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About Philosophy Chapter 3


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What is metaphysics?
a catchall for a number of problems whose scope and significance are so broad that they seem to have implications for virtually every other field of philosophy.
What are Hobbes' metaphysical theories called?
What are the three main philosophical positions to answering the question 'what is there?' ?
materialism, idealism and dualism
What is materialism? According to Hobbes.
the belief that everything, even sould or spirit consists of very small bits of physical matter - Hobbes said that everything, including thoughts, insights etc... was atoms bumping into each other and causing vibrations
What was Hobbes' most important work?
What is the conciousness objection to materialism?
that the defining characteristic of all minds is consciousness - we are not merely material things
How did Hobbes refute the consciousness objection?
he said that when you break down the mind it is simply a collection of matter
What was Hobbes' view when it came to free will v. determinism?
That because thoughts are atoms bumping into one another and so on, we have no room for choice or freedom - so there is no sort of free will whatsoever.
What was David Hume's view when it came to free will v. determinism?
Hume sided with Hobbes, he also believed that there was no such thing as free will
What philosopher had the strongest counterargument to those that discounted the notion of free will?
Immanuel Kant - who said that we all have "rational determination" we are free not causally determined
What is the mind-body problem?
The problem of explaining exactly what the relationship is between our minds and physical bodies in space.
What are the three sub-problems of the mind-body problem?
1. do minds and bodies causally interact with one another and if so, how?
2. how, if at all, can I (my mind) gain knowledge at all about bodies, can minds really know anything at all about bodies or do minds only know about themselves?
3. what is the special relationship between my mind and my body?
What two challenges did Descartes face in attempting to conquer the mind-body problem?
1. to find a place in physical, mathematically describable nature for a nonphysical, nonquantitative mind
2. to demonstrate by rational philosophy that the soul survives bodily death
What was Descartes' proposal for conquering the mind-body problem?
He argued that a human being is a combination of a material substance (body) and a spiritual substance (mind). He held that although the mind and the body are truly distinct from one another, they do interact in a relationship of cause and effect.
What are the two aspects of Descartes' theory that led to the Cartesian problem?
1. its dualism
2. its interactionism
What is parallelism?
the material and mental realms being composed of different substances never actually causally interact but operate in tandem in asuch a way that there seems to be a causal interaction.
What is occasionalism?
The theory that an event in a person's physical history provides an occasion for God's intervention to bring about an appropriate event in the person's mental history and vice versa.
What is epiphenomenalism?
The view that mental sates are causal by-products of physical processes, but denies that mental events ever cause changes in the body or any part of it.

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