Topic 1. Explain Locke’s Causal Theory of Perception? What is it meant to explain? What relation does it bear to the Primary Quality/Secondary Quality distinction? Does his theory succeed? 2. Searle argues that the mind can be causally reduced to the brain but it cannot be ontologically reduced to the brain. Explain what he means by these two notions. Why, according to Searle, does the causal reduction fail to produce a corresponding ontological reduction in the case of the reduction of mental phenomena to brain phenomena? Is Searle correct? Why or why not?
The term essay is a longer format (2000-2500 words) allowing you to develop your position in much more detail and care. The term essay also requires that you research the topic you have selected. In other respects, the term essay is similar in purpose to the short essays—to take a position and defend it with reasons/arguments. The topic is up to you, but it must be related to the topics we are discussing in class. It must, of course, be related to the course materials, but the exact issue you wish to explore is your choice. Once you have selected a topic, you will prepare a proposal. The proposal must contain: 1. A clear and precise thesis stating the main point or aim of your essay. 2. A summary (about 250 words) of the primary argument of the essay. 1 3. An outline detailing how you will proceed to make your case for your thesis. 4. A bibliography of works cited. A minimum of three (3) external sources are required. Bear in mind as well that the topics are broad enough to allow quite a degree of specialization. At the same time, it would not at all be wise in the space provided to try to discuss them all. So select what you wish to discuss carefully. Content Whatever specific topic you choose, remember that you are expected to explain the argument(s) fully. Next, critically evaluate possible replies. Is the reply sound?
Does it adequately refute the argument(s)? How might a defender of the argument(s) reply? Are these replies critically sound? Why or why not? Your essay should demonstrate an understanding of the underlying philosophical, scientific and logical issues. In addition, your essay must demonstrate progress in your own thinking about the problem. In other words, in addition to explaining the arguments of Paley or Dawkins (or any other views you introduce), you are expected to defend a position, a thesis, and to critically evaluate the arguments of the various thinkers. After you have chosen the position you will defend, the assignment requires that you 1. Clearly formulate and explain the position 2. Give the main argument or arguments in its defense 3. State clearly and forcefully the main objections which would be raised by those holding other positions, and 4. Try to answer (rebut) the objections. Style and Format You are not expected to provide a definitive or unassailable defense of the position you adopt, but you are required to make some contribution of your own to the debate. This means that it is not enough to merely repeat material from the readings or lectures. Your essay should testify to the fact that you have made a determined effort to grapple with the problem. You should design your essay for an audience of people who are of roughly your own degree of education and intellectual development, but who have not done the readings or attended the course. In other words, write for a cold audience. You should also strive for a clear and simple writing style. Make sure that you explain your use of philosophical terminology. In general, try to use short and simple sentences rather than long and complex ones and try to use short and plain words rather than long and fancy ones. Try to organize your essay so that each part of it builds a defense of your position in a way that your audience will be able to follow and understand and in a manner that your audience will find persuasive. Your essay should be between 2000 and 2500 words in length—typed double-spaced (normal font and margins). Essays longer than 2500 words may be penalized. In format, your essay should conform to the standards of the College’s Suggested Rules for the Preparation of Essays, available at the College Library and should follow the MLA style. Further information about writing is available at the OC Library and the Success Center. 2 Though the bulk of the grade is based on the final version, a small percentage of your paper’s score will be based on timely submission of each of the preliminary elements. Note: all stages of the essay must be submitted! Failure to complete either of the preliminary elements of the assignment will result in a failing grade for the final essa