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Mark Johnstone

“I shall suppose that some malicious, powerful, cunning demon has done all he can to deceive me.” - This passage is from Rene Descartes First mediation - Important because in it he thinks that everything he is experiencing is not real, that some demon is deceiving him and everything he is experiencing from earth, air ,colors, shapes and sounds to external things is all an elaborate dream created by this demon as traps for his judgement - Issues: say if god did exist, being an all-powerful deity. Would not allow me to be deceived since god is supremely good. How do I know that 2+2=4? Or a square has 4 sides? If god is supremely good than he would stop me from being deceived at all times, even if I know that I am occasionally deceived - If god did not exist however, than I am a product of fate, or a long series of events. The less powerful they make it the more likely I am to be deceived-because deception and error are imperfections “Sceptical principles may flourish and triumph in the philosophy lecture-room, where it is indeed hard if not impossible to refute them. But as soon as they come out of the shadows, are confronted by the real things that our beliefs and emotions are addressed to, and thereby come into conflict with the more powerful principles of our nature, sceptical principles vanish like smoke and leave the most determined sceptic in the same believing condition as other mortals.” - This passage is from David Hume’s First inquiry: the Sceptical Philosophy - In it Hume claims that sceptics (people who naturally arouses the indignation of all religious authority, or people who question the validity or authenticity of things) are the worst enemies of religion -Incomplete “I can prove now, for instance, that two human hands exist. How? By holding up my two hands, and saying, as I make a certain gesture with the right hand, ‘Here is one hand’, and adding, as I make a certain gesture with the left, ‘and here is another.” - This quotation is from G.E Moore’s Proof of an External World - In it Moore claims that he proved, that two human hands exist. By explaining that by holding up each hand and making a gesture with each, proves the existence of external things. Moore attempts to verify his proof using his 3 proofs. - It is worth noting that, how could Moore know that his premises are true? Moore’s proofs are not conclusive and do not prove that an external world exists, also Moore assumes that we know that we have two hands but fails to prove that fact firstly - Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that attempts to answer questions about existence and reality “I shall often speak of it [sc. the “official theory”], with deliberate abusiveness, as ‘the dogma of the Ghost in the Machine.” - This quotation is from Gilbert Ryle- Descartes Myth (Behaviorism) - Important because of concept of mind-body dualism, Ryle refers to Descartes dualism as ‘the dogma of the ghost in the machine’which suggests that a mysterious immaterial ghost is controlling the actions of a physical machine.Also Ryle views the mind as something that is not to be distinct from the body and steering it from the inside, but as an aspect of the body’s own activities - Issues:According to Ryle however Descartes makes a category mistake (mixing or confusing logical categories) , by treating the mind as if it was something over and above ones behavioural dispositions - Also Ryle believes that the mind is something distinct from the body that controls it- the mind is simply an aspect of one’s behavior “In so far as a sensation statement is a report of something, that something is in fact a brain process. Sensations are nothing over and above brain processes.” - This quotation is from J.J.C Smart- Sensations and Brain processes - Important because the mind-brain identity theory was developed in response to behaviorism and its inability to address subjective conscious experiences, the mind- identity theory is a materialist view that claims that mental states are just simply brain states - Smart claims that sensations are identical to certain brain processes this is also known as the empirical claim. For example an empirical claim would be saying that H2O is identical to water - His main issue with behaviorism is that it cannot account for sensations given their private and subjective nature, the main 4 strengths behind his theory include (1) Unlike behaviorism it does not ignore the qualia (2) Unlike Cartesian dualism it does not make the qualia appear mysterious (3)Avoids epiphenomenalism and offers a solution to mental causation (4) Explains the connection between mental consciousness experiences and brain activity “What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a colour television monitor? Will she learn anything or not?” - This quote is from a passage written by Frank Jackson- The Epiphenomenal Qualia - Important because of his arguments concerning physicialism (knowledge argument). Jackson uses Mary as an example who can only see the colors black and white and is confined in a room with only those colors around her. If physicalism were true then Mary would not learn a thing upon being released from her black and white room. Frank Jackson, however, is in opposition to this idea and states that upon leaving her black and white room she would indeed learn new things such as learning how to experience and feel the color red. - Issues: Physicalism is the philosophical view that the only thing that exists in the world is matter that all things are composed of material and all phenomena such as the consciousness and the qualia are the results of the material interactions. If physicialism was indeed true then Mary would not learn anything when she leaves the room “Conscious experience is at once the most familiar thing in the world and the most mysterious.” - This quotation is from David J. Chalmers – The Puzzle of Conscious Experience - Naturalistic dualism is important, philosophical zombies are beings who are physically identical to human beings but, who nevertheless lack the qualitative aspects of consciousness - Just because something is conceivable, does it mean it is possible?According to Chalmers Yes it