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25 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
What is philosophy?
Though the layman may define philosophy as “a system of beliefs” or a worldview (i.e. “What’s your philosophy?”), the sophisticated academic will likely use one of the following possible definitions for the discipline:

A) “The study of the general principles of some particular branch of knowledge, experience, or activity.”
B) “That department of knowledge or study which deals with ultimate reality, or with the most general causes and principles of things.”
C) Mr. A. likes Socrates' definition: philosophy is the love (and therefore pursuit) of wisdom: how to live a good life; examining what it is good to be; fostering virtues in self, community, society; examining the nature of reality and our place in it.
What is the Analytic tradition of philosophy?
Analytic philosophy is the dominant philosophical school in the majority of English-speaking and Nordic countries (in contrast to Continental philosophy). It was defined in part by the works of GE Moore, Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein and their early 20th Cent. peers. The basic tenents of the Analytic tradition stress logical analysis (the resolving of complex ideas into simple elements) rather than synthesis of knowledge to solve philosophical problems. As a "style" of doing philosophy, it emphasizes sharply-defined clarity of language, logical precision, and empirical science over attempting to pursue ill-defined or broadly-considered "holistic" issues (e.g., "The meaning of life," "the human condition," etc.). Think "scientific realism" vs. "humanistic" philosophy (see Continental tradition).
What is Continental Philosophy?
A form of Western Philosophy contrasted with Analytic Philosophy. It often relates to the ideas of Hegel, Heidegger, Sartre, and other "humanistic" philosophers in the vein of Romanticism. It includes phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, strucuralism, and deconstructionism. It is named such as it was the dominant form of philosophy in Continental Europe, while Analytic Philosophy was more popular in English-speaking countries.
What is the "Socratic Method"?
The Socratic Method is a form of philosophical discussion and learning. It involves two speakers, one leader and one member agreeing to certain assumptions being submitted for his acceptance or denial. The speaker asks a series of questions about a central topic and receives answers from the others involved. Typically, these discussions are oppositional and are “won” when one member contradicts himself.
Define soundness. What constitutes a sound logical argument?
A logical argument is sound if all of its premises are true and if it is valid. A sample sound argument would be:

All humans will eventually die.
IB students are humans.
Therefore, IB students will eventually die.

This argument is sound because its premises are true and it is valid. Note that an argument can be valid without being sound. For example:

All IB students hate the weekend.
Allen Roberts is an IB student.
Therefore Allen Roberts hates the weekend.

This argument is valid, but its first premise is false, so it is not sound.
Define "logos"
In Greek, "logos" means "rational account of" (usually as in "through words"), or, more generally, "study of." It forms the root of the words "logic" and "-ology" (as in "biology"). According to the ancient Greeks, Logos is the underlying form and order of reality, of which all people are unconsciously aware. Logos describes the inherent knowledge that people have of each other and their world.
What is "mythos"?
In Greek, "mythos" means "story" or "legend". A speech, tale, or story used to explain something, as opposed to a more analytic, rational account (logos). OR, explaining phenomena by divine agency (your car broke down because God is angry with you) versus explaining phenomena w/ logos' science/reason (your car broke down because the tires were not accurately attached).
What is culture?
Culture is defined as the handed down beliefs and practices of previous generations. An example of this would be our general scientific knowledge, which has been passed down over many generations and has been gradually altered by previous scientists.
What is Meta-Physics?
Meta-physics is simply the word that Plato used to describe the book that came after physics. "Meta-Physics" just happened to be about philosophy and the term followed the subject.
What is ontology?
Ontology is the modern branch of philosophy that deals with what is real. This is one of the fundamental aspects of philosophy because it allows us to establish what we already know so we can move on to more specific philosophical questions. It also seeks to define the concept of being.
What is Ockham’s razor?
Ockham’s razor is the practice of accepting the simplest possible explanation for an observed event or phenomenon. For example, it is impossible for us to absolutely know that we are not all just brains in jars of chemicals, or living in the matrix, or that NASA didn’t fake the whole moon landing thing. Yet rather than torment ourselves with our doubt about such things, we accept the simplest and most obvious explanation for them; that all this is real, that others are conscious beings just like ourselves, and that we really did send people to the moon. Ockham’s razor is a very useful tool, thus, for dealing with the limitations of our knowledge, and preventing ourselves from sinking into the mire of skepticism.
An essentialist explanation deals with the internal structure, or form, of an activity. For example, “the bicycle is red” is an essentialist statement. The statement does not deal with the consequences of the bicycle’s hue, but rather with the nature of the bicycle.
What is a thick vs thin definition?
Thick Definition: A concept that bears a thick definition is one that cannot be explained in an economical manner; it cannot be exhausted by a short definition. In order to understand a thick definition, one must reflect upon experiences, and possibly gain new experiences before it can be comprehended.

