Some of the definitions on [
http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=age ] include:
"* 1. The length of time that one has existed; duration of life: 23
years of age.
* 2. The time of life when a person becomes qualified to assume
certain civil and personal rights and responsibilities, usually at 18
or 21 years; legal age: under age; of age.
* 3. One of the stages of life: the age of adolescence; at an awkward
* 4. The state of being old; old age: hair white with age.
* 5. often Age
-a. A period in the history of humankind
marked by a distinctive characteristic
or achievement: the Stone Age; the
-b. A period in the history of the earth,
usually shorter than an epoch: the Ice Age.
-c. A period of time marked by the presence
or influence of a dominant figure: the
Elizabethan Age. See Synonyms at period.
-a. The period of history during which a
person lives: a product of his age.
-b. A generation: ages yet unborn.
* 7. ages Informal. An extended period of time: left ages ago."
Looking at the class notes available at [
http://www.fiu.edu/~levittmj/SOP3015classnotes4.htm ], we see that
concepts of age are tied to categorical concepts of self, which may
differentiate the self from others. "Age 2+: Concepts of age, gender,
simple evaluation (good, bad) develop first." This is differentiated
from the existential knowledge of self where babies at 4-5 months old
can recognize that one of their legs can kick the other. Just because
the infant baby knows that there is an "I" which is the subject, does
not also mean that the infant understands the concept of "You" or the
concept of "Me," as a being separate and distinct from all others.
As you're probably realizing, the process of going from "I" to "Me"
and "You" is also a process of abstraction, where a child realizes
that each word represents an abstract concept which can be defined
into particular instances. For example, one baby may learn the word
"cat" and think it applies to only their pet cat Morris. Another child
may learn "cat" and think that it applies to all furry animals on four
legs. As they get older, they get a better picture of the meaning for
the abstract concept of "cat."
Applying these concepts to your questions, we get the following:
"What is your age?"
This is the length of time that a particular individual has existed.
While an understanding of the abstract concept of age (found in the
dictionary.com definitions I've given above) would be helpful, you
don't need it, except for comparison. YOUR age refers to YOU. In order
to describe YOU, you don't really need knowledge of anybody else or an
abstract concept of anybody else. You just need to know about YOU. The
question is specific in its reference. YOUR age is akin to Morris the
cat in my above example.
"What is age?"
This is asking for an explanation of the abstract concept of age.
There's no specific reference to anything. This is why any of the
dictionary definitions above would satisfy this answer, since there's
no point of reference here. Age here doesn't refer to a YOU or an I or
a ME, it just refers to an idea. In this case, "age" is akin to the
general concept of a cat in my above example.
Your 3rd question asks for 3 different types of philosophy.
From [ http://www.no-big-bang.com/2ndtuesday/philosophy.html ] we get
the following definitions for 3 major types of philosophical
What is real? And what is our basis for saying that it is real? This
is the business of metaphysics, which some philosophers claim is not
philosophy at all because metaphysics asks questions that can never be
answered. Big questions such as: What is time? Why is the universe
here? What is life? are all metaphysical questions."
This sub-branch concerns the nature and scope of knowledge, that is,
Does knowledge exist? Can we have knowledge? What does it mean to know
the truth and what is truth? How do we justify our beliefs?"
Ethics philosophises about moral concepts, and asks such questions as:
What are our moral obligations to others? How can moral disagreements
be rationally settled? What rights must a just society accord its
citizens? What constitutes a valid excuse for wrong-doing?"
Given your hard deadline, this is the best I can do with the question
and the time you've given me to answer it. I hope this helps!
Google Search: "types of philosophy" + epistemology
Google Search: "concepts of age"
Clarification of Answer by
28 Aug 2003 14:20 PDT
OK, here goes:
Let's say that a prisoner is on death row for a murder which he was
Ethics will ask the following questions:
"Is the execution of the prisoner the best solution for his crime?"
"What rights are accorded to the family and friends of the victim?"
"What is our level of obligation to be sure that the convicted
prisoner is actually guilty of the crime?"
All Ethical questions should resolve our moral concerns about the
prisoner, what he has done, what our obligations to him are, and how
our society should deal with him.
Epistemology will ask:
"How much faith can we put in our beliefs that this man is guilty?"
"Is it possible for us to have absolute knowledge of this man's
All epistemological questions will deal with the nature and limits of
our knowledge. Be careful not to phrase these in ethical terms.
Epistemology doesn't care about the moral consequences of what we do
and do not know about the situation, it only cares about the
philosophical limits of knowledge.
Finally, Metaphysics will ask:
"What was the meaning of the lives of the convicted murderer and his
Metaphysics deals with big questions that may not be possible to