Zim (chezzim) wrote in armchair,

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The Big Questions

A friend in Texas wrote to Dan (my husband) asking what I was doing while he was working here in France. She asked if I was wearing a beret and reading French Philosophers while sitting in the cafés.

I do have a baret, though I don't wear it much. And I have been sitting in cafés. I have even mastered ordering a number of different drinks (both more and less potent potables) -- it took me a while to get the dark beers, but I have now mastered both the word and the strange r sound that I kept messing up with.

So while I have mastered some of the basics, nevertheless, my French isn't yet up to philosophy. My background and current readings have been much more focused on theology -- specifically, I am reading, marking, learning, and inwardly digesting Richard Hooker's On the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity -- he is basicaly the founding father of the Anglican via media and since the Elizabethian setelment has been the touchstone for all theology that calls itself Anglican.

While theology and philosophy are closely related, they aren't quite the same thing. And so I have decided to read an introductory philosophy book just to get an overview. The Biq Questions: a short introduction to philosophy (sixth edition) by Robert C. Solomon seemed to fit the bill -- and basically, how many English intro philosophy books can you find here in France?

An aside -- students here start studying philosophy in late elementary school. Wow! I'm jealous. Rather like theology, philosophy is something that we really don't learn much about in the US, and therefore don't really have the tools to enter into a simply conversation.

My goal over the next few months will be to work through Solomon's The Big Questions and answer a few of the questions. The book is set up to do that. After an introductory chapter, each chapter picks up one of the "big questions" and looks at some of its background as well as how it has been aproached by different philosophers. Most chapters begin with questions to get the reader to start thinking about the issues before reading the text, and then end with questions to illicit the readers own views on the issue now that the ways the questions have been aproached has been examined (a bit).

I would love, if as I post my responses to some of the questions, you comment on and present your own views.

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