Taught by Mitchell Green
Week 1 (March 4-8): Introduction; aims and guidelines for course; basic concepts; Socrates and the value of the examined life. Lecture 1.1 -- Course Introduction Lecture 1.2 -- Meditative Moment: Bamboo Breathing Lecture 1.3 -- The Nature of Knowledge Lecture 1.4 -- Socrates and the Unexamined Life Lecture 1.5 -- The Big Asymmetry Lecture 2.1 -- Meditative Moment Lecture 2.2 -- The Apology Lecture 2.3 -- The Defense Lecture 2.4 -- Socratic Method Lecture 2.5 -- The Examined Life Lecture 2.6 -- Summary Lecture 3.1 -- Meditative Moment Lecture 3.2 -- Introduction and First Meditation Lecture 3.3 -- First Meditation Part 2: The Nature of Knowledge Lecture 3.4 -- Second Meditation Lecture 3.5 -- What is the Self? Lecture 4.1 -- The Piece of Wax Lecture 4.2 -- Third Meditation Lecture 4.3 -- 4th, 5th and 6th Meditations Week 3 (March 18-22) Gilbert Ryle, the Ghost in the Machine, and category mistakes Lecture Titles in red text currently have incomplete or disorganized notes. Please check back or make your own additions/adjustments. Thanks!
Week 1 (March 4-8): Introduction; aims and guidelines for course; basic concepts; Socrates and the value of the examined life.
Suggested Reading: Plato -- The Apology
Lecture 1.1 -- Course Introduction
○ ○ Two lectures each week, broken into 5-6 segments (roughly 5 - 10 minutes each) followed by an essay question (usually one per week) Discussion Boards - please share thoughts, comments, questions
(“True opinion” is not enough for knowledge) Knowledge requires: 1. fill up lungs with air. or other small free moments throughout the day ■ We will add additional meditative practices over the course of this class Nature of Knowledge ■ Knowledge is a state of the person / the self ■ Knowledge is an achievement (something you must earn) ■ Knowledge has to have some kind of basis or evidence or reason. truth.video quizzes ■ essays ■ discussion boards ■ “meditative moments” ■ “villages” of students (groups of 150 . Plato and Socrates -.Belief v. Ways to actively engage with the course: ■ in. more relaxed and calm and focused ■ Meditative Singing Bowl aids in relaxation and concentration
Lecture 1.The Nature of Knowledge
○ Bamboo Breathing ■ When thoughts and distractions come into your mind. Knowledge Believing something is not enough to know it Even if my belief is correct.3 -. 2. belief. not graded.○ ○
Some lectures will have in-video quizzes to check that you are following the material.Meditative Moment: Bamboo Breathing
○ ○ ○ A way to separate yourself from the momentary stresses and internal conversations (the chatter of consciousness) Awareness of “chatter of ”consciousness allows us to calm. allow them to wash over you ■ Gradually. it doesn’t mean I know it.2 -. it will get easier. but helpful.200 students)
Lecture 1. and you will be able to do it for longer ■ Try it while waiting for coffee to be made. justification/support/account ● ● ●
. then slowly exhale in segments (like the segments of a piece of bamboo) ■ Repeat (2-3 minutes) ■ After a few minutes. focus. concentrate Bamboo Breathing ■ Take a fairly deep breath. 3.
way it feels to the touch.○
The Self ■ Four Characteristics of Self . reason.e. with friends) ■ Plato was a young Athenian follower of Socrates (most of whom were young educated men).Socrates and the Unexamined Life
○ Socrates (Greek Philosopher) ■ Taught Plato ■ Lived about 2300 years ago in Athens ■ Son of a midwife (mother) and a sculptor (father) ■ When he was middle aged. like when they are treated unfairly or verbally attacked. but they will not constantly be angry.the way it smells. who wrote down what he learned from Socrates in texts such as “The Apology.
