The Love of Wisdom Steven B. Cowan James S. Spiegel
What is Philosophy? Philo + Sophia = Love of Wisdom (love) (wisdom) “Philosophy is about gaining insights into the Big Questions which culminate in a life well-lived.”
What is Philosophy? The Big Questions: • What is the meaning of life? • What are human beings? • Where did we come from? • Are we responsible for how we live? • What happens after we die? • Is there a God? If so, what is God like? • What is real and what is mere appearance? • Can we know the answers to such questions? • Can we know anything at all?
Philosophical Method • The Socratic Method • Dialectic • Socratic Ignorance • The pursuit of virtue • Defining Terms • Using Arguments • Identifying Presuppositions
Introduction to Philosophy Unit 1: The Study of Knowledge
A Little Bit of Logic The Three Laws of Thought • Law of Non-Contradiction • Law of Excluded Middle • Law of Identity Arguments • Deductive • Inductive Validity = a property of deductive arguments in which, if the premises are true, the conclusion must be true. Soundness = a property of deductive arguments that are valid and have true premises.
A Little Bit of Logic Some Valid Argument Forms Categorical Syllogisms • All M are P All S are M All S are P • No M are P All S are M No S are P III. All M are P Some S are M Some S are P
A Little Bit of Logic Some Valid Argument Forms IV. Pure Hypothetical Syllogism If P then Q If Q then R If P then R V. Modus Ponens If P then Q P Q VI. Modus Tollens If P then Q not-Q not-P
A Little Bit of Logic Some Valid Argument Forms VII. Disjunctive Syllogism Either P or Q not-P Q VIII. Constructive Dilemma If P then Q If R then S Either P or R Q or S
A Little Bit of Logic Some Valid Argument Forms IX. Reductio ad Absurdum Assume P (the claim to be proven false) . . . Q not-Q not-P Contradiction!!!
A Little Bit of Logic Some Formal Fallacies The Undistributed Middle All P is M All S is M All S is P Affirming the Consequent If P then Q Q P Denying the Antecedent If P then Q not-P not-Q Affirming a Disjunct Either P or Q P not-Q
A Little Bit of Logic Some Informal Fallacies Division False Cause Hasty Generalization Biased Generalization False Dilemma Begging the Question Argument from Ignorance Equivocation Straw Man Attacking the Person Appeal to Popularity Composition
The Question of Truth Is Anything True? • Relativism –the view that there are no objective truths. • Subjectivism –what counts as true is a matter of individual preference • Conventionalism –what counts as true is a matter of cultural preference • Objectivism –the view that truth is a real feature of the world that is independent of personal or cultural preference
The Question of Truth Is Anything True? “There are no absolute truths.” “All truth-claims are socially conditioned.” It is logically impossible that truth is relative!
The Question of Truth What is Truth? Correspondence Theory of Truth A proposition is true if and only if it corresponds to the way things actually are. The Coherence Theory of Truth A proposition is true if and only if it coheres with the set of beliefs that a person holds. The Pragmatic Theory of Truth A proposition is true if and only if it is useful to the believer in achieving desirable results.
Can We Know? The Skeptical Challenge • Skeptical hypothesis = any logically possible scenario that we apparently cannot rule out and would, if true, call most or all of our ordinary commonsense beliefs into question • If there is a skeptical hypothesis for some belief p of mine, then I do not know p. • There is a skeptical hypothesis for p. • 3. Therefore, I do not know p.
Can We Know? The Rationalist Response • Rationalism = the view that all knowledge comes through human reason • Descartes’ Argument for Material Things • I have an idea of an absolutely perfect being (i.e., God). • Only an absolutely perfect being could be the cause of my idea of it. • Therefore, God exists. • God, by definition, is not a deceiver. • God is the cause of all my cognitive faculties. • Since God is not a deceiver, He would not give me cognitive faculties that are unreliable. • My senses give me ideas of (alleged) material objects. • Therefore, material objects exist.
