Introduction to Philosophy PHL 221, York College Revised, Spring 2017

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1 Introduction to Philosophy PHL 221, York College Revised, Spring 2017 Beginnings of Philosophy: Overview of Course (1) The Origins of Philosophy and Relativism Knowledge Are you a self? Ethics: What is justice? What is goodness? Does God Exist? The Origins of Philosophy Trade The Persian Wars ( bce) Athenian Empire Peloponnesian War (with Sparta), ends 404 bce Spiritual impact The Sophists Sophos: wisdom wise-ists Sophist-icated Well-traveled Teachers Traditional religion and morality doesn t matter Taught men how to win (courts, society, life) Relativism Every belief is relative to something else (gender, ethnicity, religion, social or economic status) Cognitive relativism Ethical relativism Cultural relativism Did Martin Luther King win because he was right, or was he right because he won? Can the statement: All truth claims are relative be true? Protagoras Man is the measure of the things that are Cognitive individual relativism Perception is existence Socrates observation: there is no enduring reality nothing is ever a single thing or quality since we do not perceive it as such

2 Thrasymachus (1) Justice is the interest of the stronger Evidence (p. 2, lines 1-8)? Socrates counter-argument: rulers may be mistaken about their interest Might makes right Moral Realism Socrates counter-argument in detail The ruler is just So you should always obey the ruler Because it is in his interest But the ruler may order an act that is not in his interest Do you...? Obey him (although it is not in his interest) Not obey him (although it really is in his interest) Callicles Why do people make laws? (Thrasymachus vs. Callicles) What does nature show us? How do we know this? Superior individual Do you think nature is the best guide for morality? Gyges Ring People are just ( fair, right ) involuntarily They don t choose to be just They do it because they have to If they don t have to be just, they won t be They ll do whatever they can get away with Epistemology: What do you know? How do you know it? What is real? (Protagoras) things & experiences are constantly changing What does it mean to say that evolution really happened? That gravity exists. What is matter? If nucleus = baseball, atomic diameter would be 2.5 miles electrons are not in discrete orbits we can calculate either position or momentum, but not both simultaneously electrons have no size Plato: introduction Sophists questioned traditions and accepted practices everything is relative Socrates (d. 399 bce) wanted to find truth divine sign Plato wrote down Socrates dialogues

3 Plato s problem Parmenides: what is, is nothingness doesn t exist If things change, can they be real? Zeno s dichotomy paradox : to go ½ the distance, you must go ¼ ⅛, 1/16, etc. You will never get there motion is nothing v= d/t; how do you calculate motion in an infinitely small period of time? Plato s solution two-worlds theory : appearance and reality =Becoming/Being Forms (14): the essence of whatever has being forms experienced by pre-incarnate souls in transcendent realm of being by forms we re-cognize what a thing is (e.g., triangles, 18) some forms are essential, others are accidental Allegory of the Cave Rising from Opinion to Knowledge Problems with Plato s solution How do the forms cause things? How does tree-ness enter into a particular tree? What comes first: the form or the thing? What does it mean to say that sensible things participate in the Forms? Rationalism Reason is the basis of knowledge Doubt Find certain knowledge Descartes The need to Doubt What he did not know Senses deceive Could not distinguish dreaming from waking Imaginary representations were composites Required something real to which they referred Error was a defect (30) The Evil Genius The Need to doubt (2) Whatever could be doubted To determine what was truly known Criterion of knowledge: clear and distinct (36)...he knows that he is...

4 I must exist I am reflecting (32) Not who, but what (33) Cogito ergo sum I think, therefore I am the Cartesian ego A Thinking thing What is this knowledge? What pertains to me (33) The metaphor of the wax Continuity in change Intuition of the mind The only things truly known are clear and distinct = Innate ideas The rest of the story... I know I (a thinking thing) exists I can think perfection Therefore a perfect being exists Otherwise, how would I know perfection? A perfect being would not deceive Therefore I can trust sensations John Locke Experience gives certain knowledge Rejection of innate ideas Empiricism Tabula Rasa Blank slate (p. 43 #2) Locke s arguments against innate ideas (pp. 41-4) #3 #4 #5 bottom p. 41 P. 42 to middle P. 42bottom third Define the following: Experience (II.I.2): Sensation (II.I.3): Reflection (II.I.4): Idea (II.VIII.8 = p. 47): Quality (II.VIII.8): Primary qualities (47 bottom) Secondary qualities (48): e.g., colors, sounds, tastes Is whiteness of a snowball perceived differently than roundness?