Lecture 1. it will show itself under certain circumstances. rationale) -.4 -. Affective and Experiential (mind) are intertwined with each other. he regularly discusses the nature of life.this text is Socrates’ response to the charges against him for general troublemaking in Athens ■ Origin of “The Apology:”
.g. irascibility: a person may have this quality. under the surface. way it looks. ○ Show themselves over time. way it tastes
The aspect of Cognitive.general feeling (e.g. not constantly. anxiety) without necessarily having specific identifiable reasons/causes ● Experiential Aspect (mind) ○ Sensations (External or Internal) ■ e. wrong. ● Character Traits (separate from mind-centric aspects) ○ Dispositional Qualities .the mind-centric characteristics interact with each other and are often connected ● The Cognitive Aspect (mind) ○ What you believe ○ What you know ○ Information ○ Memory ● The Affective Aspect (mind) ○ Emotions .” (from Greek apologia: justification. right.there must be an identifiable source or sources ○ Moods . rather. i. lemon . regretfulness) .g. etc.have content (e. but are not always actively present.they are always there.
○ Socrates explains her answer: when he asked questions of others (justice. you are missing something valuable and important
Lecture 1. Meletus (one of the primary accusers) requests death penalty.I wouldn’t ask someone else what I think about a topic. His defense: ○ The Oracle (priestess at Delphi) supposedly always tells the truth ○ Chaerephon (friend of Socrates and respected Athenian) asked if any man was wiser than Socrates. I would ask myself
. virtue. but that without it.” ○ He doesn’t want to live in Athens but be forced to stop asking questions.what my views are -. believing in false gods.or at least that I am experiencing pain ■ I know [in a fairly immediate way] that I am hungry / irritated / hopeful ■ I know [in a fairly immediate way] what is in my mind in the cognitive component -. etc.) they claimed to know the answers. I know I am experiencing pain coming from my ankle . while others believed that they had knowledge when in fact they were ignorant ○ Point: it is wiser to seek knowledge and be aware of one’s own ignorance than to claim knowledge without substantial base for those beliefs ○ Self-Knowledge can be present even in ignorance.at least for some aspects of the Self ■ If there is some damage to my ankle.poisoning by hemlock ○ Socrates’ response: “The Unexamined Life is not worth living.. not to be lived.e. searching for truth ■ Article “The Examined Life” by Richard Kraut (philosophy professor at Northwestern University): proper interpretation of this quote is: “. not that it would be better to die than to live without self-examination.The Big Asymmetry
○ Self-knowledge brings about a kind of Asymmetry (aka privileged access) .” i. truth.” Socrates is found guilty as charged.● ●
● ● ●
Socrates accused of corrupting the youth.5 -.. Oracle said no. juries grant it -. etc. knowledge. but Socrates’ wisdom was in his awareness of his ignorance. if one is aware of that ignorance Juries consisted of 501 jurors (landholding Athenians) Despite his “Apology.
■ Psychologists have been arguing (with some good strong evidence) that people are not very good judges of their own characters -. but might also be things that are manifest in your behavior/ dispositions to behavior that others may be able to perceive as well. and vice versa.
. Post-Lecture Exercise: Make a list of what you take to be the most important aspects of your character. you may be wrong about the actual outcome.but in some examples it is quite strong ■ Lemon example: ● When you bite into a lemon.many are worse at judging their own characters than others who know them reasonably well. but you are the best authority on what you think will happen. others may have different views. whatever -. generous. ■ So: emotions and moods may not be as asymmetrical as cognitive states. but no one else can reasonably argue to you that you are incorrect about how it tastes to you.○ ○
There is an Asymmetry between my knowledge of myself and your knowledge of me.e. irascible. Sociopsychology -. such as: being generous. We’ll come back to it later. This Asymmetry is fairly pervasive in Philosophy. it seems that you are the best authority on how it tastes to you (bitter.until you are faced with a situation that requires real bravery and you back down ■ Others may have previously perceived your actions and determined that you don’t have this quality. ■ You may believe yourself to be empathetic. impatient with fools. even before you did. but this is not always true ■ Perhaps you believe yourself to be brave -. Emotions and Moods ■ Someone else might point out that you seem anxious because you are fidgeting. short-tempered. etc. the acidity. Roughly 20 traits. Dispositional traits. sour) ● You may not be the best authority on things such as the calorie content. consider whether you’re being honest with yourself. etc. and you may not have realized it until they pointed it out ■ Moods might be things that you experience. kind. Reflect on it. though some other fields might challenge it. or that you are angry or frustrated with someone based on your behavior toward that person. etc. i.other people may have a very different perception of you.. Character Traits ■ Many would say that you are the best authority on what sorts of character traits you have. Don’t share the list just yet. ■ Election example: ● If someone asks who you think will win American Idol or the next election.
