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Unformatted text preview: Philosophy 1500 exam review sheet 10/26/10 3:40 PM Descartes: Epistemology is the study of knowledge and, at least for what concerns us so far, the study of what we take to be true and justified beliefs. · Hyperbolic doubt: Descartes adopts what is called a skeptical methodology: everything we know can be put into doubt. He has resolved to sweep away all he thinks he knows and to start again from the foundations, building up his knowledge once more on more certain grounds. Descarte reasons that he need only find some reason to doubt his present opinions in order to prompt him to seek stronger foundations for his knowledge. Rather than doubt every one of his opinions individually, he reasons that he might cast them all into doubt if he can doubt the foundations and basic principles upon which his opinions are founded. · Fallibility of the senses: Everything that Descartes has accepted as most true, he has come to learn from or through his senses. He acknowledges that sometimes the senses can deceive and that our sensory knowledge on the whole is quite strong. He gives an example where insane people might be more deceived, but that he is clearly not one of them and needn't worry himself about that. However he also realizes that he is often convinced when he is dreaming that he is sensing real objects. · Existence & Corgito ergo sum: with this he moves onto his second meditation assuming that what he sees does not exist, that his memory is faulty, that he has no senses and no body, that movement and place are mistaken beliefs. Then, he wonders, is he not the source of these meditations something? He admits that he has no senses and no body, but does that mean he cannot exist either? So he summarizes that to have these doubts, he must exist. For an evil demon to mislead him in all these cunning ways, he must exist in order to be misled. There must be an "I" that can doubt, be deceived, and so on. With this, he formulates the famous cogito argument; “I think, therefore I am”. · Wax example: Descarte considers what he can knows about the piece of wax by means of the senses: its taste, smell, color, shape, size, hardness, etc. What happens to the wax when it is melted? All these sensible qualities change. So he says that our knowledge that the solid wax and the melted wax to be the same cannot come from our senses because all of its sensible attributes have changed. He argues that only the intellect can organize and make sense of what we perceive. · Priority of the mind and Mind Body separation Descartes was the first to raise the mystifying question of how we can claim to know with certainty anything about the world around us. The idea is not that these doubts are probable, but that their possibility can never be entirely ruled out. And if we can never be certain, how can we claim to know anything? Plato · Allegory of the cave: In the AOTC, Plato explains that what we perceive as reality may actually be an illusion of reality. Metaphysics is the highest you can achieve. Plato talks about how when one of the prisoners is dragged outside, he learns that what he thought was real were mere shadows of puppets. His eyes slowly adjust to the light outside and he is then able to see what is real. In this, Plato doesn’t mean that the physical things the sun illuminates are what is truly real. He means that the prisoner has moved up from the realm of the visible, which is the natural world into the realm of the intelligible. The sun symbolizes the “idea of the good” and an absolute measure of justice. The philosophers were supposed to be the “guardians” who could see the “good”. So the allegory is actually an “education” in which one comes to the realization that what is really true or what is really real can only be grabbed by the mind. Once a person is enlightened with the idea of the good, he or she must enlighten others. Plato’s idea through this story was to create a just society where everybody worked together through a system of division of labor where everyone had their own duties to form a perfect society. Plato set in motion the distinction between true reality and illusion or a metaphysical dimension, arguing that what is real is eternal and permanent and the things we experience in sensation is just a copy or an illusion. Having said this we can begin to question or argue, why do we need to rely on a metaphysical dimension such as the world of ideas? To answer this, I think that there are a lot of things in the world that we can’t see but somehow know that it is there, mostly abstract. For instance, the past is but a memory in our mind which we cannot see but know it is there somewhere in our brains. Also the very existence of numbers, faith, dreams, god and many other abstracts give us a feeling that there is more to our existence than what we perceive. I think Plato’s “The allegory of the cave” is simply brilliant in that it opens our mind to a whole new world and teaches us to think more reasonably. His concepts not only gave us a whole new perception to reality but also paved the very foundation to modern thinking, as it was after him that philosophers began questioning reality and the very existence of life. Through the cave story, Plato has shown the importance of learning how to deal with the abstract in order to train our minds in pursuit of the truth. · Political and educational motivation · Metaphysics of Ideas · Idea of the Good · Guardians and division of labor Hume Hume is an empiricist and a skeptic about justified belief. Whereas in Descarte skepticism is something we need to defy in order to get to true knowledge, in Hume skepticism is the only possible affirmation we are capable of making. He thinks we have it a lot less than we thought we did. Cause and Effect: He explains to us of how we are able to make inductive inferences or reach a conclusion based on evidence and experience. He