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Stanford's Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Discussion in 'Politics Discussion' started by Johann, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. Johann

    Johann Member

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    I am currently reading through Stanford's Encyclopedia of Philosophy and wanted to create a space on AF where fellow members can come and discuss any of the wide-ranging topics presented in the Encyclopedia.

    This thread is centered on understanding and exploring the ideas presented for edification sake and not for "arguing" personal beliefs and convictions.

    With that said, if any of the 1600 articles or myriad of topics interest you, feel free to explore and discuss them here. :)
     
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  2. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

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    I can’t think that profoundly it takes too much energy it was interesting just too tired
     
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  3. Johann

    Johann Member

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    That is understandable Streetwise. Feel free revisit the thread anytime you like and thank you for responding!
     
  4. Johann

    Johann Member

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    Stanford's Encyclopedia of Philosophy categorizes their entries based upon alphabetical order and through chronological order of input. So, I thought it important to begin with an abridged taxonomy of philosophy which will help build some intuition as to which field(s) of philosophy each article or idea might fall under. Here is one provided courtesy of Propianotuner(which I appreciate):

    [​IMG]
     
  5. Nervous Rex

    Nervous Rex High-functioning autistic V.I.P Member

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    Here's an ethics question that just occurred to me as I read the news. Is this the kind of philosophical discussion you're looking for?

    Which is more damaging to the Rule of Law, powerful people getting away with crimes or everyday people?

    I would argue that the rule of law starts to break down first at the highest levels - people in positions of power abusing that power to get away with crimes. People at the lower levels don't have the power to circumvent the system. The corruption will propagate from the top down while the appearance of rule of law persists.

    But...small crime at the lower levels can spread quickly - like looting during power outages, natural disasters, or riots. It seems like there are a lot of people who have no qualms against breaking the law - they just need the opportunity. The only thing that keeps them in check is the police force - overwhelm the police force and the rule of law breaks down.

    I think a breakdown at the higher levels is more damaging because it's harder to put right. When a riot or power outage ends, so does the looting. But ousting one corrupt politician just makes room for another one.
     
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  6. Kalinychta

    Kalinychta Well-Known Member

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    I use SEoP quite a lot. It was really helpful in college philosophy courses. I’ve taken an interest in nihilism recently and am re-reading Nietzsche—the encyclopedia comes in handy for “translations.”

    And I struggled terribly with metaphysics and epistemology in college (I have intellectual PTSD when it comes to Kant—ha!), and The SEoP helped a lot.
     
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  7. Trophonius

    Trophonius Member

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    Likewise, I've used when studying philosophy in college. I think it's great when looking information on a particular topic, but I wouldn't recommend "reading through" it, I'd say a regular book would be a better choice.

    My main interests are philosophy of science and philosophy of mind, but I also have a strong interest on Kant and Wittgenstein philosophical thoughts.

    The concept of Qualia is one I found very interesting. See in particular the classic thought-experiment called Mary's Room, by Jackson in 1982.
     
  8. Johann

    Johann Member

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    Sure, you can talk about specific events if you so desire but, I would also like to talk about the origin or foundation of where the ideas come from. The latter will provide a foundation for the former. For example, SEOP discusses the RULE OF LAW. We could discuss the philosophical concept and then talk about the current event.
     
  9. Johann

    Johann Member

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    That is great. Please continue to participate in this thread. There are probably a few members who have read Nietzsche's work that will add to the discussion.

    I am reading about epistemology now. Please dont tell me I picked a hard subject in philosophy to begin with. 0_0.
     
  10. Johann

    Johann Member

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    Yes, I treat it as an introduction/resource but I also pick up the seminal text on the subject I am learning about. Thanks for the advice.

    Please discuss anything you would like. I will read through the concept and talk with you about it. I am also sure other members will join in. Please continue to contribute to the thread :)
     
  11. Propianotuner

    Propianotuner Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's not a comprehensive study tool but it can be quite useful. As always it's great to draw from a lot of sources. In this instance an encyclopedia is nice to spark conversation on various topics, and unlike many encyclopedias this one in particular meets very exacting academic standards and is interested in being more comprehensive than most.

    A perfect example would be the article on Pythagoras and the time it lavishes on all different perspectives concerning the dispute over what the historical Pythagoras thought.

    Was there anything in particular you wanted to start a short discussion about? I remember you saying that you were very intrigued by the main article on epistemology.

