In essence philosophy has been a useless and capricious study for quite some time:
"One of the defects of all philosophers since plato is that their inquiries into ethics proceed on the assumptions that they already know the conclusions to be reached"
- Bertrand Russel
To argue on the basis of an assumption toward a predetermined end is a convenient norm that most philosophic arguments follow. I myself use the assumption that one's own humanity and awareness of one's existence in thought and emotion and sense is the most important reality and ultimate truth and that the ultimate good is that which caters to one's mind and one's emotions. Others argue under different assumptions, like Descartes for example, who says that since the human mind has the ability to perceive something greater and more conscious and more perfect than itself then by virtue of that fact the thing must exist (god). Any way about it arguing under an assumption before the ultimate truth, reality, and good are actualy known - when these things are known, if they are to exist (I personally don't believe in them), then they willi give us basis to assume in order to argue points - is futile, each argument can only go as far as it's users ability to analyze and work around counter-arguments. This is the sophists point of view; the good or the right may not be moral or what we expect, they argue that in order to find it one must only follow arguments. I guess supposedly logic through many arguments would lead them to the good eventually, I'm not exactly sure where it goes from there, but their opinion that working off any assumption in order to argue for something good or right or real is silly before the good and right and real are known, because those assumptions could very well be wrong and logic will lead the person assuming to another, wrong conclusion besides that which is actually real and right and good.
In light of my argument about the nature of western philosophy I shape the introduction and spirit of the humanities programs in my imaginaru school; each philosopher and world leader and influencer, from Plato to Ghandi to Marx, deserve the same amount of respect and attention for students because each's influence is ony a product of his/her ability to reason with their own assumptions; for none could have argued off of the assumption that they knew to be reality, or (if reality and the good are all they're cracked up to be) we'd have known. The emphasis I would suppose to place on these studies would be of the freedom of thought of these individuals as well as where they failed to transcened influences of their time in order to create their own morality.
To say this is the right way is clearly a dogmatic statement, but I sincerely think that this is the best way in which to intorduce students to the studies of humanities, and since I know more in particular about philosophy, philosophy. Anything I missed? Ideas? Changes? Qualms?
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