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
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,
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
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.
Psychological continuity theories
Physical body continuity theories
Hybrid theories that utilize both the psychological and the physical.
Social construction theories.
--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.
--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
--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.
--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
‘Epistemology’ is used in a variety of ways and contains a myriad of other concepts.
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.
Relativistic Theories—subjectivism and cultural relativism. Someone may ought to do "X."
Normative Ethics—theories of right and wrong conduct
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
Rule—consequences are assessed in terms of rules.
I should pay
my credit card bill as an instantiation of the general rule," Everyone
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.
Kant’s Second Categorical Imperative:
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.
Vice Virtue Vice
Daring Courage Cowardice
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
Premise (n +1)
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.
Thus, from these two instances, my next class may have five students with red shirts on.