    This kind of question in political philosophy and the related issues you bring up, e.g. corruption, the meaning and practical use of law, has a lot tying it to various discussions in ethics and social philosophy. If you're interested in a little further discussion about that question I'd start by sharing my own perspective that corruption is not only inescapable, it's a fundamental tool necessary to govern simply because of a combination of how human relationships work and how a limited amount of resources is being distributed between people. No one, not even seemingly powerless members of the general populace, is as a rule (yes, of course exceptions exist but they don't dominate group dynamics) going to act in a way that they don't deem to be in their own best interest.
     
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  12. Johann

    Johann Member

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    @Propianotuner Would you please give a short introductory definition to the first 4 major categories of schematic.

    Sure. I have some time today to finish both the Stanford article and read an introductory book on the subject. I will post some thoughts/possible questions tomorrow afternoon.
     
  13. Propianotuner

    Propianotuner Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Well, as in everything to do with philosophy what sets the tone is the questions. The questions asked in the four major branches can easily lead to questions in others so it's a bone of contention how much subjects should be segregated and fields stratified in academia.

    Logic and philosophy of language are there listed as being the same branch because they are considered inseparable, possibly indistinguishable. Philosophy of language asks fundamental questions about what language is and what it can do, and logic is concerned with forms within language. A form within language is a pattern with particular kinds of relations between things in a sentence which don't change regardless of the content of the sentence.

    Ontology is the study of being/thingness. It asks what it means for anything to exist at all and is often heavily misunderstood because people find it nearly impossible to come at it on its own terms instead of critiquing any ideas they see in ontology using terms, definitions, and concepts that are outside of it. Metaphysics is the most general study possible of reality and if something is said to be real in some context then metaphysics is concerned with it. If there's something really out there in reality that has to do with "bad or good" in ethics then metaphysics has questions to ask. Science? It's within metaphysics.

    Epistemology is the study of knowledge. What is knowledge? What is the source or sources of knowledge? Does knowledge exist? Methodology is the arm of epistemology that concerns itself with applying ideas in epistemology to answering questions in metaphysics/ontology, logic/language, ethics, and everything else done within that framework like political philosophy, philosophy of science, or the fields stratified outside of philosophy.

    Methodology is the clearest cut answer to the question of how fields considered outside of philosophy relate to it and it begs the question of whether any academic endeavor really can be considered not philosophy. Academics complain that they're not doing philosophy because they're not so circumspect about their methods and open to questioning literally everything, but this is hard to square with the fact that often the first complaint about, for example, some theory in science, is that it wasn't open enough to circumspection and not only other emerging observations but ongoing refinements to methodology.

    Ethics asks how people should live. What is the good life? What is best for everyone? Does it matter what's best for a few or what's best for the many? Do people matter? What makes anyone matter? How can a person be happy, and is that important or not?

    Each of the four main branches bleed into each other heavily as soon as you wade in and start to dig at the questions in them. E.g. how can we know anything when trying to answer ethical questions if we aren't concerned with epistemology or metaphysics?
     
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  14. Johann

    Johann Member

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    Clear and concise. Thank you so much Pro!
     
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  15. Johann

    Johann Member

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    Unfortunately, I ran into some tasks that took precedent and pushed back my exploration of epistemology. However, I want to begin by fleshing out Stanford’s article on Epistemology. The article consists of six categories:

    1. What is Knowledge?
    2. What is Justification?
    3. The Structure of Knowledge and Justification
    4. Sources of Knowledge and Justification
    5. The Limits of Knowledge and Justification
    6. Additional Issues

    Section 1: What is Knowledge?
    The first section provides an initial definition of knowledge. Knowledge is justified, true, belief. That is, for one to say they have knowledge, their proposition( in logic a proposition is a statement that can be verified as true or false) must be true, they must believe it to be true, and they must have justification(the proper reasons or evidence) that it is true.

    This definition is soon after challenged by a theory called “the Gettier” problem but a definition of knowledge is at least presented here.

    Section 2: What is Justification?
    Many philosophers believe a proposition must be true and that one must believe a proposition to be true for a proposition to be considered knowledge, but the biggest contention with the definition is the concept of justification. Stanford’s Encyclopedia of Philosophy(SEOP) devotes section 2 to this very concept.

    Section 2 first provides two possible definition of justification(deontologolical and non-deontological) and then spends the rest of the section answering: “what makes propositions or more technically “beliefs” justified?

