Rochfoucauld, Rochester, Augustine, & Aquinas

24 views8 pages
19 Apr 2012
Department
Course
Professor

For unlimited access to Class Notes, a Class+ subscription is required.

18/04/2012
1
PHILOSOPHY 191
PESSIMISTIC AND OPTIMISTIC PHILOSOPHERS
Pessimistic and Optimistic theories
Optimists believe that humans are basically and naturally good, rational, altruistic
and free [or should be free] to control of their own destiny.
Pessimists believe mainly the opposite BUT*…
We are either born naturally egoistic, and/or sinful or stupid/foolish and not in
control of our destiny.
* There are lots of exceptions to these generalizations
Two good examples of pessimists
Francois de La Rochfoucauld
Earl of Rochester
They are definitely expressing cynical views of human nature and not holding out
much hope for humankind, because humankind is not kind to humans!!
La Rochfoucauld
Uses literary non-argumentative style with aphorisms presumably based on his
observations of people in 17th C France and readings about other peoples and
making both diachronic* and
synchronic**
comparisons
* (= across time) People living at different times [4th century BCE Greece and 17th
century Europe CE]
**(= same time) People living at the same time [21st century Canada and China]
Note bene
Maxims 11, 14, 19, 27
78 re Justice: Thrasymachus in Plato’s
Republic and ch. 2 Gyges’ Ring
Notice: he says “most men” not “all” men
Is he using a tacit inductive argument? Or an impressionistic statistical argument?
83 equally cynical about friendship
135 extremely interesting
Other virtues deconstructed
Gratitude 223
Humility 253
Love 259
Pity 264
True love and true friendship 473
Idea of roles and role playing 256
Earl of Rochester
Also uses a literary style but with at least a tacit argument based on his radical
empiricist epistemology
Basic idea is that humans are too rational, too smart for our own well being. We
should rely more on the experience of the 5 senses than on Reason.
Rochester
Prefers being a dog monkey or bear to being a human “so proud of being rational.
[30 left side]
Has an extreme pragmatist view of human reason
Reason and the senses
“I own right reason, …which distinguishes by sense And gives us rules of good and
ill from thence” [31 left side]
We kill for no good reason unlike animals: “they kill for food; Man undoes man to
do himself no good” [31 right side]
Anticipation of prisoner’s dilemma on bottom [31 right side] “honesty’s against all
common sense; Men must be knaves. ‘tis their own defense”
Criticism of hypocrisy
“see what human nature craves: Most men are cowards, all men should be knaves”
[32 left side]
Final page is critique of hypocrisy especially by religious leaders
Finishes with interesting line: [32] “Man differs more from man than man from
beast”
AUGUSTINE confesses
Why do people write confessions?
Argues for “privileged access” a principle that seems obvious but is denied by many
modern philosophies. WHY?
Mainly because it relies on “Introspectionand so is not open to interpersonal
objective observation
AUGUSTINE’s Platonic epistemology
Starting with 6 [37] outlines a brilliant anti-empiricist theory of human nature and
human knowledge that follows Platonic principles
1. “I have both body and soul” = the Greek
psyche
2. “my inner self is the better of the two” where the inner self =the
psyche
and
the outer = the body
3. So Augustine is a link between Plato and Descartes!
The self, the soul and the senses [38-7]
The senses and the memory
1. The senses
imprint images of things on my mind [8]
2. But knowledge is not just of images but of facts[9]
3.
Memory includes mathematical knowledge = “innumerable principles and laws of
numbers and dimensions” [12] followed by beautiful typically Platonic/Pythagorean
argument against empiricism and for rationalism
Mathematical Knowledge
The principles of “numbers and dimensions” [= arithmetic [or number theory] and
geometry] are not conveyed empirically because “they cannot be seen, heard,
smelled, tasted, or touched”.
This is the perfect example of going from concrete to abstract!!
Consider the following: 2, II, 10, deux, two: seeing these IS NOT SEEING a
number [the first 3 are numerals] or consider ____________________ or even
Back to metaphysical questions [40-10]
Three kinds of questions:
1. Existential: Does entity X actually exist?
2. Essentialist: What is the definition and/or essence of X?
3. Entity type: What sort of entity is it?
Memory and Feelings
Four types of emotions:
Desire, Joy, Fear, and sorrow
2 main points:
1. The memory of something is not the same or even similar to the original
experience.
