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PHIL101: Introduction to Philosophy

Unit 2: Metaphysics and Epistemology   One of the traditional philosophical questions, “What, if anything, really exists?” has been addressed in a variety of different time periods in history. Philosophy can perhaps be understood as a great conversation, with different philosophers sharing ideas and trying to answer each other’s skeptical doubts across time periods and cultures. In seeking answers to the ultimate questions of existence and knowledge, philosophers looked for their answers in different ways. Some philosophers believed that the method we use to gain knowledge is most important; that method might involve reason and thinking (rationalism) or sensory interaction with the world around us (empiricism). Philosophers also developed theories of what is truly “real” or what we have knowledge of; some philosophers found that ideas and concepts are known (idealism) and others found that matter, substance, or atoms are what we know (idealism). What is there that we can be sure is not just an appearance, an illusion, or a useful fiction? Do atoms really exist? What about such abstract entities as beauty and justice? Most of us are fairly certain that the objects we see and touch - such ordinary things as tables and chairs, pieces of cake, and other people - really exist. But what if even these familiar features of our world are mere phantoms? What if the only entity that truly exists is one’s own mind? Metaphysics is the area of philosophy that tries to specify the conditions for something being real. Once you begin to consider the question of what really exists, you will notice that a second question immediately presents itself: “How do you know?” This is the central question of epistemology. Epistemology is the area of philosophy devoted to finding out what knowledge itself is and how it works. How do we know when we obtain actual knowledge and not something else - something considered “weaker,” such as belief, opinion, or, worse, just plain ignorance? What characteristics do our thoughts require in order to qualify as genuine knowledge? Most of the time, questions in metaphysics and epistemology go hand in hand, and they have to be tackled together.
 
In this unit, we will examine some of the most influential metaphysical and epistemological theories in the history of philosophy. One of the major issues that philosophers in both the East and West discussed was the difference between what we see around us and what is real, eternal, unchanging, and true. The philosopher, Lao Tzu, discussed the apparent impermanence and imperfection of the world and addressed issues of insincerity in interpersonal relationships in the Tao Te Ching. Just a few hundred years later, the Greek philosopher Plato wrote of the cave allegory in The Republic - the cave is a thought experiment that neatly demonstrates the distinction between appearance and reality as well as the difficulty of discerning which is which. It is a fascinating point of continuity and comparison that philosophers in both the Eastern and Western traditions were concerned with impermanence and the idea that appearances can deceive us. We will then examine the problem of where our knowledge comes from - whether it comes from within us or from outside sources. Our guides in this debate will be René Descartes and John Locke, the principal advocates of rationalism and empiricism, respectively. We will also see that the rationalism and empiricism of Descartes and Locke was met with a skeptical response by David Hume. Next, we will look at the writings of Immanuel Kant, the thinker credited with introducing the most sweeping revolution in how we conceptualize knowledge and reality. Finally, we will investigate George Berkeley, whose immaterialism compares to the ancient Chinese tradition of Daoist metaphysics and epistemology that we began our unit with, as seen in Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching.

Unit 2 Time Advisory
Completing this unit will take you approximately 34 hours.

☐    Subunit 2.1: 1.5 hours

☐    Subunit 2.2: 5 hours             ☐    Subunit 2.2.1: 1.5 hours

            ☐    Subunit 2.2.2: 0.5 hours

            ☐    Subunit 2.2.3: 2 hours 

            ☐    Subunit 2.2.4: 1 hour

☐    Subunit 2.3: 5.25 hours             ☐    Subunit 2.3.1: 0.25 hours

            ☐    Subunit 2.3.2: 0.75 hours

            ☐    Subunit 2.3.3: 4.25 hours

            ☐    Subunit 2.3.4: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 2.4: 6.75 hours

            ☐    Subunit 2.4.1: 1 hour

            ☐    Subunit 2.4.2: 1.5 hours

            ☐    Subunit 2.4.3: 2.25 hours

            ☐    Subunit 2.4.4: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.5: 4 hours             ☐    Subunit 2.5.1: 1.5 hours                                 

