Assignment 3

for the week of September 13



By Wednesday, September 13:

·         Read Chapter 3 of TTT, until the discussion of Descartes on page 74; and

·         read the section on the binomial theorem, on page 81.

·         In Cahn, read the biography of Hobbes on page 378,

·         paragraph 1 of the introduction to Leviathan, on page 380, and

·         Chapter I, and

·         paragraphs 1-2 and 7-11 of Chapter III.

By Monday, September 18:

·         Read the discussion of Descartes on pages 74-80 of TTT.

·         Read the biography of Descartes on page 343 of Cahn.

·         Then read/skim the Mediations. Focus on:

·         Meditation one: the method of skeptical doubt;

·         Meditation two: the primacy of mind, and the wax example (starting at the bottom right corner of page 355);

·         Meditation three: the existence of God (you can get the gist from page 361, starting with the paragraph that begins "Thus there remains only the idea of God."); and

·         Meditation six: the distinction between imagination and pure intellection (see the first paragraph on page 371), and the fallibility of knowledge of the physical world (see page 377).

By Wednesday, September 20:

·         Read the discussion of Leibniz on pages 84-88 of TTT.

·         Read the biography of Leibniz on page 461 of Cahn.

·         Then read/skim as much of the Monadology as you can. Focus on:

·         Paragraphs 1-11: properties of monads

·         14, 15, and 19: perception and appetition

·         29: knowledge of eternal and necessary truths

·         31-39: truths of reason vs. truths of fact, and some principles of reasoning

·         56-58: each monad mirrors the entire universe

The homework is due on Wednesday, September 27.

Homework assignment

1.        All study questions in TTT, chapter 3 except for 4 and 5 on p 71.

2.        Explain Descartes' distinction between imagination and pure intellection, in the sixth meditation. (M)

3.        Explain Leibniz’ distinction, in the Monadology, between truths of reasoning and truths of fact, and the associated principles of reasoning. According to Leibniz, how does the principle of sufficient reason imply the existence of God? (L)

Thought questions

1.        Discuss the analogies that Hobbes draws between a human being, an automaton, and a commonwealth.

2.        TTT, study question 3 on page 83

3.        According to Hobbes, what are signs, and how do human beings use them?

4.        Discuss Hobbes’ characterization of “thought,” or “ratiocination.”

5.        Descartes' example of the wax, in the second meditation, is designed to show that there are certain innate faculties of the mind, and certain aspects of our understanding that are not reaches through the senses. What are they?

6.        TTT, study questions 5 on page 72.

7.        TTT, review questions on page 89.

8.        According to Descartes, what kind of certain knowledge can we have of the world?

9.        Discuss the relation between Leibniz’ metaphysics, as portrayed by the Monadology, and his logic, as characterized in TTT.

10.     Explain how Leibniz’ Characteristica Universalis (that is, his mathematics of reason) is a forerunner of modern symbolic logic.