Essay Prompt:
What is knowledge? Relate this back to your college career and the readings from this semesters philosophers: what does learning something entail? What does gaining mastery in a discipline consist in? What is the point of “higher education”?

4 pages; 12 point Times New Roman font; double spaced; header that includes name, assignment name, course registration number, and page number.

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Heidegger and Aristotle provide a well-worn framework for what constitutes knowledge. What I mean by “well-worn” is that Heidegger saw something in Aristotle, I think, that had not been noticed by other philosophers. Heidegger realized that philosophy is really about understanding the condition of the human being living in the world. For him, human identity is a condition of being, the meaning that is in his term “Dasein” which roughly translated from German means “Being there.” Aristotle was close to this insight when he talks about the human desire to know, and the underpinning characteristic of human being to wonder about who they are, where they are going. For Aristotle, what we can know is an activity of the mind.
I am attracted to the realism of Aristotle. Unlike Descartes, he does not question the reality of the external world separate from my mind’s ability to know. While I think Descartes’ method of doubt is useful for a philosophy of mind, a point I explain later in this short essay, I am comfortable with Aristotle’s epistemology that places importance on what can be gained from gathering up empirical evidence about the world. In this view, the mind...
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