top of page



1.            Aristotle


a.            Platonic forms do not exist independently of particular 


b.            Causation: I1) Material cause; that which is something is made of; (for a statute the material is the bronze) (2) efficient cause—model or archetype of the outcome (the form in the sculptor’s mind; (3) the efficient cause’; by what  means is that it is (the sculptor that makes the statute); (4) The final cause; for the sake of which (the actual sculpture)

c.             Theory of government:  Monarch/Tyranny; Aristocracy/Oligarchy; Polity/Democracy (first is good, second is bad)

d.            Aristototles ten categories:  (1) Substance, (2) Quantity, (3) Quality, (4) Relation, (5) Place, (6) Time, (7) Position, (8) State, (9) Action, (10) Affection

2.            Plato

a.            Platonic forms.  There is a form for every object that exists permanently and objects are particular manifestations  of it.  World of ideas is eternal and unchanging truth which is preferential over the the world of the senses.  

b.            Republic.   Philosophers make the best rulers.  Children are separated from their parents.  People assigned to roles in the community based on their fitness for it.  

c.             Socratic Method—Basically thing we see with our sense are like reflections of higher level forms and philosopher has to abstract.  The process of discovering truth by asking questions to see errors in thinking and contradictions in unexamined views.

3.            St. Augustine

a.            “I believe in order to understand”

b.            “If I am mistaken, I exist.”

c.             Evil is the absence of good. Evil exists because human beings choicely badly. Freedom of choice is part of the divine plan and outweighs the negatives that human beings will choose badly.

d. Divine Illumination.  God illuminates certain truths in human minds.


3.            John Duns Scotus

a.            Univocity of being—There is no difference when attributing a term to God—like God is good—and using that term to describe people.

b.            Realist about universals—they exist apart from the mind.  Nominalists think they do not.

c.             Abstraction—intellect pulls out the universal from the particular.

4.            William of Ockham—

a.            Ockham’s Razor—One should not multiply entities beyond necessary (i.e. the less complex explanation is best)

b.            Rejects universals

c.             Free will—I may not have a tendency towards good built-in but I have the capacity to will it. This is required for there to be moral responsibility

5.            Medieval Terms

a.            supposition

                i.              Material. Word stands for itself.  “Man is a monosyllable”.

                ii.             Simple.  Terms supports of the universal it signifiies.

                iii.            Personal—word stands for object it signfiies

b.            Univocal

i               Word retains the same meaning regardless of the subject it is applied.  

c.             Syncategoramic—Cannot serve as the subject or predicate of a proposition.  Nouns or adjective or categoric while prepositions do not

1.            Spinoza

a.            We should interpret religion solely by carefully studying the test and if this is done many religious stories or teachings would be found to be false.

b.            World is made of thing God or Nature with modes, which is absolutely infinite, self-caused,  and eternal.  

c.             Lack of free will. Determinism.  The mind is determined to will this or that by another cause.  

d.            Almost geometric like proofs. 


7.            Berkeley—idealist. Objects cannot exist without being perceived. 


8.            Hume.


a.            There is no basis for our belief in cause and effect. That fact that sun has always come up before does not conclusively establish that it will come up tomorrow. We have been habituated to think that just way but just cause something has always occurred in the past does not mean that it will continue to do so.


9.            Kant—


a,            Cannot know the thing in itself.  Cannot know objects as they are only as how they appear to us

b             Can have valid knowledge through the categories, which are the mind’s way of organizing sensory information.

c.             Treat people as ends not means

d.            Categorical Imperative. Act only that according to that maxim whereby, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.

e.            One though should think for yourself and not blindly follow any existing norm or religious teaching.


10.          Hegel


a.            Geist—Spirit of a people.  People live in a historical content in a certain time and place with a certain cultural background


b.            Thesis, antithesis, synthesis

c.             Absolute. The absolute (God, Nature)  is revealed is revealed through finite minds. After Hume’s criticism with regard to the limits of human knowledge  Kant wanted to establish knowledge that was on a firm foundation.  So he found that there was no way we could know other objects as they are because we are interpreting those objects through a human sensory organs and a human mind. Other intelligent beings with a different mind and different sensory organs might see it differently.  The end result of Kant’s analysis was a separation between a subject with the object, with the limitation that a human being could not know other objects as they are in themselves.  Fichte, Schelling & Hegel wanted to transcend this limitation on knowledge.

d.            So all of thought is the idea. The anti-thesis of that is Nature, the otherness of the known considered independently  of the known. The synthesis of that is Spirt, the self-knowing, self-actualizing totality of all that there is.

