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PHI 205 Test 2 Study Guide

by: Shelsey Hall

PHI 205 Test 2 Study Guide PHI 205

Shelsey Hall

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study guide for introduction to philosophy
Introduction to Philosophy
Andrew Lee McFarland
Study Guide
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This 6 page Study Guide was uploaded by Shelsey Hall on Saturday February 27, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to PHI 205 at North Carolina State University taught by Andrew Lee McFarland in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 92 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Philosophy in PHIL-Philosophy at North Carolina State University.


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Date Created: 02/27/16
Descartes’ Meditation on 1st Philosophy Rene Descartes: born 1596 in La Haye en Touraine, France (now named  Descartes); inventor of the cartesian coordinate system, Clark (2006)  recounts 3 dreams Descartes was said to have on 11/11/1619 which inspired  him to reform knowledge Continental Rationalism: emphasizes a reliance on the faculty of reason to  acquire knowledge; includes Rene Descartes, Baruch Spinoza and Gottfried  Leibniz; school of thought in late 17th century/early 18th  Empiricism: traces all knowledge to sensory experience; includes John  Locke (came up with tabula rosa), George Berkeley, and David Hume  Descartes’ Philosophical Project Motivations: 1. Impressed by the developments of the mathematics of his  time, Descartes wanted to bring to philosophy the same degree of rigor 2. In  axiomatic mathematics, ex. Euclidean Geometry, we begin with a series  intuitively obvious principles and derive more interesting theorems from  those principles 3. Motivated by the recognition that beliefs derived from  sense experience prone to error (like a home with a bad foundation the  integrity is compromised) 4. Wants to put all knowledge on secure  epistemic foundation  The Method of Doubt ( How do we put all of our beliefs on a secure  foundation? If a belief ‘p’ can doubted, then withhold assent ‘p.’) Problem: we have a lot of beliefs so it would impossible to go through all of  them Shortcut: withhold assent from a belief if it can be doubted at all Descartes: “Fool me one, can’t fool me again” Three skeptical scenarios: 1. Sense Deception: (ex. optical illusions, seeing someone look small  from far away, miracle fruit, cold hand in room T water)­­ suppose  our senses systematically deceiving us 2. The Dream Scenario: how do we distinguish dreams from reality  without the possibility of doubt? 3. The Evil Demon Scenario: there is no God with all truth but instead  an evil demon who works hard to deceive us What if we suppose these scenarios are true? 1. “I will say that external  things are just dreamed illusions which the demon uses to ensure my  judgment” 2. “will I be deceived when counting the sides of a square or  something simpler?” Skepticism: “What then is true? Perhaps only that nothing is certain”  ­Descartes Cogito, ergo sum: I think, therefore I am (I am, I exist) ← Descartes’  foundation Descartes’ cogito: “I have convinced myself that there is nothing in the  world no sky, no earth, no minds, no bodies. Doesn’t it follow that I don’t  exist? No, surely, I exist if it’s me who is convinced of something.” ­In each skeptical scenario, there is something that is either a) sensing b)  dreaming c) being deceived ← all count as thinking ­If there is a great deceiver, “then surely I exist, since I am deceived. I  finally conclude that the statement “I am, I exist” must be true whenever I  state or mentally consider it.” What does the    refer to?­ According to Descartes, the “I” that exists is not a physical thing with a body. Rather, the “I” is essentially a thing that  thinks­ something that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, wills, refuses,  and also imagines and senses *physical attributes we normally apply to ourselves according to Descartes  are not essential to us. We are fundamentally, essentially, thinking  substances Essential property: a property something must possess and if it fails to  possess that thing that it is no longer that thing (ex. taking away or adding a  side to a triangle will make it no longer a triangle [3 sides], a dog must be a  [mammal], [H2O] is water) Accidental property:  a property something actually has, but might not have  had (ex. a dog being [brown], the class meeting in [Daniels], [round] piece  of clay) ­Wax Example: it begins as white/hard/cold/round then we heat it up and it’s a yellow/hot/liquid, but we still know it to be the same wax­ “we must say  that it is the same wax­ no one denies it or thinks otherwise, then what was  there in the wax that was so distinctly comprehended? Certainly nothing that I reached with the senses” ­we didn’t arrive at this conclusion through sensory perception­ all the distinguishing characteristics changed→ we comprehended it with only our  minds → even physical objects we thought we grasped through our senses,  we really comprehend them through our minds Meditation 3: Descartes’ Dependency Argument: says that our having the  idea of God depends on God’s existence to explain why we have it “I am certain that, even if I do not imagine or sense anything outside me…  thought(s) that I call sensations and mental images exist in me” ­ but how do we recover the beliefs in external objects Ideas in our minds correspond to external objects *It is only when we make this sort of leap that we can right or wrong­  Descartes calls these thoughts judgments So where do our minds come from? Many ideas come from ourselves­ wants, desires all seem to come from us What about ideas about external objects? ­We can’t assume they come from things external to us! Even if they  came from things outside of us, it doesn’t follow that our ideas outside, it  doesn’t follow that our ideas resemble the things that caused them What about the idea of God? Most of our ideas we can say cme from us, but what about the idea of God 1st: it looks like we possess the idea of God (an infinite substance,  independent supremely intelligent, infinitely powerful, infinitely good ­  Descartes’ Idea) Reality Principle: the degree of reality in a cause must be at least as great as  the degree of reality in its effect (Descartes thinks that this principle is  known clearly and distinctly by “the light of nature”) (ex. Our mother having the mere idea of us is not enough) So where did the idea of God come from? 1. Not: Descartes, other people, or partial causes (putting partial ideas  together like a unicorn can be thought of because we know a horse  and a horn) because these are all ruled out but the Reality Principle 2. God himself Summary of the Argument that we have an idea of God 1. We possess the idea of God, which is the idea of an infinitely perfect,  being, or a being with infinite reality (premise) 2. The degree of reality in a cause must be at least as great as the degree  of reality in its effect (the RP) 3. The idea of God could not have come from any source other than God himself 4. Therefore­ God exists. Ontological Argument­  1. the idea of God by definition is an essentially infinitely perfect being 2. Existence is perfection 3. Thus, God exists (ex. real money is better than the money just in your imagination) So how do we recover our beliefs about the existence of external objects? 