Austin Community College Lect

Answer either Q1.1, or Q1.2, or Q1.3. Then answer Q2.

Q1.1. [300-500 words] What are the basic elements of reality? What is there? Try to create a basic catalog of everything that there is, period, into the different basic Categories of Being. Justify your ontological categorization scheme and illustrate it.

Begin by stating the different categories of being and offer an example of each.

Then state an argument in favor of your categorization scheme. Why is your ontology best?

Finally, offer an ontological analysis of some phenomena from your environment using your categories. (See my  slides on my laptop and the boiling water for a model, using Aristotle’s  categories of being.)

Q1.2. [300-500 words] Are you the only thing in the world that thinks and has conscious experiences? (Could everyone else be a philosophical zombie?) Why or why not? Justify your response.

Begin by stating your position and your argument in its favor.

Then consider how a smart critic might respond to your argument. Offer a smart critical argument on their behalf.

Finally, defend your argument from the critic’s objection.

Q1.3. [300-500 words] Suppose that substance dualism is true. Now explain the relationship between the mind and body and how, exactly, they can causally interact with one another, given that one is completely immaterial and the other is completely material, and they share no common accidents.

Begin by stating your explanation of the mind-body causal relation, and your argument for thinking so.

Then consider how a smart critic might object to your position. State a critical argument or counterargument on their behalf.

Defend your position from your critic’s objection.

Q2. [100-150 words] Critically engage with a peer’s post. I will post it after you finish answering the question above

This is the peer’s post for Q2

Q2. [100-150 words] Critically engage with a peer’s post. I will post it after you finish answering the question above

I do not actually think I am the only being who thinks and has concious experiances. I think a big thing that disproves such a thing is our capability to emphathize with people. If nobody else has emotions, than why would we have the ability to emphathize with other beings. How could our emotions be impacted by a child who lost their mother, how could we empathize with the multiple animals on TV with their sad eyes, if we are not on some level feeling sad for how their feeling. How could anybody really be a “philisophical zombie” if we are to some level able to empathize with them.

One might argue two points against this. The first point is that we empathize and place emotions in things that have no emotions, and our emotions are able to be changed by inanimate objects. For example a child sees her older brother beat up a stuffed animal and begins to empathize with that stuffed animal. Or your property is stolen and you feel anger about that. Let me argue against this by saying this: each of these emotions are still caused by another persons actions. You do not feel bad for a stuffed animal because another stuffed animal landed on top of him. Likewise if you get your property stolen you’re not mad that the property would let itself get stolen, you’re mad at the person who stole it. One might argue that if your TV isnt working properly than you might get mad at the inanimate object itself, but ultimately is it the tv you’re mad at or the reason it likely broke you’re mad at? Whose really at fault when the TV does break, most people would say it isn’t the TVs fault.

The second point that people might argue is that we sometimes “empathize” with emotions that are not really their, or our emotions are controlled by other emotions that are not there. Theres two good examples of this, when somebodies faking emotions, or you otherwise don’t perceive emotions that somebody does not really feel. The first one, faking emotions, might come from somebody whose manipulative with emotions, or it might come from a sad scene an actor puts on on TV. However our ability to react to these emotions dosn’t suggest that other people in general feel emotions, in fact I would say that these people who fake emotions know how to feel in such a way to throw somebody off. How could somebody whose never been mad really act mad if they don’t know what that emotion feels like in the first place, or how coudl they know what an emotion feels like without having seen somebody else display it? If a sociopath who feels no guilt tries to guilt trip somebody, how would they be ever able to do it successfully without on some account knowing what it’s like for another person to feel guilt? Likewise with the second one, we might say the example of somebody thinking a person hates them when the person actually likes them and considers them a friend. This is especially common in teenagers, however I would say this isn’t really empathy on any level. This is more a reflection of yourself, a reflection of deeper rooted problems. It is a problem with how you reflect and see yourself, rather than basing your emotions off what the person thinks. Overall it’s because the emotions you feel on how you are perceiving yourself override the empathy you feel for that person, however, it does not mean empathy on any level dosn’t exist because of it.

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