2. It does not seem to involve images
Epistemic/ontological paradox: nothing is closer to me than myself “yet I do not
understand the power of memory… in myself” [42-15]
What is my [and human?] Nature?
A life varying, full of change, and immense power[43-17] is this too vague? Or
platitudinous? Or wrong about “immense power”? If confined to the mind it is true
up to a point.. right? but……
What do all humans want?
Now for another alleged platitude: “Surely happiness is what everyone wants” [43-
20]
According to Jeremy Bentham the godfather of Modern Utilitarianism all humans
desire maximum pleasure at minimum cost and pain
What is happiness?
Not something known through the senses even though we have it in our memory
and therefore we must have experienced it or known it some other way
But we do not know it as we know numbers
Why is it so hard to achieve?
Basically human nature is at war with itself and subject to temptations
the impulses of nature and the impulses of the spirit are at war with one another
[45-23] and so humans “
cannot do all their will approves
so does that mean we
do not have FREE WILL?
Augustine may be the person who invented [or discovered] this problem: but first
what temptations lead us astray?
List of temptations
1. Bodily appetites [47-35]
2. Unhealthy curiosity [ibid.]
3. Desire to be feared or loved by others. [48-36]
4. Wealth of course [We luv $$$$$$$$$$$$$]
5. Self-complacency [50-39] in some ways this amounts to a conflict of EGO-ism
with EGOT-ism
On Free Choice of the Will
VIII Book 1
“Reason should be the master in human life”
What distinguishes the wise from the foolish”
XIV Question “Why are so few happy?”
XV Answer “from lust after temporal things”
On Free Choice of the Will
Book 2 IV the inner sense and the 5 bodily senses
VI Reason is humanity’s most excellent faculty
VIII No one freely chooses not to exist: what would he say about suicide,
euthanasia and free will for that matter?
Summary
Was Augustine a pessimist?
Yes and no
He is often criticized as the inventor of the “
original sin
” doctrine
What did he believe about free will?
He is often criticized as the inventor of the doctrine of predestination
Epistemological assumptions used
1. Use empirical or rational method [or both].
2. We can make inductive or statistical generalizations with very limited samples.
3. We can read off motives from observed human behaviour.
4. We can explain the massive evidence to the contrary. This is the KEY PROBLEM
both sides face.
VERIFIABILITY and FALSIFIABILITY I
VERIFIABILITY
1. A statement is allegedly verifiable if [or IFF] it can be shown to be true either by
empirical or logical means
2. It is often inferred from this that metaphysical statements are not verifiable. This
would include many theories about or relevant to Human Nature.
3. It turns out however that a large number of empirical statements are not
verifiable either.
VERIFIABILITY and FALSIFIABILITY II
FALSIFIABILITY
1. A statement is said to be falsifiable if [or IFF] it can be shown to be true either
by empirical or logical means
2. It is often inferred from this that metaphysical statements are not falsifiable.
This would include many theories about or relevant to Human Nature.
3. It turns out however that a large number of empirical statements are not
falsifiable.
Verifiability and Falsifiability
The epistemological asymmetry of verifiability and falsifiability
Universal Statements: cannot be verified but they can be refuted.
Existential statements: cannot be refuted but they can be verified.
Epistemological Asymmetry
Universal
Statements cannot be verified [empirically] since we never have all the
empirical examples* but they can be refuted or falsified since we only need one
counter-example as in the
The Black Swan
(the book not the movie)
Universal
Statements: All humans are mortal
All bodies obey the law of gravity.
All snow is white.
* except in trivial cases
Epistemological Asymmetry
Existential statements can be verified but
not refuted.
[except in mathematics]*
1. There is no Loch Ness monster.
2. There are no witches.
3. There are not 2 identical snowflakes.
4. There is [or There is NOT] a God.
5. There is a [There is NO] Santa Clause.
6. No two human beings are completely identical.
* e.g. “There is no highest prime number
The Burden of Proof
Sometimes it helps to think like a lawyer.
In some cases a legal case comes down to what they call “the balance of
probabilities”
In other cases there is an
Onus probandi
on the prosecution.
For mostly very good reasons we put (or should put) the onus on those who assert
“Entity X exists” almost all the time.
Verifiability and Falsifiability 2
Verifiability: the main problems this view faces is that: (1) we need to start with
assumptions or axioms that we cannot prove; (2) we cannot verify universals
except in purely logical reasoning.
