Introduction to Philosophy Richard Lee
Philosophy 2003 C 001Spring 1999

Study Guide for the Fourth Makeup

Tentative

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, if you take it, replaces your lowest test grade. See course requirements.

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?

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

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

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

Explain the Socratic method.

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

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

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.

Be able to make explicit the form of a given 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.

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 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 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?

How does the evidential problem of evil differ from the logical problem of evil? Critically discuss.

Carefully explicate the problem of evil as an argument to the conclusion that God does not exist. Explain each premise in the argument and how the flow of the argument (i.e. how the inferences go from the premises to the subconclusions and the final conclusion).

Explore possible objections to the argument against the existence of God based on the logical problem of evil and explain how a defender of that argument might reply to those objections. Critically discuss.

B. C. Johnson asks of a six-month old baby painfully burned to death, "Could we possibly describe as 'good' any person who had the power to save this child and yet refused to do so?" (P 78a) What does this have to do with reasons not to believe in the existence of God? Explain.

It is often suggested that the fact that human beings have "free will" explains the existence of evil in the world and that God is, therefore, not to be held accountable for that evil. Thus, it is concluded, the existence of evil in the world is not really a good reason not believe that a very good, very powerful God does not exist. How would Johnson reply to this suggestion? Is his reply adequate? Critically discuss.

Explain the argument based on wagering that Pascal offers in regard to belief in God. Be sure to make clear what the conclusion of the argument is.

How is Pascal's wager argument similar to an argument that one should send in a sweepstakes entry one receives in the mail instead of throwing it in the trash? What important differences are there between Pascal's argument and an analogous argument concerning sending in the sweepstakes entry? Explain.

Suppose someone said "I don't believe in heaven." Would this person then be immune to Pascal's wager argument. That is to say, does the argument depend on the premise that there is a heaven? Explain.

Explain carefully a strong objection to Pascal's wager argument.

Be able to explain and give examples of what James means by living options, dead options, forced options, avoidable options, momentous options, trivial, and genuine options.

What does William James mean by a "genuine option?"

State the rule which William Clifford put forward concerning the conditions under which we morally may believe a claim. Give examples of someone following and of someone not following that rule. Explain.

Is "Clifford's rule" a rule we should follow? Explain.

State the overall thesis that James attempts to defend in "The Will to Believe?" Explain what the thesis means.

Under what conditions does William James believe it is permissible to believe something on the basis of our passional nature instead of our intellectual nature? Explain.

James speaks of two "commandments" or "laws" for would-be knowers. What are these and how are they related? What would happen if we were to follow one of these to the exclusion of the other? Critically discuss.

William James writes in "The Will to Believe" that there are situations in which "faith in a fact can help create the fact." Explain this using an example or two. Is belief without sufficient evidence justified in such cases? Critically discuss.

What, according to William James, is the "religious hypothesis?" Do all and only religious people believe the religious hypothesis? Critically discuss.

Does James think the choice of whether to accept what he calls "the religious hypothesis" is a genuine option? Explain.

In "The Will to Believe" William James writes: "There are, then, cases where a fact cannot come at all unless a preliminary faith exists in its coming. And where faith in a fact can help create the fact, that would be an insane logic which should say that faith running ahead of scientific evidence is the `lowest kind of immorality' into which a thinking being can fall." Explain what James is saying. (Examples may help.) Is James right about this? Critically discuss.

Explain the difference between descriptive morality (or ethics) and normative morality (or ethics). Give examples of questions that are questions of descriptive morality. Give examples of questions that are questions of normative morality. What is metaethics? Give examples of questions that are questions of metaethics.

What jobs involve people doing descriptive ethics? Explain. What jobs involve people doing normative ethics? Explain. What jobs involve people doing metaethics. Explain.

State and explain the argument Rachels calls the "cultural differences argument." What is Rachels' criticism of that argument?

What consequences does Rachels see the truth of cultural relativism would have?

Rachels suggests that if cultural relativism were true the idea of moral progress in a society would be meaningless. Explain.

What, according to Kant, is the only thing that can be called good without qualification? Why? Critically discuss.

Suppose there was a will such that "owing to a special disfavour of fortune or the niggardly provision of a step-motherly nature, this will should wholly lack power to accomplish its purpose, if with its greatest efforts it should yet achieve nothing." (P 420a) What, if anything, could or would the value of this will be, according to Kant? Explain.

Explain Kant's "jewel" analogy. What point is he trying to make?

