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Gordon Rule

Sample Assignments

Sample Essay Topics for PHI2010

  • What is Descartes’ dream hypothesis?  What beliefs is he able to doubt using the dream hypothesis?  What beliefs cannot be doubted using the dream hypothesis?  Explain why.
  • How does Descartes prove that God exists?  How is he able to know that there is a physical world (i.e. that material substance exists)?  Evaluate his arguments.
  • Describe Locke’s causal theory of perception.  How does it involve both mind/body dualism and representative realism?  (Include a definition of each of the underlined terms.)  Explain his distinction between primary qualities and secondary qualities.
  • Descartes claims that it is possible to have a dream that is so lifelike and realistic that it is indistinguishable from waking experience.  The conclusion that follows is that you can never be sure that you are awake!  Write a paragraph defending your belief that you are awake as you write your response, and not merely dreaming that you are writing your response.
  • The relativity of perception is the idea that two people can experience the same object, yet experience it very differently from each other.  Give me an example of the relativity of perception from your own past experience (i.e. a time when you and someone else were experiencing the same thing, yet experienced it differently from one another)

Sample Essay Topics for PHI2604

  • What were the main points of the presentation by James Wildman of the Animal Rights Federation of Florida?
  • What are some (at least three) of the criticisms of cultural relativism?  Does cultural relativism justify the view that it is objectively morally right to be tolerant of the different ethical values of other cultures?  Explain why or why not.
  • What was the point of the Inuit example offered in class?  Does the example support cultural relativism?  Explain.