Does life have meaning? What can we know? (Philosophy)

Does life have meaning? What can we know? Please read and review the following essays from your text, Introducing Philosophy through Pop Culture, [Edited by Irwin and Johnson]: [1] Aquinas and Rose on Faith and Reason, by Daniel B. Gallagher, [2] “I Am an Instrument of God”; Religious Belief, Atheism, and Meaning, by Jason T. Eberl and Jennifer A. Vines, [3] Selfish, Base Animals Crawling Across the Earth: House and the Meaning of Life, by Henry Jacoby, and [4] Adama’s True Lie: Earth and the Problem of Knowledge, by Eric J. Silverman.

[a] Each of these essays dissects differing concepts of knowledge and meaning. Use characters from the first three (3) of the above essays to contrast the differing concepts of knowledge and meaning illustrated by the author and the appropriate philosophers cited in the particular essays you chose. For example, in the first reading, one might choose to contrast/compare the opposing views of knowledge illustrated by Bernard and Rose. The comparison would, most appropriately, be viewed through the concepts of Aquinas discussed in detail in Gallagher’s particular essay. Likewise, in the second reading the views of Adama and Baltar could be contrasted with those of Roslin and Six through the teachings of Aquinas, Hume, and Russell. In the third reading the different concepts of meaning and knowledge exhibited by House and Wilson (or Sister Augustine) can be contrasted through the perspectives of Socrates and Aristotle.

[b] The fourth reading cites the views of David Hume, W. K. Clifford, and William James concerning knowledge as such knowledge contributes to life’s meaning. Clearly explain these views of each philosopher. [Note: The student is not required to research these philosophers’ views beyond the explanations given in the text.]

[c] Using the appropriate characters you chose to compare and contrast (in part [a] of this prompt), critically examine the positions/views of these pop culture characters as you believe Hume, Clifford, and James would do. What might each of these philosophers say about each character’s concept of knowledge and what each character most likely perceives gives meaning to life?

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