            ☐    Subunit 2.5.2: 2 hours

            ☐    Subunit 2.5.3: 0.5 hours

☐    Assessment #2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.6: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 2.7: 4.5 hours              ☐    Subunit 2.7.1: 1 hour

             ☐    Subunit 2.7.2: 2 hours

             ☐    Subunit 2.7.3: 0.25 hours

             ☐    Subunit 2.7.4: 0.25 hours

             ☐    Subunit 2.7.5: 0.5 hours

☐    Assessment #3: 2 hours

Unit2 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Define the principle pursuits of the philosophical subfields of metaphysics and epistemology and explain how skeptical, empirical, and rational approaches to these subfields have helped us pose and investigate crucial questions; - Explain how allegory can be used to advance complex philosophical ideas about the nature of knowledge and the real; - Apply basic metaphysical and epistemological argumentation, including synthetic and analytic judgment as well as a priori and a posteriori notions about the acquisition of knowledge; and - Compare and contrast Western philosophical ideas regarding the nature of reality with Eastern philosophical traditions, particularly Daoism.  

2.1 Overview of Metaphysics and Epistemology   - Lecture: iTunes U: University of Oxford: Dr. Marianne Talbot’s: “Metaphysics and Epistemology” Link: iTunes U: University of Oxford: Dr. Marianne Talbot’s “Metaphysics and Epistemology” (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above and select “View in iTunes” for the lecture titled “Metaphysics and Epistemology.” Ensure to take notes on the terms introduced. This lecture provides an overview of metaphysics and epistemology in a conversational style. It also discusses Descartes’s skeptical arguments, which we shall return to later in this unit.
 
Watching this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2 Daoist (or Taoist) Metaphysics and Epistemology   2.2.1 Outline of the Daoist Philosophical Tradition   - Reading: University of Evansville: Dr. Mike Carson’s “Reflections on the Tao Te Ching Link: University of Evansville: Dr. Mike Carson’s “Reflections on the Tao Te Ching” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this webpage for a sense of Daoism’s distinctive approach to philosophical practice. Notice that Daoism is averse to the type of rational discourse characteristic of Western metaphysics and epistemology. The Daoists would likely regard the precise rationality of Plato and Kant as a sign that they were far from “the way.”
 
Studying this reading should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
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  • Reading: University of Tennessee at Martin’s Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Ronnie Littlejohn’s “Daoist Philosophy” Link: University of Tennessee at Martin’s Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Ronnie Littlejohn’s “Daoist Philosophy” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read sections 1 - 8 about Daoist philosophy. Dr. Littlejohn provides an account of the historical and intellectual origins of Daoism as well as a summary of its basic concepts. Pay special attention to the ideas presented about the limitations of human knowledge. This notion echoes Kant’s Copernican revolution but leads to a starkly different outlook on life.
     
    Studying this resource should take approximately 1 hour.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

2.2.2 The Tao Te Ching: A Metaphysics beyond Words   - Lecture: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching Link: Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching (HTML)

 Instructions: Please read this webpage. The short passages that
make up the *Tao Te Ching* should be read singularly, with a fair
amount of patience, and collectively, for a sense of how they
contribute to a general worldview. The *Tao* is a collection of the
teachings attributed to the sixth century B.C. sage Lao Tzu,
although his status as a historical figure is disputed.  *Tao Te
Ching* should be rendered as something like “Classic about the Way
and Virtue.” The meaning of “Tao” lies somewhere between a truth to
know and a path to follow. Lao Tzu’s point is precisely that the Tao
is slippery and ineffable and can only be approached obliquely.  

 Studying this resource should take approximately 2 hours to
complete.  

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2.2.3 The Zhuangzi: Epistemology Is a Matter of Perspective   - Reading: Patricia Ebrey’s Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook: “Selection from The Zhuangzi” Link: Patricia Ebrey’s Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook: “Selection from The Zhuangzi (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read this webpage. These selections are from the second major work of Daoism. Pay close attention to the second and third selections. Here, knowledge is presented as uncertain and dependent on one’s perspective. Notice that Zhuangzi seems to accept this conclusion. It does not pose a major problem as it did for Descartes. The Zhuangzi is simply titled after its originator, Zhuangzi, who lived during the fourth century B.C.
 