notes that we tend to believe that things behave in a regular or uniform manner. However, he argues that knowledge arises from evidence gathered via sense experience. This is because for any cause, multiple effects are possible. He gives the example of the billiard ball moving in a straight line. One can think that the first ball bounces back with the second ball remaining at rest, the first ball stops and the second ball moves, or the first ball jumps over the second, etc. There is no reason to conclude any of these possibilities over the others. Only through previous observation can it be predicted, inductively, what will actually happen with the balls. Relations of Ideas and Matters of Fact : In general, it is not necessary that causal relation in the future resemble causal relations in the past, as it is always imaginable otherwise. For Hume, this is because the denial of the claim does not lead to a contradiction. · A priori and A posteriori reasoning: An a priori proposition can be known or justified by reason alone. Truths of mathematics and definitions are often thought to be a priori." A proposition that can be known or justified only by experience is known to be a posteriori. · Foundation of our reasoning and “negative answer” after explaining that all our knowledge comes from experience relationships, Hume asks himself whether this is by itself sufficient as a foundation for epistemology(knowledge of true and justified beliefs). He claims that all what we gain from experience is at best probable, but not at all sufficient as a building block for epistemology; hence experience is not sufficient. Moreover, for Hume it is impossible to build anything such as epistemology (opposite to Descartes); it follows that a skeptical attitude is the only one we can maintain toward epistemology. Nothing is certain, even natural laws are only probable (the sun might or might not rise tomorrow) · Agent and Philosopher finding a true justified belief Putnam (Epistomology): how the language maps into reality. Ex. desk · Intentionality and reference: Putnam believes that the language is independent of the mind because language obviously does not have any relation to world except through some agent understanding it. Words on their own, whether spoken, written or expressed in any other mode and whether they are alone or arranged in phrases, sentences etc., are just another kind of physical phenomena, without any relation to the entities that they understood to describe by the agents that interpret them. He gives an example of the typewriter where he explains why communication needs intentionality. The monkey typing up the Hamlet cannot possibly be thinking about Homer. It is just a chance. We need intentionality in order to map our language into the actual state of things. e.g. "water" as a word refers to the thing which is understood to be H2O. Without a strong connection to reality, the way the world metaphysically is, language is just random. · Tree example or typewriter example · Turing test and its application to brains in a vat: the turing test is to test wether or not a computer has a mind. · Distinction syntax semantics · What brains in a vat refer to and what we refer to: One can conceive of a brain being manipulated in particular ways to cause a person to experience things. Putnam claims that the problem is that if we all are brains in a vat then there has to be somebody controlling the Brain in a vat. Since realism of this kind assumes the existence of a gap between how man sees the world and the way the world really is, skeptical scenarios such as this one (or Descartes' Evil demon) present an intimidating challenge. Putnam, by arguing that such a scenario is impossible, attempts to show that this idea of a gap between man's concept of the world and the way it is in itself is absurd. Man cannot have a "God's eye" view of reality. He is limited to his conceptual schemes. Metaphysical realism is therefore false, according to Putnam. Chalmers · The metaphysical nature of the Matrix Why is it metaphysical and not skeptical: The creation Hypothesis ­ Physical space ­time and its contents were created by beings outside physical space ­time. The computational hypothesis Microphysical processes throughout space ­ time are constituted by underlying computational processes. The mind body hypothesis My mind is constituted by processes outside physical space ­time, and receives its perceptual inputs from and sends its outputs to processes in physical space ­time. · Three combined hypothesis and why they work If the three hypotheses are plausible metaphysics namely, the creation hypothesis, the computational hypothesis, and the mind body hypothesis, since these metaphysics do not allow for the possibility of skepticism, then the Matrix, being composed by all of them, has to be another valid metaphysical hypothesis and not a skeptical hypothesis. · Possibility of holding beliefs in the Matrix: Chalmers believes that the environment we know and see is real but the possibility of being in a matrix or a computer controlled universe can't be ruled out. He is trying to say that there is a possibility that all powerful machines control the universe as it is in the matrix. He actually thinks we are in a matrix and thinks in a way only the meaning of metaphysics can explain. All theories incorporated in this brings to light the theories we use such as the creation hypothesis, the computational hypothesis, and the mind ­body hypothesis. Chalmers breaks the three hypothesis down and comes up with the theory similar to what is displayed in the movie “The Matrix”, of how the world operates. · Refutation of skepticism about beliefs Ayer Ayer attempts to resolve the apparent conflict between determinism and freedom by redefining the idea of freedom based on a distinction he creates between “Causes” and “Constraints”. He believed that everything a person does, good or bad, is done through