Assignment six

 
 
Here is the final selection from Russell which addresses three main topics.  The first is on our learning of concepts.  
The second is on the fundamental nature of our reasons for belief.  The third reviews the merits of philosophy, as seen by 
Russell.  Having used these readings as a fairly good introduction to the subject of epistemology, the next few weeks will 
be devoted to topics specific to scientific philosophy and will use readings from Rudolf Carnap.  Once these issues have 
been addressed, we can begin to consider specific scientific knowledge which contributes to the analysis of other topics in 
philosophy.
 
Answer the following questions for this last reading from Russell in 800 words minimum.
 
1. What is a universal?  What are a few examples not used in the reading?
2. Is language required for learning universals?  Can animals learn universals?
3. What does Steven Pinker's difficulty defining a bachelor indicate about universals?
4. Why must there be some principles we simply accept without having reasons for accepting them?
5. If we ultimately have no reasons for our principles of thought, are we no better than psychotics who have no reasons for 
their ways of thinking?
6. Write a list of five beliefs you hold which range, in descending order, from highly certain to highly uncertain.
7. What is one example of where the incoherence of someone's ideas made you doubt the legitimacy of their point of view?  
Here, use "coherence" as Russell defines it, not with the common connotation of "comprehensible".
8. Why does Russell value scepticism so much? Do you agree he is right to do so?