Studying this reading should take approximately 30 minutes to complete.
 
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2.3 Metaphysics and Epistemology in Plato   2.3.1 Plato’s Historical and Intellectual Context   - Reading: University of Tennessee at Martin’s Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Thomas Brickhouse and Dr. Nicholas D. Smith’s “Plato (427 - 347 BCE)” Link: University of Tennessee at Martin’s Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Thomas Brickhouse and Dr. Nicholas D. Smith’s “Plato (427 - 347 BCE)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read sections “1. Biography” and “2. Influences on Plato” for contextual knowledge about Plato’s life and the intellectual climate in which he emerged.
 
Reading these sections and taking notes should take approximately 15 minutes.
 
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2.3.2 Introducing Plato's The Republic   - Lecture: iTunes U: Dr. Nigel Warburton’s Philosophy: The Classics: “Plato - The Republic” Link: iTunes U: Dr. Nigel Warburton’s Philosophy: The Classics: “Plato - The Republic” (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above and select “View in iTunes” for the lecture titled “Plato - The Republic.” Listen to this entire lecture about Plato’s dialogue The Republic.

 Dr. Warburton provides historical background for Plato’s text and
explains how the famous cave allegory leads him to articulate his
theory of the forms. Plato uses the story of the cave to illustrate
how appearances can be deceiving: imagine people who have been
imprisoned and raised their whole life in a cave, only seeing images
and shadows on the wall of the cave, never experiencing the full
richness of life outside the cave. The average person lives this
way, with their senses as their only means of gaining knowledge.
Real knowledge, of higher ideals, ethical concepts, and perfect
truth is in the realm of the forms outside the cave. If the
philosopher dares to break free from the cave, sees the forms
outside, and tries to explain what they are like to the others in
the cave, then he will understandably be skeptical and resist this
new understanding of the “real” world.  According to Plato, the
world of forms really exists, while the world of appearances - the
ordinary world we all inhabit - is merely a copy. The philosopher
plays a special role, calling our attention to the “more real” and
more significant concepts that exist in the realm of the forms
(concepts like truth, beauty, good, and justice).  
    
 Listening to this lecture and taking notes should take
approximately 45 minutes.  
    
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2.3.3 Understanding Plato’s Aesthetics and Theory of Forms   - Reading: iTunes U: University of Oxford: James Grant’s “Plato’s Philosophy of Art” Link: iTunes U: University of Oxford: James Grant’s “Plato’s Philosophy of Art” (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above and select “View in iTunes” for the lecture titled “Plato’s Philosophy of Art.” Listen to this lecture in order to come to a more concrete understanding of Plato’s theory of forms.
 
Listening to this lecture and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
 
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  • Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Allan Silverman’s “Plato’s Middle Period Metaphysics and Epistemology” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Allan Silverman’s “Plato’s Middle Period Metaphysics and Epistemology” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Read this article for an explaination of Plato’s metaphysics and epistemology. This article provides a sophisticated explanation of Plato’s theory of forms that expounds on the introduction (via the notion of aesthetics) that you have listened to in the previous subunit.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 3 hours.
     
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2.3.4 Spinoza’s Response to Descartes   - Reading: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Loyola University of Chicago: Dr. Blake Dutton: “Benedict De Spinoza (1632 - 1677)” Link: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Loyola University of Chicago: Dr. Blake Dutton: “Benedict De Spinoza (1632 - 1677)” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read this webpage on Spinoza concerning his own brand of rationalism that seeks to solve Descartes’s “mind-body dualism” with a unique argument for all physical reality as simply one “mode” of an infinite God.

 Reading this article and taking notes should take approximately 3
hours.  
    
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displayed on the webpage above.

2.4 René Descartes and Rationalism   2.4.1 Descartes’s Historical and Intellectual Context   - Reading: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Justin Skirry: “René Descartes (1596 - 1650): Overview” Link: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Justin Skirry: “René Descartes (1596 - 1650): Overview (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read the introduction as well as sections 1 - 4 for an account of Descartes’s life and his basic philosophical motivation: rejecting the authority of tradition and providing a secure foundation for his knowledge. 
 
