Philosophy Essay

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Philosophical Essay

You will write a two-part 6- 8-page essay using our Library Guide for PHIL101 and our
Online Library to answer one of the following questions:

  • Consider the following
         philosophical puzzle: “If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one
         around to hear it, does it make a sound?” (1) How is this philosophical
         puzzle an epistemological problem? And (2) how would John Locke answer it?

  • Evaluate the movie, The
         Matrix, in terms of the philosophical issues raised with (1) skepticism
         and (2) the mind-body problem. Explain how the movie raises questions
         similar to those found in Plato’s and Descartes’ philosophy. Do not give a
         plot summary of the movie – focus on the philosophical issues raised in
         the movie as they relate to Plato and Descartes.

  • Socrates asks Euthyphro, “Are
         morally good acts willed by God because they are morally good, or are they
         morally good because they are willed by God?” (1) How does this question
         relate to the Divine Command Theory of morality? (2) What are the
         philosophical implications associated with each option here?

  • Summarize the problem of evil
         and critically evaluate how it is said to undermine the traditional
         characteristics of God.

  • Explain (1) the process by
         which Descartes uses skepticism to refute skepticism, and (2) what first
         principle does this lead him to? (3) Explain why this project was
         important for Descartes to accomplish. 

Part 1: At the end of week four you
will turn in (1) a clearly articulated thesis statement, and (2) a selected
list of appropriate sources using our Library Guide for PHIL101 and our
Online Library, as indicated below:

at least one encyclopedia, or similar work, providing a big picture overview of
key issues your topic needs to address.

2.  Identify at least one secondary
source, an interpretive work, addressing your topic which was written by
someone other than the philosophers identified in your topic.

3.  Identify at least one primary
source, from a major philosopher identified in your topic choice. Be sure that
the primary source selected pertains to the issues raised by your topic.

4.  Identify at least one journal
article database, available in the APUS Online Library, where contemporary
philosophical articles pertaining to your topic, can be located.

Explain briefly how the content of
each source will assist you with your Philosophical Essay Assignment. Provide a
complete reference in MLA style for each work, 1-3, selected.

Continue to next page for an example of what is due at week four –


The following is an
(do not copy and use) of what is due at week four:


Thesis Statement:


In this essay I evaluate the
  philosophical puzzle: “If a tree falls in the forest and there's no one
  around to hear it, does it make a sound?” In my evaluation I explain that
  this question raises the epistemological problem of how a subjective
  experience, such as sound, relates to what can be known of reality. I
  demonstrate that this question is a puzzle because it exposes the limits of
  what we can claim to know based on sensory experience. Lastly, I will explain
  how the empiricist, John Locke, would evaluate and answer the puzzle. 




Encyclopedia or similar comprehensive works:


Kemerling, Garth. “John Locke: The Origin of
  Ideas.”  Philosophy Pages. Britannica
  Internet.2001. Web. 1 Mar. 2009.


This source is a quick introduction to Locke and
  his philosophical perspective and introduces the main themes in his work, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.
  It will also help me understand the more complicated aspects of Locke’s
  epistemology that I’ll be reading to write my essay.


Uzgalis, William. “John Locke: The Limits of Human
  Understanding.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2007. Web. 1 Mar. 2009.


This source presents a much more detailed analysis
  of Locke’s epistemology from his work, An
  Essay Concerning Human Understanding.


Secondary sources:


E.J. Lowe. Routledge Philosophy Guide Book on
  Locke: On Human Understanding. New
  York, NY : Routledge, 1995. NetLibrary. 2002. 1 Mar. 2009


This source provides me with a comprehensive
  discussion of John Locke, the person, and the arguments he puts forth in An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.
  It will also help me understand the book as it relates to historical events
  and ideas. Additionally, it identifies arguments from the work’s supporters
  and critics.


Primary sources:


Locke, John. 
  An Essay Concerning Human
. Kitchener, Ont.: Batoche, 2001. Ebrary. 2005. 4 Oct. 2010.


This is Locke’s own writing which allows me to
  read how Lock perceived the problem of knowledge, experience and sensation in
  his own words.


Journal article database:


EBSCO’s Academic Search Elite


This is a searchable database of scholarly
  articles from many academic disciplines, including philosophy. I can use it
  to find contemporary scholarly articles pertaining to epistemology, perception,
  and Locke.  It also contains the full
  text of many of the articles.


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