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COLUMBIASTATE PHIL 1030 - Philosophy Midterm

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Topic OneTopic TwoReferencesPhilosophy MidtermTopic OneThe principle of induction states that events that have followed one another in the past will do the same in the future (Vaughn, 2019). This principle is simply our assumption and expectation that patterns will probably repeat themselves in the future based purely on what we have witnessed through past experiences. For example, we assume that stars will be visible in thesky once the sky darkens. The principle of induction concludes that the sky darkening will probably be followed by stars emerging in the sky because this is the pattern of related events that we continuously experience. Inductive arguments use probability to predict conclusions andjustify knowledge; they are not meant to prove utter certainty (Vaughn, 2019). Using the exampleabove, we can conclude that seeing stars after the sky darkens is presumable, but not sure, because we have seen it repeatedly happen in the past. Still, there may be instances where stars are not visible at night.Hume found induction problematic for epistemology because it does not utilize logical orempirical evidence. He felt that the principle of induction was merely the mind’s force of habit created by the repeated observation of paired events resulting in internal, premature judgments that those events must be causally connected. However, the assumed causal connection could notpossibly be supported strictly through a priori or a posteriori knowledge, making the principle of induction illegitimate. Hume argued that past experience could only give certain information about that specific moment and circumstance in time and uses no logical or empirical evidence toassume potential repetition. The same philosophy applies, according to Hume, regarding enumerative induction because it is based on the number of experiences used to make a generalization. Hume argued that previous experience alone did not hold enough merit to predictor make generalizations regarding future events. He considered the principle of induction, including enumerative induction, as begging the question because it relies on experience, or induction, as its primary proof. This means that the principle of induction would, in essence, be supported by the principle of induction, creating a circular argument which we already learned would negate its validity. (Vaughn, 2019)Topic TwoThe mind-body identity theory describes mind states and brain states as identical (Vaughn, 2019). This theory suggests that when you are depressed, for example, your brain's neurological and chemical processes cause you to feel depressed. If depression is neurological and chemical processes in your brain that cause you to feel depressed, then depression and the neurological and chemical processes that cause it are one and the same. It holds that mental states are equal to physical brain states in the same way that water is equivalent to H20, and tablesalt is equivalent to NaCl. Weaknesses of this theory are explained using conceivability arguments and knowledge arguments (Vaughn, 2019). The conceivability argument says that we have nonphysical minds separate from our physical brains and bodies; we are distinct from our physical bodies, and our mental consciousness is nonphysical (Vaughn, 2019). The knowledge argument states that our brains can be known through observation and examination (Vaughn, 2019). Still, our mental states would have to be experienced internally to be fully understood, proving the definite differences between brain and mind (Vaughn, 2019). Both arguments poke holes in the mind-brain identity theory by accurately describing the differences in the brain and the mind, making it impossible for mental states and brain states to be identical.Nagel refutes the mind-brain identity using a bat and its conscious experience. He states that we can, of course, vigorously study the brain of the bat. We can analyze its brain functionsand its biology. Even still, all the information learned about a bats brain would not allow us to know what it feels like to a bat. We would not be able to accurately sense and understand a bat's conscious experience, because we are not, in fact, a bat. In the same respect, another could not possibly feel or understand our conscious experience even if they held all our physical brains' knowledge because they are not us. This explanation from Nagel makes the case that mental states cannot be the same as physical states, which contradicts the mind-brain identity theory. (Vaughn, 2019)ReferencesVaughn, L. (2019). Philosophy Here and Now (Third Edition). Oxford University Press.


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