Syracuse University Some Paradoxes of Whistle Blowing Summary Paper

Syracuse University Some Paradoxes of Whistle Blowing Summary Paper

Paradoxes of Whistle Blowing

[NAME] Prof. Galusky [DATE OF RESPONSE PAPER] [Sample] Response Paper for 19 January 2015 [AUTHOR/TITLE OF WORK] Bertrand Russell, “The Value of Philosophy” Summary: Russell’s “The Value of Philosophy” attempts to argue why people should study philosophy, despite the fact that such study has no obvious practical value (e.g., building a bridge). The essay first clarifies some misconceptions about philosophy, including the fact that it never produces useful knowledge. All disciplines find their roots in philosophical inquiry. It also argues that philosophy aims at knowledge that we can never be certain of, and it is here that philosophy is to be commended. Philosophy, he argues, makes us expand our minds beyond the chains of habit and custom, and beyond our tendency to be egoistical, seeing only ourselves in the universe. Philosophy allows us to overcome these problems and encounter a much wider world. Quote: For example, Russell notes that philosophy, in focusing on the uncertain, “keeps alive our sense of wonder by showing familiar things in an unfamiliar aspect” (3). Russell is suggesting that we come to see the world in larger ways, in ways that outstrip our habits of mind that render the world small and uninteresting. Philosophy allows us to confront a world that is bigger than us, and reminds us of that fact so that we don’t get too arrogant. Comment: This argument seems to me to have a lot of merit. There seems to be a lot in the world that we are supposed to be certain about, and not really think about, including whether all people are equal. And at each point in my life, I’m supposed to make practical decisions about what I should do. But the basic question of why always seems to be present. What should I do any of it for? And if certain choices give me pause, or cause me stress, how can I be certain I will make the right choice? I don’t think I can be certain. And every time I look up at the universe, and contemplate how vast it is, and how small I am by comparison, I become despondent about the idea that I will ever be able to have much of any real, full idea about why the universe exists, and my role within it.

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