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2.4.2 Descartes’s Rationalist Method of Doubt   - Reading: René Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy: “Meditation I.” and “Meditation II.” Links: René Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy: “Meditation I (PDF) and “Meditation II (PDF)
 
Also available in:
HTML (Meditation I)
HTML (Meditation II)
 
Instructions: Read these documents. Descartes wrote in such a way as to guide his readers carefully through his process of thought. He begins with questions many of us may have asked ourselves at one point or another: “How do I know I am not dreaming?” and “How do I know the world outside of me really exists?” As you read these webpages, take note of when you agree with Descartes and when you disagree with him. Descartes composed his Meditations in 1641 - a time when the traditional, religious, and scholastic worldviews were being replaced by modern, scientific ones. His writing is thus motivated by the desire to provide reasons for the phenomena he encounters in everyday life rather than accept them on the basis of faith or the authority of others.

 Reading these documents should take approximately 1 hour and 30
minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain

2.4.3 Understanding Descartes’s Meditations   - Lecture: iTunes U: Dr. Nigel Warburton: Philosophy: The Classics: “Descartes - Meditations” Link: iTunes U: Dr. Nigel Warburton: Philosophy: The Classics: “Descartes - Meditations (iTunes U)

 Instructions: Scroll down to \#14 and then listen to this entire
lecture (approximately 26 minutes). Dr. Warburton provides important
historical background information for understanding Descartes’s text
and describes how the *Meditations* attempt to provide a secure
foundation for knowledge by starting from a position of extreme
skepticism. Only by first eliminating every one of his beliefs that
he can possibly doubt can Descartes arrive at an unshakeable set of
core beliefs, on which he can then build.  

 Listening to this lecture and taking notes should take
approximately 1 hour.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: Massachusetts Institute of Technology OpenCourseWare: Dr. Rae Langton: “A Study Guide to Descartes’ *Meditations”* Link: Massachusetts Institute of Technology OpenCourseWare: Dr. Rae Langton: “A Study Guide to Descartes’ Meditations (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Click the PDF link to open the PDF and then read pages 5 - 29 for summaries of Descartes’s arguments from the first two meditations. It may also help to write them down in outline form. Also, consider the evaluative questions that Dr. Langton poses, which are designed to bring out weaknesses in Descartes’s arguments. 

    Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: The article above is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share-Alike License 3.0.  It is attributed to Dr. Rae Langton and the original version can be found here.

2.5 John Locke and Empiricism   2.5.1 Rationalism vs. Empiricism   - Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Peter Markie: “Rationalism vs. Empiricism” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Peter Markie: “Rationalism vs. Empiricism (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read sections 1 - 3, which describe the rationalist and empiricist approaches to epistemology. This reading gives a sense of the epistemological issues at stake between Descartes and Locke. As a rationalist, Descartes believed that we can arrive at certain knowledge by reasoning from ideas we hold innately.  Locke, as an empiricist, held the contrary view that we do not possess any innate knowledge but acquire everything we know through experience.

 Reading this text and taking notes should take approximately 1 hour
and 30 minutes.  
    
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2.5.2 Locke against Innate Ideas   - Reading: John Locke: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding: “Book I, Chapter II” Link: John Locke: An Essay Concerning Human Understanding: “Book I, Chapter II (PDF)
 
Also available in:

[HTML](http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/locke/locke1/Book1a.html#Chapter%20II)  
    
 Instructions: Read this chapter from Locke’s major work on
epistemology. This excerpt is taken from a vast work, published in
1689, in which Locke attempts to demonstrate how human beings build
up elaborate systems of knowledge beginning from sense experience.
He compares the mind of a child to a “yet empty cabinet,” which is
then filled with all kinds of ideas originating from outside him. In
order to get started, Locke has to debunk the popular notion -
associated with Descartes and his followers - that some of our very
first ideas are innate.   
    