    There are two main schools of thought that answer this question: evidentialism and reliabilism. A smaller debate in section 2 is between whether justification is internal or external. Justification that is internal is associated with the evidentialism and external justification with reliabilism. Section 2 finishes with reasons for why reliabilism should be considered and also why evidentialism should be considered.


    Section 3: The Structure of Knowledge and Justification

    Section 3 begins with this argument:

    Premise 1: The debate over the structure of knowledge and justification is primarily one among those who hold that knowledge requires justification
    Premise 2: From this point of view, the structure of knowledge derives from the structure of justification.
    Conclusion: We will, therefore, focus on the structure of justification.

    So, section three is about how the structure of justification and knowledge. There are two main schools of thought concerning the aforementioned area: Foundationalism and Coherentism.

    Section 3 ends with reasons as to why one should believe foundationalism and another set of reasons why one should believe coherentism.

    Section 4: Sources of Knowledge and Justification

    What are the sources of knowledge and justification? For true beliefs to count as knowledge, it is necessary that they originate in sources we have good reason to consider reliable. These are perception, introspection, memory, reason, and testimony. This section considers each.

    Section 5: The Limits of Knowledge and Justification

    Section 5 questions everything that 1-4 proposed through skepticism. I haven't finished reading this section, but will shortly.

    Section 6: Additional Issues

    Additional issues seem to provide an overview of different views of epistemology within various contexts: Virtue Epistemology, Naturalistic Epistemology, Religious Epistemology, Moral Epistemology, Social Epistemology, and Feminist Epistemology.
     
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  16. Propianotuner

    Propianotuner Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It's important to mention that this standard definition is being presented as TK, Traditional Knowledge, and there are various other ideas about knowledge understood as NTK, Non-Traditional Knowledge. TK, or rather the idea that knowledge is the same as having a justified true belief, is not only the dominant model for thought about what knowledge is (as nuanced as things can get from there), but other ideas about knowledge are understood as NTK precisely because they almost always are discussed with reference to TK and contrasted with it.

    Another important thing to notice at this juncture is that many forms of NTK not only challenge TK but challenge the very idea of knowledge being possible and/or knowledge being an idea that makes sense. Pyrrhonian and Cartesian Skepticism would be some examples of challenges to both the possibility (can knowledge be had) and sensibility (is the concept of knowledge a valid concept) of knowledge.

    How do you understand deontological and non-deontological justification? Evidentialism and reliabilism? Internal vs external? Which was most convincing for you? Where in this area of epistemology would you possibly enjoy some further reading?

    Okay, what do you think then? Is Coherentism begging the question, a tautological, self referential system of thought? Is Foundationalism grasping for something that isn't there, inasmuch as it seeks to start from incontrovertible grounds?

    How do you understand perception, introspection, memory, reason, and testimony in light of the main debate over a priori vs a posteriori reasoning?
     
  17. Propianotuner

    Propianotuner Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    That's a shame, lol. Not to sour the water with impartiality that isn't fit for exploring these ideas and enjoying them on their own terms, but it's worth mentioning that I'm a skeptic myself, most notably a Cartesian skeptic but the contours of my own skeptical thought extend well outside of Cartesian doubt alone (Cartesian doubt is the idea that hyperbolic doubts have to be entertained because they are within the realm of possibility).

    What motivates you to get into epistemology? Which of these other areas interested you the most at first glance?
     
  18. Johann

    Johann Member

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    1. What is Knowledge?

    1.1 Knowledge as Justified True Belief

    There are various kinds of knowledge but when the term “Knowledge” is used throughout SEOP, it is referring to knowledge that can be derived from propositions. An easier way to think of propositions is a sentence that has a truth value(the sentence can be verified as being true or false). This idea can be translated as:

    S knows P

    S= a person who is claiming to know something
    P= the proposition that the person claims to know

    Question: What does it take for someone to properly “know” something. What are the necessary and sufficient conditions for S to know that p?

    There are two approaches to answering the question: TK(Traditional approach) and NTK(Non-traditional approach) to knowledge.

    The traditional approach says that knowledge can be defined as “Justified True Belief or JTB”. That is, for a proposition to be considered knowledge, the proposition must be true, you must believe it to be true, and you must be justified in believing it to be true.

    Here is the logic that brings forth these conclusions:

    Premise 1: False propositions cannot be known.
    Inferential Conclusion 1: Therefore, knowledge requires truth.

    Premise 2: A proposition S doesn't even believe can't be a proposition that S knows.
    Inferential Conclusion 2: Therefore, knowledge requires belief.

