My full set of class notes from PHIL 220 - Modern Philosophy at UNC.read more
Scholastic synthesis: merging religion and philosophical pursuits. On Aristotle’s side, we have form and matter and teleology. On Theology’s side, we have the soul and God. Scholastic principle: nothing in the intellect, that is not first in the senses. My question: if the scholastic principle is true, then what about derivations based on logic to arrive at conclusions that have not or even could not be examined by the senses? Is it really “nothing in the intellect, that is not first indirectly/directly in the senses”. Arguments (reasons) for doubting: Sensory 1. Illusions. 2. Dreams. 3. Imperfect nature doubt. That we could have been engineered to be flawed, things that could appear to be perfectly certain to us could actually not be true. My question: what if this imperfect nature had not only affected our senses, but also our deductive methods. And thus, even with a perfectly certain starting point, we cannot attain perfect knowledge. “Cogito ergo sum” == “I think therefore I am”. He doesn’t pose it as an inference, though. Because then we could doubt the inference. He sort of suddenly exclaims that he is because this is just obvious from the thinking. He doesn’t actually say “I think therefore I am”. In M2: Descartes says that he used to think that “I” was just a rational animal, a man. Once he gets to show the existence of “I”, he must struggle with who that “I” is. The only thing he can conclude is that the “I” is the thing that does the doubting. Wondering about whether the deceiver can imperfect the doubter’s ability to reason and conclude, we can also use this to conclude that “I” must exist. But how do we proceed from this point and conclude anything? My question: but in reasoning that the omnipotent deceiver’s deceiving resulted in our existence (as above), did we not use the reasoning that the deceiver imperfected? Professor’s response was that, again, in doing that doubting we must exist. Essentially, it’s a race condition in which there’s an infinite alteration between making a conclusion and doubting that conclusion. He also says that perhaps just the fact that the original thought exist (A therefore B, so just the fact that A exists) implies that we must exist. Again, I would wonder if that’s true because could it not be the case that well, in making that conclusion you’re still using reason. So essentially, I feel like this is impossible or a race condition. We just know that the wax is “extended”, which we can think of as “extended in space”, but Descartes doesn’t like this way of saying it. How to proceed from Meditation 2: 1. he gives the hint that the only way that we are sure of things we are certain of are that they appear to be a “clear & distinct perception”, where perception here essentially means “thought”. This is how we know “I think”. 2. must demonstrate (must make clear & distinct perception) that our thinking is created by God. Distinguish: Direct doubt: For some things impossible. Indirect doubt: Defective nature doubt. My question: how do we conclude that we do not have a defective nature if we are operating under the assumption that we have defective nature? That is, how do we even conclude anything? We can’t use “clear & distinct perception” because this could be a defective conclusion? Professor answered saying that it’s not answered until the 5th meditation. Ideas / \ / \ Formal Reality Objective Reality (actual existence) Modes: mode = “way”. Formal Reality Objective Reality Level 1 infinite ————> idea of infinite Level 2 substantial ————> idea of substantial Level 3 modal ————> idea of modal My also say that level 3 depends on level 2 for its formal reality, etc, and thus we can show that infinite formal reality exists. Method: Step 1: get a CDP of infinite objective reality Step 2: get infinite formal reality from infinite objective reality Step 1: I CDP (actual) infinity. That it, it can't be directly doubt it. Step 2: My CDP of infinity requires (formally real) infinity. Because we can sense that we are potentially infinite, we thus conclude that we have an idea of actual infinity, in that we don't have it. We conclude that actual infinity is prior to potential infinity because it is positive, while potential infinity is really just the absence of actual infinity. So we conclude that actual infinity is at least as real as potential infinity. He poses the principle of sufficient reason (or cause) which is that things that exist must have sufficient reason or cause. And from this it follows that any objective reality must be caused by something that