4 main branches of philosophy:
1. Metaphysics → The study of ULTIMATE REALITY
2. Epistemology → The study of KNOWLEDGE
3. Axiology → The study of VALUE
4. Logic → The study of CORRECT REASONING
How do philosophical problems arise? They arise when some of our most fundamental beliefs seem to conflict with one another.
How can these problems be solved? By eliminating the conflict.
What do philosophical theories try to explain?
They try to explain how it is logically possible for a concept to apply. ● They are tested by thought experiments (not by physical experiments in a laboratory).
Logically impossible → Everything is logically possible, unless it violates the law of
What do scientific theories try to explain?
How it is causally possible for an event to occur. ● They can be tested in a laboratory.
Causally impossible → Something is causally impossible if it violates the law of nature.
CAN SOMETHING BE LOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE BUT CAUSALLY POSSIBLE?
NECESSARY CONDITION → A condition that must be met in order for something to exist or occur. (A requirement).
Y cannot exist without X, but X does not guarantee Y.
EX: HIV → AIDS: (AIDS cannot exist without HIV. However, not everyone with
HIV has AIDS).
SUFFICIENT CONDITION → A condition that meets all the requirements. (Gives you everything you need).
If there is X there is Y.
EX: AIDS → HIV: (If you have AIDS, then you must have HIV. AIDS
is therefore sufficient for HIV).
CRITERIA OF ADEQUACY
Features that distinguish a good theory form a bad theory. In lack of facts, your truth will be anything that accommodates the Criteria of Adequacy. If you have a good CA, you can be quite objective in journalism.
● Simplicity → Quality of relying on only a small number of assumptions
(less is more).
● Scope → The amount of diverse phenomena
(more is more).
● Consistency/Coherence → Lack of contradictions.
(especially internal contradictions)
● Fruitfulness → The number of new facts predicted or problems solved
(ability to make predictions).
● Conservatism → Quality of fitting well with existing theories
An argument is a set of premises (statements) and a conclusion.
Deductive argument → It is a “truth preserving” argument, because the truth of its premises guarantees the truth of its conclusion.
VALID deductive: The conclusion ALWAYS follows the premises, even if the premises
are false. It is logically impossible for the conclusion to be false if the
premises are true.
EX: Premises → If Bogota is north of New Orleans (false), and New Orleans is north
of Mexico City (true), then Bogota is not north of New Orleans (true).
Conclusion → Therefore, Bogota is not north of Mexico City.
This is VALID but not sound (because the premises aren’t true).
SOUND deductive: The premises are ALWAYS true and so are the conclusions.
EX: Premises → Socrates is a man (true). Men are mortal (true).
Conclusion → Therefore, Socrates is mortal (conclusion is true, follows premises).
Inductive argument → Can only establish a conclusion with high/low probability. The truth of their premises does not guarantee the truth of their conclusion.
STRONG inductive arg: Establishes conclusion with high probability IF the premises are
EX: Premises → Two independent witnesses claimed John committed the murder.
John's fingerprints are the only ones on the murder weapon.
Conclusion → So, John MOST LIKELY committed the murder.
COGENT inductive arg: Contains only true premises.
EX: Premises → It has rained for the past 364 days. There is 70% chance of rain
tomorrow → will it rain?
Conclusion → It is LIKELY that it will rain tomorrow.
SOUND DEDUCTIVE = COGENT INDUCTIVE
FALLACIES - mistaken beliefs - usually based on unsound arguments:
BEGGING THE QUESTION: A restatement of the premises (does not have a conclusion).
EX: A mother says to her child: “Because I said so..”
FALSE DILEMMA: 2 radical statements (ultimatums)
EX: “You are either with me or against me”
APPEAL TO IGNORANCE: If you can’t disprove it, it is supposedly true.
APPEAL TO THE MASSES: This fallacy relies on the power of popular opinion.
APPEAL TO AUTHORITY: A person claimed to be an authority makes a claim on a certain subject. Because the person is an “expert” his/her claim is believed to be true.
APPEAL TO THE PERSON: Responds to arguments by attacking a person’s character rather than the contents of their argument.
APPEAL TO TRADITION: Thesis deemed correct on the basis that it correlates with past/present tradition.
APPEAL TO FEAR: Attempt to create support by increasing fear and prejudice towards a competitor (for example, by using deception and propaganda).
