Intro to Philosophy


This textbook is more than 1500-pages long…

This class with Dr. Jonathan Maskit is the hardest one that I took in my first year at Denison. We talked about things like Ethics, Morality, Personal Identity, Mind-body dualism… For example, do you know what a “categorical / hypothetical imperative” is? What do the philosophers take on views about “Freedom of the Will”? What makes a person?

-Categorical / Hypothetical Imperative: If the action is good only as a means to something else, then the imperative is hypothetical. If it is conceived as good in itself and consequently as being necessarily the principle of a will which of itself conforms to reason, then it is categorical (According to Immanuel Kant).

-Freedom of the will: the ability of agents to make choices unconstrained by certain factors. St. Augustine believes in this concept, while Baron Holbach believes free will is just a mere illusion because of causality. David Hume thinks the dispute over whether people have free will (“the question concerning liberty and necessity”) is merely a verbal dispute, while William James defends the possibility of free will by raising the dilemma of causal determinism.

-Personal identity: the distinct personality of an individual and is concerned with the persisting entity particular to a given individual. John Locke considered personal identity (or the self) to be founded on consciousness (viz. memory), and not on the substance of either the soul or the body. David Hume investigated a person’s character, the relationship between human and animal nature, and the nature of agency. What matters for him is not that ‘identity’ exists but that the relations of causation, contiguity, and resemblances obtain among the perceptions.

Things like this are what we talked about throughout the semester, in accordance with boundless readings from a hardcore heavy “Experience of Philosophy” textbook. I’m so glad when the class is over, the single best thing about it is Dr. Maskit’s jaw-dropping imagination (like why you keep making us choose between killing the children and killing a fat guy? Seriously?)



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