In this video, Paul describes the distinction between formal and informal fallacies. This distinction is useful for understanding the fallacies in Wi-Phi's Critical Thinking section.
Jeff Sebo: Moral Status
May 19, 2014
Jeff discusses the nature of moral status. What does it take for someone to be a subject of moral concern? Do they have to be human? Rational? Sentient? Alive? And how does our answer to this question affect how we should act in everyday life?
In this video, Josh Knobe describes a new philosophical tool called experimental philosophy. To explain the project, he introduces some new research from Felipe De Brigard, and he shows how it applies to a traditional problem in philosophy. He ends with a question for the viewers: does philosophy's new tool help us make progress on philosophical questions?
In this video, Paul Henne describes the fallacy of division, the informal fallacy that arises when we assume that the parts of some whole must have the same properties as the whole they make up. He also discusses why water molecules aren't wet.
In this video, Paul Henne describes the fallacy of composition, an informal fallacy that arises when we assume that some whole has the same properties as its parts. He also discusses why there aren't colorless cats.
In this video Kelley discusses one of the most basic tools in the philosophers's tool kit: the distinction between necessary and sufficient conditions. Through the use of ordinary language glosses and plenty of examples this mighty distinction is brought down to earth and presented in a ready-to-use fashion.
Jenn introduces us to a puzzle that has bedeviled philosophy since the ancient Greeks: the Ship of Theseus. She tells the Ship of Theseus story, and draws out the more general question behind it: what does it take for an object to persist over time? She then breaks this ancient problem down with modern clarity and rigor.
Part 2 of a pair. Stephen considers the relationship between morality and God. Specifically, he asks: is morality the same thing as the commands of God? Is there no morality if there is no God? Stephen thinks the answer to both these questions is 'no'. He argues that, if you believe God exists and that we should follow his commands *for certain reasons*, then you should *not* think that morality just is whatever God commands.
Part 1 of a pair. Agustin teaches us about some weird properties of infinity, using an example due to mathematician David Hilbert called 'Hilbert's Hotel'. He shows us a result proved by another mathematician, Georg Cantor: that many infinite collections of things are the same size. Things that are the same size include: the natural numbers, the natural number plus one, the natural numbers plus the natural numbers, and as many copies of the natural numbers as there are natural numbers! Amazing!
Richard discusses the classic philosophical problem of free will --- that is, the question of whether we decide things for ourselves, or are forced to go one way or another. He distinguishes between two different worries. One worry is that the laws of physics, plus facts about the past over which we have no control, determine what we will do, and that means we’re not free. Another worry is that because the laws and the past determine what we’ll do, someone smart enough could know what we would do ahead of time, so we can’t be free. He says the second worry is much worse than the first, but argues that the second doesn’t follow from the first.
Tom asks whether it is moral to believe something even when you have no evidence that it is true. He discusses a classic debate on that subject, between philosophers William James and William Clifford.
Part 2 of a pair. Tim moves on to the version of the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God called 'the Modal Argument.' The idea is that all the contingent facts about the world need to be explained by some necessary fact, and that necessary fact is that God exists.
Part 1 of a pair. Tim lays out a classic argument for the existence of God, called 'The Cosmological Argument' -- roughly, the idea that something has to explain why the world is the way it is, and that something is God. He distinguishes two versions: the Beginnings Argument, and the Modal Argument. He covers the Beginnings Argument.
William introduces us to different aspects of meaning, as studied by linguistics and philosophers. He tells us about the difference between the literal meaning of a sentence someone says, and what they intend to convey by using that sentence at that particular time.
Sally discusses a classic argument that God does not exist, called 'The Problem of Evil'. Along the way, she distinguishes different ways in which people believe that God exists, and discusses what's bad about having contradictory beliefs.
Caspar asks: can science tell us everything there is to know about the world? He tells us about a famous argument that it can't, sometimes called 'the knowledge argument' or 'the Mary argument', due to philosopher Frank Jackson. If the argument is right, then there are certain aspects of the world that we can't learn about through science. In particular, we can't use science to learn what it is like to see red, or taste coffee, or have other experiences.
Part 3 of a trilogy. Greg considers the evidential version of the Problem of Evil, and gives a response on behalf of someone who believes that God exists. This involves considering whether God might have a good reason to allow bad things to happen.
Part 1 of a pair. Stephen considers the relationship between morality and God. Specifically, he asks: is morality the same thing as the commands of God? Is there no morality if there is no God? Ultimately, Stephen will argue that morality and God's commands are distinct, even if there is a God and she commands moral things. However, in this first video, Steve considers why you might like the view that morality just is God's commands.
Luvell introduces us to the original position -- an idea due to the most important political philosopher of the 20th Century, John Rawls. The original position is a way of thinking about what makes an institution or a society just.
Part 2 of a pair. After part 1, you might have thought that all different infinite collections of things are the same size. Not so! In this video, Agustin shows us another of Georg Cantor’s results: that for every size of infinity, there is a bigger one! An example: there are way more real numbers than there are natural numbers.


A Toolkit for Building a Better Mind.