Falsifiability: the main problems this view faces is that: (1) it turns out that people
can always find a way to explain* away alleged counter-examples especially in
debates about human behavior and human nature!!!
*Recent experiments indicate some entities do travel faster than light. Does this
refute Einstein?
AQUINAS [1224-1274]
On The Virtues in General
3 positions on how we get virtuous
So he resorts to his own type of tripartite solution
See next PP
For now notice the key point for our course: [57 RS*]
All the …beginnings of virtue are consequent upon the nature of the human
species and
hence
common to all men” [ibid.] premise conclusion
* hereafter RS = right side LS =
Aquinas tri-part psyche [57 LS]
“Concupiscible” and “Irascible”
ART IX
2 Sentences before Art XI
“Reason which is superior”
“virtue is by reason not nature”
13th C was “age of faith”
18th C was “age of reason”
ART IX presents a teleological view of the good which is different for different
things
Human good is not the same “as a horse’s or a rock’s good” [58 LS]
2 Different Human Goods
GOOD AS HUMAN
The good for man
qua
man
It lays in the perfection of reason both in (1) knowledge [= “cognition” 58RS] of
truth; and in the
(2) regulation of “inferior appetites
GOOD AS CITIZEN
As citizens of a particular city, nation or country we should promote [= “being
ordered to” 58 RS] “the good of all within a commonwealth”
This does not “exceed the faculty* of humans nature”
*ability or natural power not supernatural
Active and Passive Principles
Two main points: there are some things we can do ourselves (active) and other
things we cannot but they happen to us (passive)
What should happen: (1) the intellect in act moves the will; (2) “The will…moved by
reason is meant to move the sensitive appetites [anger and lust]; (3) these powers
“are meant to obey reason”[59 LS]
Aquinas on Free Choice
P 1. Some things move and some do not.
P 2. Some things move themselves.
P 3. Some things cannot move themselves and so are moved by something else.
P 4. Some things move themselves by a judgment of reason and deliberation.
P5. Only humans move themselves by a judgment of reason and deliberation.
Conclusion: Humans possess Free Choice
Do Animals possess Free Choice?
Why discuss this topic? It helps define the main difference between us and “the
brutes”
They have a certain semblance of reason…natural prudence” [61 RS]
But they lack the knowledge needed for free choice [61 RS]
AQUINAS: Two meanings of Natural Law”
MORAL/ETHICAL MEANING
Universal laws of right and wrong, just and unjust planted in human beings [by God
and/or Nature] so they are prescriptive and normative
MODERN SCIENTIFIC MEANING
Universal laws of macro and micro objects that are descriptive and explanatory
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
1
20
21
22
23
24
25
1
2
26
1
2
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
1
2
38
1
2
3
4
39
40
41
42
1
2
3
4
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-3 of the document.
Unlock all 8 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in
18/04/2012
2
PHILOSOPHY 191
PESSIMISTIC AND OPTIMISTIC PHILOSOPHERS
Pessimistic and Optimistic theories
Optimists believe that humans are basically and naturally good, rational, altruistic
and free [or should be free] to control of their own destiny.
Pessimists believe mainly the opposite BUT*…
We are either born naturally egoistic, and/or sinful or stupid/foolish and not in
control of our destiny.
* There are lots of exceptions to these generalizations
Two good examples of pessimists
Francois de La Rochfoucauld
Earl of Rochester
They are definitely expressing cynical views of human nature and not holding out
much hope for humankind, because humankind is not kind to humans!!
La Rochfoucauld
Uses literary non-argumentative style with aphorisms presumably based on his
observations of people in 17th C France and readings about other peoples and
making both diachronic* and
synchronic**
comparisons
* (= across time) People living at different times [4th century BCE Greece and 17th
century Europe CE]
**(= same time) People living at the same time [21st century Canada and China]
Note bene
Maxims 11, 14, 19, 27
78 re Justice: Thrasymachus in Plato’s
Republic and ch. 2 Gyges’ Ring
Notice: he says “most men” not “all” men
Is he using a tacit inductive argument? Or an impressionistic statistical argument?
