A misconception persists that Christopher Columbus couldn’t initially get funding for his voyage to the new world because potential investors believed the earth was flat. In fact, he couldn’t get funding because he was an obviously bad geometer. His estimation of the earth’s circumference was far smaller than the circumference had been known (for centuries) to be. Some blame the historical misconception (not Columbus’s miscalculation) on Washington Irving’s biography of Columbus. This exercise has three parts.
Do some investigation on Washington Irving’s biography on Christopher Columbus and comment both on the adequacy of (1) Irving’s sources for his book project and on the adequacy of (2) Irving’s book as a source on Columbus. Propose a reason for any difference you find between the adequacy of (1) and (2).
Read Chapter V in Book I of Volume I of Irving’s A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus. The chapter, titled “Grounds on which Columbus founded…”, begins on page 52 of the book which is freely available as a Google ebook: http://books.google.com/books?id=uIADAAAAQAAJ (Links to an external site.). Also, look up confirmation bias. Say what it is and say whether Irving has established in that chapter that Columbus committed that mistake in reasoning. Justify your position. Part III
Finally, comment on the adequacy of your sources for this project. A suitable source of information should be (1) disinterested and should be (2) an expert. You needn’t comment again on Irving’s book but you should consider your sources of information about Irving’s book. Also consider the quality of your sources on confirmation bias.
Type your paper and organize it well. Clearly mark the three parts of the paper. Write grammatically, spell correctly and cite your sources in your favorite style. I will grade your assignment on mechanics, organization (and clarity), your understanding of the material, and your reasoning (how well you defend your claims). Don’t plagiarize (write your own)!