STUDY GUIDE FOR TEST 1 Introduction to Philosophy Jeff Strayer 1. Philosophy in general. What is philosophy? Where did it begin? What does philosophy mean? What does philosophy investigate? What is a good definition of philosophy? With what does philosophy begin? How is philosophy conducted? How does it differ in method and subject matter from science and mathematics? Where the sciences once part of philosophy? Can philosophy change over time? If so, in virtue of what does it change? Are other disciplines of interest to philosophy? What does it mean for an argument or theory of philosophy to be critically acceptable? What do philosophers use in an attempt to solve their problems? Why do we speak of “attempt” here? Is there any settled body of knowledge in philosophy with which all philosophers agree? If so why, and if not why not? What does it mean to say that philosophy is a disinterested search for truth? What are the main branches of philosophy? 2. The value of philosophy. How does the study of philosophy have value according to Bertrand Russell? Does philosophy have practical benefits for mankind in the manner of science? What does the ‘practical person’ recognize according to Russell? For Russell, philosophy is ______ for the _____. According to Russell, philosophy aims primarily at what? Does Russell think that philosophy has had a great deal of success in arriving at solutions to the problems with which it deals? If so how, and if not why not? How does a science like psychology, which was once part of philosophy, become its own discipline? What does Russell say about the human intellect in relation to philosophy? Are any of the answers suggested by philosophy to its problems demonstrably true according to Russell? True or false, according to Russell part of the value of philosophy lies in its uncertainty. What value can philosophy provide for common sense? Does Russell think that doubt is liberating or confining? Why? True or false, for Russell the philosophic life is calm and free. What does Russell say is happens to the person who studies philosophy? What do philosophers desire above all else? According to Russell, knowledge is a form of union of _____ and ______. Does Russell think that truth is man-made? Is knowledge personal or impersonal? Is truth interested or disinterested? Does Russell think that the free intellect will value more the knowledge due to the senses or knowledge which is abstract and universal? Is philosophic contemplation partial or impartial? Can this have an effect on the world on the world of action and emotion? If not, why not, and if so, is it good or bad? For Russell, we are citizens of __________. Is philosophy for Russell to be studied primarily for the sake of questions or answers? What happens to the mind which contemplates the greatness of the universe according to Russell? 3. What is epistemology? What is skepticism? Why is skepticism important to epistemology? What does Nagel say is the only thing we can be sure of? Why? The answer to the first question makes Nagel a follower, at least in this respect, of what great figure from the history of philosophy? Define ‘the external world.’ Give an example of an external world object. With what is the external world contrasted? Give an example of an object which is not an external world object. True or false, from the standpoint of my own mind my body is an external world object. On what are all beliefs about the external world based? Every person’s sense experience is ________. What is the act-object distinction in experience? Are all acts or events of awareness distinct from objects of awareness? If so why, and if not give an example of an act which is not distinct from an object of experience. My experience is part of my ______. Why can a skeptic legitimately suppose that the external world may not exist or may not 2 be like our perceptions of it? Is it possible to call the evidence of the senses into question? If so why, and if not why not? Why can I not simply appeal to my senses to prove that the external world exist? If I were to do so, after the evidence of the senses have been called into question, what is that called? (There are different names for this.) Define ‘solipsism.’ Analyze the following statement: “I am a solipsist, and I am surprised that there aren’t more of us.” Does your memory of the past guarantee that there was a past? Is it possible that all of your memories are false? Is there any reason to think that they are? Can I prove that my memory had a cause in the past to which the memory is related? If so how, and if not why not? Why cannot memory be used to prove that the past existed? If I use memory in an attempt to prove that the past really existed - since otherwise I would not have the memories which I have - then what does Nagel say that I am doing? Define ‘solipsism of the present.’ What are the two forms of skepticism about the external world? True or false, science proves that the external world exists. What is verificationism? What is the verification theory of meaning? For the verificationist, what can not be verified, at least in theory, is ___________. The skeptic says that all of reality might be part of my dream. How does the verificationist respond to this? What does Nagel say about this response? What are the arguments against the verification theory of meaning? What is the egocentric predicament? How do we respond philosophically and psychologically to the egocentric predicament and the problem of the external world? What are the correct answers to Nagel’s three questions at the end of chapter 1? 4. Who is the father of modern philosophy? Descartes wants to make philosophy as certain as __________. What is Descartes’s method, and what is its purpose? What has this method come to be called? What are Descartes’s arguments against knowing for certain that we are aware of a world beyond our minds? Does Descartes think that the senses can be relied on to give us certain knowledge? If so why, and if not why not? What is the relevance of dreams to the search for some certain knowledge? What does Descartes say about the similarity or difference of dreams and waking life? Has his view been challenged by any modern philosophers? If so, what is the challenge? If not, then why do they agree with him? Which are more certainly known according to Descartes, simple or complex things? Which sciences does he think are the most certain? True or false, even though we might doubt the existence of a complex object of vision, Descartes thinks that we cannot as easily doubt the colors of which the visual object is composed. True or false, Descartes says that God could conceivably deceive me that 1+1=2. If God does not in fact deceive me, why not? What is the relevance of the evil demon to the search for some certain knowledge? What is the one thing about which even the evil demon cannot deceive me? For Descartes, he is something as long as he is __________. What is the end result of Cartesian doubt? What does it guarantee? Can a thinker legitimately doubt his or her own existence? What kind of thing does Descartes say that he is? Does Descartes use ‘thinking’ in a wide or narrow sense? Is it true or false that if I feel there must exist a being which feels? True or false, although I can doubt the existence of an act of experience, such as seeing, I cannot doubt that the object of experience exists apart from the experience of it. True or false, I can doubt the existence of my own body. Which part of a person does Descartes say is more easily or certainly known, the mind or the body? What is my essence for Descartes? What does Descartes mean by ‘clear and distinct ideas?’ Define rationalism and empiricism. Is Descartes a rationalist or empiricist? Who are the great rationalists and who are the great empiricists in the history of modern philosophy? Is it possible for a philosopher to 3 combine elements of rationalism and empiricism in her epistemology? What the point about the example of the piece of wax? For Descartes, is it the mind or the senses which tell us that an object, like an ice cube, is the same after change? According to Descartes, can an object like the wax or ice cube be identified with any one of its perceptible properties or all of its perceptible properties? If so why, and if not why not? If not, then what does Descartes say the wax is? What is Reinhardt Grossman’s objection to the Cartesian position here? Does the mind make a contribution to what we can know about objects? True or false, for Descartes, my perception of something testifies to my existence even if the object which I perceive does not exist. True or false, for Descartes, external world objects are not known because they are understood, but only because they are perceived. For Descartes, there is nothing which is more easily known than ____________.