83 equally cynical about friendship
135 extremely interesting
Other virtues deconstructed
Gratitude 223
Humility 253
Love 259
Pity 264
True love and true friendship 473
Idea of roles and role playing 256
Earl of Rochester
Also uses a literary style but with at least a tacit argument based on his radical
empiricist epistemology
Basic idea is that humans are too rational, too smart for our own well being. We
should rely more on the experience of the 5 senses than on Reason.
Rochester
Prefers being a dog monkey or bear to being a human “so proud of being rational.
[30 left side]
Has an extreme pragmatist view of human reason
Reason and the senses
“I own right reason, …which distinguishes by sense And gives us rules of good and
ill from thence” [31 left side]
We kill for no good reason unlike animals: “they kill for food; Man undoes man to
do himself no good” [31 right side]
Anticipation of prisoner’s dilemma on bottom [31 right side] “honesty’s against all
common sense; Men must be knaves. ‘tis their own defense”
Criticism of hypocrisy
“see what human nature craves: Most men are cowards, all men should be knaves”
[32 left side]
Final page is critique of hypocrisy especially by religious leaders
Finishes with interesting line: [32] “Man differs more from man than man from
beast”
AUGUSTINE confesses
Why do people write confessions?
Argues for “privileged access” a principle that seems obvious but is denied by many
modern philosophies. WHY?
Mainly because it relies on “Introspectionand so is not open to interpersonal
objective observation
AUGUSTINE’s Platonic epistemology
Starting with 6 [37] outlines a brilliant anti-empiricist theory of human nature and
human knowledge that follows Platonic principles
1. “I have both body and soul” = the Greek
psyche
2. “my inner self is the better of the two” where the inner self =the
psyche
and
the outer = the body
3. So Augustine is a link between Plato and Descartes!
The self, the soul and the senses [38-7]
The senses and the memory
1. The senses
imprint images of things on my mind [8]
2. But knowledge is not just of images but of facts[9]
3.
Memory includes mathematical knowledge = “innumerable principles and laws of
numbers and dimensions” [12] followed by beautiful typically Platonic/Pythagorean
argument against empiricism and for rationalism
Mathematical Knowledge
The principles of “numbers and dimensions” [= arithmetic [or number theory] and
geometry] are not conveyed empirically because “they cannot be seen, heard,
smelled, tasted, or touched”.
This is the perfect example of going from concrete to abstract!!
Consider the following: 2, II, 10, deux, two: seeing these IS NOT SEEING a
number [the first 3 are numerals] or consider ____________________ or even
Back to metaphysical questions [40-10]
Three kinds of questions:
1. Existential: Does entity X actually exist?
2. Essentialist: What is the definition and/or essence of X?
3. Entity type: What sort of entity is it?
Memory and Feelings
Four types of emotions:
Desire, Joy, Fear, and sorrow
2 main points:
1. The memory of something is not the same or even similar to the original
experience.
2. It does not seem to involve images
Epistemic/ontological paradox: nothing is closer to me than myself “yet I do not
understand the power of memory… in myself” [42-15]
What is my [and human?] Nature?
A life varying, full of change, and immense power[43-17] is this too vague? Or
platitudinous? Or wrong about “immense power”? If confined to the mind it is true
up to a point.. right? but……
What do all humans want?
Now for another alleged platitude: “Surely happiness is what everyone wants” [43-
20]
According to Jeremy Bentham the godfather of Modern Utilitarianism all humans
desire maximum pleasure at minimum cost and pain
What is happiness?
Not something known through the senses even though we have it in our memory
and therefore we must have experienced it or known it some other way
But we do not know it as we know numbers
Why is it so hard to achieve?
Basically human nature is at war with itself and subject to temptations
the impulses of nature and the impulses of the spirit are at war with one another
[45-23] and so humans “
cannot do all their will approves
so does that mean we
do not have FREE WILL?
Augustine may be the person who invented [or discovered] this problem: but first
what temptations lead us astray?
List of temptations
1. Bodily appetites [47-35]
2. Unhealthy curiosity [ibid.]
3. Desire to be feared or loved by others. [48-36]
4. Wealth of course [We luv $$$$$$$$$$$$$]
5. Self-complacency [50-39] in some ways this amounts to a conflict of EGO-ism
with EGOT-ism
On Free Choice of the Will
VIII Book 1
“Reason should be the master in human life”
What distinguishes the wise from the foolish”
XIV Question “Why are so few happy?”
