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Phil 1: An Introduction to Philosophy

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  1. Phil 1: An Introduction to Philosophy Instructor: Tim Butzer TA’s: Austin Somers Brian Looper Christopher Cloos

  2. Introductory Material The word “philosophy” comes from the Greek:

  3. Introductory Material The word “philosophy” comes from the Greek: “Philos” “Love”

  4. Introductory Material The word “philosophy” comes from the Greek: “Philos” “Sophia” “Love” “Wisdom”

  5. Introductory Material The word “philosophy” comes from the Greek: “Philos” “Sophia” “Love” “Wisdom” Literally translated, then, “philosopher” means “lover of wisdom.”

  6. Introductory Material But what does “wisdom” mean?

  7. Introductory Material But what does “wisdom” mean? Proposal 1: Knowing, and being able to instruct others on how to lead a good, fulfilling life. Very few people who call themselves “philosophers” today fit this description.

  8. Introductory Material But what does “wisdom” mean? Proposal 2: “Wisdom” just means an interest in learning and discovering knowledge. This definition doesn’t single out philosophers.

  9. Introductory Material What distinguishes philosophy from other disciplines is its subject matter and methodology.

  10. Main Branches of Philosophy • Metaphysics • Epistemology • Ethics

  11. Main Branches of Philosophy • Metaphysics • Epistemology • Ethics

  12. Metaphysics • The study of the most general features of reality:

  13. Metaphysics • The study of the most general features of reality: • What is the nature of space and time? • Why is there something rather than nothing? • What kinds of things exist? • Do numbers exist? If so what are they and how do they relate to physical things? • What is it for something to be composed of other things?

  14. Metaphysics • What is it for one thing to cause another? • What are minds, and how do they relate to bodies? • What are properties (e.g. red) and how do they relate to they things that instantiate them (e.g. a stop sign)? • What is required for A to be identical to B? • What is required for an entity to possess free will? Do we?

  15. Main Branches of Philosophy • Metaphysics • Epistemology • Ethics

  16. Epistemology • “Episteme” is Greek for “knowledge.” Thus epistemology is translated as “the study of knowledge” • Epistemologists are interested in how we come to know things, and how we come to have justified beliefs.

  17. Epistemology • Some questions that interest epistemologists:

  18. Epistemology • Some questions that interest epistemologists: • What is knowledge? • What does it take to possess knowledge? • Do we or can we know anything? If so, what? • What makes a belief justified? • Are we or can we be justified in believing anything? If so, what?

  19. Epistemology • Do you have to always have reasons supporting a belief in order for it to be justified/known? • How and when are you justified in believing something that someone else tells you? • What does it take to have knowledge of things like mathematics and logic? • Can you know anything by using your senses? Can you know anything without using your senses?

  20. Main Branches of Philosophy • Metaphysics • Epistemology • Ethics

  21. Ethics • Ethics is the study of morality. It is the study of what we ought and ought not do (morally speaking) and why we ought or ought not do it.

  22. Ethics • Ethics is the study of morality. It is the study of what we ought and ought not do (morally speaking) and why we ought or ought not do it. • What makes an action right or wrong? • Do only the consequences of an action matter to its moral status? • Are there objective moral facts, or are all such facts relative to the society/culture/time in which one finds oneself? • Are there moral facts at all, or is it the case that nothing is morally permissible or impermissible?

  23. Ethics • Is abortion morally permissible? • Under what conditions is it morally permissible to start a war? • What kinds of actions are morally permitted to soldiers in fighting wars? • Are we morally obligated to give to charity? • Is raising animals and slaughtering them in order to eat them morally permissible?

  24. Some other Disciplines • Philosophy of Mind • Philosophy of Language • Logic • Political Philosophy • Philosophy of Science • Philosophy of Math • Aesthetics

  25. Philosophical Methodology While some of the preceding topics bleed over a bit into various sciences (e.g. physics, cognitive psychology, political science) philosophers employ a different methodology than these empirical disciplines.

