EPISTEMOLOGY PHIL 3340
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Phil 3340 Notes 15 A Priori Knowledge Introduction Important Concepts I Analytic vs Synthetic a A judgement is analytic iff the concept of the predicate is contained in the concept of the subject b A sentence is analytic iff it is true by virtue of the meanings or de nitions of the terms contained in it or c Best definition A sentence S is analytic iff the negation of S can be transformed into a formal contradiction by substitution of synonymous expressions and formally valid inferences Or iff S can be transformed into a logical truth by substitution of synonymous expressions and formally valid inferences 0 Synthetic Not analytic Empirical vs A Priori 0 Empirical S knows that P empirically S knows that P and S s justification for P essentially involves observation Observation sensory perception or introspection On my view a belief whose j ustifimtion consists in the fact that one has a sensory or introspective appearance Essentially involves Means that an observation is a necessary part of the justi cation if the observation is removed then the belief is no longer justified A priori S knows a priori that P S knows that P not empirically Possible kinds of a priori kn 1 Innate knowledge 2 Knowledge acquired through reasonintuition Ill Necessary vs Contingent Necessary Could not have been otherwise Contingent Could have been the case and also could have not been the case Neither necessary nor impossible Notes Analytic synthetic applies to sentences or judgements Empirical a priori applies to knowledge or justification quotNecessary contingent applies to propositions Analytic synthetic is a logicalsemantic distinction Empirical a priori is an epistemological distinction quotNecessary contingent is a metaphysical distinction H N IV Empiricism vs Rationalism Empiricism 1 General idea All knowledge of objective reality is empiriml 2 Modern interpretation No synthetic a priori knowledge 3 The role of reason operates on information provided by observation Rationalism 1 There is a priori knowledge of objective reality 2 There is synthetic a priori knowledge 3 The role of reason a operates on information provided by observation and b provides some information of its own Phil 3340 Notes 16 Kant on Synthetic A Priori Knowledge I Kant Main ideas 1 39 3 4 There is synthetic a priori knowledge Arithmetic 57 12 The concept of the sum of 7 and 5 contains nothing save the union of the two numbers into one and in this no thought is being taken as to what that single number may be which combines both The concept of 12 is by no means already thought in merely thinking this union of7 and 5 B15 Geometry The shortest path between two points is a straight line For my concept of straight contains nothing of quantity but only of quality B16 Physics In all changes of the material world the quantity of matter remains unchanged For in the concept of matter I do not think its permanence but only its presence in the space which it occupies B18 Knowledge of these things depends upon intuition and not merely abstract concepts Intuition direct awareness or representation of particular objects Incl perception introspection imagination B33 Do not confuse with contemporary philosophical usage Geometrical proofs depend essentially upon use of figures These need not be real physical figures but may be merely imagined Thus it involves intuition of space Arithmetical knowledge depends upon imagining changes in time e g successive additions of units Thus it involves intuition of time Synthetic a priori knowledge is a big mystery If it pertained to objective reality it would be impossible Rejects traditional rationalism a la Descartes Spinoza Leibniz If intuition must conform to the constitution of the objects I do not see how we could know anything of the latter a priori but if the object as object of the senses must conform to the constitution of our faculty of intuition I have no difficulty in conceiving such a possibility vaii How synth a priori knowledge is possible Pertains to the form of intuition Does not pertain to the objective world Space is the form of outer intuition An artefact of our way of representing external objects Space does not exist objectively Rejects both absolutist amp relational accounts of space It is therefore solely from the human standpoint that we can speak of space of extended things etc The proposition that all things are side by side in space is valid under the limitation that these things are viewed as objects of our sensible intuition If now I add the condition to the concept and say that all things as outer appearances are side by side in space the rule is valid universally and without limitation Kant B423 Time is the form of inner intuition An artefact of our way of representing ourselves mental processes Time also does not exist objectively The mind imposes these forms on everything that it represents Analogy the green glasses 5 Kantian subjectivism Hence we know that all possible objects of experience must satisfy the synth a priori Comparison between Locke amp Kant principles But these principles do not apply to things as they are in themselves Also we have no awareness of thingsin themselves noumena Locke on secondary gualities In the object unknown primary qualities In us sensation of red The unknown primary qualities in the object have a