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53 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Empiricism vs. Rationalism
Everything is from experience; rationalism tries to shows that there is a form of innate knowledge- its through reasoning alone that ewe can know truths. Descartes is trying to rationalize that we do not only need perceptions.
The Foundations of Knowledge
This is a general question philosophers are concerened with answering. They begin with trying to find the basic principle of where knowledge starts from. In this view, knowledge is a kind a of structure in which a foundation is needed just like a huge building is in need of a foundation. Descartes uses the cogito as a foundation of his knowledge of the self which includes the mind and body.- not through the senses (through rational thought)- you can find it in geometry
Descartes' Principle
Descartes' goal is to completely demolish everything he knows and start from a foundation. His reasoning or his use of rationalism has led him to beleive that he should reject all of his opinions which are not completely certain and treat them as if they are false. As a result he rejects all opinions becasue he finds that each has a reason for doubt. All the truths he knows caome from the senses and the senses can be deceptive. In the future he will withold his assent from his former beleif in order to discover certainty.
Descartes' doubts about the senses
Whatever Descartes has beleived to be true has been gained through his senses. But senses can sometimes be deceptive so we should never fully trust them. For example, when we dream we seem to sense things that are never there but are there any sure signs that we can distinguish between being asleep and awake? Furthermore God or an evil demon could be deceiving us.
the arguement from illusion
Descartes believes that when we are being deceived by our senses, things appear the same as when our senses are not deceiving. So our experiences are the same whether we are being deceived or not. Furthermore, what we experience falls short of the conclusion we draw from it when we are both being deceived and not deceived. As a result, our senses can never supply certain knowledge of how things are.
cogito ergo sum
Since Descartes rejects everything including all forms of existence, he questions whether he too is in existence. He beleives that he must certainly exist since he is convinced of something. But there is a deciever of a supreme power that is always decieving him. In that case too, he must exist if he is being decieved. With this, Descartes concludes "cogito ergo sum" or "I am, I exist," is true whenever it is concieved in his mind.
"a thinking thing"
With the cogito, Descartes is convinced of his existence. This will go on as long as he is thinking. If he were to cease from thinking, he were to cease from existing. In the strictest sense, he is a thing that thinks. He is a mind with intellect and reason.
Descartes on what sensing really is
Descartes believes that he is a "thinking thing" with sensory perception. He is able to see a light, hear a noise and feel heat. At first he rejects this, because he beleives be is asleep. Yet he certainly seems to see, hear and be warmed, so what he sense cannot be false. This is "having a sensory perception" which makes up "simply thinking."
Descartes' conveivability principle
Descartes believes that everything he understands is capable of being created by God. This capability corresponds whith his understanding of it. Since he can clearly and distinctly understand one thing from another, he is certain that the two things are distinct. This is true since they are capable of being seperated by God.
mind and body as "really distinct"
Descartes beleives that he exists and nothing is part of his essence except the fact that he is a "thinking thing." On the one hand, he has a clear and distinct idea of himself. On the other hand he has a distinct idea of his body which is a thinking non-extended thing. With this, Descartes is certain that he is really distinct from his body and can exist without it.
"a sailor in a ship"
After Descartes establishes that his mind and body are distinct, he acknowledges that nature, through the sensations like pain and hunger, show sthat he is closely joined and intermingled witht his body. He and the body form a unit. But he is not merely present in his body as a sailor is present in a ship. If this were the case would not feel the sensation pain when his body is hurt. Instead he would perceive this damage purely by intellect just how the sailor percieves by sight that his ship is broken.
the bundle theory of self
Hume rejects Descartes idea of the self. Instead, he beleive sthat the self is nothign but a bundle of different perceptions that succed each other. The identity is not able to make several different perceptions into one. Every distinct perception is different, seprarable, and distinguishable from every other perception. The imagination and memory string them together and make them seamless.
Lichtenberg's challenge
According to Strawson, Cartesians cannot explain why consioysness can be ascribed to anything. Descartes argues "I think, therfore I am." Why is Descartes entitled to anything more than "there is thinking"? How can Descartes justify the "I" in the "I think" ?
