Philosophy 1010 Class #3 Title: Introduction to Philosophy



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  • Philosophy 1010
  • Class #3
  • Title: Introduction to Philosophy
  • Instructor: Paul Dickey
  • E-mail Address: pdickey2@mccneb.edu
  • Today: Submit Logic Homework Assignment.
  • Submit Brief Essay
  • Did anyone watch one of the movies discussed in Chapter One? What did it suggest about a philosophical question that we have discussed?
  • Assignments for 1/7/13:
  • 1 Read Velasquez, Philosophy: A Text With Readings Chapter 2, pp. 48-69,
  • 2. Submit Revised First Essay
  • 3. Brief Movie Scene Analysis from Chapter Two
  • Watch any movie listed below. Write a 3 paragraph (200-250 word) mini-essay discussing one or two scenes in the movie and how the scene(s) illustrate(s) a philosophical view on the Nature of Man that is discussed in Chapter Two.
  • Movie List: Schindler’s List (1993), River’s Edge (1986), Leaving Las Vegas (1995), Blade Runner (1982), Who is Julia? (1986), A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (2001), Momento (2000), Total Recall (1990), The Bourne Identity (2002), Bend It Like Beckham (2002), My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002), The Long Walk Home (1990), Dark City (1998)
  • Philosophy Applied
  • Schindler’s List tells the true story of the German businessman Oskar Schindler who comes to Nazi-occupied Poland in hopes of using the abundant slave labor force of Jews to manufacture goods for the German military to make himself a fortune. By the end of the film, he saves the lives of more than 1,100 Jews by sacrificing his personal fortune.
  • While watching these film segments, consider views on human nature that you will be reading about in chapter two of the textbook:
  • e.g. Sigmund Freud, Thomas Hobbes,
  • Moritz Schlick, Aristotle, Jean-Paul Sartre
  • Philosophy Applied:
  • Schindler’s List
  • Writing Assignment
  • Worth 10 points in Participation Category.
  •  
  • Review your answer to the question from the first week of class. Evaluate your argument (and if you wish improve it) based on the principles of logic that we have discussed. Can you now propose a better argument? Be sure you state specifically what is your claim/conclusion? Does the question you asked still need to be clarified? What are your premises or “reasons to believe”? Is your argument deductive or inductive? If deductive, is it valid? If inductive, is it strong?
    • So How Should We DO Philosophy?
    • Not “just anything goes!” Philosophy is guided by the commitment to careful reasoning which is “playing by the rules.”
  • Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop ...
  • The Father of Western Philosophy
  • Socrates, 460-399 B. C.
  • Socrates' deserves credit for rigorous, ethical investigation. His conversations with his fellow Athenians are the first records we have of an individual, by careful reasoning, trying to discover the guiding principles of moral choices.
  • But be careful. There were many Greek thinkers (actually known as “The Pre-Socratics”) prior to Socrates who developed profound insights into the nature of the universe and man’s place in it.
  • Socrates built a reputation on questioning conventional beliefs, thus embodying the nature of philosophy itself.
  • What is the Socratic method?
  • “Teaching by Asking Instead of by Telling”
  • Socrates engaged himself in questioning students in an unending search for truth. He sought to get to the foundations of his students' and colleagues' views by asking continual questions until a contradiction was exposed, thus proving the fallacy of the initial assumption.
  • This became known as the Socratic Method, and may be Socrates' most enduring contribution to philosophy.
  • Socrates was both a real philosopher and the major character in Plato’s (his student’s) dialogues. Thus, it is not clear to what degree Socrates was a precursor to Plato’s ideas or was a mouthpiece for Plato to put forward his own views.
  • Video
  • c. 427-347 B. C.
  • Plato is history's first great philosopher because, among other reasons, he provided the first set of answers to some of the largest and most difficult questions: What is the structure of reality? What can be known for certain? What is moral virtue? What is the nature of the ideal state?