 Reading this chapter and taking notes should take approximately 2
hours.  

 Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain.

2.5.3 Understanding Locke’s Essay   - Lecture: iTunes U: Dr. Nigel Warburton: Philosophy: The Classics: “Locke - Essay” Link: iTunes U: Dr. Nigel Warburton: Philosophy: The Classics: “Locke - Essay” (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to #11 and then listen to the lecture about Locke’s Essay. Pay close attention to the contrasts Dr. Warburton sets up between Locke’s project and the rationalist philosophy he was reacting against. Locke’s theory of the origin of our ideas is a forerunner of “cultural relativism” - the view that people from different cultural backgrounds hold different and often incompatible beliefs. However, for Locke, the central importance of this observation is that because different cultures hold radically different ideas, human knowledge cannot rest on a basis of innate, universally held beliefs.

 Watching this lecture should take approximately 20 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s: “Assessment #2” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s: “Assessment #2” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: This assessment will evaluate your understanding of Plato’s metaphysics and what is at stake between Descartes and Locke. Check your responses against the Answer Key.
     
    Completing this assessment should take approximately 1 hour.

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2.6 David Hume, Skepticism, and the Problem of Induction   2.6.1 Introduction to David Hume   - Reading: YouTube: University of Oxford: Peter Millian’s “Lecture 3.1 Introduction to David Hume” Link: YouTube: University of Oxford: Peter Millian’s “Lecture 3.1 Introduction to David Hume” (YouTube)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above and view the lecture by Professor Millian on David Hume. Be sure to notice the way that Hume addresses skepticism about sensory experience as well as skepticism about ideas. Hume is famous for having described the problem of induction, in which relationships of cause and effect are frequently taken as given. Arguments based on cause and effect relationships are known in logic as “causal inferences,” and such cause and effect understanding of the world is considered necessary for science.
 
Watching the lecture and taking notes should take approximately 30 minutes.
 
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2.6.2 Summary of David Hume's Major Arguments   - Reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. William Edward Morris’s “David Hume” Link: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. William Edward Morris’s “David Hume” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above and read the sections 1 - 4 and 10 - 12 of these entries: “Life and Works,” “Some Interpretive Questions,” “The Treatise and the Enquiries,” “A Third Species of Philosophy,” “Causation and Inductive Inference: The Negative Phase,” “Causation and Inductive Inference: The Positive Phase,” and “Necessary Connection and the Definition of Cause.”  This will provide historical and biographical context for Hume’s philosophy and sets the stage for Hume’s skepticism as a motivation for the next philosopher’s response to skepticism, Immanuel Kant.
 
Studying this reading should take approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.
 
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2.6.4 Understanding The Zhuangzi   - Reading: National Taiwan University: Dr. David Loy: “Zhuangzi and Nagarjuna on the Truth of No Truth” Link: National Taiwan University: Dr. David Loy: “Zhuangzi and Nagarjuna on the Truth of No Truth” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this webpage for a comparison of Zhuangzi’s
notion of “emptiness” with the idea of an “illusory self” expounded
by the Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna.  

 Reading this text should take approximately 45 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyrights and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.6.5 Western Philosophical Parallels to Eastern Philosophy   - Reading: BBC: Andrew Robinson: “George Berkeley, Empiricist Philosopher and Bishop” Link: BBC: Andrew Robinson: “George Berkeley, Empiricist Philosopher and Bishop” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read this webpage. George Berkeley’s immaterialism -
the belief in the ultimate unimportance of the material world - has
some interesting parallels with Daoism and Eastern philosophy. Read
this webpage while pondering the similarities among Berkeley and The
Zhuangzi and Dao De Jing.  