HASTY GENERALIZATION: Making a fast conclusion without considering all of the variables.
Beliefs, Truth & Knowledge
Belief → A mental state of acceptance. The difference between a belief (something I accept) and knowledge is that not everything I believe is true.
*Belief is not a sufficient condition for knowledge.
*Belief is simply a mental state of acceptance.
Knowledge by acquaintance: Knowledge of what it is to have certain experience.
Performative knowledge: Knowledge of how to perform a certain activity.
● JUSTIFICATION is an internal/mental process.
● KNOWLEDGE is external
Belief and truth are completely independent of each other. We all have false beliefs because we are all infallible.
*You doubt in order to know, once you LEARN, you leave the doubts aside.
THEORIES OF TRUTH:
Correspondence → Truth is a fact, and a fact cannot be false
(EX: snow is white).
Pragmatic theory → Truth is what best does the job at hand
(EX: Dom Perignon is a good champagne)
Coherence theory → Truth is what best coheres with the rest of my knowledge or our
Standard account of knowledge → A justified true belief. (JTB)
[Thought experiment: Gettier’s guy in Barcelona ]
● Smith supposes that Jones owns a Ford because he has evidence of it.
● Smith has another friend (Brown) whose whereabouts he is totally ignorant of.
● Smith chooses to believe that Jones owns a Ford and that Brown is in Barcelona.
● He happens to be correct: Brown is in Barcelona → However, he doesn’t have knowledge because his belief of not related to what makes it true. So, JTB is necessary but not a sufficient condition for knowledge.
Defeasibility theory → Undefeated justified true belief (UJTB) What the theory is saying is that I have knowledge is I can dodge any and all counters against my JTB.
[Thought experiment: Demented Mrs. Grabit]. ● A Person saw Tom Grabit steal book from the library (UJTB, knowledge). ● Tom’s mom said it was Tom’s identical twin that stole the book. ( → creates DOUBT → the defeater destroys the person’s knowledge).
● Mrs. Grabit is a compulsive liar (defeats the defeater)
Although the 2nd defeater shows that the person was correct, BUT he does not have knowledge.
*** BECAUSE → The very second that the person doubts UJTB, his knowledge is destroyed. (epistemic process is destroyed). That is why the thought experiment undermines the defeasibility theory.
Causal theory → Knowledge is suitably (pretty close) caused true belief (SCTB)
It is externalist because the conversion of belief into knowledge can depend on external factors (facts or item of which you are not aware).
[ Thought experiment: Goldman’s fake barns ]
● Henry drives through a district where he sees barns in the distance.
● He does not know they are fake, so he assumes they are real because he does not walk up close enough to investigate.
Henry has SCTB but he does not have knowledge. (SCTB is not sufficient for knowledge)
→ His distance from the source creates his true belief.
→ If he had investigated the barns he would’ve created reliably produced true belief.
Reliability theory → Reliably produced true belief (RPTB) It is also external.
[ Thought experiment: Mr Truetemp ]
● Mr. Truetemp has a device implanted in his brain that allows him to make accurate statements about his body temperature.
● He does not know that the device is there.
● He is always correct
Mr. Truetemp has RPTB but he does NOT have knowledge because he does not have JUSTIFICATION to why is body temperature is what it is. He happens to be correct but he does not know why he is correct.
INTERNAL THEORIES (standard account + defeasibility theory) They have justification * None of these 4 theories are sufficient for knowledge. But if you combine their internal and external factors you have an improved theory (Sousa’s theory).
EXTERNAL THEORIES (causal theory + reliability theory) Do not have justification
Object ------(true belief)-----> Antennas (you pick up TB without knowing how)
External object creates true belief though senses/instincts but you do not know what
caused your TB.
RPTB is an improvement over SCTB because the reliability theory establishes belief in
a more reliable way than the causal theory. The causal theory does not require us to
have reliable evidence for our beliefs.
VIRTUE PERSPECTIVISM → Knowledge = Apt belief.
According to Sousa: knowledge requires aptness.
APTNESS = ACCURACY + ADROITNESS
(goal seeking) (skill).
Sousa combines both approaches: Animal knowledge (accuracy) and reflective knowledge (skill). Animal knowledge is externalist. The animal is not aware of its knowledge. Reflective knowledge is internal: a second-order knowledge that is acquired by reflecting on the processes of animal knowledge.
