PHL100: Introduction


One Conception of Philosophy
Philosophy is that discipline which attempts to understand problems which are important but mysterious and unclear in the formulation and which we do not yet know how to solve. If philosophers clarify these problems and we discover they can be fruitfully studied by science or math, then philosophers give the problem over to another, often a new, discipline. While the problems cannot be so solved, and perhaps also if the problems will never be so solved, then philosophers study them.

Branches of Philosophy

Progress and Challenges
It is common to suppose that there is no progress in philosophy. I believe that there is (hence the definition I provide). But don't take my word for it. I will try to convince you of a number of things this semester, including: Still, philosophy is concerned with difficulties, and these include: