Monday, January 24, 2011
Essays: No outside readings; 5 pages; explain then criticize; “Here’s the problem we’re
concerned with” – explain the author’s position; show how they show it; show what you
want to talk about by way of what they did
½ of the paper should be the argument you’re tearing apart.
3 Ways to attack a philosophical position: Is the argument valid (agree with the premise,
agree with the conclusion)? – point out counterarguments. Do we have reasons to
believe/evaluate premises/are the assumptions reasonable (Points out falsity, but not
reasons to be true)? Argument is valid/ no flaw with the premises – does that mean the
conclusion is plausible (you then know a premise is false/argument is invalid/there needs
to be something added to the conclusion)?
Style – no big fancy words, jokes, profanity, etc. Write like you’re trying to explain to a
retard (small words, sentences, etc.). Avoid repetition. One idea per sentence. First
person – “I think…”
No general introductions. Good intro: Royce believes that …
Show why ambiguous terms are ambiguous
Footnotes – use on occasions when the reader would find your explanation controversial.
Avoid quotes AND explanation of quotes. If an idea came up in class, footnote it.
Ex. ________, “________.” 12
G.E Moore – resisting idealism/skepticism
Invented common sense philosophy and ordinary language philosophy; analytical
Proof of an External World
Told it was not proven the external world exists. Kant: What is an experience? There
needs to be a subject, and something other than me for me to experience. The object of
experience causes you to have an experience. Mere fact that you have an experience
proves the existence of time. Ex. Horse race
• Could have the recollection of a horse race; and you came into existence in the
What does it mean to say the external world exists?
• There appears to be something different than you, a world of things presented in
space (ex. The table is 3 feet away from you)
• The objects of experience are presented as they existed in space. No – there are all kinds of things presented in space but not apart of the external world. Ex. Dreams
– presumably you dream in 3D; illusions (flash from a camera dazzling your eye –
• All kinds of things in space that aren’t presented in the physical world (ex. Pain)
• Is available to be met with in space – to say you could touch it; more than one
person can see it (exists independently of one mind – but could be a common
• Mental objects vs. physical world
External world objects – the existence does not entail any mental fact (i.e. it’s being
experience by someone, thought of by someone, someone is aware of it, etc.). The
existence of the object does not entail the existence of a mind relating to it.
Are there any such objects?
• Formulate what the claim of the idealist is – everything that exists is mind-
dependent – Kill all minds, all things are gone.
Not part of the concept of the object to count as meeting the definition.
Moore – sure. Everything we talk about is like this. Ex. Concept of a sock. Can’t deduce
from the concept of a sock to something is thinking it. Can deduce someone could wear
it. Ex. There is a pain. There is only pain if someone is aware of the pain; but sock is not
Distinguished by only as long as they’re being perceived. Ex. Soap bubbles – the test is:
could the object persist without being perceived. Doesn’t follow from the soap bubble.
Ex. Hand – would it follow that anyone is perceiving? Hands are material objects –
Argument from Dry Goods.
What does it take for a good argument?
Premise needs to entail the conclusion. Non-question begging argument. Not circular.
Only a persuasive argument if we have a reason to believe the premise (if Moore could
prove the truth of the premise, he wins, says two things – 1. It’s just false that arguments
only prove things to us if their premises have been true – false philosophical argument;
for every argument that proves a premise, it would regress infinitely. Prove things by
things that have not been proved. 2. [Premise be known, some things we know without
proving ex. Experience of a sweater] Is ‘here is one hand, here’s another’ something to be
known without being proved? Admits that he doesn’t know; can’t prove you’re not
dreaming however there is no doubt he knows he’s not dreaming. Knows it’s a hand and
Moore - There’s no doubt at all that I know I’m not dreaming. But I can’t prove it not
from lack of evidence, but there’s so much that you couldn’t c