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Philosophy 101, Week 5 Notes

by: Madeline Lathrop

Philosophy 101, Week 5 Notes PHL 101

Marketplace > University of Rochester > PHIL-Philosophy > PHL 101 > Philosophy 101 Week 5 Notes
Madeline Lathrop
Introdution to Philosophy

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About this Document

Epistemology, Religious Disagreement, Religious Diversity, Relativism, Evidential Arguments, The Uniqueness Thesis & "Brain in a Vat"
Introdution to Philosophy
Class Notes
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This page Class Notes was uploaded by Madeline Lathrop on Wednesday February 17, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PHL 101 at University of Rochester taught by Clatterbuck in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 29 views. For similar materials see Introdution to Philosophy in PHIL-Philosophy at University of Rochester.


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Date Created: 02/17/16
Philosophy 02l15l2016 Epistemology The study of knowledge What distinguishes between knowledge and mere belief Which beliefs are justified What do we have reasons to believe Which beliefs are rational P God exists P God does not exist A Type of Argument 1 S s belief in P is justified if and only if S s reasons best support in P 2 If S has no reason to think that P is more likely to be true than is P then S s reasons do not best support belief in P C If S has no reason to think that P is more likely to be true than is P then S s belief in P is not justified Problem of Disagreement Does the fact that some smart wellintentioned people disagree with us undermine the justification for our beliefs What are some issues that people disagree about Does that disagreement undermine the justification of one or both parties Problem of Religious Diversity There are many religions that disagree about many propositions All have followers who think their beliefs are best supported by their reasons evidence faith etc At most one can be correct Evidence for one religion is evidence against the others BlackburnHume Does it support relativism Claims like God exists are relative truth or falsity is relative to the person making the claim EX Green olives are yummy is true for me false for Micah 1 If there is widespread disagreement about P then there is no objective truth about P 2 There is widespread disagreement about religious propositions C There is no objective truth about religious propositions C lfthere is no objective truth about religious propositions then they are relative Objection to 1 Just because we don t know an answer to a question does not mean that there is no answer nor does it mean that any answers are correct Does it support atheism Since it is obviously inconceivable that all religious can be right the most reasonable conclusion is that they are all wrong Christopher Hitchens Evidential Argument for Atheism 1 Widespread disagreement about religious propositions would be more surprising if God exists than if God doesn t exist 2 Surprise Principle lf 0 would be more surprising if H1 were true than H2 then 0 is evidence for H2 over H1 C Widespread disagreement is evidence that God does not exist If in order to be justified in believing P you need reasons to believe P is true then you need reasons for atheism or theism Disagreements of Interest Tom believe that God exists Alive believes that God does not exist Their beliefs cannot both be true Tom and Alice are epistemic peers equal with respect to intelligence reasoning powers etc Tom and Alice have shared all their evidence 1 If reasonable disagreement about P and P is possible then it must be possible for A to rationally believe P and for B to rationally believe P 2 Uniqueness Thesis A body of evidence justifies belief in at more one of P or P 3 Evidentialism It is rational to believe a proposition if and only if it is justified by one s evidence 4 From 2 3 A s and B s shared evidence makes it rational to believe at most one of P and P C From 3 4 reasonable disagreement about P and P is not possible The Uniqueness Thesis The truth is out there Mulder A body of evidence justified at most one proposition out of a competing set of propositions and that it justifies at most one attitude toward any particular proposition EX Left vs Righty Medical Diagnosis Objections A and B emphasize different facets of the evidence They rationally drew opposite conclusion EX Alice weighs the Problem of Evil more strongly Tom weighs the Cosmological Argument more strongly Feldman s Response Why think that you weighed the evidence correctly and the other person didn t People are naturally inclined to view evidence in different ways Feldman s Response Once you see that there are these alternative starting points you need a reason to prefer one over the other You can t share all evidence intuition sense of obviousness religious experience Feldman s Response Evidence of evidence is evidence There are no epistemic peers Q Does learning about someone else s private religious experience have the same evidential value as actually having one Q Does the fact this it is YOUR evidence make it rational to assign more weight to it Question of the day Most of you probably believe that you are not a brain in a vat BIV If you have no reason to think that it is more likely to believe that you are not a BIV than that you are then your belief is not justified Question What reason do you have for thinking you re not a BIV Philosophy Class 02l17l2016 The Uniqueness Thesis Last time we considered two objections People emphasize different facets of the evidence People have different starting points dispositions to interpret evidence in different ways In each case Feldman says you need a reason to think that YOUR way of interpreting the evidence is the better way Motivation for the Uniqueness Thesis Any piece of evidence for O is evidence against P and vise verse Thereford entire set of evidence is either for P and against P or vise verse Belief Pill Case One pill gives true beliefs one pill gives false beliefs Flip a coin Are you justified in a belief gained this way No One Argument 1 If uniqueness is false the coming to a belief on the basis of evidence is no better than taking a belief pill 2 Coming to a belief on the basis of the evidence is justified and coming to a belief on the basis of taking a belief pill is not C The Uniqueness Thesis is not true Brain In a Vat Q1 Do you have any evidence that you are are not a brain in a vat 02 Do you have any reason to think it is more probable that you are NOT a BIV than that you are a BIV


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