Philosophy Exam #2


Midterm Exam #2 Study
  
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THE ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
 
An ontological argument for the existence of God attempts the method of a priori proof, which uses intuition and reason alone.
THE TELEOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
 
A teleological argument, or argument from design, is an argument for the existence of God or a creator based on perceived evidence of order, purpose, design, or direction — or some combination of these — in nature.
THE COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
 
The cosmological argument is an argument for the existence of a First Cause (or instead, an Uncaused cause) to the universe, and by extension is often used as an argument for the existence of an "unconditioned" or "supreme" being, usually then identified as God.
PRIORI ARGUMENT
 
A priori knowledge or justification is independent of experience (for example 'All bachelors are unmarried'). A priori justification makes reference to experience; but the issue concerns how one knows the proposition or claim in question—what justifies or grounds one's belief in it.
POSTERIORI ARGUMENT
 
a posteriori knowledge or justification is dependent on experience or empirical evidence (for example 'Some bachelors are very happy').
THE PRINCIPLE OF SUFFICIENT REASON
 
PSR claims that (a) For everything that exists, there must be an explanation or a reason why that thing exists; and (b) for every positive fact, there must be an explanation or reason why the fact is the case.
THE PROBLEM OF EVIL
 
God is omnipoten (all-powerful), God is omnibenevolent (all-good), and yet there is evil in the world. The problem is that any two of the propositions seems to entail the falsity of the other. i.e. if God is all-powerful, all-good God certainly could have created a world without the presence of evil.
Adequate Solution 1
 
Denying that there is evil in the world. a. Good cannot exist without evil. b. Evil is a necessary means to good. c. The universe is better with some evil in it that it could be if there were no evil. If God is all-powerful, couldn't it have been brought about good exists without evil? Good and evil aren't opposites, so it is at least logically possible that we could have many good without having evil. Thus denying that there is evil on the basis isn't a very good strategy, because it tends to impugn God's omnipotence. If God can do anything logically possible, then God could make it the case that we have without evil. Repsonse to c: First, does there have to be actual suffering in the world in order for humans ot have these kinds of virtues? It seems, for example, that people just have to believe that there is danger to exibit bravery, or that it just has to seem that there is suffering in order for people to exhibit compassion.
Adequate Solution 2
 
The second strategy is to claim that God is not responsible for teh evil in the world - people are. It is better to have free will than to not have free will. But people can't have free will without there being good or evil (or good or bad). Thus God is not responsible for the evil in the world - people who misuse their free will are. (Remember God can't do everything, only that which is logically possible; it is not logically possible to have free will without evil).
THE CONCERN AND FOCUS OF EPISTEMOLOGY
 
Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that addresses fundamental questions regarding propositional knowledge. We'll be concerned with three questions in particular: 1. What is to know something? 2. How do we come to know things? 3. What is the extent of our propositional knowledge? a. Can we know anything? b. If so, what can we know?
TRADITIONAL ACCOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE
 
Propositional knowledge is a matter of knowing that something is the case. Knowledge that some state of affairs exists. To give a satisfactory account of knowledge one must state the necessary and sufficient conditions for knowledge. S (where S is some person) knows that P (where is P is some proposition) = 1. P is true 2. S believes P 3. S is justified in believing P When philosophers say that knowledge is justified true belief, then they are referring to this account of knowledge.
RATIONALISM
 
The view that the human mind is capable of a direct apprehension of certain truths about the world. i.e., rational minds can learn about the world; we can know meaningful things about the world a priori. More specifically, rationalists believe that there exist synthetic truths which are knowable a priori.
EMPIRICISM
 
The view that our empirical knowledge (knowledge of the world) arises entirely out of sense experience (i.e. we cannot know meaningful things about the world a priori). More specifically, empiricists believe that there do not exist synthetic truths that are knowable a priori.
THE GETTIER PROBLEM
 
Argues that the traditional account of knowledge (the justified true belief account) is not the correct model of knowledge. More specifically, Gettier is arguing that while Justification, Truth and Belief may all be necessary for knowledge, they are not jointly sufficient. What this means is that one can satisfy all three conditions for knowledge and still fail to have knowledge. What this argument shows is that there is at least one further condition for knowledge that needs to be identified (or possibly, we need a whole new model for knowledge altogether).
GETTIER'S POSITION WITH THE RESPECT TO THE TRADITIONAL ACCOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE
 
