Notes from Philosophy 100.12 (2012-13)

What follows are the generally unedited and uncorrected student notes of the class. It may provide a guide for what was covered in class. Caveat lector.

September 12, 2012   Marty Cashen


Please read the Apology page 423 in your Plato book, we could start going over this next week.


Logic is the study of reason and argument, rational persuasion of a person.


An argument is any conversation were you are trying to persuade someone to believe your conclusion by using premises.

Premises are reasons to support your conclusion; they are used to help you persuade someone your conclusion.


A discourse can be defined as a connected series of statements.

When reading a connected series of statements (discourse), to be an argument you do not want to EXPLAIN things, you still need to persuade the person.

Not all discourses are argument, but sometimes the argument could be hidden in a story.


When engaged in an argument or reading one, you need to look and see is this person trying to convince me of something. Are they trying to persuade me enough to believe their conclusion?


To help you determine an argument, look for indicator words. Indicator words are works that lead you up to something. There are two types of indicator words premises and conclusion words.

Premises indicators are letting you know that a reason is coming up. Examples of premises words are because, since, moreover, furthermore, etc.

Conclusion indicators are letting you know that a conclusion is coming up. Examples of conclusion words would be, so, hence, therefore, thus, consequently, etc.


Sometimes they give you false reason, meaning they give you indicator words but it still isn’t an argument.


EX- I punched John because he insulted my mother.

This is not an argument even though it has a premises indicator (because). This statement is not trying to persuade you of anything, it’s just a fact.


There are two ways to help you determine an argument.

1)    Is the purpose of the discourse trying to persuade me?

2)    The usage of indicator words.

Good arguments have to be reasonable to accept, you can use three distinct terms to help you.

1)    Is the argument logically strong?

2)    Is the argument valid?

3)    Is the argument sound?


Logically sound means any argument were the premises gives you some good reason to believe the conclusion.

A valid argument is if the premises are TRUE, then the conclusion must be TRUE.


An example of a valid argument would be.


Antigonish is in NS

NS is in Canada

Antigonish is in Canada.


We will learn about sound arguments in the next class.





Aaron Doucette / [to come?]

Friday 21st of September (David Feehan)


Statement Form.


1.     Simple Statement- one simple statement

   The Cat is on the mat


2.     Negation- One Statement

   Its not true that the cat is on the mat


3.     Conjunction-joins two simple statements, both statements must be true if the statement is true

   the cat is on the mat and its purring


4.     Disjunction Inclusive- One of the statements can be true but both can be as well

   Either the cat is on the mat, or its on the table


5.      Disjunction Exclusive- Only one can be correct and the other must be wrong. The truth of one, excludes the other.


6.     Conditional or Hypothetical- “Don’t worry about that now”

   If the cat is on the mat, then let sleeping cats lie.


Necessary Truth and Contradiction (Necessarily False)


   If “P” then “P” ( as long as P is the same thing) then it must be true

   Two Negations can cancel each other out


If I’m Will Sweet then I’m Will Sweet. -True


If it is false that i am not Will Sweet then i am Will Sweet-True


Either i am Will Sweet or I’m not Will Sweet-True


I am Will Sweet- False


All unmarried women are spinsters- True


All swans are white- False


Mon Sept 24     (Libby Hughes)


Necessary Truth and Contradiction



A contradiction is necessary false

Necessary truth is absolutely true


Necessarily true structure:

If “P” then “P”

If not not “P” then “P”

Either “P” or not “P”


Contingent – something happens to be true, most sentences are contingent.


A statement can be not necessarily true, if it is true for one person and not for another. Example - my name is Libby. This is true for me but not for others.


The structure of a statement doesn’t always indicate that it is necessarily true or false. It is about the content of the statement and what the words mean – analysis. Statements can be analytically true or true by definition, looking at the content. If you know the concepts of the content is true, then it is true by definition.


A statement is a necessary truth if the truth can be known on purely logical grounds.

Structure/form = tautology (must be true)



God is all powerful

This is necessarily false as there is no possible way that it can be true


Consistency and Inconsistency



All human beings have rights vs Some human beings do not have rights -

This is inconsistent


Consistency - it is possible that both sentences are true at the same time.

There is a possible situation in which all statements are true


If sentences do not contradict each other then they are consistent.



Consistent -

She is wearing blue

She is wearing red


Inconsistent –

She is wearing only blue

She is wearing red

September 26, 2012 (Christopher Keeping)





We took the majority of the class to review the material that we covered in the last couple of weeks, below are my interpretations about the material covered in class.





Formal Logic – This deals with the structure of an argument’s conclusion and its premises.  It can be in other language systems for example 1 + 1 = 2 would use formal logic with the 2 being the conclusion and 1 + 1 being its premises.


Informal Logic – Informal logic looks at the content of the statement to deduce if it is true, this could use definitions of a language such as English.

Note: Definition can change depending on how the word is used and what time frame and place the definition is being used for, in other words definitions can have multiple meanings, so be careful.


