Question

Note: Each reply should be no more than 200 – 250 words

A. Reply to only three out of the five questions under section A. You will be graded on how accurately you state the argument and on the cogency of your critiques.

1. Compare and contrast Lao Tzu and Ibn Tufayl regarding their views on how we can talk about the first principle (the Tao or God). In your opinion, is one of the two correct, are both partially correct, or are both wrong? Defend your answer.

2. Contrast the ethical ideals of Mencius and Krishna. Which of the two do you think is closer to the truth? Why?

3. How would Nagasena attack Descartes' cogito argument in Meditation II? How might Descartes reply to the attack? Could Nagasena respond to Descartes' reply? Why or why not?

4. Contrast the concept of causality in Plato and Hume. Which do you think is correct, and why?

5. What would be Lucretius' reply to Augustine's design argument for the existence of God? Might Augustine have a reply? If so, could Lucretius refute the reply?

B. Briefly explain Rene Descartes philosophical theory on rationalism, and provide one or more supporting arguments for that theory. You will be graded on the logical rigor of your argument(s).

Solution Preview

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Nagasena would attack Descartes’ cogito argument by questioning whether the ‘directionality’ it establishes is accurate. That is, where Descartes argues that it follows, with indubitable certainty, that I exist from the fact that I think, Nagasena would argue that, rather, (the) I exist(s) because I think I am; more clearly, Nagasena’s point is that the ‘I’ as a unitary, persistent, real thing is illusory and only ‘exists’ as a result of my investment in a feeling that there is such a thing as my ‘I’. Descartes might respond by...

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