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MIDTERM EXAMINATION. THE MIDTERM EXAMINATION WILL BE ON FRIDAY, MAY 2, IN THIS CLASSROOM, STARTING AT 1:00 P.M . BRING A BLUE BOOK .

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MIDTERM EXAMINATION


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    1. MIDTERM EXAMINATION THE MIDTERM EXAMINATION WILL BE ON FRIDAY, MAY 2, IN THIS CLASSROOM, STARTING AT 1:00 P.M. BRING A BLUE BOOK. THE EXAM WILL COVER: CHAPTER 1 (i.e., INTRODUCTION, pp. 1-22), CHAPTERS 2, 3, 5, 6 (IN PART), THE ASSIGNED READINGS (EXCEPT FOR THE SPINOZA AND BRADLEY EXCERPTS), AND THE MATERIAL ON THE HANDOUTS.

    2. LECTURE 11 OBJECTIVITY (continued)

    3. OBJECTIVE TRUTH • THE COMMONSENSE WESTERN METAPHYSIC SHOULD (PERHAPS) BE TAKEN TO INVOLVE A BELIEF IN OBJECTIVE TRUTH. • WHAT OBJECTIVE TRUTH IS NOT: (A) OBECTIVE TRUTH IS NOT THE SAME AS CERTAINTY OR EVEN KNOWLEDGE. (B) OBJECTIVE TRUTH IS NOT “WHAT IS TRUE FOR YOU” OR “WHAT IS TRUE FOR ME.”

    4. SOMEONE WHO BELIEVES IN OBJECTIVE TRUTH DOESN’T HAVE TO CLAIM TO KNOW WHICH THINGS ARE OBJECTIVELY TRUE. “THERE IS LIFE ON OTHER PLANETS” MAY BE OBJECTIVELY TRUE (IF NOT: “THERE IS NO LIFE ON OTHER PLANETS” IS OBJECTIVELY TRUE).

    5. THE NOTION EXPLAINED SUPPOSE WE CONFINE OUR DISCUSSION TO BELIEFS (OTHER THINGS MAY BE TRUE OR FALSE AS WELL: ASSERTIONS, SENTENCES, THOUGHTS). “A BELIEF IS EITHER (OBJECTIVELY) TRUE OR (OBECTIVELY) FALSE BECAUSE OF THE WAY THE WORLD IS. BELIEFS (OR PERCEPTIONS) DO NOT CAUSE THE WORLD TO BE A CERTAIN WAY.”

    6. MEANINGLESS BELIEFS AND VAGUE BELIEFS SOME BELIEFS MAY BE MEANINGLESS. HEIDIGGER CLAIMED TO BELIEVE THAT “THE NOTHING NOTHIINGS.” MAYBE HE HAD SOMETHING IN MIND WHICH CAN BE TRUE OR FALSE, BUT HE HAS NOT COMMUNICATED IT VERY WELL.” SUCH “BELIEFS” MAY NOT BE EITHER TRUE OR FALSE.

    7. VAGUE BELIEFS “ANDERSON WAS TALL” AT ONE TIME I WAS 5 FEET 11½ INCHES TALL. WAS I TALL? SOME BELIEFS MAY BE NEITHER TRUE NOR FALSE BECAUSE OF VAGUENESS. EXCLUDING MEANINGLESS AND VAGUE BELIEFS, IT IS CLAIMED BY THE “REALIST” (ABOUT TRUTH) THAT SOME (OR PERHAPS ALL) BELIEFS ARE EITHER OBJECTIVELY TRUE OR OBJECTIVLEY FALSE.

    8. A PUZZLE ABOUT ANTI-REALISM (ABOUT TRUTH) (AR) “NO BELIEFS ARE OBJECTIVELY TRUE.”

    9. QUESTION IS (AR) BEING CLAIMED TO BE TRUE? OBJECTIVELY TRUE? THE ANTI-REALIST WILL HAVE TO SAY “NO, (AR) IS ‘TRUE’ IN A SPECIAL SENSE” (WHICH I WILL EXPLAIN).” THE PUZZLE IS THIS: ALL ARGUMENTS OF THE FOLLOWING FORM SEEM TO BE DEDUCTIVELY VALID: _P____  IT IS (OBJECTIVELY) TRUE THAT P

    10. HERE P IS A MEANINGFUL, DETERMINATE, DECLARATIVE SENTENCE ACTUALLY IT IS PLAUSIBLE THAT THE ARGUMENT IS VALID IN MANY OTHER CASES. ALSO THERE ARE OTHER QUALIFICATIONS TO BE MADE ABOUT SENTENCES CONTAINING PARTS OF SPEECH WHOSE MEANINGS VARY WITH CONTEXT. NONE OF THOSE ARE PRESENT IN THE CASE OF (AR).

