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Intro to Philosophy ENTIRE TERM Notes

by: EmilySarahColville

Intro to Philosophy ENTIRE TERM Notes PHIL 160


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Dr. Golding's Summer Session of Intro to Philosophy 160 taken in 2016 at Bellarmine University. We covered Plato's 5 Dialogues (except for the Meno), Pascal's Wager, Decartes' Meditations From Phil...
Introduction to Philosophy
Dr. Joshua Golding
philosophy, Plato, Allegory of the Cave, Socrates, platos apology, Decartes, Aquanias, Phaedo, Crito, Euthyphro, Dialogues
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Date Created: 07/28/16
Page 1 of 22 Introduction to Philosophy 101 Dr. Joshua Golding Bellarmine University Summer Session 2016 (A quick note from the Elite Note-taker, Emily Colville: I have tried to not include many highlighted terms because some professors may find other terms important versus what my professor said were important for his exams. Nothing on our exams ever included anything outside of these notes. We used two textbooks: Plato’s Five Dialogues (Second Edition) and Decartes Meditations on First Philosophy (Third Edition). We also used a few small outside sources that are noted. I hope these notes help you as much as they helped me: I aced every exam and the term paper and ended the course with an A grade. Thanks!) The Term “Philosophy” – Greek term: “philo” meaning “love” and “sophia” meaning “wisdom” “Philosophy” translates to “love of wisdom” “Philosophers” are considered “lovers of wisdom” – they question/argue “Philosophy” is NOT wisdom. “Philosophy” is the love of that wisdom. What is love? – passion/desire, pursuing What is wisdom? – knowledge/understanding of deep, fundamental truths about the universe So what counts as wisdom? What is knowledge? The act of pursuing wisdom doesn’t mean we will get it – it just means we are chasing it Branches of Philosophy Ethics – what is morally right or wrong Metaphysics – the nature of things Materialism – the only things that exist are made of matter Rationalism – the belief that reason is the main instrument to gain knowledge Epistemology - deals with knowledge and investigates the nature of knowledge There are also others: not limited to only the ones listed. Page 2 of 22 Plato’s Five Dialogues (Textbook) The Euthyphro – Plato’s First Dialogue Plato was a follower of Socrates Pre-Socrates philosophers believed there to be only 4 basic elements: wind, fire, water, and earth “Argument” by definition means an attempt at rational persuasion consisting of premise(s) and conclusion and claim the conclusion follows from the premise(s) or steps. Through the Five Dialogues – consider that Plato is simply the author telling his perspectives through the character of Socrates (who was a real philosopher). Be sure to distinct Plato as the author and Socrates as the character as some professors will use their two names interchangeably. The Euthyphro (written by Plato) depicts a made-up argument between Socrates and Euthyphro Euthyphro (the character) attempts to give a definition of “piety” This argument takes place outside of a courthouse (where both characters have a court case) Socrates’ court case: Meletus claims Socrates manipulates the youth (corruption) Euthyphros’ court case: to prosecute his father whom indirectly killed a man that killed someone else. The case is under questionable circumstances because the man Euthyphro’s father murdered, murdered in a drunken rage but he may have been executed anyway; so is the father really liable for tying up a murderer and allowing him to starve? “Indictment” – crime against the state (Socrates) or the offense “Prosecution” – personal matter (Euthyphro) or the defense “Piety” – holiness “impious” – unholy SUMMARY: Socrates is surprised that anyone is suing their own father. Respect for parents and elders was considered to be pious – universal belief. The assumed murder in question wasn’t really a murder and the killed was a killer – it is all questionable. Euthyphro thinks the gods would agree with his side because Zeus banished his own father and claims he (Euthyphro) is a professional when it comes to piety. Euthyphro also claims to be superior to other men. Socrates wants to know Euthyphro’s definition of piety so he can “use” it in his own trial (or so he claims). Euthyphro is some sort of holy man, priest, or prophet. Socrates does not give his own, personal, definition of piety but plays along. Euthyphro attempts to give various definitions of piety that Socrates finds some sort of flaw with one way or the other. In the end, Euthyphro cannot offer a successful definition and storms off. Socrates seems to have a sarcastic attitude throughout the dialogue (sarcasm – saying something you don’t mean and degrading the other person). --- Euthyphro’s Definitions of Piety: Page 3 of 22 Piety is: (1) To prosecute a wrong doer (example: because Zeus did the same to his father) (2) What is dear to the gods is pious and what is not dear to them is impious (3) What all gods love (is pious) and what all gods hate (impious) --- Socrates’ Critiques of each definition: (1) One cannot accept stories about the gods because there is no concrete evidence. Your example must function in all cases (and follow a set of standards) (2) The gods constantly argue because some of them love what others hate. This definition would be constantly changing and, in some cases, it would be contradicting. Your example must be usable as a model. (3) “God-loved” and “holy” differ from each other. Do the gods create the definitions or do they get it from somewhere else? Is it the cause or the effect? Is it considered “accidental” or “essential”? Another example of this critique is: does God command it because it is right or is it right because it is, simply, commanded by God? More on Socrates’ 3 critique: Is the pious, pious because it is loved by the gods or is (what is loved by the gods) loved because it is pious? Similar to: is the super bowl watched by so many people because it