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Philosophy 1010 Class #9 NEXT Week: Essay Due & Final Exam Let’s discuss the class essay. Gates of Hell
1) 2) COURSE EVALUATION Electronic/Online Course/Instructor Feedback 13/WI Availability until February 20, 2013. Instruction Sheet will be on Quia site.
Chapter 4 Philosophy and God (Continued)
Atheism • Atheists such as Richard Dawkins (1941 -) state unequivocally that there is no God. • In taking a metaphysical position on the issue, Atheism assumes the same burden in regard to all the issues of meaning and evidence that Theism does. • Atheism must assert reasons that God does not exist just as we expected the Theist to provide “proofs” for the existence of God. • Many would argue that Atheism requires just as much faith as does Theism, but is it really a matter of faith or the strength of your argument? • The primary argument given by Atheists that God does not exist is the problem of evil.
The Problem of Evil • The Problem of Evil in its simplest form argues that since evil exists in the world, then God is either not all powerful or all good. David Hume subscribed to this view. • St. Augustine took a position against this view, arguing that God created the universe and all the good in the world but the universe he created is not itself God and is imperfect, finite, and limited. In this way, it allows the existence of evil as incomplete goodness. • Many argue that St. Augustine does not resolve the issue. Why would not God who is all good ensure that there was no evil in His universe?
The Problem of Evil • A popular theological argument is that evil is necessary for the Good to exist. But then is God not omnipotent if he cannot create Good without Evil? • Another argument the Theist gives is that God allows Evil in order to give man Free Will. But how does this account for natural disasters such as hurricanes? • Or maybe, they think, we are confused about what is Good? What we think is Evil is Good in the mind of God? • John Hick (1922 - ) argues that the presence of evil is necessary for Man to be made into the likeness of God. Experiencing evil gives meaning to virtue for Man and allows him to develop into virtuous beings.
Immanuel Kant • That injustice exists in the world should not lead us to reject God. Rather it should compel us pursue a perfectly just world. It is a moral obligation. • To believe that such a world is possible with evil fully punished and good rewarded would require a belief in God an afterlife. • And since all moral obligations must be possible, then God must exist. • According to Kant’s argument, we must believe in God although perhaps we cannot know that God exists.
Agnosticism • Thomas Huxley (1825 -1895) argued that it is incorrect to say that one is certain of the truth of a proposition unless he can produce evidence that logically justifies that certainty. • Sigmund Freud suggested that our belief in God is an “illusion” and had its origins in infantile needs for a “father. ” • Freud’s view was influential throughout the 20 th century but is considered by most today as an insufficient explanation. Further, even if it were true as a psychological explanation, that does not make the claim that the belief is an “illusion” and that God does not exist true. Such an argument commits what is known logically as the Genetic Fallacy.
“The Will to Believe” • William James (1842 -1910 ) proposed that in the absence of irrefutable evidence for the existence of God, there still is justifiable reason to believe. • James suggests that in this condition, we have the option to choose what we believe. We do not have an option not to choose, as perhaps an agnostic might suggest. To choose not to make a decision is, for James, to decide. • James discusses three fundamental characteristics of such options: • 1) “living or dead” 2) forced or avoidable 3) momentous or trivial
An Option is a person's decision among a set of hypotheses. A genuine option is living, forced, and momentous. 1. A living option in one in hypotheses are live, i. e. , they are real possibilities for someone. Since I grew up attending a Christian church and was raised to believe that way, it may not be a real option for me to become a Buddhist, but it is a real option for me to become a Presbyterian. 2. A forced option is a dilemma— the hypothesis cannot be avoided. I. e. , for someone enrolled in this class to come to class or not is forced. Deciding whether or not God exists and/or we will conduct ourselves according to that may be forced in this sense. 3. A momentous option is one that is unique and may well be one's only opportunity. The choice is not trivial, but significant, because only has one chance to do it.
“The Will to Believe” • James then argues when an option is genuine (that is, living, forced and momentous) and cannot be decided on intellectual grounds, it is justifiable to choose on the basis of our passional nature. In fact, James would argue one should so choose. • For James, our “passional nature” consists of all nonintellectual interests, emotions, desires, hopes, fears, commitments, our deepest personal needs, etc. • James would hold that when an option is not genuine, it makes the best sense to decide to withhold judgment until “the evidence is in. ”
In Conclusion • W. K. Clifford, 1845 -1879, argued against James (as did Thomas Huxley), asserting that it is absolutely and always wrong to make any judgment without sufficient evidence. By doing so, you make yourself vulnerable to logical and factual error. • To the contrary, James pointed out that this was one option that could be chosen and one that would have the advantage that it might protect us from believing what was false. • On the other hand, another option is to try to protect ourselves from missing out on the truth and the truth that would be the one that is ultimately significant to ourselves. • James would choose this option, while recognizing that it itself must be chosen not on rational grounds, but on passional grounds.
Chapter Six: TRUTH (with a bit ABOUT KNOWELDGE TOSSED IN FOR FREE)
What is Knowledge? • Knowledge requires a belief. It would be nonsensical to say that “I know that my car is in the parking lot, but I do not believe it. ” • Of course, we can believe something that we do not know, but we cannot know something that we do not believe. Example: “I believe that I am in good health but I haven’t had a thorough checkup for five years. ” • Knowledge appears to be more than a simple belief. It requires evidence or justification. One would not take seriously a person’s belief for which there is no evidence – for example, “I know the stock market will crash this week because I just know it. ”
What is Knowledge? • That is, a belief must be warranted to count as knowledge. The criteria for when a statement is warranted depends on the type of statement. • Some beliefs are “a priori” and others are “a posteriori”, that is, “prior to” experience or “after experience. ” Some beliefs are considered to be “foundational” and others not. • For example, the basis for justification of all the following beliefs is different – • • “A rose is a rose. ” “No circle is a square. ” “John loves Sam. ” “John feels embarrassed by what happened. ”
What is Warranted Belief? • 1. Logical Warrantability. • • 2. Semantic Warrantability. • • A circle is not a square. 3. Systemic Warrantability. • • This pencil is either 4” long or it is not. Two plus two is four. 4. Empirical Warrantability. • • This bird that I am looking at right now is a robin. John Kennedy was a President of the U. S.
What is Knowledge? • But all warranted belief is not true. You only know what is warranted and “TRUE”. You do not know your car is in the parking lot even if you believe it is and your belief is warranted (you parked it there just before class), but in fact I am looking out the window here and (I hate to tell you this but) campus security just towed you car off campus. • In the above example, you can only claim to know that your car is in the parking lot if it is true that it is in the parking lot. • Generally speaking, knowledge is understood thus to be warranted, true belief.
What is Knowledge? • However, is true, warranted belief enough? Consider the following “thought experiment”: 1) John who is a trustworthy person goes to the store intending to buy a gallon of low-fat milk. 2) As a joke on his friend Sam or by mistake, he tells Sam that he is going to buy whole milk. 3) At the store, John mistakenly buys whole milk by getting distracted by how sexy the store manager is. • Now, did Sam know that John was going to buy whole milk? 1) Sam believed John was. 2) Sam’s belief appeared to be warranted. It is what John said he was going to do & John usually does what he says. 3) And in fact, it is what John did.
What are the Traditional Theories of Truth? • There are three Fundamental Theories of Truth: 1) the correspondence theory of truth says that a belief is true when it corresponds to what is “out there” in the real world. 2) the coherence theory argues that a belief is true when it fits in consistently with our other beliefs and meanings. • 3) the pragmatic theory suggests that what is true depends on what gets us what we want.
The Correspondence Theory of Truth • The Correspondence Theory specifies that truth is an agreement between a proposition and a fact. • Thus, the correspondence theory assumes the existence of an external, material world which is composed of facts. • The view was first proposed by Aristotle and then by Aquinas. The most formal, systematic presentation of the view was by the 20 th century philosopher, Bertrand Russell. • Russell argues that truth and falsity are properties of beliefs, but that property depends on the relationship of the belief to the world of facts.
The Correspondence Theory of Truth • The Correspondence Theory may seem to be obviously right and implied by common sense, but actually it has serious difficulties. • First of all, it assumes there is an external world, i. e. a particular metaphysical position and seems to beg the question of “how can we we ever get outside our sensory experiences to know what the facts are. ” • Secondly, there is the problem about what a fact is, anyway. How can a fact even be identified or discussed without referring to the proposition that it is meant to be the conditions for it being true? Thus, the very notion of “facts” appears to be circular. For example, to what fact does the proposition “The cat is on the mat” refer? The fact that the cat is on the mat? But isn’t this circular reasoning?
The Correspondence Theory of Truth • Finally, theory is based on the notion of “correspondence. ” But it is objected by critics, what does this really mean? What is the nature of correspondence? • Clear examples of correspondence are: 1. 2. • resemblance like a paint chip resembles the color of paint on your wall, or portrayal like when a picture copies the scene it copies But neither of these can be the kind of correspondence that is being asserted when we say a statement in a language corresponds to a state of affairs in the world.
The Coherence Theory of Truth • The Coherence Theory specifies that a statement is true based on its consistency with other statements that considered as a whole we regard as true. This coherence is the fundamental factor, not coherence of a single statement with a single state of the world. • Geometry is the perfect example of the coherence theory, but also science understood as general theories also demonstrate the principle. • Brand Blanshard (1892 -1987) argued that the correspondence theory itself presupposes the coherence theory. He argues that we can verify one statement only by using other statements. • For example, to say that “the chair is red” is validated only with other statements that give testimony to the reliability of our sense perception abilities.
The Coherence Theory of Truth • Of course, the Coherence Theory is not also without its problems. • Critics point out that in the past of course, societies accepted statements that were quite consistent with the belief systems but were false such as that the sun revolved around the earth. • Critics also ask how a fundamental set of statements about the world can come to be accepted with a Coherence Theory when there is no group of statements to which they could cohere.
The Pragmatic Theory of Truth • The Pragmatic Theory says that a belief is true if it works and is useful. Looking for truth is looking for beliefs that will help you get what you want…. Richard Rorty • According to the Pragmatists, there are no abolute and unchanging truths. A statement is true if it is useful to believe it. • The classic Pragmatic view of truth was formulated by William James. • James argued that truth existed in its practical consequences. True ideas are those that we can assimilate, validate, corroborate, and verify. • An idea is validated if by believing it, we find experiences that are “progressive, harmonious, and satisfactory. ”
The Pragmatic Theory of Truth • James challenged the traditional correspondence view by asking: What difference does it make in someone’s life for an idea to be true? ” What is the “cash value? ” What different experiences should we be expected to have? • Richard Rorty suggests that it is improper however to refer to a Pragmatic Theory of Truth. For him, the Pragmatist position only is a claim about individual statements that are good and proper to believe it or not. Pragmatism is not a general theory of Truth (with a capital T). • In Rorty’s view, different truths emerge from different communities having different procedures of verifying appropriate statements to use.
The Pragmatic Theory of Truth • The primary criticism of the Pragmatic approach is that it makes truth entirely relative to the potential mistakable judgments of human communities. • Pragmatism equates truth with justified belief of a community. • But surely just because we once believed the earth was flat, it wasn’t really flat. • The pragmatist could reply that what is true is what an ideal community would be justified in believing if continuing its investigations indefinitely. • But this notion seems to be “metaphysical” in the very sense that Pragmatism wished to reject.
Does Your Theory of Truth Matter? • The theory of truth that you hold may determine whether a given claim is true or not. • Only the Correspondence Theory of Truth holds that truth is absolute. Both the Coherence Theory and the Pragmatic Theory hold that truth is relative to the group who is making the claim. • By rejecting an objective theory of truth, the latter two theories allow for the potentiality of views to be accepted as true that normally we would consider aberrant, e. g. racist, sexist, immoral, etc. • On the other hand, one might argue for a relativist theory that it is more tolerant of cultural differences. One culture does not have a monopoly on truth.
A Reconcilation? • Perhaps we should simply understand that all three views have validity and are suggestive within different realms of knowledge. • In this account, the Correspondence theory is strong when explaining the empirical world, the Coherence theory helps us to understand logical and mathematical truths, and the Pragmatic theory gives us the better guidance to deal with value judgments. • The attempt to find one characterization of truth that covers every kind of truth, seems doomed to failure. …. Hilary Putnam • Ultimately however, such a resolution may be too easy and not truly satisfying for most philosophers. It seems to many as not fully answering the paradoxes posed by the subsequent consequences of each theory.
Does Science Give Us Truth? The Instrumentalist View • There are fundamentally three views which attempt to allow science to say that a theory is true, roughly corresponding to the three theories of truth. • First of all, the Instrumentalist view argues that a theory is true if it makes accurate predictions. The view thus, is closely aligned with the pragmatic theory of truth. • The instrumentalist view does not assert that theoretical and unobservable entities that we posit in our theories in order to explain observable events actually do exist. • In the instrumentalist view, science is not required to describe the world. To say that the earth revolves around the sun is a useful framework or schema simply to calculate the positions of the planets.
Does Science Give Us Truth? The Realist View • A second option is the Realist view which relies on the correspondence theory of truth. According to this view, a scientific theory is true or false based on how it describes reality. • Historically, Galileo was condemned for heresy indeed because he claimed that the Copernican view was real, not just a mathematical calculation as it had been assumed Copernicus had thought. • The realist view asserts that scientific theories make accurate predictions because they are true, that is they “correspond” with things in the world and not the other way around. • For the realist, scientific theory is discovered. For the instrumentalist, it is invented for the sake of continuing productive scientific activity.
Does Science Give Us Truth? The Conceptual Relativist View • The third option is the conceptual relativist view which relies on the coherence theory of truth. According to this view, a scientific community theory provides a paradigm consisting of theories, research methods, programs, and values that a “conceptual framework” which is true. • The leading proponent of this view is Thomas Kuhn. • According to this view and in contrast with instrumentalism and realism, theories cannot be checked against independently observed reality for all observation is theory-laden. • Scientific paradigms are replaced by “conceptual “revolutions, ” however when that happens one cannot necessarily say the changes occurred for rational reasons or that the new paradigm is “more true. ”