You are on page 1of 7

Epistemology Plato 39. Students understand Platos notion of knowledge and the universal.

al. Knowledge consists of the apprehension of those aspects of the world that never change, he believed that the world contained such elements which he called ideas or forms He suggested that our ordinary statements include the use of general terms, and that in order for our ordinary statements to be meaningful, one must know what the terms signify We have to do more that point to various particular things; those things would be examples or things that fall into general classifications themselves

40. Students understand the basic narrative of the Euthyphro. Euthyphro told Socrates that he will put his father on trial for murder, and when Socrates asks for details, the whole case seemed a bit sketchy Euthyphro insists that he is doing a holy thing, and so Socrates asks what is holiness? and points out that Euthyphros. actions are an illustration of holiness, but not actually holiness at all. But to determine if an act is holy, we must know the true meaning of the general term holiness

41. Students will examine the philosophical significance of the Euthyphro and explain the theory of the universal forms. We have to use knowledge to differ from what people tell us is true, and what is actually true. To know if something falls under a classification, we must understand the classification first Only if we know what is required for something to be a dog or dogness, can we know if something is a dog or not. We cannot discover these terms through our ordinary sense experience Are sense only reveal particular examples of these terms, not the forms themselves One cannot learn what one does know since one already knows it One cannot learn what one does not know, since if one doesnt know it, one cannot recognize it as a truth when one learns it Therefore, learning is impossible and any knowledge that we can have, we must already have

42. Students will understand Platos notion of recollection and the process by which we come to know. We do not learn anything; we remember what we already know, all of the knowledge of forms, or universals is already in our minds Our senses can only have the effect of jarring our memory and bringing our conscious attention information that is within us but of which we have not yet become aware

43. Students examine Platos notion of the philosopher king. how to we jar our memory to get this knowledge back? Part of the answer is creating a world whereby it becomes easier to remember that which weve forgotten for Plato this means that the philosopher and the king (ruler of the state) must have a true understanding of the spirit and power of philosophy

44. Students examine the philosophical significance of the allegory of the cave. according to Plato, there are two main types of info we can possess, visible or sensible (acquired through the senses) and intelligible information the visible and sensible is divided into images or shadows and opinions (not valid knowledge) none of this constitutes knowledge because of it is understood in terms of the forms of universals all we can report is how it seems to us or what appears to us the intelligible information is where knowledge is possible

45. Students will discuss the process by which a philosopher king is made and why the philosopher king was important to Plato. it is necessary to escape the jail of the cave (world of visible info) and turn upward to the world or intelligible knowledge, to find the forms or universals that are within us and to grow accustomed to contemplating them, so that we can achieve real knowledge

46. Students will understand the terms appearance and reality and how they relate to Platos philosophy. appearance and reality deal with plato's allegory of the cave. Plato understood that the only world that is real is his world of ideas. The world that we experience everyday is more of a world of shadows. and so, the appearances of the world as it is cannot be trusted as true/valid knowledge - ie. the knowledge of the senses. the only real/valid knowledge comes from contemplation of the world of ideas - the reality of the cave (our reality) is that it is an illusion.

Descartes (again) 47. Students understand what Descartes meant by clear and distinct ideas. We are capable of discovering absolutely certain knowledge I think, therefore I am The only feature of this statement that convinces me that it is true is that I clearly and distinctly understand what is being said. Clarity and distinctiveness must be the marks of truth, the distinguishing characteristics by which you can tell truth from falsehood An experience or thought is clear if it is so forceful that we cannot avoid being aware of it

If one could define the experience that it could not possible be confused with anything else, then it would be distinct as well as clear

48. Students define innate ideas and provide some examples. Most of my ideas are either unclear or indistinct and they come from experiences that Ive had or have been invented by me Innate ideas; they neither come from my experience nor can be constructed or invented in my imagination, they are really clear and distinct Mathematical circle, perfect circle, idea of a perfect being, God, these ideas have properties that do not appear in our experience; no circle is perfectly round, but the circles we think of are. We are not perfect enough to invent the sort of perfection that appears in some of our ideas, especially that of God. Because od is perfect, he is incapable of deceiving us, therefore we can place faith in the knowledge that he gues us (2+3=5) Since god cant deceive, there must be an external physical world with properties that we can attribute to it with certainty