disposition to cause the sensation of red People often con lse the sensation with a property of the object Kant on prima gualities In the thinginitself unknown properties In us perceptions of shapes Unknown thingin itself properties cause 2 perceptions of shapes People con lse shapes with properties of thingsinthemselves Phil 3340 Notes 17 ogica positivism I Basic Concepts Empiricism There is no synthetic a priori knowledge Hume Berkeley perhaps Aristotle Verificationism The cognitive meaning of a statement is given by the conditions under which it would be veri ed or re lted Corollary If it cannot in principle be known whether S is true or false then S is meaningless Logical Positivism empiricism veri cationism 2 or 3 kinds of meaning il sentences a Analytic or contradictory sentences These are true or false in virtue of the meanings of words veri ed by all or no possible experience b Contingent amp empirically testable sentences Comments Practical vs inprinciple veri ability Strong vs weak sense of veri able The meaning of meaningless Fails to assert a proposition not truthapt Cognitive meaning vs emotive meaning The Implications of Positivism 1 Mathematics Analytic Says nothing about reality Leads to formalist philosophy of mathematics 2 Logic Like mathematics 3 Ethics meaningless Leads to noncognitivism 4 Religion meaningless 5 Metaphysics meaningless 6 Philosophy Only legitimate mction is to clarify language usage Ill Arguments for positivism IV Objections H How is the veri cation criterion known Positivists confuse metaphysics with epistemology truth with justi cation There can be facts we can t know Why ain t there be statements that we can t know whether they are true Sentence meanings are compositional The meaning of a sentence is determined by whether the individual words are meaning ll amp combined in an appropriate way There is no guarantee that such combinations will always turn out to be veri able Invisible turtle example Examples of unknowable things What happened before the Big Bang How many hairs were on Aristotle s head on his 35Lb birthday N LN 4 5 6 Religious claims There are many examples of synthetic a priori knowledge Mathematics Ethics Metaphysics Miscellaneous other a priori knowledge often neglected by philosophers Nothing can be both completely red and completely blue If a person wants to do A knows that he can do A and has no reasons to refrain from A then he will do A HA is inside B and B is inside C then A is inside C Circularity How do you know whether S is veri ed by an observation or not Must understand the meaning to know what veri esfails to verify it V The History of Positivism 1 Motivations for positivism Scientism worship of science amp mathematics disparagement of other intellectual endeavors Positivists seek a blanket way to dismiss all work in metaphysics Hence the veri cation criterion It is n to sound hardheaded Heavily in uenced by Hume 2 Veri mtioni sm becomes early ZOmcentury dogma almost universal in analytic philosophy They did not feel the need of arguments for it 3 Leads to acceptance of all the implications under H above 4 Scientists are brought into this credo esp hard scientists 5 Scientists amp mathematicians develop positivistinspired theories relativity quantum mechanics 6 Most philosophers later reject the veri cation criterion while holding on to empiricism Scientists however still maintain it 7 The implimtions ofpositivism under 3 and 5 however remain accepted orthodoxy 8 The orthodox theories are now used to argue for empiricism science has shown that positivism is true Lessons Philosophical fashions come and go Cases in point a scholasticism b 19Lb century idealism c illogical positivism Beware scientism Phil 3340 Notes 18 Radical Empiricism Quine I Quine s Basic Views All knowledge is empirical There is no analyticsynthetic distinction Belief revision Confirmation holism individual beliefs can t be tested Only the whole belief system can The Two Dogmas of Empiricism 1 The analyticsynthetic distinction Note distinction between meaning or sense and reference Analytic sentences can be transformed into logical truths by substituting synonymous expressions N Reductionism the belief that each meaning ll statement is equivalent to some logical construct upon terms which refer to immediate experience Ill Against Analyticity A Problem What is synonymy Ways of explaining synonymy problems with them 1 Sameness of meaning Problem meanings are obscure elusive entities like ideas or Platonic objects Now we have abandoned the thought of a special realm of entities called meanings Meanings probably won t be help ll anyway 2 If a standard of synonymy should be arrived at we may reasonably expect that the appeal to meanings as entities will not have played a very use ll part in the enterprise 2 Appeal to definition Problem This is backwards De nition depends on views of synonymy 3 Interchangeability can be interchanged in all contexts without changing truth value Problem consider I have a bachelor of arts Try substituting unmarried man Bachelor has less than 10 letters Reply treat bachelor of arts and bachelor as different words New problem 4 Necessarily all and only bachelors are bachelors 5 Necessarily all and only bachelors are unmarried men According to the criterion bachelor is synonymous with unmarried man only if 5 is true But we can t determine whether 5 is true unless