Plato (~428 . poets.anyone could volunteer Accusations against Socrates ■ “makes the worse argument seem the stronger” . primary source for all that we know about Socrates ■ wrote works called “dialogues” which are [somewhat embellished] records of conversations between Socrates and his contemporaries ■ founded The Academy in ~387 b.The Apology
○ Socrates (469 . but rather to “calm waters of consciousness. no writing.c. and therefore the charge that he goes around professing his knowledge is without basis
Lecture 2.399 b.-------
Lecture 2.” quiet the chattering of stream of consciousness. orators.2 -. etc.c.studies nature rather than engaging in business or other proper activities for citizens ■ teaches these strange things to others (corrupting the youth) ● Socrates responds that he does not claim to have any knowledge.) ■ student of Socrates.347 b.3 -.fellow Athenians .) ■ no career. etc.c. artists. just liked to hang out and talk about life and the big questions with young men who followed him ■ lyceum . (which lasted through AD 529) -something like Europe’s first university ■ Unlike Socrates. musicians.distorting truth and fact to confuse people ■ “busies himself studying things in the sky and the earth” . let those thoughts float through
Lecture 2.The Defense
○ The Temple at Delphi
. sports. trade. Plato believed he had many of the answers Trials in Ancient Athens ■ Greece was a democracy ■ 501 jurors .1 -. where Socrates interacted with politicians.Meditative Moment
○ ○ Focus on a part of your body Purpose: not to have a transcendental experience.public space for business.
. it is based on the idea of drawing out knowledge and understanding that already resides within. etc → finds that they have views and beliefs. ● Socrates says he became very unpopular because of these interactions (in which he kept concluding that the people he talked to were not knowledgeable) → couldn’t find work → fell into poverty. Origin of the word “oracle” (a source of information that cannot be in error). the proper way to run a state. No false preconceptions. This was a hollow knowledge with no basis. whereas others believe themselves to be knowledgeable when in fact they are not. ● Socrates himself was surprised and confused by this answer.e. Pythians inhaled gas from an underground crevice. ● Socrates argues that the young men who follow him do so by choice and simply take his behavior as an example → this may be why he has been accused of “corrupting the youth” but he has not been actively or purposefully “teaching” them. “No one is wiser than Socrates” . but as a result of these skills. knowledge. ● Socrates claimed that he attempted to prove this claim incorrect by talking to: ○ The Politicians -. could be tied as wisest with others).Socrates is impressed with their skill at making pots.Pythian answer given to Chaerephon. ○ The Craftsmen -.Socrates tries to understand their poetry → discovers that the poets themselves have no better understanding of their poetry than anyone else. sculpture. etc. They seemed to have undergone a mystical experience when writing the poetry and later could not articulate their meaning.Socratic Method
○ The essence of Socratic Method is that it is a form of teaching that does not involve imposing factual information onto the student. but not knowledge. but concluded that this was possibly its meaning: I may have the slight advantage of having no illusions of knowledge which I do not in fact possess. believing that they were always correct/ always spoke the truth.4 -.■ ■ ■ ■
People traveled here to ask the priestesses (Pythians) questions.
Lecture 2. ● Does not necessarily mean he is wiser than everyone else (i. painting.Socrates asks them questions about justice. ○ The Poets -.. the Craftsmen believed that they also had knowledge about other aspects of life.