    11. THE ANTI-REALIST MIGHT JUST DENY THAT THIS IS VALID • IT IS DIFFICULT TO KNOW WHAT TO DO WHEN TWO NORMAL SPEAKERS DISAGREE ABOUT THE VALIDITY OF AN ARGUMENT – AT LEAST IF IT IS AN ARGUMENT AS SIMPLE AS THIS. IF IT WERE COMPLICATED, WE COULD PERHAPS APPEAL TO SOME PRINCIPLES OF LOGIC AND SHOW THAT IT IS VALID.

    12. THIS IS AN IMPASSE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT WILLIAM ALSTON SAYS IN HIS PAPER ARE RELEVANT TO THE PRESENT DISPUTE (ABOUT VALIDITY). WE TURN NOW TO A DISCUSSION OF HIS PAPER “YES, VIRGINIA. THERE IS A REAL WORLD.”

    13. WILLIAM ALSTON(1921-2009)

    14. ALSTON GIVES A GENERAL CHARACTERIZATION OF REALISM “WHATEVER THERE IS IS WHAT IT IS REGARDLESS OF HOW WE THINK OF IT. EVEN IS THERE WERE NO HUMAN BEINGS, WHATEVER THERE IS OTHER THAN HUMAN THOUGHT WOULD STILL BE WHAT IT IS…. [T]HERE ARE THINGS INDEPENDENT OF HUMAN THOUGHT.” (PP. 779-780)

    15. BUT HE SOON FOCUSES ON TRUTH (LIKE VAN INWAGEN) • “OUR STATEMENTS ARE ISSUED WITH A (REALISTIC [I.E. OBJECTIVE]) TRUTH CLAIM (A CLAIM TO TRUTH IN THE REALIST [OBJECTIVE] SENSE).” (P. 780)” • THIS SOUNDS A BIT WEAK, BUT HE MIGHT ADD THAT SUCH A STATEMENT, IF IT IS NOT OBJECTIVELY TRUE, IS OBJECTIVELY FALSE.

    16. THIS IS CLOSELY RELATED TO THE PUZZLE DISCUSSED ABOVE ORDINARILY, IF SOMEONE SAYS P, THEN (ACCORDING TO ALSTON) THEY ARE CLAIMING THAT P IS OBJECTIVELY TRUE (I.E., TRUE IN THE REALIST SENSE). THIS IS JUST TO SAY THAT THE ARGUMENT MENTIONED ABOVE (FROM P, TO INFER “IT IS OBJECTIVELY TRUE THAT P”) IS VALID.

    17. SOME CONCEPTS OF TRUTH DIFFERENT PHILOSOPHERS HAVE OFFERED DIFFERENT ‘DEFINITIONS’ OR ‘ANALYSES’ OF TRUTH. THESE ARE RELEVANT TO ALSTON’S DISCUSSION: • THE CORRESPONDENCE ‘THEORY’ OF TRUTH A BELIEF OR STATEMENT IS TRUE IF AND ONLY IF IT CORRESPONDS TO A FACT.

    18. THE COHERENCE ‘THEORY’ OF TRUTH (2) A BELIEF OR STATEMENT IS TRUE IF AND ONLY IF IT COHERES WITH OUR OTHER BELIEFS OR STATEMENTS (IN AN APPROPRIATE WAY). ABSOLUTE IDEALISTS HELD SOME SUCH THEORY. ACCORDING TO THEM, THERE ARE ‘PARTIAL TRUTHS’ THAT FIT TOGETHER INTO AN ALL INCLUSIVE AND INTEGRATED WHOLE (THE WHOLE TRUTH, THE ABSOLUTE).

    19. PRAGMATIST ‘THEORIES’ OF TRUTH • A BELIEF OR STATEMENT IS TRUE IF AND ONLY IF IT WOULD ACCEPTED BY THE IDEAL INVESTIGATORS (AT THE END OF THE DAY) [CHARLES PEIRCE] (3’) A BELIEF OR STATEMENT IS TRUE IF AND ONLY IF IT CAN BE ASSIMILATED, VALIDATED, CORROBORATED, OR VERIFIED [WILLIAM JAMES]

    20. ANOTHER PRAGMATIST ‘THEORY’ OF TRUTH (3”) A BELIEF OR STATEMENT IS TRUE IF AND ONLY IF IT IS INSTRUMENTAL IN AN ACTIVE REORGANIZATION OF THE ENVIRONMENT….” [DEWEY] ALSTON CRITICIZES THESE AND SOME MODERN VERSIONS, ARGUING THAT THEY ALL ASSUME A (FALSE) ACCOUNT OF MEANING: VERIFICATIONISM