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“Course philosophy is brought to nyou by squarespace squarespace share your passion with the world world by the time. We re done today i just might nhave you questioning. Whether apple is real or not think i can t do it gimme nabout ten minutes. I might have you wondering whether i m a physical object or not and the same goes for all of this stuff and your ncomputer and nick behind.
The camera. And you how by unleashing the power of empiricism theme music last time we learned about 17th century philosopher nrene descartes and how he upended the apple basket that was his entire personal belief system nand descended into a radical skepticism only to emerge with his conviction that cogito nergo sum. I think therefore i am this one idea. The fact that he was thinking n.
Or really. The fact that he was doubting allowed him to build back up one by one nmore beliefs. That he thought he could rely on but in the end most of the beliefs that descartes nended up putting back into his intellectual apple basket had to do with the immaterial nworld. Like he decided that he could believe that nhe existed as a thinking thing.
And he believed that god existed ultimately he lit upon the idea that some nof our thoughts are clear and distinct in a way that somehow guarantees their truth. But a lot of philosophers disagreed they nargued that thinking on its own wasn t enough like just because you re thinking doesn t nmean that your thoughts correspond to material reality in any reliable. Way basically descartes philosophical opponents nthought that the cogito was a dead end so here. We start to see a split between two ndifferent understandings of how we can most reliably get to the nature of reality.
And ntherefore truth. Both were responses to the constant questioning that is skepticism on nthe one hand. There was rationalism and on the other empiricism descartes like plato long before him was a lover of reason. He met skepticism with rationalism.
He believed that the most real things in life were ideas propositions that can be known through pure reason. Deductive truths. Which we talked about before nfall into this category. And mathematical truths.
Do too. But by contrast. Empiricism. Is based on the nprinciple that the most reliable source of knowledge isn t our ideas or our reasoning nbut our senses.
Sure we can know things through deduction nand basic logic. But what actually leads us to truth or at nleast gives us our best shot at getting..
There are things like induction and the scientific method ways of thinking that tell us about the material world. Probably. The most famous split among philosophers nbetween these two camps was the life long debate between plato and aristotle plato was convinced that truth resided in nthe immaterial world of ideas. While aristotle s attention was focused firmly on the ground.
But what about in descartes day. If he nwas the original prototype of the navel gazing philosopher. A living example of rationalist nthinking then his foil was was the 17th century english thinker john locke. This is nwhere he was born locke believed that we re all born as a ntabula rasa or a blank slate.
He argued that all knowledge is nobtained through experience he rejected the concept of innate ideas the nview that we re born pre loaded with certain information like what s good versus. What s nbad or what is the nature of god locke. Thought that we are born knowing. Nothing and instead all of our knowledge comes nto us through sense data.
But one place where locke agreed with descartes nwas in the idea that just because your senses. Tell you something that doesn t mean you ncan trust. It after all sometimes your senses. Give you nfalse information.
Like when you think you see or hear something that s just not there descartes response to this of course nwas to just throw out all sense experience as an unreliable source of knowledge. But locke didn t go that far instead in norder to figure out whether the senses accurately reflect the outside world. He introduced a ndistinction between what he called the primary and secondary qualities of all things primary qualities are qualities that physical nobjects themselves have they re not in our minds. Locke argued.
They re actually nin the stuff. These primary qualities include things like solidity. The density weight nand mass of an object and also extension the height depth and width that a certain nthing has he also included figure or the shape of an object as well as mobility. Which nis this whether it s stationary or in motion.
So primary qualities. Locke said belong to nthe thing itself take this apple. It weighs maybe 150 grams. Nis.
The size of my palm roundish. But firm with the slightest bit of give and right nnow..
It s moving through the air those are its primary qualities. But it has secondary qualities too and by locke s standards. They are not real. Nat.
Least. Not in any objective agreed upon way they re just in our minds. But they nget there through the primary qualities. I m talking about things like its color taste.
Ntexture smell and sound the secondary qualities of this apple are nits redness and how it tastes and smells and feels on my tongue and hand even how nit sounds when i bite into it locke believed that the distinction between nprimary and secondary qualities explained. The disagreements that we all have about our nperceptions of the outside world like we could measure this apple in a bunch nof ways and all agree on its primary qualities. But its secondary qualities would no doubt nlead to some disputes like is it really red. What kind of red.
