Good Essay On Lesson 3 – Assignment 2
Explain and evaluate Rene Descartes argument for knowledge including the role of skepticism, the evil demon, and god in resolving his doubts.
Descartes was an interesting case because he was Catholic and he believed that knowledge extended beyond the authority of the church. In that, the church did not dictate truths, and it was important to seek truth without the church. His take on skepticism, which basically means doubt everything, and that anything left after doubting everything would be truth. His idea was that he would use skepticism to find the truth, then with this truth, find out the reason he could not doubt it anymore, and then he could use this reason to find all the other truths. His evil demon conjecture helps to guide him in his skepticism. He assumes that there is a bad demon that seeks to constantly trick him into believing falsehoods. Lastly god dissolves his doubts because in his mind, god exists and is undeniable. He believes that god is the link between the material and the mental happenings. This means that his god would not attempt to trick him like the devil. Descartes’ skepticism is good in that it attempts to seek knowledge and truth outside the church, however, his undeniable belief in God severely limited him. His critical thinking is hampered by a possible myth.
Explain and evaluate Thomas Hobbes view that all objects are material, including thoughts, feelings and ideas.
Hobbes believed that everything in existence was matter. It is easy enough to see the physical world as matter, but he reasoned that even emotions and thinking was also matter. Furthermore, as everything is matter, then everything is matter in motion. He believed that emotions inside us was matter being moved around as a result of the outside world’s matter moving about. He called this a sense, but the textbook describes it as perception. This is an interesting proposition but it is not something I agree with. It is difficult to simplify everything into just matter and movement. There is more to the world than physical manifestation. Additionally, he does not explain how the outside world’s motion effects the motion within the individual.
Explain and evaluate John Locke’s Theory of Representative Realism and of primary and secondary qualities.
Locke believed that humans are blanks slates when we are born. Everything he feel, think, and do is a result of what we experience in the outside world. Our senses are the link between our thought and the outside world. For him there were two ways of experiencing something in the world and this was through primary and secondary qualities. Primary qualities are what the object looks like and the secondary qualities are what the object feels like to us. This theory is very easy to understand and apply it to our everyday thinking. It is difficult to argue otherwise as contemporary thinking suggests his theory is true. However, like Hobbes’ theory this may be too simplistic. He does not think that humans are able to think without sensing the outside world. This suggest that a baby born without sense is not capable of thought without external stimuli. This of course, is most likely not true.
Explain and evaluate Benedictus de Spinoza’s view the “God is all” (or everything). Spinoza believed that “God is All”. He did not believe that there was a difference between the material world and the ethereal world. Spinoza thought that everything was one thing, in that the world was one infinite substance. God was everything and everything was god. People and their thoughts were not separate, they were just different characteristics of the same thing. This is an interesting take as most philosophers seemed to lean towards that there was some sort of difference between the material world and the world we could not see.
Explain and evaluate Benedictus de Spinoza’s view that we are determined to be free in the context of the notion of free will.
Spinoza, as said before thought that everything is the same substance in the universe. Therefore, this substance is affected by the events that have occurred before. He then thought that free will, because it is a matter of the same substance and is effected by the events before it, is inherently an illusion. There is not free will, what we see is the results of the substance and its characteristics. This is consistent with Spinoza’s theory of one substance.
Explain and evaluate Anne Conway's monism in light of the fact that she argues for 2 distinct substances.
Conway believed that everything broke down into the same substance and yet she still holds that there are two different substances. She seems to contradict herself but then she explains that everything is a continuum. So it is not really two distinct substances but rather a continuum of both substances. Conway thought that everything had a certain ratio of the two substances, but her god was all mental, and nothing was created without gods consent. I think her theory more falls on there being only one substance and that the two “distinct substances” she talks about is, like Spinoza’s theory, just characteristics of the same substance.
Explain and evaluate the two versions of epiphenomenalism: occasionalism and parallelism.
Parallelism means that my mind and body are working at the same time. I think that I will kick a ball and so the ball is kicked by the body. The kicking of the ball does not happen after I think it, but rather at the same time. It gives us humans the illusion of free will. Occasionalism is just a type of parallelism. It basically means even though I am willing myself to do something, it is the same instance or occasion that god is willing myself to do this thing. It would seem that Occasionalism just adds one more factor to parallelism by adding the god factor into the mix. It simply offers an explanation for why the body or mind is trying to do something.
