Spring 2011 Philosophy of Human Nature Lecture Notes 2

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February 1, 2011 (7)

-mention contemporary naturalist view of love. Love as pair bonding plus culture. Love of children as expressions of the code.

Small Group Exercise

Taking into consideration our thought experiment from last class (Out of 100 or 1000 people that you are sexually attracted to, how many could you imagine having a successful long term relationship with? -- Assume that you both have similar and good relationship skills, etc.). But then try to move your discussion to connect with the early speech of the symposium. Is there one love or two? Is love a narrow phenomena of relationship or a broader force in nature or beyond nature?

Socrates Questioning of Agathon

Is love love of something?
Love loves that which he/she has need of.
You don't need something you already have.
C: Love is the pursuit of something we have need of.
Does our need of the Good cover all cases of genuine love?
"Desire has a structure of absence."


the epistemological position that the evidence of our sense is the source of certainty of objective knowledge.
Great strength of this position is the inter-subjective certainty of observation.
Problem: What is the relationship between our empirical representation of reality and "mind-independent" reality?
Locke, Berkeley, and Hume, dates, check the Timeline: Timeline for locating Locke, Berkeley and Hume
Problem: Establishing the "inferential structure" to get from sense experience to knowledge. Three possibilities:
  1. Naive Realism
  2. Indirect Realism - primary / secondary qualities (p: e size, shape, molecular texture, and motion S: taste, smell, texture, and felt temperature)
  3. Idealism - Is shape really primary (oval appearances of round objects)? Berkeley: Look carefully. All you see are sensory ideas.
Is the primary / secondary qualities distinction a solution to problem of naive realism? Is it a problem for the indirect realist that perception is no longer the sole source of certainty?
Problem of Induction (basic definition here, more discussion later)


the belief that our knowledge is partly or chiefly constituted by that activity of pure reason.
classical examples: Pythagorean Theorem.
modern examples: Descartes and the developement of analytic algebra (parabola video), probability theory, calculus...
apriori/aposteriori knowledge
necessary/contingent truths
rationalism in theoretical physics: Garrett Lisi video [1]
rationalism in political thought: rights are still thought to be intuited by reason. "What rights is it rational for us to agree to?"