Tuesday, 07/08/2018
13:30 - 15:00

1. Differentiate:

- Everyday life question

- Scientific question

- Philosophical question

2. Philosophy and universal questions: What? From where? For what? To where? related to:

- Foundations of reality and cognitive capacity

- Foundations of human relationships

- Foundations of human fates

3. Three paradigms of philosophical thinking from above universal questions:

- Ontological paradigm: what is reality vs. state of being?

- Mentalistic paradigm: What can we know / How do we know?

- Linguistic paradigm: What can we speak? What are the meanings of our spoken words?

4. Four basic questions of Immanuel Kant (1724-1804):

- What can I know?

- What do I have to do?

- What can I hope for?

- What is the human being?

5. Fundamental distinctions in philosophy:

- Oriental vs. Western philosophy

- Theoretical vs. Practical philosophy (descriptive vs. normative)

- Historical vs. Systemic philosophy

- Continental (European school) vs. Analytic philosophy (British-American school)

- Philosophy and other discrete scientific fields:

  • Linguistics vs. Philosophy of Language
  • Natural sciences vs. Philosophy of Nature
  • Cognitive science (the mind) vs. Philosophy of Knowledge
  • History vs. Philosophy of History
  • Politics vs. Political philosophy 
  • Sociology vs. Social philosophy 
  • Religion studies vs. Philosophy of Religion
  • Aesthetics vs. Philosophical Aesthetic
  • Etc.

- Philosophy vs. Arts

- Is Philosophy a science?

6. Three functions of Philosophy:

- Enlightenment

- Moderation (balancing different views) or Philosophy vs. common sense

- Instructions for reality actions

7. Readings and other referential materials:

* Bùi Văn Nam Sơn, Trò chuyện triết học, Tập 1, NXB Tri thức, 2017, tr. 13-83.

- Trần Văn Toàn. Hành trình đi vào triết học. Nxb. Tri thức, 2012.

- Nermi Uygur. "What is a Philosophical Question?" in Mind, New Series, Vol. 73, No. 289 (Jan., 1964), pp. 64-83

- What is Philosophy?

- Link:

Thursday, 09/08/2018
13:30 - 15:00

1. Why must modern philosophy begin with linguistic analysis and criticism? Is it because objective and obvious structure of cognition is not contained in consciousness but in language, as languages are intersubjective incidence between Me-You and the World? Distinguish between "mistake" and "misunderstanding"?

2. Two perspectives on the relationship between language and cognition:

- Magical perspective on language:

Figurative speech: the power of wordsRationalist: belief in the power of arguments and argumentation

- Mystic perspective on language:

Language's impotence as an obstacle of recognition and unification with subjects.

3. Analyzing language's structures is criticizing and preventing linguistic abuse

4. "Utterance" is "Action":

- Today, philosophy does not start directly with Being or indirectly with cognition but through external means (language) to argue about being and cognition?

- From body language to spoken and written language: are they actions?

- Speech acts (Roger Searle *1932) / Sprachspiel / language game (Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1889-1951): argue that languages obey specific rules for different purposes as do actions.

5. Three functions of speech acts:

- Descriptive

- Expressive

- Imperative

6. Utterances and meanings:

- How can we come from the external forms (i.e. utterances) to internal meaning?

- Syntax: relationships between words in an utterance

- Semantics: relationships between objects and words

- Pragmatics: relationships between utterances and audience

- Semiotic triangle(s)?

7. Readings and other referential materials:

* Bùi Văn Nam Sơn, Trò chuyện triết học, tập I, NXB Tri thức, 2017, "Lưỡi không xương", tr. 127 và tiếp.

* Philosophy of Language (Wikipedia).


- Max Black. "Wittgenstein's Language-games" in Dialectica, Vol. 33, No. 3/4 (1979), pp. 337-353.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
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New World Encyclopedia
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The course is structured in ten (10) problem-oriented topics or 10 fundamental concepts of philosophy to help students gain preliminary comprehension of philosophy content, methodology and dynamics.

10 topics are structured into two components, covering dominant aspects of philosophy: the first 5 topics discuss theoretical philosophy:

- Philosophy (What is philosophy? Functions of philosophy; Fundamental distinctions in philosophy)

- Language (Philosophy of language)

- Knowledge (Theory of knowledge or epistemology)

- Being (Ontology/Metaphysics)

- Human Being (Philosophical Anthropology) and five topics on practical philosophy:

- The Good (Ethics)

- The Beauty (Philosophical Aesthetics)

- Nature and Technic Technology (Philosophy of Nature and Philosophy of Technic

- Culture and Civic culture (Cultural philosophy and Political philosophy)

- Freedom and Death (Social philosophy and Life philosophy)

Students will get familiar with these broad categories on two dimensions: systematic and historical (i.e. philosophical issues are discussed systematically in the historical context of addressing these issues over the course of history with different traditions and schools of thoughts). 

Each class is structured in 2 sessions: teachers’ lecturing and students’ discussion.

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