What's Up in Philosophy 006

Tuesday 5/18

Final exam 8-10 in our room, Library 11, unless you have asked to be scheduled from 10-12.



Thursday 5/13

No further reading.  Quiz will cover Kant and be distributed through lecture.  First question:

1.
 
Would Kant be best categorized as a realist, a conceptualist, or a nominalist?  (See p. 266.)

We'll also do course evaluations and take questions about the final.


Tuesday 5/11

Because our room is not well adapted for an exam for 80 people I have reserved it for  8-12 AM on Tuesday May 18th.  If you are interested in taking the exam from 10-12 rather than 8-10 you may do so, but only if you inform me of this choice by e-mail by Sunday May 16th.  I will permit the first 40 people who request it to take the exam during this period.  You are not permitted to simply show up without prior approval at 10 AM.  If you do this, you will be permitted to take the exam, but it will be downgraded by 10 points (20%).  


Final exam study questions have been uploaded to the bottom of the schedule page.

Finish reading Chapter 7.

1. How is Kant's conception of space, time and causation similar to his conception of the self?
2. What is 'transcendental realism" and who does Blackburn identify as a transcendental realist?
3. According to Blackburn, what is it that Realists, Conceptualists, and Nominalists disagree about?


Thursday 5/6

Read through page 259 and listen to Adrian Moore on Kant's Metaphysics.

1.  According to Moore, which philosophical disagreement was Kant most concerned to ajudicate?
2.  What does Kant say about the relation between a priori and aposteriori knowledge on the one hand, and analytic and synthetic truths on the other?
3.  What metaphor does
Kant
Moore use to explain how Kant thinks about the nature of space and time?


Tuesday 5/4

Read through page 242.  Listen to John Campbell on Berkeley's Puzzle.

1.  What two sorts of properties do Galileo and Locke distinguish between?
2.  What is the basic difference between these properties?
3.  What does it mean to say that Berkeley was an idealist?
4.  What, according to Campbell, was Berkeley's puzzle?
5.  What is Berkeley's solution to his puzzle?

Lecture notes for chapters 4-6 have been uploaded to the bottom of the schedule page.



Thursday 4/29

Watch Daniel Gilbert on Mistaken Expectations.  Read pages 211-232.

1. What, according to Gilbert, is the definition of expected value?
2. According to Gilbert, how do we normally estimate the likelihood of an event?
3. According to Gilbert, how do we normally estimate the value of something?
4. According to Plato, what space is to size, time is to _____?
5. If 1/1000 people suffer from a disease known as Procrasnititis and you have been given a test that is 99% reliable at detecting it (meaning that if you have it, there is a 99% chance you will test positive, but if you don't have it there is a 1% chance you will test positive), what is the chance that you have the disease?
6. Why, according to Blackburn, do most people get the answer to question 5 wrong?


Tuesday 4/27

Listen to Peter Millican on Hume's Impact.

1. What, according to Millican, is the distinguishing feature of Aristotle's way of explaining the world?
2. What, according to Hume, does neither reason nor experience provide adequate grounds for believing about nature?
3. In Hume's view, on what basis do we believe in the uniformity of nature?
 

Thursday 4/22


Finish Chapter 5. Watch William Craig on Keeping Faith and William Lobdell on Losing Faith.  

1.  What specific advice does Craig give to help Christians keep their faith in a university setting?
2.  What does Lobdell indicate to be the source of his crisis of faith?
3.  What is the lethal problem for Pascal's argument according to Blackburn?
4.  What is fideism?
5.  Does Blackburn believe that faith is part of common sense?


Tuesday 4/20

Go to Hinde Auditorium.  Emrys Westacott will be speaking during our class period.  To authenticate your attendance and to receive 5 points on the quiz:  Click 'A' at 9:00 AM.  Then click 'B' at 9:15.  You will not see any questions on the screen, but my computer will be set up to receive your inputs.