is the superbowl or is the superbowl the superbowl because it is watched by so many? Is it the cause or the effect? Euthyphro agrees that his example is accidental (coincidence) and not essential (would still be true without its’ accidental properties). Argument ends right back where it started (this is called a circular argument) Why does Euthyphro storm off and get humiliated if he truly knew the definition of piety? Socrates would ask: Is piety a black or white issue? Will piety always look the same in all cases? Don’t you agree there must be a true definition? If you know the definition of piety then why can’t you teach it? Socrates claims all definitions must: (1) Serve as a model (2) You must be able to teach the model to others (3) The definition has to meet a certain criteria The criteria for knowledge one must meet: (1) One must be able to teach that knowledge to others (2) One must be able to give a good definitional “form” The Good definitional “form” must include: (1) Description of some property(ies) that are present in all examples of x and not present in many examples of not x (2) Must be functional (usable) in practice to determine what is or is not an example of x (3) Must describe what is essential to x and not what is secondary or accidental to x We learned about knowledge and not about piety (we only learned what piety is not). Page 4 of 22 The Apology – Plato’s Second Dialogue Socrates’ attempt to define himself at his own trial “Apology” comes from “Apologia” meaning to reason through a speech or a defense Socrates does not believe he was impious in his assumed actions of corrupting the youth Socrates denies knowing what human excellence (or virtue) … but he claims to know certain things or qualities that makes humans virtuous so this contradicts itself Socrates claims there is a difference between definitional knowledge or ordinary knowledge “The unexamined life is not worth living” – Socrates SUMMARY: Socrates explains why he has gotten a bad reputation. He interviews those that indicted him by showing that they don’t know what they are talking about. 501 people within the jury – when he is found guilty he states that if 30 votes had gone the other way (for his innocence) then he would not have been found guilty at all (so he must have convinced many of the jury of his innocence). The defense side and prosecution side each pick a penalty and try to convince the jury to side with it. The prosecution suggests death while the defense (Socrates’ side) suggested a punishment of a small financial fine. For the prosecution, they think that the indictment of corrupting the youth and not believing in the gods is far too great for a small fine to make up for. Socrates should have suggested exile instead so that he could have the chance to live (all society in Athens wanted to do was just to get rid of him one way or the other). Socrates is found guilty and gets the punishment of execution. His defense speech --- Socrates initially says he is not a part of the “sophists” who were a group of claimed “wise men” (famous for being wise and giving fancy speeches that “awed” the audiences). They used rhetorics or persuasive speeches about any topic you would choose. They also taught professionally and for money. They were skeptical about the gods. Socrates was confused to be a sophist but is using this speech to distinguish himself from them. Socrates is reported to be a “wise guy” but he denies having wisdom – no wisdom about virtue nor “things above Heaven and below Earth” (so wouldn’t this be him basically saying he did have wisdom of some sort?). Socrates also denies being a teacher for money. Concise Conclusion – initially, Socrates says he should be convicted with free meals because he is working for God but he knows better than that so, instead, he mentions exile. Then he says no to exile because he thinks it is impossible to be quiet since he is on a quest for God. To be quiet or to leave Athens is to disobey God. He also thinks that if he is not welcome in Athens, he won’t be welcomed anywhere. He proposes a fine $$$ (that was ridiculously small in amount). The jury chose death. Socrates does not claim to know what life after death will consist of, for him, but most philosophers believed Heaven to be conversing with those who have died and passed on to the next world. Some also believe it could be a dreamless sleep. It was prophesized that Athens would pay for the execution of Socrates. This entire dialogue was made up by Page 5 of 22 Plato but based on true events – the only reason it is not considered historically accurate is because this is Plato’s perspective of what happened at the trial (multiple people never recorded the same trial so all we have is Plato’s perspective). The actual trial took place in 399 B.C. Socrates states that he is not a wise man but a lover of wisdom – a philosopher He talks about not being a fancy speaker, “I will speak in my customed manner” Socrates prefers conversations over speeches He distinguishes his early and late accusers Early accuser: Aristophanes (a playwright) did not accuse Socrates directly in a trial but within a play he wrote title The Clouds (a satirical play in 427 B.C.). The play was about a man with a son that is a freeloader/sinner. The father hires the play character of Socrates (whom is a known sophist within the play) to teach the son to, perhaps, to become a lawyer. The son ends up learning that there are no gods and there should be no respect for parents. He also learns that life is good if you have money and power. Basically, the son learns all kinds of bad things from Socrates. The father tries to take the son from Socrates after he has an epiphany but the son punches the father (this is considered a terrible action). Socrates, in the play, has corrupted the youth and ruined morals for the younger society. He will use verbal tricks, twist arguments, and make people feel stupid. Because of this play, Socrates (the real one) gains a bad reputation. Late accuser: in the trial of the Apology, Meletus and Anytus are the accusers. They accuse Socrates of corrupting the youth and of not believing in the gods. Socrates explains how he got his bad reputation: slander and lies from that play Aristophanes wrote. An island oracle (a fortune teller with reliable prophecies) at Delphi prophesized to Socrates’ friend, Chaerephon, that no one is wiser than Socrates. Socrates’ mission from that point on was to figure out what was mean by that and to test the oracle prophecy by conversing with those who claim to be wise (most were not – we saw that with Euthyphro). Socrates went to three types of groups: politians, poets, and craftsman. Socrates realized he had a wisdom that none of them had: the wisdom of fact he is not wise or “Socratic wisdom”. All these people failed to realize how much they didn’t know and that made society question authority. He found that the craftsmen knew nothing and were arrogant but they knew how to do certain trades and that was more knowledge than the other two groups had. These conversations began to irritate people, Socrates gained followers, and further weakened overall respect for authority. It appeared that Socrates was skeptical about the gods (even though he was actually, pretty religious) and Socrates was viewed as a threat to power. This entire argument regarded past accusers. Page 6 of 22 Socrates questions Meletus. Who improves the youth? Meletus answers, “laws” but who not what was the question. “Everyone” in general, improves the youth so is Socrates the only corruption? Meletus believes Socrates to be the one bad apple in the “everyone” group. Socrates brings up The Craft Analogy of horse breeding: with any skill, most people cannot breed horses – it takes someone specialized to breed them. Socrates demonstrates how ridiculous Meletus sounds to this analogy of the youth education and horse breeding. So is Socrates conscious or unconscious of corrupting the youth? Meletus thinks Socrates is consciously aware of it but Socrates thinks that no one in their right mind would willingly corrupt the youth and if someone is accidentally corrupting the youth then those errors should be corrected. Meletus claims Socrates is atheist, completely, and that he believes in entirely new entities. But is that not a contradiction? Socrates shows these inconsistencies. Why would a person risk their life to go have conversations? This portion includes a dialogue that Socrates has with himself. Socrates seems to be ahead of his time but he assures himself that he is “doing what is right” by sacrificing and being a hero. Worry about living the good life rather than of being executed – do not concern yourself with death. He lists examples of him doing the right thing at the risk of being executed but he considers this “risky” lifestyle to have been ordained by the gods. He thinks that the fear of death is ignorant because no one knows what happens after death – maybe it’s better after this life. Thinking you know something when you don’t is known as Socratic Wisdom but Socrates claims to know: no one knows what happens after death, it’s wrong to disobey gods or superiors, to quit philosophizing is to disobey the gods, care for the soul is more important than the care for the body, and finally he claims to know that it’s wrong to kill innocent men (or for a soldier to give up his post during war). Socrates compares himself to being a pest of Athens but he only does so because he is doing his divine mission. The divine sign he received from being on this divine mission: I stood up for what is right publicly and I wouldn’t have lasted this long if it was bad. Socrates refused to beg and plea for his innocence (which was common to do) – he wanted everyone to decide his fate based on the facts and not because they pity him. He says he is not afraid of death – his divine sign didn’t say he shouldn’t go to the trial so that must be a sign that the gods wanted this. Socrates did corrupt the youth once when a follower of his, named Alcibiades, became a traitor to Athens during the war with Sparta. Socrates did not intend for this to happen and the majority of his followers never became corrupted. This was just one bad apple. The only time Socrates claims he disobeyed superiors and risked death was when there were 30 bad rulers of Athens and they commanded corrupted things. Socrates thinks you should always obey superiors but not when they are corrupted. Page 7 of 22 The Crito – Plato’s Third Dialogue Crito was a friend of Socrates who attempts to convince Socrates to escape prison (which is the setting of this dialogue after Socrates was sentenced to death) but Socrates refuses to escape. There was a delay in the execution of Socrates: a religious festival was being carried out and no executions take place until the festival ends (it ends when the boat goes out and comes back to Athens). This delay was long enough for Crito to come talk to Socrates who is, surprisingly, calm. Socrates has a dream that included a woman in white that visits him and tells him that the execution will happen on the third day and not immediately. He takes this dream as a sign from the gods that he is meant to die. However, could Crito be considered his divine sign that he should escape? Questionable. Crito, who is not calm, does not want to be blamed (as Socrates’ friend) for not helping him so he has come to converse with Socrates. Crito’s argument: justice has to do with virtue and the soul health. Socrates replies that life is not worth living with a corrupted body or soul and that unjust actions corrupt the soul so therefore society should not listen and follow the majority of people (even though the masses have the power to put a person to death) but just one person that knows of true justice – worry only about what is just/unjust because the majority of people are not experts (as we talked about in the Apology). Socrates: a good life is a just life. Quality is better than quantity. In an unjust world, be the change. Figure out what justice is and ignore what others think. Socrates seems to think that justice begins by repenting, righting wrongs, and justify wrongs. Socrates’ City-Parent Analogy/Argument (part 1): the state has done so much for me and my family. They married by parents who gave birth to me and therefore, the state is the reason I am alive. Obey at all costs (unless the state orders something unjust). The state, in some ways, is more of a parent than an actual parent is. The back and forth persuasive argument begins. SOCRATES’ REASONS TO NOT CRITO’S REASONS TO ESCAPE ESCAPE Obey the state because it is a parent. Obey I will be deprived of a friend. It’s not right the law of the land. If you break the law, – it’s wrong. you are injuring the state when the state has always supported you. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. I won’t be welcome anywhere else in the You’d be welcome and safe in many world. places. I have beliefs/principles that I have taught You are deserting/betraying your sons and – I would become a hypocrite. that is wrong. Never wrong a wrong. Two wrongs don’t Isn’t punishment by the state considered Page 8 of 22 make a right. revenge? We should only listen to good opinions of Appeal of reputation – people will think ill the few and not the many. Listen to the of me for not persuading you to escape. wise people – the experts. You are going along with the majority verdict but you say not to listen to the many. If I change my beliefs, it will not be You are choosing the easier path (the path because I want to break out of prison – it of the least resistance). would be for better reasons. Back to Socrates’ City-Parent Analogy/Argument (part 2): Socrates feels that by living in Athens into adulthood, one has made an implicit (implied but not verbally spoken) agreement to follow the rules. As an adult, you have the right to leave the state. The state doesn’t issue savage commands and it allows citizens to persuade it (the state) is wrong (in court and with free speech – Socrates was given this right in the Apology and he failed to persuade them). By remaining in the state during adulthood, you’re taking advantage of all that Athens provides such as a free education. This argument could apply to the USA as well since we have so many freedoms. Socrates says that the gods are more superior than the state so that is why he seems to be contradicting when he refuses to obey the state in the examples he gives in the Apology Socrates believes his divine mission will continue in the afterlife. Death is the end of his mission in Athens but death is just the next great adventure The Crito is the first work of political philosophy so it is considered to be a foundational document Socrates’ ideal government: the few wise make the laws. Democracy is ridiculous because too many people are ignorant and should not have a voice in the government. Virtue: a good character trait to make a good/excellent human being (virtue needs time, wisdom, and energy) In the end, Crito cannot persuade Socrates to escape because Socrates doesn’t think people will ever listen to a jailbird or to someone who breaks laws. Crito seems tired and seems to understand so he gives up but it’s not entirely certain that he is convinced of Socrates’ arguments. Page 9 of 22 The Meno – Plato’s Fourth Dialogue I apologize for the inconvenience but this course/professor skipped over The Meno. It was not a part of the exam. Page 10 of 22 The Phaedo – Plato’s Fifth Dialogue Depicts the death of Socrates. It’s a long dialogue that discusses the nature of the afterlife on the day before Socrates is executed by drinking hemlock. The Phaedo is told from the perspective of one of Socrates’ students, Phaedo of Elis. The main topic: Socrates explores various arguments for the soul’s immortality in order to show that there is an afterlife in which the soul will dwell following death. The idea is that the soul is immortal. The discussion: Socrates states that philosophy is a practice for death because it is searching for true knowledge of things that are everlasting/eternal and the body is a distraction from the pursuit of true knowledge. It’s the soul that is the part of you that thinks and has intellect – the body is just the physical part. The soul gives pure thought/understanding. Knowledge comes from the intellect so you must get away from the senses to focus on what is truly important. The body is a distraction because it has urges, desires, and senses. Socrates’ followers question if it is possible that the soul will die with the body but Socrates claims that death is when the soul separates from the body entirely. The soul, at that point, will no longer have bodily distractions and will be able to have pure understanding of the universe. Empiricism is the view (opposite of what Plato/Socrates believes in) that all knowledge begins with the senses’ experiences. Political philosopher, John Locke, believed in this view and believed that we are all born blank slates and we learn from trial and error (like learning that fire is hot). This view considers intellect/mind to be secondary and only known through sensation. The various arguments that Socrates gives for the afterlife of the soul: 1) The Cyclical Argument: Nature has cycles (old from young, tall from short, hot from cold, big from small), seasons come in cycles. True? Of course. “That in which comes to be, comes to be from its opposite” such as dark/light or heavy/light. It follows, that death (being a natural thing) also has cycles like life/death. If you die, you must have first been alive. Living should come from the dead if that statement is true. This would look a lot like reincarnation or recycling of the soul. *Criticisms given – somethings may work like this but that doesn’t mean that all things do. Being large/small is a lot different than life/death. And, maybe your soul is tired…what if this is your last reincarnation or your last soul? 2) The Theory of Recollection Argument: The gain of knowledge shows that we have “innate ideas” (this view is opposite of the Empiricism view). We have preexisted knowledge from