Socrates: Do wicked people harm others and do good people benefit others? Meletus: Yes.○
Socrates and Meletus . Take into account the reasons why Mary is doing what she is doing . one should engage in self-examination. Socrates: Will anybody consciously choose to be harmed? Meletus: No. do I not risk harming myself? This way. Socrates successfully shows the absurdity in Meletus’ accusation. Socrates uses this method to demonstrate that Meletus’ accusation is absurd: Socrates: Who improves the youth of Athens? Meletus: Everybody but you. If we take the latter interpretation to be the correct translation then the claim becomes more plausible.e. they have harmed themselves much more than they have harmed him. Consider Mary in Moldova again: according to a strict interpretation of Socrates claim.The Examined Life
Literal Interpretation: Claim . if you aren’t willing to examine your life then you might as well not have been born. Socrates: But if I deliberately corrupt the youth. Socrates: Do I corrupt the youth deliberately or by accident? Meletus: Definitely.
Lecture 2.presumably her motivation is that she wants to help out her fellow human beings because she cares about them.article “The Examined Life” The Greek word biotos can be interpreted as either “not worth living” or “not to be lived”. Socrates says that he is not afraid of the death sentence and will not beg for mercy. therefore Mary’s life isn’t worth living. of course not. but it is not necessary in order to live a life that could be considered worthwhile. He chooses to stick with his own principles because his life won’t be valuable to him if he is freed but unable to talk to people. deliberately.5 -.By engaging in the following discussion. his life is not worth living. i. If he cannot be examining his life as a ‘gadfly’ in the city.e. Another Interpretation: Professor Richard Kraut of Northwestern . Mary doesn’t do any self-examination as she is too busy helping others. She probably reached that point of view after a certain amount of selfexamination
. He also warns the jurymen who voted against him that in silencing their critic.“The unexamined life is not worth living” i. as this is valuable. Conclusion: Doesn’t seem plausible.
incorporating other’s beliefs and values into our own. Ion avoids the painstaking but valuable work of self-examination by borrowing the words of others.and her behavior is the result of past examination. What are they missing? Kraut uses characters from the Dialogues as examples of people who could do with a bit more self-examination.Rhapsode . Crito asks Socrates not to make a fool of him by not escaping as others will think that Crito could have helped but didn't. Socrates goes on to prove that Euthyphro does not in fact know the nature of right and wrong and makes a fool out of him. Socrates refuses to escape. A person can still live a worthwhile life even if they never engage in self-examination. Socrates asks Euthyphro if he believes that he really knows right from wrong . We are pastiches. iii) Ion . Oscar Wilde .6 -. Kraut’s conclusion: Each of these lives are worth living. they just aren’t as worthwhile as they could be.just not at that moment in her life . Criticisms of Wilde .Socrates would agree that it is impossible to come up with totally original thinking.After Socrates has been accused and sentenced.Summary
○ Some things we can learn by way of general points from The Apology: ■ The nature of the Socratic Method ● Some forms of psychotherapy owe a lot to the Socratic Method . Engaging in this would arguably make their lives more worthwhile: i) Euthyphro . Crito tries to convince Socrates to allow Crito to help him escape from jail.“Most people are other people. Therefore Crito requires some more self-examination.Euthyphro agrees that he has a superior sense of morality.” i. accusing Crito of viewing status and prestige as more important than doing what is right. tells the stories of Homer.thoughts.e. Ion is willing to let his mind be full of someone else’s thoughts. ii) Crito . emotions.don’t try to teach the patient something new but rather get the patient to dredge up from inside himself things that are already there ■ The nature of self-examination ● not about staring at your belly-button and trying to literally look deeper
. they simply will be missing something.Euthyphro tells Socrates he is going to prosecute father for killing one his slaves.● ● ●
● ● ●
She has engaged in some self examination .an epic singer. But there is an important difference between taking something already fully formed (using other people’s ideas without modification) and taking that basic material . and so doesn’t develop his own faculties.
Lecture 2. we borrow many ideas from other people.and changing and cultivating them to make them your own. points of view.