Can We Know? The Empiricist Response • Empiricism = the view that all knowledge arises from sense experience • Distinction between Sensation & Reflection • The Representational Theory of Perception • Hume’s Skeptical Critique • We can only know our sensory impressions. • We cannot know causal connections. • We have no metaphysical knowledge.
Can We Know? Do We Need Certainty? 1. If there is a skeptical hypothesis for some belief p of mine, then I do not know p. Degrees of Certainty 3 – Beyond all doubt 2 – Beyond a reasonable doubt 1 – More probable than not 0 – Equally probable and improbable
What is Knowledge? Different Kinds of Knowledge • Procedural Knowledge • Experiential/Acquaintance Knowledge • Propositional Knowledge “I know that bachelors are unmarried.” “I know that the Earth is spherical.” “I know that Cowan is really cool.”
What is Knowledge? The JTB Account S knows p if and only if: • S believes p, • p is true, and • S is justified in believing p. The Gettier Problem: It appears that there are counterexamples to the JTB account that show that justified true belief is not sufficient for knowledge.
What is Knowledge? Solutions to the Gettier Problem • Strengthening the justification condition • Adding a fourth condition • The “No-False-Belief” condition • The Defeasibility condition • Replacing the justification condition (reliabilism) For S to know p there must be no true proposition q which, if S were to come to justifiably believe q, he would no longer be justified in believing p.
What is Knowledge? Internalism vs. Externalism Internalism= the view that in order for a belief to be justified, a person must have cognitive access to the justifying grounds for his belief Externalism= the view that in order for a belief to be justified, it is not necessary that a person have cognitive access to the justifying grounds for his belief but only that his belief be produced in an appropriate way
What is Knowledge? Virtue Epistemology “Intellectual Virtue” = an intellectual habit that predisposes a person to acquire beliefs in such a way that their beliefs are more likely than not to be true S knows p only if p is acquired through an act of intellectual virtue.
What is the Structure of Justification? Foundationalism A belief p is justified for a person S if and only if: (1) p is a properly basic belief for S or (2) p is ultimately based on a properly basic belief for S. • Classical Foundationalism A belief B is properly basic for a person S if and only if B is: (1) self-evident to S, (2) incorrigible for S, or (3) evident to the sense of S. • Modest Foundationalism A belief B is properly basic for a person S if it is (1) evidently true to S and (2) S is unaware of any undefeated defeaters of B.
What is the Structure of Justification? The Regress Argument for Foundationalism Suppose one says that p is justified by q, and q by r, etc. Then, either: 1. The regress comes to an end with a justifying belief x that is itself unjustified, 2. The regress continues infinitely, 3. The regress is circular, or 4. The regress comes to an end with a justifying belief x that is itself justified immediately apart from other beliefs. Problem:The myth of the given
What is the Structure of Justification? Coherentism • A belief p is justified for S if and only if it fits within a coherent system of beliefs of S. • Problems: • The isolation problem • The alternative coherent systems problem • The regress problem
What is the Structure of Justification? Contextualism A belief is justified relative to a specific context; beliefs that are justified in one context might not be justified in other contexts. The Relevant Alternatives View A belief p is justified for S in a specific context if S can rule out all the relevant alternatives in that context.
What is the Structure of Justification? Problems for Contextualism • If a person is not justified in a broader context, why would he be justified in the narrower context? Wouldn’t justification in the latter presuppose justification in the former? • Contextualism seems committed to the view that an epistemic regress comes to an end with justifying beliefs that are unjustified. • Contextualism assumes that knowledge requires absolute certainty.
What is Science? • The definition problem • The presuppositions of science • The laws of thought • The general reliability of sense perception • The law of causality • The uniformity of nature • Values
The Nature of Scientific Theory Scientific Realism The view that scientific theories properly aim to provide a true account of the physical world. • Inductivism • The process of confirmation • The problem of induction • Falsificationism
The Nature of Scientific Theory Scientific Non-realism Truth is not the real aim of science. 1. Instrumentalism – The aim of scientific theories is not to describe the world but to solve problems. Theories are preferred because of their usefulness. Problem:Why are some theories more useful than others?
