosophy of Culture, Philosophy of Symbolism, Biographical Studies and Philosophy of the Human Sciences.Among them was also the philosophy of man as a very specialized and self-governing discipline heard as Philosophical Anthropology or Anthropological Philosophy. By 1940 there were quite a few chairs for philosophy of man in some of, the renowned universities in Germany. After World War II interest in this discipline spread to Holland and France. Soon after it had its impact felt in the get together States possibly through the influence of the intimately distinguished German philosopher, Ernest Cassirer, who after having left Germany in 1933 had taught at Oxford and later chaired the Departments of Philosophy, at the universities of Yale and Columbia.He is perhaps the only German Philosopher to have been admitted to the distinction of the library of living phi losophers. Without any pretentions to originality the philosophers of man have acknowledged their great indebtedness to many of the philosophers of the past notably to Blaise Pascal, Goethe, Kant, Herder, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Feuerbach, Nietzsche. They have drawn their greatest inspiration, however, from the works of Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911) one of the greatest philosophers of history and culture. Dilthey is noted for his thoroughgoing empiricism and for the encyclopedic range of his academic interests.The roughly singular of his contributions to philosophy, however, is his twist of a new methodology for philosophy, and a Dew science of interpretation (Hermenutics) for the study of human sciences (Geisteswisseneschaften). He is reported to have worked on these major preoccupations of his for forty years. Diltheys works, prepared by a team of editors, have appeared in eighteen volumes with more to follow. A six-volume English translation of his selected works is being published by Princton University since 1984.Among the writers specifically on the philosophy of man in Germany, by far the most active of its exponents, is Max Scheler whose work Mans Place in Nature (Die Stellung des Mensehen in Kosmos. 1928) is perhaps the first ice- hander. Scheler was also the first to employ an independent method of phenomenology to the study of religion. He, however, is better known in the Anglo-Saxon world for his pioneer work on Sociology of Knowledge, the great merit of which has been recognized by th Max Weber and Karl Mannheim.Ernest Cassirer, generally known to us for being one of the earliest writers on Einsteins Theory of Relativity (1921), is in fact the most distinguished philosopher of symbolization. His very original theory of symbolism as exhibited variously in science, art, religion, myth and words, is elaborately expounded in his three-volume work Philosophy of Symbolic Forms (Philosophie der Symbolischen Formen, 1923-1929). This theory has given the new p hilosophy of man a firm empirical base it has also given to it a definitive starting point.Man, according to Ernest Cassirer, is essentially a symbolizing animal. It is mans unique ability to use symbols, or in the language of the Quran, the ability to learn things that differentiates man from the pre-human animals. It is through this unique ability to use symbols that man learnt to assign to objects, persons and advents certain(prenominal) meanings such as could not at all be grasped through the sensations. So long as man did not become aware of symbols, he remained at a take of mental existence in which the world was dark and opaque and meant nothing.But the moment man started using symbols he was, as if through a magic wand, awakened to a new mode of consciousness the consciousness of meanings. Mans awareness of, so to say, capturing the things by appoint meanings to them through the use of symbols, lifted him literally to a new dimension of human existence. This exaltation o f man to a new level of existence, verily because of his ability to use symbols is referred to in the Quran i. e. verse when Adam exhibited the ability to name things and this was beyond the angels spiritual dimensionangels prostrated themselves before him.It is interpreted sometimes to mean that it is verily through his ability to use linguistic process that man came to have a mysterious sway over everything that he touched or looked at. In the symbolic comprehension of meanings, the words dog, rat, rabbit, are not merely sounds but meaningful sounds. The meanings, however, are not inherent in the sounds (or in the shapes or the configurations of the garner in case of written words) as such, but are arbitrarily or conventionally assigned to them by human beings.The point to be noted here is that, in an articulate speech, the sensory sounds of the words have no intrinsic relations to the meanings intended by the speaker sounds or patterns of sounds are utilize merely as symbolic instruments or vehicles for the meanings. This explains very largely that though the anthropoid apes, in the so-called great-ape-language-experiments, usually succeed in picking up short series of single words, they utterly fail to develop a sense of contextual