11.          Fichte_—Ego. Basically, the human ego constructs the world and things that lie beyond that ego don’t matter.  Object do not really exist except as objects of consciousness. So the separation between subject and object disappears. 


12.          Schelling.  Comes up with the idea of the Absolute.  The idea is that there is subjective consciousness and there is Nature.  An absolute consciousness contains every thought of every ego and in parallel contains nominal grounds for every material object.  Consciousness and Nature are unified.


13           Schopenhaurer—The World as Will and Representation—Will is the mindless, aimless, non-rational urges at the foundation of our instinctual drives. Our body is composed of will (subjectively, intenrnally) and as representation as object. Schopenhaurer theory is that the world is similarly constructed  with having two sides: the world is will (as it is in itself) and as representation (of appearances of objects)


14.          Nietsche—Will to power—fundamental drive is the will to dominate, to be independent. 

a.            Christanity is life-denying.  Sin makes us ashamed of our instincts and sexuality. Concept of faith discourages our curiousity and natural skepticism, concept of  pity encourages us to value weakness, belief in afterlife leads Christians to devalue in favor of the beyond

b.            Strength, life-affirming, self-mastery, the best should rule.


15.          Quine


                a.            Two Dogmas of empiricism—Analytic and synthetic distinction and reductionism

                                i.  Analytic-Synthetic distinction is not tenable. Analytic trust are truths grounded in meaning and not dependent on facts (experience) and synthetic truths are grounded in facts (experience). But an analytic truth like all bachelors are unmarried depends on synonymy—that you could substitute unmarried man for bachelor but you can only do that if bachelor and unmarried man mean exactly the same thing. But how you can determine that without reference to how the bachelor is actually used which basically gets into how the word is actually used—in other words, experience.

                                II.            Reductionism (each meaningful statement is equivalent to some logical construct upon terms which refer to immediate experience) is the  second unproven article of faith of empiricism.  Cannot reduce all statements to those based on sense experience because statements would have have to be translated into a sense-datum language which Carnap’s attempt to do illustrates is impossible.


16.          Bertrand Russel

a              Theory of Descriptions—e.g., Analysis of the sentence the present King of France is not bald is resolved into logical form  as   there is an x such that x is a present king of France, nothing else is a present King of France, and x is bald.  So you can talk about non-existent entities because you are not committing yourself to their existence 

b.            Logical Atomism (the world can be broken down into atomic statements about the world which when combined yield the truth of the world)

i.              World contains atomic facts. A atomic proposition is a fundamental statement describing a single entity known as an atomic fact and an atomic systems contains many such statements.


17.          Wittgenstein


a,            Private Language—All language is public, no one can have their own private language.  The basic problems is that when assigns symbols to a given sensation S for example in the future one cannot be certain that this being done correctly. You need to have a public community of speakers to provide a correct correct criteria for a word’s usage.  Beetle argument.  Implications? You cannot isolate yourself from public; language infiltrates into your thoughts, language contains culture and that culture gets implanted into your thoughts.

b.            Logical Atomism

i.              Every proposition has a unique final analysis which reveals itself  to be a truth -function of elementary propositions.

ii.             These elementary propositions assert the existence of atomic states of affairs.

iii.            Elementary propositions are mutually independent

iv.           Elementary propositions are immediate combinations of semantically simple symbols or “names”.

v.            Atomic states of affairs are combinations of simple objects

18.          Husserl

a.            phenomenology

                i               Intentionality—Thought directed towards an object

                ii. .          Bracketing. —the phenomenological description of an object does not presuppose existence of an object

19.          Martin Heidegger

a,            Dasein—being in the world.  Involvement with the world.  Every moment in dasein’s existence is a turning point 

b.            Authenticity—Constrains and possibilities presented by the cultural-historical are grasped by Casein so that it may project itself into the future in an authentic manner.  leading a life controlled by oneself and not others.  

