Intuition & Deduction Thesis

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  • Created on: 05-04-19 10:02
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  • Intuition & Deduction Thesis
    • HUME'S FORK
      • We can only have knowledge of two types: matters of fact (synthetic, a posteriorii, contingent) or relations of ideas (analytic, a priori, necessary). the two types cannt cross over to each other. Anything that isn't on either side is not knowledge (morals, religion). Matters of fact are more useful than relations of ideas. Also maintains it is only experience that allows us to infer causes or effects.
    • DESCARTES' MEDITATIONS
      • The Cogito
        • After finding that he can doubt anything found through his senses, he can doubt the external world etc. However, he concludes that he cannot doubt himself, since to doubt is to think, and thoughts require a thinker. Therefore, "I think, therefore I am". He notes an evil demon cannot trick him about his existence because of this, thus it is "infallible" in his eyes.
        • EMPIRICIST RESPONSE: HUME - we don't experience a continuing mental substance over time, only an array of continually changing thoughts and feelings. We've confused the experience of similarity of these thoughts/feelings from one moment to the next with the idea that there is one persisting thinker
          • DESCARTES responded to this criticism in his appendix with "thoughts logically require a thinker" (Berkeley had similar ideas; thoughts are passive thus need a thinker). To me, this seems like a weak response, since Hume never mentioned that these thoughts don't have a thinker, but that it is a mistake to assume it is one thinker.
      • Clear & Distinct Ideas
        • The cogito, his 1st bit of knowledge, was clear and distinct. If it is not these properties that make smth knowledge, the cogito wouldn't be knowledge - yet it is. So as a general rule, clear & distinct ideas are true.
          • After finding that he can doubt anything found through his senses, he can doubt the external world etc. However, he concludes that he cannot doubt himself, since to doubt is to think, and thoughts require a thinker. Therefore, "I think, therefore I am". He notes an evil demon cannot trick him about his existence because of this, thus it is "infallible" in his eyes.
        • Clear = present and accessible to the attentive mind, just like seeing something clearly w/ our eyes. Distinct = clear & so sharply separated from other ideas that every part of it is clear. Natural Light = rational intuition; our ability to know that clear and distinct ideas are true.
        • GOD. God's existence and God not being a deceiver is essential for Descartes to establish the external world, so he formulates an argument that proves God is not a deceiver: God is perfect by definition, the natural light tells DC that deception and fraud are imperfections, therefore God does not deceive.
          • This doesn't mean we don't make mistakes, but that God "has given me the ability to correct any falsity there may be in my opinions." Secondly, DC also implies God's existence rules out an evil demon, as God would not allow one to deceive us (he is no deceiver)
      • Trademark Argument
        • The concept of God is innate, like a trademark the creator stamped in our minds.
        • 3 sources of any idea: 1- dervies from outside one's mind, such as one experiences in sense perception2- I've invented it3- It is innate (dervies from my own nature)
        • THE ARGUMENT: I have the concept of God, something INFINITE and PERFECT. I am FINITE and IMPERFECT. Therefore, the concept I have of God has more reality than my own mind. The cause must have as much reality as the effect, so my mind couldn't have created it. The only possible cause is God. Therefore, God exists.
          • EMPIRICIST RESPONSE: Hume - the concept of God CAN be created in our minds. We extend what we have already experienced in the world - we get perfection from experiencing imperfections, the same with infinity and finity. HOWEVER, DC notes we cannot have ideas of imperfection and finity without the concepts of perfection and infinity. This is a strong counter, because it is true that it harder to get to something complete/perfect from something incomplete/imperfect. Perfect doesn't mean not imperfect. It's its own thing.
            • Knowledge of CausesUsing Hume's Fork, we can see that the claim "everything has a cause" and "something cannot come from nothing" are not analytic; they are not true by defintion. To deny them will not bring about a contradiction. We also cannot know that a cause must have as much reality as it's effect. We must experience this to know it to be true.
      • Cosmological Argument
        • He didn't cause his own existence, for he would give himself all perfections, which he doesn't have. Life is composed of many parts, existing at one time does not entail existing at the next, therefore something is needed to keep his continued existece. He doesn't have the power to do so, thus he depends on smth else to exist. I have concept of God & am a thinking thing, cause & effect reality arg., so whatever caused his existence must be a thinking thing w/ concept of God. Whatever caused me must either depend on smth else for existence or cause its own existence. There cannot be an infinite regress of causes, & only God can cause himself. So God causes my continued existence.
          • EMPIRICIST RESPONSE:uses same assumptions about causation as with his Trademark arg. It is possible for his existence to be uncaused. What causes what is a matter of fact and thus only established via experience. Furthermore, "there cannot be an infinite regress" is not analytically true, this it is conceivable there needn't be a 1st cause.
      • Ontological Argument
        • I have an idea of God, the natural light shows me that God is a supremely perfect being. Existence is a perfection (all of God's attributes entail his other perfections - e.g. an omnipotent being cannot depend on anything else for its existence otherwise it is limited in powerto cause its own existence), therefore God exists.
          • EMPIRICIST RESPONSE: Hume - "God does not exist" is not a contradiction in terms (thus not analytically true, but a synthetic claim, requiring sense experience). DC argued it is a contradiction to say God doesn't exist, since his other perfections entail his existence.
      • Proof of external world
        • In order to prove the external the world we need to answer each question: 1- We need to understand our concept of a physical object - what is it that we think exists?2- We need to show that it is a coherent concept, not something self contradictory3- We need to show it's possible for objects to exist
        • To answer 1&2, DC has the wax example. When he melts wax, its physical properties all change, yet we still perceive it as the same wax. so what we think of as wax is not its sensory quals, but what persists through the changes of sensory quals. Wax can change in more ways than I can imagine, so does not derive from my imagination (faculty that deals with images). So i comprehend the wax as what it is (rather than sensory quals) by my mind alone. Therefore, only this thought of wax is clear and distinct.
          • In order to prove the external the world we need to answer each question: 1- We need to understand our concept of a physical object - what is it that we think exists?2- We need to show that it is a coherent concept, not something self contradictory3- We need to show it's possible for objects to exist
          • EMPRICIST RESPONSE:Arg relies on the existence of God, thus args against God previously discussed can undermine this. Hume - we cannot know a priori that our perceptual experiences have a cause Other criticisms/alternatives comes from empricists from "perception as a source of knowledge" unit.

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