relevance of words as also to acquire the ability to link the words syntactically or as the experimenters put it Apes are complete blank in grammar. How and when did man learn to use symbols or words continues to remain an open incredulity. Plato was perhaps the first to broach the subject of the origin of language in his Dialogue The Cratylos. His discussion of the matter, however, was inconclusive as also were the notional theories of many classical philosophers who ventured into unravelling the mystery of language. Inquiries into the origin of language are now quite out of fashion with the modern philosophers and linguists.We must, however, note herethe position on this issue taken by Edward Burnett Tylor. He was, admitt edly, one of the most distinguished of the British anthropologists. He tells us that at some point in the evolution of primates, a threshold was r individuallyed in some line, or lines, when the ability to use symbols was suddenly realized and made explicit in overt behaviour. There is no intermediate stage, logical or neurological, between symbol ling and non-symbolling an individual or a species is either capable of symbolling or he or it is not. All that Tylor means to tell us here is that the ability to use symbols emerged through a kind of mysterious leap and is not the product of gradual and ceaseless process of evolution. This is clearly indicated by the, expression suddenly realized in the above passage. Instead of openly confessing his ignorance on the issue of the origin of symbolling, i. e. , language, Tylor seems here to clothe this ignorance by using the doubtful and debatable article of faith of leaps or jumps so popular with the Emergent and Creative Evolutionists. If both philosophy and science fail us in this matter, why not then accept the view given in the Scriptures that man learnt the names of things from God Himself and call it the divine theory of language. notwithstanding as scientists we are not to say that there are only perceptual symbols and completely ignore a whole class of symbols called the sacred symbols. The religious symbols constitute a peculiar language of their own which is quite as meaningful as scientific language only like the language of art, it has its own unique method of interpretation or in Diltheys words a unique Hermenutics.Having acquired the capacity to use symbols a bit more freely and having built up a sizable working lexicon of these symbols, man started his journey away from the physical world (merely a sensory world of the animals), created by the Lord, to a non-physical world, created by man himself as the Deputy of the Lord. Very briefly this new world of the Deputy is the world of, meanings and set giving a broad classificatory description of it, it is the world of language, myth, art, religion, philosophy, and science.It is however more convenient to call it the world of culture. It is to be noted here that animals cannot possibly be admitted to mans world of culture as earlier they could not be admitted to mans world of symbols. Culture and symbols indeed are like soul and body to each other. Hence it would not be inappropriate to say that culture, born of the inmost passions of mans psyche or spirit (Geist), always manifests itself in and through the dress of symbols.Much more essential, however, is the fact that it is only through its symbolic dress that culture receives a tangible form so that it can be safely stored in libraries, galleries, museums, and places of worship. Soon, culture assumes a personality of its own, independent of man, its creator. It then begins to move from generation to generation, and from epoch to epoch and manages to stalk in mans history as a power by itself. Culture thus comes to change its position with man and claims to be creator of man.The way culture is transmittable from one generation to another is the most wondrous of all the cultural phenomena. Nietzsche observed in his usual inclisive way that culture could be possessed by man unsocial for man alone is born as an unfinished animal. The human infant as compared to the infants of other animals is biologically much less organize as if it were born premature and certainly it is too much of a weakling to face the slightest blows of nature. Moreover this creature has to go a long way before it can lay claims to be on its own if ever it wouldOn the other hand the parents of this weakling are irresistibly attracted to it and extend to it the most affectionate care and love. The weaklings helplessness for a long stretched period of its infancy and the corresponding intense attachment of the parents (particularly of the mother) are some of the important constituen ts of a new phase of the human weaklings life. This phase has been termed as the second gestation or the extra-uterine gestation.It seems as if the infant at the time of its birth was released from the biological confines of the mother only to be thrown into the socio-cultural confines of the world. It has sometimes been said that most human animals move from the confines of one shell into those of another and never really are born, unless, of course, if