XV Answer “from lust after temporal things”
On Free Choice of the Will
Book 2 IV the inner sense and the 5 bodily senses
VI Reason is humanity’s most excellent faculty
VIII No one freely chooses not to exist: what would he say about suicide,
euthanasia and free will for that matter?
Summary
Was Augustine a pessimist?
Yes and no
He is often criticized as the inventor of the “
original sin
” doctrine
What did he believe about free will?
He is often criticized as the inventor of the doctrine of predestination
Epistemological assumptions used
1. Use empirical or rational method [or both].
2. We can make inductive or statistical generalizations with very limited samples.
3. We can read off motives from observed human behaviour.
4. We can explain the massive evidence to the contrary. This is the KEY PROBLEM
both sides face.
VERIFIABILITY and FALSIFIABILITY I
VERIFIABILITY
1. A statement is allegedly verifiable if [or IFF] it can be shown to be true either by
empirical or logical means
2. It is often inferred from this that metaphysical statements are not verifiable. This
would include many theories about or relevant to Human Nature.
3. It turns out however that a large number of empirical statements are not
verifiable either.
VERIFIABILITY and FALSIFIABILITY II
FALSIFIABILITY
1. A statement is said to be falsifiable if [or IFF] it can be shown to be true either
by empirical or logical means
2. It is often inferred from this that metaphysical statements are not falsifiable.
This would include many theories about or relevant to Human Nature.
3. It turns out however that a large number of empirical statements are not
falsifiable.
Verifiability and Falsifiability
The epistemological asymmetry of verifiability and falsifiability
Universal Statements: cannot be verified but they can be refuted.
Existential statements: cannot be refuted but they can be verified.
Epistemological Asymmetry
Universal
Statements cannot be verified [empirically] since we never have all the
empirical examples* but they can be refuted or falsified since we only need one
counter-example as in the
The Black Swan
(the book not the movie)
Universal
Statements: All humans are mortal
All bodies obey the law of gravity.
All snow is white.
* except in trivial cases
Epistemological Asymmetry
Existential statements can be verified but
not refuted.
[except in mathematics]*
1. There is no Loch Ness monster.
2. There are no witches.
3. There are not 2 identical snowflakes.
4. There is [or There is NOT] a God.
5. There is a [There is NO] Santa Clause.
6. No two human beings are completely identical.
* e.g. “There is no highest prime number
The Burden of Proof
Sometimes it helps to think like a lawyer.
In some cases a legal case comes down to what they call “the balance of
probabilities”
In other cases there is an
Onus probandi
on the prosecution.
For mostly very good reasons we put (or should put) the onus on those who assert
“Entity X exists” almost all the time.
Verifiability and Falsifiability 2
Verifiability: the main problems this view faces is that: (1) we need to start with
assumptions or axioms that we cannot prove; (2) we cannot verify universals
except in purely logical reasoning.
Falsifiability: the main problems this view faces is that: (1) it turns out that people
can always find a way to explain* away alleged counter-examples especially in
debates about human behavior and human nature!!!
*Recent experiments indicate some entities do travel faster than light. Does this
refute Einstein?
AQUINAS [1224-1274]
On The Virtues in General
3 positions on how we get virtuous
So he resorts to his own type of tripartite solution
See next PP
For now notice the key point for our course: [57 RS*]
All the …beginnings of virtue are consequent upon the nature of the human
species and
hence
common to all men” [ibid.] premise conclusion
* hereafter RS = right side LS =
Aquinas tri-part psyche [57 LS]
“Concupiscible” and “Irascible”
ART IX
2 Sentences before Art XI
“Reason which is superior”
“virtue is by reason not nature”
13th C was “age of faith”
18th C was “age of reason”
ART IX presents a teleological view of the good which is different for different
things
Human good is not the same “as a horse’s or a rock’s good” [58 LS]
2 Different Human Goods
GOOD AS HUMAN
The good for man
qua
man
It lays in the perfection of reason both in (1) knowledge [= “cognition” 58RS] of
truth; and in the
(2) regulation of “inferior appetites
GOOD AS CITIZEN
As citizens of a particular city, nation or country we should promote [= “being
ordered to” 58 RS] “the good of all within a commonwealth”
This does not “exceed the faculty* of humans nature”
*ability or natural power not supernatural
Active and Passive Principles
Two main points: there are some things we can do ourselves (active) and other
things we cannot but they happen to us (passive)
What should happen: (1) the intellect in act moves the will; (2) “The will…moved by
reason is meant to move the sensitive appetites [anger and lust]; (3) these powers
“are meant to obey reason”[59 LS]
Aquinas on Free Choice
P 1. Some things move and some do not.
