Philosophy Core Topic Outline Revision Sheet

Philosophical Issue Self Competing theories/arguments Endures (Reid); as consciousness (Locke). As an entity (Descartes); as bundle of perceptions (Hume); as a linguistic convenience (Wittgenstein);s a point of view (Kant +); in Hindu philosophies. Self is atomistic (Descartes); self is a product of society (Hegel). Are separate (substance/property dualism). Are not (physicalism, behaviourism). Wrong question (functionalism). Qualia are irreducible to body (dualism); reducible (physicalism, behaviourism); important (functionalism, phenomenology and existentialism). Self-consciousness (see ‘Knowledge of minds’); language (see ‘animals’, ‘artificial minds’) note Wittgenstein’s approach – as a source of errors addressed by philosophy; agency (humans are moral beings); dreams; imagination; passion, reason, emotion. [Most of this is either diffuse or better covered in the other topic outlines.] Present and God-given (theistic); present but develops out of our evolution in the world (naturalistic); no such thing (existentialist). Also, our nature is to reason (Plato and Kant); is to be egoistic (Hobbes); is to be empathetic (Rousseau). Possible given type/token identity model of mind. Impossible given lack of understanding of meaning (Chinese Room); or being embodied (link with qualia). Animals have no: reason; language; morality (see Augustine, Descartes, Kant). This is speciesist (Singer, Regan). Not when considering natural groups (Midgley). Lacking self-consciousness animals are of small importance (existentialism). Western religious tradition places man at centre of world’s purpose, with animals subordinate to his needs. Central to philosophy (existentialism). Not so important where shared characteristics are seen as key (naturalism). Kant’s place for reason distinguishing the human condition. Existentialist emphasis on human conscious freedom as distinct from instinct. Western religious hierarchical tradition with man at centre of world. I know my own mind with certainty (Cartesian). Empty claim (Sartrean existentialism). False (Wittgenstein). I cannot know other minds exist (solipsism) with such certainty (Cartesian). Yes you can (existentialism). You can’t not know (Wittgenstein). Determinism (as part of physical world – naturalism) irrelevant for conscious minds (existentialism); a necessary illusion ethically; ungrounded. Freedom is identified with self-consciousness (existentialism) and non-determined. Freedom arises like an emergent property – a metaphysical ‘add-on’ due to arrangement of physical building blocks. Central to living authentically (existentialism); imposed by social values and conventions (naturalism); reasonable (Kant); given by supernatural authority (faith-based). No such thing (nihilism/existentialism). Culturally produced/invented (social naturalism). Inherent in human condition (biological naturalism and Aristotle’s virtue). Absolute (faith-based, Kant). Competitive (existentialism). Part cooperative, part individualistic (naturalism). Consider existence, biological and social necessities, gender, social conditioning. Aristotle’s view of society as the reflection/location of man’s natural capabilities to flourish. Uniquely human due to aesthetic sense – as a gift from God (theistic); as a product of our nature to explore the world (including the mental world) (naturalistic and existential); as a means of revealing the truth (Schopenhauer, Nietzsche).



Human Nature Artificial minds/persons Animal/Human

Human uniqueness

Knowledge of minds Freedom/ determinism

Responsibility Values Social/ Individual Creativity

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