PHILOLecture1 PHI 001
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Elizabeth Kaur on Sunday January 31, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHI 001 at University of California - Davis taught by George Mattey in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 11 views. For similar materials see Intro to Philosophy in PHIL-Philosophy at University of California - Davis.
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Date Created: 01/31/16
Lecture 1 Philosophy - Day 1 - Tuesday, January 5 First paper due: February 2 About 5 pages Second paper due: March 1 About 5 pages Final examination: March 19, 10:30AM - 12:30 PM 40% on Ethics 60% on Metaphysics and Epistemology hume.ucdavis.edu/mattey/phi001/index.html Online readings will be linked on this website Office hours: Tuesdays 1 - 2; Fridays 1 - 3 2298 Social Science and Humanities Building Course will be divided into two parts 1. Ethics and Politics, beginning with Socrates and ending with Jean-Paul Sartre, who has to do with existentialism 2. Historically important philosophical accounts of knowledge and reality, beginning with Plato and ending with Bertrand Russell Grade Breakdown Final Exam 30% Papers (2) 50% Ten Weekly Quizzes 10% Discussion Participation 10% Am I just my body? If I am only my body, when my body goes, then I’m going too. Some philo’s will say yes, and some will say no. The mind is independent of the body. What is Philosophy? • One of the most commonly asked questions about philosophy is “what is it?” • There are several ways to answer the question. – Thematic: Philosophy treats certain subject-matters. It is about how human beings should behave. Or what they should know. Or what reality exists in. There are a lot of themes. What is art? What is beauty? – Methodological: Philosophy uses certain methods. What are the methods that philo’s use to get the results that the want? – Descriptive: Philosophy is what people do in their capacity as “philosophers.” Aprofessional title that is given to people. What is philosophy? Well it’s whatever philosophers do. • “Philosophers” have treated many subject-matters using many methods. Arm chair philosophy: Rene Descarte Experimental philosophy - to go see what people think Socrates did philo in the market pace. He engaged in dialogue with various people. • There is much disagreement among “philosophers” about whether specific subject matters and methods are “legitimate.” “Hallucinogens are the kind of drugs that reveal reality”Aldous Huxley “Is Huxley a philosopher?” The Subjects of Philosophy •Among the areas generally recognized as subjects of philosophical investigation are the following: – Metaphysics: the general nature of reality. how reality is – Epistemology: the nature of knowledge. about knowledge comes from greek word episteme, which means knowledge – Ethics: the values of human action. – Aesthetics: the nature of art or beauty. – Logic: the correct forms of inference and “logical truths.” very central area of philosophy about inference or drawing conclusions or giving arguments and seeing which ones are good or not so good “something cannot be and not be at the same time” - some might say that’s a truth of logic – Philosophy of x (x = science, mind, language, etc.) philosophy of x = race – History of philosophy: a specialized study of what the great philosophers of the past have said and what they mean The Methods of Philosophy •Among the activities widely used by philosophers are these (with an example following each): – Analyzing language or concepts (what does ‘good’mean? what is goodness?) analysis, conceptual analysis, linguistic analysis “what does good mean? when i say someone is good? what does that mean? what is the concept of goodness?” – Giving an account of mental activity (how do we reason?) how our minds work. what happens when we reason? how do we process information that we get? – Theorizing about what is beyond experience (does God exist?) what lies beyond experience? can a philosopher provide us with proof that god exists or does not exist or does that rest in the realm of religion? – Theorizing at a high level of generality (what is a thing?) “this is a water bottle” “what is a water bottle” “it’s an artifact” “something we make for a certain purpose” “well, what’s an artifact” “something made by a human being” “well what do human beings make” “well, what is a thing” – Posing and trying to solve puzzles (is it wrong to kill in order to save a life?) trolley problem: trolley is going down a hill and it’s going to kill 5 people. but you can pull a lever and switch it to another track where it would only kill 1 person. what happens – Defending claims about how philosophy should be done (historically? ahistorically?) historically - would stay with tradition, won’t be in on what’s hot in philosophy ahistorically - would lose the values of traditional thoughts Philosophical Theories •Although a number of methods have been employed by philosophers, there a common framework for most philosophizing. • Philosophy is pursued through the use of language, both oral and written. The primary unit of language for philosophers is the declarative sentence. • “don’t do that!” imperative “it’s wrong to do that” declarative • Using declarative sentences, philosophers express philosophical theses. – The universe has a beginning in time. – There is a world external to my own mind. – It is wrong to harm others. • Aset of inter-related philosophical theses is a philosophical theory. Defending Philosophical Theses • Philosophical theses are advanced by philosophers in books, papers, blogs, oral discussions, etc. Socrates only talked; oral Others write papers, diaries, blogs, etc. • In general, philosophers attempt to provide support for their theses. They want to give reason that the thesis is true. Defending a thesis by means of a philosophical argument. • Support is intended to produce agreement concerning the truth of the thesis. • The most common way of providing support is by producing an argument in defense of the thesis. •Alternatively, a philosopher may advance a thesis as needing no support from an argument because it is: – Self-evident – Common-sensical – Intuitive Arguments •An argument consists of a set of sentences designated as its premises and a single sentence designated as its conclusion. Consists of declarative sentences Conclusions of the argument is the thesis Premises are supposed to provide support • Here is an example of an argument. 1. The breaking up of ice caps is an event taking place in time. The first premise is empirically verifiable on the basis of scientific measurement. 