Presentation on theme: "Introduction and a Brief History"— Presentation transcript:
1 Introduction and a Brief History Analytic PhilosophyIntroduction and a Brief History
2 Introduction About this course Analytic philosophy in the history of philosophy and the history of analytic philosophyAreas of philosophy and central philosophical issuesAnalytic philosophy is just Anglo-American philosophy in the 20th century to the present.
3 Mechanics, requiements and expectations About this courseMechanics, requiements and expectations
4 Syllabus Office Founders 165c Telephone (619) [USD]; (619) [mobile]Class WebsiteMessage BoardTurnitin.com Info Turnitin.com class ID: ; enrollment password: analyticOffice Hours Thu Thu 12:15 – 2:15 pm; Wed 1:15 – 2:15; and by appointment.Class Meetings Tue Thu 2:30 – 3:50 Serra 312from USD account! Turnitin info may need revision—not yet relevant.
5 SyllabusReadings There are no hard-copy textbooks for this class! All readings, handouts and powerpoints are linked to the class website.Grade Your grade for the semester will be based upon two tests and a term paper. In addition, you must submit a written proposal for your term paper to be discussed in class and approved by your instructor.Test I Thu Mar % of final gradeTest II Thu May % of final gradeProposal due Tue Apr 26 must be approvedPresentations May 8, May 10 requiredTerm Paper due Tue May % of final grade
6 Term Papers & TurnitinLegal Notification of Policy USD subscribes to Turnitin.com, a web-based application that compares the content of submitted papers to the Turnitin.com database and checks for textual similarities. All required papers for this course will be subject to submission to Turnitin.com for textual similarity review and to verify originality. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference database solely for the purpose of detecting textual similarities and verifying originality. Each student is responsible for submitting his or her papers in such a way that no identifying information about the student is included. A student may not have anyone else submit papers on the student’s behalf to Turnitin.com. A student may request in writing that his or her papers not be submitted to Turnitin.com. However, if a student chooses this option, the student may be required to provide documentation in a form required by the faculty member to substantiate that the papers are the student’s original work.
7 Schedule: Topics & Readings A schedule of topics and readings, subject to revision, is available at the class website at Class Website:
8 Analytic PhilosophyAnalytic philosophy is a generic term for a style of philosophy that came to dominate English-speaking countries in the 20th century. In the United States the overwhelming majority of university philosophy departments self-identify as "analytic" departments. This situation is mirrored in the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. [Wikipedia— but if you don’t trust Wikipedia…]Brian Leiter, the “philosophical gourmet,” notes: "All the Ivy League universities, all the leading state research universities, all the University of California campuses, most of the top liberal arts colleges, most of the flagship campuses of the second-tier state research universities boast philosophy departments that overwhelmingly self-identify as "analytic": it is hard to imagine a "movement" that is more academically and professionally entrenched than analytic philosophy.”See also John Searle's judgment (in Bunnin & Tsui-James (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy (Blackwell, 2003), p. 1): "Without exception, the best philosophy departments in the United States are dominated by analytic philosophy, and among the leading philosophers in the United States, all but a tiny handful would be classified as analytic philosophers."
9 A History of Philosophy The Analytic Philosopher’s Version
11 Anglo-American Philosophy Continental PhilosophyBritish IdealistsEmpiricistsLockeBerkeleyHumeAnalytic PhilosophyEarly 20th CenturyRejection of Idealism(Defense of Commonsense)Logical AtomismLogical PositivismOrdinary Language PhilosophyContemporary Analytic Philosophy
12 Subfields of Philosophy Traditional SubfieldsLogicEthicsMetaphysicsEpistemologyHistory of PhilosophyAdditional Special FieldsPhilosophy of MindPhilosophy of ReligionPhilosophy of Science“Applied Ethics” specialtiesAestheticsPhilosophy of Language
13 Our Philosophical Issues Skepticism and the External WorldMeaning and ReferenceThe Logical Positivist ProgramThe Mind-Body ProblemThe Problem of UniversalsExternalism and the mentalIdentity (including personal identity)Time and time-travel
14 The External WorldEpistemological, metaphysical questions and philosophy of language issues.Do we know there’s an external world? If so, how?What are the constituents of this external world?How should we analyze talk about these things?HistoryIt is noteworthy that the other minds problem came to prominence as a philosophical problem only as recently as the nineteenth century, when John Stuart Mill gave us what is generally regarded as a version of the analogical inference to other minds. Mill's version has as its centrepiece the causal link between our mental states and our behaviour. The problem was clearly enough waiting to be noted as far back as Descartes and his separation of mind from body and his view that only human animals had minds. However, it does not seem that Descartes noticed it as a separate problem. A similar situation would seem to apply with John Locke, given his belief that the mind of another is invisible (Locke, 111.ii.1,pp., ).Before Mill, it would seem that Thomas Reid (Avramides, 2001, ch., VI) should be credited with seeing that there was a serious philosophical issue concerning other minds. Indeed, it seems that the first frequent use of the words ‘other minds’ is to be credited to him (Somerville, 1989, p. 249). However, those minds are not observable. Nor is our belief that they exist to be reached or supported by reasoning. For Reid it is self-evident, an innate belief, that there are minds other than one's own.The analogical inference to other minds held sway until about the middle of the twentieth century. Increasingly argued to be problematic, the analogical inference lost ground within philosophy. It was widely thought to be inadequate because of two of its features. The first was that the conclusion was not only uncheckable but was such that it was logically impossible to check up on it. The second was that the argument seemed to be an inductive generalisation based on one only case. This second feature was thought to be problematic in itself but was thought by many to have as a consequence that each of us learns from our own case what it is to be in pain or some other mental state. This consequence was thought to be completely unacceptable.The more favoured notion that emerged from these difficulties besetting the anological inference was (strongly influenced by Wittgenstein's writings on the nature of first and third person psychological statements) that criterial evidence could deal with the problem in a way that avoided the problems besetting the analogical inference. An adjacent view, thought distinct, was that we are able, at least in enough cases, to know directly that other human beings had minds.Widespread dissatisfaction with the views outlined so far increasingly led Anglo-American philosophers to the view that the best explanation for how other human beings behave is that they behave as they do because their behaviour is caused by (their) mental states. However, all of the views remain in play and (variously) contested.
