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Daemen College Epistemology Liberty and Necessity Research Paper

In this Module, we will be looking at the Philosopher David Hume.  Hume is known for his empiricism which affirms the importance on relying on our senses and powers of observation to learn and gain knowledge.  Hume takes this idea, and the mechanisms of the scientific process, and applies them to the human mind.  In doing so, Hume offers an early framework for the development of modern psychology.  The very idea that we can examine our minds, thinking, and psyche from an empiricist perspective was and remains a contribution.  That said, it also raises challenges for how we understand morality.  While morality has been traditionally viewed in Metaphysical terms, Hume’s philosophy raises the possibility that what we perceive to be our morality may well to have more to do with our biology and psychology, and again raises the question of whether philosophy is meant to be descriptive or prescriptive.



  • Use the texts provided from Hume.
  • Focus on Hume’s ideas about the Liberty and Necessity and answer the following questions from Hume’s perspective:
  1. How free is our mind to think?
  2. How much of how we think is predetermined by our brains and biology?
  3. How much of what we think is predetermined by our brains and biology?
  • What do you think about Hume’s answers to these questions?
  • Do you agree with Hume’s assessment, why/why not?
  • Be thoughtful

Read: Plato, The Republic and Other Works.

Euthyphro,” pp. 425-443

Read: Plato, The Republic.

Books II, IV, VI, VII, and VIII, 

pp. 41-70, 108-137, 174-263

Read: Aristotle, Introductory Readings.

Physics: i 1, 7-8; ii; vi 9; viii 5-6, 8.

pp. 36-68

Metaphysics: i 1-2; v 7-8; vii 1-4, 6, 10-11,13, 15-17; viii 1-3; ix 1-2, 5, 6, 7.

pp. 115-120, 147-186

Research Paper (Rough Draft) – Part 1



Turn in your work to date on the Research Paper.  The directions for which are as follows:

Write a 2,000-2,500 word paper according to APA guidelines addressing one of the three major areas of investigation in this course: The Nature of the Universe and/or the Existence of God (metaphysics), The Nature and Value of Knowledge (epistemology), or The Good Life and the Good Society (ethics). Compare two or three philosophers (only one from each unit), providing a philosophical and historical overview of the topic.

Please make sure that you review the Expanded Prompt and Checklist provided in the Research Paper assignment.

Expanded Prompt:

  • Just turn in all work completed to date on the Research Paper.
  • The purpose of this assignment is to monitor progress and to provide the opportunity for students to receive feedback.


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