Answer at least 2 question or as many as you'd like as long as it's at least 1800 words. Theory of knowledge essay.

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Theory of Knowledge -- PHIL 215/315 – Spring Term 2018



Midterm – Take Home Essay Exam/Assignment


Instructions: Taking into account the variety of readings, class material, and assigned texts, and discussions, in which we have engaged so far this semester--compose a scholarly essay or group/set of scholarly essays addressing at least two of the questions listed below. (You may answer as many of the questions as you wish, but you must answer at least two of them.) In these essays, I want you to take a definitive position (or positions) and defend it/them. I really do not care what position(s) you take at this point. What I am looking to see is how well you defend whatever position(s) you decide upon, and probably equally importantly, how much you have absorbed from the course exhibited in the formulation of your defense. Do not be afraid to take any position (or positions) with which you think I may disagree. It may be in your best interest to do so. I am far more interested in the argument(s) you construct, than in the specifics of the conclusion(s) you decide to defend! In all of your answers/ essays, focus especially on the following central theory of knowledge questions: What do we know? How are we to decide whether or when we know? What is the extent of our knowledge? And, what is or are the criteria (or criterion) of or for knowledge?


The total length of answer for PHIL 315 students should be 1800+ words. (That is, the total length of answers for all the questions you answer can be whatever length you choose, for PHIL 315 students this length must be at least 1800 words.) In addition, the totality of your essay answers to this assignment must contain at least five separate cited direct quotations or cited indirect references to texts or readings which we have assigned or recommended so far this semester – including everything which has been put up on D2L. All of your answers should be either typed or word-processed.


Furthermore, all answers should be as clear, lucid, concise, precise, and to the point as you can (or as is reasonably and practically possible). If you quote or paraphrase any document, including our required texts, required course readings, any additional reference text(s), or anything you find on the internet, you must cite it, including page numbers, or, where necessary, virtual page numbers, or possibly paragraph numbers. Please turn in these assignments to the D2L drop box I will establish. In addition, also turn in both paper and electronic copies as a failsafe. Best of luck!

Best of luck!

********** the questions should be numbered from 1-18, for some reason they only show up as 1s.***********

  1. Compare, contrast, and critically evaluate the theory of knowledge viewpoints of two or more of the following philosophical figures listed below. What are your critical thoughts regarding these theories of knowledge? How well do you think it or they succeed? Or, do not succeed? Why? Explain and defend your answer. (You may answer this question twice):


  • Plato/Socrates
  • Aristotle
  • Augustine
  • Anselm
  • Aquinas
  • Hobbes
  • Sextus Empiricus (Pyhrronism)
  • Descartes
  • Locke
  • Berkeley
  • Hume
  • Reid




  1. What is the base-line Socratic-Platonic theory of knowledge, taking into account at least some of the key notions listed below: How well do you think this base-line theory either succeeds or does not succeed? Why? Explain and defend your answer.


  • The Divided Line
  • Becoming v. Being
  • Ideal Forms
  • Participation
  • Anamnesis or Recollection
  • The Myth of the Cave, and the Analogy of the Sun
  • Virtue
  • Contemplation of the Form of the Good


  1. What is the basic Aristotelian theory of knowledge, taking into account at least some of the key notions listed below: What are your critical thoughts regarding this Aristotelian epistemic viewpoint? How well do you think it succeeds? Or, does not succeed? Why? Explain and defend your answer.


  • Aristotle’s “method” of the “sciences” (knowledge)
  • Induction by enumeration
  • Induction by insight
  • Aristotle’s conception or theory of the four causes
  • The syllogism
  • The square of opposition
  • Universal and particular truths
  • Aristotelian method and necessity; scientific First Principles as necessary truth
  • Essential v. accidental attributes in Aristotle
  • Hylomorphism / hylomorphic theory
  • Species
  • Natural Kinds
  • Teleology
  • Form & Matter


  1. What is the essential Pyrrhonist (Sextus Empiricus) critique of any non-skeptical, positive theory of knowledge, taking into account at least some of the notions listed below: What are your critical thoughts regarding this negative argument? How well do you think it succeeds? Or, does not succeed? Why? Explain and defend your answer.


  • Diallelus (the wheel) argument
  • The Problem of the Criterion
  • Academic Skepticism
  • Pyrrhonian Skepticism
  • Dogmatism
  • Appearance v. Reality
  • Ataraxia
  • Tropes
  • Ten Modes


What are the fundamentals of Descartes’ theory of knowledge as developed in his Meditations on First Philosophy and Principles of Philosophy -- taking into account at least some of the notions listed below: What are your critical thoughts regarding this epistemic viewpoint? How well do you think it succeeds? Or, does not succeed? Why? Explain and defend your answer.