  26. Philosophical Methodology Instead of formulating hypotheses and running experiments to test them, philosophers typically conduct their investigations using reason and arguments.

  27. Vocabulary • Argument: An attempt to present rational support for a conclusion. This consists of presenting a series of premises that collectively support the desired conclusion

  28. Vocabulary • Argument: An attempt to present rational support for a conclusion. This consists of presenting a series of premises that collectively support the desired conclusion • Premise: A proposition which purports to support a conclusion

  29. Vocabulary • Argument: An attempt to present rational support for a conclusion. This consists of presenting a series of premises that collectively support the desired conclusion • Premise: A proposition which purports to support a conclusion • Conclusion: The proposition an argument attempts to rationally support or prove.

  30. Vocabulary Argument 1: • The Bible is the word of God. • God is infallible, therefore the word of God is infallible. • The Bible says that God exists. • Therefore, God exists.

  31. Vocabulary Argument 1: • The Bible is the word of God. • God is infallible, therefore the word of God is infallible. • The Bible says that God exists. • Therefore, God exists. What are the premises and conclusions of this argument? Is this a good argument?

  32. Vocabulary • Claims, sentences, propositions, or premises are true or false.

  33. Vocabulary • Claims, sentences, propositions, or premises are true or false. • Arguments are valid or invalid, sound or unsound.

  34. Vocabulary An argument is valid if and only if the truth of its premises guarantee the truth of the conclusion.

  35. Vocabulary An argument is valid if and only if the truth of its premises guarantee the truth of the conclusion. In other words, in a valid argument, if the premises are true, the conclusions must be true.

  36. Vocabulary Question: Can a valid argument have a false conclusion?

  37. Vocabulary Answer: YES!

  38. Vocabulary Answer: YES! Argument 2: • If I had woken up late today, then I would have been late for lecture. • I woke up late. • Therefore, I was late to lecture.

  39. Vocabulary An argument is sound if it is both valid and has true premises.

  40. Vocabulary An argument is sound if it is both valid and has true premises. Question: Can a sound argument have a false conclusion?

  41. Vocabulary Answer: NO!

  42. Vocabulary Answer: NO! • An argument is valid just in case the truth of the premises guarantees the truth of the conclusion. • If a valid argument also has true premises, then the conclusion has to be true.

  43. Argument 3: • All freight trains are insects. • All insects have six legs. • Therefore, all freight trains have six legs. Is this argument valid? Is it sound?

  44. Argument 4: • If all humans are mortal, then Obama is mortal. • Obama is mortal. • Therefore, all humans are mortal. Is this argument valid? Is it sound?

  45. Vocabulary • A posteriori knowledge: Knowledge that is dependent, for its justification on sense-experience.

  46. Vocabulary • A posteriori knowledge: Knowledge that is dependent, for its justification on sense-experience • A priori knowledge: Knowledge whose justification does not depend on sense-experience.

  47. Some Basic Logic • Conjunction:An “and” proposition. E.g. It is raining and the ground is wet. (p&q)

  48. Some Basic Logic • Conjunction:An “and” proposition. E.g. It is raining and the ground is wet. (p&q) • Disjunction: An “or” proposition. E.g. I will go to the store or I will eat lunch.

  49. Some Basic Logic • Conjunction:An “and” proposition. E.g. It is raining and the ground is wet. (p&q) • Disjunction: An “or” proposition. E.g. I will go to the store or I will eat lunch. • Conditional: An “if…then…” proposition. If I eat lunch, then I will eat at Panda Express.

  50. Some Basic Logic • Conjunction:An “and” proposition. E.g. It is raining and the ground is wet. (p&q) • Disjunction: An “or” proposition. E.g. I will go to the store or I will eat lunch. • Conditional: An “if…then…” proposition. If I eat lunch, then I will eat at Panda Express. • Antecedent: The “if” part of a conditional. • Consequent:The “then” part of a conditional.