c.             Care

                a.            Thrownness—past—We find ourself in the world

                b.            projection—Future

                c.             present—falleness


                                i,              idle talks—conversing in an unexamined way

                                ii.             Curiosity—search for novelty and endless stimulation

                                iii.            Ambiguity—cannot distinguish between genuine understanding and idle                                                                chatter


21.          Putnam—Twin Earth —Meanings just ain’t in the head.  If there was another planet called Twin Earth and they had a substance that looked like water but was had a different chemical composition.  But they called it water.  Their water is XYZ, our water is H20. But when they say water they mean XYZ and when we say water it means H20. So means aren’t just in the head but are externally based. 

22.          Winfred Sellars—myth of the given. Argues that sense data cannot serve as a basic foundation of knowledge because they are not  propositional and cannot be used to support higher-level mental states that are propositional.  by inferring from those sense data.   A  inferentially acquired propositional mental state cannot serve as foundational knowledge because they are not epistemically independent (how they could serve as foundational knowledge when they rely on other sources of information?)

a.            Manifest vs. Scientific Image—Manifest image is how we ordinarily observe and explain our world Scientific Image grows out of the manifest image and creates new conceptsbased on theorectial postulation to give a complete picture of the world.

23.          Habermas—model of democracy people engaging in public sphere without coercion


24.          Kripke—Proper names are true in all worlds.


a.            Rigid Designators—a term is a rigid designator when it designates the same thing in all possible worlds. Proper names are rigid designators.


25.          Parsons


a.            AGIL system for structure of society


i.              Adaptation.  Capacity of society to interact with environment.

ii.             Goal Attainment. Capacity to set goals for the future and make decisions accordingly

iii.            Integration.  Values and norms of society  are convergent

iv.           Latency—Latent pattern maintenance. Maintaining elements of the integration requirement above


26.          Durkheim


a.            Society is a reality not reducible to its component parts.  It’s greater than its component parts.

b.            Theory of social change—Social interaction increases due to population density and advances in technology.  They increase social connectivity.  This cause greater competition for resources, greater division of labor.. Rise of individualism.  People adrift as medieval institutions disappeared and nothing to take their place. Society losing its cohesiveness.  

c.             Socia milieu that  supported Christianity disappeared.

d.            Society has no cohesion. Individuals are atoms without any central force binding them.  Duties are no longer accepted and moral rules no longer seem binding.  Individuals detached from group obligation and act out of self-interest.  Rampant individualism and weak morality.Durkheim theorizes this causes higher suicide rates because for some individuals there is no meaning when they have no have lost connection to society and society has meaning to them. Normally society has an important part in defining what are legitimate aspirations in life and without limits an individuals expectations do not conform to reality and they are constantly unhappy.

e.            No central measure for truth resulting in conflicts among different groups.

f.             Durkheim believes new religion of cult of individual would solve cohesion problem.  Respect and toleration of differences. Respect of private property. Democracy. 


27.          Max Weber


 a.Rationaliation—historical drive in all factors towards one can master all things by calculation.

b.  Person of vocation. Protestant word ethnic needed to carry out capitalism.  monetary accounting, centralization of production control, disciplined control separation of workers from the means of production, supply of formally free labor, disciplined control on factory separate capitalism from all other modes of economic production.  Legal formalism and bureaucratic management also required plus formal equality of citizenship, rule-bound legislation of legal norms, an autonomous judiciary, and a depoliticized professional bureaucracy.

c.             Rational action requires knowledge, objectification of the person, modernly in accordance not with the person, market relationship.  Weber found this in Puritan work ethic which reduced human beings to mere tools of God.    Increasing control in social and material ife. “Iron cage”

d.            Polytheism of value fragmentation.Science replaced religion but itself is not meaningful and rational because it always surpasses itself.

e.            Difficulty in finding objectivity in historical/cultural sciences. Verstehen.

