Rationalism vs Empiricism
What is the foundational source of knowledge? Reason or sense perception? Which position do you think is more convincing? Descartes or Hume?
Please explain the arguments presented by the philosopher/position you are more inclined towards.
This assignment is primarily exploratory and analytical. It is designed to show your understanding of the texts we are reading in class, and also to show your understanding of the issues and questions raised in these texts.
Be sure to respond to all parts of the topic question and to all questions raised in the topic description. The result should be an essay composed of paragraphs (i.e., not isolated sentences or sentence-fragments). Do not copy the topic question onto your paper.
Your answer to each topic question should total 2 pages typed single-spaced and with one inch margins all around, or the equivalent (1000 words). Shorter papers will not be accepted.
In responding to the topic you have selected, consult and discuss material only from the texts that we have read as well as your own notes.
The content of the paper must NOT be merely a summary of what this philosopher(s) says. It MUST also include your own reasoning, made explicit in writing. If you choose to agree with this philosopher(s), you must include your own assessment of whether they have made valid arguments, provided sufficient or compelling evidence for the points they made, or have made some other contribution to your understanding of the topic. You should also explain why you concluded that philosopher’s arguments or positions were compelling or valid (or not). Include reasoning, not unsupported opinions.
You will also need to show what you think that the philosopher(s) we are discussing mean by what they say. That is, show what in the text supports the reasoned inferences you make about the philosophers’ meanings.
Make sure you use proper citations. Use footnotes, endnotes, or in-text annotations whenever you quote a source. If you are not sure of how to use footnotes/endnotes or parenthetical annotations, how to cite a text properly, or how to write a bibliography/reference list, consult the online MLA Style Manual, or Chicago Manual of Style. If you prefer to use another standard method of documentation (APA style, for example), that is fine too. I do not care which style of citation and documentation you use (MLA, Chicago, APA), as long as it is consistent and complete.
Quotations must not make up more than twenty percent of the paper. Your reasoning, analyses, and arguments are central to this paper.
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