49. Students will explain how Descartes used innate ideas in his reasoning to understand the process by which we come to know. Knowledge is based on sense experience, however sketchy. The method of doubt helps us to distinguish between truth from falsehood. Platos and Descartes theories are rationalistic because the asset that by employing certain procedures of reason alone, we can discover knowledge in the strongest sense, knowledge that under no circumstances could possibly be false We cannot find any absolutely certain knowledge in sense experiences but have to seek for it in the realm of mind Plato and Descartes claimed that knowledge is already within us, in the form of innate ideas (we are born with this)

50. Students will understand the term rationalism and how this term applies to the theories of Plato and Descartes. Platos and Descartes theories are rationalistic because the asset that by employing certain procedures of reason alone, we can discover knowledge in the strongest sense, knowledge that under no circumstances could possibly be false What we know as certain by using rationalistic procedures is the real world, whereas what we know as uncertain is illusory

51. Students will explain some of the criticism of rationalism. criticisms- the world of innate ideas or Platonic ideas is invisible and really a personal fantasy

1. scientific knowledge and changes in scientific theory over the centuries have made many thinkers reluctant to consider anything absolutely certain and permanent truth 2. There is conflict among the rationalists about what is true, about the real world. 3. The appeal to mathematics is problematic as there has been development and theorems that have been regarded as true had to be modified or discarded. 4. Do we really even need or use absolutely certain knowledge to begin with? ordinarily the information we use is not definite and we manage to live our lives without truths that under no possible circumstances conditions could be false

John Locke 52. Students will understand the term Empiricism and how the philosophy of Empiricism developed. Empiricism; an account of knowledge in terms of sense experience. developed out of 17th century England, at a time when people were beginning to realize the possibility that lay in controlling the utilizing the physical world scientists proclaimed that their aim is not to discover the real truths of the universe, but to develop probable hypotheses about the world around us therefore, some philosophers felt they had to develop a theory of knowledge which was more in line with the actual achievements of scientists.

53. Students will understand Lockes Epistemological arguments (no innate ideas, knowing through the senses, tabula rasa, etc.) Locke argued that our knowledge comes to us through our sense and that we have no innate ideas\thus, there are two sources of knowledge, sensation and reflection; we can think about things only after we have experienced them. all ideas are copies of things that caused the basic sensations on which they rest if your idea of a baseball includes the shape of a cube, it is a poor copy and does not correspond to reality. We no innate knowledge no principles or ideas that we have any reason to believe we have prior to, or independent of, our sense experience (a priori ideas) to say that people know truths in their minds, even though they will realize that their mind was just a white paper/tabula rasa/clean slate all the things that anybody knows about or thinks about comes from the senses letting in ideas which are copied onto our minds.

54. Students will understand Lockes notion of substance. in order for us to know anything, something substantial (substance, substratum matter) holds together the sensible qualities of experience moreover he argued that certain kinds of simple ideas cluster together and from these simple ideas, we form more complex ones

55. Students will understand Lockes notion of primary and secondary qualities

Locke divides sensations into two groups primary and secondary qualities Primary qualities are sensible qualities that exist independently of any perceiver (size, shape, etc.) Secondary qualities are subjective qualities whose existence depends on the perceiver (colour, sounds taste, etc.) Locke was trying to differentiate between the scientific description of an object vs. our ordinary experiences

56. Students will explain the criticisms and consequences of Lockes argument. criticism and consequences if our knowledge is based on sense experience, then a good deal of knowledge that philosophers like Plato and Descartes claimed that we have, would be considered fiction should all knowledge be rooted primarily in sense experience, objective truth becomes diminished and everything becomes the relative to the observer I all knowledge comes in the form of my own ideas, how can I verify the existence of anything external to them? (egocentric predicament)

Bishop George Berkeley 57. Students will explain Berkeleys criticisms of Lockes theory. He believed that Lockes ideas lead to paradoxes ad doubts, which in turn produces a general scepticism. When the ordinary person sees what sort of odd theories that so-called wise philosophers advance, and sees that philosophers deny the most basic things that ordinary people believe, this will make him/her doubtful too. This will lead one to doubt even about religious truths. Hence, atheism will be the outcome. Berkeley argued against Lockes copy theory of truth because the objects of which our ideas correspond to change there is no such things to copy.