The Nature of Scientific Theory 2. Kuhn’s Philosophy of Science • Scientific observation is theory-laden. • The history of science proceeds through paradigm shifts. Paradigm = a theoretical model and set of problem-solving techniques which guide scientific inquiry • Rival paradigms are incommensurable.
The Nature of Scientific Theory Objections to Kuhn’s View • Kuhn’s view can’t explain the progress of science. • Kuhn’s view can’t explain why some scientific theories are rejected after crucial tests. • Kuhn’s view undermines itself.
The Nature of Scientific Theory 3. Feyerabend’s View of Science • Science as mythology • The tyranny of science and the social ideal of methodological neutrality Problem: Feyerabend’s view can’t explain the progress or practical achievements of science.
The Laws of Nature Perspectives on the Laws of Nature: • The regularity view(Hume) – The laws of nature are mere descriptions of physical regularities. • The instrumentalist view(Dewey) – The laws of nature are useful fictions. • The necessitarian view(Chalmers) – Regularities in nature are due to (logical or causal) necessity. • The theistic view(Swinburne) – The laws of nature are an aspect of divine providence.
Science and Theology Two Kinds of Naturalism: • Metaphysical naturalism • Methodological naturalism Theistic Science • Problems with methodological naturalism • Intelligent design theory
Introduction to Philosophy Unit 2: The Study of Being
Obstacles to Metaphysics Kantian Epistemology • His “Copernican Revolution” • Distinction between noumena and phenomena • Noumena = the unknowable “real” world beyond the mind • Phenomena = the knowable world of appearances organized by the mind. • Problems • Noumena/Phenomena distinction is self-defeating. • Leads to radical relativism and antirealism.
Obstacles to Metaphysics • Logical Positivism • Elevates science as a privileged way of knowing and seeks to eradicate speculative metaphysics • Verification Principle: A proposition is meaningful if and only if it is empirically verifiable in principle. • Problem:Verification principle is self-defeating
What is the Nature of the World? • What is the underlying “stuff” of reality? • The problem of the one and the many • Three Major Views • Dualism • Materialism • Idealism
What is the Nature of the World? Dualism • Reasons For: • Solves the problem of the one and the many • The difficulty of a materialist view of the mind • Evidence for God’s Existence • Supports life after death • Biblical evidence (Gen. 1:1; Matt. 10:28; 2 Cor. 5:8, etc)
What is the Nature of the World? Dualism • Reasons Against: • The interaction problem • Ockham’s Razor
What is the Nature of the World? Materialism • Hard determinism • Atomism • Reasons For: • Ockham’s Razor • Problem of the one and the many • Mind-body problem • The origin of the universe • The Progress of Science
What is the Nature of the World? Materialism • Reasons Against: • Inconsistent with Christian belief • Ockham’s Razor??? • Evidence for God • Mind-body correlation does not imply materialism • Undermines responsibility and life after death • Requires nominalism • Progress of science requires scientific realism
What is the Nature of the World? Materialism • Plantinga’s Argument Against: • If materialism is true, then our cognitive faculties aim at survival not truth (because materialism assumes Darwinism). • If our cognitive faculties aim at survival not truth, then we have good reason to doubt that our beliefs are true (because false beliefs can ensure survival as well as true ones). • If we have good reason to doubt that our beliefs are true, then the materialist has good reason to doubt that materialism is true. • 4. Therefore, if materialism is true, then the materialist has good reason to doubt that materialism is true.
What is the Nature of the World? Idealism • Reasons For: • Ockham’s Razor • Avoids the interaction problem and problems with a material view of the mind • Consistent with Christian theism, moral responsibility, and life after death • Does not require nominalism • “Matter” is unnecessary and leads to skepticism • “Matter” is absurd • The Master Argument for the inconceivability of matter
What is the Nature of the World? Idealism • Reasons Against: • The Direct Realist response? • It’s possible to defend the coherence of matter • The Master Argument is invalid • Common sense?
Are There Universals? Platonism (Realism) • The view that universals are real • What is a universal? • Abstract entities • Multiply instantiable • Eternal and necessary • Kinds of Universals • Properties • Relations • Propositions