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Lecture 1: The Concept of Philosophy
Instructor: Scott Dixon

There are many methods of philosophical inquiry. Our focus will be primarily on analysis; more specifically,
    conceptual analysis. However we will also cover another method that relies primarily upon logic
    called reasoning and argumentation.

Definition of conceptual analysis—an analysis of the function and uses of concepts.

Concepts—concepts are the jobs that words do. For example when we speak of the concept of ‘can’ we
    look for various uses of the word.

‘Can’ functions as both a noun and a verb.

Noun—The can is on the table.

Verb—I can help you later.

A thorough analysis of the concept of can would therefore include both of these functions and possibly more.

Consider another example, the sentence, "The cat is on the mat."

What does ‘cat’ refer to or mean in this sentence?

‘Cat’ could mean an animal.

‘Cat’ could be a large tractor, and ‘mat’
refers to the construction pad.

What we’ve noted here is two different uses of the word ‘cat’. What drives the different meanings is the context
    in which the word is found. Thus, while having different meanings both would be contained in any analysis of
    the concept of cat.
 


The Concept of Philosophy

A conceptual analysis of ‘philosophy’ would reveal a wide range of different meanings and uses. Better yet,
    ‘philosophy’ contains many other concepts at use in one form or another.

Philosophy is concerned with the basic structure and constituents of the world, or the technical term,
    metaphysics.

Philosophy is concerned with ways of knowing, or the technical term, epistemology.

Philosophy is concerned with ways of acting appropriately, or the technical term, ethics.

Philosophy is concerned with proper ways of reasoning, or the technical term, logic.

The Concept of Metaphysics

  • What is the fundamental substance of reality?

  •     Materialism--matter
        Idealism—mind or spirit
        Dualism—mind and matter
        Pluralism--a variety of substances
     
  • Are our actions free or determined?

  •     Compatibilism—determinism and free will are compatible
        Incompatiblism—determinism and free will are not compatible—one or the other might be true but
            not they are not both true.
     

  • Personal Identity

  •     Psychological continuity theories
        Physical body continuity theories
        Hybrid theories that utilize both the psychological and the physical.
        Social construction theories.
     

  • Does God Exist?

  •     Cosmological Argument--Aquinas
            --There must be a first cause
            1. There cannot be an endless chain of causes.
            2. There must be a first cause.
            3. Something must have caused that first cause.
            C—That thing is God.

        Teleological Argument--Paley
            --There is intelligent design in nature
            1. The complexity of nature reveals an intelligent, arranged order.
            2. Something arranged/designed that order.
            C—That designer is God

        Ontological Argument--Anselm
            --God is the highest concept, nothing greater can be thought
            1. Something that exists in reality is greater than that which exists only in the mind.
            2. The mind can conceives of God as the highest concept, nothing greater can be thought.
            C—By premise 1, God must exist in reality because what exists in reality is greater than that which
                exists only in the mind.

        Transcendental Argument—Van Til
            --God is the necessary presupposition for intelligibility
            1. Life has meaning, there is a unity to our experience.
            2. For life to have meaning, there must be a meaning giver.
            C—There must be a meaning giver who is God

     
    The Concept of Epistemology

    ‘Epistemology’ is used in a variety of ways and contains a myriad of other concepts.

                    True Beliefs
                    Justified True Beliefs
                    Knowledge That, or factual knowledge
     
                    Conditions of factual knowledge
                    P—I know that Cal Poly is in Pomona.
                    a) P must be true
                    b) I must believe that P is true and sincerely assert P is true
                    c) I must be in a position to know that P

                    Knowledge How or practical knowledge
                        --I know how to get to Room 124.
     
                    Knowledge by Acquaintance—direct awareness
                        --I see the blackboard in front of me.

                    Knowledge by Description—attribution of properties to an object.
                        --Students don’t like to pay tuition.

    empiricism—via the senses we come to knowledge
    rationalism—via reason we come to knowledge
    pragmatism—via consensus or agreement
    direct revelation—via God or nature
    The Concept of Ethics
            Universalistic Theories—deontology and virtue ethics. Everyone is obligated to do "X."

            Relativistic Theories—subjectivism and cultural relativism.  Someone may ought to do "X."

    Metaethics—focuses upon ethical language and metaphysics of ethics.
        Are moral properties real or do they really exist?  What does ‘good’ mean?

    Normative Ethics—theories of right and wrong conduct

    Utilitarianism—consequences determine moral value and the best consequences are those
        that bring about the most happiness or good.

       Act—consequences are assessed in terms of individual actions. I should pay my credit
            card bill.
       Rule—consequences are assessed in terms of rules.

        I should pay my credit card bill as an instantiation of the general rule," Everyone should
            pay their credit card bills."

    Note: Paying my credit card bill as instance of act utilitarianism may not bring about the
        greatest good for me because I may not have money to do other things. However, as an
        instance of rule utilitarianism, if no one paid their credit card bills then the whole system
        of credit would fail and the greater good would not be served. Thus, on act utilitarianism
        what may be good for the individual may not be good for general good of society if exercised
        as a rule.

    Deontology—obligations determine moral value

    Kant’s Second Categorical Imperative:

    Never treat someone as a means alone, but treat them as end in themselves.

    You are obligated to treat someone as a rational being who makes his/her own
        decisions—treating them as an end; and not making decisions for them—as
        a means alone.

    Virtue ethics—subscription to certain moral traits which might best be expressed as,
        What kind of person do I want to be?
    Aristotle taught that you always wanted to live your life as the middle between two extremes.
        The middle position is called ‘virtue’ where as the extremes are called ‘vice.’

    Vice            Virtue              Vice

    Daring       Courage           Cowardice

    Gluttony    Temperance     Asceticism
     


    The Concept of Logic

    Logic is the study of the proper methods of argument.

    What we are going to do then is analyze different words in this definition beginning with 'argument.'

    The goal of an argument is rational persuasion--an attempt to convince someone that the conclusion
        is true and follows from the premises.

    An argument is a group of statements, one of which is called a conclusion and the rest are
            called premises.

     Premise 1
     Premise (n +1)
            _____________
     Conclusion

     P1--If Scott is in the classroom, then he is awake.
     P2--If he is awake, then his eyes are open.
     _____________________________________
     C--If Scott is in the classroom then his eyes are open

    There are two types of arguments: deductive and inductive.

    Deductive arguments usually go from a general case to a specific one.

    Inductive arguments usually go from a specific case to a general one.

    The main difference between deductive and inductive arguments is in the certainty of the conclusion.

    If a deductive argument fits the correct structure and has true premises, the conclusion must be true.
        An argument that does this is called 'sound.' If an argument merely has the correct deductive
        structure, but without true premises, the argument is 'valid' but not 'sound.' Thus soundness adds
        the truthfulness of the premises to the evaluation over a valid argument.

    If an inductive argument has true premises, the conclusion has a high likelihood of being true but it
        is not necessarily true. It does not have a structure that guarantees it.

    P1--There are five students in this class with red shirts on.
    P2--In my last class, there were five students with red shirts on.
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    Thus, from these two instances, my next class may have five students with red shirts on.