First Paper Assignment:
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At the end of the Second Meditation, Descartes offers an example involving a piece of wax. In your own words and supported by textual evidence, you must address the following questions:

At this point in the Meditations—the point at which he offers the wax example—what does Descartes believe he can know with certainty, and why? (Why is this the only thing he knows with certainty?)
What is the point of the wax example? Why does he raise the example, and what does he think it shows?
How does the argument go? You may use the formalized version we used in class, but be sure to explain and defend the premises and conclusion in your own words as well.
What do you think is the strongest objection to the argument? Be sure to follow the rules of argument evaluation that we discussed in class.
Finally, what do you conclude? Is the objection persuasive, or not? (And why?)

You will not need any outside sources for this paper. You should use only your class notes and the primary text—Descartes’ Meditations.

There is, of course, quite a bit about Descartes that is available online. I strongly discourage you from reading it, but if you read it at all, you must cite it. If you don’t, you are plagiarizing. You are responsible for knowing that this counts as plagiarism, and ignorance of this fact will not be accepted as an excuse. If you plagiarize, you will fail this class.

Formatting Requirements:

Your paper should be 4-6 pages long, with a minimum length of 4 full pages, double spaced in 12 point, Times or Times New Roman font, with 1 inch margins.
Format: No need for a title page; parenthetical references are fine. For example: (Crane, 15)
You should look over the guidelines for writing a philosophy paper.
Late papers: Late papers will be penalized by 1/3 of a letter grade for every day that they are late.

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