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by: Dempsey Hankins

PL110Week4Notes.pdf PL110

Dempsey Hankins
GPA 3.9

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About this Document

These notes cover what we talked about this week, mainly more about Descartes and all of his weirdness. I hope it helps!
Readings in Philosophy
Dr. Bambi Robinson
Class Notes
philosophy, descartes
25 ?




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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Dempsey Hankins on Thursday February 11, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PL110 at Southeast Missouri State University taught by Dr. Bambi Robinson in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 33 views. For similar materials see Readings in Philosophy in PHIL-Philosophy at Southeast Missouri State University.


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Date Created: 02/11/16
PL110 Week 4 Notes 2/8  If there is any probability there is NO certainty!!  One response to the “sense” argument: use one sense to check another when there is doubt.  Ex.—Neo touched his stomach to see if he was awake.  Dream Argument: 1. Dream experiences, in themselves, are qualitatively indistinguishable from waking experiences. 2. If dream experiences, in themselves, are qualitatively indistinguishable from wake experiences, then I can’t know for certain whether I’m wake or dreaming. 3. If I can’t for certain whether I’m awake or dreaming then beliefs about objects in my environment are uncertain. 4. Therefore, beliefs about my environment are uncertain.  Descartes challenges us to find EPISTEMIC CERTAINTY!!!!  Evil Genius Argument: 1. Suppose there is an evil genius who is just as powerful and smart as God but evil instead of good. 2. Suppose that this Evil God makes it such that whatever seems evident to me is, in fact, false. 3. Anything I perceive or have learned could be made false.  Don’t believe that it’s (Evil Genius) there but you can’t prove that it’s not there.  Yourself is all that’s left. 1. Cogito ergo sum  I think, therefore, I am.  “I am; I exist”: an axiom  Rules of Inference: 1. Clear and distinct perception  No doubt  Separate from other stuff 2. What do I know about my body?  Nothing with certainty  I know that I’m a thing that thinks  Piece of Wax Argument: 1. What I know best about material objects (assuming they exist) is an extension & 2. I know my mind better & 3. I know extended thins with my mind, rather than with my sense. 2/11  We know that we exist o Mind/soul exist but not sure about the body  The wax isn’t the same as its sensible qualities. o Able to be sensed. o Properties that can be sensed with the senses.  (or, as he says later, is meditation 5, a book we aren’t reading, the sensible qualities can’t be the essence of the wax.)  So what is the essence of the wax? o Because that which changes can’t be the essence.  Therefore o It’s an Extension. o It’s an object extended in space  All physical objects  I don’t know this through sense of imagination (the imaging faculty as Descartes called it).  The wax is capable of an infinite number of shapes but mind/imagination can’t grasp them all. We can only come up with a finite number.  That I perceive the wax with my mind also shows that I exist.  Criterion for knowledge: o X must be known clearly and distinctly to be a clear and distinct idea.  An idea is clear if we can’t help taking notice of it. o “an open and present to the attending mind”  An idea is distinct if it can’t possibly be confused with something else o “plainly contains in itself nothing other than what is clear”  If you can just think about one thing you will get clarity.  Perception is a mental process!! Not just sight. st  Cogito was the 1 bit of “certain knowledge”  Axioms are blindingly obvious o Not able to be explained by anything else.  How can I trust Cogito? o Clear and distinct ideas equal certain knowledge. o I know this because God says so. o How do I know God exists? Because of clear and distinct ideas of an all loving, good God. o BUT, this is a fallacy.  Fallacy—circular reasoning.  This is the Cartesian Circle.  Senses can get you started thinking, but they can’t give you epistemic certainty.  Next we study: o Solipsism: I am the only thing that exists.


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