  • No philosopher before Plato had ever attempted such a wide and deep exploration of philosophical problems.
  • Plato
  • Plato’s Dialogues &
  • the Socratic Method
  • Plato’s dialogues demonstrate the Socratic Method.
  • In The Euthyphro, Plato shows Socrates questioning traditional religious beliefs and the nature of religious duty. He asks “what is it to be holy” and Euthyphro says that being holy is “doing what the gods love.”
  • Class, has Euthyphro given a good answer to the question? Does he really understand or is he just assuming that he knows?
  • Socrates probes further: what makes a thing holy? Is an act holy because it is loved by the gods or do the gods love what is holy because it is holy?
  • If the first, are the gods capricious and random and be able to select anything to be holy? If the latter, then we have not answer the original question at all.
  • Plato’s Dialogues &
  • the Socratic Method
  • In Plato’s The Republic, Socrates questions Thrasymachus who states that justice is whatever is to the advantage of the strong, that “might makes right.”
  • Socrates asks what if the powerful pass laws that in error do not benefit themselves. Would not justice then be following laws that do not benefit the strong? Then justice would be in following laws that do not benefit them.
  • Thus, Socrates has pointed out to Thrasymachus that his commonly held view is quite likely inconsistent, or at least needs to be qualified and made clearer.
  • Plato’s Dialogues &
  • the Socratic Search for How to Live
  • Plato’s dialogues demonstrate that Socrates was not just trying to be “smart” but was in the profound pursuit of how one should live.
  • In The Apology, Socrates defends his way of life. He proclaims that his mission came from a divine commandment to seek wisdom. Thus, he questioned everyone he professed knowledge to find wisdom, only to find that the wisest man is he who knows he does not know.
  • Even in the face of death, Socrates proclaims he can act no differently. It is better to obey the gods than man. The unexamined life is not worth living. His pursuit of philosophy is following the instruction of the gods.
  • Video
  • Plato’s Dialogues &
  • the Socratic Search for How to Live
  • In the Crito, Socrates is awaiting execution in his prison. Crito suggests that for the benefit of his friends and family, Socrates should escape. “It is the opinion of all of your friends, Socrates.”
  • Socrates replies that in order to act on reason alone, Socrates asks Crito what is right and wrong and we must not follow the “morality of the many” but follow what is truly right.
  • Socrates further argues that what is the right way to live consists in obeying the state in which we have contracted to live. Thus, we must obey the laws of the society in which we live, even when those laws and actions are unjust.
  • Ten Minute Break!
  • The Fundamental Principle of Critical Thinking is The Nature of an Argument
  • Making a claim is stating a belief or opinion -- the conclusion
  • An argument is presented when you give a reason or reasons that the claim is true. -- the premise(s)
  • Thus, an argument consists of two parts, and one part (the premise or premises) is/are the reason(s) for thinking that the conclusion is true.
  • Two Kinds of Good Arguments
  • 1) A good deductive argument is one in which if the premises are true, then the conclusion necessarily (I.e. has to be) true.
    • Such an argument is called “valid” and “proves” the conclusion.
    • For example – Julie lives in the United States because she lives in Nebraska.
    • All men are mortal.
    • Socrates is a man.
    • ____
    • Socrates is mortal.
  • A sound argument is a valid, deductive argument in which the premises are in fact true.
  • How Do Premises Support Conclusions?
  • For a Deductive argument, premises prove a conclusion based on the logical form of the statement.
    • Consider the argument:
    • (P1) If it’s raining outside, the grass is wet.
    •         (P2) It’s raining outside.
    •             _________________________
    •         (Conclusion) The grass is wet.
    • In this case, the premises support the conclusion fully simply by what the premises say. It would be a contradiction to suggest that the conclusion is false but the premises are true.
  • A. Categorical Arguments
  • Categorical Logic is logic based on the relations of inclusion and exclusion among classes.
