Paper 2 Guidelines
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arrived! Your second paper! It should be 2-3 double-spaced pages (12 Font),
following this basic structure:
INTRODUCTION: this includes a thesis statement and a lead-in for your reader,
briefly explaining what you are going to do in the paper; include a mention of
the relevant authors/philosophers (full name) and their relevant works
EXPLANATION/BACKGROUND: this includes a clear exposition and explanation of the
important arguments/views/ideas that the paper is addressing; this sets the
stage for your argument for your thesis
ARGUMENT: this is the analytic/philosophic heart of the paper, in which you make
your case for your thesis
SUMMARY: here you briefly review what you have done in the paper, to wrap it up
for your reader
mind that you are writing for a reader! By the time you get to the composition
of your final draft, it all may seem to you like it’s getting old. But remember
that it’s new to your reader. Make sure the paper is self-contained so that
your reader can follow it without having to go to sources to figure it out.
Write for an intelligent person who has not taken a philosophy course. (Pick a
favorite friend, for example.)
Please choose one of the general topics below :
Select one of Aquinas’s arguments for the existence of God. Carefully explain
it and give your own analysis (in your own words). Evaluate the strength of the
Explain Descartes’ method of doubt as it is applied in Med. 1. Explore what
life lessons there are in this way of examining what one knows.
DeGrasse Tyson has an intriguing response to the argument from design (for the
existence of God). Select some aspect of his presentation to carefully explain
and analyze. (Video presented in the Announcements.)
Tyson present a convincing case against the argument from design? Explain his
view and support your answer.
your papers around the given structure. Tell your reader what you will be doing
in the paper and introduce the major players, in a short introduction. Take
your time! This is not a research paper ~~~ no outside sources, please! Use the
bright light of your own intelligence and imagination, our e-Resources and our
class Discussions as your primary sources.
papers should demonstrate the standards for solid analytical college papers,
which include good grammar, clear organization utilizing paragraphs, a clearly stated
thesis and an argument for that thesis. Formal footnotes aren’t necessary. You
may give initials of any text and page number, or e-Resource title, in
parentheses *after* the sentence.
Week 6 Overview
This week we meet two of
Descartes’ most illustrious and powerful rivals. Hume and Berkeley hold quite
different views from Descartes and from one another. I’m going to throw in some
jargon here, just to give a bit of a framework. Descartes, as we’ve seen, is
known as a “dualist”. There are many ways to be a dualist. But for
our purposes let’s focus just on the dualism represented by Descartes. He holds
that there are two basic kinds of things in the world: minds and material
objects (physical things). And he arrives at this metaphysical position by way
of a long argument for the existence of God. So, his metaphysics includes,
essentially, God. In the end Descartes defeats skepticism by arguing that since
God exists and is not a deceiver, the world and other minds exist, in
accordance with our beliefs that they do. Descartes’ metaphysics is a full one,
with lots of things and his epistemology a robust one, since we do have
knowledge about those things.
Recall, that his method of doubt is his
ingenious way to attempt to establish a new foundation for beliefs and
knowledge, one that has withstood the challenges of the dream argument and the
evil genius argument. Once he establishes the Cogito as the cornerstone for his
new foundation, he’s on his way. He produces a rather complicated and complex
extended argument that, because we can know God exists, we know the external
world does also. And so most of our beliefs get their epistemological
credentials as true.
Enter David Hume. He is a classic skeptic
who argues hard for the view that there is no way out of the position that we
cannot have any knowledge of a physical world with matter and minds. He takes
issue with many of Descartes foundational views, in a number of great treatises
presenting his own alternative philosophy. For Hume, as the phrase goes,
“to be is to be perceived”. All we really have are our impressions of
the world, and ideas formed from those impressions. I have the impressions of
roundness and of red, and from each of these the ideas of roundness and of red.
Then compounding these ideas I have the idea of a red ball. All of the ideas we
have are traceable to our impressions, which come directly to us through the
senses. What lies outside of these impressions? We can never know this, since
we cannot, as it were, get behind these impressions to see what the things are
like. Consider the idea of a tree. It is formed from impressions of a tree. We
think that there is a material tree out there causing our impressions and
ideas. But we can never test this. We cannot know what the *real* tree is like.
And so, regarding beliefs about everything outside of our sensations, those of
the external world, those about God and even those about other minds, we cannot
be certain. Hume does not buy Descartes attempt to defeat skepticism. He is a
most brilliant skeptic!
And this brings us to Berkeley. In our
short video, he is represented by the character “Philonus”. Berkeley
is one far out dude! He is known as an idealist. But keep in mind that he is
not a skeptic. Think of the tree example again. For Berkeley, the problem of
whether our ideas square with what is outside, with external objects/matter
isn’t really a problem. For him, there are no external objects. Berkeley says
that they are merely convenient fictions. We have our ideas and our minds, and
God and God’s
intelligence, in Berkeley’s
metaphysics. And that’s everything. He avoids skepticism by dissolving the
problem. And, again, he does so brilliantly.
The real way to get to know these thinkers
is to read their texts. If you want to continue your philosophical research on
any of these thinkers, or on any others in our class, please let me know and I
would be happy to provide suggestions for books to read. Meanwhile dig in and
enjoy! Take some time with our e-Resources. Ask questions!! Have fun!!