phi101 2011 04 20 Notes

Posted in phi101 by bnmng on 2011 04/20

Finals Wed, May 4, at 10:00.


phi101 20110328 Notes

Posted in phi101 by bnmng on 2011 03/28

If it’s true that humans have choice, that’s would be an anomaly for materialism.

Be open, but critical to paranormal evidence.

+Chapter 5
Is choice real? Could you actually have initiated an action that wasn’t pre-determined?
There are arguments that deny the possibility of free choice.
Materialism, naturalism, determinism.
In these fields choosing is a mental phenomenon
Naturalism: The universe is a closed system. Every event is caused by a previous event.
Determinism: Everything is determined by a prior event.
Materialism: Only matter and activities of matter are real.
Mechanistic Materialism = Determinism + Materialism = Every real event is a matter/energy event determined by a previous one.
incompatibalism: Free choice is incompatible with mechanistic materialism.
Soft Determinism/Compatibalism: Humans make choices but given all of the events and conditioning that has led to this moment, you couldn’t have performed different.
-End Chapter 5

phi101 20110323 Notes

Posted in phi101 by bnmng on 2011 03/23

Epiphenomenalism is a form of metaphysical materialism. denies any seperate reality of the mind. It says that brain states cause other brain states. Arising out of brain states are the mental states.

Epiphenomenalism: Property dualism. Brain states have two kinds of properties, physical and mental. It recognizes the reality of mental states as special properties of brain states. This seems to be contradicted by the findings of mind body medicine.

Cognitive Science: Still a materialist theory, but a lot looser. Strongly influenced by computer science and draws on many other fields. We cannot understand human behavior without understanding mental processes (which cannot be objectively observed). Relies of a functionalist theory of mind. The essential nature of mental processes is not to be found in the stuff that their made of, but it’s function.

Functionalist theories are completely neutral about what is stuff. Leadeing thikers in Artificial Intelligence are aligned with functionalist theory. According to functionalist theory, if something behaves like a human then it can be credited with intelligence.

Spinoza: Dual Aspect Theory: Maybe what human experience as mind and what human experience as matter are simply aspects of something that’s more fundamental than either. This is a speculative solution. Spinoza’s arguments became even more realistic with the advance of quantum science, then they were when he came up with them.

Spinoza was one generation after Descartes.

Metaphysical Materialism: Only matter is real. Is this an adequate theory?

Metaphysical Materialism seems to have a lot of anomalies.

Anomaly: Unexplained relevant fact. Of A theory that is generating a lot of anomalies, it’s adequacy can be questioned.

Irreducibility: explained by the story of the smell scientist who cannot smell.

phi101 2011 03 21 Notes

Posted in phi101 by bnmng on 2011 03/21

Dual Aspect: [definition]

Descartes: His position is Dualism. Dualistic metaphysics preserved a place for religion, as well as an independent sphere for science. IAW Descartes: Reality is two substances. Matter and Mind, Matter: extended substance, which is stuff located in space, and Mind: thinking substance.

The Mind-Body problem: One of the problems with the dual-realities is that if they’re completely different, how do they interact? That they interact seems obvious but is it true? How does a non extended substance, such as a thought, create an effect in an extended substance such as the brain.

Descartes: seems to have confused the endurance of thought with the endurance of consciousness.

Descartes: First “Modern” philosophers. First to be working after the beginning of the scientific revolution.

Descartes: Developed Analytic Geometry (Cartesian plane). Also helped develop calculus. Wanted to start with a foundation of certainty.

Descartes Critically Examined all of this beliefs. Separated believes that could be doubted from few basic believes he can be certain about. Thought: I can’t doubt doubting. I can’t doubt the thinking that lead to doubting. Believed that he proved. The existence of mind is foundational and certain.

Descartes: Systematic doubt to eliminate every believe that could be doubted, and was left with nothing that could not be doubted but doubting itself. Led to “I think, therefore I am”.

Descartes: Since all he could know is mind, he has no reliable bridge to the real world. Made the connection between mind and world through the existence of an infinite and perfect being. Thought “God, being perfect, would not deceive me”.

Metaphysical Materialism: The claim that the only thing that is fundementally real is matter and the interactions (Not Descartes).

Metaphysical Materialism: Only reality is that which can be observed by the third person. No independent reality to mind. Mental experience is merely a property of brain activity.

Physical brain events and mental events are coordinated. One always happens with the other.

Hume: Never found a “Mind”. Only found “Thinking”, “Feeling”, etc. Mind is just a flow of mental events.

Gilbert Ryle: Ghost in the Machine: A machine doesn’t need a “ghost” inside to make it work; neither do humans. Influenced by 20th Century Psychological Behavioralism. Like Hume, denied Cartesian dualism. IAW Ryle. Mind is behaviors.

Eliminative Materialism overcomes the mind-body problem by denying the mind, or defining the mind as nothing but brain states.

phi101 Notes

Posted in phi101 by bnmng on 2011 02/14

Human Nature: Concerned with the question “Who Am I”.
Humans are “Self consciousness”. All human cultures provide answers to “What are we”.
Being human is to exist in two rhelms. Biological, or Nature; and Mind

phi101 Notes

Posted in phi101 by bnmng on 2011 01/26

phi101 Notes

Posted in phi101 by bnmng on 2011 01/24

Most foundational value: commitment to pursuit of truth.

Vices and Virtues are defined in terms of that commitment.

Wishful thinking: easier to catch another person in it than it is to catch yourself.

Abraham Maslow: Hierarchy of human need.

Intellectual values: A cluster of ideas that guide our behavior. Intellectual community is a group that share intellectual values.

phi101 Notes

Posted in phi101 by bnmng on 2011 01/19

Interpretation: understanding from a particular point of view.

We all got our differences the same way. None of us asked for the circumstance of our birth.

The most important intellectually critical question: “why should I believe that?”

Argument: a truth claim with evidenced designed to persuade an audience. An argument is always about an issue, which is an open question that requires an argument.

Asserter: person making truth-claim. The burden of proof is on the asserter.

If you’re an asserter, assume your audience is of critical thinkers. Assume they will question the truth and relevance of your reasons.

Truth claim is what the asserter is attempting to get their audience to believe.

phi101 Notes 2011 01 12

Posted in phi101 by bnmng on 2011 01/12

aspects of a fair minded critical thinker:
wonder & wakeful,

Philo is based on questions that predated philo.
Philo started ancient Greece about 500BC.
Cosmos: Ordered beauty. Greeks used it to mean “everything”.
Founding observation: World is ordered and rational & the human mind shares that rationality.