Arguments - is a series of statement that can have multiple premises and only one conclusion.  It is always trying to persuade someone of something. The conclusion can be stated multiple times, but it is still the same conclusion.


Discourse - is a connected series of statements.  Arguments are discourses, but not all discourse is arguments.


Indicator words - help indicate if a argument is present. However, they don’t always point to an argument since other sentences like explanations can use them.


Below is a short list of premise indicator rules:






Below is a short list of conclusion indicator rules:


As a result


Should have




Logically Strong Argument – is any argument where the premises give good reasons to believe the conclusion.  The premises should be relevant to the conclusion and it should be easy to understand.  The content should also be probable enough that it can be true.


Valid Argument – is a logically strong argument where if the premises are true than the conclusion must be true.


Sound Argument – is a valid argument where the premises are indeed true and therefore the conclusion must be true.





Five Different Types of Statement Forms


Simple form – the cat is on the mat.


Conjunction – The cat is on the mat and asleep.


Disjunction – The cat is either on the mat or on the floor.


Conditional – If the cat is on the matt then let sleeping cats lie.





Necessary truth – is a statement that is not a contradiction, and that the statement is always true.  For example: At some point, living creatures will die. You can determine if it is a necessary truth through its structure, which is called tautology, or though the content and its intended meaning, called analytic.


Consistency – an argument is consistent if the statements have the possibilities to be true at the same time, otherwise it would be inconsistent.


Dictionary – is a document outlaying the way that people use words, it is important to note that the a word can have different meaning depending on how the word is used in a sentence, the time period the word is being used in, and the region.



There are different ways to prove an argument.  Three ways to prove one are:


Deductive Arguments

-Sentence Structure


Inductive Arguments

-Sampling (ex: Surveys)



-Mill’s Method



-Reduction ad absurdum(Will be explained later)


Sept 28 / Alex Issa [ to come?]

Oct 1 / Natalie Lesco

Proofs/ Deductive and Inductive Reasoning
Went over examples from p.27 (Deductive #6,8 - Inductive #9)
-Opinions can be proven
Deductive Arguments
-deduction is a type of validity
Modus ponens (affirming the antecedent)
IF= antecedent THEN= consequent
If A then B                               
Therefore, B
in other words...
One premise hypothetical/conditional
2nd premise confirm antecedent
Therefore, necessarily the consequent
-validity is not about the truth of the statement, but how the premises prove the conclusion (it is about the truth of the structure)
Modus tollens (denying the consequent)
If A then B
Therefore, not-A

Conditional chain
If A then B
If B then C
Therefore, if A then C

-if the premise is true, the conclusion must follow
-logic won’t tell you if premises are true
Necessarily follows-> deductive
Probably follows-> inductive
Inductive Arguments
Hint: when an assumption has to be made (ex. assuming that the past will decide the future)- most likely an inductive argument
Generalization/Sampling ... always question/evaluate sources-what is the size of the sample?-what is the spread?-is the sample random?

Oct 3 / Morag MacDonald



In an inductive argument, which depends on enumeration, we draw a conclusion about all the members of a class from premises, which refer to some observed members of that class. Sometimes called sampling.

Ex: All apples in the sample are Grade A. Therefore, all apples in the barrel are Grade A.


-When the spread is bigger, your conclusion is more likely to be stronger.


-When the spread is narrowed, for example, by a certain day of the week (Friday) or certain group of people (Catholics), it makes the spread smaller and the conclusion is weaker because of the randomness.

Ex: The six Fromagians were all Catholics and we saw them on Friday.


-When you take a small sample out of a large area, then your conclusion is weaker.

Ex: Instead, we concluded that most Frenchmen ate cheese with white wine.

The word, most, makes your conclusion mildly weaker because it is a vague word.




In an inductive argument that uses analogy, we draw a conclusion about some thing, based on relevant similarities that that thing has to another.

Ex. Rats and humans are similar on the basis of their phycology.


Analogy is based on similarities.

Ask yourself:

Are their similarities relevant?

Are their any dissimilarity’s?

Does it persuade you?


Example: Explorers vs. Students

-Explorers don’t have to take tests.

-Students working conditions are less dangerous.

-Explorers are adventurous.

-Explorers have more experience, survival skills and tend to travel in groups with a leader.

-Explorers are typically older people.


The more relevant similarities, the stronger the argument and conclusion will be.

The more dissimilarities, the weaker the argument and conclusion will be.




Oct 5 /

Oct 8 / Stephen MacFarlane

Oct 10 /
Ian MacFarlane

Apology occurs in Athens, Ancient Greece

Trojan War
- Story of how Prince Paris was promised by the Gods the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Troy.
- King Agamemnon  was the husband of Helen of Troy and king of the Troy
- Occurred around 1240 BCE 
Record of the Trojan War was recorded by Homer in his Iliad in 800 BCE and covered a wide range of topics
- Love
- Anger and Wrath
- Honour and Cowardice
- Morality
- The Gods and how they interacted with and actively manipulated humans

Why? (Would the Gods do this?)
- Issue of free will. Did Prince Paris have free will when he took Helen of Troy, or was he being manipulated?
Morality vs Gods
- Philosophy starts as a means of discovering 'truths', explanations for why.

