A thought or notion that cannot be true or false | God, Dog, Evil | Proposition | A statement which is either right/wrong | “God is pink” | Knowledge | Expressed in propositions that are formed by joining concepts, state something that is true or false | “The dog is Yellow” | Three Types of Knowledge | – Propositional- “Know that” – Knowledge by Acquaintance – “Know of” – capacity/Ability – “Know how” | | A Priori | Propositional knowledge that we know is right before (sense) experience | “2+2=4 “ | A Posteriori | Propositional knowledge that we know is right only after (sense) experience | “The sky is blue” | Synthetic | Not true by definition – Tells us something substantial about the world | “Snow is white” | Analytic | True by definition | “All Bachelors are unmarried men” | Necessary | Had to be true, true in all possible worlds | Maths – 2+2=4 | Contingent | Could be otherwise | “Obama was elected President” | Induction | Reasoning that draws conclusions from a finite collection of specific observations. | 1). The sun has always risen 2). The sun will always rise | Deduction | Reasoning in which the conclusion must follow the premises | 1). Man is mortal 2). Socrates is man 3).
Socrates is mortal | Innate | Knowledge that is present in the mind at birth | Conceptual Schemes – Kant | Intuitive | propositions that we know are right through pure thought | “I think therefore I exist” – Descartes | Empiricism | Argues that you can only have analytic a priori knowledge | “All Widows were once Married” (Analytic a priori) | Rationalism | Argues that you can have analytic and synthetic a priori knowledge (Not Plato) | “God Exists” – Descartes (Synthetic a priori) | All Ideas Come From Experience: Empiricism John Locke | David Hume | The mind is a Tabula Rasa – Blank Slate Sensation + Reflection
Philosophy Unit Essay Example
Simple, complex, and abstract ideas Simple ideas come from sensation Complex + Abstract come from reflection | Sensation creates impressions in our minds Ideas are ‘faint impressions’ of sensations which are ‘vivid and forceful’ All thoughts are combinations of ideas e. g. Golden Mountain | Counter Arguments: Not all simple ideas come from experience Missing shade of blue – Hume | Complex/Abstract ideas are not from experience general idea is required to form the abstract idea – Curruthers | Some ideas are innate Ideas of God/Infinity – Descartes Veined Marble – Leibniz All knowledge is innate in the soul, just needs to be recalled – Plato |
Knowledge about what exists must be justified by sense experience: John Lock | 2 Fountains of Knowledge – Sensation + Reflection All ideas are from these – So all propositions must be as well | BUT | David Hume | Hume’s Fork Relations of Ideas – Analytic a priori knowledge Matters of Fact – Synthetic a posteriori knowledge Anything is ‘Empty Metaphysical Speculation” and should be ‘cast to the flames’ e. g. God | Hume’s Fork itself is ’empty metaphysical speculation’ – contradicts itself | Alfred Jules Ayer | Verification Principle Analytic or Empirically Verifiable (can be proven by experience) Anything else is meaningless e. g. Infinity | | John Stewart Mill | No a priori knowledge All knowledge is a posteriori and learnt through induction, including logic and mathematics | What about analytic a priori knowledge? “A bachelor is not married” | Strengths:
Sets clear limits on appropriate objects of knowledge – Allows us to learn without being distracted by ‘Empty Metaphysical Speculation’ The view reflects our experience of learning – It explains why we learn like we do Counter Arguments: Sense experience is never certain – Leads to scepticism Senses, Dreams, Deceiving Demon – Descartes Cave Analogy – Plato | Some knowledge about what exists is known a priori Self/God/EW – Descartes Forms – Plato Causation, self, space – Kant | Knowledge of relations of ideas is a priori Don’t get more certain – True in all possible worlds – Russell | Experience alone is unintelligible Needs to be mediated through a conceptual scheme – Kant, Saphir/Whorf | Mind contains innate knowledge:
Plato | All knowledge is innate Slave Boy Analogy No education but still recognises the proof Learning as recollecting/remembering prompted by questioning Reason recognises truth not the senses | BUT Boy is prompted through questions | Leibniz | Veined Marble Mind not passive – contains ‘natural inclinations and dispositions, habits or potentialities’ | | Kant | Conceptual Schemes are innate Categories are innate e. g. Space, Time, Self | The conceptual scheme is innate capacity/ability knowledge, not propositional knowledge | Counter arguments: This knowledge can be explained through intuition and deduction Reason discovers the knowledge – Descartes | Innate knowledge is absurd – There is no universal assent Children and idiots don’t know the simplest truths – Locke | Innate knowledge is a ‘near contradiction’ – Impossible to know but not know that you know – Locke | Doctrine of Innate Ideas:
Descartes | Ideas are either: Adventitious – From experience Factitious – Made up by us Innate – In the mind at birth | ‘God’, ‘Infinity’, and ‘supreme perfection’ are not experienced or made up They must therefore be innate (Trademark Argument – We know of God, but do not experience God – He left his mark on us – This is innate) | Innate ideas provide the materials for reason to think develop knowledge without needing experience | Counter Arguments: John Locke | The mind as a Tubula Rasa (slank slate) at birth There is no innate knowledge only a posteriori knowledge We have of positive idea of infinity Infinity is defined in the negative ‘never ending’, only ever experience being able to add more on | David Hume | All ideas are formed from experience E. g. Golden Mountain – God is just qualities in man joined together and ‘augmented without limit’ |
Knowledge Through Intuition + Deduction Key Terms | Intuition | Self evident truths – Reached through pure thought | Deduction | Conclusion reached by following same premises e. g. Sudoku – Original numbers are self evident, other numbers discovered through reason. Answer is certain | Descartes | Intuition | Self as a thinking thing exists (The Cogito) | Deduction | God Exists > External world exists (Ontological Argument) | Counter Arguments: Descartes’ intuitions and deduction don’t work Existence of self not known through reason – Cogito only proves only the existence of thought, not a thinker e. g.
BFG (Big Friendly Giant) Ontological Argument fails to prove the existence of God – Only proves hypothetical existence – Hume Proof for existence of external world depends on existence of a good God | Hume’s Fork Reason limited to tautologies/relations of ideas | No a priori knowledge – Mill | Is certainty confined to introspection and the tautological? Key Terms | Introspection – Looking inwards i. e. Internal experiences Tautology – Saying the same thing twice E. g. Reverse Backwards (i. e. Analytic) | David Hume | Hume’s Fork Reason is limited to the meaning of words | Descartes | Experience is limited to immediate awareness We can never be sure that the external world corresponds to out experiences (we might be dreaming/demon) |
Conclusions: David Hume | Yes | Hume’s Fork Only relations of ideas can be certain, all matters of fact are open to doubt | Descartes | No | Reason can discover certain knowledge of the world through intuition and deduction e. g. God exists | Kant | No | We can have certain synthetic a priori knowledge of our conceptual scheme e. g. We will perceive the world in space, time, causation | Yes | We can never know of the world of the noumena | Experience is intelligible due to a conceptual scheme: Kant | Mind is active – Organises experience into categories e. g.
Filing Cabinet Ordered into Space/ time/causal relations/unity Conceptual scheme > Universal, a priori, necessary | Implications | Synthetic a priori knowledge of the categories is possible e. g. Cookie cutter analogy – Cutter is set (conceptual scheme), What it is cutting can change, but still get the same shape Only know the phenomena, never the noumena Fishing Net/Blue Spectacles Analogy | Saphir/Whorf | Experience is ordered due to the language that we use Linguistic relativism – Societies organise experience by defining thing with words e. g. Inuit + Snow, and Hopi + Time Conceptual Scheme > A posteriori, relative contingent | Implications | World as it is is still unknowable No innate scheme, rather a range of different schemes |