Midterm Essay Assignment
 
Instructions: Compose essay answers to at least two of the following enumerated questions/ requests listed below.   (I.e., you can answer as many of the question/requests below as you wish, but you must answer at least two.)  The total length of answer for these questions/requests for PHIL 235 students should be 1500+ words.  The total length of answer for these questions/ requests) for PHIL 335 students should be 2000+ words.   In addition, the totality of your essay answers to this assignment must contain at least six separate cited direct quotations or cited indirect references to texts or readings which we have assigned so far this semester.  (“Assigned,” in this context, includes any required or recommended texts which are listed on the syllabus, or any materials or links currently uploaded on to our electronic cite location.)  Only two of these quotation or references can be from the Palmer text.  All of your answers should be either typed or word-processed. Modern philosophy
 
Your answers should explain and defend your intellectual outlook on the matter queried, to the best of your philosophical and scientific understanding, and within the limitations of length you decide for your essay.   Obviously your answers should also reflect the specific readings we have done for this class, and where relevant, what we have discussed in this course — again within the limitations of the length of your essay.
 
Attempt to make your answers as clear, lucid, precise, and concise as you can — or as is reasonably and practically possible.   If you quote or paraphrase any document, including our required texts, required course readings, any additional reference text(s), or anything you find on the internet, you must cite it, including page numbers, or where necessary, virtual page and/or paragraph numbers.
 
These essay assignments should be submitted to the midterm exam assignment drop box, on our D2L (electronic) cite location.  Please also send the same electronic submissions to the following e-mail addresses: pflynn@ben.edu, and pflynn201@outlook.com.  And, please further also turn in a hard copy of your submission — as a failsafe, in case of technical breakdowns.  Best of luck!
 
 

  1. Can you compose an essay explaining the development of Modern philosophy (or at least some part of it) where you identify and concisely indicate the philosophical role and significance of at least six of the terms listed below: (This question can be answered twice)

Modern philosophy

  • The Aristotelian/Ptolemaic picture of the universe
  • Dante’s conception of the universe
  • Montaigne’s strategy and argument) defending Raymond Sebond
  • The Pyrrhonian circle or wheel argument (diadelus)
  • The problem of the criterion of religious truth
  • The problem of the criterion of truth, in general
  • The Nuevo-Pyrrhonians
  • Democritian Atomism
  • Galilean motion v. Aristotelian motion
  • Geocentrism v. Heliocentrism
  • The attack on teleology
  • Secondary qualities v. primary qualities
  • The “new science” (new philosophy of nature) v. traditional scholasticism
  • Descartes’ “method of doubt”

Question #1 (Continued):
 

  • Descartes “dream” meditation
  • Descartes’ “evil demon” (genie)
  • The “Cogito” (cogito ergo sum)
  • Descartes’ “representational” theory
  • The mind-body problem
  • Descartes ontological “proofs” for the existence of God
  • Descartes’ concept of God
  • The role of God in Descartes’ philosophical viewpoint
  • Thinking substance
  • Extended substance
  • Clear and distinct ideas
  • Dualism
  • Materialism
  • Rationalism
  • Metaphysics — for Hobbes
  • The social contract — for Hobbes
  • The Leviathan — for Hobbes
  • “Rights” — for Hobbes
  • “Freedom” — for Hobbes

 

  1. Describe and explain the basic Medieval Cosmological/Theological picture of the Universe presented by Dante in the Divine Comedy trilogy: Inferno, Purgatorio, and How does this view of the Universe differ from the view of the Universe Modern philosophy will explore?  How does this contrast contribute to the development of Modern philosophy in general and in the writings of at least three of the philosophical and general intellectual figures listed below?  Explain and elaborate:

 

  • Montaigne
  • Gassendi
  • Copernicus
  • Luther
  • Galileo
  • Kepler
  • Hobbes
  • Descartes

 

  1. What is the skeptical Pyrrhonian circle or wheel argument (diadelus)? And, how is this related to what is sometimes called the criterion problem?  In addition, how is this argument and problem related to one of the central theological, Church authority, and epistemological issues of the reformation and counter-reformation?  Furthermore, how does this argument, problem, and potential issue influence Modern Philosophy, in general, and in the writings of at least three of the following?  Explain and elaborate:

 

  • Montaigne Gassendi
  • Copernicus
  • Luther
  • Galileo
  • Kepler
  • Descartes
  • Hobbes

 

  1. Explain the distinction between primary and secondary qualities, in general, and in the systematic writings of at least two of the following:

 
List for Question #4 (Continued):
 

  • Galileo
  • Montaigne
  • Gassendi
  • Hobbes
  • Descartes

 
Explain, elaborate, and critically evaluate – concerning this alleged or actual distinction.
 

  1. What is the mind-body problem (or physical thing / mental thing problem)? How does this problem influence Modern Philosophy, in general, and through the writings of at least two of the following?  Explain and elaborate:

 

  • Descartes
  • Hobbes
  • Spinoza
  • Liebnitz
  • Locke
  • Berkeley
  • Hume

 

  1. What is the viewpoint regarding God and/or religious belief and the relationship of this viewpoint/belief to philosophy or science — in at least three of the following figures? How do these viewpoints relate to Modern philosophy, in general?  Explain and elaborate:

 

  • Erasmus
  • Luther
  • Kepler
  • Montaigne
  • Gassendi
  • Galileo
  • Descartes
  • Hobbes
  • Locke
  • Berkeley

 

  1. Can you answer one or more of the discussion questions listed at the end of the chapters we have covered of the Melchert and Palmer texts? (Your answers must be in essay form.)

 

  1. Can you examine any one or more of the primary text selections in the Popkin anthology, or other primary text(s) relevant to the early history and development of Modern thought? Can you reconstruct and/or explain the basic line of argument in one or more of these texts?  What do you believe is the significance of examining such primary texts for our understanding of the history and nature of Modern thought and the Modern World?  Explain your take on such questions to the best of your ability.  What is your view?

 

  1. Your choice — but if you exercise this option you should probably come see me first.
  2. Modern philosophy

 
 

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