Explain the distinction Immanuel Kant draws between acting from duty and acting merely in accordance with duty. Give examples of each. What does Kant claim to be the relevance of this distinction? (I.e., what difference does it make whether we act from duty or merely in accordance with duty?) Is Kant right about all this? Critically discuss.

Explain Kant's distinction between acting in accordance with duty and acting from duty. Use examples.

Apart from duty or respect for the moral law, what other motives does Kant think one can have in acting?

Under what circumstances, according to Kant, is there moral worth in an action (i.e., when does a person deserve moral credit for acting as she does)? Is Kant's view on this reasonable? Why or why not?

What, according to Kant, is an imperative? What kinds of imperatives does Kant claim there to be and what are the differences between (or among) them? Explain and give examples.

Explain the differences Kant sees among rules of skill, counsels of prudence, and commands of morality. Give examples of each.

Give an example of a hypothetical imperative. What makes it a hypothetical imperative?

What does Kant mean by the term "maxim?" Give examples. What maxims does Kant say it is permissible or impermissible to act from? Explain.

State one of Kant's formulations of his categorical imperative and explain why some action is right according to it. Then state a significantly different one of Kant's formulations of the categorical imperative and explain why some action is wrong according to it. Does either of these formulations seem to you to express what we morally should or should not do? Explain.

"A ... man, for whom things are going well, sees that others (whom he could help) have to struggle with great hardships, and he asks, `What concern of mine is it? Let each one be as happy as heaven wills, or as he can make himself; I will not take anything from him or even envy him; but to his welfare or to his assistance in time of need I have no desire to contribute.'" What would Kant say to such a man? Why? Critically discuss.

Kant considers four illustrations of the application of the categorical imperative. Explain one of these. What in that illustration is Kant saying is morally right or morally wrong? How does he use the categorical imperative to derive this answer? Is his derivation a good one? Why or why not?

What does it mean to treat a person as an end and not as a means only? Give an example of such treatment or explain why there can be no examples. Critically discuss.

What is it to treat someone as a means? What is it to treat someone as an end? Does Kant say we must never treat someone as a means? Does Kant say that we should always treat people as ends? Critically discuss.

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.

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

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.

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 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.

What are the differences between relations of ideas and matters of fact, according to Hume? Give several different examples of each.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Define "determinism." What is the universe like if determinism is true?

What does it mean to say of something that it is "causally determined." Is any event not causally determined? Explain.

How might a hard determinist argue that no one is responsible for any of her or his actions? Critically discuss.

Explain 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.

What 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.

What, according to a soft determinist, does it mean to say that someone did something freely? How is the soft determinist's understanding of freedom different from that of the hard determinist and the libertarian? Critically discuss.

There are three propositions such that the hard determinist, the soft determinist, and the libertarian each accept two of the propositions and deny a third (although they each deny a different one). What are these propositions and which do which views accept and deny? Explain.

Be able to define and discuss the interrelationships among: determinism, indeterminism, libertarianism, compatibilism, incompatibilism, hard determinism, and soft determinism.

What, according to a soft determinist, does it mean to say that someone did something freely? How is the soft determinist's understanding of freedom different from that of the hard determinist and the libertarian? Critically discuss.

How might a hard determinist argue that no one is responsible for any of her or his actions? Critically discuss.

What is Stace's account of free action? Is this account correct? Critically discuss.

Explain Stace's "internal cause" account of free action. Give examples of actions caused by psychological states. Give examples of actions caused whose immediate cause is not a psychological state. Does Stace's account seem to distinguish free actions from those that are not free? Explain.

One example of an "unfree act" that Stace gave was "stealing because one's employer threatened to beat one." Is such an act unfree on Stace's own account of free will? Explain and critically discuss.

In regard to determinism, freedom, and compatibilism, what do the hard determinist and the soft determinist agree on? What do the hard determinist and the libertarian agree on? What do the soft determinist and libertarian agree on ?

Explain Epicurus's reasoning that "death is nothing to us?" Does that mean that death is not bad? Explain.

What was Epicurus's attitude towards death? Critically discuss his defense of this attitude.

According to Epictetus: "Some things are up to us, some are not up to us." (P 524b) What does Epictetus think is up to us? What does he think is not up to us? What conclusions does he draw from this concerning how we can be happy? Critically discuss.

Summarize and critique Epictetus' prescription for happiness, being sure to mention any central distinctions Epictetus draws in his discussion of how to be happy.

Epictetus wrote, "It is not things that upset people but rather ideas about things" What does this mean? Is it right? What conclusions does he draw from this concerning who is to blame for unhappiness? Critically discuss.


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