Phil265/Rels265 Final Exam 31 Multiple choice or True-False worth 1 mark each 3 Short Answer Questions from choice of 5 worth 3 marks each (paragraph or two in length) Introduction to Philosophy




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Eastern societies have always had many competing religions and philosophies and allowed for expression of many individual “ways” (term typically used to translate Western term “religion”)



Origins of the word “Religion”

  • The word does not appear in the Hebrew Bible or New Testament

  • From ancient Latin root, about which there is much debate (Either leg “to count or observe” or lig “to gather or bind together”)

  • “Lig” is considered to be the more likely origin (related to word “ligature” as in “to bind”)

  • Re-ligare (Lit: to “re-bind”)



Origins of the Term “Spirituality”

  • “Spirituality” is derived from the Christian religious concept of “spirit” via the latin term “spiritus”

  • First used to translate the Hebrew term “ruach” which denotes the “breath of God” mentioned in the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) breathed into Adam (and other animals) to make a “living being” (nephesh – soul)

  • In Christian New Testament the term “spirit” is often used along with and sometimes contrasted with the terms “body”, “mind” and “soul”

  • Spiritus Sanctus (“Holy spirit” is the 3rd person of the Christian “trinity”)



But What About Non-“Spiritual” Religions?

  • Theravada Buddhism rejects idea that there is any God who created the world—the ultimate source is an impersonal state of existence called Nirvana—and the goal in life is to maintain “mindfulness”– some Buddhist writings only distinguish between body and mind (lack category of soul or spirit)

  • Classical Judaism lacks a clear notion of soul and even an afterlife (all people go to Sheol, which simply means “the grave” and the “ruach” or vivifying breath of God simply returns to God)



Scholarly Concerns With “Spirituality”?

  • Tends to narrow “religion” to European religious categories of “spirit” and “deity”, which may not be relevant to non-theistic philosophies and religions, such Buddhism

  • Often seems to carry an implicit positive value judgment about types of religious practice focused on the individual and his/her internal mental life, and a negative value judgment about types of religious practice focused on group adherence and external practice, such as classical Judaism

  • Assumes that the common experience of people in the Western world of powerful religious groups that are exclusivist (only members can achieve salvation) can be generalized to the rest of the world



Reportive vs. Essential Definitions

  • Dictionaries only provide “reports” about the different ways people actually use words (i.e. the multiple meanings words actually have)—reportive definitions

  • Philosophers and other scholars in the humanities try to get at the “real” meaning of words, i.e. the “essential definitions”

  • This debate is about the essential definition of “religion”



Contemporary Criticism of Scientific Medicine

Ancient Greek Medicine

  • Allopathy: Literally--the treatment of disease by producing effects that are different from those produced by the disease (cold compresses for fever, hallucinogens to fight pain)

  • Opposed to Homeopathy: Literally the treatment of disease by trying to induce an effect similar to the disease (sweating out a fever, fighting a poison with another poison)

  • These terms have taken on different meanings today from their original Greek meanings



Modern Use of Term “Allopathic”

  • “Allopathy” today implies a struggle against disease or medical approaches that seek, through radical interventions, to halt, impede or modify the progress of a disease or to expunge it completely from the body (eg. Drugs, surgery)

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