■ Keep your back straight but your shoulders relaxed.1650) ■ French philosopher. ■ Now repeat that word (silently) to yourself over and over again while taking deep.Introduction and First Meditation
○ ○ Early Modern Period in Western Philosophy ■ Marked by a move towards Rationalism René Descartes (1596 . ■ Do not choose a word with strong emotional associations. the mind-body problem.2 -.you can find out what you think by looking at how you respond to other people’s thoughts. questions.any word -.Meditative Moment
○ Choose a word -. challenges.to concentrate on.1 -. and introspection
Suggested reading: Descartes. scientist and mathematician ■ Invented Analytic Geometry -.4 minutes. get comfortable. but about actively engaging and interacting with others The difference between the Self and the Body ● Socrates believed that it was possible that some part of himself would survive even after his body was destroyed by the hemlock poison ● What is the relationship between the Self (part of which.
Effective self-examination comes from discourse with others -. replies. ■ Some other thoughts will come in -.Cartesian Coordinate Systems ■ Also interested in Optics and Meteorology ■ Commonly credited with initiating the Modern Era of Philosophy
. say goodbye to them. Meditations on First Philosophy
Lecture 3. and continue repeating that word to yourself. ● Socrates’ self-examination was not about meditation on a mountain. or perhaps the entirety of which is the mind) and the body that we inhabit? ● This Dualistic view (that the self/mind is a non-physical thing) will resurface later with Rene Descartes and will be revisited over the coming weeks. etc.
Notes on Plato’s “The Apology”
Week 2 (March 11-15): Descartes. ■ Continue for 3 . calm breaths. ■ Sit down. close your eyes if you prefer.greet them. feet planted.
○ This can be proven/established as genuine through reason ● To prove that the Mind is a distinct kind of substance from the Body ○ The Mind should be free from prejudices/ withdrawn from association with the senses ○ Contrary to common sense. information we receive from our senses can be very misleading ○ We must be wary of what we determine about reality through sensory input ● To debunk Empiricism -. omnipotence. right and wrong. just as you need sensation in order to think. or argue that there is a black hole. you have always ended up with 4 things. but would say: sensation is to knowledge as food is to knowledge -.the belief that all human knowledge comes from the senses only & that any claim of knowledge must be backed up by a sensory experiential explanation ○ If you argue it is raining. ○ Rationalists would not deny that we get any information from sensation. René Descartes’ personal journey (all of this is in the first paragraph of Meditations) ■ Had a good and proper education in his youth.you need food in order to know anything. how can you prove with only sensory knowledge that torturing for fun is wrong. mathematics. omniscience. omni-benevolence. i. or even that 2+2=4 (though every time you put 2 things together with 2 more things. Empiricism is faulty and must be tossed away in favor of Rationalism: The proper use of our reasoning can give us all information we need about nature. courage.■
Wary of Galileo’s fate in Italy (probably suppressed some of his publications to avoid bringing the wrath of the Church)
■ Meditations on First Philosophy ■ Descartes’ manifesto for his new method of conducting inquiry ■ Aims of Meditations: ● To use reason to establish Theism (prove that God exists) ○ God possesses all possible perfections. but it’s only a source and can be a misleading one. intellectual power to try to answer the questions satisfactorily
.e. etc. to metabolize. and then became interested in the philosophical questions ● Didn’t feel that he had the energy. ○ However. this is not PROOF that it will be true in every case) ○ Therefore. etc. omnipresence. you can present sensory evidence to back up your claim.
gambling. things that seemed obviously true at the time.the idea that the sun revolved around the Earth.” ● He resolves to apply himself to the “general demolition of his opinions. to do his best to reconsider with a new skepticism as many of his beliefs as possible. All sensory evidence seemed to confirm this.First Meditation Part 2: The Nature of Knowledge
○ ○ ○ ○ try to raze to the ground all of his beliefs for opinions he thinks are probably true. extent.e. you wouldn’t automatically trust them in the future -same goes for senses Descartes considers possible objections throughout his argument Even though the senses do sometimes deceive us. I am wearing this dressing gown. until Copernicus blasted that theory apart) ● This led to the inevitable question: how many things that I take to be obviously true now could be proven categorically false in the future? How can I trust the things I think I know? → “Several years now have passed since I first realized how numerous were the false opinions that in my youth I had taken to be true. next to the fire. holding a piece of paper) unless you are crazy convinces me that I am asleep
. mark of prudence never to place our complete trust in those who have deceived us even once (i. were now obviously untrue (i. how doubtful were all those that had subsequently built upon them. source of his knowledge ● Realized that many of the things he was sure of in his youth. be skeptical of those as well suffice for the rejection of opinions even if he finds some reason to doubt I got most of my “most true” admissions through the senses -.e. before finally returning home. etc.and since senses are deceptive sometimes. optical illusions like mirages. Ptolemaic system of Astronomy -.