Ryle against the priveledged access
The Priviledged-Access theory states that a mind is constantly conscious. The mind doesn't the senses to determine what it is thinking about. However, Ryle argues that someone might fail to recognize what his frame of mind is doing. For example, a person does not notice the clock stopped ticking when it did. Takes the behaviorist route; supposed to be arguement agianst Descartes. if i spent as much time with others as I do with myself, I would know them just as well as I know myslef. People arent interchangeable, because they have thier own mind, they just dont necessarily understand it better than anyone else- nothing is completely transparent.
the systematic elusiveness of "I"
Ryle believed that to concern oneself about onself is to perform a higher act, just as it is to concern oneself about anybody else. When you use the word "I" you leave out a part of your essence. For example when you say "I am fat", this does not capture your whole essence. to concern oneself about "I" is just like concerning oneself with others.
"I" as an indexical
Ryle beleives that the words "I" and "you" are not regular proper names. They are equivalent to words such as "today" which is a name of the current day. This class of words is an indexical and it indictates to the hearer the particular thing, episode, person, place or moment referred to. "I" and "you" are sometimes direct indexicals. "I" can indicate the particular person from whom the noise "I" or the written "I" issues.
Nagel's problem about "being somebody"
Nagel believes that the world is centerless even though there are various perspectives. It contains us all and none of us occupy a metaphysicaly priveledged position. Yet, even though the world is centerless, one thing has been left out: the fact that a particular person in it is himself. Since the centerless world contains everybody including Nagel, how can the fact that Nagel view's the world from his point of view be included in a perspectiveless conception.If we can caoncieve an objective view of the world, then why do we make ourselves the center and how can we ascribe it to ourselves? The question of who I am is what is left out of the snow globe- you see yourself in the snow globe, but how can you be in the snow globe if you're looking at it; he concludes that first person is valid. Because if it became third-person, you would once again be in the snow globe. "I" cannot come from facts, but we seem to base so much on facts; its not an observable fact that there are certain things that the individual has special access to. Trivial identity- does not teach us anything new, (such as, a=a or "I am TN"- automatically true if TN makes it); significant identity teaches us something new, (such as coriander=cilantro)- apply it too a centerless world but you cant have a special position. We can account for the content of "I am TN" by considering me as a subject in the impersonal conception of the world- avoids triviality because it depends on the fact that this impersonal conception of the world, though it accords no specail position to TN, is attached to and developed from the perspective of TN.
the problem of other minds
Russell beleives that people observe themselves in occurences such as remembering, reasoing, feeling pleasure or pain. People do not believe that objects have these occurrences but objects that are people do. But this means that the belief in other minds requres a postulate that is not required for physics. This does not use the laws of nature.
the argument from analogy
Russell uses this abstract scheme to see if there are other minds. We know from observations of ourselves, "A causes B" in which A is a "thought" and B is a physical occurrence. If we see a B when we cannot observe an A, we infer that unobserved A. Therefore, the behaviour of other people is analogous to out won and we suppose that it must have analogous causes.
symptoms vs. criteria
Malcolm counteracts Russell with his theory of "symptoms vs. criteria." The criteria for having a mind sucha as interactions make a person automatically know someone esle has a mind. Symptoms are signs that could indicate someone has a mind but it isnt certain. For example, someone touches his head as if he as a headache, this can be a criteria that he has a mind.
the concept of a person as "primitives"
Strawson rejects the Cartesian view that the properties ascribed to body are different to properties ascribed to the mind. Strawson beleieves that Cartesian beleif is primitive. Instead, Strawson beleives that a person is not a fusion of the mind and body. A person functions as a unit of the mind and body and cant be pull apart. The Cartesians beleive the mind and body can be pulled apart.
