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Philosophy 1010

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Title: Philosophy 1010


1
Philosophy 1010 Class 7
Title Introduction to Philosophy Instructor Pau
l Dickey E-mail Address pdickey2_at_mccneb.edu
Today Return Midterm Exams Mop up
Exam 1/29/13 Read Velasquez, Philosophy A
Text With Readings, Chapter 4, Sections 4.1
4.5 Watch one of the movies discussed in
Chapter Three. See p. 147, 154, 165, 179, or 186
(12e). Be prepared to discuss in class the movie
in its relation to the reading assignment.
2
A pupil from whom nothing is ever demanded which
he cannot do, never does all he can. It is, no
doubt, a very laudable effort, in modern
teaching, to render as much as possible of what
the young are required to learn, easy and
interesting to them.  But when this principle is
pushed to the length of not requiring them, to
learn anything but what has been made easy and
interesting, one of the chief objectives of
education is sacrificed.                 J. S.
Mill, Autobiography
3
Electronic/Online Course/Instructor
Feedback 13/WI Availability until 2/19/14
4
Chapter 3 Reality and Being (a Metaphysical
Study)
5
Realism
  • Realism is the view that the real world exists
    independent of our language, our thoughts, our
    perceptions, or our beliefs about it.
  • Our common sense seems to demand of us that we
    believe in realism.
  • But how can we know that our wonderful world is
    real? Can we prove it? Or alternately, do we
    have evidence? Can we provide reasons to
    believe without begging the question?
  • And what does it even mean for our world to be
    real? If someone were to say that the world was
    NOT real, what would he mean? What would we
    understand that he was saying?

6
What Is Reality?
  • For now, let us assume we are realists, that is,
    we believe in realism. So what is the reality we
    believe in?
  • Some might argue that reality is what we
    experience through our senses.
  • Or would you perhaps argue that reality consists
    of more than the material world? What about
    justice, mathematics, liberty, freedom, truth,
    beauty, space, time, and love?
  • Is language real?
  • Is God real?
  • Or the sub-atomic theoretical entities that
    physics asserts? Are they real?

7
Metaphysics is the Study of What is Real
  • The most fundamental question in metaphysics may
    be
  • Is reality purely material or is there reality
    beyond the material?
  • We already discussed this question to some degree
    in terms of the mind/body problem, but now we
    will begin to look at this issue in a much
    broader scope.
  • We have already seen the materialism of Thomas
    Hobbes, particular in the context of the
    mind/body problem. Hobbes, however, argued for
    Materialism in a much broader sense.

8
Early Views of Materialism
  • The Pre-Socratics (460-360 B.C.E.)
  • Democritus. Reality was composed of material
    atoms. Attributes of atoms are solid,
    indivisible, indestructible, eternal, and
    uncreated.
  • The composition of reality is atoms and empty
    space. The soul (or reason) consists of atoms.
  • The Charvaka Philosophers of India
  • (about 600 B.C.E)
  • There is only one valid source of knowledge and
    that is what we perceive through our senses.
  • What we perceive is physical and material.
  • What we cannot know cannot exist. There are no
    gods,
  • no soul.

9
Idealism Platos Theory of Forms (a refutation
of Materialism)
10
Idealism Platos Theory of Forms
  • The view that reality is primarily composed of
    ideas or thought rather than a material world is
    the doctrine known as Idealism. That is, an
    Idealist would say that a world of material
    objects containing no thought either could not
    exist or at the least would not be fully "real."
  • The earliest formulation of this view is given to
    us by Plato.
  • In Platos Allegory of the Cave, the world of
    shadows is representative of the material world
    and is not fully real.

11
Platos Theory of Forms
  • What is the problem with which Plato is faced?
  • How can one live a happy and satisfying life in a
    contingent, changing world without there being
    some permanence on which one can rely? (The
    Ethical Problem)
  • Indeed, how can the world appear to be both
    permanent and changing all the time. (The
    Metaphysical Problem)
  • Plato observed that the world of the mind, the
    world of ideas, seems relatively unchanging.
    Justice, for example, does not seem to change
    from day to day, year to year.
  • On the other hand, the world of our perceptions
    change continuously. One rock is small, the next
    large, the next?

12
Platos Theory of Forms
  • To resolve this problem, Plato formalized the
    classic view of idealism in his doctrine of
    Forms.
  • In everyday language, a form is how we recognize
    what something is and unify our knowledge of
    objects. (e.g How do we say two objects of
    different size, color, etc. are both cars?)
  • Permanence comes from the world of forms or ideas
    with which we have access through reason.
  • In Platos view, all the particular entities we
    see as material objects are shadows of that
    reality. Behind each entity is a perfect form or
    ideal. Ideal forms are eternal and everlasting.
    Individual beings are imperfect.
  • e.g. Roundness is an ideal or form existing in a
    world different from physical basketballs.
    Individual basketballs participate or copy the
    form.

13
Platos Theory of Forms
  • Forms are transcendent, that is they do not exist
    in space and time. That is why they are
    unchanging.
  • Forms are pure. They only represent a single
    character and are the perfect model of that
    property.
  • Material objects are a complex conglomeration of
    copies of multiple forms located in space and
    time.
  • Forms are the cause of all that exists in the
    world.

14
What is the Essence of the Form of the Good?
  • Forms are the cause of all that exists in the
    world. Forms exist in a hierarchy with the Form
    of The Good being the highest form and thus is
    the first cause of all that exists.
  • Forms are the ultimate reality because they are
    more objective than material things which are
    subjective and vary in our perception of them.
  • For Socrates and Plato, the question What is a
    thing? is the question what is the essence of
    the thing? That is, the attempt is to identify
    what (presumably one) characteristic or property
    makes that thing what it is.