1. We do have sensations and it at least seems like these are caused by  external physical objects (premise) 2. God is not a deceiver (since he is infinitely perfect) 3. “There would be no way to avoid the conclusion that God deceives  me if the ideas were sent to me by anything other than physical  objects 4. Therefore­ physical objects exist Descartes’ Dualism (there are two kinds of radically different substances­  mental [Descartes is essentially a thing, mental substance because he thinks] and physical [chair, table, our body because they are spatially extended]  *Leibniz’s Law: if x and y are identical then they share all the same  properties Argument for Mind­Body Dualism also called The Conceivability Argument (mind and body are completely distinct) 1. If mind and body were identical, then they would share all the same  characteristics (premise) 2. Mind is essentially mental (it was impossible to conceive ourselves as  existing without thinking) 3. Body is physical not mental (we can conceive ourselves as existing  without our bodies) 4. Thus­ mind and body have different characteristics. 5. So­ mind and body are numerically distinct. Mind interacts with body (when we feel hunger we go get food) Body interacts with mind (when we stub our toe we feel pain) *Consequence: Dualism entails that we are not identical with our bodies So for Descartes, the question of personal identity is detailed in terms of  being essentially mental substances The Mind­Body Problem: Intro to Philosophy of Mind Afterimages: (ex. stare at a light then close your eye → What do you see?  You should see an afterimage. But where is it located? What’s the relationship between mind and body? Naturalism: the only properties, states, entities, and events that exist are  natural properties; in particular naturalism embraces the idea that the answer  to the mind­body problem can be understood in terms of the fundamental  theories of the natural sciences Non­naturalism: denies naturalism, in particular it invokes non­natural, or  supernatural properties, states, entities, events, etc. (ex. Cartesian Dualism  aka  Descartes’ principle falls under this school of thought) Compare: 1.  If x=y then they share the same properties 2. Mark Twain is  such that Allison believes of him that he wrote Huck Finn 3. Samuel  Clemens is such that Allison believes of him that he did not write Huck Finn 4. Thus, MT and SC are distinct because they do not share all the same  characteristics 5. But MT = SC The Problem with Mental Causation (ex. stub toe → feel pain; feel hunger → eat food) Physicalists Alternatives Behaviorism: a psychological view focusing on the study of behavior, a  science of the mind should be understood in terms of behavioral observables like stimuli, conditioning, responses, and behavioral dispositions (includes  B.F. Skinner and Gilbert Ryle) Logical Behaviorism and Translation Strategies Dispositional Properties→  ex. Fragility (under the right sort of conditions it  will break) or Solubility (under… it will dissolve) or Flammability  ( will catch fire) 1. Consider a sentence with mental terms ex. Mark believes that it is  raining 2. Translate those mental terms into dispositional behavior expressions  ex. Mark is disposed to grab his umbrella, wear rain boots and wear a  raincoat when he goes out Problems: 1. Leaves out along→ our behaviors may fit certain stimulus  response laws, but they also make sense. Taking an umbrella with me when  it’s raining is rational, so does pain equal pain behavior? 2. Doesn’t explain  novel behavior (ex. eating ice cream when you are sad) → Chomsky point  out that we are unable to understand and to generate a possible infinite  number of new sentences 3. Translations look difficult → it looks like there  is a lot of behavior we could associate with thing like a belief that it’s  raining→ what particular and unique behaviors could be consistently  identified with the sight of green or the taste of spaghetti? The Mind­Body Problem: Identity Theory and Functionalism Identity theory: mental states are identical (one and the same) with brain  states ex. pain is a complex neurophysiological state involving damage to c­fibers;  the belief that is it raining is a complex physiological state But there is an ambiguity (lack of distinct meaning) with identity Consider: A rose is rose. (5 tokens or words, but 3 types of words) Type Identity Theory: for every mental state type (pain, belief, desire) is  identical with some physical state type; says that mental state types will turn  out to be nothing more than physical state types (for every mental x there  is a physical y) ex. Water is just H2O. Lightning is just electrostatic discharge Token Identity Theory:every mental state token will be identical with some  physical state token, but that physical state token need not be of a particular  state; allows for Multiple Realization (ex. think of a music album, the tokens will all be the same whether the platform or physical token is a CD or  Itunes) (for every mental x there are multiple physical y’s aka Multiple  Realizations) *Type is stronger than Token because it imposes further restricting. If Type  is true it is true for every token, but not vice versa. Machine Functionalism Functionalism: the view that what defines a mental state type is that state’s  causal or ‘functional’ role, namely the causal relations it bears to bodily  input, other types of mental states, and behavioral output (how we define  something is what it causes to happen) to illustrate.. what makes a state ‘pain’ is → typically results from things like bodily stress, causes other mental states like misery, causes swearing,  crying, screaming In other words, “any system can be in pain or believe that is raining as long  as it can be in states with proper sort of causes and effects


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