Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Topics for Exam #1

Chapter 1

1- Necessary and sufficient conditions (think of some examples as we did in the Homeworks):

"X" is nec. for "Y", iff Y cannot exist w/o "X," or if "X" is not present, "Y" will not occur.
"X" is suf. for "Y", iff "X" cannot exist w/o "Y," or if "X" is present then "Y" will happen.

2- Logical impossibility, i.e. if it violates a law of noncontradiction (something cannot both be and not be at the same time), causal impossibility (i.e. if it violates a law of nature).
Example: Levitating is logically possible, but causally impossible. QUESTION: If something is logically impossible, can it be causally possible?

3- Argument A set of premises and a conclusion.

4- Deductive arguments: valid (if the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises); sound (a valid argument with true premises).
REMEMBER: There are valid arguments which are unsound.

5- Inductive arguments: strong (an argument that would establish its conclusion with a high degree of probability if the premises were true), cogent: a strong argument with true premises.

6- IBE (or Inference to the Best Explanation) also known as Hypothetical Induction: Hypothesis, which if true, would provide the BEST EXPLANATION for the evidence.7- Criteria of adequacy: Simplicity, consistency, fruitfulness, conservatism and scope.

8- Thought experiment, counterexample, test implication

9- The difference between conceivability and possibility

10- Fallacies. These are the fallacies I want you to know: Begging the question, Appeal to the person (Ad Hominem), Appeal to Ignorance, Appeal to Authority, Appeal to Tradition, Appeal to Fear, Appeal to the Masses, Hasty Generalization, False Dilemma.

Chapter 7

1- All boxes in 537, 539, 541.

Belief: A mental state of acceptance (a belief could be false).
Justification: The reasons why one holds a belief (there are good and bad justifications).
Truth: Correspondence, Pragmatic and Coherence.
Suspension of belief. Neither accept nor reject a belief.

7.1. and 7.2 

2- Plato's Cave. Plato takes from Parmenides that which is unchanging is real and from Heraclitus that what is presented to our senses constantly changes. Finally, Plato elaborates the theory of forms: what we sense isn't fully real. Reality is in the Forms.  

3- Descartes' dream conjecture and the evil genius mind experiment are meant to show that our senses are a not reliable standard for knowledge of the external world.   

4- Descartes principle of clarity and distinctness: whatever is clearly and distinctly perceived is true. 

5- The Empiricist challenge: Experience is a necessary condition for knowledge. Take a look at Representative realism, p. 571.

6- The Kantian synthesis: Truths discovered by the understanding are synthetic, because they are not logical truths and a priori because they apply to all possible experience. 

7- Definition of Belief: a mental state of acceptance. The difference between belief (something I accept) and knowledge is that not everything I believe is true. In other words, belief is not sufficient condition for knowledge.

8- Theories of truth: 

Correspondence: Truth is a fact (example: "Snow is white.") 
Pragmatic Theory: Truth is what best does the job at hand. (example: "Dom Perignon is a good champagne.")
Coherence Theory of Truth: Truth is what best coheres with the rest of my knowledge.

Think of examples of each of these and their differences. When we don't have all the evidence, or when we're dealing with complicated problems, we may use the pragmatic criteria: With history, forensics, matters of opinion and taste we are more likely to deal with truth as pragmatic than as factual. How can you tell the difference? With the Correspondence Theory I have the facts: "It's raining outside". However, the question: "Is democracy a good system of government?" demands a more pragmatic investigation. In the soft sciences "truth" is obtained more with the pragmatic method.
Have handy the following concepts: performative knowledge, knowledge by acquaintance.

Section 7.3

1- Standard account of knowledge: K= JTB / Counterample: Gettier’s Guy in Barcelona. 

2- Defeasibility Theory: K= UJTB /Counterexample: Lehrer’s demented Mrs. Grabit. 
3 Causal Theory: K= SCTB /Counterexample: Goldman’s fake barns
4- Reliability Theory: RPTB /Counterexample: Lehrer’s Human Thermometer
5- Virtue Perspectivism: K = AB (apt belief).

According to Sousa, knowledge is a kind of performance, because it has a goal: true belief. So, knowledge needs aptness = accuracy +adroitness  
accuracy --- goal seeking
adroitness--- exhibiting skill 

Sosa believes there are two kinds of knowledge: Animal and Reflective. Animal Knowledge is externalist in nature. The animal is not aware of its knowledge. It relies exclusively on its sense (what I call "antennas"). 

On the other hand, Reflective Knowledge is internal in nature: It's a second-order knowledge that is acquired by reflecting on the principles and processes that underlie Animal Knowledge. 

6- Be prepared to tell how Sousa's theory (Virtue Perspectivism) solves each of the preceding counterexamples. p. 588.