Saturday, July 25, 2009

Modern Philosophy Final Exam Questions

1. Explain how Cartesian epistemology accounts for the existence and nature of the external world; along the way, (a) describe the analyses and arguments which led Descartes to doubt the existence of the external world; (b) explain what he was left with; and (c) trace the arguments he used to reassert the epistemological respectability of Seventeenth century physics.

Descartes had been devcieved in the past. He had accepted a belief about the solar system and then learned that the belief was false. So now Descartes does not know if he is still doing this.

The moethod of doubt is a technique for resolving dogmatism and skepticism. He assumes that anything that might be false is false and sees if there are some beliefs that cant be doubted.
First he sustracts sensory beliefs,cause they are variant from one person to the other.. then physical qualities… then the external world.. because in our dreams we think the world is real.. so who knows if we aren’t in a dream like state now? A brain in a vat.Math & lgoic might be false because if there is an evil genei then all he does is want to decieve me. Find the thing that can’t be doubted. One undoubtabl belief.. The thought of thought thinking… I can’t doubt that I’m doubting. I am a thinking thing… Thinking thing.. mental activities.. god error.. external world… external world can be guaranteed using mathematics.. look this up.

2. According to Spinoza, Descartes’ failure adequately to distinguish between the nature and operation of the human mind misled him (descartes) into adopting an untenable interactionist psychology. Using E2P7 and E2P13, show how Spinoza’s own distinction between these two questions led him to adopt both materialism (as regards the nature of the mind) and parallelism (as regards the mind’s operation).

E2P7 The order and connection of ideas is the same as the order and connection of things.. Knowledge depends on the idea’s cause of which it is the effect.
E2P13 – the object of the idea constituing the human mind is the body, or a certain mode of extension which actually exists, and nothing else.

First seven propositions of spinoza are about Descartes mind body problem. Axiom 5 you can’t understand mind by better understaniding brain… every mind is part of the mindscape.(the mind and body are one and the same individueal??).. E2P7 – any mode of extension (region of space with certain properties) and the idea of that mode are 1 and the same individual… E2 P13.. Order and connection of ideas is the same.. of things.. Mind and body are same individual.. mind is idea of (something?) “that which constitues the actual being of the mind is nothing but the idea of an actually existing thing”.. minds have ideas of bodies.. The object of the idea constituing a mind is the bvoyd.. mind is the idea of the body… List of payoofs – essence of human mind is a relation, to be a mind at all is a relationip to what actually existes.. mind and body are inseperable… the mind is a relation to the thing that actually exists.. you can’t have a mind unless there’s osmething of it’s referrent.. to understand the mind you must understand the body.. a mind can know more than simpler organisms because our bodies are complicated.. because the body is the object of our knoweldge we can understand time..

3. Both Hobbes and Locke contend that there are natural laws at work in human political affairs, yet their respective accounts of the state of nature differ radically. Show how this difference in theory can be traced to a pair of fundamental disputes, one concerning empirical facts (scarcity vs. abundance), and the other concerning the concept of a natural law (description vs. presciption (Law) (Rule)).

4. Berkeley accuses Locke of leaving epistemology in the lap of latitudinarian skepticism, contending that realism-by-resemblance leads either to immaterialism or the egocentric predicament; explain why this critique, if trained on Galileo’s inferential realism, fails.

Galileo isn’t saying their objects are ou thtere, he is saying we can infer them by reason, and they help us to understand the world

5. Compare and contrast the Hellenic and Roman/Hebraic paradigms at work in the cosmology and social theory which ultimately gave rise to the scientific revolution and thus to modern philosophy.

The modern period erupts from result of Hellenistic and Romano-Hebraic traditions. Paradigm – “A set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community that shares them, especially in an intellectual discipline”.

The hellenistic paradigm for cosmology(the world, the way of the universe, the order of things) model - speculative under the rule of reasons, typically by experience. For the romano Hebraics the model is truth through revelation of trascendant truths (must be established by a source beyond experience). As far as socio-ethics (the human world) where rightness is goodness of fit. The good life.. proportioanl ratio.. balancing act. For the romano-Hebraics (semetics) rightness was fullfillment of covenant (contract with god).

The modern period involves philosophers trying to get rid of teleogogy(effect happens and then u find the cause?).. trying to aristotles’ idea of natural place.
The scientific revolution was a change in method. None of the old methods involved looking at the world. Form hyptheses and then test them (galileo)… “how many feet per second rather than “really fast”.. put it into a number and test it with instruments. Cosmology – Hellenic is reason/speculation romano hebraic is revelation. Socio ethics- proprotion ratio… covenant. “Hobbes wants a covenant based on rationality”.

Descartes – experience trumps authority… reason rather than revelation.. natural thelogy.. Either god is a deciever or he isn’t. Faith can tell you that god exists but only philosophy can tell you that god necessarily exists.” Descartes wants to be able to prove that god exists during arguments.

6. Explain how Hobbes’ radical conventionalism about language both arises from his empiricism and reinforces his contention that the power of sovereign must be absolute.

