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Explain Descartes critical application of his method of doubt and the way he builds knowledge on a new foundation

This assignment consists a short essay question, and a short response question. The main intent of these questions is to ensure that you have a sound grasp of the fundamentals of the material presented in this unit. To that end, there is a  (1000 words) limit for the short essay question. Im not so concerned with whether you agree with a particular author or not. The quality of your answer is based on your exposition of the competing positions, your comparative analysis of those positions and, lastly, your argument in support of the position you defend.
As with all the assignments in this course, the short essay question is not designed to be a research question. There is no requirement to get material from external sources such as other authors, or reference websites, who have summarized, or criticized, the authors you are dealing with. In effect, including such material defeats your purpose in completing your essay because you are essentially telling me what some other person thought about the material you should be explaining and assessing. If you make reference to sources external to the course readings it will be detrimental to your mark. In some cases, I may ask you to re-work and submit your assignment. The point of your essay is to formulate the course material and develop your critical response. You can do this by working with the course material and developing your own ideas about the issue. The essay is simply your opportunity to set that out in paper.
So, the material you need to successfully complete this assignment can be found in the online course materials available through the course site. There may also be some reading material that is part of the hard copy course readings package. You can find this information on the course materials section of our course website.
1. Short Essay Question: (90 marks) In the Meditations, Descartes makes a clean sweep of his beliefs and begins again. Explain Descartes critical application of his method of doubt and the way he builds knowledge on a new foundation. Can Descartes rationalist account of knowledge of external objects withstand the criticisms of Lockes empiricism? In the end, which epistemological account is more plausible, Descartes rationalism or Lockes empiricist account? Provide an argument in support of your conclusion.
2. Short Response Question: (10 marks) You should try to limit yourself to two or three paragraphs for this question.
Review the course reading by David Hume on the problem of induction. Explain why the problem of induction is especially problematic for empiricist accounts of knowledge.
Assigned reading/viewing/listening
The assigned readings should be read in the following order:
The Problem of Knowledge
1.    Kant, Immanuel. 1997. Preamble on the distinguishing feature of all metaphysical cognition. In Prolegomena to any future metaphysics, with selections from the critique of pure reason, ed. Gary Hatfield, 15-23. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Available in your readings package.
1.    Plato, Meno, written 380 B.C.E. translated by Benjamin Jowett http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/meno.html
2.    Ren Descartes, Meditations on the first philosophy. Please read Meditations I, II, III, IV, and V.  http://www.wright.edu/cola/descartes/mede.html
Classical Empiricism
1. John Locke, Of our Knowledge of the Existence of Other things excerpts from An essay concerning human understanding, Volume I, Book II, Chapter VIII, Sections 7-24, and Volume II, Book IV, Chapter XI, Sections 1-9. http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~mcarthun/LockeEmpiricism.pdf
2. George Berkeley, excerpts from A treatise concerning the principles of human knowledge, Part I, Sections 1-22. http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~mcarthun/BerkeleyEmpiricism.pdf
3. David Hume. Sceptical doubts concerning the operations of the understanding. In An Enquiry concerning human understanding. Section IV, Part I. http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~mcarthun/HumeEnquiry1.pdf
Humean Scepticism
1. David Hume. Sceptical doubts concerning the operations of the understanding. In An Enquiry concerning human understanding, Section IV, Part II. http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~mcarthun/HumeEnquiry2.pdf
2. Salmon, Merrilee H. 1995. Mills method for establishing causal claims. In Introduction to logic and critical thinking. 3rd ed., 151-162. Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publishers. Available in your readings package.
3. Bertrand Russell, excerpts from The Problems of Philosophy, Chapter VI On Induction. http://www.ditext.com/russell/rus6.html
4. Popper, Karl R. 1959. A survey of some fundamental problems. In The logic of scientific discovery, 27-33. New York: Basic Books Inc. Available in your readings package.
Realism vs. Phenomenalism
You may wish to review the assigned readings by Locke and Berkeley from the Classical Empiricism section, above.
1. Barnes, Winston H. F. 1945. The myth of sense data. In Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 89-117.
Available in your readings package
2. John Stuart Mill  http://www.bartleby.com/224/0108.html

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