 Reading this text should take approximately 20 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyrights and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.7 Immanuel Kant and the Copernican Revolution in Philosophy   2.7.1 Kant’s Historical Context and Preview of His Contribution   - Reading: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Matt McCormick: “Kant: Metaphysics” Link: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Dr. Matt McCormick: “Kant: Metaphysics” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Read sections 1 - 3, which outline Kant’s revolutionary metaphysical theory. If the debate between the rationalists and empiricists boiled down to the question as to whether our ideas originate from within our minds or from outside of them, Kant rendered their dispute obsolete by posing a more radical question: “What makes it possible for us to have knowledge and experience at all?” Instead of our knowledge being the result of experience (as in Locke) or of reasoning from innate ideas (as in Descartes), knowledge and experience are the result of our possessing a single set of formal capacities, which Kant describes in technical language as the “synthetic a priori.” This reading offers a clear explanation of Kant’s so-called “Copernican revolution in philosophy.”

 Reading this text should take approximately 1 hour.  
    
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2.7.2 Kant’s Copernican Revolution: Why Almost All Metaphysics Is Impossible   - Reading: Immanuel Kant: Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics: “Preamble on the Peculiarities of All Metaphysical Cognition” Link: Immanuel Kant: Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics: “Preamble on the Peculiarities of All Metaphysical Cognition” (PDF)
 
Also available in:
HTML
 
Instructions: Read this webpage. Refer to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy reading in Subunit 2.5.1 for help with the distinctions Kant draws between synthetic and analytic judgments and a priori and a posteriori judgments. This preamble is the first section of Kant’s 1783 Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics - a book he conceived as a more accessible introduction to his major work: The Critique of Pure Reason. Kant’s general argument is that whatever is synthetic and a priori (including judgments about mathematics and natural science) lies within the boundaries of possible knowledge, while everything else (including judgments about whether there are limits to space and time, whether we have free will, and whether God exists) does not.
 
Reading this text should take approximately 2 hours.

 Terms of Use: This material is in the public domain.

2.7.3 Understanding Kant’s Copernican Revolution   - Lecture: iTunes U: Dr. Nigel Warburton: Philosophy: The Classics: “Kant - Critique of Pure Reason” Link: iTunes U: Dr. Nigel Warburton: Philosophy: The Classics: “Kant - Critique of Pure Reason” (iTunes U)
 
Instructions: Scroll down to #6 and then listen to this lecture about Kant’s Copernican revolution in philosophy. Dr. Warburton focuses on Kant’s status as an idealist, meaning that he believes the world we know and experience is in fact actively produced by us by virtue of our possessing the right cognitive faculties.

 Listening to this lecture should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
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displayed on the webpage above.

2.7.4 Kant as Enlightenment Thinker   - Lecture: iTunes U: Missouri State University: Dr. Daniel Kaufman: “The Limits of Reason and the Philosophy of Common Sense” Link: iTunes U: Missouri State University: Dr. Daniel Kaufman: “The Limits of Reason and the Philosophy of Common Sense” (iTunes U)

 Instructions: Scroll down to \#16 and then listen to the first 13
minutes of this lecture about Kant as an Enlightenment response to
Descartes.  

 Listening to this lecture should take approximately 15 minutes.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

2.7.5 Western Philosophical Parallels to Eastern Philosophy   - Reading: BBC: Andrew Robinson’s “George Berkeley, Empiricist Philosopher and Bishop” Link: BBC: Andrew Robinson’s “George Berkeley, Empiricist Philosopher and Bishop” (HTML)

 Instructions: Read the entire webpage. George Berkeley’s
immaterialism - the belief in the ultimate unimportance of the
material world - has some interesting parallels with Daoism and
Eastern philosophy. Berkeley holds that what is real are “ideas,”
understood specifically that perceptions held in the mind. His
famous saying is “to be is to be perceived.” God guarantees the
existence of everything and perceives everything, even when the
individual person does not. Daoism also focuses on perception and
the limitations of human understanding.  Read this webpage while
pondering the similarities among Berkeley and The Zhuangzi andTao Te
Ching.   

 Studying this article should take approximately 30 minutes.  

 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyrights and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

Unit 2: Assessment   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Assessment #3” Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Assessment #3” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above and follow the instructions to complete the assessment. This assessment will evaluate your understanding of Kant’s Copernican revolution as well as the similarities and differences between Plato’s philosophy and Daoism. Check your responses here.
 
Completing this assessment should take approximately 2 hours.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.