we first know whether it is analytic that all bachelors are unmarried Suppose we have a language without words like necessarily Then interchangeability is not sufficient for synonymy Example creature with a heart and creature with a kidney 4 Semantical rules Skip this part 5 Verification criterion statements are synonymous if and only if they are alike in point of method of empirical confirmation or infirmation From this you can derive a concept of synonymy for words Problem See IV below B The argument from dif cult cases I do not know whether the statement Everything green is extended is analytic IV Against Reductionism Radical Reductionism All statements can be translated into statements about immediate experience Camap attempted to show how this could be done Problem no way of translating quality q is at ltx y z tgt Statements about physical objects entail nothing about experiences and vice versa Weaker form of reductionism Every statement has a unique set of experiences that would increase its probability confirm it and a unique set that would decrease its probablity infirm it Objection Our statements about the external world face the tribunal of sense experience not individually but only as a corporate body The unit of empirical significance is the whole of science This view is called Confirmation Holism Related Any belief can be maintained in the face of any evidence The metaphor of the web of belief we have a network of beliefs 0 The web as a whole implies predictions about experience 0 If a prediction is false something in the belief system has to be changed 0 People are more willing to give up some statements than others F Statements near the edge are closer to experience People are more willing to give them up in the face of surprising experiences F Statements near the center are farther removed from experience and called analytic People are less willing to give them up F The choice of what to give up is pragmatic Conservatism figures in such choices and so does the quest for simplicity O No dividing line between analytic amp synthetic 0 Laws of logic are just more statements in the system Laws of logic could be revised See quantum mechanics 0 Physical objects are posits which serve merely to simplify our treatment of experience their incorporation into the theory enables us to get more easily from one statement about experience to another Example how to test Newton s theory of gravity Phil 3340 Notes 19 Traditional Rationalism I Review Cata 09 of Main Vie vs Synthetic a A priori Analytic Synth a priori priori knowledge of kn 1 d 9 statements knowledge objective facts OW e ge meaningful Traditional Rationalism J J J J Traditional J J Empiricism Kant J J J PositiVism J Quine Russell s Rationalism A distinction Universals May be predicted of other things May be shared by multiple things at once Particulars Ultimate subject cannot be predicated Can only be in one place at a time Another distinction Knowledge by description r Awareness of an object by Virtue of an identifying description the object is the unique thing satisfying the description r Identification works by the object s relation to something else r Examples particular physical objects the tallest man in the world Knowledge by acquaintance r That which is not by description direct awareness of an object r Note acquaintance not a causal or perceptual notion r Note This is knowing an object not knowing a proposition r Examples sense data universals All awareness depends on acquaintance in nite regress argument Moreover awareness by description depends on awareness of universals Hence we have acquaintance with at least some universals This is known as grasping a universal Examples Known by description The 400Lb prime number Known by acquaintance 2 Acquaintance w universals leads to judgement of relations between universals Russell s conception of a priori knowledge A priori knowledge is knowledge of the properties of and relations between universals Examples All triangles have 3 sides All red things are extended No red thing is also blue inside of is a transitive relation 2 2 4 Notice that the theory accounts for both analytic amp synthetic knowledge in the same way Ill Do Universals Exist Some Trivial Arguments A Yellow exists 1 The following is a true statement Y Yellow is a color 2 The truth of Y entails that yellow exists a Y is a statement of the form Va is F b The truthconditions for a statement of the form a is F1 are that a refer to something and that FF apply to that thing c If yellow refers to something it refers to yellow 3 So yellow exists B Yellow is a universal 1 A universal is something that many particulars can have in common 2 The sun lemons and school buses are yellow 3 So many particulars have yellowness in common From 2 4 So yellow is a universal From 1 3 C U 39 39 are not 39J39 39 U 39 39 are not words or ideas in the mind 1 Yellow is a property of lemons 2 No word or idea is a property of lemons 3 So yellow is not a word or idea Phil 3340 Notes 20 BonJour on NonEuclidean Geometry I Background NonEuclidean Geometry amp Relativity Euclidean geometry Embraces the axiom of parallels Given a line and a point not on the line there is exactly one line parallel to the given line passing through the given point NonEuclidean geometries Replace the axiom of parallels with one of the following Given a line and a point not on the line there