28.          Saussure

a,            Sign (sound patterns of a word) and signified (meaning).  “Language is a system of signs that expresses ideas.”

b.            Langue and parole. Langue consists of the abstract systematic rules and conventions of a signifying system.  Parole refers to the concrete instances of the use of langue.

c.             Structuralism—Human culture must be understood i terms of their relationships to a larger, overarching structure..           Saussure applied it to linguistics but the underlying theory has been applied to many different fields.

d.            Languages composed of hidden rules that practitioners know but are unable to articulate.

29.          C.S. Peirce

a.            Theory of signs.  There is a  sign , the object the sign signified and an interpretant (the effect in the mind of someone who sees the mind.  Iconic sign==resembles the object in some way).  Indexical  sign—causal relationship between the sign and the object.  Symbol. Arbitrary relationship between sign and object.  


b.            Firstness, Secondness, Thirdness—

i.              Firstness--Pure being.  The thing in itself.  Not related to anything else

ii.             Secondness—Pure experience, pure encounter with a first without analysis or meaning.

iii.            Thirdness—All the ideas mental perceptins that we have that relate First essences with second Encounters

Analogous to Heidegger Worlds? Without human meaning a hammer is just a piece of wood with a piece of metal on the end.  But in a world with human beings it is a hammer, a tool. 

c.             Classes of argument      

i.              Abduction—Goes from observation to a theory, ideally seeking to find the simplest and most likely observation.  Best explanation.

ii.             Deduction—Reasoning from one or more premises to reach a logically certain conclusion

iii.            Induction—Deriving general principles from specific observations


30.          Claude-Levi Strauss


a,            Underlying patterns of culture should be examined to examine the patterns that produce the cultural categories that produce world-views.  Culture is compose of hidden rules that govern behavior of inhabitants.  Culture develops in a diabetic process (thesis, antithesis synthesis). Structure of thought is same in all human societies and these mental processes consist in the form of binary oppositions (raw vs. cooked, ,male vs. female, hot-cold, culture-nature).  Elements of culture must be understood in relations to the entire system (the whole is greater than the sum of its parts).

31.          Pierre Bourdieu—Theory of class distinction. One’s aesthetic dispositions depicts one’s distance and distances oneself from lower social group. Children internalize these dispositions at an early age and that such dispositions guide the young towards their appropriate social positions.  Cultural capital marks the difference between the classes.


a.            Habitus—Theory of of a system of embodied dispositions, tendencies that organize the ways in which individuals perceive the social world and react to it. These dispositions are usually shared by people with similar backgrounds (class, religion, education, profession, etc.). Habits represents the way group culture and personal history shape the body and mind as as a result shape social action in the present.  Social struggle occurs within different fields. Position of each agent in the field is a  result of the interaction between the specific rules of the field, agent’s habits and agent’s capital.  Fields interact with each other and are hierarchical.  Most are subordinate to the larger field of power and class relations.


b.            Symbolic capital—Honor, prestige, status.


c.             Language is a mechanism of power as it indicates one’s place in the social space.

32.          Fouceault—Concept of discourse.  Power linked to discourse within certain historical periods.  Social power is affected by language through various sources of world.  


a.            DIscourse analysis


i.              A body of statements that are organized in a regular and systematic way

ii.             How those statements are created

iii.            How spaces in which new statements can be made are creed

iv.           Making practices material and discursive at the same time.


b,            Madness—social forces have impacted how madness is defined and how society has treated those it defines as being mad.  Put another way, madness is not just a natural thing but is constructed.

c,             Sexuality—Over the past few centuries sex because not just something you did but defined who you are. And this has become harmful because people are put into acceptable and non-acceptable categories based on their sexual proclivities. Defining someone this way is a social construct.  Whereas someone sinned now their sexual behavior defines them.


33.          Ronald Barthes


a.            Mythologies—Reflections on life in contemporary which aimed to show how things that have been shaped by history are presented as natural.  Culture presents as artificial, manufactured and ideological values and facts as if they were natural., unquestionable and indisputable. Ideology is the process by which what is historical and created by culture is presented as if it were timeless, universal and natural.


i.              Black soldier saluting flag—implied meaning but untrue that all of her sons can serve without discrimination.  

ii.            Pasta advertisement, detergent commercial

iii.            Signification.  First order—signifier, signified combining into sign. Second order takes this sign and turns into an ideological myth. 


