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UT PHL 301 - Skepticism

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PHL 301 1st Edition Lecture 7Outline of Last Lecture II.Plato’s view on knowledgea.Internalismb.ExternalismIII.Plato’s problem with axioms and FoundationalismIV.Responses to the abovea.Classical foundationalismb.Direct realismc.CoherentismOutline of Current LectureII.Academic skepticismIII.Pyrrhonian skepticismIV.Zhuangzia.Objective and subjectiveb.Unity of variabilityc.Problem of criteriond.DreamingV.Philo of Alexandriaa.Illusionb.Argument from comparisonCurrent LectureAcademic skepticism can be described by Socrates’s quotation, “All I know is that I know nothing.” It rests on the skeptic idea that people ultimately cannot have knowledge, yet seems inaccurate because how could one know that he knows nothing, if he really knows nothing? Additionally, the academic skeptic uses the idea that people know nothing to make recommendations as to how people should live their lives, implying that they do have some sortof knowledge. The Pyrrhonian skeptic says “I do not know anything, not even whether or not I know anything,” basically giving the answer “I don’t know” to absolutely everything. This type of skeptic, unlike the Academic skeptic, realizes that he cannot make any claims at all and gives no recommendations. Instead, the Pyrrhonian skeptic argues his point by refuting other thinkers’ points. He views himself as a doctor, trying to cure others from thinking they know something. These notes represent a detailed interpretation of the professor’s lecture. GradeBuddy is best used as a supplement to your own notes, not as a substitute.Zhuangzi, a Daoist philosopher, argues for skepticism in general through four major points. One is that the objective and subjective are interdependent. He says that there is no wayto separate these. For example, 1+1=2 may seem objective, but it really is just a subjective view of the way people designed mathematics. A second point he makes is about the unity of variability, which is that things are perceived differently by different beings at different times. For example, a person might look at the sky during the day and say it is light blue, while anotheron the other side of the world sees the sky as dark blue or black, even though it is the same sky. This leads to the third point: criterion problems. For all of humanity to decide on the idea that the sky is blue, they would first have to define what blue is. Whose criteria for blue would be considered “right?” There is no neutral judge of this, as everyone has his or her own perspective. The fourth point that Zhuangzi asserts is about dreaming. In his waking hours, he recalls a dream in which he was a butterfly, and wonders whether he is a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or if he is currently a butterfly who is dreaming of being a man.” This brings upthe point that we do not know what is real and what is not at any given time. Philo of Alexandria holds the same viewpoint, that we often misperceive, and there is noway to tell when. Perhaps we misperceive more often than we correctly perceive things. A good example is optical illusions, which commonly cause people to misperceive a geometrical picture that they are shown. Another argument that Philo gives is about comparison. We do not know things, only things relative to other things. So, we cannot distinguish what qualities are really in an object from the qualities that we assign to


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