PHIL 350A:  Paper Topic:  The Reliability of Memory

(Due Midnight on Monday, Nov. 27)

 

            Question:  Can we be justified in believing that our memory is reliable?  Your paper should have four parts:

            (1) Philosophical Explanation.  Use an example to explain the issue and to explain its philosophical significance.  All explanations should be understandable by a reasonably intelligent person who has never taken an epistemology course.

            (2) Philosophical Motivation.  Identify two or more ways of answering the question that you find most persuasive.  When you explain each way of the alternative ways of answering it, make sure you explain the philosophical motivation for each alternative.  Where relevant, in your explanation of the alternatives, make use of the terms we have employed in this course (e.g., foundationalist/coherentist, internalist/externalist), but make sure you explain any epistemological terms that you use. 

            (3) Philosophical Criticism.  State the most important objections to each of the alternatives identified in Part 2. 

            (4) Statement of Your Position.  State your position on the question, seriously consider potential objections, and respond to them.  You do not have to refute all objections or show all other positions to be untenable.  Your goal is to show that your position is a thoughtful one, because it reflects a serious consideration of considerations pro and con and is not merely the result of blind conviction. 

           

MAKE SURE YOU CHECK YOUR PAPER AGAINST THE PAPER GUIDELINES BEFORE TURNING IT IN.  PAPERS SHOULD BE 5-7 PAGES (300 WORDS PER PAGE).  THEY SHOULD BE PREPARED AS WORD DOCUMENTS (OR IN RTF FORMAT).  THEY SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO ME (wtalbott@u.washington.edu) AS EMAIL ATTACHMENTS BY MIDNIGHT ON MONDAY, NOV. 27.  (IT IS OK IF YOU GO OVER THE DEADLINE BY A FEW HOURS, BUT YOU MUST REQUEST EXTENSION IF YOU CANNOT SUBMIT THE PAPER BY 8 AM ON TUESDAY, NOV. 28).  THE FILENAME SHOULD BEGIN WITH YOUR LAST NAME. 

 

OPTIONAL DRAFTS AND COMMENTS: 

 

            DRAFT OF PARTS (1)-(3) ONLY.  Post it on the PHIL 350 Peer Review site by midnight on Monday, Nov. 20.  Before preparing your draft, please make sure you consult the paper guidelines, which were handed out previously and which are also available on the PHIL 350 Web site.

 

            COMMENT ON DRAFTS by midnight on Tuesday, Nov. 21.  Please do not be the second person to comment on a paper until all other papers have been commented on once.  In commenting, please check to see if the drafts conform with the paper guidelines.  Also, think about whether the paper would be comprehensible to an intelligent reader who had never taken an epistemology course.