Intro to Philosophy Study Guide

Topics: Meaning of life, Philosophy of life, Human condition Pages: 11 (2759 words) Published: May 10, 2013
Philosophy Study Guide


* Boethius – The Consolation of Philosophy
* Determinism, no regret
* Pre-determined, is a God
* Pessimistic Determinism - Bad things must happen for plan to work * Boethius: If God foresees all things and cannot ever be mistaken, that which his Providence sees must happen. Therefore, if Providence knows beforehand not only men’s deeds but even their plans and wishes, there will be no freewill. * Philosophy: Foreseeing that an event will occur does not impose necessity on it. * Boethius: How can God have certain foreknowledge of something whose occurrence is not necessary? * Philosophy: We must distinguish between the human way of knowing, which happens in time, and the divine way of knowing, which is eternal. As eternal, God grasps all events simultaneously in a single and simple vision. Human reason, however, cannot know in this way, but must employ past and future. * We see things in a temporal present; God sees things in an eternal present. * God’s knowledge of the eternal present includes both foreknowledge of things that happen necessarily, and of things that proceed from human free will. * Therefore divine foreknowledge is compatible with freewill.

* James – The Dilemma of Determinism
* Postulate of Rationality
* Soft Determinism
* Freewill
* Regret, Judgment of Regret
* Lecture to students at Harvard
* According to determinism, the only future that is possible is the one that happens; whatever happens, happens by necessity * According to indeterminism, alternative futures are possible; things could have happened differently than they did * Postulates of Rationality – whether we think the world is no more rational if it is governed by necessity or if it contains multiple possibilities * Determinists: If chance has a role in the world (not the product of necessity), the world becomes chaotic and unintelligible. * James: An event that happens by chance is just as intelligible as one that happens by necessity * The existence of “Judgments of Regret” makes indeterminism more plausible than determinism * If determinists admit the rationality of judgments of regret, they commit themselves to the pessimistic view that the world, with all its evils, could not be better than it is. * If they want to be optimistic, they have to view all judgments of regret as irrational.

* Hospers – The Range of Human Freedom
* 2 Levels of Discourse: Actions we’re responsible for & Springs of Actions by which we’re constrained * Responsibility = freedom
* Constraint = not free
* Connect to Reid
* Our actions flow from our character and our character is defined by forces beyond our control (childhood environment & genetics) * Criminals not responsible for crimes?
* Some people overcoming negative influences is still a result of heredity and environment * Not denying that we “could have acted otherwise”, however, we mean if our desires had been different, our actions would have been different but desires are product of character – conditions occurring outside our control

* Reid – Essays of the Active Powers of the Human Mind
* 1. We believe we act freely
* 2. We are accountable
* 3. We are able to pursue an end by means adapted to it * Constraint of Liberty
* Freedom of Actions
* Soft Determinism
* We have the power to determine whether we will act well or badly, and are not determined by external forces or involuntary internal forces * This liberty can, however, be impaired of lost by physical/mental disorders, evil habits, or divine intervention * 1. We have a deep-seated conviction that we act freely – a conviction that is evident when we deliberate,...
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