Descartes’ Theories and Skepticism


Can you know you are writing this paper?

To adequately complete this paper, you will have to explain in detail Descartes��� argument(s) for skepticism, and make clear which argument(s) you have chosen to focus

on (if any���i.e., you could discuss both). Papers in philosophy should always aim to be persuasive, both when you are explaining philosophers��� arguments and in

developing your own thesis.

I encourage you to use quotes from Descartes to support the view that you are attributing to him, but make sure you don���t let Descartes speak for you. Don���t quote too

liberally, and make sure to explain any philosophically IMPORTANT points in your own words. Your grade will be based primarily on the clarity of the reasoning

exhibited, the goodness of the explanations given, the focus of the discussion, and the relevance of the critical evaluation.

Successful completion of this assignment will help you achieve the following goals of a general education:

Understand the value of thinking philosophically by reflecting on the conceptual foundations of human actions and beliefs.
Understand and discuss coherently central philosophical issues concerning human knowledge.
Demonstrate an ability to identify and articulate, both orally and in writing, the primary philosophical themes and issues found in the writings of the major

Demonstrate an ability to evaluate philosophical arguments critically, both orally and in writing, using philosophical methods that have been developed by either

historical or contemporary philosophers.

Excellent papers will be well-focused, and will identify and articulate Descartes central concerns in the First Meditation, making clear exactly how his skeptical

conclusion follows from the argument discussed. In addition, they will identify and articulate in a clear and coherent manner just what is at issue in this topic.

Finally, in critically evaluating the main question, excellent papers will demonstrate an ability to reflect philosophically by focusing on issues and/or arguments

explicitly raised and discussed in the paper.


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At least 1600 words

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