Philosophy Final Study Guide
Knowledge:Addresses the nature and scope of human knowledge— Epistemology
o Struck by falsehoods he accepts as true in his childhooddemolished everything
completely and starts again right from the foundations
Whatever he has up till now accepted as most true he has acquired either from the
senses or through the senses
Doesn’t trust his senses b/c he could be deceived
Realizes he cannot doubt his own existencefollows from the fact that he is
thinking = concludes that he is a thing that thinks
The mind is far better known to him than the body
o States that what distinguishes real knowledge from mere belief is the added feature of
indubitability – while one may have many beliefs, only those whos truth cannot be
doubted will count as knowledge
o Descartes rejects Skepticism— The view that knowledge is not possible
Defends a rationalists epistemology— he argues that beliefs justified on the basis
of reason satisfy the criterion of certainty
Believes in Logic
o Concludes that God does exist b/c the idea of God in his mind cannot be created by him
since he is far more perfect
Derives a second proof for the existence of God while bodies are essentially
extended, God is essentially existent.
o Clearly perceives that the primary attribute of body is extension and that the primary
qualities of body are size, shape, breadth etc.
o Concludes the body and essence of mind are completely distinct
Ourselves: Does the same person persist through time?
o “soul theory”/ Personal Identity Miller: your mind or soul is immaterial, logged in your body while you are on
Your soul sees and smells, but cannot be seen or smelt
Weirdob: how do you know it’s the very same soul you were confronted with
before? – “same body, same self”
o Numerical Identity – Aperson through time
o Quanotative Identity – Sharing characteristics and counting them as one, not two
o What would happen to one and their sense of self if ones brain were to be separated
from its body?
o Dennett confused and wants to know whether he is identical to his brain or identical
to his body
o Concludes: he is in two places at the same time and that he has become a “scattered
Our Minds: mind over body problem
o They’re made Out of Meat
Two aliens, who are astounded at the fact that human beings, given their
physical makeup (they’re made of ‘meat’), have any sort of mental life.
o Raises the dual issues of the seeming disconnect between our physical baseness and our
mental capacities, and of human chauvinism
Free Will: reconciling human freedom with the idea that our actions might be determined to take
place is the philosophical problem of free will
o Determinism– the idea that everything that happens, and therefore every choice
and action, could not have been other than they are (No such thing as free will
because determinism is true) o All such indeterminateness resides solely in conceptions and ideas; the world itself
shares none of it.
o Everything, including every cause, is the effect of some cause or causes; or that
everything is not only determinate but casually determined
o Compatabilism/Soft determinism— there is both free will and determinism because
if you understand the word free will it means what is doing the determining.
o There is a great difference between a caused action and a forced action
o If there is no free will there can be no morality