He begins by noting that his refutation of the traditional account of knowledge will work for close variants of traditional account (i.e. accounts in which the justification condition is replaced by an "adequate evidence" condition or a "right to be sure" condition). So his criticism is not just a criticism of some fine detail of the traditional account (which could be easily repaired); Gettier is going to show that there is serious structural problem with the traditional account of knowledge (no small bit of tinkering is going to fix it).
GETTIER CONDITION 1
 
Condition 1: It is possible for a person to be justified in believing a proposition that is, in fact, false. In other words, justification cannot be tantamount to certainty (as Descartes held). This thesis is sometimes called fallibilism.
GETTIER CONDITION 2
 
For any proposition P, if S is justified in believing P, and P entails Q, and S deduces Q from P and accepts Q as a result of this deduction, then S is justified in believing Q. This is the thesis that knowledge and justification are closed under deductive inference.
DESCARTES' ACCOUNT OF KNOWLEDGE
 
Descartes wants to find a way of ensuring that his beliefs are true. Any belief inferred from a false belief has a liklihood of being false as well. On the other hand, any belief deduced (as opposed to inductively inferred) from a true belief will also be true. So Descartes concluded that if he wanted to establish something firm and permanent in the sciences, he would have to rid himself of all his former opinions and build anew from the foundation. Descartes may be seen as a foundationalist in need of something indubitable (certain), which could serve as the foundation or basis for all other knowledge.
FOUNDATIONALISM
 
The view that knowledge has a foundational structure - certain basic beliefs, which are self-justifing (i.e. not justified by any other belief), provide a basis for inferring other non-basic beliefs.
DESCARTES DEFINED KNOWLEDGE
 
As justified true belief - for Descartes, one is justified in believing something, only if one is certain that it is true.
DESCARTES PROJECT
 
Descartes project is to find some belief (or set of beliefs) which can be known with certainty, that is find some belief which is indubitable upon which other beliefs can be base. In doing this Descartes felt that he was putting all knowledge on a similar foundation with arithmetic and geometry (as opposed to the other sciences which are dubious and uncertain)/.
DESCARTES METHODOLOGY
 
Descartes method is to find a way to doubt everything that can be doubted. This is known as "Cartesian doubt" or "Universal doubt" or "Methodological doubt". If Descartes doubts everything that he can possibly doubt, and after doing so there is someting left which can't be doubted (i.e. something which is certain to be true), then, perhaps, he will have a foundation upon which other beliefs can be based. Thus, this type of doubt is like a test for beliefs: If a belief can withstand the test then it can be accepted as certain.
SKEPTICAL ARGUMENTS
 
A logically possible scenario in which everything appears exactly as it is now appears but all of our beliefs based on these apperances are false. 1. A statement of the skeptical hypothesis and an argument incorporating the skeptical hypothesis which purports to show that one doesn't have knowledge of some type or another (or perhaps that one has no knowledge at all).
CANONICAL SKEPTICAL ARGUMENT
 
a. A statement of the particular skeptical hypothesis b. The argument The first premise, in effect, states that if I can't rule out every incompatible alternative to P, then I don't know P. (This is called the elimination principle).
THE DREAM HYPOTHESIS
 
It is possible that one is, at any given moment sleeping and having only dream experiences, but ones that are so realistic that they are indistinguishable from waking experiences.
THE DREAM ARGUMENT
 
1. If I know that P (evil genius, that I am sitting in front of the computer), then I can rule out the dream hypothesis. 2. I cannot rule out the dream hypothesis. 3. I do not know that P.
THE EVIL GENIUS HYPOTHESIS
 
It is possible that there is an all powerful evil genius bent on deceiving me, such that he causes me to have all the experiences (appearances) and beliefs that I have, but none of them are verdical (i.e. the way things seem to me is not the way they are).
THE EVIL GENIUS ARGUMENT
 
1. If I know that P (evil genius, that I am sitting in front of the computer), then I can rule out the evil genius hypothesis. 2. I cannot rule out the evil genius hypothesis. 3. I do not know P.
UNTRUSTWORTHINESS ARGUMENT
 