P-predicates vs. M-predicates
Strawson uses the p-predicates and the m-predicates as a response to the problems of other minds. M-predicates are those which are properly applied to material bodies and don't describe state of consciousness. For example, "weighs 100 pounds." P-predicates are all other predicates we apply to consciousness. For example, "is in pain." THis means that a person can only apply thoughts to himself.
moral responsibility and the ability to do otherwise
Moore believes that moral responsiblity is based on the person's ability to do otherwise. It is a criteria showing that a person wasnt forced to do an action. THis means that the person could have done otherwise and he is free. When a person is free, he is morally responsible.
Determinism vs. indeterminism
Nagel argues for determinsim which rejects moral responsiblity. Nagel beleives that uncontrollable actions influence our decisions and we should not be responsible for them. Ayer supports indeterminism or moral responsibility when a person commited his action freely. However, Ayer supports determinism if a person did not commit his action freely.
compatibilism vs. incompatibilism
Ayer supports compatibilism which is that freewill and determinism is compatible. He beleives they are compatible if someone is forced to do an action. Nagel supports incompatibilsm and that moral responsibility is incompatible with free will. Instead Nagel believes that there is no free will.
Chisolm's cristicism of Moore on "could have done otherwise"
If might be true that a person was caused to do what he did, but it might still be true that if he had chosen otherwise, he would have done otherwise. Chisholm responds by saying that it isn’t true that if a person could have done otherwise, it does not necessarily mean he would have if he had chosen to; a person couldn’t have chosen to do otherwise, then even if (b) is true, (a) is not true
immanent vs. trasuent casuation
Immanent - an agent causes an event or a state of affairs
Transient - an even or state of affairs causes another

The thing the agent immanently causes is some event in his brain. This even, in turn, causes his body to move by the changes in his muscles. Therefore, at least one of the events that are involved in the act is caused by the agent, so that is what we are responsible for.
purposive vs. nonpurposive explanation
necessary vs. contingent propositions
Malcolm- purposive is necessary, because it is true in any world- cannot be contingent on nonpurposive explanations; you cant base a necessary truth on a contingent proposition
the principle of explanatory exclusion
simultaneous nomic equivalents
the "Readiness Potential"
Conscious awareness of an intention to act occurred about 200 milliseconds before the onset of muscle activation. (Measured by asking the subject to report the clock time at which they were aware of intending to act; the conclusion was that a person acts before they are consciously aware of it)
the triggering model of action-explanation
Conscious will could be to serve as a ‘trigger’ that is required to enable the volitional process to proceed to final action; Libet is more dubious of this than the veto-power explanation, because there are at least some habitual, (yet voluntary), actions that occur with no conscious trigger at all
a person vs. a wanton
A wanton only has first-order desires, (basic desires and motivations); a person is capable of second-order volitions, (wanting the desire to have action X be his will); second-order desires are wanting to having the desire to do action X, not necessarily to act on it though
second-order volitions
wanting the desire to have action X be his will); second-order desires, on the other hand, are wanting to having the desire to do action X, not necessarily to act on it though. A person has second-order volitions
Frankfurt on personhood and free will
It is only because a person has second order volitions that he is capable both of enjoying and of lacking a free will. Freedom of action is the freedom to do what one wants to do. Analogously, the statement that a person enjoys freedom of the will means that he is free to will what he wants to will, or to have the will he wants. The assumption that a person is morally responsible for what he has done does not entail that the person was in te psotioon to have whatever will he wanted. Teis assumption does entiail that the person did what he did freely. It is a mistake, however, to believe that someone acts freely only when he is free to do whatever he watns. Even if he willed what he wanted, (second-order volition), it is quite irrelevant to the evaluation of his moral responsibility to inquire whether the alternatives that he opted against were actually available to him. (Were other options actually available, despite what he wanted to want)
the Humean vs. the Platonic view of reason
two views about the role of reason in action. The Humean view: Reason is not a source of motivation, but a faculty of determining what is true and what is false. It could not supply motivation, but it could calculate how to fulfill those desires and serve those ends. The Platonic view: Reason is a source of motivation. The desires of reason are desires for good. Reason is an original spring of action, because valuing is essentially related to thinking or judging good that it is appropriate to speak of wants that are/arise from evaluations as belonging to/originating n the rational part of the soul; (the contrast is with desires, whose objects may not be thought good and which are, thus, in a natural sense, blind or irrational
Watson on desiring vs. valuing
Example: A woman who wants to drown her bawling infant, (desires to drown the infant, but values not drowning her infant). There is nothing in the specification of what an agent desires that singles out some wants as based upon that agent’s values. Rather, it has to do with why the agent wants what it does. For example, I may want to eat, because I want to be well-nourished; because I am hungry; or because eating is pleasant
Watson's criticism of Frankfurt
Why does one necessarily care about one’s higher-order volitions? Since second-order volitions are themselves simply desire, to add them to the context of conflict is just to increase the number of contenders. The agent may not care which of the second-order desires win out. The same possibility arises at each higher order.
