You will type three “essays” (or “long answers” ) to three of the following questions. Two of the questions are worth 67 points and one will be worth 66 points (for a total of 200 points). Choose THREE of the following passages to write about (type). Read the passages carefully. When you answer the questions base your answers COMPLETELY on the passages in the book. Do not consult outside sources. Also, do not waste time talking about the biography of the philosopher. Get right to the point and answer the question.. Your grade for each question will be based on how thoroughly you answer the question and how clearly your express your ideas. The following page numbers refer to the tenth edition of Introducing Philosophy, ed. by Robert Solomon. If you are using a different edition the page numbers will be different.
When you answer the questions try to cover as many important points as you can within the space of 300-400 words. Each of your answer should be at least 300 words in length. All of these passages can easily be found on-line.
1. Read Descartes’ First and Second Meditations (pages 187-193) in our book. Question: Why is Descartes concerned with refuting skepticism and how does he go about refuting it? Base your answer on the First Meditation and the first part of the Second Meditation where he gains certainty. As part of your answer discuss the various stages of his argument. I mentioned five stages in my lecture on Descartes (the five points of the “M” where I used the “M” to stand for the “murder” of certainty.
2. Read the selection from Locke on pages 202-208 from his “Essay Concerning Human Understanding”. Explain Locke’s of substance as clearly and thoroughly as you can. The passage begins: “Concerning the simple ideas ofo Sensation, it is to be considred–that whatsoever is so constituted in nature as to be blae, by affecting our senses, to cause any perception in the mind, doth thereby produce in the understanding a simple idea; which, whatever be the external cause of it . . . “
3. Berkeley, pages 209-216. The passage begins: “It is evident to any one who takes a survey of the objects of human knowledge, that they are either ideas actually imprinted on the senses, or else such as are perceived by attending to . . .” Question: Explain Berkeley’s view of substance and explain how he relates his view of substance to God.
4. Hume, Read pages 209-216 from Hume’s “Treatise Concerning the Principles of Human Understanding.” Question: Explain Hume’s critique of causality and induction.. As part of your answer discuss Hume’ Fork and clearly explain the logical steps in his argument. When you are discussing his critique of causality you must also discuss his critique of induction.
5. John Locke on personal identity versus Hume on self-identity. Read pages 289-296). Question: Clearly explain Locke’s view of self-identity and Hume’s view and make it clear how the two views differ from each other.
6. Sartre on Radical Freedom. Read pages 436-439. Question: Explain Sartre’s view of freedom
7. Colin McGinn, on “the Mystery of Consciousness”, 369-72. Question: Explain Colin McGinn’s argument that consciousness will always remain a “mystery.”
NOTE: Do NOT choose one of these questions if you are writing your final typed essay (1250 words) on the topic.
IMPORTANT: You need to email me your answers to three of the above questions by Thursday, March 26. You can, of course, email me the answers before March 26–whenever you finish them you should email them to me.
Here are the topics for your FINAL ESSAY (1250-1500 words, typed). Due on March 26, Thursday.
Your essay should be typed, double-spaced, and titled. It should include at least five short quotations (from the selection you are discussing) and the quotatioins should be integrated into your own sentences. Do not quote the editors of the book or Wikipedia or any other secondary source.
Provide page references and a Works Cited page at the end of your essay so I can check the quotation if I want to.
1. Explain John Searle’s Chinese Room argument and discuss one essay (or section of a work) that criticizes Searle’s argument. You might want to consider Steven Pinker’s argument against Searle in his book “How the Mind Works” (pages 93-93). After explaining exactly what the debate is all about, offer your own solution to the matter.
2. Read Edmund Gettier’s short essay entitled “Is Justified True Belieef Knowledge” (you can download it on the internet) and explain his argument and offer your own evaluation of whether it is a good argument. You might want to read what some other philosopher thinks about his argument (you can find responses on Google).
3. .Do we have free will? Read a few selctions from the chapter on free will in our book and offer your own solution of free will. Make sure you read what John Stuart Mill (who advocates “soft determinism”), John Hospers (“hard determinism”) and Kant and Sartre (both believe in radical free will) have to say on the matter.
4. Who is Schwanda? Read Meredith Michael’s essay (pages 300-303) and then write an essay in which you answer the question “Who is Schanda?” In your answer to the question you should demonstrate your knowledge of Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant and Aristotle on the issue of self-identity.
5. Bertrand Russell versus Richard Rorty on the nature of Truth. Read Rorty’s essay “Solidarity or Objectivity” (255-259) and Russell’s essay “The Problems of Philosophy” (265-269). Explain the difference between their views on knowledge.
6. Pick a chapter from Jim Holt’s book “Why Does the World Exist” (which I assigned, but did not make it a requirement to read) and explain what the chapter is about and what your own thoughts are on what he says.
7. What question did you personally find most interesting of all the questions that were raised in the course? Explain why you find the question interesting and how the readings helped you to make sense of how to answer the question.