Pre-Socratic Philosophy (600 BCE)
- People are no longer simply accepting traditions. Now people are seeking reasons and answers to understand the nature of reality and wisdom
- Pythagoras - Mathematics and Mathematical Philosophy. Used math to study and understand the nature of reality
- Hippocrates -  The Father of Modern Medicine. The source of the Hippocratic Oath, central to modern medicine
- Muses - Origin of the word 'music', inspiration for arts and source of knowledge
- PhD - Origin of the title 'Doctor'
Sophists - 'wise guys'
- Knowledge vs thinking you know,  largely focussed upon image
- Acted as teachers and advisors, instructing others as to how to argue
- Opinions of Sophists varied greatly. Sophists were either very appreciated or loathed (popular or unpopular), depending upon the person asked
- Questions of logic, ethics and about 'us'

Is Socrates a Sophist?
- Who is Socrates?
- What are the charges against Socrates (in the Apology)?
- What special insight or wisdom does Socrates claim to have?


Oct 12 /
Ceilidh Marshall

-Last class we talked about how Greece wasn't as small as it is today, it was made up of surrounding places as well.

-Reading a text: What is the purpose? 
Different purposes for different texts/audiences ie text books are to share common or basic information while a novel or creative work is usually to share authors sentiments, get others engaged etc. For public consumption
A philosophical text isn't just a story. Need to ask why Plato wrote this text. To relay historical info? Something more? Plato loves/respects Socrates so he's favourable to him
Understanding the context is part of knowing the purpose
-Roots of greek philosophy: Poetic/mythic texts

-Iliad 800 BC
Following what the Gods say
Beginning around 600 there was an effort to find naturalistic causes ie why? why is it made of?
One of the earliest: cosmological. Became questions of science
Want to find out why
Rational/analytical explanations

Who was he?:
70 yr old philosopher
Likes to talk ie questions/problems
Married, has kids
Served time as a solider
"Teacher", but doesn't call himself one. Doesn't charge fees
Charged with not believing in the Gods and corrupting the youth
He challenges authority
Accused of being a sophist

Take weak arguments and make them stronger
Make things that aren't true sound plausible
Misrepresent reality

Socrates accusers at the trial aren't the only ones, there are some that go way back  who told stories to the present population when they were younger. Educated from an early age that Socrates was a problem

The first part of the apology is where Socrates identifies the accusations and lists a series of explanations instead of arguments

The oracle says no one is wiser than Socrates. He denies that and tries to find someone who is in fact wiser, so he can show that the oracle is wrong. He talks to the "wisest" people, the ones recognized as experts. Socrates questions poets (religious texts, traditions, culture), lawyers/politicians (justice) etc. When he asks them questions, instead of getting answers, he embarrasses them. Their reputation seems to make them wise, but he finds out they actually don't really know what they're talking about. In this way, he shows that the so called experts know nothing and annoys the public by undermining authority.


Oct 15 /

Nov.5th, 2012 . Nicole Webb                                              

Justice is…(class answers)
1)    Abiding by the rule of the law and following it in the punishment of criminals.
2)    Fair punishment.
3)    Fairness and equality
4)    No biases, individuals have the right to defend their positions even if they are harmful to others.
5)    What is the morally correct/right thing to do.
6)    The pursuit of fairness, both in and outside of the formal legal system.
7)    A penalty that is fair.
8)    What happens after a trial, when peace has been set and what a person gets what they deserve.
9)    Obeying a law or principle.
10)     Treating alike cases alike.
11)     When a person gets what they deserve.

Different Patterns…
a)    Everybody gets an equal share.  E.g. elementary/secondary education.
b)    Each according to his or her need. E.g. welfare
c)    Each according to his or her effort.  E.g. grades.
d)    Each according to personal merit (virtue) E.g. promotions.
e)    Each according to his or her right.  E.g. inheritance.
f)    Each according to whether society wants it (market) E.g. wealthy professions (doctors)

The Republic “need to knows”
What is it about?
What are the characters?
What are their beliefs?
What is justice? Why does it matter?
What are we suppose to take from the story?
Why is it important? Why should we believe it?

Questions in the Republica.
Why should I be just?
-Consequences now or in the future.
-Physical harm.
-Harm or reputation.
Does Socrates give us a reasonable answer to any of these questions?

Nov. 7 - Chinakwu Odenigbo

First definition of Justice (Cephalos):
•    Speaking the truth and paying whatever debts one has incurred.
This raises the question: “what is a good definition?”
•    A good definition has to be distinctive and essential
Polemarchos defines justice as:
•    To give what is owed to each; i.e “gives benefits and harms enemies”
Socrates replies this by giving a whole series of analogies with medicine, warfare, agriculture………

Definition of a table: