Lecture 1.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHL243H1
Professor
Ronniede Sousa
Semester
Winter

Description
Beatrice is TA for letters A-L What is philosophy? - Sample question: if God doesn’t exist, all is permitted, so if you suppose good = whatever God commands, then what if God ordered you to kill a child? - You might say that must be right since God said it, or you might say I don’t believe God really commanded that - Most believers would choose #2, but they choose it on the same basis that atheists would choose #2 because it’s obviously wrong - But if both theists and atheists agree, the answer can’t depend on religious belief - #2 implies that you’re getting your moral code from something other than God - This suggests that philosophy holds nothing sacred, meaning you can ask any question you want - Rational argument is crucial to philosophy - Rational = in action, what is most likely to succeed (a means to an end) - In philosophy, the ends are truth and understanding - Rationality = reasoning in such a way that your reasoning is most likely to lead to truth and understanding - An argument is a sequence of propositions intended to establish a conclusion - In order to tell whether you are being presented with an argument, look for a therefore (explicit or implicit) - Delusive arguments – arguments from authority, tradition, faith - Philosophy aims at changing our vision of the world by argument - Philosophy is like religion because it aims to understand things in general and the place of humans in the universe, what it is to be human, etc. - Philosophy is unlike religion because nothing is sacred and philosophy deals in arguments rather than texts - Philosophy is like science because its central attitude is skepticism, it proceeds by argument, and is always open to refutation - Philosophy is unlike science because there are no fixed, definitive methods for solving its problems – it always tries to find some, but as soon as it succeeds, it becomes science - For philosophy, there is no universally agreed upon way to answer the questions posed - Philosophy is like literature because it explores human life and its place in nature - Philosophy is unlike literature because it proceeds by argument rather than by narrative - To what extent are the “facts” about sex dependent on whether we think they’re good or bad? - To what extent are our values related to sex dependent on the facts? - Facts are whatever is true, while values and norms are what should be true - From a truth about a matter of fact alone, no norm or value claim logically follows - When we say ex. Homosexuality occurs in nature, so we should accept it and allow it to exist in society, what we are really saying (or should be saying) is homosexuality occurs in nature, things that occur in nature should be allowed in society, so we should accept homosexuality – there is a value in this reasoning - Ex. The water is cold, so you shouldn’t go swim, which really is assuming another premise, ex. That since the water is cold, you might get sick, and getting sick is bad, so don’t go swimming - Normative related to what is supposed to be instead of what is - Value theory is about the normative in that sense (what is good, beautiful, desirable, etc.) - Deontol
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