before we are even born – certain aspects of this knowledge could not have been created by sensations and we are not born a blank slate. Knowledge is triggers of memories by the sensations (of stuff you already knew) and so, the soul must have existed before the body and will go on after death. The soul would not be dependent on the body for existence since it has existed without the body before. Page 11 of 22 Socrates believes that a good teacher is determined by being able to bring forth and recollect unconscious knowledge to the consciousness by stimulating the senses. *Criticisms given – maybe this will be the time that the soul will die with the body. 3) The Theory of the Forms (most famous argument): There are many forms: like beauty, equality, things much greater than these examples, are essences (innate ideas). There are infinite numbers of forms and we have these ideas before birth. You can see a beautiful painting or a beautiful tree but no example can be identical to beauty, itself. Beauty is an abstract concept and it is distinct from its examples. The concept is not the same as its examples because it is a form. Examples can be destroyed because they aren’t eternal but you cannot destroy the form itself. Take the form of trees, for example. There are tons of examples of trees but they are all considered to be a tree – the essence of a tree is not its physical example of what you see with your eyes (sensation). PARTICULARS FORMS Physical Metaphysical Changes Unchanging Mortal Eternal/Everlasting Imperfect Perfect Known by Sensation Known by Intellect/Mind/Soul/Reason *Criticisms given – the soul is not a form. 4) The Affinity Argument: Affinity is related to kindship or kindness. Socrates claims to know there are forms…to know something is in the same way to be like that thing (in some way). If you are touching something then you, for that moment, are physically a part of it. It enters your mind and it is a part of you. Socrates says he knows that there are forms, the essence/ideas of things enter his mind and become a part of him, and therefore part of him has to be like the forms in some sort of way. To understand and grasp eternal things means that something within you must also be eternal. *Criticisms given – equality and beauty doesn’t exist outside of my mind. The idea of equality and beauty is different for everyone. Page 12 of 22 THE ALLEGORY OF THE CAVE AND THE SUN VIDEO The animated video we watched in class can be viewed, on YouTube, at this URL: The Allegory was originally written in Plato’s Republic (about political philosophy) and was on Stephanus page 514a-519b. The form of the Good (the essence of the sun is the Good). The Good cannot be explained or defined by Socrates so he tries to explain by example/story/metaphor/allegory. SUMMARY: The only truth of what the prisoners know is the shadows. The shadows are not particulars – they do not have a voice nor are they in their physical form. One prisoner gets released and gets to see the objects, themselves, in their physical form. He then sees the sun, outside, and contemplates it. The sun gives life and causes all in which is on earth. They prisoners in the cave think that they know all there is to know. They say that the released one ruined his eyesight because he can no longer make out the shadows that he once was able to see in the cave. Everyone’s truths/experiences are different – it is perception of realities that causes this difference in perspectives. The philosopher teacher in the video enlightens the released prisoner and depicts Socrates. The Message: The cave represents particulars (the only things that exist are physical). The outside represents forms (essences and knowledge within the intellect). The Sun: 1) gives life and energy to all on earth 2) makes the world visible 3) is the greatest/brightest in our universe – can be so powerful that it is dangerous The Good (just like the sun): 1) gives being to the forms 2) enables the mind to grasp/understand the forms 3) it is the ultimate thing to think about and can blow your mind if you think about it too long Socrates: humans are special because they can kind of grasp the forms and they have intellect The Hierarchy of Being: 1) The Good 2) Forms 3) The Soul 4) Animals 5) Plants 6) Nothingness The Good is perfection itself – the bad is lack of anything at all. What’s the essence of essenceness? It’s the form of Being. The Good is the source of all forms. Page 13 of 22 St. Thomas Aquinas Is it rational to believe in God? What is faith? The 5 Ways to Validate God’s Existence Arguments: 1) Motion – There has to be an original cause of motion. There has to be an unmoved mover (not physical/bodily). STEPS: a) Things move – it can be seen b) Nothing can make itself move c) There cannot be actuality and potentiality at the same time d) There cannot be an infinite regress (there would be no origin, something had to begin) God has to be the original source that is always in act. *Criticisms given – Why does it have to follow that God is the source? Can things not move on their own somehow? Can this theory just be assumed? Certain things are absurd (impossible). Circular Argument: we start assuming the very thing they were trying to convince us of. 2) Cause & Effect – There has to be a first/original causation source. There has to be an uncaused cause. STEPS: a) Things cause other things to happen – it can be seen b) Nothing can cause itself – it would have to be prior to itself (that is impossible) you would have to exist before you exist in order to cause your existence. *Criticisms given – How do you know that there is no infinite regress? 