O.k., so we talked about how philosopher Rene Descartes had some serious doubts about the world around him. He had discovered that some of his tried and true scientific wisdom about the solar system just weren't accurate anymore, because of the invention of better telescopes and compiled scientific evidence that didn't back up a geocentric world. These new discoveries forced Descartes to really re-examine his entire life, all of the things that he took for granted.
He doubted his senses. He doubted whether or not we could tell the difference between the waking world and the dream world. He even wondered / worried that an Evil Genius might spent all of its time manipulating Descartes' world so that even MATH is incorrect. But this is where he eventually pared it all down to his thinking process - someone, namely me, is doubting all this stuff. That someone must be thinking. Therefore, if I am thinking, I must exist. That axiom, I cannot doubt.
So we get to the root of epistomology - how do we know what we know? Descartes tackled this through reason. Locke, Hume, and Berkeley tackle this question through our experiences and senses. For this blog, you can use either reason or senses or both to answer the question.
A few days ago, we took the Scale of Doubt quiz, and you were asked to say yes, no, or maybe to the 13 following questions:
1. Do you believe that a particular religious tradition holds accurate knowledge of the ultimate nature of reality and the purpose of human life?
2. Do you believe that some thinking being consciously made the universe?
3. Is there an identifiable force coursing through the universe, holding it together, or uniting all life-forms?
4. Could prayer be in any way effective, that is, do you believe that such a being or force (as posited above in question 3) could ever be responsive to your thoughts and words?
5. Do you believe this being or force can think or speak?
6. Do you believe this being has a memory or can make plans?
7. Does this force sometimes take a human form?
8. Do you believe that the thinking part or animating force of human being continues to exist after the body has died?
9. Do you believe that any part of a human being survives death, elsewhere or here on earth?
10. Do you believe that feelings about things should be admitted as evidence in establishing reality?
11. Do you believe that love and inner feelings of morality suggest that there is a world beyond biology, social patterns, and accidents --- i.e., a realm of higher meaning (metaphysical world)?
12. Do you believe that the world is not completely knowable by science?
13. If someone were to say, "The universe is nothing but an accidental pile of stuff, jostling around with no rhyme or reason, and life on earth is but a tiny, utterly inconsequential speck of nothing, in a corner of space, existing in the blink of an eye never to be judged, noticed, or remembered", would you say, "Now that's going a bit too far, that's a bit wrongheaded"?
So, what I would like you to do are two things:
1. Pick one of the questions above and explain why you answered yes, no, or maybe. Provide specific details and reasoning.
2. Then, take the same question and argue the OPPOSITE of what you just answered for part 1. If you answered maybe, then pick a side (yes or no) and go with that. You don't have to necessarily believe in what you're arguing, just try to do it persuasively. Also use specific examples / details and reasoning.
Due Friday April 28 by the beginning of class.
300 words minimum total.