  • Method of Doubt
  • Three Stages of Doubt
  • The Cogito
  • Essence of Thinking Substance
  • Essence of Physical Substance
  • Hardly Perceptible & Far/Distant Objects Hypothesis
  • Dream Hypothesis
  • Evil Demon Hypothesis
  • Clear & Distinct Ideas
  • God as Infinite and Perfect Substance
  • Formal Reality v. Objective Reality
  • The Cartesian Circle
  • Dualism
  • The Mind-Body Problem


  1. In the Meditations . . . , Descartes presents a number of skeptical possibilities that he thinks illustrate that our beliefs about the world derived from perception lack absolute certainty. What are these skeptical possibilities? Do you think Descartes is right in his view that we do not know with absolute certainty anything about the external, non-subjective world purely on the basis of perception? Why or why not? Do the philosophical views of other authors investigated this semester (so far), in addition to Descartes, shed light on this question? Explain and defend your answer.


  1. Descartes admits that he could be wrong when he thinks he sees a light, hears a noise, or feels heat. However, he says he could not possibly be mistaken if he believes that he seems to see a light, hear a noise, or feel heat. Is he correct about this? Why or why not? Do the philosophical views of other authors investigated this semester (so far), in addition to Descartes, shed light on this question? Explain and defend your answer.


  1. What is Descartes trying to show with his example of the piece of wax, near the end of the “Second Meditation?” Do you agree with the lesson he attempts to draw from the piece of wax? Why or why not? Do the philosophical views of other authors investigated this semester (so far), in addition to Descartes, shed light on this question? Explain and defend your answer.


  1. In the “Meditations . . .” what finally is Descartes’ answer to skepticism? Explain. In your view is Descartes’ answer correct in/on this matter? Why or why not? Do the philosophical views of other authors investigated this semester (so far), in addition to Descartes, shed light on this question? Explain and defend your answer.


  1. In the Meditations . . . what finally is Descartes’ answer to solipsism? Explain. In your view is Descartes’ answer correct in/on this matter? Why or why not? Do the philosophical views of other authors investigated this semester (so far), in addition to Descartes, shed light on this question? Explain and defend your answer.


  1. What is meant by the Cartesian “circle”? Explain. Does this alleged philosophical problem ultimately defeat the Cartesian project? Why or why not? Do the philosophical views of other authors investigated this semester (so far) in addition to Descartes, shed light on this question? Explain and defend your answer.


  1. Why is Descartes called a “dualist”? What is his theory or viewpoint regarding the relationship between mental entities and physical things? What is his theory or viewpoint of substance? How are Descartes’ philosophical viewpoints related to what is sometimes called the “mind-body” problem? Explain. Does the alleged philosophical issue of dualism ultimately defeat the Cartesian project? Why or why not? Do the philosophical views of other authors investigated this semester (so far), in addition to Descartes, shed light on this question? Explain and defend your answer.


  1. What are the basic skeptical arguments laid out by David Hume (discussed by Palmer, etc.) concerning our alleged knowledge of the external world, as well as, our knowledge of causation and necessary connection? What are your critical thoughts regarding such arguments? How well do you think these arguments either succeed or not succeed? In your view, are these arguments cogent? Why or why not? Do the philosophical views of other authors investigated this semester (so far), in addition to David Hume, shed light on this question? Explain and defend your answer.


  1. What was Immanuel Kant’s basic answer to Hume’s skeptical claims? How did Hume’s writings, according to Kant, “rouse him out of his dogmatic slumber?” Does Kant’s regulative “rationalism-empiricism” solve or resolve issues introduced by Hume’s thoughts concerning and alleged analysis of causation? Why or why not? Explain and defend your answer.


  1. What is R. M. Chrisolm’s basic point (or points) in his article, “The Problem of the Criteria?” Do you agree or disagree with these points. Do the philosophical views of other authors investigated this semester (so far), in addition to Chrisolm, shed light on this question? Explain and defend your answer.


  1. What is the basic line of argument laid out in Lewis Carrol’s short article (or monogram) “What Achilles said to the Tortoise?” What are your critical thoughts regarding such a line of argument? In your view, is this line of reasoning cogent? If so, why? And, if not so, why? Do the philosophical views of other authors investigated this semester shed light on this question? Explain and defend your answer.


  1. What is the basic line of argument laid out in Edmund Gettier’s short article, Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?” What are your critical thoughts regarding such a line of argument? In your view, is this line of reasoning cogent? If so, why? And, if not so, why? Do the philosophical views of other authors investigated this semester shed light on this question? Explain and defend your answer.


  1. You may answer any of the questions from Palmer’s Does the Center Hold? – pp. 72 & 110 that you did not answer on your previous drop box assignment, or any of the questions from Palmer’s Looking at Philosophy, the Unbearable Heaviness Made Light under the “Topics for Consideration” headline.


  1. Your choice -- but if you exercise this option you should probably come see me first.



Philosophy Course -- Evaluation (Grading) Rubric

Twenty Points (out of 20 pts.) For Each


  1. Philosophical Content
  2. How well did you answer the question?
  3. Overall Cogency of Argument
  4. Readability (including grammar & spelling) and Organization
  5. Textual accuracy, citations, references



Tutor Answer

Chancellor_Ivy
School: Carnegie Mellon University

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Anonymous
Outstanding Job!!!!

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