they are helped through some kind of cultural maiuetics or spiritual midwifery. It is a well-known fact that a child learns his native language in the shortest possible span of time.By the age of six and even five most children would have learnt not only more than 90% of the basic vocabulary of their language but also its grammar, the correct form of its a lot of idioms, the right pronunciation, the proper set phrase or intonation, the appropriate choice of words to be addressed variously to parents, a sibling, a playmate, or a ser vant. This is amazing How does the child learn all this? I he simple and perhaps correct answer is The child learns all this through its skin.The child starts being sensitized right from the early days of its birth by a deeply emotionalized inter-personal involvement with a number of persons around it. The most important of these persons, of course, is the mother who starts teaching the child a new scheme of conditioned reflexes, soon to be developed into an elaborate system of symbols, not merely through the words of mouth but also through the soft and warm touches of her body, her hugs, her fondlings, her caresses, and her one and hundred kisses. The language as if it were, was being injected into the child.As the child grows up through boyhood and adolescence right into adulthood this language waistcloth with him and becomes the veritable part of his personality. It would not be for wrong to assert that the child gets enclosed for ever within the shell of its native language whic h it cannot possibly break through unless it chances to be a Ghalib or an Iqbal. It is exceedingly important to note here that the child imbibes its native culture through the same emotionally sensitized, subjectivized, internalized way as becomes available to it in learning the native language.Culture and language (scheme of symbols) are so closely tied to each other that it is well-nigh unaccepted to imagine a culture without its peculiar language nor is it possible to think of a language without its culture. To have a language without a culture is tantamount(predicate) to having words without meanings, which makes no sense. and so childs learning its native culture, and its learning the native language are not two processes but one in which the two are interwined with each other for their very existence.Some leading modern psychologists, however, are of the view that the child learns the whole value and feeling-system somatic in its culture much quicker than he learns the l anguage. The process of imbibing the culture they hold is comparatively more sensitized, more subjectivized and more internalized than that learning the language. diction on the other hand, is a bit more of a cognitive and schematic affair. Language further has more of an instrumental value to serve as a symbolic medium, while culture carries all the intrinsic meanings and values which are closest to the childs heart.The child internalizes all the cultural meanings and values of his milieu and they become real powerful ingredients of his personality. In other words the child gets snugly enclosed in a fully fortified, double-walled shell of language and culture for the rest of his life. The notion of the second, i. e. , the socio-cultural gestation of man is, thus, not to be labelled a mere speculation of the philosophical anthropologists but a doctrine well-rooted in the empirically grounded evidence.The above process of acculturation through which every human child has to pass has led some American psychologist, notably benedick pathos and Margaret Mead, to advance their doctrine of cultural determinism. According to this doctrine, even though individuals think that they make personal choices, at least, in such trivial matters as buying an article of clothing or eating or not eating a particular food in the restaurant, their choices are, in fact, fully obstinate by the socio-cultural milieu in which they have .been brought up. However bleak, gloomy or disheartening by this view of stark determinism might be, It is not easy to confound it. It carries weight in so far as it explains some important socio-cultural phenomena. Take, for instance, the strifes and conflicts between socio-cultural groups, small or big, belonging to this or that piece ,of land, in the randomness or the north, in the east or the west, subscribing to this or that religious view or ideological shiboleths.These social psychologists and culturologists tell us, are very largely due to t he fact that the socio-political behaviour of the individuals and more particularly of their leaders is dertermined in the final analysis by the forces residing within their respective socio-cultural shells. Cultural determinism as viewed by Ruth and Mead and even as conceived earlier by the behaviourists, the psycho-analysts and the historical materialists poses a real serious challenge to any philosophy of man.Philosophers like Dilthey and Scheler, however, insist that the solution to this ostensibly impossible problem is not theoretical but entirely practical and experiential. Culture, according to them, owes its origin, essentially to the