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Exam Notes.docx

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Rockney Jacobsen

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Theories of Knowledge: Epistemology • What we can know, how we know things • Human knowing • Doubt & Certainty • Knowledge * Belief • Justification • Perception & Testimony • Reason & Faith Theories of Reality: Metaphysics • Nature of being • Change vs Identity • Personal Transformation & Identity • The Existence of God • Nature of Mind & Body What is Philosophy? · What philosophy is not: • Not a religious doctrine à no idea immune to critical scrutiny • Good questions are as valuable as good answers • Not the psych/soc of belief • Philosophers want to justify beliefs not explain them · Explanation vs Justification o Explanation – Why they have the belief, doesn’t matter if true o Justification – Provides reasons/evidence for people to believe a belief is true · Philosophy = love of wisdom • What is wisdom? · Attempt to answer big/important questions • Which questions are the big/important questions? · Attempt to acquire knowledge about the Nature of things (the essence) Did Romeo actually love Juliet? · Depends… What is love? Philosophical Questions (two types = in fact or what) · What is death? • Is it the permanent cessation of existence? • Change of form and location? · What is a person? • Complicated physical organism? • A soul? • Combo? Anti-Philosophical Thoughts · We are all entitled to our own opinions • Better: we all HAVE our own opinion · How can we become entitled to an opinion? • Why believe whatever we want? • § Doesn’t matter what we believe • § No right answers • § No truths • § We have a right to believe Why philosophize? · Good exercise for our reason/imaginations • Requires us to identify and examine our own assumptions · Increase clarity of own ideas and expression • Say you mean and mean what you say · Helps make us free Bertrand Russell (txt pg10) · Value of philosophy: free us from prejudices, convictions, habitual beliefs that are planted in mind without his own doing · What’s meaningful ? etc · People born into and raised I certain communities tend to have beliefs and feelings that conform to those of others in the community · If we were born/raised in diff communities we would have diff beleifs · Do no choose communities or all beliefs/feelings · Liberates us from narrow beliefs from our own communities à work things out for ourselves The Joys of Group Think · Co-op and group cohesion key survival tools · Explains shared beliefs but does not justify the belief Illicit Appeal to Authority • Fallacy to rely on the say-so of: o Persons who lack the expertise that is relevant to the claim being made o Persons who are speaking about matters on which no one has expertise o Persons speaking about matter that are known to be widely disptued Constancy and Flux Components of an Argument • Argument : Whole, Premises: Evidence to support, Conclusion: What you’re trying to prove • Premises support conclusions • Deductive Argument o Give conclusive reasons for the conclusion (General to specific) • Inductive Argument o Give reasons to make conclusion probable (Specific to general) The Early Materialists (Pre-Socratic Philosophers) • Early attempt to think about the universe on the basis of reason and not mythology alone • They disagree over the “nature of change and identity” (13) • How can we understand two apparently opposite aspects of the world we live in: the world and the things in it appear to persist or last for a time, and yet during that time they regularly undergo change.” (13) Theseus’s Ship • Same Ship: o Some changes an object undergoes are so small or insignificant that they don’t prevent it from being the same object after it change • Different Ship: o Ship that arrives made of none of the same material as the ship which departed o Ship only a material object o If you replace all the material from original ship it is a different ship • Nothing can change without becoming different than it was o Nothing can change and still be the same Two views of Change and Sameness • 1. They cannot be reconciled: If an object changes, then it becomes different in some way; and if it becomes different it is not the same object o “Now, if it should become different by one hair in ten thousand years, it will perish in all of time.” (Melissus, p.26) o All change is destruction and construction, if change is real, so nothing persists through change • 2. They can be reconciled: Some changes in an object can be so insignificant that they do not prevent it from being the same object after it has undergone such changes Materialism - Flux • Everything made from elements (only matter and what is composed of matter exists) o Fire o Air o Water o Earth • Thales o Water most principle element  It can freeze, can thin out, can be everything • Heraclitus o Fire most principle element  Does work, converts things, changes things o “It is not possible to step into the same rive twice” (19) o “Upon those who step into the same rivers, different and again different waters flow” o “We step and we do not step into the same rivers. We are and we are not” o “The sun is new each day” o “The cosmos… was always and is and shall be; an ever-living fire being kindled in measure and being extinguished in measures • Single explanation for a variety of phenomena • This explanation is natural, nothing supernatural • Can be grasped by human intellect • Themes: o Everything made of matter o Matter is in flux (forever transforming) o One form of matter is primary/basic; others are secondary