Friday, November 20, 2015

valuable tips for your philosophy paper (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED)

via Rashila Fernando: How to write a "good philosophy paper."   

nota bene: Rashila's reference to my "hating" German only applies to writing long/ruderless English sentences. English is succinct and clear. Ich liebe Deutsch!    

Here, The Voltaire Society's link. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

SUMMER AB Revision for Exam #3

Chapter 3 

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). 
Indeterminism: Is the view that certain events are not caused deterministically. That is, since the advent of quantum mechanics and according to the Copenhagen interpretation, the most basic constituents of matter can behave indeterministically. But if that was the case, there is not freedom either, that is, if my brain event is caused by a probabilistic event, and not my own causing it.

Compatibilism is the belief that free will and determinism are not mutually exclusive.
Soft determinism: Determined actions can nevertheless be free. One "soft" theory is 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: First and Second Order Desires; Second Order Volitions. Remember: 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 decisely 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: Slote's Hypnotized patient and The Willing Bank Teller. One proves that SOV can be manipulated from the inside. The other shows rthat SOV can be manipulated beyond our control. 

Punishment: How do compatibilists see punishment? p. 203. Punishment cannot be  retributive (eye-for-an-eye). The only legitimate way of punishment is rehabilitation and deterrence. 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.

Event and Agent Causation. Event---> event or Agent---> event.

Libertarianism holds that agents can cause events. How? remember we talked about the possibility that the mind causes the brain. There are two arguments:

Argument from Experience. Argument from deliberation. 

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.

Radical Libertarianism (Existentialism): Jean-Paul Sartre's kind of libertarianism (known as Existentialism) holds that the self is essentially free. His analysis is ontological. Let's begin with Sartre's lemma: existence precedes essence. We exist first, and are "defined" later. This happens because the self (l'être) is in a constant state of becoming (devenir).

For the purpose of the analysis, there are two kinds of being:

being-for-itself: l'être-pour-soi. main property: being for itself, which is essentially "a freedom that chooses." 
being in itselfl'être-en-soi, which is fundamentally without qualification (sans nuance).

To cope with this heavy "weight" of our own FREEDOM we come up with justifications which Sartre calls "bad faith." However, since not choosing is choosing, in the end we remain responsible for our actions. 

The only possible constraint to our freedom is our facticity (the stuff we don't choose, like being born and having a certain name and parents). 


via mariaelisa carbonell. 
Though researchers have seriously questioned the feasibility of Dr. Canavero's plans, it seems the first human head transplantation is a step closer to becoming a reality; Valery Spiridonov, a 30-year-old computer scientist from Vladimir, Russia, is the first person to volunteer for the procedure. Spiridonov has Werdnig-Hoffman disease - a rare genetic muscle wasting condition, also referred to as type 1 spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The condition is caused by the loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and the brain region connected to the spinal cord. Individuals with the disease are unable to walk and are often unable to sit unaided.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

regarding personal identity...........

becoming nicole: the story of a transgender young woman... 
When Wayne and Kelly Maines adopted identical twin boys, Jonas and Wyatt, at birth in 1997, they were thrilled at the idea of having two sons. For a while, it was virtually impossible to tell the boys apart. But as they grew older, one child, Wyatt, started insisting that he was a girl.
"the secret lies within"... check identity, it's good and it's right in the midst of our topic! 

another movie about identity is a history of violence (this one is really good!) this reminds us of the robert/frank dichotomy. we'll talk about this in class soon.

transcendence (with Johnny Depp) this movie brings up the question of the difference between human and artificial intelligence. as you know i don't believe AI and HI are necessarily isomorphic. i.e., if we apply nagel's reasoning, the difference between AI and HI is qualia discrete, only bridged by a cyborg unit, and even then, one could make the argument that a cyborg it's not strictly "artificial."