Paper 2 Guidelines

We’vearrived! Your second paper! It should be 2-3 double-spaced pages (12 Font),following this basic structure:

1.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 ofthe relevant authors/philosophers (full name) and their relevant works

2.EXPLANATION/BACKGROUND: this includes a clear exposition and explanation of theimportant arguments/views/ideas that the paper is addressing; this sets thestage for your argument for your thesis

3.ARGUMENT: this is the analytic/philosophic heart of the paper, in which you makeyour case for your thesis

4.SUMMARY: here you briefly review what you have done in the paper, to wrap it upfor your reader

Keep inmind that you are writing for a reader! By the time you get to the compositionof your final draft, it all may seem to you like it’s getting old. But rememberthat it’s new to your reader. Make sure the paper is self-contained so thatyour 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 afavorite friend, for example.)

TOPICS:Please choose one of the general topics below :

1.Select one of Aquinas’s arguments for the existence of God. Carefully explainit and give your own analysis (in your own words). Evaluate the strength of theargument.

2.Explain Descartes’ method of doubt as it is applied in Med. 1. Explore whatlife lessons there are in this way of examining what one knows.

3. NeilDeGrasse Tyson has an intriguing response to the argument from design (for theexistence of God). Select some aspect of his presentation to carefully explainand analyze. (Video presented in the Announcements.)

4. DoesTyson present a convincing case against the argument from design? Explain hisview and support your answer.

Organizeyour papers around the given structure. Tell your reader what you will be doingin the paper and introduce the major players, in a short introduction. Takeyour time! This is not a research paper ~~~ no outside sources, please! Use thebright light of your own intelligence and imagination, our e-Resources and ourclass Discussions as your primary sources.

Thesepapers should demonstrate the standards for solid analytical college papers,which include good grammar, clear organization utilizing paragraphs, a clearly statedthesis and an argument for that thesis. Formal footnotes aren’t necessary. Youmay give initials of any text and page number, or e-Resource title, inparentheses *after* the sentence.

Week 6 Overview

This week we meet two ofDescartes’ most illustrious and powerful rivals. Hume and Berkeley hold quitedifferent views from Descartes and from one another. I’m going to throw in somejargon here, just to give a bit of a framework. Descartes, as we’ve seen, isknown as a “dualist”. There are many ways to be a dualist. But forour purposes let’s focus just on the dualism represented by Descartes. He holdsthat there are two basic kinds of things in the world: minds and materialobjects (physical things). And he arrives at this metaphysical position by wayof a long argument for the existence of God. So, his metaphysics includes,essentially, God. In the end Descartes defeats skepticism by arguing that sinceGod exists and is not a deceiver, the world and other minds exist, inaccordance 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 haveknowledge about those things.

Recall, that his method of doubt is hisingenious way to attempt to establish a new foundation for beliefs andknowledge, one that has withstood the challenges of the dream argument and theevil genius argument. Once he establishes the Cogito as the cornerstone for hisnew foundation, he’s on his way. He produces a rather complicated and complexextended argument that, because we can know God exists, we know the externalworld does also. And so most of our beliefs get their epistemologicalcredentials as true.

Enter David Hume. He is a classic skepticwho argues hard for the view that there is no way out of the position that wecannot have any knowledge of a physical world with matter and minds. He takesissue with many of Descartes foundational views, in a number of great treatisespresenting his own alternative philosophy. For Hume, as the phrase goes,”to be is to be perceived”. All we really have are our impressions ofthe world, and ideas formed from those impressions. I have the impressions ofroundness 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 wehave are traceable to our impressions, which come directly to us through thesenses. What lies outside of these impressions? We can never know this, sincewe cannot, as it were, get behind these impressions to see what the things arelike. Consider the idea of a tree. It is formed from impressions of a tree. Wethink that there is a material tree out there causing our impressions andideas. 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 ofthe external world, those about God and even those about other minds, we cannotbe certain. Hume does not buy Descartes attempt to defeat skepticism. He is amost brilliant skeptic!

And this brings us to Berkeley. In ourshort video, he is represented by the character “Philonus”. Berkeleyis one far out dude! He is known as an idealist. But keep in mind that he isnot a skeptic. Think of the tree example again. For Berkeley, the problem ofwhether our ideas square with what is outside, with external objects/matterisn’t really a problem. For him, there are no external objects. Berkeley saysthat they are merely convenient fictions. We have our ideas and our minds, andGod and God’s

intelligence, in Berkeley’smetaphysics. And that’s everything. He avoids skepticism by dissolving theproblem. And, again, he does so brilliantly.

The real way to get to know these thinkersis to read their texts. If you want to continue your philosophical research onany of these thinkers, or on any others in our class, please let me know and Iwould be happy to provide suggestions for books to read. Meanwhile dig in andenjoy! Take some time with our e-Resources. Ask questions!! Have fun!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.