Click on Nammour 2010 on the sidebar to see the schedule of events if you are interested in attending more sessions for class credit.  Please remember that you can get credit for a maximum of 3 summaries during the semester.  Summaries must be well composed in an essay style, about one page in length.  Send the summaries to mayesgr@csus.edu as an e-mail, not as an attachment to an e-mail. 


Thursday 4/15

Listen to Don Cupitt on non realism about God.  Read through page 188.

1. Under what conditions does Hume think it is permissible to believe testimony that a miracle has occurred?
2. What reasons does Hume give for doubting testimony that a miracle has occurred?
3. What is the difference between Pascal's argument for believing in God and others we have considered so far?
4. What is non realism about God?
5. What does Cupitt think is the matter with the popular conception of God?
6. What is the real basis of Christian ethics according to Cupitt?
7. Does Cupitt believe that we can make legitimate criticisms of the practices of other religions?


Tuesday 4/13

Read through page 185 and listen to Stephen Law on The Problem of Evil.  

1. What, according to Stephen Law, are the two different versions of the problem of evil?
2. Does Law believe it is reasonable to believe in God as long as God's existence has not been disproven?
3. According to Law, is the existence of widespread suffering a good reason to believe that God is evil?
4. What is theodicy?
5. What is the free will defense?
6. What are the problems with the free will defense?


Thursday 4/8

Read through page 168 and listen to the interview with Stuart Sutherland.  Initial clicker questions:

1. What kind of argument is the argument from design?
2. Is the argument from design more appealing to the rationalist or to the empiricist?  Why?
3. According to Sutherland, what did Hume think was the proper relation between religion and morality?
4. According to Hume, what sort of God does the argument from design seem to provide evidence for?
5. According to Sutherland, what do Hume's argument's successfully establish?
 



Midterm exam scores have been posted to e-instruction.  The scores reflect a 2.5 point curve.  To determine your percentage, simply divide your score by 50, which was a total possible points.  Due to the curve, some people got over 50 points total.  A brief answer sheet has been posted to the bottom of the schedule page. 


Tuesday 4/6

Begin reading Chapter 5.  Initial clicker questions will be subjective.  


Thursday 3/25

Finish reading chapter 4.  Listen to Thomas Metzinger on the self.


1.  What does Thomas Metzinger say about the nature of the self?
2.  How does Metzinger define his research interest in this area?
3.  What does Metzinger say about the significance of out of body experiences?
4.  What is lucid dreaming?
5.  What does Blackburn claim is the origin of thoughts such as those on List 2 on page 121? (Note, the answer to this question is not given at the beginning of the chapter.)


Tuesday 3/23

Watch Daniel Kahneman on riddle of experience and read Paul Bloom on plurality of selves.

Questions:

1. Between which two selves does Kahnemann distinguish?
2. How does this distinction help to explain the results of the colonoscopy experiments?
3. According to Kahneman, what happens to most of the moments of the experiencing self?
4. According to Kahneman, how reliable are people's own reports of their own happiness?  How does he explain this?
5. According to Kahneman, what is the correlation between money and happiness?
6. What, according to Bloom, is needed to make the idea of a multiplicity of selves intuitive?
7. Does Bloom think disassociative identity disorder provides a basis for believing in or not denying the existence of multiple selves in normal people?
8. What concept does Bloom use Ulysses to illustrate? 


Thursday 3/18 


Read Chapter 4 through page 127.  Listen to Christopher Shields on personal identity.

1. How does Shields characterize the basic question of personal identity?
2. What conclusion does Locke draw from his story about the prince and the cobbler?
3. What does Locke's view of personal identity imply about memory and moral responsibility?
4. What mathematical principle is involved in Reid's story about the brave officer?
5. On what basis, does Hume deny the existence of the self? 

Tuesday 3/16

Midterm, Hinde Auditorium.  Bring large Blue Book and Scantron 882E.  Study Guide and class notes for Chapters 1-3 have been uploaded to the bottom of the schedule page.


Thursday 3/11

Finish reading Chapter 3 and watch Daniel Dennet on free will part 2.