or derivative o There is an order or rational pattern in the transformations of matter New Materialists: The Atomists • Democritus o Atomism:  All matter consists of simple, invisible parts (atoms) which themselves have no parts  All change consists of re-arrangements/re-combinations of these parts  Non-being is real :it is called “the Void” – the space in which the parts can move  Change and sameness can co-exist, both are real (materialist reconciliation) Idealism – Constancy • The changes we perceive are not real – reality is an unchanging ideal version of what we encounter in our experience • Pythagoras o Number and geometric figures are the only things that are real o The relationships between them are permanent and unchanging o Therefore what is real is permanent and unchanging o We don’t see real triangles, only poor copies, only thing that is real is the perfect triangle • Parmenides o Two paths we can follow  Path of truth “It is, and it is impossible for it not to be”  Path of error “It is not, and it is necessary for it not to be” o What is must exist and what is not cannot exist o Thinking and the thought that is are the same o That which is there to be spoken of and thought must be o Neither may you know that which is not… nor may you declare it… For the same thing is for thinking and for being (thinking of something that isn’t real isn’t real thinking) • Zeno o Impossibility of motion o All motion requires travelling distance, from a start to end point o On the line between the points there is an infinite number of line segments that must be traversed o So nothing can travel any distance without traversing an infinite number of line segments o When laid end to end , and infinite number of line segments will be infinite in lenths o Nothing can go that far o Therefor all motion is impossible Two Metaphysical Traditions Materialism (Heraclitus) • Change is real; sameness is an illusion • Reality is known by experience • All change is creation and destruction Both agreed: Nothing can change and still Idealism (Parmenides) stay the same… • Sameness is real; change is illusory • Reality is known by reason • Nothing can be destroyed or created Socrates • “The unexamined life is not worth living” • What is the essence of something? o It is the one thing that the many particular things of the same kind have in common, that makes them all things of the same kind, and that can serve as a standard by which to judge particular cases • “essence of beauty” o What the many beautiful things have in common Beauty is in the eye of o The thing that qualifies them to be beautiful the beholder…? o Can be used to judge whether something is beautiful • Socratic Method o Ask questions rather than giving answers in order to find truth o Recollection – we possess truth but need help remembering o Euthyphro Problem:  Is something good because it is beloved by the Gods or it is beloved by the Gods because its good?  Do I love her because she is lovable or is she lovable because I love her? Plato • Certain things can change, but the essence can’t • Plato’s New Idealism: o Transcendent and Eternal  visible and changing o Beautiful things can stop being beautiful, but true beauty can’t stop being beautiful o The reality of forms:  If one thing is more beautiful than it is closer to true beauty • Plato’s Forms – The allegory of the cave o Illustrates Plato’s metaphysics and his epistemology o Shows his concept of reality as well as what constitutes “true” knowledge o The shadow prisoners see are reflections of true things, not true things themselves  We see models, reflections of true things, never the true thing itself  Vision of reality limited to our senses o Progression in knowledge/acquaintance with real things o Some things more real than others  Need a certain ability, take discipline etc o “Reflections of men and other things in the water” are more real than shadows  The actual people and objects are more real than their reflections in the water  Plato says the sun represents enlighten – the ultimate form – the good • The sun is the most real o Just as the Sun illuminates the physical world, so the Good illuminates the mind and allows one to see what is real o This picture is that of an ascent of the soul or the mind from the changing, becoming, empirical world, to stages or levels of being which are increasingly real more stable, more universal  We go from flux to constancy through our mind, intellect  This “ascent” moves towards the good • Metaphysics & Epistemology o Metaphysics – Only the forms are ‘real’ – empirical data are only images o Epistemology – We can only know reality by the intellect; the senses only give us shadows or images of realty • Recollection o The power to know – and indeed knowledge itself – already exists in the soul o The teachers job is to help the student remember what they already know o The method for doing ^ is dialectic o Aims at getting the student to think for themselves  To be free from the authority of the teacher’s words but subject to the authority of the truth  The essence or form of something is its true nature  Plato thought our souls pre existed our life on earth, in the world of forms • Teacher helps us remember o The empirical objects account for change and the ideal objects (forms) account for constancy  Two realms quit distinct as the empirical realm is subordinate to the ideal realm • Being and Becoming o Being is that which is real o Empirical world is the world of becoming (flux) o Plato characterizes the world of becoming as less real than the world of being • Form of Forms o The forms are eternal – the ‘real’ things o