P 2. Some things move themselves.
P 3. Some things cannot move themselves and so are moved by something else.
P 4. Some things move themselves by a judgment of reason and deliberation.
P5. Only humans move themselves by a judgment of reason and deliberation.
Conclusion: Humans possess Free Choice
Do Animals possess Free Choice?
Why discuss this topic? It helps define the main difference between us and “the
brutes”
They have a certain semblance of reason…natural prudence” [61 RS]
But they lack the knowledge needed for free choice [61 RS]
AQUINAS: Two meanings of “Natural Law”
MORAL/ETHICAL MEANING
Universal laws of right and wrong, just and unjust planted in human beings [by God
and/or Nature] so they are prescriptive and normative
MODERN SCIENTIFIC MEANING
Universal laws of macro and micro objects that are descriptive and explanatory
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
1
20
21
22
23
24
25
1
2
26
1
2
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
1
2
38
1
2
3
4
39
40
41
42
1
2
3
4
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-3 of the document.
Unlock all 8 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in
18/04/2012
3
PHILOSOPHY 191
PESSIMISTIC AND OPTIMISTIC PHILOSOPHERS
Pessimistic and Optimistic theories
Optimists believe that humans are basically and naturally good, rational, altruistic
and free [or should be free] to control of their own destiny.
Pessimists believe mainly the opposite BUT*…
We are either born naturally egoistic, and/or sinful or stupid/foolish and not in
control of our destiny.
* There are lots of exceptions to these generalizations
Two good examples of pessimists
Francois de La Rochfoucauld
Earl of Rochester
They are definitely expressing cynical views of human nature and not holding out
much hope for humankind, because humankind is not kind to humans!!
La Rochfoucauld
Uses literary non-argumentative style with aphorisms presumably based on his
observations of people in 17th C France and readings about other peoples and
making both diachronic* and
synchronic**
comparisons
* (= across time) People living at different times [4th century BCE Greece and 17th
century Europe CE]
**(= same time) People living at the same time [21st century Canada and China]
Note bene
Maxims 11, 14, 19, 27
78 re Justice: Thrasymachus in Plato’s
Republic and ch. 2 Gyges’ Ring
Notice: he says “most men” not “all” men
Is he using a tacit inductive argument? Or an impressionistic statistical argument?
83 equally cynical about friendship
135 extremely interesting
Other virtues deconstructed
Gratitude 223
Humility 253
Love 259
Pity 264
True love and true friendship 473
Idea of roles and role playing 256
Earl of Rochester
Also uses a literary style but with at least a tacit argument based on his radical
empiricist epistemology
Basic idea is that humans are too rational, too smart for our own well being. We
should rely more on the experience of the 5 senses than on Reason.
Rochester
Prefers being a dog monkey or bear to being a human “so proud of being rational.
[30 left side]
Has an extreme pragmatist view of human reason
Reason and the senses
“I own right reason, …which distinguishes by sense And gives us rules of good and
ill from thence” [31 left side]
We kill for no good reason unlike animals: “they kill for food; Man undoes man to
do himself no good” [31 right side]
Anticipation of prisoner’s dilemma on bottom [31 right side] “honesty’s against all
common sense; Men must be knaves. ‘tis their own defense”
Criticism of hypocrisy
“see what human nature craves: Most men are cowards, all men should be knaves”
[32 left side]
Final page is critique of hypocrisy especially by religious leaders
Finishes with interesting line: [32] “Man differs more from man than man from
beast”
AUGUSTINE confesses
Why do people write confessions?
Argues for “privileged access” a principle that seems obvious but is denied by many
modern philosophies. WHY?
Mainly because it relies on “Introspectionand so is not open to interpersonal
objective observation
AUGUSTINE’s Platonic epistemology
Starting with 6 [37] outlines a brilliant anti-empiricist theory of human nature and
human knowledge that follows Platonic principles
1. “I have both body and soul” = the Greek
psyche
2. “my inner self is the better of the two” where the inner self =the
psyche
and
the outer = the body
3. So Augustine is a link between Plato and Descartes!
The self, the soul and the senses [38-7]
The senses and the memory
1. The senses
imprint images of things on my mind [8]
2. But knowledge is not just of images but of facts[9]
3.
