Project #93147 - Can we know the nature of reality


Course Objectives:

Objective 1 - Describe and discuss general areas of philosophy metaphysics and theory of knowledge. 

Objective 2 - Describe and discuss various philosophical problems, such as the nature of reality and appearance, conditions and limits of human. 

Objective 3 - Re-present and formulate different types of arguments and answers which have been offered in response to philosophic problems.

Objective 4
 - Clearly engage in critical summary, analysis and/or evaluation of a philosopher’s argument, by explicitly employing the methods of argument through writing, (identification of assumptions, identification of premise/conclusion relationships, evaluation of logical validity and overall soundness within an argument’s inferences). 

Objective 5
 - Clearly draw conclusions on the basis of explicit presentation of supporting arguments. When appropriate, these conclusions should emphasize ethical implications of issues and situations.

Method of Assessment:
 In addition to demonstration of the course objectives listed above and the unit objectives associated with the unit for this essay, student essays will be assessed on how well the student demonstrates the following:

  • complete all parts of the essay
  • objectively analyze and evaluate the topic under consideration
  • originality of writing

Your essay will not be evaluated on whether I agree with what you are saying. I will be looking at your understanding of the issues, but, mostly, I will be looking at the amount of depth, development and thoughtfulness that you bring to your answers. I will also look to see that you develop arguments for your conclusions, and that you avoid dogma and unsupported opinion. To this end, avoid expressions such as “its true for me,” and, "I feel." Provide thinking rather than feeling, and arguments rather than opinions.

Due Dates:
 Check the Course Schedule for Due Dates. 

Essay Instructions: A copy of this exercise is available to download by clicking "here".

Philosophy 191
Critical Thinking Essay
Unit 5: Can We Know the Nature of Reality?

Name: ________________________________________

Consider the following situation:

One day you and two of your philosopher friends are out for a walk. Choose your two friends from any of the philosophers within Chapter Five. It is now several weeks into summer and you find it to be a very pleasant day. It is sunny and dry, and seems to you to be neither two hot nor too cold. It is just perfect! You pass by an orange tree; and you decide to pick and eat a piece of fruit. It looks, smells, and tastes delicious to you. But then you remember who you are walking with, and that for each of these people, the difference between what appears to be real and what is actually real is a major concern. 

Although they don’t fully agree on the answers, they do agree on the questions. 

These are: Is the world as I experience it through my senses “real,” or merely a subjectively formed set of “appearances”? Is this day really the way I experience it to be? Is this orange really the way it smells and tastes to me?

Your assignment is to write a two to three page paper (from 700 to 1000 words), which tells what happened in the conversation that you had with the two philosophers. What points of view did the three of you begin to develop, in response to the questions posed above? How did all of you respond to each other’s claims and arguments? Your paper should be organized into the four sections described below. Please use the section headings, Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four, within your paper. 

Part One: Area of Philosophy. Write an introduction to your paper, which clearly identifies a general area of philosophy, within which the philosophical problem that you will be exploring can be found. Refer to Chapter One if you need to review these areas. Do you think that the question posed above place your discussion within Metaphysics, Theory of Knowledge, Ethics, Political Philosophy, and/or Philosophy of Religion? Part one of your paper should be brief and concise. No more than 50 to 100 words maximum.

Part Two: Argument Analysis: Present the points of view, and the arguments supporting those views, from the two philosophers you have chosen to discuss these philosophical questions with you. Summarize and pick these arguments apart a little. What are the main premises of their arguments? Does they make any important assumptions? What evidence do they present that is factual and verifiable? And what evidence do they present that is more a matter of speculation and/or interpretation? In this section of your paper you are merely analyzing, or, picking apart the arguments. Do not draw any conclusions as to whether or not these arguments are valid and/or sound. This section of your paper should be at least 250 words.

Part Three: Argument Evaluation. In this section present and defend some judgments about these arguments. Are these premises safe to accept? Are there any questionable assumptions made? If we do accept them do they take us logically to their conclusions? Your evaluation should make explicit use of concepts such as “assumption,” “soundness” and “validity,” as these are presented within Chapter One of the text. This section of your paper should be at least 250 words.

Part Four:
 Conclusion. Draw your own interesting and relevant conclusions about the philosophical problem you are exploring. Do not merely offer a set of "feelings" or an “opinion.” Instead, build your own argument, regarding the questions above. If you find that you are in agreement with some of the philosopher's ideas, then you can use these as part of your own argument, so long as you do not merely reiterate what they are saying. This part of your paper should be 300 words minimum.

Formatting the essay: 

The essays should be saved into Microsoft Word file format. If they are not, then the professor will not be able to open them to grade. You should not copy and paste your essays into the dialog box associated with this essay in the Drop Box This is because your professor will need to download your essays and give you grading comments. Your essays should be single-spaced, with one-inch margins, and a 10-point Arial font. 

The primary goal of each writing exercise is to (1) demonstrate your knowledge of the material, and (2), to demonstrate your ability to apply philosophical reasoning skills to the various topics we cover. Since this is a short paper, you are not allowed to use to quotes. Instead, you should paraphrase people’s ideas into your own words so that it is clear that you have comprehension of the material. 

When you have finished your essay, you should upload it to the course Dropbox by the due date listed in the course schedule. You can find the Dropbox at the top right of the course home page. Your professor will grade your essay and return it to you with grading comments. 

Subject Philosophy
Due By (Pacific Time) 11/15/2015 12:00 am
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