The Discussion Board (DB) is part of the core of online learning.

Classroom discussion in an online environment requires the active participation of students and the instructor to create robust interaction and dialogue. Every student is expected to create an original response to the open-ended DB question as well as engage in dialogue by responding to posts created by others throughout the week. At the end of each unit, DB participation will be assessed based on both level of engagement and the quality of the contribution to the discussion.

At a minimum, each student will be expected to post an original and thoughtful response to the DB question and contribute to the weekly dialogue by responding to at least two other posts from students. The first contribution must be posted before midnight (Central Time) on Wednesday of each week. Two additional responses are required after Wednesday of each week. Students are highly encouraged to engage on the Discussion Board early and often, as that is the primary way the university tracks class attendance and participation.

The purpose of the Discussion Board is to allow students to learn through sharing ideas and experiences as they relate to course content and the DB question. Because it is not possible to engage in two-way dialogue after a conversation has ended, no posts to the DB will be accepted after the end of each unit.

Assignment Details

René Descartes is often called the “father of modern philosophy.” Born into the French aristocracy in 1596, Descartes was fascinated by mathematics and founded the field of analytical geometry. He wanted to build a system of philosophy that was as clear and certain as mathematics. To do this, he decided that he would need to question all of his presuppositions about the world. One of the presuppositions that he doubted was whether or not he could believe that what he observed through his senses was true. Consider this passage from Descartes’ Meditations (Melchert, 2007):

Of course, whatever I have so far accepted as supremely true I have learned either from the senses or through the senses. But I have occasionally caught the senses deceiving me, and it’s prudent never completely to trust those who have cheated us even once. But, while my senses may deceive me about what is small or far away, there may still be other things that I take in by the senses but that I cannot possibly doubt—like that I am here, sitting before the fire, wearing a dressing gown, touching this paper. And on what grounds might I deny that my hands and the other parts of my body exists?—unless perhaps I liken myself to madmen whose brains are so rattled by the persistent vapors of melancholy that they are sure that they’re kings when in fact they are paupers, or that they wear purple robes when in fact they’re naked, or that their heads are clay, or that they are gourds, or made of glass.

Take a moment to reflect on this passage, and then discuss the following:

Part 1

Think of a time when your senses deceived you. Describe what you thought you saw, heard, or felt, and then explain how you came to realize that your initial perception was incorrect.
Do you think that it is reasonable to rely on your senses, considering that they have fooled you in the past?

Part 2

Consider Descartes’ comparison of himself to a madman. How do you know that what you experience is any more real than what a so-called madman experiences as real?
Who is to say which experience is valid, and on what grounds?
How does reason play into the evaluation of what is real?

For assistance with your assignment, please use your text, Web resources, and all course materials.

Reference

Melchert, N. (2007). The great conversation: A historical introduction to philosophy. New York, NY: Oxford University.

Grading Criteria:

Content

Demonstrate that the main post adheres to the assignment requirements for responding to the guidelines to explain your perceptions of reality and your senses. Submission present why you believe certain realities as influenced by cultural social and historical perspectives.

45%

Critical Thinking

Demonstrate critical thinking in presenting reasoning in terms of an exploration of the significance of philosophical arguments about realities as related to the senses. Each paragraph should be well-developed to present interpretations, perspectives, and conclusions based on cultural and personal experiences in context to Descartes’ proposed argument.

30%

Grammar Mechanics APA

Demonstrate effective written communication skills, correct grammar, and mechanics.

15%

Interactive Participation

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