Philosophy Midterm Review
A concept that science and religion do not overlap. Science is directed towards making existential/scientific claims
and religion is directed towards faith.
Hard concrete evidence is required to have a belief in something. This concept is used as a method of avoiding
consequences of actions which may have high stakes. Ungrounded beliefs are more likely to harm someone while
true beliefs allow for us to make decisions which have the potential to avoid these consequences.
Pragmatism/Prudential vs Epistemic/Pascal’s Wager
Pragmatism is used as support for the belief in God. It is that the belief in something is recommended due to its side
effects. Does the prudential reasoning outweigh the epistemic reasoning, i.e. if what you have to lose outweighs
what you have to gain.
The expectation of a given action can be calculated by a simple formula: for each state, multiply the utility that the
action produces in that state by the state’s probability; then, add those numbers.
Descartes foundationalism is a concept which consists of two possibilities, one of which must be met for knowledge
to be acquired. The first is that knowledge is acquired if you have knowledge of something else which supports the
belief. The second is that knowledge is acquired if there is some experience which directly contributes to the belief.
The principle D concept is that knowledge requires absolute certainty so that there is zero chance of error. If it’s at
all possible for the belief to be false then the belief is unjustified. This results in the method of doubt which is that
any preposition that doesn’t meet Principle D must always be abandoned.
This theory consists of two components. First is rationalism, that there are certain types of truths which do not
depend on perception such as a mathematics or logic; these simply depend on our ability to think. Second is
perceptual idealism, which is that our perception towards certain objects is indirect and it is ideas of which we are
immediately aware; it is the way things seem to us.
Moore’s Proof of an External World
Moore’s proof is that the conclusion follows the premises, and that both conclusion and premises are distinct (non-
circular). The premises must also be known to be the case through demonstration. For the external world, knowing
that he 1 hand, and 1 other hand, means that he has 2 hands. These are external and allow for external sensation such
as touching an external object.
Closure of Knowledge
1 Closure is that if a belief (p) entails another belief (q) and the belief (q) is not known, then the first belief (p) cannot
be known either. In terms of skepticism, what you would believe if p was false is much different than what you
would believe if q was false.
Tracking Theory of Knowledge
Nozick creates a set of rules which must be met for knowledge to be acquired. P is true. S believes that P. If P had
been false, S wouldn’t believe P. If P were true, S would believe P. Knowledge involves your belief tracking the
truth, and that this involves both responsiveness (3 rule) and sensitivity (4 rule).
Real World Hypothesis and Inference to the Best Explanation (Vogel)
The fact that p. According to which we experience perceptions caused by things in the real world external to us.
RWH posits objects with familiar physical characteristics that explain their observed properties.
The Brain in a Vat Scenario (why it threatens knowledge)
The brain in a vat scenario threatens knowledge because the typical definition of knowledge is changed. If we truly
are brains in a vat, we cannot truthfully say that we are brains in a vat nor can we believe that we are brains in a vat.
To say that we believed we were brains in a vat would be self-refuting (if it were true, it must be false). Our
knowledge of being brains in a vat is different from our knowledge (when we are not brains in a vat).
The Metaphysical Hypothesis
Consists of three parts: creation hypothesis, computational hypothesis, and mind-body hypothesis. In creation
hypothesis, the physical world and its contents were created by beings outside of the physical world, who designed
the processes that underlie the experienced physical world. Computational hypothesis is that all physical processes
are computational algorithms. Mind-body hypothesis is that cognitive processes are non-physical, but they may
interact with physical processes.
The Problem of Heuristics
We may imagine solid objects as a collection of particles, where the particles are understood on analogy with the
objects with which we are familiar. However, simply because we say we know this does not indicate whether or not
it is true. This is important to understanding whether we can believe in things which we cannot directly detect.
The Problem of Sense Data
Similarly to the problem of heuristics, with sense data we cannot prove that something exists outside of our senses.
We also cannot be sure of what it is that our senses are per say. Since physical objects such as desks are made up of
particles which we cannot directly detect, how can we be sure of the existence of the desk.
Sense datums are objects which external to the mind and therefore exist independently of its presence of experience.
These sensations are mental images which are opposed to the direct awareness of physical phenomena.
External vs Internal to Sense Experience
2 Internal objects do not exist within the world while external objects are a part of the world. These terms are
important to understanding objects of experience which is whether or not an object which is present to us is part of
the world or simply part of our experience or perception.
The Argument from Hallucination
It is possible that someone may perceive objects incorrectly to have properties that they do not have. In these cases
of hallucination, perception is false. There is no relevant difference of an external object and a hallucinatory
perception of a non-present object to the perceiver.
The Argument from Illusion
The argument from illusion supports the existence of sense data. Physical objects appear differently to observers,
depending on how they`re related to the object. These consist of external (varying space) and internal (afterimages)
differences. Rather than directly perceiving the object, we must perceive it indirectly by way of an image or sense
Delusion vs Illusion
According to Austin in delusion vs illusion, Ayer incorrectly uses the terms illusion, delusion and hallucination.
Austin believes that these words should be used as commitment to the truth of what we are saying and that sense
data adds nothing to our understanding or ability to talk about what it is that we see or are perceiving.
All events are determined by the past state of the world and laws of nature. Knowing this, given the current state of
the world and laws of nature, everything we do must already have been determined before we actually decided to it.
In other words, everything is destiny and has been predetermined. This removes “free will”.
Determinism and free will are in some way compatible. Causal and statistical laws are what predict events; however,
they cannot fully explain all events. Quantum mechanics for example have no explanation beyond a statistical one.
Freedom requires absence of constraint. If someone has a desire which is not under constraint and their desire to
cause an action decides whether that action happens means that free will is available to a person.
The Master Problem
Consists of libertarianism and Compatibilism. Libertarianism be