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Lecture 14

Lecture 14

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Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 1200
Professor
Eric Desjardins
Semester
Fall

Description
Welcome to lecture #14! I Theoretical assignment 1 is due now! Bring your hard copy to the front of the class. I Review I Assessing the acceptability of premises Empirical and non-empirical claims I Empirical claim: a claim that can be verified or falsified through observation or experiment I A non-empirical claim: a claim that is not empirical Empirical and non-empirical claims I Examples of empirical claims: I There are 120 students in this room I The moon orbits the Earth I Every raven is black Empirical and non-empirical claims I Some non-empirical claims: I Moral claims (claims about what is good/bad or right/wrong): I You ought to donate to Oxfam Empirical and non-empirical claims I Some non-empirical claims: I Moral claims (claims about what is good/bad or right/wrong): I You ought to donate to Oxfam I Aesthetic claims (claims about what is beautiful or pleasant): I Heavy metal is better than rap Empirical and non-empirical claims I Some non-empirical claims: I Moral claims (claims about what is good/bad or right/wrong): I You ought to donate to Oxfam I Aesthetic claims (claims about what is beautiful or pleasant): I Heavy metal is better than rap I Mathematically provable, analytic, and contradictory claims: I Bachelors and unmarried I 2 The area of a circle with radius r is 2▯ Four kinds of strength I There are four different strengths a claim can have: I Particular statement: a statement about specific people or objects I Existential statement: a generic statement to the effect that something meets a condition I Universal statement: a statement to the effect that every member of a class meets a condition I Statistical statement: a statement to the effect that a certain proportion of members of a class satisfy a condition How should we assess premises? I There is no general rule! I How well defended a premise must be to be acceptable depends on the context. I Sometimes we want proof: a defence that shows that the premise is true with certainty. How should we assess premises? I There is no general rule! I How well defended a premise must be to be acceptable depends on the context. I Sometimes we want proof: a defence that shows that the premise is true with certainty. I Publication of scientific results requires evidence that is very unlikely to be overturned I Conviction for murder requires proof beyond reasonable doubt How should we assess premises? I There is no general rule! I How well defended a premise must be to be acceptable depends on the context. I Sometimes we want proof: a defence that shows that the premise is true with certainty. I Publication of scientific results requires evidence that is very unlikely to be overturned I Conviction for murder requires proof beyond reasonable doubt I Sometimes this is an unreasonable standard. Tips for assessing empirical claims I Be careful when someone says “It is common knowledge that...” Tips for assessing empirical claims I Be careful when someone says “It is common knowledge that...” I If a claim is not common knowledge, check whether satisfactory empirical evidence (observation, tests, etc) has been provided. Tips for assessing empirical claims I Be careful when someone says “It is common knowledge that...” I If a claim is not common knowledge, check whether satisfactory empirical evidence (observation, tests, etc) has been provided. I Alternatively, is a reliable source cited? (A scientific journal, a respectable newspaper, a book published with a respectable university press) Tips for assessing empirical claims I Be careful when someone says “It is common knowledge that...” I If a claim is not common knowledge, check whether satisfactory empirical evidence (observation, tests, etc) has been provided. I Alternatively, is a reliable source cited? (A scientific journal, a respectable newspaper, a book published with a respectable university press) I That something has been written does not make it true. Tips for assessing empirical claims I Be careful when someone says “It is common knowledge that...” I If a claim is not common knowledge, check whether satisfactory empirical evidence (observation, tests, etc) has been provided. I Alternatively, is a reliable source cited? (A scientific journal, a respectable newspaper, a book published with a respectable university press) I That something has been written does not make it true. I “I’ve read it somewhere” is a very common defence for empirical claims, and it’s not very good. Every untenable claim can be found and read on the Internet. Tips for assessing empirical claims I Be careful when someone says “It is common knowledge that...” I If a claim is not common knowledge, check whether satisfactory empirical evidence (observation, tests, etc) has been provided. I Alternatively, is a reliable source cited? (A scientific journal, a respectable newspaper, a book published with a respectable university press) I That something has been written does not make it true. I “I’ve read it somewhere” is a very common defence for empirical claims, and it’s not very good. Every untenable claim can be found and read on the Internet. I Printed material is only just a little bit better. You need to assess the reputation of the author and the publisher. Tips for assessing empirical claims I Universal claims are very hard to prove. Tips for assessing empirical claims I Universal claims are very hard to prove. I One counterexample is enough to refute the claim. Always try to think about a likely counterexample when you see a universal claim. Tips for assessing empirical claims I Universal claims are very hard to prove. I One counterexample is enough to refute the claim. Always try to think about a likely counterexample when you see a universal claim. I Vague statistical claims are hard to assess Tips for assessing empirical claims I Universal claims are very hard to prove. I One counterexample is enough to refute the claim. Always try to think about a likely counterexample when you see a universal claim. I Vague statistical claims are hard to assess I Ex: Most students wear purple Tips for assessing empirical claims I Universal claims are very hard to prove. I One counterexample is enough to refute the claim. Always try to think about a likely counterexample when you see a universal claim. I Vague statistical claims are hard to assess I Ex: Most students wear purple I Hard to tell how many students have to wear purple for this claim to be true. Tips for assessing non-empirical claims I As a general rule, moral and aesthetic claims can be defended using one of two methods: I By appeal to general moral or aesthetic principles I By spelling out the facts about which a moral or aesthetic judgment is required in more detail Arguing from principles I Example: I There are no barriers preventing free riders at suburban train stations in Sydney. Is it wrong to free-ride? Arguing from principles I Example: I There are no barriers preventing free riders at suburban train stations in Sydney. Is it wrong to free-ride? Arguing from principles I Immanuel Kant would argue as follows: Arguing from principles I Immanuel Kant would argue as follows: I If an action is such that everyone doing it is impossible or obviously undesirable, then it is a bad action (universalisation maxim) Arguing from principles I Immanuel Kant would argue as follows: I If an action is such that everyone doing it is impossible or obviously undesirable, then it is a bad action (universalisation maxim) I Free-riding is such that it is obviously undesirable that everyone does it Arguing from principles I Immanuel Kant would argue as follows: I If an action is such that everyone doing it is impossible or obviously undesirable, then it is a bad action (univer
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