3) Necessity – There has to be a being that is necessary to the universe. STEPS: a) It is by luck that objects exists, they are not necessary to the universes’ existence. If something is merely possible, it will eventually stop being. Eternal being is necessary and there has to be, at least, one necessary thing. *Criticisms given – If everything is possible (nothing is necessary) won’t/could there have always been possible? Why are there possible beings, at all? Luck? 4) Perfect Being – The Good has to have a measurement so the perfect being must serve as a model for the Good. STEPS: a) The model of perfection/standard that is absolute must exist. Page 14 of 22 *Criticisms given – To say things are better than something else, is that only true when I consider the standard it is compared to? 5) From Design – The world is intelligently designed (The Argument From Design) so there has to be some sort of designer. STEPS: a) World run/managed b) Things lack intelligence to act for the best end result c) Argument from design or teleological (acting for a purpose) argument parallels this one *Criticisms given – What if this is all accidental? Is there some other way to explain design without there being an intelligent puppet master? Page 15 of 22 DECARTES MEDITATIONS ON FIRST PHILOSOPHY MEDITATION ONE Goal in this meditation: to prove God’s existence. “Meditation” means to think hard/carefully “Dualism” means to distinct body from soul (belief that there are 2 different substances that make a human being and that is the body and the soul). What can a human being know for certain? The existence of God and the distinctions between the soul and the body will be demonstrated: MEDITATION ONE (brings all arguments out to the open): Concerning those things that can be called into doubt The Quest for Certainty: Decartes wants to know what he really knows for absolute certain. He engages in doubt (plays the devil’s advocate) to argue against all arguments presented. Some things are considered indubitable (not subject to doubt, at all). He claims to know for certain that there is a good. Probable knowledge: based on another belief Certainty knowledge: beliefs we know for absolute certainty (all probable beliefs with no certainty would mean there is no base or foundation for that belief) What are the arguments for doubt?  Argument: It is impossible to question the reliability of the source of every belief someone has Response: If the source is dubitable then so are all beliefs from the source (doesn’t have to question each belief but just the one source).  Argument: Maybe we know how probable things are and not certainty Response: Whatever I know for certain will be the foundation and base for all that I know. “Knowledge is like a structure. If you have a strong and solid foundation then everything else will be secure” (demolish all false beliefs).  Argument: The source of my beliefs seems to be based on my senses/experience (empiricism belief) Response: Certain things do not come from sensation. Sometimes senses will deceive you and play tricks. Page 16 of 22 Foundationalism – the view that knowledge and science is like a structure that needs a solid and certain foundation. There has to be something we know for absolute certainty. Calling forth all arguments that call into question his beliefs: 1) The Argument From Illusion a. All beliefs come from sense b. Senses deceive me sometimes c. Conclusion: therefore all beliefs are dubitable 2) The Argument From Insanity a. There are insane people who have wildly false beliefs about large and present matters b. Perhaps I am insane c. Therefore all my beliefs are dubitable 3) Argument From Dreams a. In the past, I have dreamt and been deceived about large and present matters b. There is no clear distinction between dreams and wakeful experiences c. Therefore all my beliefs about large and present matters are dubitable 4) Argument From God a. It’s possible there is a powerful being (God) who has deceived me into believing all sorts of things (like math and simple/universal things like space/time) that are false b. I have no way of ruling out that possibility but surely God wouldn’t deceive me c. All my beliefs are dubitable (including once indubitable ones) 5) Argument From Error a. I’ve made mathematical errors in the past b. Therefore, the next time I may make a mistake and that will call into doubt my mathematical beliefs again 6) Argument From Evil Genius (same argument as the Argument From God) a. Like God in power but he is deceptive b. Nothing is really extended c. I can’t know for sure that there is no evil genius “Extension” meaning takes up space “Skepticism” – the view that we cannot know anything (Decartes does not have this view) Conclusion – I really don’t know anything. All my beliefs are subject to doubt. Page 17 of 22 MEDITATION TWO MEDITATION TWO concerning the nature of the human mind: that is better known than the body Maybe the only thing I know is that I know nothing. However, there is one thing I am sure of: I know for certain that I exist (“I think, therefore I am” –Decartes). I know that I am thinking, I have to exist in order to be deceived. However, you do not know what you are and you, yourself, are still dubitable. This is a “self-evident” truth meaning it is a truth that is evidence in within itself. “Introspection”: consciousness awareness one is certain of Introspection of 3 distinct powers (that you have, for sure) 1) Sensations (experience) 2) Imagination (imitate sensations) 3) Intellect (understand concepts and to know certain truths) – such as the idea of God and a chiliagon (a 1000 sided figure) Decartes: God is defined as an infinite perfect being. You can’t imagine God so your intellect must be working to grasp the concept. Understand the difference between “empiricism” vs. “rationalism”. Decartes is considered to be a rationalist (reason is above all else) – he believes that by using introspection he can know certain things about the universe. The Wax Argument: in order to understand the nature of the wax (an ordinary object), you must have intellect. You will not be able to grasp the concept of wax using sensation, alone, because one property of wax is flexibility and squishiness. What is the product of flexibility? It can be shaped and molded into an infinite number of shapes – that is a concept you have to understand. Sensation and imagination cannot allow you to see the infinite number of shapes or textures. Intellect