5 Descartes and Locke Descartes wanted certain knowledge, which he grounded in knowledge of the thinking self, since we cannot trust sense knowledge. Locke argued that innate ideas did not exist, And that we can trust the data of sense experience. (But the egocentric predicament of truth) George Berkeley Response to egocentric predicament of truth Idealism Only ideas exist Mental states Characters Hylas: matter, hyle Philonous : friend of mind The problem of scepticism If reality is in matter and in our perceptions of matter, then how can we know reality? Idealism is preferable to scepticism (52 top) Where are sensations? Heat exists in the mind Heat is pain Material substance does not feel pain (54) What about moderate heat? How does this lead to his conclusion? Taste, colors, Extension Sweetness (57) Colors (58-9) Extension (60-1)? Matter (62): under sensible qualities Under implies extension (no title) How then is it possible that things perpetually fleeting and variable as our ideas should be copies or images of anything fixed and constant?...since all sensible qualities,... are continually changing upon every alteration in the distance, medium, or instruments of sensation how can any determinate material objects be properly represented. External reality is constantly changing if you say it [the object] resembles some one only of our ideas, how shall we be able to distinguish the true copy.? If a tree falls in a forest with no one to hear it, does it make a sound?

6 Sensations in the mind 64-5 Esse est percipi: to be is to be perceived Yet things do not depend... on my thought Something must be perceiving all things all the time Universal Perceiver David Hume Impressions and Ideas Ideas are copies of perceptions a perception is precedent feeling or sentiment The empirical criterion of meaning (68) The meaning of any idea is based on an impression How do we know anything? Relations of Ideas vs. Matters of Fact All other knowledge is based upon the fact that: Two events are conjoined Every event is separate from other event Habitual experience tells me to expect certain conjunctions Cause and Effect Scientific knowledge before Hume: universal, necessary, and certain Hume: We do not know:...that a particular cause will lead to an effect...that an effect had a certain cause We assume it, based on experience (73) Reason and Experience Reason doesn t know causes Habitual experience Assumes resemblance of the past to the future (73) We cannot prove this based on experience The Sceptical solution Life is a continual succession of events, with a arbitrary and casual conjunction Doesn t change everyday life Questions the alleged certainties of philosophy Custom as basis of Belief Custom or Habit (74) All reasonings are hypothetical All beliefs derived from: An object Present to senses or memory

7 And a customary conjunction with some other object Reason serves the passions reason alone [by itself] is merely the slave of the passions i.e., reason pursues knowledge of abstract and causal relations solely in order to achieve passions goals and provides no impulse of its own Immanuel Kant How can knowledge be scientific? Must be a priori : independent of (prior to) sense data Must be universal knowledge universal, necessary, and certain Not knowledge of this or that Kant s change Before Kant: knowledge conformed to the object Kant: objects must conform to our cognition the constitution of our faculty of intuition Empirical Knowledge vs. Pure a compound of experience and knowledge (Ames room: ) sensuous impressions giv[e] merely the occasion yet cognition does something to the raw material A posteriori knowledge: source in experience Pure Knowledge A priori knowledge: independent of all experience Impure: require empirical knowledge to trigger it (79) Pure a priori knowledge: no admixture of empirical knowledge Tests for recognizing pure knowledge Necessity: it has to be Strict (not empirical) universality The indispensable basis of the possibility of experience itself Cause and effect, space, substance, time = categories of understanding Judgements about A Priori Ideas Review: pre-existing ideas Necessary for any knowledge Pre-cede the knowledge Analytical: defined in the idea Synthetical: adds something to the idea Analytical Judgments Predicate belongs to the subject X is y : X=subject; y=predicate

8 X is y : Connection is one of identity explicative Humans are mortal. Synthetical Judgments Predicate adds something to the subject This x has/is y Augmentative Based on experience Example 1: Judgements about causes Everything that happens [x] has a cause [y] has a cause is not identical to everything that happens. Y expands or develops X. Yet seems to be a priori: experience does not tell us of it Example 2: Mathematical Judgments Does 7+5 contain 12? We have an intuition of what it means to add 7+5=12 is a priori (we don t base it on experience) nonetheless it is synthetic Synthetical Judgments A priori (2) Cannot use experience = a priori So what is the foundation? An additional intuition creates the synthesis (84) =synthetical judgment a priori Space and time Not derived from experience Not sensations Not analytical a priori Their representation[s] must already exist as a foundation Synthetical a priori judgments Categories of Understanding Categories in which understanding takes place Space, time, causality We cannot prove they exist, but they must exist in order to know anything else

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