extraordinary experiences and arduous creative work of the great prophets, the great artists, and the great philosophers and other great geniuses who have given new meanings and new dimensions to human life. These torch-bearers of life cannot be said to be passive product of socio-cultural forces of their milieu.The very fact that they have th e capacity to take these socio-cultural forces into their own hand and direct them into new channels in the light of their Geist falsifies any such view. Dilthey, however, goes farther and urges us to absorb and internalize the extraordinary experiences of these lumanaries of humanity to the best of our abilities so that these may be re-lived to the maximum possible extent in our own humble souls, Thus alone shall we be born again and be released from the bondage of cultural determinism.This is, however, by no means, an easy, affair. Nevertheless, it is a real uphill task. It may be recalled that Dilthey worked for full forty years on the sciences of human spirit (Geisteswissenscha ften ) then he could arrive at their methodology. This is a methodology, primarily, about transferring or transmitting the experiences of the great founders of human culture to the generality of mankind. Among other things, Dilthey has insisted on the experiential rather than the barely intellectual or ac ademical interpretations (Hermeunities) of the great texts.It is through the former type of interpretation alone that we are enabled to have true intuitive comprehension (Verstchn) of the inner import of these texts. It is heartening to note that Allama Iqbal has advocated a method for the comprehension of the text. of the Quran which is almost superposable with that of Dilthey. The Allama says in his Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam No understanding of the Holy prevail is possible until it is revealed to the believer just as it was revealed to the Prophet.This most remarkable narrative, unique in the history of Islamic thought, is to be found in the opening passage of Lecture VII of the Reconstruction, a, lecture addressed in the beginning to the very learned audience of the Aristotelian Society in London (on the 5th of December, 1932). Though the Allama has ascribed this statement to an unnamed Islamic Sufi (sic), I, on the hind end of my study of the Reconstruc tion and experience of expounding its text to a few generations of students for the last more than 20 years, beg to differ with him and aver that the said statement is positively his own.The Allama has ascribed it to an unknown Sufi, to my mind, only because he had great misgivings about the way it might be received by the traditional scholars of Islam. Let me add that the statement is purely prescriptive and not descriptive in the usual sense it does not refer to a fact, here a credal fact, i. e. , a belief it only exhorts us to do something in a certain way if we want to have a desired end. So, as a prescriptive statement, it potently recommends to us a method for the true comprehension of the meanings of the Quran.It tells us that a true believer must so deeply interiorize the meanings of the Holy Book that he starts almost re-living certain experiences on account of which, these meanings were comprehended by or revealed to the Prophet. Thus, the reference here is essentially to a spiritual process or method through which alone (and the true believers have no choice in this matter) a true believer would comprehend the meanings of the Quranic text closest possible to the comprehension of the Prophet. This perhaps is the only, though very arduous, way of deepening or intensifying our Islamic consciousness.The statement, however, is open to the misinterpretation that in so far as it recommends the believer to do something which is very close to Prophets very unique way of doing it, it implies or suggests that the believer is raised to the status of the Prophet and this is sacrilegeous. It is to be noted that the true believers being raised in his status is purely and entirely epistemic or experiential which is a blessing, not ontic, real, or actual which is impossible, or, as James Wards puts it, the most impossible of all things in the world.We cannot be a Plato or a Shakespeare, how can we be an Abraham, a Moses or a Muhammad? May God forgive us for any su ch thoughts. At the time of writing Lecture VII which embodies the above statement, i. e. , kinsfolk 1932, the Allama was very busy and much preoccupied in so many things Javid Nama was to come soon in December in October he was to leave for leash Round Table Conference and so on. He did not want to be disturbed just because the great traditional scholars would not renderstand him on an important academic statement of his so in haste he foisted it on a Islamic Sufi.Please note the rather unusual expression the Muslim Sufi, most unexpected of Iqbal, as perfect a master of English diction- as that of Persian. The Muslim Sufi, as if there could be also Christian or Hindu Sufis, betrays the very divided feelings or moments of hesitation at the time of thinking of this expression and tacitly nodding to it Let it go He was keenly