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Philosophy
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Episte­mology

Episte­mology (The study of Knowledge)
Ration­alism- The theory that fundam­ental nature of reality can be known a priori (knowledge that is not grounded from sense experi­ence, knowledge that is innate.).
René Descartes (1596-­1650) • Father of Analytic Geometry (Cartesian Coordinate System) • The Medita­tions on First Philosophy ○ Intell­ectual Backgr­ound: Why is he trying to doubt all of these beliefs? a. Renais­sance science (Galileo, Kepler, Copern­icus) overturns the Aristo­telian science that had dominated Western Europe for centuries. b. 1560s: First Latin transl­ations of the Outlines of Pyrrhonism by Sextus Empiricus. (Classic work on skepti­cism) Not many people read Greek, so it was translated to Latin. c. A and B lead to C the: Revival of Skepticism in Late 16th and Early 17th Century France ○ Skepti­cism: Theory that knowledge of reality is not possible.
Descar­tes’s Aim: Defeat Skepti­cism… Put Philosophy on a Foundation of Certainty ○ Method of Systematic Doubt § Method of Doubt: Resolves to accept as true only those beliefs he can find no reason to doubt. § System­atic: Calls into doubt the foundation of his former beliefs. § His strategy is to turn skepticism on itself. He wants to find his Archim­edean Point, to build his entire philos­ophy. § The doubt is hyperbolic or exagge­rated. (Reasons for doubt just have to be consis­tent) § Legitimate Reason to Doubt: □ Need not known to be true □ Need not known to be likely □ Need only be a consistent suppos­ition that would render the belief doubtful.
Meditation One: Doubting the Founda­tions of His Former Beliefs § First Founda­tion: The Senses and Sense Experience □ Main Reason to Doubt ® The Dreamer Hypoth­esis: All of one's experi­ences might be and elaborate dream. Call into doubt the existence of the material world. § Second Founda­tion: Intell­ectual Intuition □ The use of reason to grasp a priori, self-e­vident propos­itions and to derive conclu­sions therefrom. □ Main Reason to Doubt ® The Deceiving God Hypoth­esis: There might be an omnipotent but malevolent being that uses its power to bring it about that we are deceived even in our intell­ectual intuit­ions.
Meditation Two: Descar­tes’s Archim­edean Point in Episte­mology § Sum res cogitans = I exist as a thinking thing. § Even a deceiving god could not deceive Descartes about this belief. § Justif­ica­tion: in order to have any beliefs, including false ones, one must exist as a thinking thing. § The Cogito: This argument is commonly referred to as the “Cogito”. □ Limitation on the conclusion of the Cogito: Descartes has proven only his existence as a thinking thing, but does not yet know with certainty that he has a body. (The existence of matter is still in doubt at this point in the Medita­tions.)
Meditation Three: Extending knowledge beyond the Cogito § What is it about the cogito that makes it certain? □ Descar­tes’s Answer: I understand it clearly and distin­ctly. □ Truth Rule: whatever I understand very clearly and distinctly is true. □ Problem: the deceiving god hypoth­esis. □ Before he can trust the truth rule, Descartes must prove God’s existence and veracity.
Meditation Four: Descar­tes's solution to the problem of error
Meditation Five: A second argument for God's existence. (The Ontolo­gical Argument)
Meditation Six: Two Arguments: § The proof of the real distin­ction between the Mind and the body. The proof of the existence of the external material world.
Background to Descartes' Argument for Gods Existence ○ There are degrees of reality. § The degree of a thing’s reality is a direct function of its degree of perfec­tion. ○ Distin­ction between two kinds of reality: § Formal Reality: the reality that a thing has in its own right. Objective Reality: the reality a thing has in respect of its repres­ent­ational content. (That is, the reality that exists as a repres­ent­ation.)
Descartes' Argument for Gods Existence 1) The cause of an idea must have at least as much formal reality as the objective reality contained by the idea. 2) I have an idea of God; that is, an idea of a being that is supremely perfect. From 1) and 2) 3) The cause of my idea of God must have at least as much formal reality as the objective reality contained in the idea. From 2) and the definition of formal reality: 4) A being with at least as much formal reality as the objective reality contained in the idea of God would be God. From 3) & 4): 5) God must be the cause of my idea of God. From 5): 6) God exists.
Michel de Montaigne (1533-­1592) ○ An Apology for Raymond Sebond (1586) (A defense not an apology. He says that they really don't work, but the arguments that people use in metaph­ysics generally don't work) § He believed that all the articles of the faith could be proven by reason alone. ○ Montaigne uses the skeptical arguments of Sextus Empiricus to "­def­end­" 15th Century Theolo­gian, Raymond Sebond.
 

