Philosophy 101

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Philosophy is defined by Webster as "Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline" or "Investigation of the nature, causes, or principles of reality, knowledge, or values, based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods." This essay is a general look at those who pursued that intellectual means, those who investigated, even those who reasoned Reason. Because volumes could be written and this is a rather quick, unworthy paper: apologizes.

Hegel's philosophy of History, on of the greatest in the philosophy cannon, is the great philosophers greatest body of work. The philosophy of History is based on such ideals as the idea that Reason rules history. George Hegel used Immanuel Kant's system of philosophy as a basis for his own, discarding a few ideas and adding some more. Particularly, he found fault with his idea of the underlying reality of everything, or "noumena," can never be known. They exist in a plane outside of our own reality and understanding, and are therefore impossible to perceive and study, much like Plato's "forms." Hegel countered this notion with the phrase, "What is rational is real, and what is real is rational." He believed that the ability to be understood is a prequalification for something to exist. Also, Hegel completely reversed Kant's idea of the nature of truth. While Kant carefully listed and categorized the components of truth, Hegel stated that truth was an organic and dynamic process that is impossible to break into neat components. In fact, he claims that truth constantly changes and encompasses many contradictions. Truth, he says, comes about as a product of Geist, a German word that can be translated as mind, ghost, or God.

Hegel uses the system o...

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...istentialism has its roots in several different authors. Some of the common characteristics include angst, absurdity, nothingness, death, and alienation. A basic premise is that human existence precedes human essence. Life, on a basic level, makes no sense. The individual constantly feels out of place, as if they were thrust into the world. Since the self cannot be described in terms of any "thing" it is therefore a "nothing," and it is man who spreads nothingness throughout the world.

Jean Paul Sartre's major work was Being and Nothingness, in which he describes the en-soi and the por-soi. The en-soi amounts to the true objective reality, while the por-soi describes human consciousness. The conscious mind must deal with a number of different stressors that tear it apart from the en-soi world and even itself, leading to an inevitable feeling of angst, or "nausea."
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