“True and false are attributes of speech, not things… science is knowing the consequences of names, not the nature of things… definition as a socio-political tool.. correct reasoning arbitrated by the stae.. evidence for propositions reduces to sensation.. names signfy rememberd sensations… universal names name other names, not things… propositions as conceptions of things, not things themselves… propositions as copulated names.. the cuases of names as tantamount to the causes of conceptions.

7. Analyze Spinoza’s definitions of finitude (E1D2) and substance (E1D3), and explain how these definitions figure in the proof that substance is necessarily infinite (E1P8).

E1D2 – That thing is said to be finite in its own kind that can be limited by another of the same nature. For example a body is called finite because we always conceive another that is greater. Thus a thought is limited by anothoter thought. But a body is not limited by athought nor a thought by a body.

E1D3 – By substance I understand what is in itself and is conceived through itself, i.e., that whose concept does not require the concept of another thing, from which it must be formed.

Ideas limit ideas, bodies limit bodies.. finitude – x is limited by another of the same kind.. limited by another idea or budy… (3) substance – that which s complete , conceived through itself… substances are independent from their properties.. when you collapse distinctions between reasons & causes then you find out substances are causually/independent of their causes… substance is necessarily infinite.. nature, god = only substance, only one thing causally independnet of everything else.. ..

9. Both Locke and Hume rest their epistemologies on the contention that human knowledge can be reduced to sensory impressions; their accounts of the processes by which knowledge is constructed from sense data diverge, however. Delineate the divergence and evaluate the relative advantages and disadvantages of each constructional system.

Hume – things must be reduced to impressions distinction between imppressions & ideas. Impressions are immediate effects. Ideas copies of original impressions.. resemblence, contiguity .. casuality.. 3 principles of associateion…

10. Spinoza and Leibniz are both rationalists. Berkeley and Hume are both empiricists. But Berkeley and Leibniz are libertarians, while Spinoza and Hume are determinists. Each of these four thinkers contends that ethics follows from metaphysics. How is this possible?

These things don’t necessarily spill over into metaphysical positions. You don’t get committed to metaphysics from rationalism. Leibniz argues that an omniscicent being would see in detail that everything is connected with everything else in such a way that the slightest change anywehre in the unvierse would inovle a change in the whole.

HOBBES – mechanical account of the state, rather than telological… NOMINALIST .. His theory of mind provides a reason why we must have this social contract… British civil war gives Hobbes his fundamental problem.. this doesn’t look like divine right.. artifactuality of authority created by people rather than god.. we should correctly understand origin and nature of civil society..

Mechanics of mind, cognitive inertia (nothing changes it self) leads to nominalism (names name singulars) only individual things of the world, general names are placeholders for many indiviudal things.. the sovereign runs the social contract… causal theory of meaning.. words get meaning by what caused them. Hobbes wants covenant based on rationality. All there is is bodies in motion.
3 degrees of nominalism (argument from language).. sign which may raise in the mind the thought you had of the previous perception (all things are bodies in motion pushing on the senses)> 1) Names – real in name only – sigs sub for phantasms.. sign to others only by arbitrary agreement.. 2)Proposition, sentences, relations among different names (subject/predicate relations).
3) reasoning – link propositions together . recokoning that traces consequence of using names.. soverign – dictionary – without sovereign we wouldn’t have anything to say.. wouldn’t be able to communicate.. the only real things are bodies in motion, and all bodies in motion obey mechanical laws.. we have to impose standarzations of what the word mean

Konotas – self-preservation – this is the only thing we have by nature… no STATE is natural.. we are apolitical by nature.. state is created voluntarily in occurrence with a natural law(when people are rational they will choose to be in this state rather than not… No DIVINE RIGHT.. a deal between people and people to accept a sovereign… is hobbes ideal social contract… peculair character of konatas with rational people is that they lean toward forming states… state of nature is solitary, competitve and short.. look up abstract.. everything that happens is outside stuff pushing and us pushing back.. cognitive intertia – as you have perceptions the thought is expressed in signs, in order for language to function we need arbitrary & soverign agreements… affetive inertia – conditions of state of twar.. there is no sovereign then you have a state of war.. so rationlity operates and leads us to want a sovereign… Social condition is created out of these two inertias by natural laws (WE HAVE NO CHOICE IN THE FORMATION OF THE STATE).. we are social because we cannot fail to be social as long as we are rational… the rational thing to do is to give up rights to get peace… follow a design without doing it on purpose… CONATUS(fundamental right to self-preservation) “If we take Hobbes’ nominalism seriously, it follows that there are no natural connections between words and things—whatever connection there is is forged by human agreement; consequently, no one reaches the point of being able to articulate the social contract without having already tacitly agreed to it. He should have realized this more clearly when he came to think about tribal societies.”

Locke – state of nature is natural laws for physical material.. property.. we have natural god given rights.. life, health, liberty possessions… right to use resources of the land.. these lwas are discovered by reason but given by god… state o fnature is also a state of abundance so no competeition.. no innate ideas.. blank slate… sensations are the outside world acting on us.. reality is the same as our experience. I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it.. representational – primary, secondary.. (inferential – existence of molecules by table)

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