is. He argues against physicalism claiming that (1) we can conceive of philosophical zombies. (2) If we can conceive of a zombie world, then it is possible that they do exist. (3) If god created zombies, then after creating everything physical, he/she must have had to add a conscious “If the soul of a prince, carrying with it the consciousness of the prince’s past life, were to enter and inform the body of a cobbler who had been deserted by his own soul, everyone sees that he would be the same person as the prince, accountable only for the prince’s actions: but who would say it was the same man?” - This quotation is from John Locke- Identity and Diversity - Under what conditions do “I” persist across time? , persistence conditions (under what conditions was being B similar to beingAwhich existed earlier in the past) Locke argues that inanimate bodies, the removal of one or more atoms results in a complete change of identity.A biological being however is different, the removal or change of one or more atoms does not result in the being creating a new identity, the reason for this being that as long as a biological entity partakes in some sort of life then it is still numerically identical to itself. - However Locke argues that the persistence conditions for people are not the same as those for a human being. To remain the same human being is to remain the same biological entity, also it is worth noting that Locke claims that the term “person” denotes something distinct from both man and soul. To find out what personal identity is we must first define what a “person” is and how “I” persist across time. - Under what conditions am I the same person as the entity that bore my name yesterday, 10 days ago or 10 years ago? “Suppose that we believe that I and my Replica are two different people. I am about to die, but my Replica will live for another forty years. If personal identity is what matters, I should regard my prospect here as nearly as bad as ordinary death. But if what matters is Relation R, with any cause, I should regard this way of dying as being about as good as ordinary survival.” - This quotation was written by Derek Parfit- Personal Identity from Reasons to Persons - Parfit argues that whats important is not the survival of your identity, but rather psychological continuity. - Concerning the teleporter case in star trek, would I be the exact same person that I was after I use the teleporter? Would they even survive such a procedure? If I partipated in this and my original body was not destroyed, would there be 2 of me? How can I be numerically identical to two people? - There is no answer to whether or not an entity is numerically identical to one that existed in the past “When I say that we are animals, I mean that each of us is numerically identical with an animal. There is a certain human organism, and that organism is you. You and it are one and the same.” - This quotation is from Eric Olson-AnArgument forAnimalism - Animalism is the view that we are, each of us, human animals and hence animals much like other animals - Since we are what we are we only continue to exist if and only if the biological organism that we are continues to exist - Animalists claim that in order to persist across time we must first determine what we are, we are in fact animals- human animals - Olson claims that the reason why animalism isn’t more popular is because of its hostility towards materialism “Although I am both a person and an animal, I am most fundamentally a person. Hence, my persistence conditions are the persistence conditions of a person (sameness of first-person perspective), not the persistence conditions of an animal (sameness of biological organism).” - This quotation is from Lynne Baker Rudder- The Ontological Status of Persons - Important because a physical thing can be constituted by its matter without being numerically identical to its matter I.E. a statue is constructed of clay, but it is not identical to the clay from which it is made from. The same goes for our living bodies, we are constituted by our living biological bodies- but we are not numerically identical to them - Rudder argues however that a person can however in principle persist through time when his/her living body does not and vice versa - Thus people are not numerically identical to their living bodies, To be a person is to be self-conscious and have a first person perspective on the world “If we fancy some strong emotion, and then try to abstract from our consciousness of it all the feelings of its characteristic bodily symptoms, we find we have nothing left behind, no “mindstuff” out of which the emotion can be constituted, and that a cold and neutral state of intellectual perception is all that remains.” - This quotation is from William James- What is an Emotion - Important because James views that emotions are just mere feelings (phenomenally conscious mental states) - Thinks that emotions are feelings of a special kind; namely; feelings of changes in the body – this view is known as the Somatic-Feeling theory of emotions.As a result we experience emotion in response to changes within our bodies - James assumes that both bodily feelings and feelings are essential components of emotions - Problems arise from this article concerning higher-order emotions such as Guilt (it is often argued that more higher-order emotions do not have corresponding body states) - Must emotions always be felt? (Your body enters a state of fear upon reaction to a loud noise within the night time, but goes unnoticed to you because your attention is placed somewhere else) - How are we to distinguish between emotions that have the same physiological effects? “Emotions are forms of judgment.” - This quotation is from Martha Nussbaum- Emotions as Judgements of Value and Importance - Important because she claims that emotions are just evaluative judgements. Emotions also have some sort of intrinsic value to them and commonly have objects as their content (They are about someone or something) - Issues: Nussbaum claims that bodily changes alone can induce emotions, there are instances such as when false bodily feedback can influence emotional states, changing facial ex
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