58. Students will examine Berkeleys version of Empiricism. All the qualities we assign to material objects are relative to the perceiver (Lockes secondary qualities) the rock is big or small, depending on my perception of it. For Berkeley, if one is a true empiricist, one will concede that both primary and secondary qualities are just ideas in our mind, all our experience consists of sensations which belong to sentient (capable of feeling) beings and not objects we cannot attribute sensations to material objects which are not thinking beings Locke did claim that there must be independent material objects that our sensations belong to when one is shown that there cannot be such objects he feels that there cannot be anything in the universe, and everything becomes an illusion since it cannot consist of objects existing outside my mind.

59. Students will understand the terms idealist and immaterialist. The material world does not exist, only idea exist and ideas and mental states, not material objects. This makes Berkeley an idealist immaterialist only ideas exist, the material world is a fiction, it does not exist= so that exists are my perceptions. heat if I put my hand in the fire, I experience pain, but pain in the mind is not in the fire, all of my experiences of something that is hot are not heat but merely sense data. If one hand is hot and the other is cold and you put them into a bowl of water at room temperature, the water will feel cold to one hand and warm to another.

60. Students will explain Esse est percipi and why this is important to Berkeleys argument. We can only know perceptions not things in themselves Therefore, if I cant perceive something, I doesnt exist Hence; esse est percipi to be is to perceive and nothing can exist unless something perceives it. The objects that we perceive are only ideas in our minds and do not exist outside of, and independent of, the mind. does this mean that we cannot be sure that the chairs and tables in the room exist except when we perceive them Berkeley argued that these ideas exist independently of my wishes. These ideas exist apart from my mind.

61. Students will explain how Berkeley tried to reconcile his religious views with his philosophical views. if I am responsible for the existence of the ideas that I perceive, then there must be some other mind that processes or controls and maintains the ideas universal mind the things I perceive exist distinct from me in the mind of God and do not leap in and out of existence when I experience them my house is always perceived by God, therefore although my house is only an idea, it continues to exist when I perceive it or not.

David Hume 62. Students will examine the context by which Hume developed his ideas. Humes theory of knowledge developed out of two strands; o interest in scepticism with an extreme doubt that philosophers were capable of discovering the truth about any matter whatsoever o a conviction that what was needed in order to uncover what knowledge, if any, we were able to was an inquiry into what he called the science of man this science would examine the processes by which we think and try to find out how people for their views and come to believe what they do about the nature of events

63. Students will explain the difference between Impressions and Ideas. everything we are aware of can be classified under impressions and ideas

the difference between these two is the degree of force and liveliness, with which they strike upon the mind the impressions are more forceful and lively than ideas all ideas can be traced to impressions and thus, are derived from experience, even if they become so abstracted and diluted that they no longer resemble any identifiable impressions

64. Students will explain the empirical criterion of meaning. according to the empirical criterion of meaning, all meaningful ideas can be traced to sense experience (impressions) beliefs that cannot be reduced to sense experience are technically not ideas at all; they are meaningless utterances

65. Students will examine Humes ideas of the self and personal immortality. for Hume, the self was nothing more than a series of perceptions with no underlying, constant thing to write them his bundle theory of the self states that there is not fixed self, but that the self is merely a habitual way of discussing certain perceptions personal immorality: for Hume, there can be no persistence identity of us (i.e. oak tree every time we look at the oak tree it is different) any change in a thing changes its identity, your mind/brain has different ideas and your body has different cells so identity is not a property of things, but a mental act our minds confer identity on things; we do not perceive it yet something gives order and continuity to our experience Hume doesnt deny this by insists on clearer, more precise talking, reasoning and thinking about this and other important matters