Form of Forms is the GOOD • Platonic Dualism – Empircal objects and their ‘essences’ are separate notion Jean-Paul Sartre • Existentialism – “Existence precedes essence” • We exist and it is only later that we gain an ‘essence’ by the way of our choices • With regard to human-made objects, ‘essence precedes existence’ • Humans do not possess an essence, a self, or a soul prior to existing • ‘becoming’ more accurately describes the ‘real’ whereas ‘being’ is something we aspire to even though we cannot achieve it o We aspire to being or to having a self which has the characteristic of permanence o But the self is always becoming • We ‘choose’ our essence o This is our ‘fundamental project’  This project refers to the project of becoming a self • Being-for-itself – his characterization of human consciousness; consciousness exists ‘for-itself’, expresses itself as freedom, but as something incomplete • Being-in-itself – The concept characterizes the nature of objects or non-conscious existence; objects, unlike subjects, are complete in themselves • Human project is to become God or Being in itself for itself ( a being which is both complete and free) • Picture of Selfhood – pg 218 • Anguish – we are responsible for our ‘self’, our values o Values are not derived from the Good or given by the God, take responsibility for ourself • Fear – has a definite object – causes human anguish o Experience myself as an object that is vulnerable to harm - facticity • Anguish/Anxiety – caused by ‘nothing’ (meaning freedom, our need to choose) o Experience my transcendence or consciousness • Abandonment – If God does not exist, then we must choose our self o Gives rise to anguish o “We are condemned to be free” Personal Identity The Problem of Personal Identity • Plato – soul and body o The soul is unchangeable but the body is not • Diotima (Plato’s character) – man is new everyday  mortal creatures cannot remain • Problem : we assume people are the same from infancy to birth o However, there is nothing that remains constant  material body is different, psychological state is different, personality traits differ The Problem of Personal Identity • Qualitative Identity o Not the same age, not the same weight, some characteristics have changed, so therefore am different that earlier self • Numerical Identity o I am the same person – the old person’s birth was my birth, his parents my parents, when we talk about past him it is me, a person remains numerically the same even if qualitatively different John Locke on Personal Identity • Terminology: o Man: A member of the human species o Person: any ‘thinking, intelligent being which has reason and can consider itself as itself o Consciousness: Awareness for own thoughts/perceptions o Self: What each person is to themselves • We are animals but have a consciousness which separates us • Of Identity and Diversity o One thing that is compared to itself in the future it is still the same  identity o Different beginning but same thing  diverse o For living creatures identity is not in material mass o Identity of vegetable same plant as long as it partakes the same life, but the life can be in new particles but the same organization o Identity of animals  Basically the same as ^ o Identity of man  same life , different particles but in same organization and a soul  If it is only the soul that makes the same man then men of the past are the same men now o Same Man  takes the body joined to a rational being o Personal Identity  Consciousness = self  In change of substance  anything removed is no longer Himself but anything he can feel within his conscious belongs to him  One conscious = one person, cannot create a new being o The body  contributes to the making of a man, a soul in a different body is not the same man o Whoever has the consciousness of past/present actions is the same person to which they both belong – consciousness alone unites actions into the same person o Self depends on consciousness, not on substance o Absolute oblivion separates what is thus forgotten from the person, but not from the man o Consciousness unites substances, material or spiritual, with the same personality • Important Themes from Locke o Relative Identity – What is needed for identity or sameness is relative to what we are talking about – requirements for X not the same as requirements for Y o Psychological Criterion for Personal Identity – No matter what material changes we go undergo the right psychological connection between our later and earlier self makes us the same person o Memory Criterion – essential for personal identity, if conscious of past and present thoughts/feelings than it is the same self (person) o Forensic Persons – Can you be held legally or morally responsible for your earlier actions Thomas Reid on Personal Identity • Identity = continued uninterrupted existence is implied in self • Criticism of Locke o Locke confuses:  Evidence we have for thinking we are the same past person – we remember thinking that person’s thoughts or performing that person’s actions with:  What makes us the same person as that past person • Locke : remembering what a child did makes that child me at an earlier time • Reid: it is only evidence o Locke says identity cannot be transitive Reid’s Conception of Self • Continuous and unchanging for the entire duration of her existence • Two Views About Change and Sameness (“Identity”): • · 1. Change requires that something become different than it was; but difference is the opposite of sameness; so nothing can change and still be the same. • - Nothing stays the same [Materialism (Heraclitus)] [Atomism (Democritus)] - Nothing