1. My senses sometime deceive me. 2. If my senses sometimes deceive me, then maybe they always deceive me. 3. If it is possible that my senses always deceive me, then I should always doubt my senses. 4. Therefore, I should never trust my senses.
UNTRUSTWORTHINESS OBJECTIONS
 
1. The above examples of my senses failing me are all examples of beliefs that were produced under less than ideal circumstances. Thus, just because my senses have failed me in these cases doesn't mean that i can't trust them under better (or normal) circumstances. Descartes stated, how, on the basis of these examples can I reasonable doubt that I am sitting here by the fire, wearing my dressing gown? How can I deny that these are my hands, this is my body, etc? 2. The second problem with the untrustworthiness argument is that it is self-defeating. If the conclusion is true, then premise 1 is undetermined.
THE COGITO
 
Descartes claim that he can know with certainty that he thinks and that he exists. I think, therefore I am. "cogito ergo sum"
DUALISM
 
It is a theory which claims that there are two distinct kinds of substances, and mental states and processes constitue a distinct kind of phenomenon that is essentially non-physical in nature. Dualism is typically contrasted with materialism and idealism.
IDEALISM
 
It is a theory that claims that there is no non-mental (i.e. physical) substances. Things that we call physical objects are really our mental perceptions of them.
MATERIALISM
 
It is a theory that claims that there is no distinct non-physical substance, and that what we call mental states and processes are really states and processes of a complex physical system: the brain.
DESCARTES ARGUMENT FOR DUALISM PART ONE THE CONCEIVABILITY ARGUMENT
 
Since we can conceive of the mind and body as distinct, it is possible for the one to exist without the other. Therefore, they are different things. Thus, conceivability does not entail possibility. So just because Descartes can conceive of the mind and body as being distinct, it doesn't mean that it is possible that they are distinct.
DESCARTES ARGUMENT FOR DUALISM PART TWO THE ARGUMENT FROM LEIBNIZ'S LAW
 
If x and y do not have all the same properties, then x is not identical to y. (Alternatively: If x is identical to y, then x and y have all the same properties). These are logically equivalent propositions.
THE WAX EXAMPLE
 
Descartes examines a piece of wax. It has a particular taste (like sweet honey), color, shape, smell, size, it is solid, hard, cold to the touch, when it is struck it makes a particular sound. Then he melts the wax by putting it near the fire. When he does so all the properties he has just observed have vanished. The wax is no longer hard, cool to the touch, smelling and tasting like honey, etc. This raises the question: is it the same piece of wax? Descartes says that it is: "none would think otherwise."
HUME'S IDEA
 
Ideas are like thoughts and concepts - cognitive things, whereas, impressions are more like brute feelings - they can be either sense experiences or emotions that you feel (desire, love, hope, fear, etc.).
HUME'S IMPRESSIONS
 
Impressions are much more vivid than ideas. Compare the difference between feeling something hot and thinking about touching something hot or remembering touching sometihg hot. Actually touching something hot is much more vivid, right?
HUME'S FORK
 
This is a distinction about propositions. Some propositions state or purport to state matters of fact. All propositions, on Hume's account, will fall into one of these two groups.
THE PROBLEM OF INDUCTION
 
Past experience, according to Hume, can give direct and certain information about past events. But the question is: why should this experience be extended to future times and other objects? In other words, why should we assume that just because something happened in the past, that it would happen the same way in the future?
HUME'S SOLUTION TO HIS OWN SKEPTICAL PROBLEMS
 
Hume says that we needn't "fear" this skeptical philosophy because "there is no danger that these reasonings, on which almost all knowledge depends, will ever be affected by such a discover" (i.e. the discovery that there is no rational support for knowledge of matters of facts). Why not? Because it is not on the basis of reasoning that we preform acts of induction. Hume says that if it is not some argument that makes us perform acts of induction, then it must be some other principle of equal weight and authority.
HUME'S DISCUSSION OF CAUSATION SECTION VII
 
To find the impressions which give rise to our ideas of causation, particularly our idea of a necessary connection (the necessary connection is the casual mechanism).
HUME'S DISCUSSION OF CAUSATION SECTION IV
 
PUN: Instances of which we have had no experience must resemble those of which we have had experience.
THE SUBSTANCE VIEW
 
A thing is composed of various properties, plus an underlying substance (or substratum) to which all the properties belong.
THE BUNDLE VIEW
 
A thing is merely a collection of properties.

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