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Breakfast With a Skeptic (My Son's First Philosophy Paper)

Breakfast With a Skeptic (My Son's First Philosophy Paper)

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Published by Papa Giorgio
This is my son's first real philosophy paper. I helped him a bit, but, for the most part... this is him ~ bad sentences and all!
This is my son's first real philosophy paper. I helped him a bit, but, for the most part... this is him ~ bad sentences and all!

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Published by: Papa Giorgio on Apr 03, 2011
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12/05/2013

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Introduction to Philosophy GIORDANO-1
Breakfast With a SkepticTo doubt and refute all knowledge that is assumed to be true about theoutside world whether obtained innately or through bodily senses is outragesin my mind's eye. I was exposed/confronted with this idea that "until claimsare proven I am to doubt all assumptions of knowledge." I know certainthings to be true or at least I thought so until I had breakfast with theinfamous "skeptic". Such a mind led me to believe all proofs of knowledge Ihad would not suffice. The first day of philosophy 101 is upsetting to suchyoung thinkers of today because this idea of skepticism turned their worldupside-down. This idea was folly to me at first because if I cannot know truth,how am I to know anything at all? Being called out and dropped to thebottom rung of the very foundation of my belief was rotten. Taking a stepback and breaking it down "Barney style" (as the USMC would put it) is theonly way I can began to speculate such a theory, trying not to take a biasview of course. The branch of philosophy that most pertains to this isEpistemology meaning:
[T]he theory of knowledge...concerns with the beliefs and justifications orwarrant. Epistemology addresses such questions as, what is the origin andextent of human knowledge? What is the nature of human knowledge? Canwe know anything at all? (Clark, 19).
In my journey for truth and knowledge I stumbled upon two branches of epistemology, to include adventitious (I.e. innate thoughts), and empiricism.
 
Introduction to Philosophy GIORDANO-2
Two popular philosophers that demonstrate these contrasting views is ReneDescartes and David Hume. Throughout this paper I hope to inform readersand guide them through the desert of the doubtful!To put such meaningless thoughts behind, let us began to firstunderstand our rationalist thinker Rene Descartes.
The
 
American HeritageDictionary 
defines the following terms:
"Adventitious: not inherent but added extrinsically ['or invented'(SparkNotes)]" (2006, CF. Adventitious)"Extrinsically: originating from the outside; external." (2006, CF. Extrinsically)
Descartes takes a godless stance at the beginning of his
Mediations
. Beingraised catholic and having received an education in a Jesuit college, therewas little doubt in some thinking that he "would set out to prove such acreator" existed (Hicks, 41). Descartes understood that many of his beliefsonce assumed true - from his youth - were in fact, not (Giesler, Fienburg, 92).This position holds true to the definition of skepticism given in Velasquez'sbook,
Philosophy: A Text with Readings,
which on page 387 reads:"[s]kepticism: in epistemology, the view that varies between doubting allassumptions until proved and claiming that no knowledge is possible." Soon(in his second
Mediation
) he comes to the conclusion that he does in factexist, "the mere fact that he was having doubts and, therefore, thinkingmeant that he must exist" (Brown, 51). Thus the much revered Latin term
cogito ergo sum
: I think therefore I am. Descartes obviously refers to a
 
Introduction to Philosophy GIORDANO-3
metaphysical being have had refuted the physical world, e.g. the body (in
Mediations
one) has to therefore reference to a duality of human nature!
Dualism definedThe mind/body problem focuses on two main issues. First, is a human beingcomposed of just one ultimate component or two? Second, if the answer istwo, how do these two relate to one another? Physicalism is one solution tothe problem. As a general world view, physicalism holds that the only thingwhich exists is matter (where matter is defined by an ideal, completed formof physics). Applied to the mind/body problem, physicalism asserts that ahuman being is just a physical system. There is no mind or soul, just brainand central nervous system. Dualism is the opponent of physicalism and itasserts that in addition to the body , a human being also has a nonphysicalcomponent called a soul, mind, or self (words which will be usedinterchangeably for our purposes) (Moreland,78).
One popular western thinker that more than likely would be a physicalist andoppose Descartes' ideas is David Hume, the Scottish philosopher. Hume'srejection of the duality of human nature and God makes for a betterunderstanding of how Hume attempts to explain origin of knowledge andtruth. "Hume's personal rejection of Christianity made him less willing to giveground over his skepticism about God and miracles" (Hicks, 293).
Empiricism is an approach to knowledge that rejects innate (inborn)knowledge and holds that all knowledge derives from experience... JohnLocke claimed that our minds are blank slates that can only be written on by

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