Danielle Allen’s “Rhetoric, a Good Thing”

In this chapter from Talking to Strangers, Dr. Allen points out that: In political controversies, there will always be logical arguments for a counterposition, on the basis of exactly the same facts. In this circumstance, no amount of logical argument will determine which speaker to trust. Audiences will turn to assessments of character, and so our …

Why Does Socrates/Plato Maintain that Learning Is Recollection?

Learning objectives Analyze Socrates’/Plato’s theory of learning Discuss role of noumena and phenomena in their argument. What do we recollect? In order to answer this, we must look at the trail left in the dialogue. The initial premises are that souls (ψυχη, psyche) exist and that there is a dimension of Perfection and Truth (this is …

The Four Noble Truths and the Three Marks of Existence

Week 11, Lecture 1 Learning Objectives Define karma. Explain Buddhism’s Three Marks of Existence. As we mentioned previously, the Prajñaparamita (“perfect wisdom”) sutras were the first sutras to be translated into Chinese. The Prajñaparamita (“perfect wisdom”) sutras represent the earliest layer of Mahayana sutra literature. The Heart Sutra and the Diamond Sutra belong to a …

Descartes

Learning Objectives Discuss extensional objects vs. intentional objects Define ontology We’ve previously discussed philosophical realism and understand that in the realist scheme there is the world we experience (phenomenal) and there is the realm of Truth (noumenal). According to this mode of thinking, we cannot experience things-in-themselves because what they truly are, their noumenal reality, …

Vedic and Upanishadic Roots of Buddhism

Week 10, Lecture 2 Learning Objectives Discuss four goals in Upanishadic life Define atman During the sixth century BCE a group of nomadic Aryan people crossed the Khyber pass and entered into the Ganges river valley, crossing from Central Asia into the Indian subcontinent. These Aryan people recited and practiced rituals delineated by their ancient …

Setting the Stage for Buddhism to Enter China

Week 10, Lecture 1 Learning Objectives Define ziran 自然. Discuss the role dao 道 played in translating Buddhism into Chinese. Kongzi died in 479 BCE, just before the Warring States period began to rage. Over the next two centuries the states that had broken away from the Zhou dynasty fought one another for supremacy. Finally, in 221 BCE, the …

Philosophical Realism and Xin 心

Week 9, lecture 2 Learning Objectives Discuss philosophical realism. Define xin 心. Realism, as we use the term in Philosophy, generally means that things, stuff, “the world out there” exist independently of whether or not we observe it. If what is real does exist independently of whether or not we observe it, then how do …