and understanding is required. Page 18 of 22 MEDITATION THREE Based on cause and effect, Decartes can know that God exists and, in some way, he understands that he is dependent on that being. Modern philosophers do not think that this is a good argument. Decartes strategy: I know that I have a mind and I have this idea of God (this is a true fact) – “I am thinking of an infinite perfect being”. The only possible cause or source must be God himself. The skeptic would say: the source could be something else besides God. “Potent” – powerful “Omnipotent” – all powerful “Finite” – limited So what is an infinite perfection? Wouldn’t the idea be different for each individual? This infinite perfection would have to be eternal (infinite) for everyone. The power/ability of this perfection must be perfect (it must be able to create other beings). This perfection must be able to understand and know everything and humans can grasp all of these requirements. How can they understand and obtain this idea? What was the source? Well, we should be able to distinguish different degrees of reality/truth/being. There is a scale of reality with God at the top and nothingness at the bottom. The closer you are to God on this scale of reality, the more real you are. Some ideas are higher or lower than others – mortality (subject to death) would be somewhere on the middle of the scale and a rock with no brain would be pretty low on the scale but above nothingness. “Objective reality” are the ideas you have in your mind, another way of saying that would be “mental reality”. “Formal reality” is when an idea exists but it is really on the outside of your mind. What does it mean for one thing to cause another? How is that possible? Casual Thesis #1: if x is caused by y then x must have, at least, as much formal reality as y has (x must have enough juice to generate y). Casual Thesis #2: given an idea of y which has a certain degree of objective (mental) reality, the casual origin (which is x) of y must contain at least as much formal reality as y objectively has (this has to be God himself). Any idea you have must have come from something that is real within reality – any idea in the mind must have a cause. Mermaids, for example, would be multiple real things that have come together in your mind to create an entirely new idea that you have never really seen in reality. Therefore, the idea of a perfect being must have come from the real thing in reality – God. The skeptic would say that maybe you conducted the idea of God by knowing other infinite things. “I am going to magnify the finite and then negate the finite (subject to death) thinks and then I’m going to think of something opposite – something not finite…something infinite. Or, perhaps you got the idea of God from others – but what would the casual origin be? Hmmmm. Page 19 of 22 MEDITATION FOUR This meditation is an objection to the belief in God. How or why would a perfect being create me as a flawed being? The Problem of Evil Argument – if the world is created by something perfect then why do we have evil in the world? This has been an age-old problem. What is evil? Well, it’s suffrage. There is a difference between natural evils and moral evils but the world has both. Well, perhaps I can avoid errors by using a method? Decartes is not interested in ethics – Socrates was the one interested in virtue, justice, and ethics. “Fallible” – subject to error “Infallible” – not subject to error Flaws: You don’t know everything – you are finite (limited). However, this is not a flaw to God. He could either create something finite or nothing at all. God cannot create someone exactly like him. Why is God allowing me to have false beliefs or errors? Well, you have a will (to do things or not do things – this is on your own). You have the choice to voluntarily affirm or deny. Your intellect, when used right, will never make a mistake. The will runs ahead of intellect and makes mistakes. Just because you are limited, does not mean you are flawed (God had to create finite beings). Why did He create me with free will so that I could act recklessly? Decartes doesn’t really give an answer to this flaw. God has a master plan and everything makes sense to Him so you shouldn’t worry too much about this flaw. The method to use in order to try and avoid error: take your time and think carefully about things. Do not let your free will affirm things without letting your intellect have time to consider it. Page 20 of 22 MEDITATION FIVE This is another argument for God’s existence. “Ontological” – thinking about/considering what kinds/ reasoning about a certain being. The Ontological Argument For God’s Existence: Think about the nature of being and being able to think about God means that he must exist (but this is not the cause of that idea – that was explain in Meditation 3). The argument is: I’m thinking about the idea of God and in my idea I’m thinking of perfection. So, it has to be true that a perfect being must have all good qualities and in the best possible way. What properties are good to have? Using introspection we can figure out that some of those properties would include: eternal, powerful, knowledgeable, and good. “I understand his essence so he must exist”. Think about it, God’s existence is necessary and it is better (quality wise) to exist than to not exist. When I think of God, I must think of Him in existence – that very thought proves His existence, otherwise, the thought wouldn’t be perfect or even exist. “Possible existence” versus “necessary existence”. *Critiques given: most philosophers reject this argument that Decartes has given – they think it is a sneaky trick. Many think it is pseudoscience, a loophole, a circular argument, and it doesn’t really allow critique because it seems impossible to flaw and it seems overgeneralized. **Gaunito’s Objection: If you can say that you can prove God’s existence in that way then you can prove all kinds of weird things like perfect islands (with perfect qualities). Existence is a perfect quality so it