changes [Idealism (Parmenides)] [Plato] • • Plato on Body and Soul (p34) • · “The soul is the very likeness of the divine, and immortal, and intellectual, and uniform and indissoluble, and unchangeable…” • … and the body is the very likeness of the human, and mortal, and unintellectual, and multiform, and dissoluble, and changeable.” • • Diotima (p34) • · “We assume that a man is the same person in his old age as in his infancy, yet although we call him the same, every bit of him is different, and everyday he is becoming a new man while the old man is ceasing to exist, as you can see from his hair…” • · “And not only his body, for the same thing happens to his soul. And neither his manners, nor his dispositions, nor his thoughts not his desires nor his pleasures, nor his sufferings, not his fears are the same throughout his life.” • · Diotimas view resembles Hericlitus’ view • • The Problem of Personal Identity • · “I’m not the same person at 20 than I was at 2” • · Given the many changes we undergo during our lives, what makes each of us numerically the same persons for the duration of our lives? • - A. Changes 1. Bodily changes 2. Psychological changes • - B. Sameness 1. Qualitative Sameness/Identity 2. Numerical Sameness/Identity • · Am I the same person over a long period of time? • · Numerical sameness says that I am • • John Locke on Personal Identity (1689) • · [Story about the dude that wakes up as an insect; Is he still the same person?] • · Persons VS. Human Beings • · Identity is Relative (to classification) • · Memory Criterion for Personal Identity • “Man” [human being] VS. Person • · 1. Human Being: “…is nothing else but an animal of such a certain form” (38) a) “Whoever should see a creature of his own shape or make, though it had no more reason in all its life than a cat or a parrot, would still call him a man [human]… a dull irrational man.” (38) b) “Whoever should hear a cat or a parrot disclosure, reason, and philosophize, would call or think it nothing but a cat or parrot… a very intelligent, rational parrot.” (38) • · 2. Person: “…is a thinking intelligent being, that has reason and reflection, and can consider itself as itself.” (39) • · “Consciousness always accompanies thinking, and it is that which makes everyone to be what he calls self.” (39) • · Locke used man as members of the human species • • Consciousness and Self • · 3. Consciousness: This is Locke’s term for our awareness of our own thoughts and perceptions • · All Persons think and perceive, but we are, in addition, conscious of that fact about ourselves • · 4. Self: ‘it is by this [consciousness] everyone is to himself that which he calls self’, and ‘consciousness’… is that which makes everyone to be what he calls self’. • • ‘Of Identity and Diversity’ • · Identity – one and only one thing can exist in a particular place at a particular time • · Diversity – each thing is distinct from all others by virtue of occupying a particular place at a particular time • · This chair may exist at a separate location than that table • · Numerically, a person at the age of 20 is the same person at the age of 2 • • Identity is Relative • · “The idea of identity is suites to the idea it is applied to” (38) • · Is the insect in the bed in the morning still the same person? • · Page 27 • · Human being means actual human being • · The organization of the structure; the organization of particles over time in the development of a tree - If we cut the tree down and turn it into a table, the matter is still there therefore it is still the same thing • · When it comes to a person, consciousness is the key to personal identity • · “We must consider the idea… it [identity] is applied to… it being one thing to be the same substance, another to be the same man, and a third the same person.” (38) • · Is X the same as Y? - For Locke, the question is incomplete and cannot be answered until we first clarify what we are asking: Is it the same… WHAT? • · What sense of identity are we concerned with? - Is X the same parcel of matter as Y? - Is X the same human being as Y? - Is X the same person as Y? • • Rapid Change and Dramatic Change • · After the boys transformation (Gregor), the result is not the same man, nor the same human being • · And yet it was Gregor who awoke: “he found himself transformed” • · How can it be Gregor? How can it be the same person? - He remembers being Gregor • • John Locke on Personal Identity • · “In this alone consists personal identity… as far as consciousness can be extended backwards to any past action or thought, so far reaches the identity of that person; it is the same self now as it was then.” (39) • · Even total (and rapid) body changes are possible while remaining the same person: - Resurrection in a new body is conceivable - Body changes are conceivable [the prince and the cobbler] • · “Whatever has the consciousness of past and present actions, is the same • • Memory; “Consciousness extending backwards” • · Memory is necessary for identity of persons: If I cannot remember doing anything that some person did, then that past person was not me. • · “Suppose I wholly lose the memory of some parts of my life, beyond a possibility of retrieving them, so that perhaps I shall never be conscious of them again; yet am I not the same person that did those actions…?” (40). • · Not the same person even though I am the same human being • · Locke’s Answer: No – I am not the same person. (But I can still be the same human being). • · But if you’re not that same person, because you’ve forgotten those things, can you not be held accountable for the things that you did? • · Memory