34.          Derrida


1.            No fixed meaning of texts—they are always changing.  Texts read to show underlying contradictions, the historical circumstances and traditions from which they arose, the conventions and nuances of the language in which they were written and the details of their authors’ lives.  Finding of hierarchical oppositions of text


2.            Justice impossible


a.            Judge fails to follow fixed rule 

b.            Rule has no foundation

c.             Judge follows fixed rule but not just because does not consider the uniqueness of the particular


35.          Rawls—


a.            Each person is to have an equal right to the most extensive basic liberty compatible with a similar liberty for others.


b.            Departure from equality of primary goods is only justified if they improve the lot of those that are worst off under that distribution in comparison with the previous equal distribution


36.          Nussbaum—just distribution of capabilities not just primary goods like Rawls


a.            Capabilities


i.              Life

ii.             Bodily health and integrity

iii             Bodily integrity

iv.           Senses, imagination, thought . Being able to use these

v.            Emotions. Being able to have attachments, love, freedom from fear

vi.           Practical reason. Being able to plan intelligent plan one’s life

vii            Afflilation—being able to form attachments with others.

viii           Other species—Being able to car for other species 

ix.           Play—Being able to laugh, play, enjoy recreation

x              Control over one’s environment

37.          Dworkin


a              Insurance market used to distribute goods (unlike Rawls who focuses on distributive justice for the poor or less able, Dworkin focuses on individual preferences—wealth or leisure or type job, etc.)



38.          Grice


a.            Conversational Implicature—what is suggested in an utterance thought not neither expressed nor strictly implied


i.              Cooperative principle (super maxim)

ii.             Quality.  Contribute only what you know to be true.  Do not say false things.  Do not say things for which you lack evidence

ii.             Quantity.   Make your contribution as informative as is required.  Do not say more than is required.

iv.           Relevance.  Make your contribution relevant

v,            Manner.  Avoid obscurity.  Avoid ambiguity.  Be brief. Be orderly


Above maxims are violated when people opt out, when maxims conflict or when maxims are flouted. Conversational implicatures occur when this is done.


39.          J.H. Austin


a.            locutionary—what is said

b.            Illocutionary Act—meaning that is conveyed

c.             Perlocutionary act—what happened as a result


The above is analyzed with regard to statements where to say something is to do something.

Analysis of how speech causes things to happen with words.  If someone says pass the salt.  Words causes actions in the real world. If someone I do they are married.  Someone promises to be somewhere at a certain time and that caused another person to be there at a certain time.

40.          Chomsky

a.            Grammar is hard-wired into the brain.  Chomsky theorized that a languages have a deep structure that ties them together while their surface grammars are different.  This can be seen through transforming the surface grammar of a language to the universal grammar via transformations

41.          Epistemology

a.            Justified True belief.  S (person) knows P (Proposition)if following conditions are true

i.              Belief is true

ii.             Person believes that S is true

iii.            Belief is justified by the evidence for it

b.            Types of beliefs

i.              Perception—If a tree is in front of a person there is no real doubt that the person is accurately reporting seeing a tree (aside from hallucinations or an evil genius putting a person’s brain in  a vat, or a Matrix type situation).  But witnesses are notorious for major differences in reporting the same event  Things to consider whether a reported perception is accurate or not:

1.            Person reporting from memory instead of reporting it as they see it.

2.            Length of time event seen

3.            Complexity of event

4.            Emotionally charged nature of event

5.            Bias of person

6.            Person’s reliability

7.            Do other people corroborate what person said? Video corroboration of what was said?

8.            Person’s confidence level in what the saw or heard? 

9.            Observations vs. interpretatoins/inferences

10.          How well situated was the person to see the event?


2.            Scientific Knowledge

a.            Was knowledge validly obtained through scientifically accepted procedures?

b.            Has it been corroborated by other scientists?

c.             Does it make valid predictions that flow from whatever law purported to be scientifically established.

d.            Does it allow for things to be iii the real world based on the scientific principles established?(Come up with idea for a steam engine, build the engine, and it works)

e.            Can it be falsified by some test or experiment (Popper)


