Introduction to Philosophy, Honors (section 1)Spring 1998

Second Examination: Questions

[Be sure you are familiar with the format and ground rules for this exam.]

Questions will be referred to by their "names," listed to their left.

H-QUIKEarly on in part II of Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion Philo gives a quick argument for the existence of God. Explicate and critique this argument.
H-ENTHEarly on in part II of Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion Philo says "Our ideas reach no farther than our experience: We have no experience of divine attributes and operations. I need not conclude my syllogism. You can draw the inference yourself." What is the conclusion that follows? Explicate and critique Philo's argument here. Explain argument by analogy. Give an example of an argument by analogy other than one involving God, and show how the argument fits into the form of an analogy.
H-LRWExplain the "Look round the world ..." argument concerning the existence and nature of God offered by Cleanthes in Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.
H-TRAIName several traits commonly attributed to God which Philo argues cannot be established by the argument Cleanthes has offered to establish the nature of God. Why does Philo think these cannot be established by the argument?
H-IXCarefully explain the argument for the existence of God which Demea proposes in Part IX of Hume's Dialogues. Explain Cleanthes' objections to the argument. Critically discuss.
H-EVILExplicate the problem of evil as an argument to the conclusion that God does not exist.
H-RECTIn Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion Demea suggests, as a "solution" to the problem of evil, that "the present evil phenomena ... are rectified ... in some future period of existence?" Explain this suggestion. On what grounds does Cleanthes reject it? Is Cleanthes right to reject it? Why or why not? Critically discuss.
H-THEODefine "theodicy." Explain and critically discuss a plausible theodicy.
H-EVIDHow does the "evidential" or "inferential" problem of evil differ from the logical problem of evil? Critically discuss.
S-MBExplain the numerous traditional monist and dualist positions on the mind-body problem. How do the various views account for the apparent interaction between mental and physical events? Which seems most plausible to you? Why? Explain one advantage one of the other views has over the one you find most plausible.
S-FEATExplain the "four features of mental phenomena" Searle identifies "which have made them seem impossible to fit into our `scientific' conception of the world" (p.15) Explain the tension in each case between the feature and the scientific conception of the world.
S-INTWhat is "intentionality" (as that term is used by Searle)? Give examples of intentional mental states (in this sense of the term) and explain how they are intentional. Is there anything other than mental states that is intentional? If so, what? Explain. What is Searle's explanation for how mental states can be intentional, given his account of what mental states are? Is his explanation satisfactory? Why or why not?
S-MICRWhat distinction does Searle make between "micro- and macro-properties of systems?" How does this distinction figure into his proposed solution to the mind-body problem? Explain his solution. Does it seem an adequate solution? Why or why not?
S-CHINExplain Searle's "Chinese Room" thought experiment. What is it supposed to show? Does it do so? Why or why not? (Be sure to consider specific objections to his argument.) Critically discuss.
S-CPSearle argues that "No computer program by itself is sufficient to give a system a mind" (p.39). Carefully explain this argument. Critically discuss.
S-BEERSearle thinks that some philosophers believe that "if you made a computer out of old beer cans powered by windmills; if it had the right program, it would have to have a mind." (pages 28f) Why would anyone think that? Try to defend the view that such a "computer" would have a mind. Critically discuss.
S-HARDHow might a hard determinist argue that no one is responsible for any of her or his actions? Critically discuss.
S-COMPExplain the compatibilist view on the relation between free action and determinism. Make this view as plausible as you can and give examples of actions that would be free, and others that would not be free, according to this view. Is compatibilism correct? Explain.
S-FREEWhat does it mean to say that someone does some action freely? That is, how is "acting freely" to be defined? What would an incompatibilist say it means? What would a compatibilist say it means? Who is right? Critically discuss.

Richard Lee,, last modified: 2 April 1998