are no lines parallel to the given line passing through the given point Or Given a line and a point not on the line there are more than one line parallel to the given line passing through the given point With the former the angles of a triangle will add up to more than 180 With the latter the angles of a triangle will add up to less than 180 About the mathematics The axiom of parallels can t be derived from the other axioms NonEuclidean geometries are formally consistent They can also be modeled Ex The surface of a sphere NonEuclidean spaces are said to be curved Some are more curved than others they deviate more quotom Euclidean geometry The physics Einstein s explanation of gravitational effects 1 Spacetime is nonEuclidean curved Degree of curvature proportional to massenergy concentration 2 Objects travel in straight paths through spacetime unless acted on by forces Note No force of gravity in this theory This is supported by the gravitational bending of light around the sun ll Supposed Philosophical Implications Traditional rationalist view Geometry is an example of synthetic a priori knowledge But look Einstein proved that geometry is empirical Also Supposed a priori knowledge is unreliable We can only trust observation So traditional rationalism is false Ill BonJour s Response B 0nJ0ur s moderate rationalism A priori insight is fallible So this example wouldn t refute moderate rationalism evenif the empiricists were right about geometry An alternative to general relativity Two possible theories that are empirically equivalent see picture below 1 Curved spacetime no special forces Objects remain rigid travel in straight paths 2 Flat spacetime with universal forces Objects shapes distorted travel in curved paths around gravitational sources Imagine two surfaces Surface 1 Fixedlength rods moving on a curved surface Surface 2 Rods affected by universal forces on a at surface Objects in 2 are the shadows of objects in 1 Imagine a light shining down from above surface 1 casting shadows of the objects in surface 1 onto surface 2 The objects in 2 occupy exactly those shadows Note that they get the same geometry See why A1 Note A239 is smaller than A2 object Surface 2 expands when it moves towards the cen Einstein favors 1 But 2 might be better Why An a priori ins1 Given a line and a point not on the line there one line parallel to the given line passing through the given point Phil 3340 Notes 21 Review of unit 3 Know these concepts amp distinctions analytic vs synthetic a priori vs empirical universals particulars acquaintance description Euclidean vs nonEuclidean geometry axiom of parallels Know what these positions are Empiricism Rationalism Incl moderate rationalism Kantianism Positivism Verifimtionism More on Kant s ideas What sort of things he considers synthetic a priori Roughly how he thinks it is possible Implication for knowledge of things in themselves More on positivism Positivist view of Math Logic Ethics Metaphysics Philosophy in general 3 kinds of meaningful sentences Objections The selfre ltation problem The circularity objection g guine The two dogmas Confirmation holism His view of synonymy meanings analyticity What s wrong w verification criterion of meaning Web of belief difference between analytic amp empirical statements How we choose which beliefs to revise More on Geomet The axiom of parallels Fundamental posits of General Relativity Why General Relativity is a challenge to rationalism On the example of the two surfaces Einsteinian view of it BonJour s view Russell s rationalism His view of universals What we are acquainted with Relation btw universals amp a priori kn Argument for why we must have acquaintance w universals Phil 3340 Notes 9 The Infinite Regress Problem I The Infinite Regress Problem Introduction Basic Ideas Sometimes we believe things for reasons This is one alleged way a belief can be justified Justi catory dependence Jp dep Jq This means you would need to be j usti ed in believing q in order to be justi ed in believing p Jq is a precondition for Jp This is true if q is your reason for believing p It may be true even if q isn t your actual reason for believing p but is somehow presupposed or required by your belief that p Examples below JP means you have justi cation for P Does not entail that you actually believe P Properties of Just Dep Asymmetric amp Transitive The Structure of Justification Our justi ed beliefs may have one of four structures l V 42 Wi 3 WV NM LA The In nite Regress Argument for Skepticism 1 S knows has a justi ed belief that P only if S has some reason for believing that P Premise S s reason for believing that P must also be known Premise There are only 3 possible kinds of series of reasons a circular series b in nite regress and c the foundationalist structure Premise A circular series of reasons does not generate knowledge justi cation Premise No one can complete an in nite series of reasons Premise The foundationalist structure cannot yield knowledge justi cation From 1 2 Therefore we have no knowledge justi ed belief From 36 wk 8094 See following sections for arguments for 1 4 5 III Against Foundationalism Candidates for foundational beliefs Perceptual beliefs P There is a white piece of paper before me This depends on Q I have the capacity to discriminate white pieces of paper U There are no factors present that would probably cause me to make mistakes