15
What is the Essence of the Form of the Good?
  • Further, Plato compares the power of the Good to
    the power of the sun. The sun illuminates things
    and makes them visible to the eye. The absolute
    or perfect Good illuminates the things of the
    mind (forms) and makes them intelligible.
  • The Good sheds light on ideas but, the vision of
    the idea of the Good is, according to Plato, too
    much for human minds.
  • When Plato emphasizes The Good as the cause (I.e.
    an active agent) of essences, structures, and
    forms, as well as of knowledge, he seems to be
    invoking the idea of the Good as God. The Good as
    absolute order makes all intermediate forms or
    structures possible.

16
Galileo The Scientific Revolution Galileo
Galilei (1564  1642), was an Italian physicist,
mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who
played a major role in the Scientific Revolution.
Galileo has been called the "father of modern
observational astronomy", the "father of modern
physics", the "father of science", and "the
Father of Modern Science Galileo proposes that
physics should be a new science based on
methods of observation not just on the methods of
reason. Thus, Galileo discovered many things
with his telescope, he first saw the moons of
Jupiter and the mountains on the Moon he
determined the parabolic path of projectiles and
calculated the law of free fall on the basis of
experiment.
17
Galileo The Scientific Revolution He is known
for defending and making popular the Copernican
system, using the telescope to examine the
heavens, inventing the microscope, dropping
stones from towers and masts, playing with
pendula and clocks, being the first real
experimental scientist, advocating the relativity
of motion, and creating a mathematical physics.
His major claim to fame probably comes from his
trial by the Catholic Inquisition and his
purported role as heroic rational, modern man in
the subsequent history of the warfare between
science and religion.
18
Towards A Modern View Cartesian Dualism
19
Descartes Modern Philosophy
René Descartes (15961650) was a creative
mathematician of the first order, an important
scientific thinker, and an original
metaphysician. He offered a new vision of the
natural world that continues to shape our thought
today a world of matter possessing a few
fundamental properties and interacting according
to a few universal laws. This natural world
included an immaterial mind that, in human
beings, was directly related to the brain. In
many ways, Descartes established Philosophy as a
modern endeavor and saw science and philosophy as
intricately linked in their pursuit of knowledge.

20
Yet, Descartes embraced the Scientific Revolution
fundamentally differently that Galileo.
Descartes claimed to possess a special method,
which was variously exhibited in mathematics,
natural philosophy, and metaphysics, and which,
in the latter part of his life, included, or was
supplemented by, a method of doubt. He was still
fundamentally too much of a Rationalist in the
traditions of Plato. This method of conducting
science is quite contrary to the approach that
was gaining sway with Galileo. Galileo proposed a
methodology which did not first engage in a
metaphysical search for first principles on which
to base his science.
21
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22
For Descartes, Galileo erred by without having
considered the first causes of nature, he has
merely looked for the explanations of a few
particular effects, and he has thereby built
without foundations But ultimately, it was
Galileo (not Descartes) that pushed the
Scientific Revolution forward.
23
Materialism
  • With the influence of Galileo, Hobbes develops
    his social philosophy on principles of geometry
    and natural science.
  • Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) rejects Cartesian
    dualism claiming that Descartes Mind/Body problem
    itself refutes dualism.
  • Since mind and body cannot interact, they cannot
    both exist within human nature.
  • There can only be one realm of human nature and
    that is the material world.
  • All human activities, including the mental, can
    be explained on the paradigm of a machine.

24
Materialism
  • Hobbes was reductionist in that he believed that
    one kind of purported reality (the mind) could be
    understood entirely in terms of another (matter).
  • New scientific techniques of observation and
    measurement being used by Galileo, Kepler, and
    Copernicus were making giant strides in
    understanding the universe.
  • The spirit of his century suggested to Hobbes
    that all reality would be explained in time in
    terms only of the observable and the measurable.
  • Hobbes himself was unable to explain any mental
    processes in terms of the physical.
  • Perhaps motivating Hobbes view was basically his
    passionate faith in the advancement of science at
    the time.

25
The Prima Facie (or Self-evident) Case for
Materialism
  • The argument from common sense
  • If there are other realities besides the
    material, can they causally interact with the
    material world?
  • If so, how can this interaction happen? If they
    can not interact, what does it mean to say that
    such a reality exists?
  • Please note this may be more difficult that even
    the mind/body problem where we do seem to have
    direct evidence to believe that our own
    consciousness exists.

26
The Prima Facie (or Self-evident) Case for
Materialism
  • The argument from science
  • Science seems to be our most developed and useful
    organized body of knowledge about the world by
    focusing on observation and measurement of the
    physical material world. In the history of
    science, discussion of any kinds of entities
    other than material entities largely have been
    blind alleys.
  • The history of science is full of examples where
    entities once thought to be necessary to explain
    life and man have been replaced by fully causal
    explanations in terms of chemicals and biological
    processes. Doesnt it seem reasonable that this
    also may be the case with mental states? (458)

27
Modern Idealism
  • The founder of modern Idealism is Bishop George
    Berkeley (1685-1753).
  • Berkeley argued against Hobbes Materialism that
    the conscious mind and its ideas and perceptions
    are the basic reality.
  • Berkeley believed that the world we perceive does
    exist. However that world is not external to and
    independent of the mind.
  • The external world is derived from the mind.
  • However, there is a further reality beyond our
    own minds. Since we have ordered perceptions of
    the world which are not controlled by an
    individuals mind, they must be produced by Gods
    divine mind.
  • (900)
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