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Unit V Lecture II – March 27.docx

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Western University
Philosophy 2006
Sean Coughlin

Unit V Lecture II – March 27, 2012 Sidky—Hallucinogenic Drugs & Witches Questions About Belief & Rationality  We have various reasons for believing things – testimony, authority, empirical evidence, personal whim, gut feelings, etc.  Beliefs all seem to be assertions about whether something is true or not, or about whether something is true of something else or not.  We say a belief is rational if arrived at through a correct process of reasoning, but this is a circular definition. Sidky: Witchcraft, Lycanthropy, Drugs, & Disease  Sidky’s Critique: o Historians spend too much time trying to understand how witch hunters thought o Historians need to figure out what they did that resulted in the testimony we have  Sidky’s Solution: o Give a scientific treatment of the witch hunts o Focus on what “really” happened What Really Happened?  Assume witch hunting literature is essentially accurate  Find physical phenomena that correspond to witchcraft beliefs o Drugs, disease, torture, etc.  Sidky’s stated assumption
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