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23 Cards in this Set

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Plato's myth of the cave: the story and how it pertains to philosophy

People in a cave are chained in a dark cave facing a wall with a fire behind them that casts a shadow of whatever passes it onto the wall for the people to see. There is an opening above the fire out of the cave.

Force the person out of the chains and to lead them out of the cave for them to see everything that they aren't used to and are uncomfortable with. They will get used to it.

"ignorance is bliss" or the truth? Philosophy is an activity: getting out of the cave and the climbing into the light is the activityPhilosophy is hard work: getting out of the cave requires questioning and critical reconsideration of basic beliefs in ways that you or society may not support. Aim of philosophy is freedom: the breaking of the chains and having the freedom of movement and perception to explore the world in an expanded manner, rather than a narrow and rigid way. Examine our most basic assumption: the prisoner who gets to see what was creating the shadows that he had believed to be true prior to experiencing the real truth.

Divisions of philosophy (epistemology, metaphysics, and the 4 philosophies)

Epistemology - "study of knowledge." how we know something. Focuses on structure, reliability, extent, and kinds of knowledge we have.

Metaphysics - study if the most general or ultimate characteristics of reality or existence I. E. the place of humans in the universe, purpose of reality, and the nature of the mind, self and conscious. Also includes religion.

. . . . . . . . . . . Determinism - everything occurs in accordance to a pattern or law.

Logic, ethics, social, political philosophies.


Athens Greek 469 b.c. Questioned people when he was growing with thought provoking questions such as "what is justice? What does it mean?" and plumb a person's system of beliefs which exposed emptiness and weakness. This made people angry. After the flourishing Athens broke down after being defeated in war, and being struck with a 30 year civil war, the Athenians blamed Socrates for weakening traditional values and beliefs as a scapegoat. He was sentenced to death for corrupting the youth, creating gods, and going against them.


Takes place at the court of the king, where Socrates is to learn more about the indictment for "unholiness" brought against him for questioning traditional beliefs. He sees an old friend, euthyphro, who is a priest, arrive and converses with him.

-Socrates informs he is being trialed for making up gods and disobeying old ones.

-he questions if euthyphro charging his own father with murder is unholy.

-euthyphro claims holiness is doing what he does (charging his father) and is what God loves.

-Socrates claims that some gods like things that other gods don't, causing a problem. .

Euthyphro problem - is it holy because God loves it, or does God love it because it is holy?

. . . . . Holy because God loves it: morality is arbitrary

. . . . . God loves it because it's holy: God is not all powerful.


The republic

Socrates argues what justice is with a cynical teacher who claims to know (thrasymachus)

-Socrates explains he does this know what justice is

-thrasymachus claims justice is doing what benefits the stronger, which Socrates questions the meaning to.

-Socrates retorts by asking if the stronger can make mistakes. Thrasymachus says yes they can. Socrates then says that thrasymachus had contradicted himself by saying justice is for the benefit of the stronger, while the stronger can make a mistake and pass law mistakenly which will be of no benefit to them.

The apology

Takes place not too long after euthyphro. Socrates is explaining himself before and after his sentencing.

-he claims people were not as wise as they claimed to be, since they claimed to know what they did they didn't know; Socrates didn't claim to know anything he didn't know.

-the young owed him and questioned him in the same manner, which made the older claim Socrates corrupted them even when they could not explain how they were corrupted.

-he explains that whether he is acquited or not, he would continue teaching philosophy since "the unexamined life is not worth living."

-he is sentenced to death

-Socrates isn't scared; it's either eternal nothingness or teaching and learning philosophy in the afterlife. "no evil can happen to a good man either in this life or in death."


While in jail the day before his death, an old friend named Crito walks in and tries to get Socrates to escape.

-Socrates says that we shouldn't listen to the opinions of the many but only what is right.