aware of the profound religious meanings embodied in the above statement but also painfully aware of the spiritual opaqueness of his co-religionists who mig ht be displeased with it.He was divided between pleasing his eo-religionists and pleasing himself. So he chose to father the statement on a Muslim Sufi he would not name, and thus please both himself and his brethren in faith nobody would know that the Muslim Sufi was he himself. It is generally narrated that somewhere in early November, 1933, on way back from Afghanistan Iqbal told Syed Sulaiman Nadvi that the Sufi referred to in the above statement was no other than his own father. The very fact that the name of the author of the statement popped up signifies that the statement must have struck the Syed extraordinary.More notable, however, is the fact that the great Syed accepted Iqbals assertion as it was and did not comment on it nor added anything to it not even later. He did not say, for example I am so pleased to know this. But my dear friend, it is nothing very original, it may as well be found in Ghazali, Rumi, Ibn Arabi, Jili, Mujaddid Alit Thani, or any name like them. It looks rather odd that the Iqbal scholars have restfully agreed to foist such an important and methodologically most significant statement on a Sufi, who never had any pretensions whatsoever in the Sufi-lore nor in the subtle and profound ways of the Sufis.Would it be better to be rich and ugly, or poor but beautiful? The Philosophy of Man is another name for mans study of philosophy. Philosophy is defined as the study of general and fundamental problems. These problems are typically related to fields such as knowledge, existence, reason, mind, values and language. The come on that philosophers take is different from other ways of addressing the problems due to it being critical and systematic. It also carries a heavy reliance on rational argument.There are a number of different of branches of the Philosophy of Man, some of these are listed below. Metaphysics. This considers the study of the nature of reality. This can include the relationship between body and mind as well as s ubstance and accident and causation and events. Within metaphysics there are other branches including ontology and cosmology. Ethics. This is sometimes referred to as moral philosophy. Ethics deals mainly with the question about what is the best way to live and whether this is a question that can actually be answered.Ethics can be subdivided into normative ethics, applied ethics and meta-ethics. Epistemology. This is concerned with the scope and nature of knowledge. It also poses the question about whether knowledge is possible. It is often concerned with the challenge posed by skepticism and studies the relationships between truth, acknowledgment and belief. Logic. Within philosophy the study of logic is that of valid argument forms. The subject of logic can be separated into two branches, mathematical logic and philosophical logic. Political philosophy.The study of the government and the relationship of individuals to states is something that is becoming more popular within t he philosophical world. Questions are posed about justice, law, rights and obligations and it is often closely conjugate with ethics. Philosophy A philosophy is a system of beliefs about reality. It is ones integrated view of the world. It includes an understanding of the nature of existence, man, and his role in the world. Philosophy is the foundation of knowledge. It is the well-worn by which ideas are integrated and understood.Philosophy is a necessary product of mans rational mind. To live, man must gain knowledge of the world. To understand the world, man must form conclusions about its very nature. For instance, to gain knowledge of particular objects, man must recognize that objects have identity. He must recognize that conclusions are possible because the world does exist, and exists in a particular way. Philosophy provides the framework for which man can understand the world. It provides the premises by which man can discover truth, and use his mind to support his life.Ev ery man has an understanding of the world. Every man must have a philosophy, even if it is never made explicit. Philosophy of the Human Persons Selected Theses The following are the five (5) selected theses that I shall endeavourto explicate and exemplify 1. Philosophy is the science of knowledge. But the outcome of any philosophical dubiousness is determined by its starting place . Michael Novak (Belief and Unbelief) 2. The intrinsic objectivity of humancognitional activity is its intentionality. Bernard Lonergan, SJ (CognitionalStructure) 3. Reflection is one of the lifes ways of rising from one level of being to another Gabriel Marcel (Primary and Secondary Reflection TheExistential Fulcrum) 4. Each symbol gives rise to comprehension by meansof interpretation . Paul Ricoeur (The Symbol Food for Thought) and 5. Wehave the empiric presence which is a common spiritual bond in virtue of which each is present in the other and participates in the being of another -Engelbert train Croonenburg (Man and Fellow- Man). Philosophy.