2. Every event taking place in time has a cause. But the second premise is a philosophical thesis that requires some kind of philosophical defense. 3. Therefore, the breaking up of the polar ice caps has a cause. EvaluatingArguments • We may evaluate arguments in one of two ways. – Materially, with respect to whether the premises are true. true/not true (pretty basic evaluation) – Formally, with respect to whether the premises really support the conclusion. is there really a relation of support • Logic evaluates the formal aspect of arguments. • Premises may formally support conclusions to a greater or lesser extent. –An argument is deductively valid when it is impossible for the premises to be true and the conclusion false. if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. logic systematizes what makes a deductively valid argument. – Deductively invalid arguments, such as those used in science, may provide very strong support. the support provide is weaker than what deductively valid arguments need a statistical correlation is not as strong as a mechanism • Similarly, the premises themselves may be impossible to deny, impossible to accept, or have any degree of plausibility in between. some premises are such that you just can’t deny them other premises are such that it is impossible to accept them “I'm here right now but I'm also in my office right now” Empirical Premises and Theses • Empirical premises and theses concern features of experience. appeal to experience • The first premise in the argument above, that the ice caps are melting, is such a premise. • Empirical premises and theses may be defended by appeal to such evidence as: – Personal experience “It rained last night. I saw all the puddles.” – Testimony of others “I heard that someone got arrested for drunk driving in his golf cart” –Authority of experts “95% of climate scientists agree that climate change is happening” “why should we believe them” “well they’re experts” – Other kinds of empirical evidence. Non-Philosophical Defenses • In general, philosophy demands that what is used to defend theses should be in some way reasonable. premises have to be reasonable reasonable, meaning appeal to reason • Some non-philosophical ways of supporting premises are by appealing to: – Faith appeal to faith is not philosophical – Inspiration – Strong conviction “I really believe it” - not a good philosophical premise • Such appeals can be characterized as being dogmatic. Defeating Premises and Theses • General premises and theses, of the kind found in philosophical arguments, can be attacked in a specific way. - arguments in the form of statistics - arguments in the form of analogies • One may produce a counter-example, which is a case which is held to be true but which conflicts with the general statement. you think that there is conflict b/w a case and a philosophical thesis In philosophy, you don’t really do experiments in the real world. You do thought experiments. Should we give up the theory or the thesis or the premise. Or should we keep it and try some other way to neutralize the counterexample? • Consider the following: – Every case of true belief is a case of knowledge. •As Plato pointed out in his dialogue Theaetetus, one can have a true belief that is not knowledge. –Ajury might be convinced of the true guilt of a defendant, on the basis of hearsay evidence, by a persuasive lawyer. Why is he guilty? Because of testimony. But the jury is not an eye-witness. • Much of the activity of philosophers consists in advancing counter-examples to general philosophical theses and then trying to provide improved general theses that are not subject to counter-example. Counterexamples help strengthen hypothesis. Helps narrow it down. Every case of true belief is a case of knowledge. <- Your belief must be justified. Whatever or whoever is justifying your belief must be a reliable source. Philosophy - Day 2 - Thursday, January 7 Lecture 1 - Continued Skepticism • Philosophical skeptics hold that philosophical theses cannot be reasonably defended. • Some hold that because of their great generality, philosophical theses cannot be defended by appeal to experience. “These theses are so broad, general, vague that there is no way to defend them actually” • They go on to question whether there can be any other reasonable basis for defending the theses. “Well, intuition. I have the intuition that this thesis is correct.” Skeptic: “Well others have the intuition that it is not correct.” • Other skeptics emphasize the prevalence of disagreement over the truth of philosophical theses and claim that no argument is capable of settling such disagreement. prevalence of disagreements The History of Western Philosophy • The history of Western Philosophy can be broken down roughly into several phases: – Hellenic (6th-4th cent. BC) greek, or part of greek empire – Hellenistic (3rd cent. BC to 2nd cent.AD) some greek and some roman – Medieval (5th-15th cent.AD) period during the middle ages previous periods work was lost – Renaissance (16th cent.AD) probably the least studied period of western philosophy. rebirth of philosophy in the 16th century, almost all of the works were lost but a number of them were regained and people started to think freshly with new tools to think with – Modern (17th-19th cent.AD) – Contemporary (20th-21st cent.AD) period we’re in now divided into analytic and continental ∗ Analytic (UCD is apparently strictly analytic) “here’s the text of plato, it means something entirely diff of the continental philosophers” ∗ Continental “here’s the text of plato here’s what it means.” • Philosophers in each period differed in their methods, but the split between analytic and continental philosophy seems more profound. Some Superstars of Philosophy • The following are generally acknowledged to be among the greatest Western philosophers: – Plato (4th cent. BC) Great, systematic philosopher of the ancient times. – Aristotle (4th cent. BC) Plato’s student. – René Descartes (17th cent.AD) French philosopher – David Hume (18th cent.AD) Skeptic – Immanuel Kant (18th cent.AD) Where things tend to split intoAnalytic and Continental Plan for the Course • The course will be organized around the historical development of two broad subjects. – Ethics – Metaphysics and Epistemology • Classes will cover readings from classic texts in the history of Western philosophy. • Emphasis will be on influential philosophical theories and the basic arguments given to support them.
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