Seeing the “story” of ideas…. Ideas are created, critiqued, fixed, built-on, and/or rejected. Empiricism Part II: David Hume 1711-1776. Pushing Philosophy to a Point of Crisis. Challenging Leibniz. Analytic propositions (a priori): Negation is contradiction. True by definition.
Ideas are created, critiqued, fixed, built-on, and/or rejected.
Pushing Philosophy to a Point of Crisis
Analytic propositions (a priori):
Hume: Okay, but these are tautologies that tell us NOTHING about the world.
Hume: These tell us only about the relations of ideas.
Bill will win the election or he will not win the election.
If Bush was president for at least four days, then he was president for more than three days.
2+2= ½(8) & (2x2) & (68-64) & 22
Synthetic propositions (a posteriori).
Substance X causessome experience of sense data Y?
Where’s the cause?
First X, then Y….so always X, then Y?
Does Y necessarily have to follow X?
Causality vs. Seriality.
Psychological expectation vs. fact.
If causation is suspect, how can we say some unidentifiable “substance” causes experience of sense data?
There may be a “commonsense” experience of causation, but that doesn’t mean there is justification for the belief causation.
So if we can’t say our sense data experience is caused by substance, how can we say we have knowledge of the world?
Hume: Analytic propositions have meaning (but are philosophically trivial).
Hume: Synthetic propositions have meaning if they can be traced to sense data but are suspect (merely reports of psychological states?)
Hume: Propositions that are neither analytic nor synthetic are “nonsense.”
“I think; therefore, I am.”
What are “you” thinking about if you cut out all sense data and all emotions and ideas? What is the “self” that thinks?
Belief in self, world, God, and causality are unfounded.
Human life may be incompatible with rationality.
Which theory of knowledge, rationalism or empiricism, best captures the phenomena of knowing and knowledge?
Which theory of knowledge seems to offer the best prospects for rich experiences?
Are the “problem of substance” and the “problem of self” and the “problem of causality” real problems?
Do Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume help or confuse us?
The teacher is a midwife of ideas who helps students bring to birth the ideas latent within their minds.
The mind is like a rubber band that encompasses the information that it acquires from the world. Hence, the job of a teacher is to stretch students’ minds so they can accommodate larger amounts of data.
The students’ minds contain seeds of understanding. The teacher is merely a gardner who prepares the soil and provides it with nourishment so that the seeds can grow and produce fruit.
The teacher is a lamplighter who illuminates the students’ minds so that the truth will shine forth.
The mind is like a copy machine that reproduces images of the data it has scanned from the external world.
The teacher is a tour guide who leads the students into new and unfamiliar territory.
The mind is like a window that provides access to the outside world. Ignorance, prejudice, and dogmatism are like a haze or obstacles that the teacher must remove in order for the light of truth to shine through the window of the intellect.
The mind is like a computer. Its capabilities are only as good as the data it receives.
The mind is like a computer. Without some built-in internal content such as logic circuits and an operating system, it is incapable of processing external data.
What does it mean to be a “moral” person?
Does morality exist independent of human thought or emotion?
How do we learn to be moral?
Why do different cultures seem to share basic moral principles—e.g. infanticide is wrong, lying is wrong, etc.