1. What does 'orthogonal' mean, as Dennett uses the term?
2. What is the point of Dennet's robot babysitter example?
3. Does Dennett think that the concept of moral responsibility makes sense in a deterministic world?
4. What is the lazy sophism?
5. What is Blackburn's response to the lazy sophism?


Tuesday 3/9

We will continue to meet in the Hinde until further notice.
Lecture notes from first two chapters have been uploaded to the bottom of the schedule page. 
The study guide for the midterm has also been posted.

Read through page 99 and listen to Thomas Pink interview on free will.  Clicker questions posted by Sunday evening.

1.  According to Pink, the problem of free will begins when we consider what?
2.  According to Pink, has science shown that human choices are causally determined?
3.  Does Pink see the problem of free will as a conceptual problem or an empirical problem?
4.  What example does Pink explore to determine whether we have an experience of free will?
5.  Does Blackburn believe it is possible to make sense of holding people responsible for their actions if determinism is true?

Thursday 3/4

Important Notice:  Our room, Library 11, was flooded yesterday afternoon.  We will meet in Hinde Auditorium in the University Union. 

Read through page 97.  Listen to Daniel Dennett on free will (part 1).

1. What branch of science does Dennett think we should focus on to discover the nature of human freedom?
2. Is Dennett a compatibilist or an incompatibilist?
3. Dennett calls the sentence "If my future is determined, it's determined," a what?  What does that word mean?
4. What does Dennett think we mean when we say that the future is inevitable?
5. Does Dennett agree that the future is inevitable?
6. Ultimately, in what sense and on what basis does Dennett think humans are more free than other animals?  


Tuesday 3/2

Read through page 91 in Chapter 3.  Watch John Searle on free will. 

1. What is determinism?
2. What is incompatibilism?
3. According to Blackburn, is free will more compatible with indeterminism than determinism?
4. What is the point of Schopenhauer's parable of the water?
5. How is a belief in free will connected to mind-body dualism?
6. Does Searle believe that a conscious being must have free will?
7. Does Searle agree with Blackburn on question 3 above?


Thursday 2/25

Finish reading Chapter 2. Watch Marvin Minsky video on consciousness.  

Clicker questions:

1. How does Blackburn use the kinetic molecular theory of temperature to illuminate the basis of psycho-physical identity theory? (p.69)
2. What is the point of Blackburn's discussion of monochromatic vision? (p.76-77)
3. How does the interviewer (Lenny Bound) frame the basic question in this interview?
4. What does Minsky have to say about the immediacy of perception?
5. What does Minsky think about the idea that we have privileged access to our own minds?
6. What point is Minsky making in discussing magic?

Tuesday 2/23

Chapter 2 through page 72.  Watch Rebecca Saxe and V.S. Ramachandran. 

Clicker Questions:

1. What question does Rebecca Saxe's talk focus on?
2. What is the false belief test?
3. According to Saxe, what part of the brain makes it possible to understand the minds of others?
4. What is the evidence for (3)?
5. What is Capgras delusion and how does Ramachandran think it occurs?
6. How did Ramachandran treat phantom limb syndrome and why does he think this treatment works?



Thursday 2/18

Chapter 2 through page 68.  Listen to David Papineau on Physicalism. 

1.  Papineau relates a thought experiment called Mary the Neuroscientist.  What is it?
2.  What is the point of the Mary the Neuroscientist thought experiment according to Papineau?
3.  What does Papineau think is the correct response to this experiment?
4.  What is the difference between a metaphysical question and an epistemological question?
5.  What, according to logical behaviorists, does it mean to be in a certain mental state, like pain?



Tuesday 2/16

Chapter 2 through page 65.  Listen to Paul Bloom on Natural Born Dualists. (You may also read him.  The transcript of the video is below the video.)

1.What is the argument from analogy to the existence of other minds?
2.What, according to Blackburn, do the zombie and mutant possibilities show?
3.What, in the reading, does the phrase "God's good pleasure" refer to?
4.Who is more accepting of dualism, Locke or Leibniz?
5.Where does our tendency to believe in dualism come from, according to Bloom?
6. How, according to Bloom, do children react when they learn that the brain is involved in thinking?



