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Lecture

Somerville, Wilson and Descartes

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHIL 1F91
Professor
David Hayes
Semester
Fall

Description
18/04/2012 1 PHIL 191 INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHY HUMAN NATURE MOTHER NATURE HUMAN KNOWLEDGE The most important course you will ever do 2 Why human nature is important 1 Margaret Somerville 2 A distinguished Canadian Philosopher Quoted on page 2 of CO [How] Do we differ from animals and robots? 3 E. O. Wilson 4 A distinguished and very controversial Biologist [2004] Can there be a more important subject than human nature? 3 Some Major Questions 1. Is there such a thing as Human Nature? 2. Are we more similar to machines or to animals? = Do we have free will or are we like dominoes, chess pieces or dogs? 3. Do we have a soul [or spirit or mind], that is, a non-material component or are we just bodies with a very complex body part called a brain? 4. Are we naturally good [= altruistic] or naturally evil [= selfish, greedy egoists]? 5. How and why are males and females different? 4 How to THINK about this Course Be introspective What have you learned from Family, Friends and Fellow citizens? What have you learned from mass media about the world? 5 How to THINK about this Course2 What have you learned from the past [= history and pre- history] about the world? What have you learned from or are learning from other courses? Be a Lighthouse not a bucket!!! [or sponge] 6 1 Be introspective 18/04/2012 What have you learned from Family, Friends and Fellow citizens? What have you learned from mass media about the world? 5 How to THINK about this Course2 What have you learned from the past [= history and pre- history] about the world? What have you learned from or are learning from other courses? Be a Lighthouse not a bucket!!! [or sponge] 6 THE TWO [2 = 10] TEXTS 1 There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those that understand binary arithmetic and those who do not Readings on Human Nature is an anthology 2 Ultimate Questions is a single author book It is much easier to read and more visual and has lots of on-line supplementary material i.e. the 3 rd edition does 7 THE 2 TEXTS 1 Human nature 2 Arranged both chronologically and thematically Chronologically: First half is a long period of time: 400 BCE to cir. 1800 CE = Common Era nd 2 half is post-Malthusian era Thematically: 3 Ultimate questions 4 Chapters 1-2: How philosophy and logic are relevant to human nature issues somewhat indirectly but Chapters 3-6 most directly relevant to human nature issues Chapters 7-8: God and Morality are very relevant to human nature issues because 8 THE 2 TEXTS 1 Human nature 2 Thematically: the first 2 parts 3 distinct themes: Antiquity, Early Modernity and Christianity The next 2 themes are ideological Then we have a kaleidoscopic mixture of views: Dialectical, Biological, Psycho- analytical, Behaviourist anti-psyche theories, feminism, philosophical and social scientific theories. 3 Ultimate questions 2 2 Thematically: the first 2 parts 3 distinct themes: Antiquity, Early Modernity and 18/04/2012 Christianity The next 2 themes are ideological Then we have a kaleidoscopic mixture of views: Dialectical, Biological, Psycho- analytical, Behaviourist anti-psyche theories, feminism, philosophical and social scientific theories. 3 Ultimate questions 9 Ultimate questions Religion and Morality are relevant to human nature issues because: MAN [sorry] [1] HUMANS are not merely Rational Animals but: [2] HUMANS are Religious animals; and [3] HUMANS have Rights or at least they are the only animals that THINK they have rights!!!! And so they are MORAL animals 10 WARNING: PARTS OF BOTH TEXTS WILL BE DIFFICULT 1 Human nature 2 1. Many of these readings are difficult and technical yet many are fairly easy to read 2. Some have very complicated arguments but a few have none or very few. 3. The vocabulary of many is obscure, even though We should eschew obfuscation in ongoing parlance. 3 This has no title 11 WARNING CONTINUED 1 Ultimate questions 2 1. There are a number of technical terms and definitions. 2. Above all the problem of abstract concepts that are difficult to grasp because difficult to picture or imagine. 3. Not all philosophers follow the advice Always avoid an ostentatious display of pompous verbosity. 3 WHAT IS IN THE FOREST? 12 Why study Philosophy? A minute study of minute points without an understanding of the great problems of [1] COSMOLOGY, [2] of HUMAN KNOWLEDGE, [3] of ETHICS and [4] of POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY and without a serious and devoted attempt to solve them, appears to me fatal [ute in minute rhymes with cute not with it ] Karl Popper Next sentence: Criticism curbs the imagination but does NOT put it in chains 3 [2] of HUMAN KNOWLEDGE, 18/04/2012 [3] of ETHICS and [4] of POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY and without a serious and devoted attempt to solve them, appears to me fatal [ute in minute rhymes with cute not with it ] Karl Popper Next sentence: Criticism curbs the imagination but does NOT put it in chains 13 Why study Philosophy?[2] The great problems of (1) COSMOLOGY [= METAPHYSICS]* (2) KNOWLEDGE [Epistemology] (3) ETHICS; and (4) POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY and attempts to solve them is what PHILOSOPHY is all about or at least what it should be all about or you are wasting your time studying it. * kosmos = Greek word for world or universe 14 What is Philosophy? 1 Karl Popper 2 (1) COSMOLOGY* [= METAPHYSICS]* (2) KNOWLEDGE [Epistemology] (3) ETHICS; and (4) POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY * kosmos = Greek word for world or U NIVERSE 3 Nils Rauhut 4 1. METAPHYSICS 2. EPISTEMOLOGY 3. ETHICS 4. AESTHETICS 5. LOGIC 15 Key ELEMENTS of PHILOSOPHY 1. ARGUMENTS: need to construct and evaluate argument [p. 4] 2. RESPONSE to persistent QUESTIONING 3. SOCIAL activity that is IMPERSONAL in its criticisms [p. 5] AS AN IDEAL 4. PLURALITY of different ANSWERS. 16 THE W5 SET OF QUESTIONS 1 WHO? WHAT? WHEN? WHERE? = FACTS 2 1. Who is a person? All people or just some? 4
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