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Philosophy For Kids

Updated: Oct 11, 2020

Hello everybody! Today we are going to learn about philosophy. Hopefully after this you have a better understanding of how to evaluate the world, and not confused about which came first… the chicken or the egg. Hope you enjoy it!

What is Philosophy?

Studying philosophy is like going on a journey on discovering the world we live in today. To think about what gives it meaning, what makes it beautiful, and where its evil comes from; but overall, what is the very nature of reality itself? We also will think about our own lives. Question things such as why do you do what you do, why do you think what you think, and why do you feel what you feel.

Although science can answer most of our questions when it comes to philosophy, there are aspects of our human life that cannot be explained using science or have different outcomes that both seem to be reasonable. By using philosophy we can try to take a deeper dive into humanity and why we are what we are.

Instead of seeing the world pass around us, we’ll wonder why it came to be that way. We usually let people's actions go unnoticed, but instead of letting them pass by, we’ll evaluate them.

We will try to forget what we already know, and to see the world like it’s our first time seeing it. And using that perspective, we can try to figure out things that wouldn’t have made sense otherwise.

Some people refer to philosophy as a certain view they have. But the philosophy we are talking about is traced all the way back to the very roots of it when humans started questioning things.

Five hundred years before the common era, there was ancient Greece. In this time, many new religions were originating. And Greece started using philosophical thought. We are still debating on whether Greece was really using science for their theories or just making up things.

Some of the philosophers were just using made up stories. But the earliest actual philosophers were trying to use science, although they hadn’t quite grasped what it was.

At first philosophy was referred to as the study of anything. Then we started thinking of it differently. Instead of everything being philosophy, different subjects were separately taught under separate subjects. That’s when philosophy started turning into what it is today.

That’s when science started breaking off from philosophy. Science was the things that could be proved to be correct absolutely with loads of proof. Philosophy turned more into a way of thinking about big questions.

Philosophers often keep asking the same questions even though they never get an absolute answer. This is because every time they think about it they become closer to what could be a huge breakthrough.

There are a few questions that have stumped philosophers for the longest time. One example is “What is the world like?” And although you may think, look around! A philosopher would probably be thinking “What is the nature of reality?” which could not be answered by looking around at all the stuff.

There are three branches of philosophy. One is called Metaphysics which is the study of the nature of reality. Next is Epistemology which is the study of knowledge and its nature. Lastly is Value Theory. Value Theory is the study of what you should do, and how to act and why you act in certain ways.

Logic is often referred to as the philosopher's tool box. Philosophers use logic to answer their questions in a certain manner that makes sense and is clear without all the fogginess and mystery. If an answer does not make logical sense, everything falls apart.

You are always using philosophy whether you know it or not because you are always making a choice. This choice requires at least some thought that makes you think about your place in the world. Therefore, you are always using philosophy. This is also the same with economics!

Each time we try answering a question we will use a two-step method. First, we will try to understand. By this you are seeing what situation you are in. Considering all the different aspects of everything to understand your situation. Afterwards you’ll use critical evaluation. Ruling out crazy ideas, exploring reasonable ones, and seeing what makes the most sense.

Success when it comes to philosophy is being better at thinking. To feel as though your scope of how to learn and evaluate things has broadened.

How to Argue

People can be very irrational about their opinions. And their bias is almost blinding. Aristotle once said that “Rationality is our distinguishing characteristic - it’s what sets us apart from the beasts.” So basically, no matter how irrational people are…. at least they’re not a beast.

Most of the time you can persuade people by using the right arguments. But if you don’t use the right argument… let’s put it this way… it’s not gonna work. Every time you are trying to convince someone to think a certain way or telling someone to do a certain thing, or saying what you are doing or what you believe, you’re making an argument… good job, you get a cookie.

The vast majority of people aren’t that great at making arguments. They confuse a good argument with making “savage” comments. But usually the only thing you accomplish by making witty retorts is nothing… except getting people mad.

Making strong arguments is not only one of the steps to becoming a great philosopher, you’ll also get better at persuading. This will overall make life easier.

Twenty-four hundred years ago Plato was saying that humans should use reason. He believed that all humans have a Tripartite Soul, which is broken into three parts… the rational and logical part that uses facts, the emotional part that uses your feelings to make you act in certain ways, and lastly the appetitive part that drives you to do things based on your physical desires… an example is eating.

Plato believed that the best human beings had mostly their rational part of their soul in control. He believed this because with the rational part working, the other two parts would be able to function but within reasonable levels.

Ha also believed that humans controlled by their emotional and appetitive parts of their soul are not fully human.

Most of us today don’t believe in the Tripartite Soul thing anymore, but the three parts still fuel our actions to varying degrees. And philosophers do believe that rational thinking should probably have the most control, but if not… you’re still human.

Philosophers do not tolerate flawed reasoning. So how do we make sure that we are thinking rationally? We should start by getting better at arguing.

This does not mean to get better at screaming whatever comes to mind, rather that your argument must be backed up by reasons or proof. By making sure all that you believe in is backed up by evidence, it’s hard to make a fool of yourself and easy to be convincing especially when you put the proof out there.

The reasons backing up your argument are what philosophers call premises. You can have as many premises as you would like so long as they support your conclusion. Philosophers use premises a lot to convince others their argument is the best… and it’s really helpful.

There are five different types of arguments. 

The first and probably most easy to do is the deductive argument. The deductive argument states that if your premises are true… your conclusion must be as well. Unless your premises aren't relevant to your conclusion. When premises are true and lead to a conclusion from those premises connecting, that is called entailment. And when your premises are true and entail a relevant conclusion, your argument is now valid. If your premises don’t entail a relevant conclusion, your statement is therefore invalid. But, validity is not the same as truth. If a statement is invalid because the premises don’t entail something of the same meaning, the conclusion could still very much be true.

Deductive arguments are the only argument that can give you certainty. But not all questions can be answered with deductive arguments. And not all questions can get certain answers. Also, deductive arguments seem to be the most obvious in some cases… so they usually don’t bring out ground breaking realizations. And the most interesting questions rarely ever get completely certain answers.

Deductive arguments have to be looked at from both sides. Although all your premises can be true, they can only go so far. The conclusion has to be relevant to your premises and has to make logical sense.

Unfortunately, we don’t have any more time to go through the rest of the different parts of arguments, so we’re going to have to go through them next time.