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Intro To Philos

by: Marlee Kulas

Intro To Philos PHI 001

Marlee Kulas
GPA 3.5


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This 20 page Class Notes was uploaded by Marlee Kulas on Wednesday September 9, 2015. The Class Notes belongs to PHI 001 at University of California - Davis taught by Staff in Fall. Since its upload, it has received 19 views. For similar materials see /class/191927/phi-001-university-of-california-davis in PHIL-Philosophy at University of California - Davis.

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Date Created: 09/09/15
Plato s Apology and Crito G J Mattey Winter 2006 Philosophy 1 Ethics and Political Philosophy 0 The second part of the course is a brief survey of important texts in the history of ethics and political philosophy 0 Ethics is a normative discipline which primarily concerns the evaluation of hu man behavior 0 Historically two broad questions are asked What makes a person a good or a bad person What makes a human action right or wrong 0 Closely connected with ethics is political philosophy which deals with such questions as How ought society to be organized What makes the actions of a society or of individuals just or unjust 0 These questions were asked by the ancient philosophers and remain of vital in terest today Ancient Ethics and Political Philosophy 0 The fundamental practical issue for the ancient philosophers was how to attain the good life 0 There were two main candidates as answers to that question Through virtue or excellence of character thought and action arete Through a state of either happiness eudaemonia or pleasure hedone 0 Generally it was thought that virtue and happiness are closely related while virtue and pleasure are not 0 If this is so then happiness and pleasure are two distinct kinds of states 0 The larger question was how individual virtue happiness or pleasure are related to norms such as justice and injustice that apply to society Socrates The Man of Virtue o The rst ancient philosopher to undertake a comprehensive investigation of virtue was Socrates o Socrates described his behavior as a response to a divine voice daemon within him and to an utterance by the Delphic Oracle 0 His philosophical goal was to seek the truth through the interrogation of people alleged to be wise 0 His practical goal was to teach that the each person should attain the best possible state of the soul which would entail being as virtuous as possible 0 According to Aristotle Socrates believed that our actions always aim at the best and fail to attain it only because we are ignorant of what the best is o Socrates s commitment to virtue was so strong that he accepted an unjust sen tence of death rather than escaping into exile The Sophists 0 Although Socrates tried to expose the pretensions to knowledge of everyone he came across he was especially hostile toward the Sophists o The Sophists were professional teachers of rhetoric whose aim was to train young people to debate in the political arena 0 One boast of the Sophists was that they could make the worse argument appear better than the better argument 0 Socrates charged that the Sophists trained their students to advance their own interests even by arguing for falsehoods o By promoting ignorance the Sophists promoted actions which are not aimed at what is best 0 In this way the in uence of the Sophists was to tuni people away from virtue The Priority of Virtue o In contrast to the Sophists Socrates tried to turn people toward virtue 0 His message was that one should care most strongly for the best possible state of the soul rather than for wealth or bodily pleasure o Wealth and other goods that a person pursues do not make the person virtuous when they are attained o Wealth does not bring about exellence but excellence makes wealth and every thing else good for men both individually and collectively Apology 30b 0 The virtuous person cannot be harmed as the only real harm is the loss of virtue An Injustice o Socrates was accused of crimes against the city of Athens convicted by a jury and sentenced to death 0 He regarded his conviction as wrongful as he thought he had proved that the charges against him were unfounded 0 He claimed that the only reason for his conviction was his own refusal to beg for the jury s mercy 0 Had he done so he would have brought shame on himself 0 In fact it was the jury that brought shame on itself by treating him unjustly o The jury would reap the consequences of its actions Socrates s followers would be emboldened to act against members of the Jilly The jury members would lose out on the opportunity to improve themselves with the help of Socrates o The second item is an example of the famous Socratic irony Death 0 Socrates faced death resolutely due to his belief that the virtuous person cannot be harmed 0 He proposed a dilemma which shows the harmlessness of death 0 Death is either A dreamless sleep or A passage to another life 0 A dreamless sleep is desirable not harmful o The virtuous person who passes on to another life would nd justice there and would associate with other virtuous souls The Social Dimension of Virtue o Excellence of the soul seems to be an entirely personal matter 0 Socrates argues that the opinions of others are irrelevant to whether one