Explain and evaluate Olivia Sabuco de Nantes’s view on the connection between mind and body.
Nantes believed that the mind and the body were connected through the brain, in that there was not a physical spot a surgeon could cut out of the body to find where this connection was. The body was there to help the soul; like she said, how servants would serve the house. This was interesting because she thought that there wasn’t a difference between feeling emotionally bad and also physically bad like having a cold. Her theory is interesting, but she did believe some things we now know is untrue. She linked too much sexual intercourse to the diminishing of the brains fluids to syphilis and gonorrhea. We now know these are diseases that have nothing to do with too much intercourse but rather with intercourse with the wrong people. Explain and evaluate George Berkeley’s view that “to be, is to be perceived”.
Berkeley expanded upon Locke’s idea that we perceive everything. What Berkeley believed is that if everything we see is perceived, then it is impossible to discern weather or not what we perceive actually accurately represents what we are looking at. I think this is true because there are so many things, such as intoxicants, that can affect how we perceive the material world.
Explain and evaluate Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz’s view of monads.
Leibniz believed that everything is broken down into monads. These are like atoms, but unlike atoms, they are either energy, force, or activity and are not physical entities. I think Leibniz’s theory about the monads is effective, not because I necessarily agree with him, but rather he provides some sort of proof. He uses the principle of the “identity of indiscernibles” and the “principle of sufficient reason” as proofs. Both of which are explanations of why his theory is plausible.
Explain and evaluate David Hume’s arguments against induction (including the notion of the role the principle of the uniformity of nature plays in the argument) and also arguments against cause and effect.
Hume’s idea is that it is impossible for induction to have any merit. In that, we all assume that the future will resemble the past, or that everything that happens in the future will have the same effect as the events of the past. This is impossible to prove wrong, but it does make us think. We do not necessarily know that the next even will have the same effect as the same event that occurred in the past. Hume believed that there really was no connection between what one experiences, and the idea of cause and effect. This is because he thought that it was quite impossible to witness the cause of something actually being related to the supposed effect. Instead, cause and effect are rather just two events that are joined together. They are two experiences that happen to be joined with each other at one point in time.
Explain and evaluate Immauel Kant’s notion of the noumenal and the phenomenal.
Kant believed that our knowledge, everything that we gather through our senses, are limited to things that happen. He called this the phenomenal and that we only know things because we experience this phenomena. Conversely, he believed that the things we do not experience, the “unexperiencable” is called the noumenal. This is interesting because it addresses the fact that there are something things that exist outside our realm of existence that we may never experience. I think this is a valid point because there must be something in this universe that human is incapable of experiencing, in that we are either physically or mentally incapable of experiencing these events. Kant at least leans towards say there are things that we may never understand.
Explain and evaluate Hegels arguments against the noumenal.
Hegel did not agree that there was anything like the noumenal. This was because everything could be experienced from the philosophers point of view. He believed that everything, through his own brand of idealism, was according to the textbook, complete and unified. Thusly, all things in epistemology and metaphysics are a direct result of it. Hegel’s arguments are scattered and difficult to understand, although I do see the validity of his claim that reality is a system of thought that is governed by laws. His other themes I do not agree with.
Explain and evaluate Schopenhauer’s pessimism.
Schopenhauer’s pessimism is basically assumes that people are not rational. He believed that everyone acted on impulse, self-interest, and sought to only go after that which they desired in the world. To Schopenhauer, the idea that humans were rational, or that the universe was governed by a set of laws that could be rationalized, was completely wrong. He said that people acted out of impulse and then created rationalism to explain what was really not rational. His world was a chaotic, survival of the fittest type of world. This pessimist view is one that is ironically quite rational and plausible. I think his ideas were grounded in some reality and even some philosophers who read his work, thought the same. Freud described this as the “id”.
Which, if any of the philosophers in these chapters has a reasonable view of epistemology or metaphysics and why?
Moore, Brooke Noel, and Kenneth Bruder. Philosophy: The Power of Ideas. 8th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. Print.
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