Length: approximately 1000 wordsPurpose:This assignment is designed for you to take the time and energy to delve into some of the material you have been presented within Modules 1 or 2
and analyze it—that is, explain what you think it means and whether you think it’s reasonable or not (and why). You may write it either as an analysis, as you did last term, or you might write in a more creative form. Make sure to look at the section below, ‘How you’ll be marked’, to make sure that a creative piece of writing still satisfies these general criteria. Otherwise, I’m open!Instructions: You have two options here:OPTION 1:Choose your own topic (ideally), use one of the suggested topics below, or alter one of them. Then write an analysis as you did last term.
1) You may choose to write on any of the articles—either required or recommended—that we’ve dealt with inModule 1 or 2
. The requires articles are those by:Plato, Descartes, Berkeley, Chalmers, Locke, Williams, Frankfurt, Harari, Ryle, Churchland, and Jackson.
My suggestion is simply to look at whatever interested you the most.2) Choose either a whole article, a section from an article, or a point of debate that comes up in more than one article. Re-read the whole article(s) very carefully and slowly. Take notes.This should take at least a couple of hours.
3) You may choose to write the essayhowever you see fit
—including in a creative format; but be sure to stay close to the texts.INCLUDE AT LEAST TWO DIRECT QUOTATIONS FROM THE ARTICLE(S) IN YOUR ESSAY.This gives me some evidence that you’ve actually read the text.4) If you’re not sure what I mean by this, my recommendation is to write a summary of the ideas you are focussing on (600 words roughly) in your own words, though the use of quotations here or there is encouraged. (Just don’t make most of it quotation—the point is to see that you can articulate the ideas in your own words.)Then critically respond to any of the points you have summarized
. This could involve a) an objection: i.e., arguing that that a premise is false (or not necessarily true); b) responding to a possible or likely objection in order to defend the author’s point; c) showing that the conclusion does not follow from the premises.* Finding a critical response may be difficult at first. I suggest trying to write the summary first. When you get to a point that is difficult to explain, ask yourself whether it’s you that hasn’t understood it or whether there might be something that doesn’t make sense. Go back to the text again and try to work it out. This may involve re-reading not just a section but the whole article again. If you still can’t articulate the idea, then try your best to say what it is that remains unclear. If you can do this, then you have successfully stated an objection.Here are somesample topics
. I’d prefer you to use these as models or guidelines, but you may answer them directly if you really want to.Sample a) Can Berkeley successfully distinguish between ideas and spirits/minds? b) What is Chalmers’ distinction between the matrix hypothesis as a skeptical versus a metaphysical hypothesis? Is his discussion of its ramifications correct in your view? c) Explain Descartes’ argument concerning dreams with as much clarity as possible and respond to it critically. Include his discussion at the end ofMeditation 6
as well. d) Provide an interpretation of Plato’s cave allegory. (Be sure to mention if yours is compatible or not withhis own
interpretation.)[note: I have readhundreds of student interpretations over the years.] e) Why is the intelligible realm more real than the sensible for Plato? What is this whole intelligible realm? Is Plato right? f) How does Berkeley argue that there is no material world at all? What is the so-called material world in his view? Is he right? g) What does ‘to exist’ (or ‘to be’) mean? Is there another way to understand it other than Berkeley’s way? If so, how might this affect his argument?h) What the heck is going on in Locke? Specifically, what exactly is the ‘person’ according to Locke, and how is it related to the ‘man’ and the ‘mind’? Does his account make sense? i) What do Williams’ two scenarios demonstrate, if anything? j) Does Frankfurt’s distinction between a primary and secondary desire actually correspond to our psychological reality? k) Is Harari’s determinism all physicalist? l) Write a debate between Frankfurt and Harari. m) How might a dualist respond to any of Ryle’s objections? n) Discuss the importance of the idea of ‘information’ in Churchland and/orJackson.OPTION 2:
Write in some other form in such a way as to reflect both understanding of and some questioning of (at least) one of the texts from Module 1 or 2.One good option is to write a dialogue between at least two characters of your choice.Just make sure to incorporate two direction quotations still.HOW YOU’LL BE MARKED
My grading is based on the following factors:
- Evidence of a reasonable degree and breadth of understanding of the chosen article(s).
- Evidence of independent thought, whether through criticism, interpretation, synthesis, etc.
- Proper mechanics, including grammar, punctuation, citations, spelling.
*Note that the Tutorial and Learning Centre may be able to help you with this.About other sourcesNote very well: if you use any sources other than The Elements of Philosophy, be sure to cite them. This includes all internet sources you use—even if you don’t take quotations from them.Failure to do so will result in a zero for plagiarism.
If you are unsure about whether you might be plagiarising, I recommend watching a tutorial video, courtesy of our library: go towww.georgebrown.ca/LLC, click on ‘Study Tools’, then click on ‘Tutorials’ at the bottom of the menu on the left, then click on ‘Avoiding Plagiarism and Research Skills’.