Short Paper on
In his celebrated "Dream Argument,"
Descartes maintained that we should not trust any test that purports to
distinguish dreaming from waking states.
For any test you can think of, Descartes argued, you can never know
whether you actually performed the test (and so have in hand useful test
results) or whether you merely dreamed that you performed it (and so do not
have any test results -- the test never took place because you merely dreamed
that you performed it!).
week we have to apply Descartes' argumentation to the "pinch test,"
according to which if you pinch yourself hard right now and feel a sharp stab
of pain then you know that you are awake.
Please be sure that the essay addresses the following:
- What would Descartes conclude about the reliability of
the pinch test?
- Exactly why would he conclude this?
- Do you agree with Descartes' reasoning and conclusion? Why or why not?
Please ensure that your
essay addresses each component of the assigned questions and that your answer
is well organized, uses excellent, college-level prose, and makes judicious use
of textual evidence. Your essay should
be 600-900 words long.