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Lecture 7

PHIL 2010H Lecture 7: PhilosophyNotesJan25

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PHIL 2010H

01/25/2017 ● Epistemology: a theory of knowledge. ● According to Descartes, our knowledge is like a rickety building--- we need to tear it down and start all over. Meanwhile, we need to make decisions on a day to day basis (in the metaphor, this relates to finding somewhere else to stay). Algorithms versus Heuristics ● An ​algorithm​ is a procedure that is ​guaranteed ​yield a solution to a given problem in a finite number of steps, if a solution exists. ● A ​heuristic​ is a procedure that is ​likely​ to yield a solution to a given problem in a finite number of steps, if a solution exists. Maxims for Action 1) Obey local laws and customs, including religious customs. 2) Stick to decisions, once made 3) Focus on changing what is under your control; accept what is not 4) Choose the most suitable occupation. Three Steps of Methodical Doubt ● Step one: the senses are sometimes deceptive. So all beliefs arrived at through the senses can be doubted. ● Step two: reasoning is sometimes incorrect. So all beliefs arrived at by reasoning can also be doubted. ● Step three: In fact, we might be dreaming--- this is a possibility we can’t rule out. So ​all our beliefs can be doubted (“hyperbolic doubt”) ○ Cogito, ergo sum = “I think; the
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