is acting from virtue or not 0 The virtuous person cannot be harmed by the actions of others no matter what their opinion of him o The only harm another can do is to lead one away from virtue o In looking to others for guidance in action one should look to those who have knowledge of virtue By analogy an athlete should look for guidance from a trainer or a physi cian o What should guide our actions is not how nonvirtuous people think we should behave but whether the actions themselves are right or wrong just or unjust Unjust Actions 0 Suppose someone or some group of people has behaved unjustly toward a per son A case in point is Socrates s conviction and deathsentence o The injustice of the act does not justify an unjust act in return Socrates should not avoid death by escape and exile if such behavior would be unjust o In general no consequences of an unjust action however favorable make it acceptable to perform it 0 So the issue facing Socrates is whether avoiding the death penalty by escape is indeed unjust Bad Consequences o Socrates argues in the speci c case of his escape that the consequences would not in fact be favorable His friends will be put into danger by helping him escape He will be received as an enemy of the law If he nds a lawless state that would accept him his life would not be worth living there His conviction would be vindicated as his escape would prove that he was not teaching virtue He would be disgraced by acting in a cowardly way 0 On the other hand no real harm will be done if he does not escape As a virtuous person he cannot be harmed No harm would come to his family members as friends would look after them Justice and Agreement 0 But as stated above the consequences of his escape should not be the basis of his decision 0 The question is whether to escape is to act unjustly o Socrates argues that to escape would be to violate a just agreement which is always unjust o The agreement in his case is to follow the laws of the city 0 So even if the laws are executed in an unjust way they must still be followed The Social Contract U 00 o Socrates did not make an explicit agreement with the city of Athens to obey its laws 0 His agreement was a tacit one which is now called a social contract He stayed in the city Yet he could have left at any time with all his property 0 Moreover he received bene ts from his tacit agreement with the city eg his education 0 It was also in his power to argue for better laws so the laws of the city are not oppressive in any way rates and Modern Political Thought 0 Social contract theories have been used by many modern philosophers to justify the application of laws to members of society 0 In the midtwentieth century such thinkers as Ghandi and King have claimed that it is just to disobey unjust laws or laws that are enforced unjustly 0 There may be a way to reconcile this attitude with Socrates s argument that it is unjust to disobey the laws of the city 0 The indigenous people of India and the AfricanAmericans were not related to the laws in the same way Socrates was The laws were oppressive in that these people were in no position to in u ence the legislative process 0 The difference in the two situations can be made vivid by considering whether a slave in ancient Athens was party to any kind of social contract Kant s Critique of Pure Reason G J Mattey Winter 2006 Philosophy 1 Metaphysics in Disarray o Immanuel Kant 17241804 in his early career worked in the tradition of conti nental rationalism 0 He wrote that his recollection of David Hume awoke him from his dogmatic slumber 0 He recognized that metaphysics had not been established as a science and in fact had made little progress since ancient times 0 Philosophers had reached impasses on all the main metaphysical questions 0 This is a disastrous result because metaphysics is supposed to be the queen of the sciences o Kant set out to place metaphysics on a new footing by subjecting the use of pure reason to a scathing critique Our Interest in Metaphysics 0 Apart from its alleged role as the basis of all science metaphysics is intended to satisfy three fundamental interests of human beings Does God exist Am 1 free in my actions Will I survive my death 0 The answers to these three questions are supposed to be found in three branches of metaphysics Theology Cosmology Psychology 0 Kant s realization was that we have no right to proceed with any of these meta physical investigations until we have answered this question How is metaphysics itself possible as a science Rationalist Metaphysics o On Kant s view a minimal condition for a metaphysical system is that it contain only necessary truths o Hume had proved that probable reasoning from experience cannot reveal the way things must be 0 So an acceptable metaphysical system must be based on the a priori use of reason 0 Continental rationalists writing after Descartes had proposed various metaphys ical systems that are not based on experience 0 The system within which Kant worked in his early years was a modi cation of system proposed by Leibniz 16461716 Leibniz s Metaphysical System 0 According to Leibniz there are two fundamental principles which are known a p ori through reason The principle of noncontradiction PNC if the notion of a thing is self contradictory then it is impossible Square circle is a