  • That is, categorical logic is about things being in and out of groups and what it means to be in or out of one group by being in or out of another group.
  • The following is a categorical syllogism:
  • (Premise 1) All Americans are consumers.
    • (Premise 2) Some consumers are not Democrats.
    • (Conclusion) Some Americans are not Democrats.
  • “If it’s raining outside, the grass is wet. It’s raining
  • outside. Thus, the grass is wet.”
  • We often use variables to represent statements to
  • analyze arguments. In this case, say for example,
  • R = It’s raining outside; W = The grass is wet.
  • and “->” as if/then,
  • 1) Thus we have an argument of the form:
  • R -> W
  • R
  • _____
  • W
  • This is the rule of modus ponens. 
  • “If it’s raining outside, the grass is wet. The grass is not wet. Thus, it is not raining.”
  • R -> W
  • ~W
  • _____
  • ~R
  • This is the rule of Modus Tollens.
  • So what kind of an argument is this?
  • A good God would not permit evil to exist.
  • There is evil in the world.
  • ____
  • Thus, a good God does not exist.
        • Say G = A good God exists, E= There is no evil in the world.
        • Is this argument of the form:
        • If G  E
        • ~ E
        • _____
        • ~G
        • If so, it is a valid deductive argument.
  • “Either it’s raining outside or the grass is dry. The grass is not dry. Thus, It’s raining outside.”
  • A before, we use variables to represent statements to
  • analyze arguments. In this case, say for example,
  • R = It’s raining outside; D = The grass is dry.”
  • and “v” as either/or” and “~” as not.
  • 1) Thus we have an argument of the form:
  • R v D
  • ~D
  • _____
  • R
  • C. Disjunctive Arguments
  • “If it’s raining outside, the grass is wet. If the grass is wet, then our toddler will slip and fall. Thus, if it is raining outside, our toddler will slip and fall.”
  • R -> W
  • W -> S
  • _____
  • R -> S
  • D. Chain Arguments
  • Two kinds of good arguments
  • 2) A good inductive argument is one in which if the premises are true, then the conclusion is probably true, but not always. The truth of the premises do not guarantee the truth of the conclusion.
    • Such an argument is called “strong” and supports the conclusion.
    • For example: Craig lives in Nebraska and he loves football, so he is a Nebraska Cornhusker fan.
  • If offered to me before class today, I would
  • have made a bet with my wife that each of you would
  • sit in the same seat in class that you did last
  • Wednesday. If she would have taken the bet, would I
  • have won more money than I would have lost?
  • How Do Premises Support Conclusions?
  • For an Inductive argument, premises support (never prove) a conclusion based on how good the premises provide evidence for the conclusion.
    • Consider the argument:
    • (P1) If it’s raining outside, the grass near the house gets wet when the wind is not blowing strongly from the North (which doesn’t often occur).
    • (P2) It’s raining outside.
    • _________________________
    • The grass near the house is wet.
    • Note: It would not be a contradiction to suggest that the conclusion is false but the premises are true.
  • How Does Sometimes
  • Our Thinking Crash?
  • We are often influenced by rhetoric, language that is psychologically persuasive but does not have pertinent logical force.
  • There are many kinds of rhetorical deceptions or “devices”, including:
  • hyperbole,
  • proof surrogates,
  • image rhetoric, and
  • euphemisms
  • Rhetoric
  • Subjectivism
  • The view that “one opinion is as good as another,” or “whatever is true is only what you think is true” is subjectivism.
  • For some things, this makes sense. Does Miller taste great?
  • To tell if something is subjective, ask yourself: “If Curtis says “A” is true and Alicia says “A” is not true, can they both be right?
  • One cannot give an argument either for or against a subjective position.
  • Now, do you really believe that whether God exists is subjective? What about other philosophical issues? Is what is real dependent on what your friend thinks it is? When you reach out to catch a ball, do you “really” believe whether your friend believes the ball is not real matters?

