DESCARTES and HUME
Instructions: Write an essay of approximately 2000 words on one of the following topics:
1. Compare and contrast Hume and Descartes on the role and significance of skepticism for philosophy as it is employed and discussed in the Meditations and the Enquiry. Is one position/approach superior to the other? Give reasons why or why not.
2. David Hume offers both “sceptical doubts concerning the understanding” and a “sceptical solution” to those doubts. Summarize and critically evaluate Hume’s reasoning/position in either, or both, of these enterprises.
3. Compare and contrast Descartes and Hume on the source, nature and avoidability of human error. Then, critically evaluate both positions.
4. Summarize and critically evaluate Hume’s discussion of miracles. (Note: There will also be a similar question on the final exam. If you choose to write your essay on this topic you will be disqualified from answering that question on the final exam.)
5. Descartes says we are not “in” our bodies simply in the way a sailor is “in” a ship he/she is sailing. Summarize and critically evaluate the reasoning that leads him to say this.
6. A topic of your own choosing provided it is cleared in advance with the instructor.
The Philosophical Essay: There are many different ways one can write a philosophical essay. It is always important, however, to make it clear to the reader (and to yourself) when one is summarizing a view or position and when one is critically evaluating a position. Both elements are needed in a good essay. The amount of space dedicated to critical evaluation should never be less than 25%, and rarely more than 60% (depending upon how complex the summary is).
This is not a research essay. Feel free to use outside or secondary sources, though you need not. But make sure they are fully cited when relied upon, including author, title, date, and page (for internet sources, I need the URL down to the page).
All essays must be submitted to turnitin.com, with the receipt attached to the hard copy of the essay submitted to me