contradictory notion and so it is impossible that there be a square circle The principle of suf cient reason PSR if a thing exists then it does so in virtue of a reason suf cient to bring about its existence 96 If a stone becomes warm then there is a reason for its becoming warm such as being heated by the sun 0 Leibniz held that the principle of noncontradiction is enough to establish what is possible and the principle of suf cient reason is enough to establish what is actual o Theoretically it can be known a p ori what is possible and what is actual though perhaps only by God and not by humans Hume s Problem Applied to Leibniz s System 0 Kant recognized that Hume had raised a fundamental problem for any rationalist metaphysics that employs the principle of suf cient reason 0 How is the PSR supposed to bejusti ed apriori o It would have to be based on demonstrative reasoning and its denial would have to be contradictory 0 But what contradiction is there in the proposition that something exists without a reason suf cient to bring its existence about 0 Kant agrees with Hume that none can be found 0 If this is correct and if the PSR is fundamental to any metaphysical system then the practice of metaphysics must be halted until the PSR can be given an adequate justi cation o This is one of the main tasks of the Critique ofPure Reason The Antinomy of Pure Reason 0 A second problem with metaphysics lies in the application of the PSR to cases 0 Kant tried to show that an unrestricted application of the PSR will yield contra dictory results which he called the antinomy of pure reason 0 Take the question of free uncaused human action as an example 0 It can be proved that there are free human actions If there are no uncaused human actions then the chain of causes resulting in a given human action is in nite If a chain of causes leading to x is in nite then there is no suf cient reason for x 0 And it can be proved that there are no free human actions If there is an uncaused human action then there is no cause to serve as a suf cient reason for that action 0 Similar contradictions can be generated for other metaphysical propositions A New Method for Metaphysics 0 Given Hume s results and the antinomy Kant s task was twofold To provide an a priori justi cation for the principle of suf cient reason and perhaps other metaphysical principles To do so in a way that avoids contradiction 0 As an aid to accomplishing this task Kant tunied to the sciences which unlike metaphysics had a record of success Mathematics Natural Science 0 He thought that a method shared by mathematics and natural science can be adapted to metaphysics Scienti c Method 0 Kant considered geometrical proof to be a paradigm of mathematical practice 0 Geometrical objects he claimed are not given to us but are only constructed A line is constructed from points surfaces from lines and solids from sur faces 0 The properties of a geometrical object such as a square depend on the way in which a square would be constructed from lines o The square s properties of are so the speak built into it through the manner of its construction 0 In natural science we perform experiments by constructing experimental setups with the properties we want 0 The results of the experiment depend to that extent on what has been built into the experimental setup Applying Scienti c Method to Metaphysics 0 Geometry and natural science have in common the following feature They do not begin with their objects and try to determine their properties but rather They construct their objects and discover the consequences of the construc tion 0 Metaphysics traditionally has followed the rst of the above procedures 0 It begins with pure concepts which have been generated by pure reason and then tries to discover whether reality conforms to those concepts We have a concept of a most real being which we call God Does God exist 0 The proper method is to begin with a construction of reality and then discover which concepts are required to carry out the construction Constructing Reality 0 Kant s suggestion that metaphysical investigation should imitate scienti c inves tigation has led to a startling consequence o It may be correct to say that geometrical objects are constructed in that they are ideal 0 And it may be correct to say that experimental setups are constructed from things that already exist 0 But it is going pretty far to say that the objects of metaphysics ie all really existing things are themselves constructed 0 A main problem in Kant interpretation is to determine whether Kant really made this extraordinary claim 0 Note that it is almost commonplace in presentday thinking to make a claim similar to this 0 So Kant had a great in uence on the way many people now think regardless of what he intended to claim Two Interpretations of Kant o The View that human beings construct reality is extreme and controversial o A weaker View is that we human beings only construct the way in which we must represent reality 0 The point of both approaches is to enable us to re ect the goal of metaphysics Suppose that metaphysics is the description of the most fundamental as pects of reality 0 The stronger View more clearly re ects this goal of metaphysics but it seems intrinsically implausible o The milder View seems intrinsically more plausible but it it does not clearly re ect this goal of metaphysics Two Ways of Thinking About Reality 0 For Kant the goal of metaphysics is to construct a prio a system of concepts and principles 0 In that case we can ask whether the a p ori metaphysical system applies to reality or merely to the way we think about reality 0 Kant s answer would be that there are two distinct ways of describing something as rea As empirically real ie as object of experience or appearance As transcendentally real as an object independent of experience or thing in itself 0 Kant claims that the a p ori system of metaphysics holds only for what is real empirically o The mistake of metaphysics has been to try to construct a priori a system that applies to things in themselves 0 This seems to require that the empirically real be constructed according to the rules of the system Duplicating the Original Problem 0 Now we must ask again our original question which was directed at reality as such 0 Do we construct objects that are empirically real 0 Empirically real objects are objects in space and time so does Kant adopt the strong view that spatiotemporal objects are constructions of the human mind 0 Or should we adopt the weaker view that as humans we only construct a way of representing objects in space and time 0 Unfortunately Kant s text supports both interpretations The Outputs of Human Mental Activity 0 The structure of Kant s metaphysical system re ects the different kinds of out puts of human mental activity Intuitions which present individual objects Concepts which present many objects as falling under kinds Judgments which combine intuitions concepts and judgments themselves into descriptions of reality 0 For example Socrates meets Plato and is presented to Plato through an intu ition o Plato has the concepts of a philosopher and of wisdom which apply to more than one individual Plato forms the judgment that Socrates is a philosopher Plato also forms the judgment that all philosophers are wise Plato infers from this that Socrates is wise Analytic and Synthetic Judgments o Kant divides all judgments into two types Analytic judgments which only serve to clarify concepts 6 A square is a plane gure with four equal sides Synthetic judgments which connect a concept with something beyond it 6 The sum of the angles of a square is 3600 6 The sun warms the stone 0 A system of metaphysics will consist primarily of synthetic judgments which are made a prio o Kant insists that before such a system is developed it must be shown how syn theticjudgments can be made aprio o Roughly the answer is that because we construct the objects about which the judgment is made we can know in advance of experience that the object has the features attributed to it in the judgment Intellectual Intuition o The standard rationalist answer to Kant s question about the a priori origin of synthetic judgments is that they are known through intellectual intuition o The truth of the proposition is immediately known to reason For example Descartes claimed that we can know a synthetic causal prin ciple by the light of nature 0 On Kant s view intuition is a power through which objects are given to the mind 0 An intellectual intuition would be one in which objects are given to our rational faculty simply by thinking about them 0 But Kant claims no objects are given to the rational faculty only by thinking about them Humans only intuit objects in senseperception Thinking takes place through the use of abstract concepts 0 So there is no human knowledge through intellectual intuition o If we are to have a purely rational knowledge of a principle it would be through the relation of concepts to one another and hence analytic Sensible Intuition o Kant came to the surprising conclusion that we can gain knowledge a p ori of synthetic propositions through the passive reception of objects presented in senseperception o This conclusion is contrary to the views of both the rationalists and the empiri cists The rationalists held that no real knowledge is gained through senseperception The empiricists held that all knowledge through senseperception is a pos te ori or experiential o The key to this view is that sensation gives us the matter of intuited objects the faculty of sensibility gives us the form of the objects 0 There are two forms of human sensibility Space Time 0 Kant s view then is that all objects which are intuited in senseperception are in space and time A Priori Knowledge of the Quanti able Properties of Intuited Objects 0 As was stated earlier Kant claimed that the objects of geometry are constructed by the human mind 0 He also claimed that numbers are generated by counting 0 These two claims can be connected with space and time Geometrical objects are constructed in space Numbers are constructed in time 0 Given that intuited objects are in space and time geometrical and numerical constructions apply to them 0 Mathematical constructions in general can be carried out a priori 0 We can thus know a priori that intuited objects have quantitative properties to which mathematics applies 0 This result provides a foundation for mathematical sciences of sensibly intuited objects The Categories of the Understanding 0 Space and time are a priori forms to which every object given in sensible intu ition must conform 0 Corresponding to space and time are