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PSY 6707
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Introduction to Philosophy

The Enlightenment

The Enlightenment
Renaissance Rediscovery of Ancient Greek

The Enlightenment
Protestant Reformation
Opposition to Church
Corruption and Abuse of
Rise of Religious

The Enlightenment
Scientific Revolution
Copernican Revolution
Bacon's Scientific Method
Newton's Natural Laws
Advances in technology
and medicine

The Enlightenment
Enlightenment Themes
Superiority of Reason
Superiority of Scientific Knowledge
Questioning Authority
Opposition to Abuses
Religious Tolerance
Freedom, Equality and Liberty
Individualism - Individual Rights and Freedom

The Enlightenment
Appeal to Reason as the most accurate source of
Sensory Perception cannot be trusted
Truth is established through the intellect by means
of deductive reasoning
Reason is established as the primary source of
There is no rational reason why reason should be
considered a valid form of knowledge

The Enlightenment
Intuition is a valid form of rational insight.
Intuition is knowledge that is immediate to us. It
doesn't require reasoning or sensory experience.

A Priori knowledge Knowledge gained without

the use sensory experience.
Innate Knowledge Knowledge that we are born
with. This knowledge is not learned by deductive
reasoning, sensory experience or intuition. It is
knowledge that is part of our nature as humans.

The Enlightenment
Ren Descartes (15961650)
Believed that knowledge
eternal truth could only be
attained by reason alone
Eternal Truths include:
Philosophical foundations
of science
Other areas of knowledge
such as physics require sensory
experience aided by the
scientific method

The Enlightenment
Ren Descartes (15961650)
Set out to answer 2 questions:
(1) What can I know?
(2) How can I know it?
As a rationalist, Descartes set
out to answer these questions
by means of reason alone.

The Enlightenment
Ren Descartes (15961650)
Doubt (Skepticism)
Sensory experience can
sometimes be deceptive.
Therefore, it must be doubted.
Consciousness can also be
an illusion. When we dream we
believe that we are conscious.
Since sensory experience
and consciousness are open to
error all beliefs about reality
should be doubted.

The Enlightenment
Ren Descartes (15961650)
Method of Attaining Knowledge
Establish truths which cannot
be gained through sensory
Establish truth which do not
rely on consciousness of the
world outside yourself.
Establish truth though a
deductive process of reasoning.

The Enlightenment
Ren Descartes (15961650)
Cogito Ergo Sum
I can doubt nature because it
relies on sensory experience.
I can doubt the existence of
other people because it relies on
Can I doubt my own
In order to doubt my own
existence, I must first exist.
If I don't exist then I cannot
think about doubting.
I doubt, therefore I think,
therefore I exist.

The Enlightenment
Ren Descartes (15961650)
Cogito Ergo Sum
Problem: Only proves the
existence of your own mind but
not your body or the external
If I exist, then it is possible
that other things exist as well.
Sensory experience is
something I do involuntary I
experience things without trying
to using my reason to sense
things. Therefore, I must be
sensing something.

The Enlightenment
Ren Descartes (15961650)
Cogito Ergo Sum
Problem: Only proves the
existence of your own mind but
not your body or the external
Perhaps an evil spirit is
deceiving my sensory
Descartes employs Anselm's
ontological argument to prove
the existence of a good God
who does not deceive.

The Enlightenment
Ren Descartes (15961650)
Body Physical
works like a machine
has the material properties of
extension and motion
it follows the laws of nature

The Enlightenment
Ren Descartes (15961650)
Mind Non-physical
nonmaterial entity
lacks extension and motion,
does not follow the laws of
only humans have minds
the mind interacts with the
body at the pineal gland
The pineal gland is the seat of
the soul

The Enlightenment
Baruch Spinoza (16321677)

Jewish philosopher from Amsterdam

Spinoza called into question the
tenets of both Judaism and
Believed in God but denied that the
Bible was divinely inspired and
rejected the concept of miracles and
the religious supernatural
Claimed that ethics determined by
rational thought were more
important as a guide to conduct than
was religion

The Enlightenment
Baruch Spinoza (16321677)
Everything that exists in Nature is
one Reality (substance)
There is only one set of rules
governing the whole of the reality
which surrounds us and of which we
are part.
God and Nature as two names for
the same reality
God is the single substance that
is the basis of the universe and of
which all lesser "entities" are actually
modes or modifications.

The Enlightenment
Baruch Spinoza (16321677)
The mind and the body are
aspects of the same reality.
There is no problem in Spinoza's
metaphysics describing how the
mind and body are connected since
the mind and body are essentially
the same thing.

The Enlightenment
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
Influential mathematician
Invented calculus independent
of Isaac Newton.
Separated truth into 2
Synthetic Statements Truths which require
empirical verification
Analytical Statements Truths which do not require
empirical investigation

The Enlightenment
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
Synthetic Statement:
My neighbor next door is a
very tall man with a very
short wife.
In order to prove this
statement, I need to verify it

The Enlightenment
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
Analytical Statement:
My neighbor next door is a
very tall bachelor with a very
short wife.
This statement can be proven
false without the need of
empirical verification
because it is a logical
contradiction (i.e. bachelors
do not have wives)

The Enlightenment
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
Sufficient Reason:
Analytical Statements Can be proved true without
reference to external reality through logic or math
Synthetic Statements Must show the empirical cause
of the statement.

The Enlightenment
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
Attempts to deal with the
problem of evil
God could have created a
number of possible worlds
including a world without evil
The world God chose to create
(which includes evil) is the best
possible world He could have
Optimistic view of the world

The Enlightenment
Knowledge comes only or primarily through
sensory experience
Questions or even rejects the idea of a priori
knowledge or innate knowledge
Sensory perception can be deceived dreams
Sensory perception can be in error

The Enlightenment
John Locke

Father of Liberalism

British empiricist

All people were equal and

independent, and everyone
had a natural right to defend
his Life, health, Liberty, or

The Enlightenment
John Locke

The mind was a blank slate

We are born without innate
Knowledge is instead
determined ONLY by
experience derived from
sense perception
Complete rejection of a
priori or innate knowledge

The Enlightenment
David Hume (17111776)


Suggested that our own senses

are fallible, bringing all
observations and truths into

Very influential to others, such

as Immanuel Kant, and was
instrumental in the shift away
from rationalist thought that
ended the Enlightenment.

The Enlightenment
David Hume (17111776)

Problem of Induction

We believe that we can make

inductive inferences from our

Induction relies on the belief that

the pattern we notice when
observing something are real

There is no way to be certain that

an observed pattern will continue to
occur when unobserved

The Enlightenment
David Hume (17111776)

Cause and Effect

We observe a sequence of events

and attribute cause and effect to
those events simply because one
followed the other.

Yet there is no logical reason for

this assumption.

If one event precedes another it

does not necessarily make it the
Billiards Illustration

The Enlightenment
George Berkeley (1685-1753)

This theory denies the existence

of material substance and
instead contends that familiar
objects like tables and chairs are
only ideas in the minds of
perceivers, and as a result
cannot exist without being

The Enlightenment
George Berkeley (1685-1753)

To be is to be perceived

There is no existence
without perception

Extreme empiricism

The Enlightenment
George Berkeley (1685-1753)
Problem of Immaterialism:

If a tree falls in a forest with

no one to perceive it does it
make a sound?

Does the forest even exist if

no one perceives it?

The Enlightenment
George Berkeley (1685-1753)

God is also capable of


God is always perceiving

the external world.

Therefore, the world doesn't

cease to exist when we sleep
because God continues to
perceive it.