PS390 Lecture Notes - Socratic Method, Sophist, Scientific Method

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19 Mar 2013
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September 13, 2012
Lecture 2
Homeric thought
- Believed that God’s controlled their behavior
o Direct intervention
- Your life happens to you
Background on the Presocratics
- First group to reject the Gods’ all-powerful abilities
- They looked at things empirically, but also questioned whether or not these
empirical observations were correct
- Is there some great structure that causes the world to act as it acts?
Pre Socratic perspectives
- Change in nature
o Is something constantly changing or staying the same?
Being vs. becoming dilemma
Pre Socratic Two Themes
- Rationalism vs. empiricism
o Rationalism = knowledge comes from within
o Empiricism = knowledge comes from observations
o Trusting senses vs. trusting minds
- Being vs. becoming
o Being = natural objects stay the same for their duration
o Becoming = stay in flux
Socratic Method
- Creating an idea through conversation and coming up with a hypothesis from
this conversation (induction)
- Socrates was executed by Athenians
Cave Allegory
- People sitting represent humanity and their shadows represent what our
senses allow us to see and we can never see the actual thing, which is the fire
(the light that produces the shadows). In order to see real things, we need to
break free of these chains to see the actual sunlight, but this can never
happen. One man escapes, but cannot enlighten the others because they don’t
believe him, therefore the enlightened are always condemned.
The Sophists
- Debater who wins is the one who has more merit
- Empiricists
Aristotle
- First philosopher-scientist
- Describe not only what is, but how something came to be
- Could observe something biological and could gain real information from this
Natural Philosophy
- Ether = fill-in for things that could not be explained by four basic elements
- Matter = potential of what you could be come and form = actuality
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Document Summary

Believed that god"s controlled their behavior: direct intervention. First group to reject the gods" all-powerful abilities. They looked at things empirically, but also questioned whether or not these empirical observations were correct. Rationalism vs. empiricism: rationalism = knowledge comes from within, empiricism = knowledge comes from observations, trusting senses vs. trusting minds. Being vs. becoming: being = natural objects stay the same for their duration, becoming = stay in flux. Creating an idea through conversation and coming up with a hypothesis from this conversation (induction) People sitting represent humanity and their shadows represent what our senses allow us to see and we can never see the actual thing, which is the fire (the light that produces the shadows). In order to see real things, we need to break free of these chains to see the actual sunlight, but this can never happen.

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