Introduction to Philosophy Richard Lee
Philosophy 2003 C 001Spring 1999

Study Guide for the Third 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

Do you have any false beliefs? Can you give an example of one? Why or why not?

Offer an example of a belief which is based upon some other belief (and state what that other belief is). Are all our beliefs based upon other beliefs in this way? Why or why not? Critically discuss.

What did Descartes claim he was trying to achieve (in writing the Meditations)?

Why, according to Descartes, was it not necessary to show a belief to be false to justify rejection of it?

Why, according to Descartes, need one not explore each of one's beliefs in order to cast each of them into doubt?

What, according to Descartes, are many of our ordinary beliefs based on?

What three reasons did Descartes come up with for doubting beliefs based on the senses?

Explain Descartes' method of trying to achieve certainty in his beliefs. Does Descartes through this method find that there is some claim that he can know for certain? If so, explain how he comes to know this claim for certain, and how he uses his method to arrive at this knowledge. If he does not come to know something for certain through use of his method, does he think that he does? If so, why is he wrong about this? Critically discuss.

What ground of doubt does Descartes find for beliefs apparently derived from sense experience? Explain how this is ground of doubt for those beliefs. Is this a ground of doubt for other beliefs which are not based in the senses? Why or why not? Is there some other ground of doubt which calls into question more beliefs than this ground of doubt? What is it? Critically discuss.

At one point in Meditation one Descartes considers the possibility that he is being deceived every time he thinks about mathematics. As an objection to this possibility he wonders "perhaps God has not willed that I be thus deceived, for it is said that he is good in the highest degree." Explain how this is an objection to the possibility that Descartes is constantly deceived and explain Descartes's answer to this objection.

Explain the point(s) Descartes is trying to make in talking of an evil genius or a malicious demon. Critically discuss.

Is there any way that you can be certain that you are not a brain in a vat connected by wires to a supercomputer? Critically explore.

Offer an example (different from any mentioned in class) of a belief which is based upon some other belief (and state what that other belief is). Are all our beliefs based upon other beliefs in this way? Why or why not? Critically discuss.

Can we know anything for certain? Why or why not? Critically discuss.

How does Descartes convince himself that he can be certain that he exists? Explicate and critically discuss his argument. Is our own existence something we can know for certain? Is there anything else that we can know with certainty? Why or why not?

What does "cogito, ergo sum" mean?

What, according to Descartes (by the end of Meditation II), is he? Explain what this means, what Descartes doesn't think he is, and how he thinks he knows what he is.

What sorts of things does Descartes claim to know by the end of the second Meditation? What sorts of things is he, at that point, still uncertain of. Why?

Descartes claims that the mind is more easily known than the body. Explain and critically discuss the argument he gives for this claim in Meditation II.

Explain the "wax" example in the second Meditation. What is the point (or what are the points) Descartes is trying to make in using this example? How does the example serve to illustrate this point (or these points)? Explain.

By the end of the second Meditation what beliefs does Descartes claim he can be certain of? What does he think he cannot (yet) be certain of? Explain and critically discuss.

List three philosophical points Descartes makes by using the wax example.

Explain how Descartes proves that material objects (corporeal things) exist.

What trait of God (other than existence) is it important for Descartes to prove in order for the rest of his positive project to work? Explain.

Into what categories does Hume classify what he calls "perceptions?"

What, according to Hume, is the difference between what he calls "impressions" and what he calls "ideas?" What does he think the relation is between impressions and ideas? Is he right about that? Critically discuss.

What, according to Hume, are the limits of the creative power of the mind? Explain in detail. Give examples. Is Hume right about this? Critically discuss.

What, according to Hume, do all ideas derive from?

What claim that Hume makes is the overall thesis of his section on the origin of ideas?

Explicate and critically discuss the arguments Hume offers for his thesis that all ideas are derived from impressions.

How do we come to have an idea of God, according to Hume? Is his view on this plausible? Critically discuss.

Into what two groups does Hume categorize objects of inquiry? Explain the differences between these two groups.

What are the differences between relations of ideas and matters of fact, according to Hume? Give several different examples of each. Are there any beliefs or questions that are hard to classify given Hume's division? Explain.

What is the question that Hume claims to be "worthy of curiosity" to inquire into?

Hume asks "what is the nature of that evidence which assures us of any real existence and matter of fact, beyond the present testimony of our senses, or the records of our memory." What is his answer? Explain, using examples.

How, according to Hume, could we come to have knowledge that two plus two equals four?

What sorts of things does Hume presume we can know without much problem?

Explain what it means to say of things that they are "collateral effects."

Give an example in which an evidential fact causes a believed fact. Explain. Give an example in which a believed fact causes an evidential fact. Explain. Give an example in which a believed fact and an evidential fact are collateral effects. Explain.

How, according to Hume, are causes and effects discovered? Explain, giving examples. Be sure to explain how Hume insists causes and effects are not discovered.

Explicate and critically discuss some argument Hume offers to support the claim that causes and effects are not discoverable by reason.

What, according to Hume, is the "great guide of human life?" In what sense does this guide us? Critically discuss.

Descartes argues in Meditation VI that there is a real distinction between the body and the mind. Explain his arguments for this position. Explicate various ways of interpreting his principal argument for this thesis. Critically discuss, exploring possible objections to the argument.

Give examples of what Moreland would call properties.

Give examples of what Moreland would call substances.

Explain the four differences Moreland claims there to be between properties and substances.

What is "worldview physicalism?"

What is "Mind-Body physicalism?"

What is the relationship between worldview physicalism and mind-body physicalism?

Explain three of the problems Moreland claims to find with worldview physicalism. How might a physicalist solve those problems? Explain.

Explain and critique the argument either from numbers or from values that Moreland presents against physicalism as a world view.

What is property dualism? How does it differ from substance dualism?

State and explain the principle of the "indiscernibility of identicals." Give examples of its application.

Explain and critique the argument against the identity theory based on the distinctiveness of mental and physical properties.

What is intentionality? Explain and critique the argument against physicalism based on intentionality. Explain what role, if any, the principle of the indiscernibility of identicals plays in Moreland's argument.

Explain the view Moreland calls the "Emergent Property View."

Explain how an epiphenomenalist would account for the causal links in the following sequence of events: An old Beatles' song plays, I hear it, I think of the death of John Lennon, I become sad, tears come to my eyes, I decide to wipe my tears away, and I do so. How would the account offered by an interactive dualist differ from this? Explain.

Explain and critique one of the arguments Moreland offers against the epiphenomenalism.

Moreland talks of "the emergence of God himself." (P 244a) Explain the point he is trying to make?. What does this have to do with the Emergent Property View? How might an EPV theorist reply to Moreland's objection? Critically discuss.

State something that is true of a mind that is not true of any physical thing--or explain why this cannot be done. Critically discuss how a materialist and a dualist would respond to this request.


Richard Lee, rlee@comp.uark.edu, last modified: 9 April 1999