Philosophy Question

We have spent the second week of the course reading about and discussing questions regarding
knowledge. What is knowledge? How do we obtain knowledge? What is rationalism? What is

Starting with Descartes, and then moving on to Locke, Berkeley, and the British Commonsense
philosophers, we have seen how these philosophers have dealt with these questions.

One issue that we considered, running through the whole week was the problem of what we called the
epistemological gap. We noted that Descartes set up the problem in the way that he framed the
problem of knowledge. The other philosophers, Locke, Berkeley, and the British Commonsense
philosophers attempted to solve this problem.

For this assignment, write a 3-4 page, double-spaced (900-1200 word) essay on the following:

1. What is the epistemological gap as we have used that term in this course? In other words,
what is this problem regarding knowledge? In other words, how did the way Descartes attacked
the problem of knowledge leave this problem (the epistemological gap) sort of hanging there?
If you are unclear on this, watch the Recap and Highlights on Rene Descartes and Rationalism
video (in the latter half).
2. Then taking each in turn, explain how Locke, then Berkeley, then the British Commonsense
philosophers tried to solve, or deal with, this issue. In other words, how does each try to tackle
the issue and make a path for the possibility of knowledge?
3. Last, say which solution you agree with more and briefly, why.

Make Sure to Note:
1. Do not use sources outside this course for your essay. You will find that if you google
epistemological gap you will find information that is not really relevant to our class. It will
take you in the wrong direction. This is because I am using the term in a different way.
2. Make sure you do use all the resources in this class readings and video lectures from the
section on epistemology. You must use the actual readings posted in our Canvas shell. In
other words, you must use the specific editions that are in our Canvas shell. (I am not
necessarily asking you to quote from them.)
3. You will not be able to adequately complete this essay without watching and grasping the
video lectures. (Meditations I & II; Recap and Highlights on R. Descartess Rationalism;
Lockes Empiricism; Berkeleys Empiricism; British Commonsense Epistemology)
4. Use MLA format, and make sure your essay is edited for spelling, punctuation, and
5. Cite sources (readings) you use. Author and page number are enough for our purposes. (Or
power point slide, if relevant.
6. Use your own words, except where, and if, you quote any authors. will be
activated for this essay.
7. Especially important: Do not attempt to write this essay using sources that are independent
from our particular course. Doing so may result in a significantly penalized score, possibly a
zero (because you will likely not be discussing what is most essential).