about P Beliefs about immediate experiences P It appears to me that something is blue This depends on U There are no factors present that would probably cause me to make a mistake about P About the argument here Similar points could be made about any allegedly basic belief Oakley is not claiming that we infer P from U in the above examples He is claiming that IP depends on IU Argument for this If U were not justified then P would not be justi ed Think about Is this sufficient for IP dep IU Two foundationalist responses that Oakley preempts l U just has to be true we don t have to justifiedly believe it But in Oakley s cases U is true 2 U isn t part of the justification for P but U would be a defeater for it But in Oakley s cases U is not justified so no defeater is present IV Against the Coherence Theory A Intuition circular reasoning is vicious Coherentist says big circles are okay only little circles are bad This seems arbitrary B The alternate coherent systems objection Possible to construct alternative coherent systems ofbeliefs one including P one including P Thus both P and P would be justi ed This means neither is justified So nothing is justified by coherence Reply Only actually held beliefs count C Justification too easy to generate 1 Coherence theory implies that if S has a coherent set of beliefs then any arbitrary belief can easily be justified Assume P Q R and S are coherent T is an unrelated belief The following is also coherent PampT QampT RampT SampT Therefore PampT etc would be justified Therefore T is justi ed So any arbitrary belief may easily be justi ed 2 But one cannot easily render any arbitrary belief justi ed even if one has a coherent system 3 So the coherence theory is false V Against ln nitism Problems 1 How to distinguish in nite series of justified beliefs from in nite series of unjustified beliefs 2 How to know that we have an in nite series Difficult to articulate even a few stages of the series If P is justi ed by an in nite series P could equally well be justified Perhaps any belief could be justified by finding some infinite series 5 Too easy to have justified beliefs according to infinitism Suppose I believe There is a carpet the first foot of which is red There is a carpet the first 15 feet of which is red There is a carpet the first 175 feet of which is red HAW Surely this isn t enough for all those beliefs to be justified 6 Any arbitrary belief can be justified If the rst series is justi ed then the second one is P1P2P3 P1ampT P2ampT P3ampT VI Objection Skepticism SelfDefeating The above discussion provides the basis for a suitable rejoinder to the critic who would turn the conclusion against itself remarking that if it is true we cannot be justi ed in believing it or indeed the premises from Which it is drawn The convinced skeptic Will of course embrace this conclusion kicking away his ladder along With everything else But in any case IWill regard my current purpose as ful lled if my reader accepts that the conclusion is derivable from the currently unquestioned 385 6 Is this a response to the objection Phil 3340 Notes 10 The Coherence Theory of Justification I Problem for Foundationalism Function of Justi cation Means to truth Therefore justified beliefs should be thereby likely to be true Let B be a foundational belief B has some feature F that renders B foundational 3913 F distinguishes foundational beliefs from arbitrary beliefs Beliefs with F should be thereby likely to be true The believer should be aware of these facts a that B has F and b that beliefs with F are likely to be true Therefore B is not foundational By reductio no belief is foundational The Coherence Theory A Basic idea Alternative views are bad Skepticism foundationalism in nite regress Justification is circular This is not a theory of truth B Nonlinear conception of justification Overall belief system justified by its coherence Individual belief justified by its connection to that system C Coherentist observation How can a coherentist accommodate observation We have cognitively spontaneous beliefs These are initially unjustified See arguments against foundationalism They become justified when many of them fit together into a coherent system The Observation Requirement A coherent belief system is justi ed only if it includes a variety of cognitively spontaneous beliefs and beliefs attributing high reliability to them Ill Objections A Knowledge of one s own beliefs Such knowledge is required by the theory This is empirical knowledge It looks foundational Must know what one s belief system is before one can judge it to be coherent Reply No claim is being made that these metabeliefs possess any sort of intrinsic or independent justification Rather the approximate correctness of these beliefs is an 5 essential presupposition for coherentist justi cation and such justification must be understood as relativized to this presupposition 400 B Mustn t Cognitively Spontaneous Beliefs Have Some Degree of Justification Why are coherent systems likely to be true The Witness Scenario Several Witnesses to a crime are interviewed With no opportunity to collaborate The Witnesses independently tell highly coherent stories Coherence of false stories is highly unlikely So this is evidence of the truth of the stories This is true even if no Witness has any initial degree of credibility For as long as we are confident that the