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Philosophy: A Primer

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Michele Merritt

on 1 September 2015

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Transcript of Philosophy: A Primer

"The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living"
The Gadfly Effect
Free Meals at the Pyrtaneum?!?
What is there?
What can we know?
What should we do?
Appearance and Reality
What are Socrates' reasons for
refusing to escape with Crito?
'Bombing abortion clinics is justified
because we must put an end to murder.'
Philosophy is all about Reasoning
But what makes something count as 'good' reasoning?
Bad Reasoning!
A good argument is one in which if all your reasons (premises) are accepted as true, your conclusion must also be accepted; a bad argument is one in which your reasons fail to establish the conclusion (I could believe your premises but still not be forced to believe your conclusion)
Just how easy is it to have irrefutable arguments?
And why does Socrates think he knows the most? What's up with that?
Compare to Lao-Zi's statement: “The best
leaders are those the people hardly know exist”
When I left him, I reasoned thus with myself: I am wiser than this man, for neither of us appears to know anything great and good; but he fancies he knows something, although he knows nothing; whereas I, as I do not know anything, so I do not fancy I do. In this trifling particular, then, I appear to be wiser than he, because I do not fancy I know what I do not know.
Apology, 21d
the premises supposedly
necessitate the conclusion
the premises supposedly probably
imply the conclusion
Valid (i.e. good)
The conclusion is
necessitated by
conditionally accepting
the truth of the premises
All cats are dogs;
All dogs are fish;
Therefore, all cats are fish
Invalid (Bad)
Premises fail to establish
the truth of the conclusion
(even if the premises are
true, the conclusion can
still be false)
All women are human;
All men are human;
Therefore, all women are men
The premises probabilistically
imply the conclusion
E.g. After anonymously surveying
20,000 students at ASU and finding
that 30% of them admit to having
tried marijuana at least once, we can
conclude that a relatively low number
of the student body at this university
use this drug on a regular basis.
The premises probably
do not imply the conclusion
UCF has the second largest student population
in the country. Therefore it must be that it has
the best professors in the nation.
Argument by Analogy
Reductio Ad Absurdum
'I doubt I exist,
thus I must exist'
Arguing Effectively:
1. What do I want to prove?
2.What kind of argument will I construct??
3. If deductive, does the supposed truth of
my premises necessitate the conclusion?
Are my premises actually true?
4. If inductive, do I have evidence for all
my premises? Does the evidence actually
support the conclusion?
Defending your arguments:
1. Counterexamples?
2. Have I committed
any fallacies?
3. Am I being clear
with each and every term
I use?
Fallacies (e.g. 36-38)
Mere Assertion Begging the Question Circular Reasoning
Irrelevancies Ad Hominems Unclear/Changing Meanings
Red Herrings Pseudo- Questions Appeals to Authority
Causal Fallacies Straw Man Attacks Emotional Appeals
Appeal to Force Methodological Fallacies
An argument is a group of statements (premises), one or more of which lead up to and purportedly give evidence for accepting a final statement (the conclusion)
Descartes and Modern Skepticism
Philosophy and Plumbing
What is the nature of what there is?
1. God exists because the bible says so and the bible is true because it was written by God.

2. The death penalty should be permitted. After all, overpopulation is a problem.

3. Teacher, you should give me a better grade on the assignment. If you don't, I will lose my 4.0, not graduate with honors, not get the job I want, and my life will be ruined.

4. Ashtrays and lung cancer are strongly correlated. Therefore, ashtray use causes lung cancer.

Metaphysics, Ontology
Full transcript