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Dalhousie University
PHIL 1010X

Philosophy Philosophy 1010x (01)  Philosophy poses the question “What is…?”  Literal meaning “love of wisdom”  Reality vs. existence  Ideas vs. things – “conceptual analysis”  Many philosophical theories are based of doctrines and dogmas taken from various religions  Field of philosophy concerns itself with understanding fundamental theories and ideas  Philosophy is more of an activity than a body of knowledge; clarifying activities – once clarified theories and ideas are critiqued Why should I care about philosophy?  Moral compasses ask philosophical questions based on morality o The way you respond to these questions dictates who you are and how you act, morally speaking Epistemology – The Study of Knowledge Logic – The Study of Good Reasoning Metaphysics – Reality vs. Existence  Free + Determinism  Do we have free will or is everything pre-determined Value Theory/ Axiology  Ethics (justifiable actions ect.)  Aesthetics  Political Philosophy (role of the state) September 9, 2013 What is knowledge?  Different types of knowledge: o Knowing a(n) ____________  Person  Place o Knowing how to ________  Play hockey  Ride a bike o Knowing that (propositional knowledge) ___________  Is belief enough for knowledge? Belief  Reasons to believe the belief Philosophy  There is evidence and or valid arguments for this reason  (Enough) Truth behind arguments Justified true belief – Propositional knowledge  It is true that P o Necessary Conditions (justified, true, and belief are all necessary for knowledge) o Sufficient conditions (justified, true, and belief are jointly sufficient)  If and only if p… o (It is true that I’m holding a piece of chalk in my hand, if and only if I’m holding a piece of chalk in my hand) Serbian Example  If you dream that there was a coo in Serbia and just by coincidence there was is that knowledge – no there is no justification, just a true belief by coincidence  This scenario becomes knowledge after there is justification – like a reason to believe. The level of justification is based upon the degree of it Justification  Non-Deductive  Deductive o Belief that is justified Argument  A set of premises that five reasons for a believing one or more conclusions  In an argument someone is always wrong  Airtight justification is very rare and even then people can question you on the reality of your airtight justification September 11, 2013 Arguments Con’t:  A set of statements, some of which are supposed to give reasons for believing others in the set o Premises - Explain why you should believe the conclusion o Conclusions – persuade you to believe  Every argument has at least one premise and one conclusions  Examples o Chivalry is dead. My instructor says so o All men are mortal. Socrates is a man. Therefore Socrates is mortal  “Therefore”, “Hence”, “So”  indicator words  Arguments are always statements – meanwhile statements are not always arguments  Principle of Charity Philosophy  Do not assume the author is stupid if they leave out a premise or conclusion, assume they have some plausible reason for doing that and try and figure out what it is.  Interpreting a speaker’s statement to be rational, and, in the case of any argument, considering it’s best, strongest plausible interpretation.  Enthymeme o Argument with a missing premise 1. All the ravens I have seen have been black. So it’s likely that all ravens are black. 2. It is a good idea to study philosophy. Statistics show that people who study philosophy advance more quickly in their later occupation Conditional Statements: “Philosophy tests one’s personal beliefs. Since one’s beliefs about ethics are often very personal and closely associated with one’s identity, the experience of examining one’s own beliefs can be threatening anxiety provoking, and painful”  “Since… , …”  antecedent clause ;consequent clause Chain of Reasoning September 13, 2013 Arguments: - should you agree on the conclusion based on the premise(s) reasons given  Deductive- an argument is deductively valid, if and only if, its premises are all true, then is conclusion is also true o (Circle theory) o Validity is a relationship between premises and conclusions  Inductive - Logical Form - Modus Ponens – automatically have a deductive argument: 1. If p, then q 2. P 3. Therefore, q Modus Tollens – the method of denying 1. If George W. Bush was a great leader, than I am a monkey 2. I am not a monkey 3. Therefore, George Bush was not a great leader Dilemma 1. If you call her at home, the line will be busy 2. If you do not call her at home, the line will be busy 3. You will call her at home, or you wont Philosophy 4. Therefore, the line will be busy  For of dilemma o If p, then r o If q, then r o P or q o Therefore, r September 16 , 2013 Deductive Validity Examples: (A) 1. If Jupiter is a planet, then Jupiter is smaller than the sun 2. Jupiter is a planet 3. Therefore, Jupiter is smaller than the sun (B) 1. If Jupiter is a planet, then Jupiter is smaller than the sun 2. Jupiter is smaller than the sun 3. Therefore, Jupiter is a planet  You can something other than a planet to be smaller than the sun Fallacies  “Affirming the Consequent” o E.g.: if P, then Q o Q o P = Bad Reasoning  How could we make this into a valid argument? o E.g.: If Harper is smaller than the sun, then Harper is a planet o Harper is smaller than the sun (Faulty Premise) o Therefore, Harper is a planet  What this reminds us is that validity is not by itself enough to make for a good argument. We need to start from reliable premises.  