Thin Definition: A concept bearing a think definition can be described in an economical manner that can be easily possessed and understood. For example, the object “beach ball” bears a thin definition: a large, light, buoyant ball, used esp. for games at the seashore, swimming pools, etc.
What is a paranormal phenomenon?
A claimed event or occurrence that is not explained scientifically, such as extra-sensory perception or telepathy
What is a thick concept?
Knowledge might be described as a thick concept because it is not exhausted by a short definition and can only be understood through experience and reflection.
What is "emotive meaning"?
A word’s emotive meaning is the emotional “aura” that accompanies it, largely as a result of its connotative descriptive meanings. “Hypocrite” has a negative emotive meaning, while “Leader” has one that is decidedly more positive.
Apparent Memory
Cases in which a person seems to remember something but does not actually remember it, either because it did not happen or happened in a way significantly different from the way the person remembers it as happening.
Example: I have a memory of the time when I was three years old and ate a mushroom out of the my yard. I remember the event as follows: I told my dad what I had done, my parents took me over to the neighbors house, then we all drank white wine in my kitchen, and I proceeded to throw up. In reality (according to my parents) they called 911 and then had to give me a medicine that made me vomit until I had thrown up everything in my stomach.
What does "embodiment" mean?
Embodiment is the physical manifestation of an abstract description. An abstract description would be a description in a magazine about a chess game. The embodiment of this description would be the physical location of the chess pieces on the chess board.
The concept of embodiment applies to the mind-brain issue. Olen states that a creature possesses a mind if its brain embodies a certain psychology, which is an abstract description. We can know if the brain embodies this psychology if the brain has states that correspond to the abstract states of the psychology. This means that the brain state must perform the right functions that correspond with the thoughts, beliefs, fears, hopes and wishes (the psychological states).
What is Pantheism?
Pantheism is the belief that the universe, the empirical world, and everything within it is God. God is in everything we see and everything that exists. Many of the believers of this were considered atheists by their mainly monotheistic societies. Baruch Spinoza was the main philopsopher supporting this approach to religion. He believed that everything was made up of one substance with various attributes and that the universe was a vast sentient organism without a consciousness. He believed that this substance was also God.
Define Falsifiability
Falsifiability is the idea that no hypothesis or assertion may be considered scientific if it does not admit the possibility of contrary evidence. Hypotheses, therefore, are never proven by certain evidence, only supported by data. It is not necessary to have evidence that contradicts a hypothesis, but it must be possible.

Example: Einstein’s theories are falsifiable. Marx’s theories are not.
Explain Popper’s evolutionary principle of scientific process
Scientific knowledge has progressed by a process of evolving theories. An initial theory, called a tentative theory, develops from certain evidence called a theory stimulus. A process of error elimination occurs, in which contradictory evidence is offered, theories are revised, and new theories develop. Theories that withstand any contrary evidence are the “fittest” theories.
Describe the position of scientific realism
Scientific realism is a stance on the question “what defines the success of science?” Scientific realists posit that science aims to produce an ideal, ultimate scientific theory. We are, through the evolution of scientific theories, getting closer to this aim. Scientific realists also claim that theoretical scientific concepts and “unobservables” are derived from objective evidence, thus are just as true as tangible, everyday objects.

Example: atoms are just as real and true as tables and chairs
Explain Popper’s Three-World Conjecture
According to Popper, there are three levels of existence. World One is the phenomenal world, which consists of sensory observation and physical experience. World Two is the mental world, which is comprised of thoughts, perceptions, and mental states. Popper describes World Three as the body of all human knowledge, contained in books, symphonies, and other forms of art. World Two influences World One and World Three is just as important to our daily experience as World One.
Explain Popper’s Historical Idealism
Popper believes that history progresses inexorably toward a pre-determined end. As human knowledge expands with the accumulation of historical experience, we come closer to this ideal end. The nature and specific means of reaching this concluding state cannot be predicted, according to Popper, for "no society can predict, scientifically, its own future states of knowledge.”

Example: we could not have anticipated the harmful effects of single party states before the emergence of single party states occurred.
What is a common criticism of Popper?
Some critics of Karl Popper claim that his ideas are contradictory. If history and science have an ultimate aim and a pre-determined, ideal conclusion, then how can these final theories be falsifiable?