3.            Moral/Poltiics—how do we know that certain political/moral views are true when there is no longer religion that to support them?


a.            Moral pillars—Does the view flow from a basic belief that is no longer doubted.  For example, All men are created equal. That undercut the notion of having an aristocracy. So all white males were equal.  Then it was extended to include all non-white men.  And then all women.  Then all gays. Then all transgenders. So everyone is born equal. You could argue against foot binding and female circumcision in the same manner.  What are examples of moral beliefs that are undoubted? Due process, rule of law/independent judiciary, private property rights, right to jury trial, freedom of speech, freedom of press, right of privacy, freedom from unlawful searches and seizures, equal protection.  Does anyone doubt (with the exception perhaps of right to jury trial) that these issues have been decided for all time? You could argue that all of these rights are tied to one principle: equality.  When a king or an aristocracy is exalted above everyone else then they are not subject to petty laws and rights of the people.  What is the pillars of our society? The Constitution? Part of the Constitution? What else besides the Constitution?


b.            How has the idea worked in the real world.  How has Democracy worked in the real world.  How has Capitalism? Are there contradictions that rise that point against claiming that Capitalism is the best possible system.


c.             Can reasonable counter-arguments be put up against the view? What is reasonable counter-argument?  Hegelian analysis.  Thesis—antithesis—synthesis.  At some point, does a moral/political theory not create any reasonable counter-arguments so it becomes of our or humanity’s superstructure

d.            Kantian—“Act only in with the accordance through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.

e.            Golden Rule—treat others as you would want them to treat you

f.             Rawls—Social and economic inequality are be to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged members of society.


42.          Religious


a.            Religion true?


i.              Appears to be universal.  So something in the human mind demands. it.  But that does not mean it i s true.  Could mean that we demand to know the causes of things.  And if we don’t know we make up something.  Being thrown into the world and living a short time makes no sense so if we come up with God who makes not final and gives life meaning.


43           Logical fallacies


a.            Strawman—misrepresenting someone’s argument to make it easier to attack

b.            False cause-Correlation is not causation.

c.             Appeal to emotion

d.            Slippery slope

e.            Ad hominem

f.             Tu quoque—-Answering criticism with criticism

g.            Special pleading—move goalposts or make an exception when claim is shown to be false

h.            Loaded question—Asking a question that has a presumption build into it so that it couldn't be answered without appearing guilty

i.              Burden of proof—Shifting the burden to person critiquing the claim

j.             Ambiguity—Using the ambiguity of language to mislead or misrepresent the truth

k              Gambler’s fallacy—That lucky streaks happen in roulette, blackjack, etc

l               Bandwagon—Appeal to popularity

m.           Appeal to authority

n.            Composition/divison—Assumton that one part of something has to be applied to all or that the while must apply to its parts

o.            genetic—something is good or bad based on where it came from

p.            Black or white—you presented only possibilities when there are many more

q.            begging the question—presenting a circular argument in which the conclusion was inched in the presumes

r.             appeal to nature—Because something is natural it is therefore valid, justified, etc.

s.             Anecdotal—use of anecdotal evidence when statistical evidence is needed

t.             middle ground—claiming that the middle ground between two positions is the truth when that may not be so.


44.          Implicit bias—underlying biases—not conscious—that cause someone to favor an in-group over an out-group (favoring whites over blacks for example)


a.            Epistemic injustice—favoring or disfavoring a speaker merely because of a membership in a group. Credibility of a speaker is deflated by hearers that judge him/her on the basis of membership in a group

b.            To counter these impliae biases one has to be reflective about them whenever they come up.  


45.          Wisdom of Crowds—Why do some questions get answered better when a large number of people are asked by it.? If you have a diverse group of people and their answers are independent,(they don’t share information) then the average of their responses appears to be “wise” or converge on the right answer


a              Majority Rule—Condorcet Jury Theorem. That on among large electorates voting on a yes/no question majoritarian methods almost certain to track the truth as long as three conditions apply:  (1) voters are better at random for choosing the proposition, (2) they vote independent, and (3) they are sincere


b.            Cognitive Diversity Model—A more diverse of people increases accuracy with regard to crowds.


bottom of page