a p ori concepts of the understanding the categories 0 Categories are supposed to be based on logical forms of judgment 0 One important category is that of substance and accident Logical form of judgment object O has predicate F Category 0 is a substance which has properties but is not a property of something else 0 A second important category is that of cause and effect Logical form ofjudgment if 0 is F then 0 is G Category given that O has a property at a time 0 is lawfully determined to have some other property at a later time The Category of Substance and Accident 0 According to Kant concepts are intellectual rules for describing sensibly intuited objects 0 The category of substance is a rule describing how objects endure and how they change 0 Kant tries to prove that intuited objects are substances 0 He claims that substances are permanent ie that they do not come into exis tence or go out of existence 0 So the only way in which intuited objects change is by having different acci dents The Category of Cause and Effect 0 As substances intuited objects are subject to changes in their states over time o The category of cause and effect represents change as taking place as governed by a rule which must be followed If a billiard ball s current motion causes it to continue to move then there is a rule according to which the continuation of the motion must occur in this case the law of inertia o Kant argues for an a p ori principle according to which all change in objects that can be intuited is due to the relation of cause and effect 0 If Kant s argument is successful then Hume has been refuted The Argument for Causal Necessity Phase I 0 Suppose O is an object of intuition 1 If I perceive that 0 changes its state 81 to an opposite state 82 then I represent 81 of O as occurring before SQ 2 If I represent 81 as occurring before 82 I connect 1 and SQ through the use of my imagination Equot If I connect two states of 0 through the use of the imagination then I connect them either by perceiving time itself or else by a rule which neces sitates which state comes rst gt I cannot perceive time itself 5quot So if I connect two states of 0 through the use of the imagination then I connect them by a rule which necessitates which comes rst 34 0 So if I perceive that O sometimes changes its state 81 to an opposite state SQ then I connect 1 and Sg by a rule which necessitates which comes rst 1275 The Argument for Causal Necessity Phase II 0 Suppose O is an object of intuition Iperceive that O sometimes changes its state 81 to an opposite state SQ Q If I perceive that O sometimes changes its state 81 to an opposite state 82 then I connect 1 and SQ by a rule which necessitates which comes rst Phase I So I connect 1 and 2 by a rule which necessitates which comes rst 12 If I connect states 81 and SQ of O by a rule which necessitates which comes rst then I connect the 1 and SQ according to the category of cause and effect So I connect 1 and SQ according to the category of cause and effect 34 Equot 4 05quot If I connect 1 and SQ according to the category of cause and effect then 81 and Sg are really causally connected in O as an object of experience gt So 81 and 2 are really causally connected in O as an object of experience 576 Analysis of the Argument for Causal Necessity I 0 Has Kant provided a sound a priori argument for causal necessity o Hume might nd premise 2 from Phase I to be objectionable 0 He could claim that that we can objectively represent one state as occurring be fore another just because the perception of the rst state occurs before the per ception of the second state 0 In that case we could be said to feel the precedence of the rst state over the secon o Hume could object to premise 3 of Phase I on the grounds that the imagination may function as memory which does not require either a perception of time or the use of an intelligible rule 0 Finally Hume might reject premise 5 of Phase II because the way I connect my perceptions may not re ect the way things really are 10 Analysis of the Argument for Causal Necessity II 0 We can look at Kant s argument for causal necessity from the standpoint of Hume s negative argument 0 Kant agrees with Hume that causal necessity cannot be established by probable reasoning and so must be demonstrated 0 He claimed further that there is no demonstration of a causal connection between states of 0 because it is always possible that O is in 81 but not in SQ o Kant counters that it is not possible for 0 taken as an object of human experi ence to be in 81 but not SQ Premise 5 of Phase II indicates that objects of human experience are con structed in a way that requires connection of objects through causal rules 0 Hume assumes that objects of human experience are given as they are in them selves which is why we cannot demonstrate anything about them Free Will 0 Kant proposed a solution to the impasse between arguments favoring free will and arguments favoring necessity 0 He claimed that a human action may be both freely undertaken and necessitated As an appearance the human being is a part of nature so that its actions are subject to causal laws As a thing in itself it is at least possible that the human being is not subject to causal law and hence able to initiate an action spontaneously 0 Thus transcendental freedom is possible in