Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple Positivism Positivism is the philosophy of science that information derived from logical and mathematical treatments and reports of sensory experience is the exclusive source of all authoritative knowledge, and that there is valid knowledge (truth) only in this derived knowledge. Verified data received from the senses are known as empirical evidence. Positivism holds that society, like the physical world, operates according to general laws. Introspective and intuitive knowledge is rejected, as is metaphysics and theology. Although the positivist approach has been a recurrent theme in the history of western thought, the modern sense of the approach was developed by the philosopher Auguste Comte in the early 19th century. Comte argued that, much as the physical world operates according to gravity and other absolute laws, so does society. Etymology Overview Antecedents Auguste Comte Antipositivism Main article: antipositivism In historiography
How to Break Open a Safe? | Safe Talk How to break open a safe is usually a question only thieves and locksmiths think about. Anyone looking at purchasing a safe should be thinking about this question too. No, you won’t be breaking into a safe, but you want to keep the burglars from breaking into yours. Safe burglaries are often depicted in the movies as a simple process that takes seconds and ding the safe is open. Often time’s burglars try to remove the safe to a secure location where they can take their time to force it open. Combination locks are still the number one method of securing a safe even though they have been around a long time. The easiest method for a thief to open a safe is to know the combination. When the combination doesn’t work, then the burglar has to resort to destroying the safe. The safe door can be a weak spot on a safe if it is made of thin metal. Since all metals burn at certain temperatures, torching devices or explosives can be used to get inside a safe.
Fallibilism Fallibilism (from medieval Latin fallibilis, "liable to err") is the philosophical principle that human beings could be wrong about their beliefs, expectations, or their understanding of the world, and yet still be justified in holding their incorrect beliefs. In the most commonly used sense of the term, this consists in being open to new evidence that would disprove some previously held position or belief, and in the recognition that "any claim justiﬁed today may need to be revised or withdrawn in light of new evidence, new arguments, and new experiences." This position is taken for granted in the natural sciences. In another sense, it refers to the consciousness of "the degree to which our interpretations, valuations, our practices, and traditions are temporally indexed" and subject to (possibly arbitrary) historical flux and change. Some fallibilists argue that absolute certainty about knowledge is impossible. Moral fallibilism Criticism See also References
Pragmatism Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition that began in the United States around 1870. Pragmatism is a rejection of the idea that the function of thought is to describe, represent, or mirror reality. Instead, pragmatists consider thought to be a product of the interaction between organism and environment. Thus, the function of thought is as an instrument or tool for prediction, action, and problem solving. Pragmatists contend that most philosophical topics—such as the nature of knowledge, language, concepts, meaning, belief, and science—are all best viewed in terms of their practical uses and successes. A few of the various but interrelated positions often characteristic of philosophers working from a pragmatist approach include: Charles Sanders Peirce (and his pragmatic maxim) deserves much of the credit for pragmatism, along with later twentieth century contributors, William James and John Dewey. Pragmatism enjoyed renewed attention after W. Origins
Utilitarianism Utilitarianism is influential in political philosophy. Bentham and Mill believed that a utilitarian government was achievable through democracy. Mill thought that despotism was also justifiable through utilitarianism as a transitional phase towards more democratic forms of governance. As an advocate of liberalism, Mill stressed the relationship between utilitarianism and individualism. Historical background The importance of happiness as an end for humans has long been recognized. Although utilitarianism is usually thought to start with Jeremy Bentham, there were earlier writers who presented theories that were strikingly similar. Hume says that all determinations of morality, this circumstance of public utility principally important. In the first three editions of the book, Hutcheson included various mathematical algorithms "...to compute the Morality of any Actions." This pursuit of happiness is given a theological basis: …actions are to be estimated by their tendency.