- he also says that it would inflict evil upon others since the government had him born, raised him, and Socrates agreed to obey the laws; leaving would collapse the government since it's laws were not followed, and therefore it would be wrong for Socrates to escape.


View that knowledge can be obtained by relying on reason without the aid of senses. Ex. Mathematics.

-innate ideas

-a priori

-necessarily true.


Knowledge can only be obtained through sense experience.

-no innate ideas

-a posteriori


Skeptical and doubtful. During his time, new scientific discoveries overturned the established views, such as the newfound discovery that the earth was round (galileo)

-searched for a firm belief built upon foundation, since he realized people were wrong in the past.

-"I think, therefore I am, " was the foundation and conclusion of his skepticism on his existence. He claimed that his questioning of his own existence confirmed his existence, since he could think about it.

-senses decieve: could be sleeping, could be hallucinating, could be" evil genius" deceiving us. Only thing certain is "I think, therefore I am."

-confirms God is real, since the idea of a perfect being in an imperfect beings mind couldn't have been thought up by an imperfect being, and only could be placed the perfect being which is God. Also, since God is perfect, he would not deceive us, so deception is ruled out.

The wax example (who it was and what it was)

Descartes smelled, tasted, touched, listened to, and examined some wax in its regular form, and then melted it over a fire and examined it again with his five senses. He came to the conclusion that despite the differences of the forms of wax, that reason without the aid of senses, is what knows the body of wax.

Innate ideas

Logic and math. A line in our head doesn't look like a line in real life. In our minds, equal means perfectly identical, but in real life, nothing is perfectly identical.

Another example : the proposition that every event has a cause. We are not there to experience every event in the world, so how do we know that there is a cause for every event?

Plato's meno

Socrates draws a square on the ground for a slave boy and asks how to draw a square doubled in size. The boy said to double the sides of it, and quickly realizes the square would be 4 times larger in that case when Socrates drew it. Socrates shows how to draw a doubled square using 4 halves of a square in the forms of isosoles triangles. The kid then recognizes it as a doubled square, which was claimed to be an innate idea by Socrates, since the slave owner, meno, claimed that the boy wasn't educated. Plato claims that innate ideas are ideas that were acquired before birth and are merely recalled in life, and therefore that the soul is eternal.

John locke

Empiricist. Believed in no innate ideas, since there were no ideas that all humans share.

"tabula rasa" blank slate of the mind, knowledge is obtained through sense experience.

Problem he faces: if we only know what our sense experience shows us, there is no way of knowing if our experiences match the world beyond our sense experience, or whether there is a world beyond our sense experience.

-primary and secondary qualities

Primary qualities

Qualities that are measurable. They are reliable indicators of the world outside of us since they are qualities that are "copies" of the qualities that are really in objects.


Secondary qualities

Qualities that are in the perceiver such as color, taste, sound, etc.


George Berkley (solipsism)

-agreed with Locke that secondary qualities are subjective, but argued primaries are also since they are inseparable from the secondary.

Ex: the size and shape and motion of an object depend on the perception of the perceiver

-claims primary qualities that we perceive cannot match what actually is of the external objects.

-nothing exists outside the mind. (solipsism)



Distinguished impressions and ideas.

-causality - the idea that when an object causes another to do something, there is a connection between them, some kind of power/force by which the cause exerts it's causality on.

- circular reasoning (past worked so it should work now since past worked.) no reason to believe this.

Francis Bacon

Father of empiricism.

Believed scientists should not rely on the past, but should investigate nature through careful sense observation and experimentation. Gather particulars up and then generalize

John Stuart miller

Expanded on bacon:

-accumulate observations


-repeated confirmation

William whewell

Stated the greatest scientific advances require a hypothesis which is tested, which requires reason.


Claimed that hypothesis must be falsifiable through observable events.


Old science is replaced with new science that disproves the old science

The elders usually resist the new "paradigms" even though they aren't necessarily "truer" than the old.

A good scientific theory is accurate, consistent, broad, simple, and fruitful.