February 5th, 2015
Rationalism & Empiricism, a priori & a posteriori, Analytic & Synthetic—Differences?
In regards to rationalism and empiricism, the rationalist says that knowledge can be known by reason alone whereas the empiricist will claim that knowledge is derived from the senses–we are born tabula rasa, a blank slate for a mind and we fill that slate with sense perceptions. The rationalist will have no problem affirming the synthetic a priori and analytic a posteriori category. The empiricist will primarily affirm the analytic a priori and synthetic a posteriori (although there is definite psychological overlap–the affirmations primarily concern epistemic justification).
||“All bachelors are not married.”
“Triangles have three angles.”
Objective Morality? (e.g. Kant’s pure reason)
||“Gold has the atomic weight of 196.966543”
||“This elephant is gray.”
“Edinburgh receives more rain than the Sahara.”
Subjective Morality? (e.g. “Twenty’s Plenty”)
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September 10th, 2012
Hume asks the question of how a finite effect can have an infinite cause. Kant says that you can base it on the moral argument. If you are explaining the subsets, you have the explanation of the infinite set (according to Hume). However, in explaining the first member of a finite set, one must go out of that set. Focus on a series in which a member’s existence is explained by the preceding cause. In explaining a set you go outside of the set. The point is not if it’s an infinite set but if it gets outside of the set (relies on PSRb in a way–that there must be some sufficient reasons for any positive fact and denies brute facts.)
Hume also argues against the CA on a priori grounds. He formulates the CA in a way that combines causal (Thomistic or kalam) and reason (Leibnizian). He considers the causal closure of the universe. Under his idea of how the universe is he considers it to be a causally closed system, which, by definition, rules out any external causation. Any a priori argument is absurd to Hume—it’s impossible to deduce the existence of God from fixed necessary premises or Kantian/Newtonian spacetime intuitions.
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March 27th, 2012
Below is a brief outline of David Hume’s criticisms of the teleological argument found in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion] and responses to them.
- The argument doesn’t get us to God, at most it just gets to a designer.
- This is not arguing for God, just an extremely intelligent mind, which exists apart from the universe.
- Constructive empiricism
- You can only use analogy to argue for things that are similar, but the universe is unique.
- As long as the two things being compared are relevantly similar in the properties under consideration, they can be analogized. Everything is unique in some way; however, we can still compare things where they are similar. The universe is not unique in all its properties for it shares some properties with other things (design).
- You can only use analogy about things you have empirically experienced, but no one experienced the origin of the universe.
- Scientists infer the existence and operations of empirically inexperienced entities on the basis of analogizing from what they do know from experience (i.e. particles)
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