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Philosophical Calisthenics


Both philosophy and science search for truth by postulating hypotheses, forming ... I'm scared of feminists! FORMULATING COUNTEREXAMPLES ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Philosophical Calisthenics

Philosophical Calisthenics
  • By Norman R. Schultz

WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY? Similarities and Differences
Between Philosophy and Science
  • Both philosophy and science search for truth by
    postulating hypotheses, forming theories, and
    evaluating the quality of available theories.
  • If an inquiry can be settled via empirical
    methods (observation experimentation), it is a
  • If an inquiry cannot be settled via empirical
    methods because of a conceptual problem, it is
  • 1. State whether the following questions are
    matters of science, philosophy, or both. Explain.
  • How many chromosomes does a human being have?
  • What caused the extinction of the dinosaurs?
  • Is homosexual sex unnatural?
  • Have extraterrestrials visited Earth?
  • Are all forms of depression caused by chemical
    imbalances in the brain?
  • What caused the universe to exist?

  • Ex Heraclitus, a pre-socratic Greek philosopher,
    said You cant step into the same river twice
    by which he meant that everything is in a state
    of change (which was is a theory of reality, or
  • Here is his argument laid out in standard form
    - with premises numbered first and the conclusion
  • P1 Everything is either being formed or
  • P2 Both forming and decaying are states of
  • C Everything is in a state of change.
  • 2. Can you think of exceptions to P1? If so, what
    are they?

  • 3. Isolate the conclusion in the following
    arguments if you have time, try putting them in
    standard form.
  • Since the good, according to Plato, is that
    which furthers a persons real interests, it
    follows that in any given case when the good is
    known, men will seek it. (from Philosophy and
    the Human Spirit by Avrum Stroll)
  • Neither a borrower nor lender be. For loan oft
    loses both itself and friend, and borrowing dulls
    the edge of husbandry. (Shakespeare)
  • When individuals voluntarily abandon property,
    they forfeit any expectation of privacy in it
    that they might have had. Therefore, a
    warrantless search or seizure of abandoned
    property is not unreasonable under the 4th
    amendment. (from U.S. v. Jones)

  • Before one can accept or challenge an argument,
    the meaning of the terms in it must be
    understood. Example you overhear the following
  • I thought professors were supposed to be
    intelligent. Well, guess who I just saw in the
    parking lot asking for a jump-start for their
    car? The guy left his damn lights on! (This
    illustrates that the word intelligent can mean
    several different things the word is
  • 4. For the following statements give which word
    needs clarification and why
  • I really dont want to buy a car they are so
  • Well, youll never get a job with that haircut!
  • President Clinton I did not have sex with that
  • 90 of Americans believe in God.
  • Tobacco kills 1 million Americans per year.
  • Im scared of feminists!

  • One can offer a refutation of a statement by
    formulating a counterexample a scenario that
    contradicts the point being made.
  • Ex. Countries which practice the death penalty
    have lower crime rates than countries that do
    not. The fact that Canada has a (significantly)
    lower crime rate than does the U.S. but does not
    practice the death penalty is a counterexample.
  • 5. Refute these hypotheses by offering a
    counterexample. Feel free to use your
  • In order to be completely happy it is necessary
    to have shelter and clothing.
  • Every great nation must defend its interests with
    brute force.
  • If people lost their fear of hell they would stop
    going to church.
  • No rational person would choose to have an
    abortion if they knew that a fetus was genuinely
    a person from the moment of conception.

  • Considering the implications of an idea is an
    important means of evaluating whether the idea is
    plausible. For example, Heraclitus statement
    everything is in a state of constant change can
    be seen as having far-reaching implications,
    especially if change means to become something
  • The warranty on your car. Wouldnt the car you
    drive off the lot be a different car than the one
    you signed for? Would you even own it?
  • A person sentenced to 10 years prison. It is said
    that every cell in our bodies is replaced over
    the course of 7 years. Doesnt that mean that
    after that Im no longer the same person? If so,
    how can we sentence anyone to more than 7 years
    time, regardless of their crime?
  • 6. Briefly discuss the implications of the
    following ideas
  • In criminal court the accused should be
    considered guilty until proven innocent.
  • For security reasons, every human being should
    have an irremovable tracking/identification
    device placed under their skin.
  • Churches and other religious organizations should
    be taxed.
  • All evil actions are countered by good actions
    (and vice versa).
  • Every event has a cause.

  • Most people are not aware of this, but there are
    multiple ways of defining a word. Here are just
    four possibilities
  • Platos Method List a things essential
    attributes. For example, an essential attribute
    of a shirt is that it is a garment to be worn
    over the torso.
  • Ostensive Method Point at an example to indicate
    what it is. That is a window
  • Operational Method State the things use or
    practical application. A projector something
    that projects an image onto something else.
  • Wittgensteins Method Determine a set of family
    resemblances - an overlapping network of common
    characteristics for which a thing need not have
    every one. For example, a cell phone may have an
    antennae, microphone, screen, number pad,
    rechargeable battery, Call and End button,
  • 7. Decide which definitional method works best
    for the following terms
  • A car
  • Gravity
  • A person