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Lecture 2

PHI 31 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Deductive Reasoning, Empiricism


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHI 31
Professor
Griesemer James
Lecture
2

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GETTING STARTED WITH THEORETICAL MODELS
Background Concepts
The “goal” of science?
Accurate description of appearances?
Or statements of truth abt “underlying” reality?
Two may or may not be the same; disagreement
Describe, explain, predict, control, understand world & how it works
Helping others by doing these (human goal)
What you believe the goal is → how you view sci reasoning
If sci isn’t helping people, not worth paying for?
If sci isn’t devoted to practical purposes, worth it?
Empiricist and realist philosophical attitudes
Empiricist attitudes
Science aims to acct for what we can observe in world and how it
works based on what we can observe about it
How can we reliably/justifiably “go beyond” experience to make
claims about the unobservable?
“Theoretical entities” are “useful fictions” for “saving
appearances” → belief in their reality doesn’t change
usefulness
Realist attitude
Science aims to acct for what the world REALLY is like and how it
works EVEN IF CONTRARY TO APPEARANCES
According to our best theories that are true using terms
that refer to the real things
Some theoretical entities are real
Discovered by indirect means
Instruments, math models, reasoning
Observable ≠ fixed by human sensory equipment
Instruments change over time
Example: DNA vs. protein as hereditary material
DNA did not appear as correct as protein (empiricist)
In reality, DNA was the hereditary material (realist)
Inductive & deductive reasoning
Evidence vs. proof
“Prove” and “proof” are distinct
Inductive arguments
Provide strong or weak evidence for conclusions
Make them more or less likely
If premise = true → argument is good, may be
convincing or conclusive
Deductive arguments
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