Wednesday, January 12, 2011

More Definitions

Reductio ad absurdum is Latin for reduce to absurdity.  It is a philosophical way of arguing against a theory.  The strategy is to apply the logic and the principles of the argument in such a way as to reveal the ridiculous consequences of the view.

Qualitative Characteristic: this means how something is experienced from a first-person point of view.  The qualitative characteristic of a dream, for example, is how the dream seems to us or how the dream feels.

Beg the Question: An argument begs the question when one of the premises assumes the truth of the conclusion that the argument is attempting to prove. e.g.  "The Patriot Act is right because it's the right thing to do."

Particularism is one response to the problem of the criterion.  Particularism is the view that we must address questions about particular instances or examples of knowledge before we can formulate criteria or standards for knowledge.  It is called “Particularism” because particularists begin with particular examples of knowledge.  

e.g. Pat starts with a particular  instance of knowledge, "I know that my girlfriend is a wonderful woman."  Pat reasons that because this is a good example of knoweldge, it displays the characteristics of knoweldge: true, justified belief that is based on long period of close personal experiences.  Pat then determines that these must be the criteria for knowledge!

Methodism is another response to the problem of the criterion.  Methodism is the view that we must first address questions about criteria and standards for knowledge before we can identify specific examples of knowledge.  It is called “Methodism” because methodists begin with criteria for knowledge or a good method for creating knowledge.

e.g. Mat starts with what he thinks are good criteria for knowledge: justified, true beliefs that are formed without using false premises.  He then uses these criteria as a method for identifying examples of knowledge, such as his belief that his gf is awesome.

Skepticism is also a response to the problem of the criterion.  Second-order skeptics accept the problem of the criterion as an argument that proves that epistemology, or knowledge about knowledge, is impossible.  First-order skeptics believe that we can have no knowledge whatsoever.

In Principle means according to a universal or general law.  Something is impossible in principle if it is impossible in all cases, regardless of particular circumstances.

Luck.  In philosophy, we talk about luck as something that happens by chance.  We are not so much concerned with bad luck or good luck.  Luck is just that which happens by coincidence or random chance.

Reflective Equilibrium.  Chisholm thinks that when we reflect on a statement or proposition, we eventually reach a neutral standpoint.  In other words, if we think long enough about something in the right kinds of ways, we eventually are able to think about it in a non-biased way.

Entailment means that something necessarily follows (or is logically deduced) from something else.  The truth of “Obama the Christian is wearing a blue suit.” entails the truth of “Obama is wearing a blue suit.”  In other words, a statement  entails a different statement if the different statement is included in or is part of the original statement.

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