Write an essay (no less than 800 words, no more than 1200) in response to the following prompt:

Assignment:

Write an essay (no less than 800 words, no more than 1200) in response to the following prompt:

Both Plato a Descartes begin the process of philosophizing by worrying about the possibility of deception, and they concoct thought experiments in order to separate knowledge from mere belief and illusion. First, based on the essay we read by David Foster Wallace (This is Water”) or using Palmer’s discussions in chapter 1 and 2 tell me: why is this concern for certainty or stability a legitimate worry for the human-turned-philosopher? In other words, justify Plato’s and Descartes’ worry about the unexamined, everyday world. Second, tell me at least one significant way Plato’s and Descartes thought experiments are the same—what do they assume in common, what is their ‘rationalist’ core? And, tell me at least one significant way in which their projects differ. Third, tell me which you you think you would prefer as a method for beginning to think about the possibility of illusion or deception in your own the everyday world—escape from ‘the cave’ or purification of your ‘evil genius’? And why? Since you are already a philosopher by writing this paper, tell me: what is one practical step you could make toward that goal using this rationalist method in your current life?

Instructions: Do not include the prompt in your response. Title the essay appropriately. Include a full header, as outlined in “Essay Writing for this Course”, located in the Introductory Module. Do not forget your name, date, and section number at the top.

Your essay must include a thesis that makes your paper make sense as a whole. A good thesis covers the overall ‘stance’ you take in the essay (thesis means “something put forth” in Greek), and you must put forth a statement that one of your classmates could agree or disagee with. It is not the first sentence of the paper, but it does appear in the first paragraph. If you are worried we might miss your thesis, or misunderstand your point, italicize it. Another good way to make it stand out is to begin the statement: “In this paper, I will argue that…”

In your first paragraph, typically right after your thesis, you must include an organizational statement that tells the reader what’s coming up in your paper. Notice how the prompt is split into three related tasks? So, your organization statement might begin: “I will argue my position first by talking about…second, by turning to consider…and third, by bringing these back to my own experience by arguing….” This should be a short outline of your paper, so you may want to write it last, along with the thesis, once you know what you think and what you will do!

You paper must include at least four meaningful quotations from the readings thus far. When page numbers are available to you, cite in text in the following way: (Palmer 30). I suggest choosing your quotes first and building your response around them. The highest possible grade for an essay without four meaningful quotes, appropriately cited, will be 75/100.

See “Essay writing for this Course” for details on how to cite different sources, and how to format your works cited (which is also required).

Word count and page count do not include heading, title, or works cited, though these are required as well.

This essay will be graded out of 100 points, according to the rubric laid out in “Essay Writing for this Course” located in the introductory module, so make sure you understand what it is asking of you.

 

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