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Emma B.
UC Berkeley Student and Tutor
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Philosophy
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Question:

Explain Cartesian Dream Skepticism

Emma B.
Answer:

Descartes’ theory of Dream Skepticism comes from his Meditations on First Philosophy in which he uses his method of doubt in an attempt to distill truth from beliefs. The method of doubt was simply to try to call into question everything he believed and to discard any beliefs that could be successfully doubted. His first question was whether or not he could trust his senses. He successfully doubts some situations of sensing by noting that sometimes far away objects appear different that they are, for example a far away leaf may look like a bird. This leaves him with the belief that he can only trust his senses under favorable sensing conditions, such as when things are nearby and well lit. Dream Skepticism is his attempt to question that he can trust his senses under favorable conditions. He does this by saying that there is no way to tell whether he is dreaming or awake because when he is dreaming, he does not know that he is not awake. This means he could be dreaming at any moment or even at all times. The modern equivalent is the theory that we may all be in The Matrix. Descartes successfully doubts that he can trust his senses using Dream Skepticism. The only beliefs that survive Dream Skepticism are those based in logic, arithmetic and geometry because they are not dependent on the physical world existing as he perceives it.

Psychology
TutorMe
Question:

Name, explain and provide an example of 3 Freudian defense mechanisms

Emma B.
Answer:

Freud’s defense mechanisms are one theory through which Freud seeks to explain what human beings do with unacceptable thoughts and impulses, which he thinks stem largely from the Id. 1. Reaction Formation occurs when a person performs the opposite emotion as the one they are experiencing because they feel that their genuine emotional is unacceptable on a subconscious level. For example, if a person is experiencing a high degree of anger towards their partner they might act excessively kindly to them. 2. Projection occurs when a person incorrectly sees traits, behavior or mental processes in another person as a result of seeing that trait in themselves. One theory to explain this is that seeing the trait in other people helps the person normalize themselves. For example, if a person is highly insecure about their body they would falsely see that in the people around them. 3. Denial, the more classic Freudian Defense Mechanism, occurs when a person refuses to accept truth about situations around them or their own psychology. A common example is a smoker who does not admit that smoking is bad for them.

English
TutorMe
Question:

What is one role of Kurtz in "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad?

Emma B.
Answer:

The character Kurtz is shrouded in mystery. Almost no one has met him yet everyone has a story of him. These stories are fantastical and often in conflict with each other, some say he can kill a lion with his bare hands, others that he was profoundly gentle.The many competing myths of Kurtz are used to parallel the many human theories of religion. As a result, Kurtz becomes a symbol of religion. Since no one has actual interaction with Kurtz, he becomes the myths about him rather than the real man. The only relevant reality of Kurtz is the stories and the ways those stories affect the people who believe them. Through Kurtz symbolizing religion, one of the themes of the book is created—that the factual truth of religions is irrelevant and the meaning people derive from their beliefs is the only truth that matters.

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