Introduction to Philosophy Richard Lee
Philosophy 2003 C 001Spring 1999

Study Guide for the First Examination
A note of explanation: There is no guarantee that all the questions on the examination will be taken from this study guide. However, any student who knows, understands, and is able to formulate clearly the answers to all the questions on this study guide should do quite well on the examination. A student who can give answers to practically none of the questions on this study guide will very likely do rather poorly on the examination.

Format of the Examination

This examination counts as fifteen percent (15%) of your course grade.

This is a closed-book, in-class examination on the scheduled date.

There will be two parts.

Ground Rules

As always, cheating will not be tolerated. No help in answering the questions may be received from anyone (except yourself) during the examination. You may not use books or notes during the examination.

Sample Questions and points to study

What is philosophy?

Explain the etymology of the word "philosophy."

Name the main branches of philosophy (according to Lee) and explain what sorts of questions each asks.

Define "metaphysics," "epistemology," and "axiology."

Louis Pojman offers a different set of "major areas of philosophy" from those Lee presented. What are the major areas of philosophy according to Pojman? How, if at all, can each of these areas be accommodated into Lee's list of major areas of philosophy?

Give examples of fundamental concepts. Give examples of fundamental beliefs

Who is the author of the "Socratic Wisdom" selection?

What were the charges being brought against Socrates?

Why, according to Socrates, does he go around questioning people who are reported to be wise?

What did the Delphic oracle say? What did it mean? Explain (giving various interpretations).

In what sense does Socrates think he is wise? Explain.

Explain the Socratic method.

Socrates was charged with corrupting the youth. Does any argument he offers in his defense on this point establish that no one willingly corrupts the youth? Critically discuss.

How does Socrates defend himself against the charge that he does not believe in the gods?

Carefully explain the argument Socrates gives to the conclusion that he believes in the existence of gods.

What "voice" does Socrates speak of hearing? What role does it play in his decision making? Explain.

What is the first alternative proposal Socrates suggests to the jury for his punishment? Why does he suggest this?

How does Socrates defend himself against the charge of not believing in the gods of the city?

Discuss Socrates' attitude toward death.

Socrates claims in the Apology that one should not fear death. What argument or arguments does he give for this? Critically discuss.

Be prepared to distinguish arguments from non-arguments (e.g., from explanations, descriptions, conditional statements, and from unsupported statements of opinion or belief).

Be able to list, identify, and appropriately use premise indicators and conclusion indicators.

Be prepared to identify the ultimate premises, intermediate conclusions, and ultimate conclusion in a given argument, and to diagram its structure.

Be prepared to be able to make explicit the implicit premises or links in a given argument.

Be able to define and correctly use the following terms: argument, conclusion, premise, valid argument, invalid argument, sound argument, unsound argument, deductive argument, inductive argument.

Socrates offered an argument that death is a blessing. Explicate and critically discuss this argument.

Be able to give examples of conditional statements, to put conditional statements in standard form, to identify the antecedent and consequent of a conditional statement, and to explain what a conditional statement is claiming.

Be able to make explicit the form of a given argument.

Why is it important to be able to uncover the form of an argument?

Be able to identify and give examples of arguments which have the following forms: modus ponens, modus tollens, disjunctive syllogism, pure hypothetical syllogism, denying the antecedent, affirming the consequent.

Be able to identify and offer instances of the following fallacies: ad hominem, argument from authority, arguing in a circle, argument from ignorance, false dilemma, slipperly slope, straw man, genetic fallacy, fallacy of composition, denying the antecedent, affirming the consequent.

State a valid argument for the conclusion that Aristotle lived before Socrates, or explain why this cannot be done.

Atheists, skeptics, and fideists all say that the existence of God cannot be proved. Explain why.

What are Aquinas's "five ways" ways of? (E.g. Getting to heaven? Going to Rome? Proving that we can be certain of empirical knowledge? Approaching philosophy?)

How does one argue by reductio ad absurdum? Explain how a reductio ad absurdum argument works by explaining an example.

Explicate Aquinas's argument, discussed by Edwards, for the conclusion that there must be a first cause.

In Aquinas's "second way" of proving the existence of God he says "But if we remove a cause the effect is removed." Explain the role of this premise in his argument. That is, how is this premise used to prove the conclusion? What problem is there is Aquinas's use of this premise? Explain.

Explain Edwards's critique of the "first cause" argument for the existence of God.

Lee identified four objections raised by Edwards against the causal argument for the existence of God. Explain each of these.

Explain the distinction between a cause in fieri and a cause in esse. How does this distinction help the causal argument for the existence for the existence of God avoid certain objections? Explain.

It is sometimes suggested that even if everything in the universe has a cause or reason for its existence, still the universe as such needs a cause or reason for its existence. Explain this suggestion, its role in argumentation for the existence of God, and Edwards' critique of it.

What does it mean to say something is a "contingent" being?

State the principle of sufficient reason.

Explain and critique the argument from contingency for the existence of God.

What is the "quantifier shift fallacy" and what role does it play in Aquinas's third way of proving the existence of God?

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.

What does David Hume mean by "productions of human contrivance?"

Explain what Hume means by "the curious adapting of means to ends."

Explain the "Look round the world ..." argument concerning the existence and nature of God offered by Cleanthes in Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

What is anthropomorphism?

Explain what makes an analogy a weak one.

Explain as clearly as you can and in some detail the objections Philo raises to the main argument Cleanthes offered to prove for the existence of God and to establish what God is like.

Name 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?

Philo says that the principle Cleanthes appeals to in his primary argument in Hume's Dialogues is "Like effects prove like causes." Explain how this principle does (or does not) figure into Cleanthes' argument.


Richard Lee, rlee@comp.uark.edu, last modified: 4 February 1999