Essays from my University of London BA Philosophy Studies

The Empiricists - [235P065]


  1. "Descartes' attempt to prove the existence of God in Meditation III is not merely a failure, it is a philosophically uninteresting failure."Discuss.
  2. How did Descartes argue in the Sixth Meditation that mind and body are distinct substances? In what way does the Second Meditation contribute to his argument?
  3. Does Descartes reason in a circle when he argues that everything we clearly and distinctly perceive is true because God exists and is not a deceiver?
  4. "That with which the consciousness of this present thinking thing can join itself, makes the same person, and is one self with it, and with nothing else"(Locke). What are the strengths and weaknesses of this account of self?
  5. Locke claims that ideas of primary qualities resemble the qualities themselves, while ideas of secondary qualities do not. What does he mean by this? Does he succeed in establishing it?
  6. "Different Men . . . have different Essences of Gold, which must therefore be of their own, and not of Nature's making"(Essay What did Locke mean by this? Does it imply that the classifications that we make of things in the world are arbitrary?
  7. "There is not one of my former beliefs about which a doubt may not properly be raised' (Descartes). Does Descartes succeed in showing this in the First Meditation?
  8. "I must...admit that the nature of this piece of wax is in no way revealed by my imagination, but is perceived by the mind alone"(Descartes - Second Meditation). What led Descartes to this view?   What is its significance?
  9. In both the Treatise and the first Enquiry, Hume provides two definitions of 'cause'. What does the second definition add to the first, and why did Hume think it necessary to introduce it?
  10. Why did the problem of personal identity cause Hume such severe difficulties that in the end he admitted that he could see no way of providing a coherent account?
  11. Does Descartes succeed in proving that God exists?