moral luck
the doctrine that whatever will happen in the future is inevitable, so that there are no genuinely open alternatives. It is possible to be fatalist without being determinist, because even if the future course of events cannot be inferred from present circumstances and general laws, it still seems that the future course of events might be fixed and inalterable. If there are two alternatives, one man will inevitably be correct and one will be wrong. If this is true, nothing is or takes place fortuitously and there are no real alternatives. If things did not take place by necessity, an event might just as easily not happen as happen. If a thing is white now, it was true before to say that it would be white. If it was always true to say that a thing is or will be, it is not possible that it should not be or not be about to be that way.
the sea battle arguement
Consider a supposedly contingent fute event such as tomorrow’s sea battle. Even if it isn’t determined whither S will occur, still, its true to say: either it will occur or it will not. But then if one person now saysy “S will occur” one must be right. But whichever person is right would have been right 10,000 years ago. And if it was already true 10,000 years ago that there will be a sea battle then the occurrence of S is not contingent but fated. In conclusion, there can’t be contingent future events (expressing events that could happen or not happen).
the law of the excluded middle
We get fatalism from the prospect if there is or isn't a sea battle. We cannot accept this because there seems to be a whole body of things that leads to something occurring. For example, a coat be cut in half. These are called future contingents because they could happen but they don't have to. So we preserve the possibility by either denying the excluded middle which Aristotle rejects because it is true that the sea battle will or wont happen or we could reject the law of bivalence that says propositions have a truth value.
the principle of bivalence
For any proposition p, either p is true or p is false. Aristotle uses this to reject fatalism. Some propositions don’t have to have a determinant truth value. Aristotle uses this principle to reject fatalism.
Epicurus' awareness argument
If you believe that death is nothing to us, then it is the privation of all awareness. A right understanding that death is nothing to us makes the mortality of life enjoyable. For life has no terror for those who apprehend that there are no terrors for them in ceasing to live. Nothing is good or bad for me unless I’m aware of it. I’m not aware of being dead. Therefore death is neither good or bad for me.
Epicurus' time argument
Lucretius's symmetry argement
Nagel on Epicurus' questionable assumption
Nagel’s Natural View – Life is worth living even when the bad elements of experience are plentiful and the good ones are too meager to outweigh the bad ones on their own, because additional positive weight is supplied by experience itself. People might argue that there is no one to suffer the death and why should this be any worse than the state you were in before you were born? Nagel responds by saying that you have to know the history to tell if it’s a misfortune.
the A-series vs. the B-series
A-Series: Past/Present/Future; varies; B-Series: series of positions which run from earlier to later; relative to other occurrences, so remains the same
McTaggert on time and change
In order for there to be time, things must change; something may remain unchanged, but still other things changed relatively while it remained unchanged; a universe where nothing changed would be timeless; change only corresponds with a-series, where everything changes, because it is relative; b-series indicates permanent relations, so no moment could ever cease to be, nor could it become another moment; the A-series alone is insignificant, however, because nothing can be past, present, and future at the same time. It assumes the existence of time in order to account for the way in which moments are past, present, and future. Time then must be presupposed to account for the A series, but we have already seen that the A series has to be assumed in order o account for time.
the dimensional view of time
the dynamic view of time
"now" as an idexical