Epistemology questions Flashcards Preview

Epistemology , philosophy A level > Epistemology questions > Flashcards

Flashcards in Epistemology questions Deck (18)
Loading flashcards...
1

Outline the differences between deductive and inductive arguments ?

Distinction of arguments

Deductive= when the premises are true then the conclusion must be true.
Premises would have to provide such strong support for the conclusion that it would be impossible to prove them false. This would be the case if the conclusion was true. I.e. All dandelions hare weeds and all weeds are plants. (A=B, B=C so A=C)
However a deductive argument can be false if the premises are false.

With an inductive argument, if the premises are true then the conclusion could still be false. Inductive arguments are typically made on the basis of experience. For example, "it has been raining everyday for the past month so it will rain tomorrow. This may not necessarily be true as the premises do not provide absolute support for the conclusion

2

Define empiricism (2)

All a posteriori knowledge is synthetic and all concepts are copies of sense impressions

3

Explain what it means if something is analytically true (2)

If something is true by the virtue of its meaning
I.e. All vixens are foxes

4

define a posteriori

Knowledge that does require sense experience to be known to be true
I.e. Lots of people watch breaking bad

5

Explain a priori knowledge and why it is philosophically significant (9)

Knowledge that does not require sense experience to be known to be true.
We can acquire it by intuition or deduction.
Intuition is when we can intellectual grasp something without having to experience it
Deduction is when we can logically demonstrate something without having to refer to experience
I.e. Maths. Knowing a formula ...

It is philosophically significant because it
- gives eternal and unchanging knowledge I.e. 2+2=4
-it may reveal that we have innate knowledge which suggests all our knowledge does not come from experience
This is key in the rationalist VS empiricists debate
- it may reveal what is necessarily true- such as the laws of logic

6

Explain what is meant by a priori knowledge (5)

A priori knowledge is knowledge that does not require sense experience to be known to be true.

We can acquire a priori knowledge from intuition or deduction

We can acquire it from intuition by intellectually grasping something without having to experience it
I.e. Girls are female

We can acquire it from deduction by logically demonstrating something without having to refer to experience to do so. I.e. If you knew a maths formula you could logically demonstrate a maths problem.

7

Explain the difference between analytic and synthetic truths (9)

Analytic and synthetic truths are semantic distinctions about how statements gain their meaning

Analytic truths are where something is true by the virtue of its definition/meaning. It would not be possible to prove an analytic truth wrong. Some are obvious like "all bachelors are unmarried" but some have to be worked out. But all are true by definition. "All vixens are foxes" is an analytic truth because by definition, a vixen is a female fox so it would be impossible to prove them false.

Synthetic truths are where something is not analytic. It is not just true in virtue of its definition but in virtue of the way the world is. I.e. Snow is white.

8

Outline locke's arguments against innate ideas (9)

Locke critiques the idea of there being innate ideas for two reasons.
1) if innate ideas did exist then they
would be present in the mind at birth.

Rationalists could propose that innate ideas do exist in the mind like "God".

However if this were the case then they would be present in the minds of young children. As they are not Locke uses this as an example against the case for innate ideas

2) if innate ideas did exist then they would be universally agreed upon as it would be part of human nature.

Rationalists proposes ideas like "God" or principles like "whatever is, is" or "it is impossible for the same thing to be and not be at the same time"

Locke argues that there are whole societies that do not have the same ideas or principles. I.e. All around the world we have different ideas of God. If the idea of God was innate and inside us then we would all have the same definition

As we don't, Locke uses this to argue that there are no innate ideas.

Locke anticipated the rationalist argument: "what if the ideas are in the mind but not conscious?"
Locke dismisses this by saying that you cannot argue that an idea is there but you don't know it or you could say that you are born knowing everything !

9

Define synthetic truth?

Where something is not true just by the definition of its meaning.

I.e. This pen is yellow

10

Explain Descartes' trademark argument (5)

Descartes argues that the existence of God is innate

Premise 1- the cause of everything must be at least as great as the effect
2- my ideas must be caused by something
3- I am an imperfect being
4- I have the idea of God who is a perfect being
Therefore I cannot be the cause of my idea
Only a perfect being can cause a perfect idea
Therefore God must have put the knowledge in me
Conclusion- there is innate knowledge

11

Explain the empiricist account of how we form concepts (5)

Locke and Hume describe how we form concepts

Both describe our ideas coming from sensation and reflection
Sensation is what is perceived through the senses
Reflection is our experience of internal operations of our minds gained through awareness of what the mind is doing

Simple sensations and concepts can form complex concepts.
I.e. In abstraction where a unicorn is arguably formed by the simple concepts of a horn and a horse coming together to form the complex concept of a unicorn.

Complex concepts can be broken down into simple concepts
Simple concepts are single sensations that can't be broken down

12

Explain Descartes' trademark argument (5)

Descartes argues that the existence of God is innate

Premise 1- the cause of everything must be at least as great as the effect
2- my ideas must be caused by something
3- I am an imperfect being
4- I have the idea of God who is a perfect being
Therefore I cannot be the cause of my idea
Only a perfect being can cause a perfect idea
Therefore God must have put the knowledge in me
Conclusion- there is innate knowledge

13

Explain the empiricist account of how we form concepts (5)

Locke and Hume describe how we form concepts

Both describe our ideas coming from sensation and reflection
Sensation is what is perceived through the senses
Reflection is our experience of internal operations of our minds gained through awareness of what the mind is doing

Simple sensations and concepts can form complex concepts.
I.e. In abstraction where a unicorn is arguably formed by the simple concepts of a horn and a horse coming together to form the complex concept of a unicorn.

Complex concepts can be broken down into simple concepts
Simple concepts are single sensations that can't be broken down

14

Explain Descartes' trademark argument (5)

Descartes argues that the existence of God is innate

Premise 1- the cause of everything must be at least as great as the effect
2- my ideas must be caused by something
3- I am an imperfect being
4- I have the idea of God who is a perfect being
Therefore I cannot be the cause of my idea
Only a perfect being can cause a perfect idea
Therefore God must have put the knowledge in me
Conclusion- there is innate knowledge

15

Explain the empiricist account of how we form concepts (5)

Locke and Hume describe how we form concepts

Both describe our ideas coming from sensation and reflection
Sensation is what is perceived through the senses
Reflection is our experience of internal operations of our minds gained through awareness of what the mind is doing

Simple sensations and concepts can form complex concepts.
I.e. In abstraction where a unicorn is arguably formed by the simple concepts of a horn and a horse coming together to form the complex concept of a unicorn.

Complex concepts can be broken down into simple concepts
Simple concepts are single sensations that can't be broken down

16

What does deductive mean? (2)

An argument where if the premises are true then the conclusion has to be true. Premises would need to provide absolute support for the conclusion so it would be impossible to prove it false.

17

Explain the difference between concepts and knowledge (2)

Concepts like the colour "red" cannot be true or false unless it is put into a proposition.

Propositions count as substantial knowledge

Concepts by themselves tell us nothing significant
Knowledge can!

18

Outline the difference between a priori knowledge and a posteriori knowledge (9)

A priori and a posteriori knowledge are epistemological distinctions about how we justify knowledge

A priori knowledge is knowledge that does not require sense experience to know it to be true.
It can either be known through intuition or deduction
Intuition is when you can intellectually grasp the concept of something without needing to experience it
Deduction is when you can demonstrate something without needing to refer to sense experience to do so.
I.e. Maths and formulas

A posteriori knowledge is knowledge that does require sense experience to be known to be true.
If knowledge cannot be known through intuition and deduction then the knowledge is a posteriori and requires sense experience