Intro to Philosophy
Notes: Phil 1
○ Throughout history, human beings have been motivated by the same things
(jealousy, ambition, pride)
■ Overgeneralization, do not include from essay
○ If someone told us that they found a society that lacked those motives, we
wouldn't believe them
○ We take them to be constant features of human nature
○ Historians wouldn't be able to study history if they did not assume that their
motives stayed the same throughout time
● Human nature
○ If human beings have a fixed nature, then they do not have “freedom of will” in
the sense of the capacity to act against this nature entirely
○ If human beings had this capacity, we would see a greater variety of randomness
in human behavior.
○ But the study of history teaches us that human beings act in regular ways.
○ While it is true that each individual is a little bit different from the next, this is
true in nature, too
○ Each dog behaves a little bit differently.
○ We can get to know someone through experience
○ And the more experience we have with this person, the better were able to
anticipate how he or she will act.
○ Otherwise, relationships like friendship would be impossible!
Cant people surprise us? Cant they act in ways that we not expect?
○ Yes, but that might just mean that we dont know everything that is inluencing
○ A friendly person is suddenly rude.
■ This does not mean he has freedom of will. It might just mean that he has
a toothache or is hungry.
○ The same is true of weather
○ Weather can be explained, even though we are not entirely sure of all its factors
● Knowledge and action
○ Knowledge of human beings (humanities, social sciences,
○ WRITE DOWN AFTER LECTURE