reports of the various Witnesses are genuinely independent of eath other a high enough degree of coherence among them Will eventually dictate the hypothesis of truth telling as the only available explanation of their agreement even indeed if those individual reports initially have a high degree of negative credibility that is are much more likely to be false than true 401 Note Bonlour s last claim is false Phil 3340 Notes 11 An Indirect Realist Foundationalism I Basic Theories of Perception Realism The view that there is an external world ii perception gives us some kind of awareness and knowledge of it Two forms of realism Direct realism We have direct awareness and ii foundational knowledge of the external world Important concept Indirect awareness awareness of x dependent upon awareness of y Direct awareness awareness of x not dependent on awareness of y Examples Thermometer hand in water Indirect realism We are directly aware of mental representations ideas impressions sense data in perception and only indirectly aware of external objects ii We have foundational knowledge about mental representations and inferential knowledge of the external world Sense Data The supposed mental things that we are directly aware of in perception and ii have the properties that perceptually appear to us color shape etc Anti realism The denial of realism Two versions Skepticism We know nothing about the external world Idealism There is no external world ie external to all minds There are only minds and ideas in the mind Direct realism Indirect Realism O o A person being directly aware of a table A person have a mental image of a table caused by a table II Arguments against DR A Argument from Perspective 1 The table you see seems to diminish as you move away from it 2 The real table does not diminish at this time 3 Therefore the table you see the real table Objections 1 is false The table appears farther away not smaller Argument is invalid since seems to diminish does not imply diminishes The argument is thus of the form Fa Gb ab B Argument from Hallucination 1 When you hallucinate a pink rat you re aware of a pink ratshaped thing 2 There is no pink rat shaped physical object 3 Therefore you re aware of a sense datum 4 The proximate causes of this sense datum can be duplicated in a case of normal perception 5 Whenever proximate causes are duplicated so are effects 6 Therefore sense data also occur during normal perception Problemquestion for DR What is the object of awareness in a case of hallucination Reply Nothing because hallucination is not awareness Aware of and perceive are factive 1 is false Compare What is one aware of What does one know by having a false belief Note DR holds that perception is direct awareness of external reality it does not hold that hallucination is C Argument from The Illusoriness of Colors Main argument 1 The only thing one ever sees are colorscolored things 2 Physical objects have no color Only mental images do 3 Therefore one does not see external objects One only sees mental images Arguments for premise 2 a The argument from particles 1 If an object is composed entirely of colorless parts then it is colorless 2 Elementary particles are colorless 3 Physical objects are composed entirely of elementary particles 4 Therefore physical objects are colorless b The argument from relativity other species 1 Different species have different incompatible color perceptions Dogs birds etc 2 If physical objects have color then at most one species is right and the others are wrong From 1 3 It is false that one or no species are right While the others are wrong 4 So physical objects do not have color c The argument from relativity other people As above except that 1 Different people have different incompatible color perceptions normal variations between people color blindness variations in lighting conditions Ill How We Know of the External World Best explanation for patterns in our sense data Enables success il predictions of sense data Cat example Objection What about the evil demon BIV dream hypothesis Must rule out these explanations Reply Silliness No one considers such alternatives for scienti c theories IV Objections to IR A T he problem of spatial properties Main argument 1 What we are directly aware of in perception has spatial properties 2 Only physical things have spatial properties not mental things 3 So what we are aware of is physical not mental Question Where could sense data be located 5 possible answers Problems 1 Nowhere a In perception we are aware of things with spatial properties b Whatever has spatial properties has a location c The objects of awareness have lomtions 2 In your head There are no little brown tables in your head when you see a table Wouldn t they get in the way of the brain material that s already there Perhaps sense data brain states But brain states do not have the right spatial properties to be what we perceive 3 Wherever the distal What about dreams hallucinations object is Con ict with the theory of relativity nonlocal causation 4 Wherever the object More con ict with relativity nonlocal causation appears to be What about dreams of nonexistent places Problem with the braininaVat case 5 In an alternate space More con ict w relativity requires separation between space phenomenal space amp time How can things in different spaces interact General bizarreness B The Argument from