Empiricism

Empiricism (All knowledge of reality is a poster­ior­i/sense experi­ence, David Hume)
a. David Hume- Working in the 18th Century otherwise known as the Age of Enligh­ten­ment. Charac­ter­istics: i. Optimism about human progress in science and technology ii. A call to each individual to trust her or his ability to use reason to understand reality and morality. iii. This force is Libera­ting: Human beings are liberated from the "­bon­ds" of unreasoned faith in authority, supers­tition, and prejudice b. The figure respon­sible for this attitude is Isaac Newton (1642-­1727) i. Offered a unified system of mechanics: a set of simple and compre­hensive principles that governed the behavior of both celestial and terres­trial motions of bodies. c. Alexander Pope on Newton's Achiev­ement- "­Natures and Natures laws lay hid in night. God said "Let Newton be!", and all was light."­
d. Hume's Aspira­tion- To be the Newton of Human Nature i. Goal: To provide simple and compre­hensive principles that describe human behavior and human unders­tan­ding. ii. Set Limits to Human Unders­tanding iii. Debunk religious supers­tition and unfounded metaph­ysical specul­ation
e. A Science of the Human Unders­tanding i. Twofold Classi­fic­ation of Percep­tions (Perce­ption = Any Mental Repres­ent­ation) 1) Impres­sions: Actual (Occur­rent) sensat­ions, emotions and desires. Tend to be very forceful and lively. 2) Ideas: Recoll­ected or imagined sensat­ions, emotions and desires. Less forceful and lively than impres­sions, but otherwise qualit­atively similar to them. ii. The Copy Principle… "all our ideas or more feeble percep­tions are copies of our impres­sions or more lively ones" (Enquiry, Section II)' iii. The content of all our thinking ultimately is derived from experi­ence. iv. Qualif­ica­tion: We can have compound ideas that did not previously occur as impres­sions v. Once we have derived various ideas from impres­sions we can arrange those ides in ways that were never experi­enced as impres­sions. vi. An Exception to the Copy Principle: The Missing Shade of Blue 1) The mind can supply a simple idea that did not occur previously as impression
vii. Classi­fic­ation of Judgements (Knowledge Claims) 1) Judgements expressing relations of ideas: "­every affirm­ation which is either intuit­ively or demons­tra­tively certai­n." a) True in respect of the meanings of the terms b) In that sense they are known a priori i) No experience would falsify them ii) They provide no positive knowledge about the world. c) This is why his belief that these judgements are a priori does not violate Hume's empiri­cism. d) Their Negoti­ation leads to an internally contra­dictory statement. e) All a priori judgements fall into this category
2) Judgments expressing matters of the fact: a) They're contingent judgments in that their truth and falsity are both concei­vable and possible b) Their negation does not result in an internally contra­dictory statement c) Two kinds: i) Reports of direct experience One. Example: there are over three people in this room Two. I am wearing shoes ii) Claims about states of affairs not directly observed One. Example: claims about the future: this pen will fall when released Two. Claims about the past and the present can also fall in to this category: all bachelors are happy, there was a lightning strike iii) What is our justif­ication for claims of type 2? iv) Hume's initial answer: our belief in casual relations v) What is our justif­ication for belief in casual relations? Not a priori: negating a casual relation does not result in an internal contra­dic­tion. Studying a cause on its own will never reveal its effect vi) Hume's answer­: e­xpe­rience of constant conjun­ction - one kind of event is said to be the cause of a second kind of event because the first kind of event is repeatedly followed by the second kind in our existence vii) This means we are justifying judgements of type 2 B with t 2 A
3) Inductive infere­nce­: using direct observ­ation, both past and present, to draw conclu­sions about matters not directly observed a) Hume asks: Why should we think that this works? Can we give a rational justif­ication for inductive infere­nces? NO
4) Possible rational justif­ica­tion: a) Principle of the uniformity of nature (PUN):  state of affairs that resemble eachother in all respects except spatial and temporal location will exhibit the same properties or charac­ter­istics b) The future will resemble the past c) Hume's question: what is your justif­ication for PUN? i) Not known a priori: the negation does not lead to an internal contra­diction ii) PUN has been repeatedly confirmed in our experience iii) Because that is an inductive inference and would amount to a circular justif­ication iv) There is no rational justif­ication for PUN - Hume
5) The problem of induction a) Inductive inferences are not reports of direct experience (by defini­tion), are not known a priori (the negation test), and they cannot be derived validly from direct experience (attem­pting to do so is to offer a circular justif­ica­tion) b) Hume's conclu­sion: there is no rational justif­ication for making inductive inferences c) What is the basis for our practice of making inductive infere­nces? i) Hume's response: the non-ra­tional principle of habit (or custom) (defines habit as a propensity produced by the repitition of an act to renew the same act without using reasoning to do so
6) Important clarif­ication of Hume's position a) Hume does not think we should stop making inductive inferences b) Hume does not think inductive inferences are bad c) Hume believes that inductive inferences are reliable d) He simply thinks it is an intere­sting fact about how the human mind works that our inductive practices are grounded in habit and not reason
 