Lecture 3.” → that is.e.) if someone has lied to you. dueling. so it felt obvious. which stayed still. And thus. especially that which seems obvious.■
Spent time traveling around the world.3 -. ● Overall. through the critical lens of reason. Descartes was concerned with reexamining all knowledge. there are other times when you cannot doubt (i. etc. Went and lived in a little shack in the forest to ponder the philosophical questions ● Removed himself from human interaction ● Removed himself from sensory input as much as possible ● Meditated on the nature.
○ ○ ○
○ ○ ○
Let’s assume that we are dreaming. skeptical hypothesis and now will try to figure out if there is any way out I don’t know how to rule out this possibility. science. I can feel all of these realities too realistically -. I suppose I must remember that I have been deceived every bit as well as this in the past Following this series of thoughts is making me dizzy . Maybe we are not doing all of these things that we believe through our senses. they have to create them from elements that are already real.if we can prove that there is a reality outside of us.steals your brain and stimulates it with digital information that gives you the mental experience of going through your daily routine.
Lecture 3. depressing.he hasn’t proven it. etc. quantity. place in space. so that you believe everything is normal and have no idea that your body is elsewhere and you are essentially a puppet Descartes concludes that he has brought forward a radical. have uncertainties Absolutes: arithmetic and geometry (if we can work out doubts) Even so: he BELIEVES that there is a God -.. These “primary elements” -. he could be deceiving me into believing all of these things about perception and reality ■ But that would be contrary to God’s good nature ■ But what if it’s not a good God but an evil genius? (lays snares for my credulity in my dreams) -.come from something outside of ourselves too Even when painters paint fantastic creatures. So how can we know any of these things for sure? It seems absurd. hence the density of Descartes’ Meditations -..Second Meditation
○ Two of the Biggest Questions in Philosophy ■ What do you mean? and How do you know? ■ Philosophers try to be very clear and precise to avoid ambiguity.. but sees it as possible ■ If there is a God. etc.the painting-like images of dreams -. shape. eyes. legs..this dizziness nearly This class of things appears to include: bodies.but I know I am not asleep.they don’t come out of nowhere But in dreams.the people believe they are living normal lives but they are actually in pods providing energy for the evil omnipotent computer system Evil grad student example -.but then again. present.. size. -. * -.cannot rule out the dismal possibility Matrix example -.we must read and consider carefully in order to properly respect his efforts
. it might be made of these things Perhaps medicine. you may believe all of these things when they are not true ... ears.4 -. but I can’t logically prove that these crazy things are not in fact the truth of the situation.
movement and place and all chimeras. ■ I will set aside any belief that can be weakened even slightly by the previous arguments... he cannot succeed because as long as I think.. ■ But perhaps this great supreme and powerful deceiver is actually attempting to deceive me into thinking that I don’t exist.. minds. so how do I know they would come from God? ■ But I have already denied that I have any senses in any body. not even exist? ■ BUT doubtless I do exist if I persuaded myself of something. → Body. not real. extension.What is the Self?
○ I do not yet understand sufficiently what I am. but maybe I am the actual author of these thoughts. → Do I. I must have existed in order to do this self-persuading. Am I so tied to a body and to the senses that I cannot exist without them? → If I doubt them. ■ So let’s suppose (he says) that everything I think is untrue. no matter how much one may doubt. earth. → If I persuaded myself of something. ■ I am thinking.