the face of natural necessity 0 Like Hume Kant was a compatibilist but unlike Hume he tried to reconcile freedom with a very strong sense of causal necessityiyet one which is limited in its scope to appearances The Ontological Proof for the Existence of God 0 Kant advanced a famous argument against the ontological proof of God s ex istence 0 Any form of the argument depends on the assumption that exists is a real predicate From the fact that I cannot think of God except as existing it follows that existence is inseparable from God and that for this reason he really exists Descartes Meditation Five o On Kant s View existence is separable from any nature whatsoever 0 I can think of anything as not existing because existing does not make something the kind of thing it is as does a real predicate The thought of 1 and the thought of 100 are different thoughts But the thought of 100 and the thought of an existing 100 are the same thought Aristotle s Metaphysics G J Mattey Winter 2006 Philosophy 1 The Origins of Knowledge 0 Senseperception is the rst requirement for knowledge and it is found in ani mals 0 Memory with senseperception allows for a single experience 0 Experience gives rise to science and craft 0 Craft arises through induction Many thoughts that arise from experience result in one universal judgment about similar things 0 Theoretical science which studies the most universal causes and principles is the most remote from senseperception Wisdom 0 Experience concerns particulars while craft gives a rational account using uni versa s 0 Craft is superior to mere experience because it knows the cause or reason why 0 Wisdom arises from wonder and removes wonder 0 There is a hierarchy from the least to the greatest wisdom The inexperienced person knows only what he has perceived The merely experienced person knows many particulars but not universals The manual craftsman employs universals out of habit but without know ing the reason why The master craftsman produces his products through knowledge of the rea son w y The theoretical scientist produces nothing but understands the reason why of a wide range of things Early Attempts at Theoretical Science 0 Most early philosophers thought the only causes of things are material 0 Finding a material cause whether an element or atoms does not explain why things happen 0 So philosophers look for a source of motion to ll the gap 0 The best source of motion is mind because it also explains why things turn out well 0 The early philosophers made no real use of their causes In this way they are like unskilled boxers who sometimes land good punches Plato s Account of Reality 0 In uenced by his predecessors Plato claimed that there are two universal causes The Forms which make a think the kind of thing it is The matter which takes on qualities by its relation to the Forms 0 Things are said to participate or share in the Form which makes it the kind of thing it is o The Forms are the one over many which are supposed to explain what different things have in common Criticism of the Forms 0 Aristotle criticizes the theory of Forms in a number of ways including the fol lowing Redundancy if there are already kinds of things in the world it is redundant to introduce a separate set of forms corresponding to each kind 0 Inappropriateness we can group things into kinds in many ways and each one would have to have a Form such as Negations nonanimal Relatives taller than 0 Inef cacy Forms are distinct from the world of perceptible things and so cannot be causes of change in that world They are not mixed in with the perceptible things To say that they share in the perceptible things is an empty metaphor A source of motion is needed to account for change in the world Substance o In the Categories Aristotle had identi ed primary substance as the fundamental being 0 Primary substance is de ned negatively as a primary subject Which is in nothing and Which is said of nothing Socrates is a primary substance 0 Aristotle investigates a positive account of substance in Book VII of the Meta physics one of the hardest texts in all of philosophy 0 In one sense a substance is a composite of matter and form Socrates is a material thing With the form of a man 0 In another sense a substance is merely the form itself 0 But matter although it is primary in the sense given above is not substance Substance and Essence o The main topic of investigation in Book VII is the sense in Which substance is form 0 Aristotle understands the form of a thing as its essence o The essence of a thing is What it is said to be in its own right Being a man is What makes Socrates Socrates Being a musician does not make Socrates Socrates 0 Since it is by virtue of the essence that a thing is What it is the essence is a cause The essence of Socrates is the cause of Socrates being Socrates 0 We can say that the cause of a substance s being What it is hence its essence is the substance of that substance Being a man the essence of Socrates is the substance of Socrates Essence and Coincident o Substances have attributes besides having an essence o Aristotle calls these nonessential attributes coincidents often known as ac cidents Being pale is a coincident of Socrates o A substance might or might not have any of its coincidents


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