Wednesday, August 31, 2016

HW1 Feedback

If you turned in HW1, you got credit.  In the future, you'll only get credit if the homework can be called "conscientious."  That means--
  1. It's responsive to the question.
  2. The reading was used, to the extent it was relevant.
  3. The answer is thoughtful.
  4. The answer is the right length.

Truman Show Clips

IMDB Synopsis
Amazon link

Friday, August 26, 2016

Counterexamples to JTB Definition of Knowledge

X believes that p if and only (1) X believes that p, (2) p is true, and (3) x is justified in believing that p.

Counterexample to (1): someone who knows that p but doesn't believe it.

  • Blind person who says the sky is blue--it's true and they have justification, but they don't believe it (because they don't fully have the concept of blueness).  Nevertheless they do know it.
  • Someone has evidence of evolution, and evolution is real, but the person doesn't believe in evolution for religious reasons. Nevertheless they know that evolution occurred.
  • Someone's relative was convicted of a crime. It's true they were convicted and the person has justification for believing it, but they don't believe it, because it's too painful.  Nevertheless, they do know it.
Counterexample to (2): someone who knows that p, where p is not true.
  • Child believes that Santa Claus exists and they're justified in believing it, but it isn't true. Nevertheless, they do know that Santa Claus exists.
Counterexample to (3): someone who knows that p, but lacks justification.
  • Person believes someone is from Missouri based on a fake ID.  They are in fact from Missouri. Despite the lack of justification, they know the person is from Missouri.
  • Person believes the earth is flat.  Despite lack of justification, they could know it.

Are any of these successful counterexamples?

What have we learned through the search for counterexamples?

  • It's very hard to think of any good ones.  In each case, it's questionable that the person really does know that p, despite lacking belief, truth, or justification.  
  • But it might be possible to challenge this definition.  We'll come back to this next week.
  • For now, we'll assume knowledge is justified true belief.  
  • Next question: what can we know?




First Movie, First Quiz

You'll need to see the movie "The Truman Show" by Wednesday.  We'll have our first quiz on it.  If you've already seen it, you should probably watch it again, because you'll need to be aware of details. The movie is available for rent at Amazon and Netflix. It's also on reserve at Fondren library. If you have other ideas about how to get access, feel free to share them by commenting on this post.

Food for thought:
  1. What connection do you see between this meditation and the movie The Truman Show?  How is Truman's problem like or unlike Descartes's?
  2. How does Truman overcome his uncertainty about the world he lives in?  Could Descartes do the same sorts of things?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

First Homework

  1. Read all of the homework rules on the syllabus.  You are required to turn in one homework per week, so HW1 should be submitted on Friday (by everyone).
  2. Get the book, if you don't already have it--it's at the SMU Bookstore.  If they've run out, you can read a scan of the reading assignment at the tab above.
  3. Look at the "homework tips" and "tools" tabs above. 
  4. Write about 100-200 words in response to the homework question, which is on the syllabus (HW1).  
  5. Turn in at the beginning of class on Friday.  A hard copy is preferred, but you can upload to Canvas as well, if you typed.  A hard copy can be long-hand, but please write legibly.  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Your Hub

This is your hub for Introduction to Philosophy (sec. 3).  Come here for announcements, to see the syllabus, for "handouts" and study guides, etc. Sometimes course material and powerpoints may be here as well. Material will accumulate as the semester proceeds. We will use Canvas just for grades, for uploading papers, and the like.