Project #33581 - Descartes & The Matrix

The Paper

Compose a thoughtful essay that addresses the following four issues.

• First, carefully explain the three criteria for (propositional) knowledge according to the traditional definition of knowledge. Use everyday examples to explain/support these criteria. Please use fresh examples.

• Common sense tells us that each of us knows a great number of propositions about the world around us. For example, it seems that I have enough justification (see condition (c) of the traditional definition of knowledge) to know that I am typing this sentence on my laptop, that I am seated in a chair, that I am in a building, that I ate at my favorite restaurant on Friday night, or that I am now in the USA. But the film, The Matrix, suggests that this common sense assumption is incorrect. The Matrix suggests that I don’t have enough justification to know any of these propositions and that the skeptic is right after all. Your second task in writing this essay is to use some examples from The Matrix to explain why, according to the skeptic, we don’t have enough justification to know any propositions about the world around us. Why does the skeptic insist that in order to know that a proposition is true, I must have complete justification (or absolute certainty) that it is true? Why does the skeptic claim that complete justification for propositions about the world around us is unattainable?

• Third, carefully explain how Descartes attempts to show that even if knowledge does require absolute certainty (or complete justification), he can have knowledge of at least one proposition. What is that proposition?

• Finally, end your essay by explaining whether you think Descartes is right in thinking that he can be certain of this proposition? Could Neo have employed Descartes’ method to establish a similar conclusion, even before taking the red pill? Also, do you think that a situation like the one depicted in The Matrix is in principle possible?

Your essay must be typed, double-spaced, and at least 5 full pages, but not more than 7 pages, long. It must contain at least one (substantive) reference to The Matrix and one (substantive) reference to Descartes’ Meditations. The font size should be 12. Make sure your name appears on your paper.

If you decide to write on Descartes' Meditations and the film The Matrix, you should read Meditations 1 and 2 in the course textbook. You should also read the lectures for that topic on the course website.

 Subject Philosophy Due By (Pacific Time) 06/25/2014 12:00 am
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