Exactly ncardinal red or carmine red. It s kind of dark purple at the top or is it just nlike a dark pink what about the. Sound it made would i call that ncrunchy or crispy orbite. Y.
It s like apple sound. We could argue about that kind of stuff til nthe cows came home but if we disagree about its primary qualities n. One of us is simply wrong because primary qualities have nothing to do with you or me instead they have everything to do with the object itself. Locke s reasoning was simple even elegant nextracting a lot of explanatory power out of very few basic concepts as a result it nresonated with a lot people and one person it resonated.
Strongly with nwas. The irish philosopher george berkeley. He was moved by locke s empiricism and took nit seriously so seriously in fact that ended up using locke s own logic against nhim. He basically took empiricism to its logical nconclusion dismantling.
The whole process of perception to the point that he had to nwonder whether anything existed at all berkeley began by taking apart the distinction that locke made between primary and secondary qualities. Like think about this apple again. How do nyou know its shape. Locke said that the apple s shape as a nprimary quality is immediately perceivable.
But berkeley pointed out that you don t nperceive some qualities of an object while totally disregarding. Others like you can t ndetect an apple s shape..
Without first or at least without also detecting its color nwhen you think about it you can t detect any of the primary qualities without also nconsidering the secondary ones you can t see a colorless apple nyou can t feel a textureless apple. In fact if you try to strip away the apple s nsecondary qualities in an effort to get at the primary ones. You end up with no apple nat. All try it close your eyes.
And imagine. An apple nmade of only primary qualities. So it has a certain shape and a certain size. But it ndoesn t have any color or texture or taste.
You can t do it you try to imagine it with no color. But really nyou re probably imagining one that s either black or white or transparent. The color nof. What s behind it and if you try to imagine it as having no ntexture.
You ll find there s still a texture there it s just smooth remember locke asserted that secondary qualities nare not objectively real they can only be subjectively perceived. But now berkeley nhas shown that the two are inextricably linked you can t have one without the other which means that primary qualities can t nbe real either they too are just what your mind makes of things so this led berkeley to a startling conclusion. Nthere s just no such thing as matter. There can t be instead.
There s only nperceptions berkeley s famous assertion nhis version of cogito ergo sum was esse est percepi n. To be is to be perceived in his opinion. There are no objects only nperceivers and even then the perceivers themselves. Don t really have any physical nform.
They re just disembodied minds. Perceiving things that aren t really there a little bit terrifying. When you start thinking nabout it in berkeley s scenario. We re all set nadrift in a world of nothing.
But thought what s scary about it is this if everything s njust perception. Then when the perception goes away. There can t be anything left. So like please for the love of pete do nnot turn away from your computer.
If you stop perceiving me i stop existing. But what if maybe you don t care about nme still you d better not go to sleep..
Because as soon as you do you ll cease nto exist. Because you won t be able to perceive yourself. The only guarantee that nyou ll continue to exist in your sleep is to have a friend watch you when you re sleeping. Which probably is a non starter for a number of reasons.
But in any case. The second your nfriend blinks. You re gone so in the end berkeley believed. There was nonly one thing that kept us and everything else from disappearing into oblivion.
God nberkeley believed that god was the ultimate perceiver god is always watching with unblinking perception that holds objects in existence even when we re not paying attention. The tough thing about berkeley is we all npretty much think he has to be wrong. Very few of us are willing to give up our belief in the physical world no matter who s watching we are sensory animals nwe really need this apple to exist next time. We re going to take a side journey.
Ninto the world of knowledge and then in episode 8. We ll see if karl popper can nmanage to get the physical world back for us today. We have learned about empiricism as na response to skepticism. We talked about john locke and his distinction between primary nand secondary qualities and we ve seen why george berkeley.
Thinks that distinction nultimately falls apart leaving us with literally nothing. But our minds ideas and nperceptions this episode of crash course philosophy is nmade possible by squarespace squarespace is a way to create a website blog or online nstore for you and your ideas squarespace features a user friendly interface custom ntemplates and 24. 7 customer support try squarespace at squarespacecom. Crashcourse for a special noffer crash course philosophy is produced in association nwith.
Pbs digital studios you can head over to their channel to check out some amazing shows like idea channel. The art assignment and gross science. This episode of crash course was filmed in nthe. Doctor.
Cheryl c. Kinney. Crash course studio. ” .
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