Empiricism John Locke, a leading philosopher of British empiricism Empiricism is a theory which states that knowledge comes only or primarily from sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism and skepticism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence, especially sensory experience, in the formation of ideas, over the notion of innate ideas or traditions; empiricists may argue however that traditions (or customs) arise due to relations of previous sense experiences. Empiricism, often used by natural scientists, says that "knowledge is based on experience" and that "knowledge is tentative and probabilistic, subject to continued revision and falsification." One of the epistemological tenets is that sensory experience creates knowledge. The scientific method, including experiments and validated measurement tools, guides empirical research. Etymology History Background Early empiricism
Phenomenalism Phenomenalism is the view that physical objects cannot justifiably be said to exist in themselves, but only as perceptual phenomena or sensory stimuli (e.g. redness, hardness, softness, sweetness, etc.) situated in time and in space. In particular, some forms of phenomenalism reduce talk about physical objects in the external world to talk about bundles of sense-data. History Phenomenalism is a radical form of empiricism. Its roots as an ontological view of the nature of existence can be traced back to George Berkeley and his subjective idealism, which David Hume further elaborated. John Stuart Mill had a theory of perception which is commonly referred to as classical phenomenalism. This differs from Berkeley's idealism in its account of how objects continue to exist when no one is perceiving them (this view is also known as "local realism"). Kant's "epistemological phenomenalism", as it has been called, is therefore quite distinct from Berkeley's earlier ontological version.
Instrumentalism In the philosophy of science, instrumentalism is the view that a scientific theory is a useful instrument in understanding the world. A concept or theory should be evaluated by how effectively it explains and predicts phenomena, as opposed to how accurately it describes objective reality. Instrumentalism avoids the debate between anti-realism and philosophical or scientific realism. It may be better characterized as non-realism. Explanation Historically, science and scientific theories have advanced as more detailed observations and results about the world have been made. Instrumentalism is particularly popular in the field of economics, where researchers postulate fictional economies and actors. On a logical positivist version of instrumentalism, theories about unobservable phenomena are regarded as having no scientific meaning. An instrumentalist position was put forward by Ernst Mach. Critiques and responses See also Notes References Kuhn, T.S.
Minimalism In the visual arts and music, minimalism is a style that uses pared-down design elements. §Minimal art, minimalism in visual art In France between 1947 and 1948, Yves Klein conceived his Monotone Symphony (1949, formally The Monotone-Silence Symphony) that consisted of a single 20-minute sustained chord followed by a 20-minute silence – a precedent to both La Monte Young's drone music and John Cage's 4′33″. Although Klein had painted monochromes as early as 1949, and held the first private exhibition of this work in 1950, his first public showing was the publication of the Artist's book Yves: Peintures in November 1954. In contrast to the previous decade's more subjective Abstract Expressionists, with the exceptions of Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt; minimalists were also influenced by composers John Cage and LaMonte Young, poet William Carlos Williams, and the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. §Minimalist design
Falsifiability Falsifiability or refutability of a statement, hypothesis, or theory is an inherent possibility to prove it to be false. A statement is called falsifiable if it is possible to conceive an observation or an argument which proves the statement in question to be false. In this sense, falsify is synonymous with nullify, meaning not "to commit fraud" but "show to be false". For example, by the problem of induction, no number of confirming observations can verify a universal generalization, such as All swans are white, yet it is logically possible to falsify it by observing a single black swan. The concern with falsifiability gained attention by way of philosopher of science Karl Popper's scientific epistemology "falsificationism". Overview The classical view of the philosophy of science is that it is the goal of science to prove hypotheses like "All swans are white" or to induce them from observational data. Naive falsification Inductive categorical inference Criticisms
Historical Introduction to Philosophy/General Introduction Home Back Forward Recommended resources for the beginning philosopher: An Invitation to Philosophy: Issues and Options, By: Stanley M. Honer, Thomas C. Hunt, Dennis L. Okholm, John L. What is Philosophy? What is philosophy? Philosophy in the West started with a man called Thales--yes Thales, not Socrates. It is Socrates who revolutionized philosophy by taking examination off of the physical world and applying it to mankind itself. Plato, Socrates's pupil, sought to give an objective basis for Socratic Ethics and developed comprehensive Epistemological and Metaphysical theories. Aristotle, Plato's pupil, was more empirical (requiring of evidence) than his predecessor. It is on this trinity--Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle--that the entire foundation for Western Philosophy is laid. Educational Task: Philosophy is something that you "do", not simply study. For this chapter, as well as the following ones, see if you can explain what you have learned to someone else. Real vs. Epistemology
Scientific method For observational studies see observational study An 18th-century depiction of early experimentation in the field of chemistry The scientific method is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the scientific method as: "a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses." The chief characteristic which distinguishes the scientific method from other methods of acquiring knowledge is that scientists seek to let reality speak for itself,[discuss] supporting a theory when a theory's predictions are confirmed and challenging a theory when its predictions prove false.