PHI 340-F: Theory of knowledge

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PHI 340-F: Theory of knowledge
 
Essay
 

Structure

The essay will contain a summary of the view, a focus on one particular point, a critical discussion of that point.

Evaluation

  1. Structure and coherence
  2. Clarity of writing
  3. Style
  4. Originality
  5. Quality of arguments
  6. Understanding of relevant literature and philosophical problems

1          Memory and sense perception

  1. Give a summary of Pollock and Cuz’ account of memory.
  2. In what sense do John Pollock and Joseph Cruz think that memory is similar to sense perception?
  3. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of understanding memory as similar to sense perception.

2          Direct Realism

Thomas Reid, “Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man”, p. 51.
Summary of the paper: “Thomas Reid developed his direct realist theory of perception mainly in response to Hume and Berkeley. He conceded that Berkeley’s arguments would be irrefutable if one accepted the premise (which Locke and Hume had both adopted) that we can only directly perceive ideas. Reid, in fact, had been a follower of Berkeley at one time in his life, until he (Reid) noticed that if Berkeley’s theory were true, there would be no reason to believe that other people were conscious, since the ‘other people’ he perceived were just ideas in his own mind. He considered this consequence to be unacceptable, so he turned to questioning Berkeley’s starting premise. Reid concluded, against
1
Berkeley, Hume, and Locke, that we do not perceive ideas; rather, we perceive physical objects, directly. He also concluded that we are justified in believing in external objects without the need for any argument for their existence. He compares the principle that the things we perceive exist, to the axioms of a mathematical system–both, he thinks, should be accepted as self-evident. The only argument Reid could find against direct realism was Hume’s argument from illusion (…) Reid proposed to explain Hume’s phenomenon by drawing a distinction between the ‘apparent magnitude’ and the ‘real magnitude’ of the table. What he probably meant by the ‘apparent magnitude’ of the table was its angular size, relative to the eye. To explain: imagine drawing a line connecting one extremity of the table to your eye. Draw another line connecting the other extremity of the table to the same eye. The angle that the two lines make where they meet is the angular size of the table, relative to the point where the eye is located. The ‘real magnitude’ of the table is just its length, as measured in feet, inches, etc. Reid explains that the table ‘appears smaller’ as you move away from it, not because you are perceiving an image, but because you perceive the angular magnitude of the table by the sense of sight (the real magnitude is perceived by the sense of touch), and the angular magnitude of the table decreases with distance, as dictated by the laws of geometry. In fact, the phenomenon is exactly what you should expect if you are seeing a real table; therefore, if anything, Hume’s experiment gives evidence that we are perceiving the real table.” Huemer, p. 30

  1. Give a summary of Reid’s view in your own words.
  2. Explain Reid’s defence of direct realism.
  3. Discuss direct realism critically.

3          Analyticity

  1. How does Kant define analyticity?
  2. What is problematic about his definition?
  3. Discuss (some of) Quine’s arguments.

4          Miracles and Conspiracy Theories

  1. Give a summary of Hume’s account of testimony.
  2. Why, according to Hume, can a belief in miracles never be justified through testimony?
  3. In what sense is belief in conspiracy theories different from belief in miracles?

5          Gettier Cases

  1. Read Michael Clark: “Knowledge and Grounds: A Comment on Mr. Gettier’s Paper”
  2. Give a summary of Clark’s solution to the Gettier Cases.
  3. Critically discuss it.

6          Skepticism

  1. Give a summary of Putnam’s Brains in a Vat Case.
  2. What is Putnam’s answer to the skeptic?
  3. Critically discuss it.

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PHI 340-F: Theory of knowledge

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

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PHI 340-F: Theory of knowledge
 

Structure

The essay will contain a summary of the view, a focus on one particular point, a critical discussion of that point.

Evaluation

  1. Structure and coherence
  2. Clarity of writing
  3. Style
  4. Originality
  5. Quality of arguments
  6. Understanding of relevant literature and philosophical problems

1          Memory and sense perception

  1. Give a summary of Pollock and Cuz’ account of memory.
  2. In what sense do John Pollock and Joseph Cruz think that memory is similar to sense perception?
  3. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of understanding memory as similar to sense perception.

2          Direct Realism

Thomas Reid, “Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man”, p. 51.
Summary of the paper: “Thomas Reid developed his direct realist theory of perception mainly in response to Hume and Berkeley. He conceded that Berkeley’s arguments would be irrefutable if one accepted the premise (which Locke and Hume had both adopted) that we can only directly perceive ideas. Reid, in fact, had been a follower of Berkeley at one time in his life, until he (Reid) noticed that if Berkeley’s theory were true, there would be no reason to believe that other people were conscious, since the ‘other people’ he perceived were just ideas in his own mind. He considered this consequence to be unacceptable, so he turned to questioning Berkeley’s starting premise. Reid concluded, against
1
Berkeley, Hume, and Locke, that we do not perceive ideas; rather, we perceive physical objects, directly. He also concluded that we are justified in believing in external objects without the need for any argument for their existence. He compares the principle that the things we perceive exist, to the axioms of a mathematical system–both, he thinks, should be accepted as self-evident. The only argument Reid could find against direct realism was Hume’s argument from illusion (…) Reid proposed to explain Hume’s phenomenon by drawing a distinction between the ‘apparent magnitude’ and the ‘real magnitude’ of the table. What he probably meant by the ‘apparent magnitude’ of the table was its angular size, relative to the eye. To explain: imagine drawing a line connecting one extremity of the table to your eye. Draw another line connecting the other extremity of the table to the same eye. The angle that the two lines make where they meet is the angular size of the table, relative to the point where the eye is located. The ‘real magnitude’ of the table is just its length, as measured in feet, inches, etc. Reid explains that the table ‘appears smaller’ as you move away from it, not because you are perceiving an image, but because you perceive the angular magnitude of the table by the sense of sight (the real magnitude is perceived by the sense of touch), and the angular magnitude of the table decreases with distance, as dictated by the laws of geometry. In fact, the phenomenon is exactly what you should expect if you are seeing a real table; therefore, if anything, Hume’s experiment gives evidence that we are perceiving the real table.” Huemer, p. 30

  1. Give a summary of Reid’s view in your own words.
  2. Explain Reid’s defence of direct realism.
  3. Discuss direct realism critically.

3          Analyticity

  1. How does Kant define analyticity?
  2. What is problematic about his definition?
  3. Discuss (some of) Quine’s arguments.

4          Miracles and Conspiracy Theories

  1. Give a summary of Hume’s account of testimony.
  2. Why, according to Hume, can a belief in miracles never be justified through testimony?
  3. In what sense is belief in conspiracy theories different from belief in miracles?

5          Gettier Cases

  1. Read Michael Clark: “Knowledge and Grounds: A Comment on Mr. Gettier’s Paper”
  2. Give a summary of Clark’s solution to the Gettier Cases.
  3. Critically discuss it.

6          Skepticism

  1. Give a summary of Putnam’s Brains in a Vat Case.
  2. What is Putnam’s answer to the skeptic?
  3. Critically discuss it.

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

GET A 40% DISCOUNT ON YOU FIRST ORDER

ORDER NOW DISCOUNT CODE >>>> WELCOME40

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized