Paper length: 1200 – 1800 words.
Grading: The exam is graded on your understanding of the assigned readings and the lectures as well as on your ability to write in a clear and concise manner. You are neither required not encouraged to use sources other than the assigned readings and lecture slides.
Guidance: For general guidance on writing philosophy papers please consult the Guidelines on Writing a Philosophy Paper. Please also read Plagiarism – Policies and Definitions. both texts are available at the top of the course website in the “Course Information” module.
Paper Prompts: Write on ONE of the following topics:
(1) Explain Zeno’s Racetrack Paradox for the conclusion that motion is impossible. Is it possible to complete an infinite number of tasks in a finite time? Why or why not? Explain your answer.
(2) Explain the concept of philosophical (conceptual) analysis. Explain the tripartite analysis of knowledge. Explain the Gettier problem. How would you solve the Gettier problem? Explain your answer.
(3) Explain fallibilism and the principle of closure under known implications. Explain how these two ideas lead to the lottery puzzle (not the lottery paradox). Explain the lottery puzzle. Which solution to the lottery puzzle do you find most convincing? Explain the solution. Are they any problems with the solution of your choice and, if there are, how can they be dealt with?
(4) Imagine that a professor tells his class – that believes everything he says, has excellent memories, and is adept at logic – that he will be giving them a surprise exam sometimes between the announcement and the end of next week. Explain the argument (the prediction paradox or unexpected exam paradox) in favor of the conclusion that it is impossible for the students to know what the professor says to be true. Is this argument convincing? Why or why not?
(5) Explain the instance condition and the equivalence condition and how these two principles give rise to the paradox of confirmation (paradox of the ravens). Which solution to the paradox of confirmation do you find most convincing? Explain the solution. Are there any problems with the solution of your choice and, if there are, how can they be dealt with?