. it must be established that this pronouncement -.. This would be an error in that very item of knowledge which I claim is the most certain and evident of all.
Lecture 3. doing that doubting. that is. ■ Conclusion: After everything has been most carefully weighed. at least no senses that tell me about anything in the world. ■ I have no senses whatever.no sky. shape. or bodies. or at least that it’s subject to serious doubt. too. This is the ONE certainty he can count on. this is doubting that.I must be careful to make sure I do not unwittingly mistake something else for myself / confuse things that are not me with things that are me. ■ I believe that none of what my deceitful memory represents ever existed. I am something. What then will be true? → Perhaps the only truth is that nothing is certain. -.I am. about which there can be no doubt? Maybe there is a God (or whatever one might call him) who instills these very thoughts in me. one can be sure that there is a self. therefore I exist (latin Cogito ergo sum). so that all that remains is certain and unshaken. are all phantoms. I exist. but no matter what he tries.○
Descartes attempts in the Second Meditation to claw his way out of the deep ditch of scepticism that he has dug himself into. ■ I definitely exist (as evidenced by the fact that I think) ■ But what is this Self that exists? -. ■ That is.is necessarily true every time that I utter it or conceive it in my mind..5 -. must I doubt my own existence? ■ But I have persuaded myself that there is nothing in the world -. ■ But how do I know that there isn’t something above all of these things.
■ I am. but I can be certain that it seems to me that I am holding an orange in my hand. ■ Not only can I introspect and be certain that there is a Self here.the idea of a body is something I can imagine myself existing without. but I can notice things inside my mind and be sure that. ● This point (the thinking thing) is widely contested by many philosophers.. (This is a Second-Order Thought) ● In the case of sensation and imagination. affirming.that what is essential to my being. understanding. The Senses ■ Surely sensing does not take place without a body ■ I seem to have sensed in my dreams things which I later realized I did not in fact sense Thought ■ Thought exists -. is that I am a thinking thing. neuroscientists. I am a thinking thing. ● I cannot prove that the orange I am holding is a real thing in the world outside of my mind.○
What did I previously believe myself to be? ■ I believed I was a man. -. ■ What is a man? A sort of rational animal. etc. denying. willing. psychologists. but how to define the terms rational and animal? I am not sure that I am necessarily bound up with my body -. ■ Therefore. ● Even if what I think is not true. I can be sure that these things are going on inside of me. a mind / an intellect / understanding / reason ■ This is a crucial part of Rationalism -.they believe Descartes puts intellect on a pedestal it does not deserve / places humanity above animals unfairly. the self that I am.Includes such activities as doubting. I can be sure that it is true that that is what I think. I exist. (Latin term: Res Cogitans). That is certain. in some sense. Descartes wants to suggest that anyone could try the same thought experiment and come to the conclusion that you are essentially a thinking thing as well. refusing. but I can be certain that it seems to me that there is water on the road.I don’t know whether those two lines between the arrows are the same length or not. ● The Muller-Lyer Illusion . ■ What is thinking? .it alone cannot be separated from me. ● I cannot be certain (as in a desert mirage) that there is water on the road. those things are real.. even if they don’t necessarily correspond to any actual truth outside myself. imagination. but I can be certain that it seems to me that one is longer than the other. That is. and sensing.