is sufficient for identity of persons: - If I can remember doing something • • Main Themes in Locke • · 1. Relative to Identity – what is needed for ‘identity’ or ‘sameness’ is relative to the sort of thing we are talking about. The requirements of vegetable identity is not the same as human identity or personal identity. • · 2. The Psychological Criterion for Personal Identity – we remain the same person if we retain the same consciousness (the right kind of psychological connectedness with out past) • · 3. The Memory Criterion – the right sort of psychological connection between earlier and later selves is provided by memory • · 4. Forensic Persons – person is a forensic (moral or legal) concept. If I am the same person as some past person then I can be held accountable for past deeds. • · The trees’ identity is now a table • • Thomas Reid (1710-1796) • · Critique of Locke • · Perfect VS. Imperfect Identity • · The self • • Reid: The ‘Imperfect Identity’ of Bodies • · “All bodies…are subject to continual changes.” (44). • · “Language could not afford a different name for every different state of such changeable being.” (44). • · “The identity which we ascribe to bodies…. Is not the perfect identity; it is rather something which, for the convenience of speech, we call identity.” (44). • · We say it’s the same car, the same cat, the same human being although we know there is change involved • · This is because the changes are gradual • · Identity “has no fixed nature when applied to bodies; and questions about identity are very often questions about words.” (44). • • Reid on Personal Change • · “Our consciousness, our memory and every operation of the mind, are still flowing like the water of a river.. Consciousness, and every kind of thought, are transient and momentary, and have no continued existence; and therefore, if personal identity consisted in consciousness, it would certainly follow, that no man is the same person in any two moments of his life; and as the right and justice of reward and punishment are founded on personal identity, no man could be responsible for his actions.” (45). • • Reid on The Self • · Only some unchanging component that is present in all the different stages of a persons life can make them stages of the same person - that component is the “self”. • · “My thoughts, and actions, and feelings, change every moment: they have no continued, but a successive existence; but that self, or I, to which they belong, is permanent.” (43) • · “…the thinking being has a continued existence, and we have an invincible belief that it remains the same when all its thoughts and operations change.” • · Personal Identity requires that some essential component of a person persist unchanged throughout all the changes she undergoes. • · That essential component of the person is her “self”. • • Reid challenge to Locke’s Memory Criterion for Personal Identity (45) • · First Objection: - Reid accuses Locke of confusing (i) the evidence we have for thinking we are the same as some past person, - with (ii) what constitutes us as (makes us) the same person as that past person. • · Second Objection (p.40-45): 1. Alfred (at age 80) = Fred (at age 40) - Because Locke’s memory criterion is satisfied 2. Fred (at age 40) = Freddy (at age 10) - Because Locke’s memory criterion is satisfied 3. So Alfred (at age 80) = Freddy (at age 10) - Because of the transitivity of identity - BUT, ALFRED CAN’T REMEMBER ANYTHING THAT FREDDY DID. 4. So, Alfred (80) is not equal to Freddy (10) - Because Locke’s memory criterion is not satisfied • · Locke’s memory criterion for personal identity, together with the transitivity of identity, leads to the impossible conclusion that Alfred both is and is not Freddy • • · According to Reid people with amnesia are still the same person • · According to Locke they are completely different person Divided Selves • Locke and Reid agree: something must be preserved unchanged throughout the many stages of a person’s life o Locke: Single Consciousness  Exist only as far back as our memory can take us o Reid: Self  Invisible component that stays with us David Hume on Self • There is no self • For the self to exist it must be one impression o This is impossible because some impressions cannot exist together, therefor the self does not exist • Perceptions make us who we are – we do not exist when we sleep as we have no perceptions o At no point do we catch ourselves without perception • When Hume looks inwards he just finds thought, feelings, and sensations rapidly replacing each other • Metaphysics : Humans are nothing but a bundle of perceptions o In constant flux • All our ideas come from experience, and we cannot experience self o Therefore there is no self • Theatre of the Mind o Perceptions, thoughts, feelings make appearance on stage and leave to be replaced by others o We are the audience, aware of only what is on stage o If we have selves, they never pass on stage, so they are invisible to us  Self is the offstage observer, and if it goes on stage, it cannot observe itself up there • Diagnosis of Error o Natural propension – tendency to confuse two things which we know are different  Two things we confuse: • Several different objects existing in succession and connected together by a close relation • Object that remains invariable and uninterrupted through a variable of time o We confuse one single objects with many different things that are close enough to the same existing in rapid succession  This is repeated when we look inside ourselves, confuse rapid changing feelings with one self •
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