Project #92588 - First Essay Assignment

 

Philosophy 101 WF2– Introduction to Philosophy and Its History, II

 

St. Peter’s University – Fall Term UG 2 – Professor Evans

 

First Essay Assignment

 

Your essay should be approximately 600 words.  This gives you an idea of the length I expect, but I don’t count words or pages.  Write the best essay that you can.  Answer all topics and questions (they are in bold).  Please type your essay in MS Word and send it to me by email attachment.  Please don’t use any other word processing programs, because I may not be able to open them. Your essay should be double-spaced, with margins about 1 inch all the way around.  I do expect that you will proofread your essay and correct typos and grammatical errors.  The date the essay is due is absolutely no later than Tuesday, November 10th, at 6 p.m.

 

As I mentioned about the other essays, this is not a research assignment.  I strongly recommend again that you do not search online for help in writing this essay.  Most of what is online is either junk or simply not relevant for us.  I have designed this assignment so that you need only consult our reading and my notes on the chapter in order to write a fine essay.  If you have any questions, just ask me.

 

I remind you again about the policies on plagiarism and on late assignments as stated on our syllabus.

 

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Briefly explain Montaigne’s skepticism by choosing how he treats two of the four subjects in question #2 on page 314 of our reading.  You don’t have to deal with all four!

 

Descartes’ method of doubt is to treat as false, for his purpose of discovering some idea that is absolutely certain, any idea that is not beyond any doubt.  So why does Descartes doubt that his senses are a reliable source of knowledge?  What is the problem of dreaming in Descartes’ philosophy?  What is the evil genius, and why does he say that if the evil genius exists, then he can’t even use mathematics as the absolutely certain foundation for all knowledge?

 

Descartes and Montaigne lived in a time of profound changes in science, religion, and the whole of Western culture.  What does Montaigne fall back on, despite his skepticism, as a reliable guide on how to live?  What does Descartes think he discovers that is beyond any possible doubt, some truths that cannot be challenged even if so much that people had taken for granted as true in science, religion, and the whole culture had been seriously challenged and even rejected?

 

Finally, suppose that you live in such turbulent times, when so much of what you took for granted as true as been seriously challenged and even rejected.  Perhaps our own time is like that.  Just consider how, in our culture, attitudes have changed so dramatically in recent years about racism, about whether homosexuality is evil, or about whether science can explain the human soul in purely physical and biological terms, not to mention lots of other topics. What would you fall back on as at least solid and reliable, if not absolutely certain in Descartes’ sense,  in order to choose how to live (as Montaigne does), or in order to try to pursue the truth about the nature of human beings, about God, and about the universe, as Descartes does?

 

Subject Philosophy
Due By (Pacific Time) 11/10/2015 03:00 pm
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