desire or a motivating factor. Thus free will is possible because we can choose our motives, and determinism is true because every choice we make is determined by the nature of motive. Hence, Freewill and determinism are compatible. · Determinism and Free Will Everything is predetermined then no one is responsible to be blamed for anything. The problem is if you don’t define it then there is a chance of anarchy. · Moral responsibility The problem with moral responsibility is related to determinism: if everything is pre ­determined then we cannot be held morally responsible for his/her actions, we are not independent agents. With compatibilism, we instead have moral responsibility toward our actions. For instance even if someone is forcing you to do something out of your personal will, you still have the ability to freely act in the chain of causes in which everyday experience unfolds. Ayer gives an example of a normal man who steals, whom he claims is unconstrained and thus is acting freely. He offers a justification for considering the normal thief free in his actions and thus for holding him morally responsible. · Problems with free will: Ayer believes that once you acknowledge your freewill, it is no longer free. He believes it should be in your unconscious. Once you think to yourself “I am acting on freewill.” You no longer are. It is now determined that you will act a certain way. Also just because you think your will is free. It very well might not be. Locke According to Locke, remaining the same person has nothing to do with remaining the same substance, either physical or mental. Instead, personal identity has only to do with consciousness: it is by the consciousness of one's present thoughts and actions that the self is conceived, and it is through the continuous link of memory that the self is extended back to past consciousness. Locke's argument for this claim rests on his idea of identity, which is defined in terms of a comparison between something presently existing and the existence of that thing at an earlier time. This notion of identity stems from the basic principle that no two things of the same kind can exist in the same place at the same time  difference between man and person Locke gives us an example through the story of the prince and the cobbler. The case is one in which the soul of the prince with all of its princely thoughts is transferred from the body of the prince to the body of the cobbler. Locke's distinction between man and person makes it possible for the same person to show up in a different body at the resurrection and yet still be the same person. Locke focuses on the prince with all his princely thoughts because, on his view, it is consciousness which is crucial to the reward and punishment which is to be measured out at the Last Judgment.  theory of consciousness Locke is skeptical about our ability to re identify the same soul over time. He claims that if we were always awake, we could be certain that we had the same soul. But consciousness has natural gaps in it, such as periods during which we are asleep. Locke claims that there is no way of knowing that one soul has not been substituted for another during this period of absence of consciousness. This is very well portrayed in the movie, The passenger.  role of memory  person as a "forensic" term Locke refers to “person” as a thinking, rational thing. It is in consciousness alone that identity must exist.  role of agency his conception of person is basically a conception as an agent. Based on what you do and what you’ve done.  Antonioni, The Passenger Ethics Three main theories: Kantian (or deontological theories), Virtue Ethics, Utilitarianism Connection morality justice Get a conception of what the good is then making laws based on the good. KANT Kant argues that the consequences of an act of willing cannot be used to determine that the person has a good will; good consequences could arise by accident from an action that was motivated by a desire to cause harm to an innocent person, and bad consequences could arise from an action that was well ­motivated. Instead, he claims, a person has a good will when he or she 'acts out of respect for the moral law. He believes that the one thing in the world that is definitely good is the "good will." Qualities of character like wit, intelligence, courage, etc. or qualities of good fortune like wealth, status, good health may and can be used to either good or bad purposes. By contrast, a good will is intrinsically good ­ ­even if its efforts fail to bring about positive results. The specific obligations of a good will are called "duties." Kant discusses three general propositions about duty. First, actions are genuinely good when they are undertaken for the sake of duty alone. People may act in conformity with duty out of some interest or compulsion other than duty. For instance, all people have a duty to help others in distress, yet many people may help others not out of a sense of duty, but rather because it gives them pleasure to spread happiness to other people. The second proposition is that actions are judged not according to the purpose they were meant to bring about, but rather by the "maxim" or principle that served as their motivation. This principle is similar to the first. When someone undertakes an action with no other motivation than a sense of duty, they are doing so because they have recognized a moral principle that is a valid a priori. The third proposition, also related to the first two, is that duties should be undertaken out of "reverence" for "the law." Any organism can act out of instinct. Only a rational being can recognize a general moral law and act out of respect for it. By contrast, we cannot find evidence for categorical imperatives in the decisions and actions we observe. People may appear to act in a certain way because of a pure demand of reason, yet we can never be sure that they do not have some indirect interest or underlying motive other than a pure categorical imperative. Categorical imperatives must therefore be derived a priori. Duties must be based on a categorical rather than a hypothetical imperative where it is difficult to know what particular actions will bring about the goal. ARISTOTLE Happiness According to Aristotle, the highest good and the end toward which all human activity is directed towards is happiness, which can be defined as continuous contemplation of eternal and universal truth. With every decision and action that a person makes, they try to gain a greater self worth and prosperity. The true meaning that Aristotle hints upon is to achieve greatness and to be the best person that lies in your grasp. This means that different people have different ideas about what the greatest good is. Intellectual and Moral Virtues: For Aristotle what really characterizes human beings is our capacity to reason, and to reason well will turn out to be the very core of the notion of eudemonia. The rational soul may be rational in itself in that it is ruled by reason. When the rational soul is doing its job well, it attains wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. The habits of thought and intellectual skills that help it to do this job are called intellectual virtues. These are the virtues that are acquired through the kind of training one receives in school. But someone can be “book smart” and still be very irrational in how they conduct their lives: they are led by irrational desires, uncontrolled emotions, etc. Their animal soul is not subject to the guidance of reason. Such a person lacks what Aristotle calls moral virtue. Habit: Aristotle maintained that habits are acquired by engaging in proper conduct on specific occasions and that doing so requires thinking about what one does in a specific way. Neither demonstrative knowledge of the sort employed in science nor aesthetic judgment of the sort applied in crafts are relevant to morality. The understanding can only explore the nature of origins of things, on Aristotle's view, and wisdom can only trace the connections among them. Educational Process: Aristotle considered human nature, habit and reason to be equally important forces to be cultivated in education. Thus, he considered repetition to be a key tool to develop good habits. One of education's primary missions for Aristotle, perhaps its most important, was to produce good and virtuous citizens Mill's Utilitarianism According to Mill, the value of the ethical act depends on the consequences. Mill's system depends on the Principle of Utility. According to the principle of utility, the desire that people share is the desire to be happy. And to be happy depends on how much pleasure one can have in their life. Mill defines happiness as pleasure and the absence of pain. Mill argues that happiness is the sole basis of morality, and that people never desire anything but happiness. This principle holds that "actions are right in proportion as they tend to promote happiness, wrong as they tend to produce the reverse of happiness. Thus, any other circumstance, event, or experience is desirable only if it is a source for such pleasure; actions are good when they lead to a higher level of general happiness, and bad when they decrease that level. Misunderstandings: Utilitarianism has been criticized for looking only at the results of actions, not at the desires or intentions that motivate them, which many consider important, too. An action intended to cause harm but that inadvertently causes good would be judged equal to the good result of an action done with the best intentions. Difference in the Three Theories of Ethics According to Mill, the value of the ethical act depends on the consequences or in other words the consequences of a particular act form the basis for any valid moral judgment about that action. On the other hand, Kant’s deontological ethics is an approach to ethics that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules. In contrast, Aristotle’s Virtue ethics is an approach to ethics that emphasizes the character of the moral agent, rather than rules or consequences, as the key element of ethical thinking. The difference between these three approaches to morality tends to lie more in the way moral dilemmas are approached than in the moral conclusions reached. For example, Mill may argue that lying is wrong because of the negative consequences produced by lying. Kant may argue that lying is always wrong, regardless of any potential "good" that might come from lying. Aristotle, however, would focus less on lying in any particular instance and instead consider what a decision to tell a lie or not tell a lie said about one's character and moral behavior. Deontological ethics, sometimes referred to as duty ethics, places the emphasis on following rules, or doing one's "duty." While deontology places the emphasis on doing one's duty, which is established by some kind of higher moral absolute, Utilitarianism bases the morality of an action upon the consequences of the outcome. Instead of saying that one has a moral duty to abstain from murder, a utilitarianist would say that we should abstain from murder because it causes undesirable effects. The main argument here is what outcomes can be identified as objectively desirable. What is the relationship between happiness and virtue in Mill? Mill says that people do desire things like virtue, which in common language is distinguished from happiness. People love virtue only because it constitutes a part of happiness. he argues that happiness is not an abstract idea, but a whole with component parts. Because virtue is a part of happiness, and promotes the general happiness, utilitarianism encourages the development of virtue. According to him, motivation for all action is based on the fulfillment of desire. 10/26/10 3:40 PM 10/26/10 3:40 PM ...
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