ANALYZE THE THOUGHT EXPERIMENTS ACCORDING TO SOUSA’S THEORY:
1. JTB → Smith is accurate, not adroit → So…. he doesn't have neither animal nor reflective knowledge
2. UJTB → The person who saw Tom was initially both accurate and adroit. BUT his doubt destroyed his knowledge.
Initially his knowledge was apt: accurate + adroit.
3. SCTB → Henry has animal knowledge, not reflective.
4. RPTB → Mr. Truetemp has an animal knowledge, but his knowledge is not apt.
What is epiphenomenalism? It is the doctrine that the mind is an ineffective byproduct of physical processes.
(The brain affects the mind, but the mind doesn't affect the brain)
What is the problem of other minds?
It is the philosophical problem of explaining how it is possible to know that there are other minds in the world.
According to empiricism, what is the source of knowledge?
Empiricism claims that the only source of knowledge about the external world is sense experience.
CARTESIAN DUALISM (Rene Descartes) → When an immaterial substance (the mind) interacts with the body.
→ Rene Descartes tries to distinguish between the mind (soul) and the brain (body). He was the first one to say that the mind interacts with the body.
Empirically speaking there is no immaterial substance. Thus, Cartesian theory as it stands is not viable.
Dualists make a category mistake in assuming that minds exist in the same way that bodies do.
LOGICAL BEHAVIORISM → States that being in a mental state means having the right behavioral dispositions and patterns. Mental states can be translated into behavioral dispositions.
** A behavioral state is not sufficient OR necessary for being in a mental state.
** Mental states cannot be reduced to brain states.
We have: Qualitative content “the FEEL” (qualia = the unique, private feeling of our mental states). → Behavioral dispositions can be conditioned without affecting “the FEEL”. (Behaviors are simply habits/neural paths, NOT equivalent to the mind). This is shown by the following thought experiments:
[Thought experiment: Perfect Pretender] ● A person was born without the ability to feel pain
● He has learned to exhibit the appropriate pain behavior in appropriate situations.
● If someone kicks him, he pretends that it hurts him (he acts/behaves like someone who is in pain).
According to this counterexample: Having the right behavioral dispositions does NOT
GUARANTEE (not sufficient) that someone is in a certain mental state.
[Thought experiment: Putnam’s Super-Spartans ]
● There is a community in which the adults have the ability to successfully suppress all involuntary pain behavior.
● The are able to feel pain and they dislike it just like we do.
This thought experiment undermines logical behaviorism because the theory would have us believe that the Spartans are never in pain because they never ACT as if they are in pain. This is obviously not true.
IDENTITY THEORY → The identity theory proposes that mental states are brain states.
It is simpler than Cartesian dualism because it doesn’t assume the existence of an immaterial substance. There is no need to go beyond the physical to explain the mental. Our behavior is caused by the brain, NOT the mind.
Many Identity theorists are epiphenomenalists: They believe that the mind is an ineffective byproduct of brain states.
→ The mind is to the brain as smoke is to fire.
The theory can be undermined because knowing a person’s physical brain components, does NOT mean you know what the person is thinking/feeling.
** Mental states cannot be reduced to synaptic activity.
This is shown by the following thought experiment:
[Thought Experiment Nagel’s bat ]
● This thought experiment explains how bats use sonar as a form of perception. Nagel shows that there’s no way that we can experience or imagine this form of perception.
● Facts about what it is like for the experiencing organism are only accessible from one's point of view, which is the organism itself (1st person).
● All of the physical properties of bats can be known by non-bats, BUT, no non-bat will ever know what it's like to be a bat.
If mental states were identical to brain states, then it would be possible to know everything
about the mind by knowing everything there is to know about the brain. BUT THIS IS NOT THE CASE.
Mental states have this characteristic that they can be felt from the "inside" from a first person point of view, while physical properties can all be known from the "outside" from a third person point of view.
[Thought experiment: Lewis’s Pained Martian ]
● The Martian has no neurons or brain.
● But he can feel pain, love, sorrow, and homesickness.
This thought experiment shows that having a brain is NOT NECESSARY for having a
FUNCTIONALISM → Mental states are functional states.
When two things perform the
same function, they are said to have the same “causal role.” So functionalism claims that the mind IS what the brain DOES.
→ If a robot and a human can perform the same task (same causal role), they are said to be in the same state of mind.