Logical Fallacies are “Screw-ups” in Reasoning

  • Logical Fallacies can be Formal or Informal.
  • A formal fallacy is something like: All mothers are women. Janice is a woman. Thus, Janice is a mother.
  • This is a formal fallacy because its logical form is invalid.
  • An informal fallacy is something like: Janice believes in God. Janice is not good at algebra. Thus, God does not exist.
  • That is, an informal fallacy are errors in logic usually because the “premises” of the argument either are ambiguous or irrelevant to the claim.
  • Ten Minute Break!
  • Informal Fallacies often occur when the purported premise is not even relevant. (These are known as “the fallacies of relevance”)
  • They include:
  • Appeal to Emotion/Authority
  • Ad Hominems
  • Argument from Ignorance
  • Begging the Question
  • Wishful Thinking
  • Maybe the most common of all logical mistakes.
  • The Ad Hominem Fallacy mistakes the qualities of the argument itself with the qualities of the person making the claim. Most Ad Hominem arguments are negative.
  • In an ad hominem, a person attacks the proponent of an argument rather than analyzing the argument itself.
  • The Ad Hominem Fallacy
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9emz5hpxkrw
  • The burden of proof in an argument rests on the person making the claim. It is her responsibility to give the premises and the reasons to believe her claim is true.
  • To try to shift the burden of proof onto the person who is listening to your argument and trying to make him show that you are wrong is called misplacing the burden of proof.
  • A particular example of this logical error is the appeal to ignorance which suggests that we should believe something because no one has proven or shown it to be wrong.
  • Misplacing the Burden /
  • Argument from Ignorance
  • Begging the question is assuming as true the claim that is at issue and is to be supported.
  • For example, God exists because the Bible says so and we should believe what the Bible says because it was written by God.
  • Another example:
  • An old gold miner’s joke:
  • One gold prospector asks the other: Why do you get two pieces of gold for every one I get. The second answers “Because I am the leader.” The first then replies but why are you the leader? The second responds: “Because I have twice the gold you do.”
  • Begging the Question
  • Our hopes, desires and personal needs can delude us and make us vulnerable to the fallacy of wishful thinking.
  • We should always be able to recognize when analyzing an argument what we want to believe and be sure that our desires are not overriding our critical thinking and making us come to conclusions simply because of what “we want to believe.”
  • We may want to believe, for example, that God exists so that we might feel more secure or happy. We must thus separate that wish from the reasons that can serve as premises for our claim that God exists.
  • You probably don’t want to believe this, but it is likely true: http://www.scholarspot.com/video/11916/4415/Media-Multitaskers-Pay-Mental-Price
  • Wishful Thinking
  • Informal Fallacies also occur when it is not recognized that the purported premise is ambiguous. (These are known as “fallacies of ambiguity”)
  • These include:
  • Equivocation
  • Amphiboly
  • Composition/Division
  • 1. Equivocation: words or phrases change meaning between premises and conclusion. (semantic confusion)
  • All banks are beside rivers. Therefore, the financial institution where I deposit my money is beside a river.
  • 2. Amphiboly : change of meaning due to grammar (syntactical confusion)
  • One morning, I shot an elephant in my pajamas.
  • Thus, elephants wear pajamas.
  • 3. Composition/Division: The confusion is in attributing the characteristics of part (or whole) to the whole (or part).
  • All the books in this library are good. Thus, this is as a good library. (Composition)
  • This is a good library. Thus, you can be sure that
  • all the books in this library are good. (Division)
  • 4 Steps to Evaluating an Argument
  • Be sure you understand the argument. What is the claim? What are the premises for the claim?
  • Determine if the argument is deductive or inductive and apply the appropriate test for validity or strong support.
  • Identify and weed out any logical fallacies, rhetoric, subjectivity, or irrelevancies. Clarify any vagueness or ambiguity.
  • Examine the truth of the premises. If the argument is inductive, evaluate the evidence.


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