Memory includes mathematical knowledge = “innumerable principles and laws of
numbers and dimensions” [12] followed by beautiful typically Platonic/Pythagorean
argument against empiricism and for rationalism
Mathematical Knowledge
The principles of “numbers and dimensions” [= arithmetic [or number theory] and
geometry] are not conveyed empirically because “they cannot be seen, heard,
smelled, tasted, or touched”.
This is the perfect example of going from concrete to abstract!!
Consider the following: 2, II, 10, deux, two: seeing these IS NOT SEEING a
number [the first 3 are numerals] or consider ____________________ or even
Back to metaphysical questions [40-10]
Three kinds of questions:
1. Existential: Does entity X actually exist?
2. Essentialist: What is the definition and/or essence of X?
3. Entity type: What sort of entity is it?
Memory and Feelings
Four types of emotions:
Desire, Joy, Fear, and sorrow
2 main points:
1. The memory of something is not the same or even similar to the original
experience.
2. It does not seem to involve images
Epistemic/ontological paradox: nothing is closer to me than myself “yet I do not
understand the power of memory… in myself” [42-15]
What is my [and human?] Nature?
A life varying, full of change, and immense power[43-17] is this too vague? Or
platitudinous? Or wrong about “immense power”? If confined to the mind it is true
up to a point.. right? but……
What do all humans want?
Now for another alleged platitude: “Surely happiness is what everyone wants” [43-
20]
According to Jeremy Bentham the godfather of Modern Utilitarianism all humans
desire maximum pleasure at minimum cost and pain
What is happiness?
Not something known through the senses even though we have it in our memory
and therefore we must have experienced it or known it some other way
But we do not know it as we know numbers
Why is it so hard to achieve?
Basically human nature is at war with itself and subject to temptations
the impulses of nature and the impulses of the spirit are at war with one another
[45-23] and so humans “
cannot do all their will approves
so does that mean we
do not have FREE WILL?
Augustine may be the person who invented [or discovered] this problem: but first
what temptations lead us astray?
List of temptations
1. Bodily appetites [47-35]
2. Unhealthy curiosity [ibid.]
3. Desire to be feared or loved by others. [48-36]
4. Wealth of course [We luv $$$$$$$$$$$$$]
5. Self-complacency [50-39] in some ways this amounts to a conflict of EGO-ism
with EGOT-ism
On Free Choice of the Will
VIII Book 1
“Reason should be the master in human life”
What distinguishes the wise from the foolish”
XIV Question “Why are so few happy?”
XV Answer “from lust after temporal things”
On Free Choice of the Will
Book 2 IV the inner sense and the 5 bodily senses
VI Reason is humanity’s most excellent faculty
VIII No one freely chooses not to exist: what would he say about suicide,
euthanasia and free will for that matter?
Summary
Was Augustine a pessimist?
Yes and no
He is often criticized as the inventor of the “
original sin
” doctrine
What did he believe about free will?
He is often criticized as the inventor of the doctrine of predestination
Epistemological assumptions used
1. Use empirical or rational method [or both].
2. We can make inductive or statistical generalizations with very limited samples.
3. We can read off motives from observed human behaviour.
4. We can explain the massive evidence to the contrary. This is the KEY PROBLEM
both sides face.
VERIFIABILITY and FALSIFIABILITY I
VERIFIABILITY
1. A statement is allegedly verifiable if [or IFF] it can be shown to be true either by
empirical or logical means
2. It is often inferred from this that metaphysical statements are not verifiable. This
would include many theories about or relevant to Human Nature.
3. It turns out however that a large number of empirical statements are not
verifiable either.
VERIFIABILITY and FALSIFIABILITY II
FALSIFIABILITY
1. A statement is said to be falsifiable if [or IFF] it can be shown to be true either
by empirical or logical means
2. It is often inferred from this that metaphysical statements are not falsifiable.
This would include many theories about or relevant to Human Nature.
3. It turns out however that a large number of empirical statements are not
falsifiable.
Verifiability and Falsifiability
The epistemological asymmetry of verifiability and falsifiability
Universal Statements: cannot be verified but they can be refuted.
Existential statements: cannot be refuted but they can be verified.