Thursday  2/11

Read Chapter 2 through page 57.  Listen to Philosophy Talk: Dualism.

1. What does Chalmers think neuroscience can't tell us about mental processes?
2. Does Chalmers think we can give a purely physical explanation of consciousness?
3. Is Chalmers a substance dualist or his he a property dualist?
4. What, according to Rosenthal, do materialists believe about the relation of pains and other feelings to brain processes?
5. Does Rosenthal agree with Chalmers that we don't currently understand how a brain process can have subjective properties?
6. According to Rosenthal is it possible for you to be mistaken about whether you are having a certain kind of feeling, like pain?

Tuesday 2/9

Finish reading Chapter 1. Listen (again) to A.C. Grayling on Descartes.  

1. How does Descartes attempt to prove that he has knowledge of the external world?
2. What, according to Grayling, do most scholars agree is wrong with Descartes' basic method of inquiry?
3. What is circular reasoning?
4. What seems to be circular about Descartes' attempt to prove the existence of God?
5. Why does Hume believe that Descartes' method of inquiry had to fail?
6. What is the difference between Hume and Descartes', basic view about the foundations of knowledge?


Thursday 2/4

Read to page 40. Listen to Barry Stroud on skepticism.  Initial clicker questions:

1.  What does Stroud identify as the faulty assumption that motivates skepticism?
2.  According to Stroud is there a difference between knowledge and true belief?
3.  What is rationalism?
4.  What is a priori knowledge?



Tuesday 2/2

Note:  Always check this space the evening before class meets for changes of plan.

Read pages 22-33 and listen to the interview with A.C. Grayling.  This, and all supplementary material is on the schedule page.  To listen to the interview, click the 'direct download' link.  Philosophy Bites interview are also available on iTunes.

Be prepared to answer the following questions at the beginning of the period:

1.  What can the evil demon not succeed in deceiving Descartes about?
2.  Why does Descartes think it is impossible to imagine the self?
3.  Why does Descartes believe the mind is better known than the body?
4.  What is scepticism (as the term is used in the text)?
5.  Was Descartes a sceptic?
6.  What does Descartes require in order to extend knowledge beyond what can be established with the cogito argument?


Thursday 1/28

  • Get your book and your clickers and register your clicker according to the instructions below.  
  • Read the syllabus for the class carefully.  Print it out and bring it to class if you want.  
  • The first clicker quiz will be at the beginning of class and will cover the details of the syllabus.
  • Finish reading the introductory chapter of Think, and pages 15-21 of Chapter 1. 


Tuesday 1/26


Welcome to Philosophy 006, Introduction to Philosophy.
 

 For this course you'll need to acquire two things.
    • The textbook: Think, by Simon Blackburn.
    • A CPS RF response pad, also known as a "clicker".
 Both of these items are available at the Hornet bookstore.


Instructions concerning clickers

The clicker costs about 25 dollars new, and it will also cost about 15 dollars to register it for the semester. If more than one of your courses is using this clicker, the registration fee covers all of them.  Be sure you buy the clicker I have designated for this class.  It is made by eInstruction, and it is the one endorsed by Sacramento State. Other clickers will not work. The clickers are usually available used and they can also be rented through the bookstore. 

Registration instructions

To register your clicker simply go to www.einstruction.com and click on the link that says: Pay for and Register Your Clicker. Here are some things you need to know.

  • You will need a credit card to pay the registration fee.  
  • You will be asked for the class key.  It is I57458F583
  • Be sure to enter your first and last name correctly when you register your clicker.  Student ID is not required.
  • This course is NOT administered through WebCT or Blackboard.
  • This website is where your grades for the course will be posted, so remember your password.  

Other instructions

Read the syllabus before coming to the first day of class.  I will take questions about the syllabus, but we will not review it. Your first clicker quiz will be on Thursday.  It will cover the content of the syllabus, as well as course content.  

See you on January 26th!





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