Some Study Notes for Intro Philosophy

I’ve been posting about my TAing intro philosophy. (Part One, Part Two, Part Three) As the class is approaching the first exam. I made a list of questions, which I realized is a fairly useful list of basic questions on a few major philosophical topics, so I’m posting it here.

  • *Logic*
    • What is a valid argument? A sound argument?
    • What kinds of things can be true?
    • How do you identify a valid or sound argument?
    • What is, and in what cases do you use: deduction?
      • induction?
      • inference to best explanation?
      • hypothesis testing?
    • What makes something true?
  • *Epistemology*
    • What is knowledge?
    • What are the kinds of opinions?
    • What things can be knowledge?
  • *Mind*
    • What is the mind/body problem?
    • What are physicalism and dualism?
    • What’s the difference between property and substance dualism?
      • behaviorism and functionalism?
      • identity theory and functionalism?
    • What is the main objection against physicalism?
    • What is the advantage of property dualism over substance dualism?
      • functionalism over behaviorism?
      • functionalism over identity theory?
      • property dualism over functionalism?
      • functionalism over property dualism?
  • *God*
    • What are the three traditional omni- properties associated with God?
    • What is the Argument from Creation/Cosmological Argument?
    • What does actually show?
    • What is the Argument from Design?
    • What does actually show?

Additionally, I emphasize: I advise writing down responses to the study question, or at least verballizing answers. One of the most common mistakes people make is just looking at these and thinking “I know this,” but philosophy tends to lead people to thinking that while studying, and then having no idea what to write when it’s time to write.

2 responses to “Some Study Notes for Intro Philosophy”

  1. You can study and argue philosophy for decades and never get anywhere. In that way, it is a lot like quantum physics…


    1. I can’t think of any subject this isn’t true of, assuming you mean that one can be entirely unsuccessful in making progress.

      (If you mean to imply that nobody can make any progress in either field, then there’s a lot of progress in both you’d need to explain away. The point strikes me as hilariously implausible.)


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