must exist (if it is not perfect then it cannot exist). What about a perfect basketball player? Why can’t I apply this argument to things we can actually attempt to prove? This argument must be able to be applied to other things. **Anselm’s Objection to Gaunito’s Objection: The idea of God and an island are two completely different things. The idea of a perfect island is already absurd. It cannot be fun and relaxing. It cannot have every single quality as some qualities contradict each other. By definition, if it is not God then it will fail to have all possible qualities (because the essence of God, by definition, contains existence). A perfect island is not considered “necessary existence”. It is subject to nonexistence and it is destructible. **Aquina’s Objection to Anselm’s Objection: Existence is a part of God’s definition but God’s existence is hidden from the intellect. We cannot prove his existence from his essence. **Kant’s Objection: “Existence is not a property”, God may exist but when you think of the idea of God, you shouldn’t include existence as a property because it is not a property. Page 21 of 22 MEDITATION SIX Decartes wants to show the distinction between mind & body. He proposes, in the end, that the senses are reliable to a certain extent to things that are probable. The argument: Premised on what he believes he has established (about God being real). Whatever exists in the world must come from God. “A Natural Instinct” – natural tendency/urges that are constant. Natural instincts are part of you. I naturally believe what my senses tell me and if I have a reason for doubting my sense, it is my fault because I must have used my intellect incorrectly. Could it be that there is some reason that God created me with a natural instinct that is wrong all the time? Not likely but it cannot be ruled out. There may be a reason behind it. I cannot get certainty from senses but I can get probability. God is not a deceiver not an evil genius. Both Decartes and Socrates believe that the mind and soul is distinct from the body but Decartes believes the mind is awareness and the intellect is important but other things play a factor too whereas Socrates believes the intellect is the mind and soul. Socrates does not think the mind dies after the body does but Decartes states it could happen (though he doesn’t give and argument for it). Decartes: The mind and body are distinct (they exist independent of each other). Most would believe that the mind depends on the body and many believe that the mind must have brain activity. This is considered to be the Mind-Brain Identity Hypothesis. The argument for this hypothesis: if the essence (definition) of x is different or distinct from the essence of y then x and y are “really distinct” (and so x can exist apart from y). This is the mind/body dualism view that was previously mentioned. What is the essence of the body? Extension. It takes up space. What is the essence of the mind? Consciousness, awareness, and thinking. Unanswerable questions: what color is my mind? What shape is my mind? Mind/Body interactionism: one can trigger activity or events within the other. The definition of the mind and the body are two different things so they can exist without each other. Criticism: Logical dependency and casual dependency: logical has to do with logically different things like air and humans. Logically humans are dependent on air (not vice versa). The body and the mind are logically different but the mind is dependent on the body (not vice versa). Page 22 of 22 PASCAL’S WAGER Pascal’s Overview: There’s no way to prove or disprove God’s existence. I don’t believe any other arguments. Use the question of God as a decision in your life. Should you live your life and be a believer? The strategy: you have more to gain than to lose by being a believer. This is a pragmatic arguments opposed to a cognitive one. If you are forced to have this decision but you refuse to decide then you are considered atheist. So would you have more to gain by being atheist or Christian? The only way you can make this choice is by weighing what you could gain or lose. The Wager: You have everything to gain and nothing to lose [theory]. Matrix model of the wager: God Exists God Doesn’t Exist Believe YOU HIT JACKPOT YOU LOSE NOTHING No Belief YOU M ISS OUT YOU LOSE NOTHING Imagined Objection: maybe there’s a great cost with no benefit. Maybe you can live your life and not waste time in Church. (The idea of hell is not considered.) Response: The jackpot is infinite but if you live your life now and disregard the afterlife – you may get some finite values but no jackpot. The proper way to make your decision is to multiply the benefit (or no benefit) and compare the expected value. You should always pick the one with the higher expected value. If you have 1/6 chance to get $10 versus a 1/52 chance to get $1000 then you should risk it all and go for the $1000 jackpot. Always go for the higher value. Go for the jackpot in the afterlife. Believe in God so you have a better chance at hitting that jackpot. (Something to consider: can you make yourself into a believer? This seems to be manufacturing a belief that is not honestly believed in. You shouldn’t believe for the self-interest of rewards, should you?) Back to the idea of Cognitive arguments and Pragmatic ones: a cognitive argument is giving reasons why you should believe in something because it is likely to be true (most arguments are like this) – you should believe because you have been given evidence to believe in it. A pragmatic argument is a practical argument that is rational to believe (in something) because there is a value to do so – you should believe because it is better for you to. Quote to remember Pascal’s Wager: “If I “Hedonism” – life is all about pleasure believe in God and he doesn’t exist, I’ve wasted my life. But if you don’t believe in God “Contingent Being” – dependent but not necessary and he does exist then you’ve wasted your eternity”.


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