Philosophy Workshop Series: “What is Philosophy?” (Thinking about Thinking)
February 20 @ 10:00 am - 12:30 pm MST
Workshop #4: Thinking about Thinking
In the final installment of our “What is Philosophy?” series, we’ll step back even farther, to some of the most fundamental issues in philosophy: knowledge, reasoning, and what makes an effective argument.
We’ll explore different styles and strategies of reasoning, from Aristotle’s gold standard of the demonstrative syllogism, to the destructive critic without any viewpoint of his own, who is focused exclusively on tearing his opponent down. (Yeah, we’ve all met that last one.)
With help from members of the Nyāya school of Indian philosophy (whose name literally means “Logic” or “Reasoning”), we’ll classify different kinds of debates and arguments, based on the participants and their goals, and consider what methods will be appropriate and legitimate in each case. We’ll see that successful argumentation is not at all a one-size-fits-all affair, but that different approaches and methods will be effective for different people and circumstances.
We’ll consider the relationship between knowledge, explanation, and persuasion:
What is the relationship between knowing something, and being able to explain what we know?
What is the difference between being able to teach others who are eager to learn, and being able to persuade an unfriendly audience?
Finally, we’ll step back and reflect on some general theoretical and practical questions, including:
Is knowledge something eternal, timeless, and abstract, or something more deeply particular, contextual, and personal?
What is the difference between knowing, thinking, and believing?
How do different cognitive processes, like perception, inferential reasoning, and expert testimony, contribute to our knowledge and understanding?
In our own lives, what place can we make for doubt and uncertainty?
When should we be ready to revise, rethink, or reconsider our opinions and beliefs? And how can we do that with integrity?
When & Where
This workshop represents the last of four workshops in our “What is Philosophy?” series. Each workshop is structured to stand on its own and will take place via ZOOM every other Saturday through February 20th. No prior background in philosophy is required to participate.
Date:Saturday, February 20th Time: 10am – 12:30pm MST
Zoom Registration: See Below… Cost: Free (Donations Welcome)
David Nowakowski is as a philosopher and educator in the Helena area whose professional work is dedicated to helping people of all ages and backgrounds access, understand, and apply the traditions of ancient philosophy to their own lives. David began studying ancient philosophies and classical languages in 2001, and has continued ever since. A scholar of the philosophical traditions of the ancient Mediterranean (Greece, Rome, and North Africa) and of the Indian subcontinent, reading Sanskrit, Latin, and classical Greek, he earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University in 2014. His work has appeared in a variety of scholarly journals, including Philosophy East & West, Asian Philosophy, and the Journal of Indian Philosophy; as well as in presentations to academic audiences at Harvard, Columbia University, the University of Toronto, Yale-NUS College in Singapore, and elsewhere.
After half a decade teaching at liberal arts colleges in the northeast, David chose to leave the academy in order to focus his energies on the transformative value of these ancient philosophical and spiritual traditions in his own life and practice, and on building new systems of education and community learning that will make this rich heritage alive and available to others.
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