Indeterm inacy 1 In perception some appearances are indeterminate Examples shades of color apparent distances of objects inability to read far away writing x has an indeterminate appearance x appears to be A V B but x doesn t appear to be A and x doesn t appear to be B Or x appears to have a determinable D but there is no N ka determinate of d of D such that x appears to have d x has indeterminate properties x is A V B but x isn t A and x isn t B Or x has a determinable D but x has no determinate of D If sense data exist then they have all and only the properties they appear to have Asserted by most advocates of sense data Implied by traditional arguments for sense data Nothing can have indeterminate properties This would be a contradiction So sense data do not exist from 13 Phil 3340 Notes 12 A Direct Realist Version of Foundationalism I Foundationalism i Some knowledge is foundational and ii all other knowledge is based on foundational knowledge Foundational beliefknowledge Beliefknowledge that has foundational justi cation Foundational Justification noninferential justi cation justi cation that does not depend on nther beliefs Traditional Arguments for Foundationalism A The Infinite Regress Argument 1 A series of reasons must have 1 of 3 structures a Circular structure b In nite regress c Foundationalist structure Circular reasoning cannot yield knowledgejusti ed beliefs No one has an in nite series of reasons Therefore 1c is the only possible structure of knowledgejusti ed beliefs From 1 2 3 There is knowledgejusti ed belief 6 So foundationalism is true From 4 5 B The Appeal to Examples a I know that I am thinking b I know that A A I don t know either of these by giving arguments for them Ill Question for Foundationalism What if anything differentiates foundational beliefs from arbitrary beliefs A Principle of F oundational Justification Phenomenal Conservatism If it seems to S that P then S thereby has at least primafacie justi cation for believing that P It seems to S that P This is a sui generis propositional attitude Reported in English by it seems that P it appears as if P P is obvious P is plausible etc Not a belief Not under voluntary control Often una ected by beliefs Includes perceptual experiences quasimemories intuitions Justification This is read in an internalist sense It addresses questions like What am Ito believe Foley More elaborately What does it make sense for S to believe om the standpoint of his desire for true beliefs 11 and the absence of false beliefs and given his present internal state Prima F acie Justi cation is a Foundational but b Defeasible IV Why accept PC PC is foundationally justified a b PC is selfevident Bear in mind The intemalist sense of justification All beliefs based on appearances All arguments against PC are selfdefeating 1 To make an argument foragainst anything we must be able to distinguish between serious arguments amp pseudoarguments Serious Ar ment Pseudo Argymenm A B 1 To know that P one must have a reason 1 7 9 for believing that P 2 Therefore one can never know 2 One s reason must also be known anything 3 One cannot have circular reasons 4 One cannot have an infinite regress of C reasons 1 There are 17 inhabited planets in the 5 The only structures of a series of Andromeda galaxy reasons are a circular b in nite 2 If there are 17 inhabited planets in regress or c starting from something the Andromeda galaxy then there is no reason for skepticism is false 6 Therefore one can never know 3 Therefore skepticism is false anything 2 We distinguish serious arguments amp pseudoarguments on the basis of what appears truevalid on its face 3 Therefore our way of distinguishing serious arguments amp pseudoarguments presupposes PC From 2 4 Therefore all argumentation presupposes PC From 1 3 5 Therefore all arguments against PC are selfdefeating From 4 More generally 1 Nearly all beliefs including relevant epistemological beliefs rest on appearances 2 A belief is justified only if what it is based on is a source of justification for the proposition believed 3 If PC is false appearances are not a source of justification for beliefs 4 If PC is false nearly all beliefs including relevant epistemological beliefs are unjustified From 1 2 3 5 So alternative epistemological theories to PC are selfdefeating if such a theory is true our belief in it would be unjustified From 4 Phil 3340 Notes 13 Moral Knowledge I The Problem of Moral Knowledge How do we know evaluative truths Several theories 1 Noncognitivism There are no evaluative truths or falsehoods There are no evaluative propositions 2 Skepticism There are evaluative propositions but we can t know any of them Ethical naturalism Evaluative knowledge is empirical Ethical intuitionism Evaluative knowledge is apriori a Some evaluative truths are selfevident and known by ethical intuition b All other evaluative knowledge depends on those bu The Concept of Intuition Initial intellectual appearances Appearance the mental state you are in when you say it seems to me that P where P is some proposition T 1 1 1 1 1 that depend on just thinking amp understanding as opposed to sense perception memory or introspection Initial appearances the way things appear prior to reasoning Examples The shortest path between two points is a straight line No object can be red and blue at the same time IfA is inside B and B is inside C then A is inside C