● So: What remains when we have removed every quality that does not belong to the wax essentially? -. ○ Primary Qualities . It continued to exist while those characteristics did not persist.Certainly none of the aspects which are reached by means of the senses.the wax remains. distinct from our minds. it becomes liquid and hot. no longer easy to touch. ■ This solid piece of wax has been taken recently from the honeycomb. shape and size are manifest. all of those aspects (in bold above) are now changed. ■ It still retains some flowery scents. the size increases. ■ It still retains the honey flavor. ● Therefore. the shape changes. the color changes.. ■ It is easy to touch. those things cannot be characteristics of the wax itself. ■ So: Does the same wax remain? ● Yes. ■ If you hit it with your knuckle. ■ But -.The Piece of Wax
○ ○ ○ If there do exist any objects external to my mind (a big if which has yet to be proven).as it is brought close to the fire. ■ It is hard and cold. And yet -. what was it in the wax which was so distinctly grasped? . ■ Its color. the flavor and scent are disappearing. I can tell you what they would be like. This can’t be denied.. ● Since I was able to be aware of the same piece of wax through all of these changes. do not depend upon aspects of perception ○ Secondary Qualities
. ● Therefore.qualities which are essential. it must not have been by means of those manifest properties (determined by senses) that I initially ascribed to it. something other than those sensory qualities must have allowed me to track the wax through time.Lecture 4. in the world.1 -. Let’s consider the things which are commonly believed to be the most distinctly grasped of all. because the wax itself stayed. flexible and mutable. namely: the bodies which we touch and see.only that it is something extended. as I was able to track it through those changes. ● But then. ■ Everything is present in it that appears needed to enable a body to be known as distinctly as possible. no longer makes sound when you hit it. it makes a sound. Let’s begin by considering one body in particular: this piece of wax.
triangular. extension. fragrance. and category mistakes
Suggested reading: Selections from Ryle. I do not grasp it through my imagination.
Lecture 4.3 -. perhaps to vapor eventually. i. 5th and 6th Meditations
Notes on Descartes’ “Meditations on First Philosophy”
Week 3 (March 18-22) Gilbert Ryle.? ● No.location in space and time. Therefore. taste. → I would not judge correctly what the wax is if I didn’t concede that it takes on even greater variety of dimensions than I could grasp through imagination. etc.. it is through the primary qualities -.○
What is it to be flexible and mutable? Is it what my imagination shows? i. Therefore. because I grasp that it is capable of innumerable such changes. that it is one of a certain number of pieces of wax ■ The world itself. I perceive it from the mind alone. it can change from square to round. color.. etc. does not have any of the things that our senses give us.Third Meditation Lecture 4. quantifiable terms. Lecture 4.my sensory experience with the wax gives me something. ● Is its extension also unknown? It becomes greater in melting wax.4th. Descartes’ Physics ■ If I grasp the wax properly. but like food gives me energy -. this insight is not achieved by imagination.1 --
.it is not a justification for knowledge. Lecture 3. and so on. the Ghost in the Machine. -.it only has these objects in purely mathematical. The Concept of Mind. greater still in boiling wax.e.e. Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. Important Plank in Doctrine of Rationalism: What I know about a body (the wax) is something I know through intellect rather than imagination (imagination is related to sensation) -. independent of our minds.2 -.1 -Notes on Ryle’s “The Concept of Mind”
Week 4 (March 25-29) Psychoanalysis and the Unconscious Suggested reading: Freud.
1 -Notes on Wilson.1 -Notes on Herrigel’s “Zen in the Art of Archery”
Week 9 (April 29-May 3) Indian Buddhism and the self Suggested reading: Siderits.1 --
. Zen in the Art of Archery Lecture 8. archery.1 -Notes on Damasio’s “Descartes’ Error”
Week 7 (April 15-19) Self-deception Suggested reading: Mele. Buddhism as Philosophy Lecture 9. Bar-Anan.1 -Notes on Siderits’ “Buddhism as Philosophy”
Week 10 (May 6-10) Self-knowledge and self-transformation Suggested reading: to be announced Lecture 10. and koans Suggested reading: Herrigel.1 -Notes on Mele’s “Self-Deception Unmasked”
Week 8 (April 22-26) Zen Buddhism. Strangers to Ourselves (Harvard) & Wilson and Bar-Anan ‘The Unseen Mind’ & Wilson and Gilbert ‘Affective Forecasting: Knowing What To Want’ Lecture 5. Descartes’ Error (Putnam) Lecture 6. and Gilbert Readings
Week 6 (April 8-12) Neuroscience. Self-Deception Unmasked (Princeton) Lecture 7.Notes on Freud’s “Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis”
Week 5 (April 1-5) Recent work on the unconscious: the “adaptive unconscious” Suggested reading: Wilson. emotions and somatic markers Suggested reading: Damasio.
Notes on Suggested Reading