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PHLA10H3 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Elliott Sober, Cosmological Argument, Ontological Argument


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHLA10H3
Professor
William Seager
Study Guide
Midterm

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Core questions in philosophy Elliot Sober [up to p102]
Chapter One: What is philosophy?
Metaphysics: the part of philosophy that attempts to describe what there is.
philosophical issues and themes to be discussed:
1. Does God exist?
2. What does it mean to have knowledge?
throughout history, people have believed things that they didn't know for sure
whether or not they were true or not. Thinking you know something and having actual
knowledge of it is different. There is also true belief, if you believe something for no reason at all
and you happen to be right that is true belief, not knowledge.
3. Philosophy of the mind [i.e. the mind body problem and dualism]
What is the relationship between mind and body? are they the same?
4. Human freedom
our personalities are based on genes inherited by our parents and then we in
turn grew up in a certain environment. We didn't choose our genes or the environment we were
raised in so is it possible to believe that we actually have free will?
5. Ethics
Right versus wrong. is there really such a thing as ethical facts? or is ethics like
freedom and only an illusion?
ethical subjectivism: the philosophical thesis that there are no ethical facts, only ethical opinions.
three theories about what philosophy is:
1. fundamental questions of justification\
questioning common sense
2. general
i.e. solipsism: the idea that only your mind exists
3. clarifying concepts
Nature of philosophy
background:
ancient greeks studied basic constituents of physical things
now thought of as physics
“natural philosophy” used to refer to science
Chapter Two: Deductive Arguments
an argument divides into two parts: the premise and conclusion
both P and C are statements that can either be true or false
Premises are assumptions, the statement to be established is the arguments conclusion.
a good argument is rationally persuasive; it gives substantial reason to think the conclusion is
true
a good argument should have true premises
good arguments
not deductively valid deductively valid
abductively strong inductively strong
deduction: mathematical approach
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induction: involves sampling from a population to decide what its characteristics are
abduction: ‘inference to the best explanation’
deductive validity defined:
a deductively valid argument is an argument that has the following property: IF its premises
were true, its conclusion will also have to be true.
“a valid argument need not have true premises”
validity
validity only applies to arguments, never statements or ideas.
a valid argument can have false premises and conclusion
i.e.: all plants have minds, all ladders are plants. therefore all ladders have minds.
logical form
the structure of the presented arguments is referred to as their logical form.
all B’s are C’s
all As are Bs
i.e. all A’s are C’s
*an argument is valid or invalid solely because of its logical form.
invalidity
if there is even the smallest possibility that the conclusion could be false when the premises are
true, then the argument is deductively invalid.
i.e. emeralds are green so therefore lemons are yellow.
both the premise and conclusion are true. validity states that the premise in the
argument must guarantee that the conclusion is true. so the fact that emeralds are green
doesn't guarantee that lemons are yellow.
invalid logical form: If P, the Q
a valid argument cant have true premises and a false conclusion
by adding premise, you can change an invalid argument to a valid one.
circularity, or begging the question:
good arguments help answer questions about whether their conclusions are true. a good
argument should give you a reason to accept the conclusion if you don't already believe the
conclusion is true.
true for me:
this can be a misleading statement, rather than saying “its true for me” say “belief”
wishful thinking:
avoid wishful thinking
self-fulfilling prophesies:
believing a proposition causes an action which has the effect of making the proposition true.
Chapter Three: Inductive and Adductive arguments
deductive validity is a limitation:
a deductively valid argument that has true premise cannot have a false conclusion; but it
is also a property of such arguments that the conclusion cant say anything that wasn't already
contained in the premises.
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insisting that an argument can be deductively valid prohibits you from reaching
conclusions that go beyond the information in the premise
two gambling strategies:
the extreme conservative: this individual refuses to take risks unless its a sure thing
the thoughtful risk taker: this individual sometimes engages in risk taking behaviours hoping to
win
each of these two strategies has its virtues and limitations, limiting yourself to deductively valid
arguments is a conservative strategy. the limitation being your refusal to go beyond the
evidence.
Induction: sampling
-sample size effects how strong or weak argument is
-unbiasedness of the argument
can be achieved through randomizing
Abduction: inference to the best explanation
Mendel, the father of genetics made an abductive because he made a theoretical
explanation of why the results occurred.
the surprise principle;what it takes for an observation to favour on hypothesis over another
Chapter Four: Aquinas’s first four ways
Aquinas believes God is a person who is all-powerful(omnipotent), all knowing (omniscient), and
entirely good (omnibenevolent).
the first two arguments: Motion and Causality
motion:
p1: in the natural world there are objects in motion
p2: in the natural world, objects that are in motion are always caused to move by objects
other than themselves
p3: in the natural world, causes must precede their effects
p4: in the natural world, there're no infinite cause/effect chains
p5: therefore, there is an entity outside of its natural world (a super-natural being) which
causes the motion of the first moving object that exists in the natural world
c: therefore God exists.
causality:
p1: the natural world includes events
p2: in the natural world, every event has a cause, and no event is a cause itself
p3: in the natural world, causes must precede their effect
p4: in the natural world, there are no infinite cause/effect chains
p5: therefore, there is an outside entity (a supernatural being) which causes the first
event that occurs in the natural world
c: God exists
Aquinas on the cause of motion:
Aquinas thinks that if an object is in motion, something must have caused this and he
got this from Aristotle's physics but this is no longer true in modern physics.
an object remains in constant uniformed motion unless acted on by another force
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