INSTRUCTIONS: Answer exactly one question from category A. and exactly one question from category B. For the questions that you answer, make certain that you strive for the following:Clarity – In a clear paper, it is easy to understand the purpose of the paper, each section, and each paragraph. Further, the meaning of each sentence is easy to understand.
Tips: Have an introductory paragraph that states the topic of the essay and announces the plan of the essay; Use short sentences; Use active voice; Avoid pretentious words and jargon; Use examples; Dont use rhetorical questions (theyre annoying, arent they?); Have a conclusion paragraph that gives an overview of what you have done. .
Comprehensiveness – In a comprehensive paper, everything that must be said is said. That is, it gives the reader everything she needs to understand the project and explores everything that needs to be explored.
Tips: Provide a definition or explanation for any term or idea that a college-educated person might not know; Provide justification and clarification for each premise of the argument you reconstruct; Make obvious how the premises come together to support the conclusion.
Conciseness – In a concise paper, nothing is said that mustnt be said.
Tips: Avoid wordiness; Avoid unnecessary quotations; Dont ramble.
Correctness – a correct paper is free of factual errors.
Creativity – a creative paper has at least one original example, explanation, or argument that serves the purpose of the overall paper. How you will be scored: Each answer is worth 50% of the paper grade. Each answer will be judged by its clarity, comprehensiveness, conciseness, correctness, and creativity (each category is worth 10% of your paper grade). CATEGORY A (ANSWER ONE QUESTION FROM THIS CATEGORY)Descartes doubts and demons
In the first meditation, Descartes states that [Its possible that] some malicious demon of the utmost power and cunning has employed all his energies in order to deceive me. I shall think that the sky, the air, the earth, colours, shapes and sounds of all external things are merely the delusions of dreams which he had devised to ensnare my judgement (Descartes, Med. I).Why does he think that the mere possibility of the existence of the demon is a reason to think that think that there are no external objects? (Hint: a complete answer will mention Descartes project and the method of doubt)
In order to overcome his skepticism, Descartes sets out to proveThe C&D Rule: anything that I clearly and distinctly perceive to be true is guaranteed to be true. Give a full explanation of his argument in favor of The C&D Rule.Remember that a full explanation is an explanation that introduces the premises that are meant to support the conclusion, identifies the conclusion, explains the justification for each premise, and makes the reason(s) for thinking that the premises support the conclusion explicit. You do not have to give the formulation of the argument that I gave in class, but you are more than welcome to.
Gettier argues against a specific theory of knowledge that is sometimes called the JTB analysis of knowledge. Whats the JTB analysis of knowledge?
Describe a scenario of your own that shows the JTB analysis of knowledge to be false. (Remember that Gettier gives us two examples, you might start by trying to understand what makes his cases work.)
Explain why the case you described above is a counterexample to the JTB analysis of knowledge.Particularism, Methodism, and Skepticism
What is the problem of the criterion?
Describe the methodist, particularist, and skeptical approaches to the problem of the criterion. Explain all of the ways in which each position begs the question against the other positions.
Do you think that there is a fourth approach (i.e., a non-methodist, non-particularist, non-skeptical) that Chisholm overlooks? If so, answer i. If not, answer ii.
Describe this fourth option and defend the claim that it is, in fact, a non-methodist, non-particularist, non-skeptical position. Do you think that this fourth position is better than the alternatives? Why?
Of the three approaches, which do you think fares best? Defend your position. CATEGORY B (ANSWER ONE QUESTION FROM THIS CATEGORY)Compulsive Behavior, Locked Rooms, and Classical Compatibilism
What is classical compatibilism?
We discussed two problems that classical compatibilism faces: it seems to mistakenly describe certain compulsive behaviors as free actions and seems to mistakenly describe the man in Lockes locked room as unfree. Do the following:
Carefully describe a case that the classical compatibilist seems to mistakenly describe (and feel free to use one of my examples from class).
Apply classical compatibilism to this case. That is, tell me whether the classical compatibilist would consider the person in this case free, and explain why the classical compatibilist is committed to this judgement of the case.
Give a full explanation of an argument that uses this case to argue against classical compatibilism.
Introduce and explain Frankfurts compatibilism. What does Frankfurts theory say about the case you described? That is, does his account consider the person in your case free? Do you think that Frankfurts theory is true? Defend your answer.Indeterminism, Quantum Mechanics, and the Problem of the Disappearing Agent
Michio Kaku seems to think that(I) the truth of indeterminism is sufficient for our having free will.Chisholm, van Inwagen, and Pereboom each explain why they think that (I) is false. What do you think the best case against (I) is? In other words: describe what you see as the best objection against (I). Do you think that this objection shows that (I) is false? Briefly explain why.Chisholm outlines a view whereby indeterminism is true and we have free will. What is his theory? Why would Chisholm think that his theory is immune to the objection to (I) that you outlined in a.?
What do you think is the strongest objection against Chisholms view? Do you think that this objection shows that Chisholms view is false? Why or why not?Hard Incompatibilism, Criminal Punishment, and Life without Free Will
In Why We Have No Free Will and Can Live Without It, Pereboom presents his four-case argument against compatibilism. Give a full explanation of the argument. You do not need to introduce or describe the four cases. Remember: Case 1 – Plum is under radio control
Case 2 – Plum programmed at birth
Case 3 – Plum is trained at a young age
Case 4 – Plums genes and environment make him egoisticWhat does Pereboom think we should accept in place of compatibilism? Why does Pereboom discuss the possibility of criminal punishment in a world without free will? Answer one of the following:
What is retributivism, and why is it incompatible with hard incompatibilism?
What is deterrence theory, and why doesnt Pereboom use deterrence theory to justify criminal punishment?
What does Pereboom think could justify criminal punishment if hard incompatibilism is true? Do you think that this theory works? Defend your answer.Morality, Luck, and Control
Consider the following intuitive principles:(control) You are morally responsible only for whats under your control.
(corollary) Two people cant differ in their level of moral responsibility only because of factors outside of their control.Describe a case involving resultant luck that seems to show that these principles are false. Make sure to explain why the case shows that these principles are false.Hint: the cases we described in class seem to show that corollary is false, and if control is true, then corollary is true. Suppose someone said since the results of our actions are sometimes outside of our control, we should only make moral judgements on the basis of ones intentionsones intentions are not influenced by luck. Describe a case that seems to show that this claim is false, making sure to explain why the case shows that this claim is false. In doing this introduce and explain either circumstantial or constitutional luck.
Imagine that two people perform identical actions: Case 1: Jones runs a red light but crosses the intersection without incident.
Case 2: Smith runs a red light in exactly the same way/sort of circumstances/etc. as Jones, but Smith accidentally hits and kills a pedestrian in the process.Do you think that Smith and Jones should receive the same punishment? Defend your answer.
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