Drawing on the reading and your own considered opinion and good judgment, answer the question(s) on the following pages. In arguing for your position, think of the arguments that might be made against it, and respond to them. In defending your position, offer what you believe are the most principled arguments you can make.
In thinking of objections to your argument, think of the best possible objections that someone on the other side might be able to come up with, i. e., give yourself a hard time. If you can respond to the other side at its strongest rather than at its weakest point, that can only help to strengthen your own opinion and make it that much more persuasive.
The paper will be graded pass/fail or credit/no credit with an opportunity to receive a "high pass" or "extra credit." If you elect to write a paper for "credit" or a paper that will "pass,"the paper ( your paper) must show some signs of thought, some sign or signs of thinking about the problem(s) of knowledge raised by Bertrand Russell on the following pages. In concrete terms this means you need at the very least that you need a position, to make an argument for or against it, offer some powerful objections to your argument, and respond to them.
If you receive "credit" on the paper ( your paper), the percentages for weighing the remaining three writing exercises will be as follows: 40% for your strongest essay, 30% for your next best effort and 20% for the one which is least successful of the three. If you fail to get "credit" or "pass," the papers and final exam will be broken down as follows: 30% for your strongest effort, 25% for your next best effort, 20% for your next best effort after that, and 15% for the one which is least successful of the four. In either event the remaining 10% will be covered by your keeping a journal and/or participation online, in class and in discussion session and your taking of the quiz.
In order to receive a "high pass" or "extra credit," which could improve any one of your graded writing exercises in the course by a third of a grade, that is, by 0.3, thus turning, for examples, a B (3.0) into a B+ (3.3) or an A- (3.67) into an A (4.00), you must address the following additional question(s):
David Hume (1711-1776) is generally seen as a skeptic. Drawing on the selections in REASON & RESPONSIBILITY from Hume's Inquiry, pp. 199-224 and Wesley Salmon's Encounter with David Hume, pp. 224-243, what objections to and concerns with Russell's "table talk" might Hume add, help to clarify and/or introduce?
Thomas Reid (1685-1753) and G. E. Moore (1873-1958) as well as Karl Popper (1902-94) might all be understood as responding, in some fashion, to Hume's skeptical challenge. What are their responses? Thomas Reid's in "Of the Existence of an Material World," pp. 193-96 and Moore's in "Proof of an External World," pp. 196-99, and Popper's in "Conjectures and Refutations," pp. 243-47. Offer an argument for or against the positions taken by two of these three respondents, think of a strong objection to your argument or arguments, and respond to it.
"CREDIT" PAPERS that aim to receive simply a "pass" should be between three and five pages in length or longer if you wish. "EXTRA CREDIT" PAPERS or PAPERS that are shooting for a "HIGH PASS" might be an additional three to five pages in length or (once again) longer if you wish.
Please number pages.
We would also like to have two copies, marked COPY One and COPY Two.
Papers should be stapled, not held together by a paper clip, glue, gum or origami fold.
They are due, in class, on Wednesday, November 8th.