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PHIL 2420
David Stamos

Epistemology  1500s the scientific revolution  Descartes wants to further this  Writes his methodologies on how people can pursue knowledge  The first part takes skepticism as true…“I think therefore I am” (Cogito ergo sum)  Theory of evil demon creating a virtual reality  The only thing we cannot doubt is ourselves  Uses solipsism  To get back to where we started we have to look in the mind  We find god  His three proofs (introspection)  Argues that there must be a god  Now there are two things  Arrives back at the physical world because of senses  His concept of knowledge is beyond all possible doubt  Logically and physiologically high  Set the bar so high that nothing can be knowledge, even the cogito ergo sum  Proofs are easy to disprove  Our concept of knowledge is beyond a reasonable doubt  Need a separate independent reason to believe in the evil demon, otherwise you believe in something imaginary, not reasonable  Evolutionary epistemology  Done from an evolutionary way  Evolutionary epistemology of mind  Karl Popper – philosopher of science  Asked what makes something a science  Can find animals with closed-behavioural programs  Hardwired into the brains of simple organisms  Ex) spider webs  Instinct: behaviour in our DNA that was evolved because it increased survival and adaptation.  The next stage of complexity, open-behavioural programs  Ex) imprinting goslings – have instinctual programing to follow the mother to ultimately fly. What is built in the DNA is to imprint in the mind the first thing they see (with requirements) as their mother  Next, evolution of sentience: capacity to feel pleasure and pain  Get real trial and error behaviour  Next, imagine trial and error behaviour – requires memory  Conscious trial and error behaviour – having goals and requiring aims  ANIMAL MINDS – book  Making hypotheses and testing them against the world – requires language  Says only humans have this, here is where you get science  Modus Tollens  P->Q  ~Q  -------  .’. ~Q  This is the core of the pursuit of knowledge, of trial and error behaviour  Conjectures and refutations  Science is the refined form of this, but all do this process  Inductive reasoning – conclusion goes beyond reason, the premises  Deductive -  Gilbert Ryle  Distinction between knowing how / knowing that  Argues it is an intellectual prejudice to reduce one to the other  David Hume  Deductive reasoning gives probability  Inductive reasoning gives no probability  Have to add a premise  Ex) “the principle uniformity of nature” – the future resembles the past. Once add that principle the argument works  Have to use an inductive argument to conclude it, but you have to use it in an inductive argument for it to work  Circular reasoning  Popper thought we reasoned deductively, his solution to the problem raised by Hume and his induction  Popper is wrong, we have it (stereotyping) – for survivability  What is adaptive can be maladapted in another environment  Steven Downes  Finding truth is hard  If we evolved instincts for getting to the truth it should be easy, but it is not  Therefore we didn’t really evolve to evolve for this reason, but
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