Instructions: Write a paper between 700-800 words on a skeptical argument covered in the lecture and/or the course readings (choose from the options below). You must follow the outline provided. Please turn in to Canvas in a pdf or doc format. 12pt, Normal Font, Double Spaced. Citations are only necessary if you cite something outside of the course readings and lecture material.
Outline of your paper:
Give the argument in premise/conclusion form.
Explain each premise and offer reasons as to why a reasonable person could accept each premise as true.
Explain how the premises support the conclusion.
Assuming that you believe the argument fails, choose a premise that you believe is false. Explain why you believe it is false (offer reasons or an argument for believing that the premise is false). Explain how denying the premise allows you to avoid the conclusion of the argument.
Skeptical arguments to choose from:
(First three are from the Feldman chapter, the final one is from the Korman chapter)
Argument 6.4: The Possibility of Error Argument
4-1. For (almost) any belief any person has about the external world, that belief could be mistaken.
4-2. If a belief could be mistaken, then it is not a case of knowledge.
4-3. Therefore, (almost) any belief any person has about the external world is not knowledge (i.e, no one knows anything, or more than very little, about the external world). (4-1), (4-2)
Argument 6.6: The Certainty Argument
6-1. If S knows p, then S is absolutely certain of p.
6-2. No one is ever absolutely certain of anything about the external world.
6-3. No one knows anything about the external world. (6-1), (6-2)
Argument 6.7: The Transmissibility Argument
O – (Ordinary statement about the world) I have hands!
SK – (Skeptical Hypothesis) I am being deceived by intelligent robots keeping my brain trapped in the Matrix.
7-1. S cannot know that (SK) is false.
7-2. (O) implies that (SK) is false, and S knows this.
7-3. If S knows that (O) is true, and that (O) implies that (SK) is false, then S can know that (SK) is false.
7-4. S does not know (O). (7-1)-(7-3)
(1) If your belief in the Future Like Past (FLP) principle is justified, then it is either justified by direct observation or by inductive reasoning
(2) Your belief in FLP isn’t justified by direct observation.
(3) Your belief in FLP isn’t justified by inductive reasoning.
(4) So, your belief in FLP is unjustified
(5) If your belief in FLP is unjustified, then you don’t know anything about the future.
(6) So, you don’t know anything about the future.
Note about feedback:
Grading papers takes a lot of work and time. To streamline the process, I would like to know which of you will be looking over any comments that I give on papers graded. If you would like feedback on your written assignments, please put the following note at the top of the assignment near your name: FEEDBACK PLEASE. If you won’t be looking at any comments given, please do not ask for feedback and I will just assign your paper a grade. I can also always give verbal feedback and comments in office hours if you want to discuss your written work or get help improving your writing skills.
Writing Assignment Rubric (1)
Criteria Ratings Pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeVeracity
Everything that is written is on topic, follows the prompt format, and is correct about the course content.
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeUnderstanding
The content of the paper reflects the students understanding of the material. The student has explained the content in their own words and using examples that make it clear that they know the content and grasp how to present the content.
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeClarity
The paper is written clearly. Key concepts are explained, there are few if any grammatical errors, and the student avoids unnecessary jargon. Things are stated in a simple and straightforward way that a high-school graduate could understand.
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeStructure
The paper is well structured. It has a flow and is consistent in its word usage and pacing. The student recognizes what parts of the content are more important than others and spends more space and effort dealing with those aspects of the content.
Total Points: 100
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