15 The Epistemological Question External world: mind-independent objectsImmediate experience and inference (I hear a screeching when I step on the brakes and infer that the pads are worn and metal is grinding on metal. Sight is no different.Veridical and non-veridical experienceDo we have any good reason to believe that any of our experiences are veridical? How could we know?
18 Thought ExperimentsWe want to know what is logically (or metaphysically) possibleE.g. Is it possible for persons to “exchange bodies”? Survive bodily death? Reappear in resurrection worlds? Be reincarnated?Conceivability is (roughly) a criterion for logical possibility so…We produce and consider thought experiments to ascertain what is conceivable.These thought experiments—stories about zombies, transport via Startrek Machine, Brains in Vats and life in the Matrix, apparent cases of body-exchange, etc. are fictions intended to pump our intuitions.
19 The Mind-Body ProblemZombies: physical duplicates of “normal” humans who do not have qualia.Qualia: contents of immediate experience, “raw feels” or “sense- data”The Mind-Body Problem (crude version): is the mind the brain? (or, are mental states just brain states?)Conceivability as a criterion for (“logical”) possibility
20 Zombies Argument for Mind-Body Dualism Zombies are logically possible (we can conceive of them, right?)A zombie’s brain states are perfect duplicates of the brain states of normal individuals experiencing qualiaThere must be something more then that brain state when an individual has qualiaThe mind is not just the brain (mental states are not just brain states)
21 More Mind-Body Problem The Knowledge Argument, Reversed Spectrum, etc.Can machines think? The Turing Test and Searle’s Chinese RoomAre meanings in the head? Hilary Putnam and the Twin Earth problem
22 The Problem of Universals Statements of the form “x is P” can be true or false.Intuitively, what makes them true or false is an object’s having a propertyIntuitively, when objects are similar it is because they “share” propertiesBut are there “properties” and, if so, what are they? And how can they be shared?
23 All standard solutions are unintuitive! Nominalism makes it difficult to account for the fact that some ways of grouping are correct while others incorrect.Conceptualism begs the question: What is it in the object that corresponds to my idea and what is that correspondance? What makes my idea of red the same as your idea?Realism posits crazy, immaterial objects
24 Reference Plato’s question: “how can I think the thing that is not?” Fictional entities: What makes it true that Pegasus is a flying horse-- and not a unicorn or magic mushroom? What makes it true that Pegasus doesn’t exist?Again, construing Pegasus, et. al. as “ideas” doesn’t help so we seem stuck with the existence of crazy, non-existant objects.Russell’s theory of descriptions & the Russell-Strawson debate.
25 Logical PositivismMetaphilosophical issues: Hume’s Fork and the rejection of “metaphysics”Hume’s Fork and the Analytic/Synthetic distinctionPhenomenalism: objects as “permanent possibilities of sensation”Quine’s “Two Dogmas of Empiricism”
26 Identity An equivalence relation Reflexivity: x = x Symmetry: if x = y then y = xTransitivity: if x = y and y = z then x = zAn indiscernibility relation: if x = y then they have all the same propertiesIs the converse true also, i.e. if x and y have all the same properties does x = y?
27 Identity Puzzles Indiscernibility of Identicals and Frege’s puzzle Identity of Indiscernibles, symmetrical worlds (“Black’s Balls”) and Eternal Return“Branching Cases”: the Ship of Theseus, etc.Personal identity: Locke’s identity problem, survival, “fission,” etc.
28 And now for some solutions… …none of which are conclusive!