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Terms in this set (29)
-Knowledge must be gained through the exercise of logical thought.
-Relies on deductive reasoning.
(Think Sherlock Holmes.)
the theory that all knowledge is derived from sense-experience
Explain the difference between empiricism and rationalism. Which approach do you think is more likely to lead to truth? (Explain your answer using examples from Descartes and Hume.)
Empiricists say that we cannot know anything without first experiencing it. We reason from there. Do not trust experience, so knowledge has to come through reason alone.
Explain the historical circumstances led to Descartes' project in the Meditations?
People were starting to question things that had been taken for granite. For example, the earths place in the universe. The earth is the center, debunked and said that the sun was the center of the universe. It was sort of a frightening time because there was imprisonment for arguing against what was "known". He did not want to end up in prison, but wanted to get certainty back.
What was Descartes trying to do in the First Meditation? Why was he doing this?
His goal in the first meditation was trying figure out what can be doubted. He was doing this so he can build knowledge. He is setting aside everything that could be doubted.
Explain the context and meaning of the following quote: "And thus I realized that once in my life I had to raze everything to the ground and begin again from the original foundations, if I wanted to establish anything firm and lasting in the sciences." (p13)
He is reflecting on why he is doing this. He is saying things that he thought he knew. He is trying to clear out anything that can be doubted so that he can build new foundations. Which is things he can know or things that cannot be doubted. He did not want to base his knowledge in the wrong area.
Explain Descartes' view on the relation between knowledge and certainty.
Explain the difference between psychological doubt and philosophical doubt.
Psychological doubt is feeling of uncertainty
Philosophical doubt is a reason for doubt
Which type of doubt is Descartes concerned with and how is that related to his conception of knowledge?
Philosophical doubt because it is the doubt that you might be mistaken and he believes that there should be no reason for doubt so that you can know something.
According to Descartes, what does it take to know something?
Absence of reason for doubt, is certainty. Lack of reason for doubt
Define a priori beliefs and a posteriori beliefs and explain the difference between them.
State [clearly identify the premises and conclusion] and explain the "Dream Argument."
The dream argument is everything we can base on our senses can be doubted. Sometimes we have realistic dreams, if I have realistic dreams, can we distinguish from what is real and what is a dream? Ultimately, we cannot distinguish reality and dreams apart. If we are dreaming it is not reliable. This then gives us the reason for doubt because we can have the same experiences when we are dreaming as when we are awake.
Explain the implications of the dream argument. What does this argument imply about our perceptual beliefs?
Looking at the big picture, if the dream argument is right it means that we could never be certain that what we are experiencing right now is as it seems.
Explain Descartes' purpose in introducing the evil genius hypothesis. What is the hypothesis and what sorts of things are called into question with this hypothesis?
He does not have good reason to trust anything that we think. How do we know we aren't being controlled by an evil genius? He does not think it is likely, but it is possible. Which makes it doubtful. This then makes us question all beliefs. He is going to pretend everything he believed is false and is imagining someone manipulating his mind so that the doubtable beliefs do not sneak back in.
What is the result of Descartes' First Meditation? (That is, explain what can be doubted and why.)
We are doubting everything. Things that rely on senses (dream belief) and things that do not (evil genius result).
What is the "first truth" that Descartes discovers in the Second Meditation?
He can be certain of his existence
Explain the context and meaning of the following quote: "Thus, after everything has been most carefully weighed, it must finally be established that this pronouncement "I am, I exist" is necessarily true every time I utter or conceive it in my mind." (p18)
Summarizing the first truth.
Anytime he is aware of anytime he has a thought, thoughts do not existence without a mind. He has to exist because he is aware of his thoughts and he has the thoughts. Even if he is dreaming, he is still aware of his thoughts so he still exists. Even if there is an evil genius, he is still having thoughts. This does not mean his thoughts are true but it does mean he exists.
Explain how Descartes knows his first truth. (That is, explain why this belief is not undermined by the considerations about dreams and deceivers in the first meditation.)
Even if he is dreaming, he is still aware of his thoughts so he still exists. Even if there is an evil genius, he is still having thoughts. This does not mean his thoughts are true but it does mean he exists.
Define "essential characteristics."
Characteristics a thing has to have that make it what it is. He is essentially a thing that thinks.
In the Second Meditation, what does Descartes discover that he is? (What is his nature?)
He is then trying to figure out what he is. He is a thing that thinks.
What does Descartes mean by "thought"?
Anything that is going on in your mind. Anything that your mind is doing that you can be aware of.
What is Descartes trying to illustrate with the wax example in the Second Meditation?
The point of the wax is trying to show that our knowledge is ultimately based on our intellect not our experience. When I think of myself, most people think of your body, but that is not what is essential. What is essential is our mind. He says that you still know it is the same piece of wax, so that shows intellect.
What does Descartes know at the end of the Second Meditation?
That he is real.
What does Descartes use the example of the chiliagon in the sixth meditation to show? How does he use it to show this?
He knows God exists and that God is not a dissever, so now he is trying to get the physical world back. Where could my knowledge of physical objects come from. He first considers the imagination. He compares a chiliagon to a triangle. You can understand a thousand-sided figure but you cannot imagine it. Maybe imagination is directing your mind to the physical world. If imagination is directing your mind to the physical world doesn't that mean it exists. However, this does not make it true. There is still reason to doubt.
State [clearly identify the premises and conclusion] and explain Descartes' argument for the existence of physical objects. What, specifically, does Descartes' claim to know as a result of this argument?
Does Descartes' argument for the existence of physical objects solve the dream problem? Explain why or why not.
No, it is still possible that your head is in a dream right now. It just shows that the world is real.
How does Descartes attempt to solve the dream problem at the end of the sixth meditation? Does he succeed? Explain why or why not.
What was Descartes' overall goal in the Meditations? Assuming he successfully proved the existence of a non-deceiving God, has he succeeded in achieving this goal? Explain why or why not and explain the consequences. (By consequences I mean where does that leave Descartes with respect to his goal? What are the larger implications for what we know or can know?)
What does Hume mean by relations of ideas?
A priori like math
What does Hume mean by matters of fact?
Correspond to posteriori ideas of the world
How do relations of ideas and matters of fact correspond to the concepts of a priori claims a posteriori claims?
Explain what Hume means by impressions.
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