[ Thought experiment: Lewis’s pained madman ]
● Lewis’s madman is in pain, but his pain has a very different function than ours.
● When in pain, his mind turns into mathematics and makes him cross his legs and snap his fingers.
This undermines functionalism because if the theory were true, it would be impossible
for someone to be in pain and function differently than we do when we are in pain. Being in a certain functional state is NOT a necessary condition for being in a mental state.
Mental states cannot be reduced to functional states.
[ Thought experiment: Putnam’s inverted spectrum ]
● Two people with inverted spectra are in the same functional state.
● If you asked them, “What color are stop signs?” they would both say, “Red.” Similarly, if you asked them, “Are ripe tomatoes the same color as stop signs?” they would both say, “Yes.”
● BUT their visual experiences (qualitative content - the feel) are vastly different -- one experiences redness when looking at red objects, whereas the other experiences blueness.
If functionalism were true, it would be impossible for people with the same functional
organization to be in different mental states. This counterexample undermines functionalism.
** Having a specific functional organization is NOT a sufficient condition for being in a certain mental state.
TURING TEST FOR INTELLIGENCE: (The imitation game).
There is a man (A) and a woman (B) and an interrogator (C) who may be of either sex.
→ The object of the game is for the interrogator to determine which of the two is the man and
which is the woman.
→ It is A’s object in the game to try to cause C to make the wrong identification. The object
for the game of B is to help the interrogator.
*** For Turing there’s nothing more to being intelligent than being able to use language as we do. WHICH MEANS… If a computer is able to do this, then it is smart.
[Thought experiment: Searle’s Chinese room]
● Searle puts himself in the place of the computer, inside a room.
● People outside the room (who understand Chinese) hand in small bunches of symbols.
● In response, Searle manipulates the symbols according to the rulebook and hands back more small bunches of symbols.
● To those outside the room, it appears that he understands what the symbols mean, for the string of symbols he produces in response to the string of symbols he receives is the one like a native Chinese speaker would produce.
● But he doesn’t understand Chinese.
Conclusion: passing the Turing test is not a sure sign of intelligence, because the man in the room doesn’t understand Chinese. So computers can’t UNDERSTAND a language solely in virtue of running a program.
PROPERTY DUALISM → Property dualism states that mental properties are something over and above physical properties.
Mental states have BOTH physical and nonphysical properties (Non-reductive, and has both an upward and downward causation).
States that brain activity (since it is CAUSAL) has the upper hand advantage.
Property dualism has also been called: “emergent materialism”
Intentionality → “Bedeutung” It is the “ABOUTNESS” of a thought.
(Remember: this is NOT referring to the regular meaning of intent, which means: doing something “on purpose”). THIS IS CRUCIAL → If life did not have intentionality, life would be completely mechanical.
PRIMITIVE PROPERTY → Because the qualitative content (the FEEL) and the intentional content (the OBJECT) of a mental state are not reducible to physical or functional properties, they are “primitive” properties. A primitive property cannot be explained in terms of anything more fundamental.
Intentionality is a primitive property because a thought directly intends the object. We don’t think about objects by means of anything else. We simply think ABOUT them.
EMERGENT PROPERTY → A property which is elicited when things that lack that property interact in certain ways. The WHOLE is bigger than the PARTS: The emergent property arises when all parts are put together.
● The mind is emergent upon and caused by brain activity.
EX: Love at first sight.
● Life is an emergent property.
● HURRICANES (wind-rain-destruction) ← ALL of these variables MUST happen in order for the emergent property to arise.
DOWNWARD CAUSATION → Downward causation is used to explain the effect of the environment on biological evolution. It suggests the causal relationship between the HIGHER levels of a system to LOWER levels of that system.
For example: mental events causes physical events. There is a two-way interaction between consciousness and the brain: Consciousness determines the succession of nerve impulses, and nerve impulses determine the content of consciousness.
Causal Determinism (every event has a cause that makes it happen + laws of nature) and Hard determinism (the doctrine that there are no free actions).
Hard determinism assumes that if CD is true, then there are no free actions because as our bodies made up of matter, we must be subjects to the same laws of causation. In class we discussed an argument to problematize HD.
If HD is true, then there is no human responsibility: i.e., if we are not free, we cannot be responsible for our actions (since one is responsible if and only if one can make choices).