    Premise 3: Finally, S's being correct in believing that p might merely be a matter of luck.
    Inferential Conclusion 3: Therefore, knowledge requires a third element, traditionally identified as justification.

    This can be summed up in the following equation:
    JTB: S knows that p if and only if p is true and S is justified in believing that p.

    Traditional approach to knowledge(TK) = Justified True Belief (JTB) = S knows that p if and only if p is true and S is justified in believing that p. Not to make this confusing but technically NTK and TK both =JTB but they differ on how J is evaluated and determined.

    To compare and contrast TK and NTK the concept of justification must be examined. TK and NTK are identical in that they both support T and B in the JTB approach to knowledge, and they agree that justification is a necessary element in defining knowledge, but they differ when it comes to defining the necessary criteria by which a proposition is justified.

    TK and NTK’s differences simply deal with determining the proper reasons for believing a proposition( justification).

    TK justification = evidentialism, what makes a belief justified in this sense is the possession of evidence= belief is justified to the degree it fits S's evidence.

    NTK justification = reliabilism, = S's belief has a high objective probability of truth and therefore, if true, is not true merely because of luck. One idea in reliabilism is a belief is justified if, and only if, a belief originates in reliable cognitive processes or faculties.

    This is a semi-complicated idea to understand and explain but I will attempt to tackle it in the next post and reply to this shortly:

    "How do you understand deontological and non-deontological justification? Evidentialism and reliabilism? Internal vs external? Which was most convincing for you? Where in this area of epistemology would you possibly enjoy some further reading?"
     
  19. Johann

    Johann Member

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    I think I am having difficulty understanding what is meant in this section.

    Well, I didnt know what deontology was...so: Deontology is the normative ethical theory that the morality of an action should be based on whether that action itself is right or wrong under a series of rules, rather than based on the consequences of the action.

    Definition 1: S is justified in believing that p if and only if S believes that p while it is not the case that S is obliged to refrain from believing that p. This is a deontological view of justification.

    Question: What kind of obligations are relevant when we wish to assess whether a belief, rather than an action, is justified or unjustified?
    Answer: The pursuit of truth.
    Question: How do we pursue truth?

    Evidentialist Answer 1: we ought to believe in accord with our evidence.
    Evidentialist Answer 2: Follow the correct epistemic norms

    Arguments Against Deontological Definition of Justification

    Argument 1: DJ presupposes that we can have a sufficiently high degree of control over our beliefs. If our beliefs are automatic, it is to say that one has no conscious control over not believing p which just throws the deontological view of justification out the window. Although some argue otherwise.

    Argument 2: deontological justification does not tend to ‘epistemize’ true beliefs: it does not tend to make them non-accidentally true. This is confusing to me but if someone is cognitively deficient, for example, they can be deontologically justified about a personal belief and the result be true outside their personal reality, but the belief was true only by luck. Basically, they didnt have the ability to have reliable cognitive sources or be able to evaluate their own experiences to derive evidence to begin with despite the results deontoltogical justification. ...not sure about that at all. An example may be a very young child that does not have the intellectual capacity yet to deal with the complexity of reasoning through beliefs to the degree they should be justified. Again..not sure.

    Definition 2: S is justified in believing that p if and only if S believes that p on a basis that properly probabilifies S's belief that p.

    I think this is the solution to dealing with argument number 2. "Probabilifies" seems to mean "increase the likelihood that S's belief in P is from reliable both in sources and experience. Not sure.

    @Propianotuner Pro, could you help me with this before I continue? I think I am okay with most of the rest of section 2.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2019 at 10:17 AM
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  20. Johann

    Johann Member

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    Question: What makes justified beliefs justified? According to evidentialists, it is the possession of evidence.
    Answer: Some evidentialists would say it is to be in a mental state that represents p as being true. In this view, the evidence consists of perceptual, introspective, memorial, and intuitional experiences, and to possess evidence is to have an experience of that kind.

    Question: What makes justified beliefs justified according to reliabilist?
    Answer: According to realiablist, a belief is justified if, and only if, it results from cognitive origin that is reliable: an origin that tends to produce true beliefs and therefore properly probabilifies the belief.
    Reliabilists, then, would agree that the beliefs mentioned in the previous paragraph are justified. But according to a standard form of reliabilism, what makes them justified is not the possession of evidence, but the fact that the types of processes in which they originate — perception, introspection, memory, and rational intuition — are reliable.