Soundness: o An argument is SOUND, if and only if, it is deductively valid, and all of its premises are true (Argument) Examples: 1. If Newton argued for the Special Theory of Relativity, then he was a great scientist 2. Newton did not argue for the Special Theory of Relativity 3. Therefore, Newton was not a great scientist Fallacy of Denying the Antecedent Philosophy  If P, then Q  Not P  Therefore, not Q 1. Nothing is better than cold beer 2. Warm beer is better than nothing 3. Therefore, warm beer is better than cold beer  = Fallacy of Equivocation Enumerative Induction  We arrive at a generalization about an entire group of things after observing just some of the members of the group. Truth of the premise doesn’t necessarily mean truth of the conclusion Analogical Induction  Argument by Analogy > September 18, 2013 Evaluating the Likelihood of a Casual Explanation  Abductive (more of an explanation rather than an argument) – attempts to clarify or elucidate, not offer proof. Phenomenon to be explained  hypothesis would explain  hypothesis is true (sometimes)  A good explanatory hypothesis should satisfy the following two conditions The Probability Condition:  The truth of the explanation would make the occurrence of the event to be explained more likely The Improbability Condition:  The falsehood of the explanation would make the occurrence of the event to be explained less likely. Example:  Gertrude claims to have been abducted by aliens. Should we believe her? What is the best explanation for why she makes such a claim? Is it that she really was abducted by aliens?  If Gertrude had been abducted by aliens, then she would be more likely to say she had been abducted by aliens, than if she had not been?  Therefore, the hypothesis that she was abducted seems to pass the probability condition  However… if Gertrude had not been abducted by aliens, then she might be just as likely to say she had been. She might be lying or deluded, and until these alternative hypotheses have been proven Philosophy September 20, 2013 René Descartes (1596-1650)  Concerned more with the “justification” aspect of propositional knowledge  Foundationalist – a belief is justified ‘iff’ (i) it is a basic belief or (ii) it can be inferred from one or more basic belief  Basic Beliefs – a belief iff it is justified independently of any other belief  Chain of (basic) beliefs leads to foundations  Foundational beliefs don’t have to appeal to argument, or evidence it is just foundation which one has to believe in  Eventually began to doubt and question and test all of his theories and ideas, and until he proves them – he assumes they are wrong and false  Methodological Skepticism – if we want to discover what we can know with certainty, then we must try to doubt whatever we think we know  This outlined Descartes quest to find an absolute truth that can be known for certain. Doubt everything that can be doubted until you find something that can’t be doubted  Descartes believed that beliefs derive from the senses – but he decides to test their truth.  The things Descartes experienced in his dream also contributed to the doubts, because he sensed things in his dreams and thought he was experiencing them even when he wasn’t  Didn’t believe that we were living in a dream – but would like to find more evidence to prove something that distinguishes dreams from reality  Thinks that there are things that have no analytical truth  Foundational evidence – the existence of his mind provides ample proof of the existence of the rest of him  “I think therefore I am” The Dreaming Hypothesis Empiricism – beliefs derived from the senses Analytic Truth- a proposition that is true solely in virtue of the meanings of its terms (A priori – not experience would count against) E.g. a rose is a rose 2+2=4 A female deer is a doe Synthetic Truth A true proposition that is not analytic Examples: the sunsets in the west 2+2=4 Asbestos is toxic September 23, 2013 Philosophy Rationalism – there are synthetic truths knowable a priori (independently of experience) Descartés’ Evil Genius (modus tollens example)  “If I am to be justified in my beliefs about a world that seems to exist independently of my sense, then I must be able to rule out any alternative to the hypothesis that there is an external world like the one I seem to experience”  “I cannot rule out that hypothesis that my apparent experience of a world that exists independently of my senses, is an illusion caused by a powerful, evil genius”  “Therefore, none of my beliefs about a world that seems to exist independently of my senses is justified”  (1 think = 1 doubt) = self – defeating/refuting  “I think therefore I am” Can I doubt my own existence? “From the fact that we are thinking it doesn’t seem to be entirely certain that we exist. For in order to be certain that you are thinking must know what thought or thinking is, and what your existence is; but since you do not yet know what these things are, how can you know that you are thinking or that you exist?” – Marin Mersenne (1641) “When I analyze the process that is expressed in the sentence, ‘I think’, I find a whole series of daring assertions that would be difficult” “When I look at my table and see a certain brown colour, what is quite certain at once now ‘I am seeing a brown colour’, but rather, ‘a brown colour is being seen’.
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