Compatibilism is the belief that determinism and free will are not mutually exclusive. Determined actions can nevertheless be free.
Traditional Compatibilism (Free actions are 1- caused by one's will and 2- not externally constrained). The reasoning is this:
Principle of alternative possibilities: one can be held responsible for doing something only if one could have done otherwise. "could have done otherwise" means "if you had chosen otherwise, then you would have done otherwise." Think of our "fork-example" of a student being late for class. He chooses ( A) "having coffee with lots of traffic," instead of (B) "not having coffee and no traffic." For Traditional Compatibilism the student is responsible for being late since "if he had choosen (B) instead of (A), he would have been on time for class.
C/E "Taylor's Ingenious Physiologist. In class we discussed how TV can "plant" desires. So in a way is a kind of ingenious physiologist.
Hierarchical Compatibilism: Frankfurt defines first and second desires and second order volitions as a hierarchy. The latter supervenes on the former and so on. A first order desire causes a second order, but the second order cannot be reduced to the first order. This is the emergence/supervenience model we have studied in class
A first order desire is directed to an object or state of affairs, a second order desire is a desire about a desire, a second order volition is a second order desire one decisively acts upon.
Harry Frankfurt's three drug addicts:
(Let's call a first order desire: FOD, a second order desire: SOD, a second order volition: SOV) So we get the following:
Wanton addict: FOD, not SOD, not SOV, not free.
Happy Addict: FOD, SOD, SOV, free.
Unwilling Addict: FOD, SOD (only this desire is against his taking the drug, not SOV, not free).
C/E to Hierarchical Compatibilism: In Slote's hypnotized patient (page 212) the hypnotitst induces a SOV on Robert. He then acts unaware of the hypnotist's doing. He acts on a SOV he identifies with but his volition has been induced by a foreign agent.
Compatibilism view on Punishment: p. 203. Punishment should not be retributive (eye-for-an-eye). The only legitimate way of punishment is rehabilitation and deterrence. Compatibilists follow Schlick's lemma: punishment is concerned with the institution of causes of motives of conduct.
Criminal actions are dictated by genes and habits (nature and nurture). Retributive punishment makes sense if it's deserved. But nothing people do is up to them.
Retributive punishmentmakes sense if it's deserved, but nothing people do is up to them. All their actions are caused by forces beyond their control. Don't forget: compatibilists are causal determinists.
Make a distinction between event causation and agent causation. Libertarians are concerned with agent causation. Libertarianism holds that agents can cause events. How? The brain emerges into the mind and the mind supervenes on the brain. So, the mind causes the brain.
*There are two arguments:
Argument from Experience. Argument from deliberation. These are Nagel's properties (subjective, first person reports). One feels like one causes their actions. One feels one deliberates.
Libet's Neurophysiological challenge: It seems to show that consciousness of a decision arises only after the decision has already been made (the 300 millisecond gap between the decision to press the button and the brain signal).
*Rebuttal by Libertarians: There's a difference between making a "conscious decision" and a "meta-conscious decision" (meta-conscious awareness is second order). For the libertarian, the subject in Libet's report is not having a "conscious" but a "meta-conscious" decision. So it's no surprise that it happens "after" the conscious decision was made.
(THIS SECTION DOESN'T APPLY FOR TUESDAY AND THURSDAY CLASSES)
Radical Libertarianism or Existentialism
Jean-Paul Sartre's Libertarianism (known as Existentialism) holds that the self is radically free. Sartre's analysis is ontological.
Sartre's lemma: existence precedes essence. We exist first, and are "defined" later.
Modes of being: l'être-en-soi (inert, full) l'être-pour-soi (empty).
Consequences: this être-pour-soi faces its own emptiness with freedom. it happens because the human self (l'être-pour-soi) is in a constant state of becoming (devenir).
For the purpose of our analysis, lêtre-pour-soi = consciousness = devenir = freedom
To be able to cope with this inalienable dizzying FREEDOM, we (selves) come up with justifications to our radical responsibility, which Sartre labels as "bad faith" (la mauvaise foi).
Bad faith is not pejorative. Bad faith is an ontological state of humanity. We're all in it. In the end not even choosing is choosing not-to.
Except there is also the problem of facticity. Facticity is the set of external constraints we are not responsible for, simply because they are outside our choosing. For example, our parents, DNA, name, etc. Other than facticity, we're entirely responsible for our actions.