Epistemological Asymmetry
Universal
Statements cannot be verified [empirically] since we never have all the
empirical examples* but they can be refuted or falsified since we only need one
counter-example as in the
The Black Swan
(the book not the movie)
Universal
Statements: All humans are mortal
All bodies obey the law of gravity.
All snow is white.
* except in trivial cases
Epistemological Asymmetry
Existential statements can be verified but
not refuted.
[except in mathematics]*
1. There is no Loch Ness monster.
2. There are no witches.
3. There are not 2 identical snowflakes.
4. There is [or There is NOT] a God.
5. There is a [There is NO] Santa Clause.
6. No two human beings are completely identical.
* e.g. “There is no highest prime number
The Burden of Proof
Sometimes it helps to think like a lawyer.
In some cases a legal case comes down to what they call “the balance of
probabilities”
In other cases there is an
Onus probandi
on the prosecution.
For mostly very good reasons we put (or should put) the onus on those who assert
“Entity X exists” almost all the time.
Verifiability and Falsifiability 2
Verifiability: the main problems this view faces is that: (1) we need to start with
assumptions or axioms that we cannot prove; (2) we cannot verify universals
except in purely logical reasoning.
Falsifiability: the main problems this view faces is that: (1) it turns out that people
can always find a way to explain* away alleged counter-examples especially in
debates about human behavior and human nature!!!
*Recent experiments indicate some entities do travel faster than light. Does this
refute Einstein?
AQUINAS [1224-1274]
On The Virtues in General
3 positions on how we get virtuous
So he resorts to his own type of tripartite solution
See next PP
For now notice the key point for our course: [57 RS*]
All the …beginnings of virtue are consequent upon the nature of the human
species and
hence
common to all men” [ibid.] premise conclusion
* hereafter RS = right side LS =
Aquinas tri-part psyche [57 LS]
“Concupiscible” and “Irascible”
ART IX
2 Sentences before Art XI
“Reason which is superior”
“virtue is by reason not nature”
13th C was “age of faith”
18th C was “age of reason”
ART IX presents a teleological view of the good which is different for different
things
Human good is not the same “as a horse’s or a rock’s good” [58 LS]
2 Different Human Goods
GOOD AS HUMAN
The good for man
qua
man
It lays in the perfection of reason both in (1) knowledge [= “cognition” 58RS] of
truth; and in the
(2) regulation of “inferior appetites
GOOD AS CITIZEN
As citizens of a particular city, nation or country we should promote [= “being
ordered to” 58 RS] “the good of all within a commonwealth”
This does not “exceed the faculty* of humans nature”
*ability or natural power not supernatural
Active and Passive Principles
Two main points: there are some things we can do ourselves (active) and other
things we cannot but they happen to us (passive)
What should happen: (1) the intellect in act moves the will; (2) “The will…moved by
reason is meant to move the sensitive appetites [anger and lust]; (3) these powers
“are meant to obey reason”[59 LS]
Aquinas on Free Choice
P 1. Some things move and some do not.
P 2. Some things move themselves.
P 3. Some things cannot move themselves and so are moved by something else.
P 4. Some things move themselves by a judgment of reason and deliberation.
P5. Only humans move themselves by a judgment of reason and deliberation.
Conclusion: Humans possess Free Choice
Do Animals possess Free Choice?
Why discuss this topic? It helps define the main difference between us and “the
brutes”
They have a certain semblance of reason…natural prudence” [61 RS]
But they lack the knowledge needed for free choice [61 RS]
AQUINAS: Two meanings of Natural Law”
MORAL/ETHICAL MEANING
Universal laws of right and wrong, just and unjust planted in human beings [by God
and/or Nature] so they are prescriptive and normative
MODERN SCIENTIFIC MEANING
Universal laws of macro and micro objects that are descriptive and explanatory
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
1
20
21
22
23
24
25
1
2
26
1
2
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
1
2
38
1
2
3
4
39
40
41
42
1
2
3
4
Unlock document

This preview shows pages 1-3 of the document.
Unlock all 8 pages and 3 million more documents.

Already have an account? Log in

Get access

Grade+
$10 USD/m
Billed $120 USD annually
Homework Help
Class Notes
Textbook Notes
40 Verified Answers
Study Guides
1 Booster Class
Class+
$8 USD/m
Billed $96 USD annually
Homework Help
Class Notes
Textbook Notes
30 Verified Answers
Study Guides
1 Booster Class