has at least as much formal reality. Another way that the proof can work (which I think he does): say that we do CDP actual infinity, but we're not infinite so we couldn't have gotten it from ourselves, so we got it from our parents? But where did they get it? Must have been an original creator who stamped it into us and they had it. God is omniscient, omnipotent, omni-benevolent. God made me. I err. Thinking / \ / \ Ideas Will | | Intellect Volition \ / \ / Judgement Concludes that his “judgement” goes astray, which is a combination of the intellect and will. I must be “perfect”. Step 1: Establish “I am perfect”. a) show intellect is perfect 1) God gave me false ideas (but this can’t be it because an idea can’t be wrong in itself, only a judgement on an idea can be false). 2) God held out on me, that is, he didn’t give me as much knowledge that I could have had b) show will is perfect. 1) The will is perfect. If God is really omnipotent, could he/she/it not transcend logic and allow contradictions? Good question, talk to him about it in his office. Will go on to this more in future readings. But ultimately, the idea is that these contradictions are nonsense, and so plugging them into the “for any x, God must be able to create x”. If God really made us to be “perfect”, why did he/she/it not ensure that any time we applied our will to ideas? God gave us an instruction manual for how to apply the will to the intellect, and this is exactly the “CDP”. That is, when we CDP something, we know that we are not erring. Descartes response: the reason he may have still allowed us to error is because we needed to error in order for this to be “the best of all possible worlds”. If I am CDP, I must affirm. If I withhold judgement when not CDP, then I never err. Withhold judgement whenever able <—> whatever I CDP is true. Rationalist conception of (free) will: -Will is always free. -Essentially, the purpose of the will is to discover truths. -Your will is most free when your ideas are clear. Confused ideas impede your will. -The will always goes for what seems to be good. (Most free) (least free) Clear and Distinct ——————————— Indifference This is because your will is the thing that weighs “reasons” and thus decides. So as you have fewer reasons or a closer to equal balance of reasons for two things, you are less free because your will is essentially more restrained. The libertarian conception of will is exactly the opposite, that is, one is most free when everything is perfectly balanced. What about false positives with CDPs? As in, what about people who CDP things that are obviously wrong. We’ve clearly and distinctly perceived that whatever we clearly and distinctly perceived is true. Proof Schema: 1. Retrieve an innate idea. 2. Distinctly imagine what “belongs to” the innate idea. 3. CDP: what belong to the innate idea. The above schema applied to God (below). 1. Innate idea of God 2. Necessary existence 3. CDP: we CDP that God necessarily exists. Imagination | Intellection (understanding) ^ separated Thinking Imagination / \ == / \ / \ / \ Intellect Volition Intellect Volition Sensation (sensory ideas) | Thinking / \ / \ Intellect (?) Cartesian Dualism: distinction between mind and body. 1. I CDP a thing that thinks. 2. I DCP the essence of bodies [extension] 3. I CDP: God could create thinking without creating extension. God could create extension without creating thinking. Sensation (sensory ideas) / \ / \ Intellect Active: Faculty [passive] (what could it be, that’s forcing me to have these sensations) - Me ? - God ? - Extension ? Review: Sensation / \ / \ Passive Active | | Intellect (what could it be) (ideas) - Me ? - God ? - Extension ? — Imagination | — Pure Intellect All thought is self-aware (conscious). And because all thought is self-aware, then we would know that if we were producing the sensations, we’d be aware of their production in our thought and because we’re not, then we know we’re not producing the sensations. We see the propensity to affirm that bodies exist when we feel/see things. Because this propensity is always there, that means that God gave us this propensity. Case 1: God does this because he/she/it is good/useful/true. Case 2: God gave us a deceiving propensity. [But God hasn’t given us any reason for doubting this propensity] Because we’ve shown that me and God couldn’t be the reason for active sensation, then it must be extended objects that are the reason for sensation. Theodicy / \ / \ M4 M6 | | Judging Human / \ / \ Int Vol Mind Body Descartes thought that the sensory organs were all connected to the Pineal gland and that’s where everything was