Examples from ethics Suffering is bad Other things being equal one should bring about good things rather than bad things If A is better than B and B is better than C then A is better than C III Phenomenal Conservatism If it seems to S that P then S thereby has at least prima facie justification for believing that P The selfdefeat argument for PC 1 Almost all beliefs are based on appearances Exceptions faith selfdeception 2 So if PC is false then all beliefs are unjustified 3 So one cannot be justified in believing an alternative view to PC IV Important Points about Intuition Intuitions are not merely beliefs Examples Organ Harvesting A doctor in a hospital has five patients who need organ transplants otherwise they will die They all need different organs He also has one healthy patient in for a routine checkup who happens to be compatible with the five Should the doctor kill the healthy 13 patient in order to distribute his organs to the ve others Trolley Car Problem A runaway trolley is heading for a fork in the track If it takes the left fork it will collide with and kill ve people if it takes the right fork it will collide with and kill one person None of the people can be moved out of the way in time There is a switch that determines which fork the trolley takes It is presently set to send the trolley to the left You can ip the switch sending the trolley to the right instead Should you ip the switch Some intuitions are universal Example Easy Trolley Car Problem As in Trolley Car Problem except that there is no one on the right fork if the trolley goes down the right fork it will run into a pile of sand which will safely stop it Should you ip the switch Not all intuitions need be true But intuitions are presumed true until proven false Not all moral judgements are intuitions V Common Objections A We need arguments for believing intuition to be reliable Response This is a global skeptical argument It entails that no one can know anything whatsoever Global skepticism not relevant here Besides its being absurd we re interested in what might make ethics different from other fields like science B Intuitionists cannot explain disagreement l Moral disagreements are common 2 lntuitionism can t explain why moral disagreements occur 3 Antirealism can 4 So antirealism is better than intuitionism Responses a The prevalence of nonmoral disagreements Examples Who shot JFK The MeadFreeman controversy Sports controversies EinsteinBohr debate No one thinks that any of these things are subjective The fallibility of human beings Humans have numerous sources of error Confusion ignorance oversight mi sunderstanding incomplete understanding bias miscalculation etc Disagreements are especially common in 4 kinds of cases i When people have strong personal biases esp selfinterest ii When people defer to their culture iii When people defer to religion iv All philosophical issues 5 O C Intuitionists cannot resolve disagreement 1 If two people have differing intuitions the intuitionist can give no way to resolve the disagreement 2 If a metaethical theory provides no way of resolving some disagreements then the theory is false 3 So intuitionism is false Responses a Some ethical disagreements can be resolved by appeal to ethical arguments b What s the justification for 2 c No other theory provides a way of resolving all ethical disagreements D Intuitionism is weird 1 Intuition is weird 2 Objective moral values are weird 3 If something is weird it doesn t exist 4 So intuition and objective moral values don t exist Responses Is there objective weirdness a If there is no objective weirdness then weirdness isn t evidence of nonexistence b If there is objective weirdness what is it 139 Weird very different from most other things Why think that weird things in this sense don t exist ii Weird counterintuitive Intuition is not counterintuitive Nor are moral properties iii Weird poorly understood Why think weird things in this sense don t exist Phil 3340 Notes 14 Review of Unit 2 Know these terms concepts Direct realism Indirect realism Idealism Skepticism Sense data Indeterminacy indeterminate appearances indeterminate properties Foundationalism foundational knowledge Prima facie justification Phenomenal Conservatism Coherentism Cognitively spontaneous beliefs Intuition Know these people s positions Oakley Bonlour Russell Iackson Huemer Know what these arguments are 8 what they support Argument from perspective Argument from hallucination Argument from the illusoriness of colors Russell s argument for external world The problem of spatial properties incl at least one reason Why sense data must be somewhere Why they aren t in your head Why they aren t wherever the distal object is Why they aren t wherever they appear to be Why they aren t in phenomenal space The argument from indeterminacy Infinite regress argument for foundationalism or skepticism Self defeat argument for phenomenal conservatism Oakley s objection to foundational beliefs 8 what he thinks perceptual beliefs depend on 8 what he thinks introspective beliefs depend on Bonlour s objection to foundationalism Bonlour on why coherent beliefs are likely to be true Objections to coherentism Circular reasoning objection Alternate coherent systems Objections to intuitionism Reliability objection 8 intuitionist response Explanation of disagreement
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