Immanuel Kant (1724-­1804)

a. Critique of pure reason (1781) i. A synthesis of Ration­alism and Empiricism ii. Kant's classi­fic­ation of judgments 1) Hume's classi­fic­ation conflated two different consid­era­tions 2) Kant notes that judgments can be considered in two distinct ways 3) Episte­mic­ally: with respect to how they are known to be true or false Semant­ically: with respect to the meaning relations of their terms
iii. Epistemic distin­ction, two kinds of judgments 1) A priori: known to be true indepe­ndently of experi­ence. (no possible experience would ever falsify the judgment) Necess­arily true. a) 5+7=12, all bachelors are unmarried 2)  A poster­iori: known to be true on the basis of experience (exper­ience might possibly falsify them) Contin­gently true. a) All humans are under 12 ft fall, all swans are white
iv. Semantic distin­ction, two kinds of judgements 1) Analyt­ic: the meaning of the predicate term is contained within the meaning of the subject term. Negation leads to an internally contra­dictory statement. Explic­ative: the predicate term merely explicates the subject term Examples: all bachelors are unmarried, a red ball has color   2) Synthe­tic­: the meaning of the predicate term is not contained within the meaning of the subject term, negation does not lead to an internally contra­dictory statement 3) Amplia­tive: the predicate term adds to or amplifies the meaning of the subject term 4) Examples: all humans are under 12 ft tall, all Mondays are depressing
v. Kant's fourfold classi­fic­ation of judgments 1) Analytic A priori judgments a) Examples: all bachelors are unmarried, a red ball is colored, a triangle has three angles 2) Analytic A posteriori judgments a) THERE ARE NO EXAMPLES OF ANALYTIC A POSTERIORI JUDGMENTS b) THESE JUDGMENTS WOULD BE SUCH THAT EXPERIENCE MIGHT POSSIBLY FALSIFY THEM; HOWEVER, TO DO SO EXPERIENCE WOULD HAVE TO EMBODY A CONTRA­DICTION c)  This will be a question on the test, the answer is none of the above 3) Synthetic A posteriori judgments a) Examples: all humans are under 12 ft tall, swans are white
This is not one of the factors that contri­buted to a revival of skepticism in early 17th century France. The public­ation of Hume’s Enquiry Concerning Human Unders­tan­ding. Descar­tes’s method of doubt is systematic because he subjects to doubt the founda­tions of his former beliefs. The following is an example of what Hume would call a judgment expressing a relation of ideas: All bachelors are unmarried. According to Hume, we can tell that the Principle of the Uniformity of Nature is not known a priori because its negation (denial) does not lead to an internally contra­dictory statement. According to Kant, which of the following is an analytic a posteriori judgment? Not Ball cabbage Black Bear, Human. None of the Above. Descartes says The idea of the human being has the highest degree of formal reality.

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