combined. He thought that the mind listened into that part of the brain, and that’s how it sensed pain. Leibniz: “This is the best of all possibles”. As in, this is the best of all possible worlds. Dualism: Human / \ / \ Mind Body | | Soul Material How are mind and body unified in the human being? (dependence) / / \ / mind body mind-body problem / / \ “interaction” thinks subject matter of physics body —> mind | \ ^ animals subject matter of geometry Elizabeth wants to know how something like extension can influence something with no extension. Descartes responds: * three basic notions, primitive notions/ideas: 1. our soul/mind, 2. extended 3. union of mind/body: sensation. * analogy to heaviness. Cartesian Dualism (mind-body problem), interaction problem. / \ / \ mind Body / ^ ^ / | | / (hobbes) simple God assisted Idealism | | | materialism Berkeley Sizes Shapes Ideas Motion Volitions \ - \ - (superadded) \ - (Body (ext)) How does God do this superadding of ideas and volitions to the extended things? One solution is Occasionalism. Idealism Dualism Materialism -Berkeley | -Leibniz -Strong union -Occasionalism (Malebranche) -Pre-establishment harmony -Dual aspect theory (Spinoza) Descartes Actual infinite \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ potential infinity - - - - - - - - - - — - - - - - ^ | Level 2 Finite “substance” Level 3 (modes) Spinoza. substance “monism” Actual infinite: ^ | Finite things. Necessitarianism. Descartes Dualism / \ Mind * Bodies ———————————— Identity theories (Cavendish) mind = body Problems: Interaction : mind ——> mind always thinks : animals are machines : body ——> only geometry ?!? Modes are ways of being. For “mind”, the modes are “thinking about red”, “thinking about pizza”, etc. M6 —— “Passive” Active ———— - —— - Sensation Me Sensory ideas God Descartes crosses this out but Berkeley disagrees, so Berkeley thinks actually that God is (sensible things) Objects Berkeley argues we have no idea of the essence of material things. What are the contents of thought? Descartes (Rationalist) Berkeley ———— / \ / \ Self Sensory / \ God Self Sensory Ext God Ext (union) Skeptic: presence of doubt. Sensible objects -> direct (immediate) / indirect (mediate). Berkeley is essentially claiming that material things don’t exist. Sensible Objects ^ [Directly perceived] ^ Ideas Berkeley: only minds perceive. Primary/secondary quality distinction. During the discussion with Berkeley, Hylas is pushed back to thinking that what we directly perceive is in the mind, rather than what we immediately perceive is the tree outside of you. Hylas: abstract ideas. <— Berkeley strikes this down Hylas: We have relative knowledge of material things. We have a relative idea of material things. Contents of thought D B / \ / \ Self sensation self “ideas” God God Ext (human self) -Abstract idea? (no, that can’t be it) -Relative idea? relation (ideas (sensory)) <—————> (concept of body) a) substration b) cause c) instruments Berkeley’s master argument -To be is to be perceived -Nothing inconceivable can be conceived. Empiricists: Hobbes - Locke - Berkeley - Hume Rationalists: Descartes - Spinoza - Leibniz Rationalism: soul (mind) is the emphasis; basis of knowledge is innate ideas and reason; scope of knowledge is wide; skepticism is bad. Empiricism: body is the emphasis; basis of knowledge is tabula rasa (blank slate, so no foundation), and the senses; scope of our knowledge is narrow; skepticism is good (in moderation). What are the contents of thought? Descartes (Rationalist) Berkeley Hume ———— / \ | / \ Self Sensory Sensory / \ God Self Sensory Ext God Ext (union) What can be thought? -Ideas Hume: what is an idea? An idea is a copy of an impression. Hume: the Newton of the mind. —> Laws of association for ideas. 3 Laws of Association -Resemblance -Contiguity (space/time) -Cause and Effect Hume is claimed to have a “Bundle theory” of the self. X causes Y -> - x and y are contiguous. - x, y are constantly conjoined - “Necessary connection” Rationalism (Plato) Empiricism (Aristotle) ———————— ————————— Soul Body Intellect/reason Sense Innate/nativism Tabula Rasa Knowledge can have Knowledge has wide scope narrow scope Principle of sufficient Any legitimate principles reason must be derived from sense Metaphysics [substances —> essence —> causation] X causes Y —> * contiguity * constant conjunction * necessary connection \ / \ / \ / \ / “Feeling” Example: All Emeralds are green. The microstructure of Emeralds causes them to appear green. Inductive reason: In the past, many Emeralds have been keenly observed and all have been green. The future resembles the past.