PHIL 2100: Introduction to Philosophy

Dr. Robert Lane

Summer 2010

 

Study Guide for Exam 3 (Final Exam)

·         Date: July 1

·         This test will be worth 30% of your total course grade.

·         This will be a timed test. You will have two hours to complete it. The test will begin promptly at the official start time of class. It is important that you be in your seat and prepared to begin at the official start time. If you arrive late for the test, you will not be given extra time to finish.

·         See my online test archive for examples of past tests in other courses:

http://www.westga.edu/~rlane/testArchive/testarchive.html

 

 

Section I: Identification of Argument Forms (4% of total test grade). I will give you examples of arguments (real English-language arguments, not just argument forms). You will be required to identify each argument as having one of the following forms:

You will also be required to indicate whether the argument is valid or invalid.

 

 

Section II will consist of definitions (10-20% of total test grade). I will give you a list of terms and phrases to define. Typically, only a sentence or two is necessary for a satisfactory answer. The terms and phrases will come from the following list:

 

·         inquiry

·         philosophy

·         metaphysics

·         epistemology

·         ethics

·         logic

·         argument

·         subjective

·         objective

·         dogma

·         dilemma

·         allegory

·         inculcation

·         deductive validity

·         soundness

·         deductive invalidity

·         conditional

·         antecedent

·         consequent

·         begging the question

·         logical strength

·         design argument

·         global design argument

·         local design argument

·         argument from analogy

·         monotheism

·         the birthday fallacy

·         atheistic evolutionism

·         theistic evolutionism

·         creationism

·         speciation

·         principle of sufficient reason

·         theodicy

 

·         JTB Theory

·         counterexample

·         rationalism

·         foundationalism

·         epistemic certainty

·         psychological certainty

·         a posteriori

·         a priori

·         thesis of the incorrigibility of the mental

·         empiricism

·         implicit premise

·         tautology

·         Humean skepticism

 

·         Cartesian Dualism

·         the Identity Theory

·         materialism

·         functionalism

·         logical behaviorism

·         essential properties

·         accidental properties

·         Leibniz’s Law

·         the problem of other minds

·         qualia

·         élan vital

·         vitalism

·         parsimony

·         Ockham’s Razor

·         eliminative materialism

·         folk psychology

·         determinism

·         fatalism

·         compatibility

·         compatibilism

·         hard determinism

·         soft determinism

·         incompatibilism

·         libertarianism

 

Your definitions should as be as detailed, clear and precise as possible. For example, the following is not an adequate definition of validity: “the conclusion follows from the premises.” This would not get you full credit. A much better definition is this: “In a valid argument, the truth of the premises would guarantee the truth of the conclusion; in other words, it is impossible for the premises to be all true and the conclusion false at the same time.”

 

 

Section III will consist of short answer questions (24-34% of total test grade). Your answers to these questions should be as detailed, clear and precise as time allows. Typically, a paragraph of about five to seven sentences is sufficient for a satisfactory answer. The questions will be drawn from the following list:

 

·         Explain Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, making sure to explain its different elements and what each one represents.

·         Explain the difference between induction and abduction, and illustrate your explanation with examples of each.

·         Explain the Surprise Principle and illustrate your explanation with an example of an argument that follows the Principle and another argument that does not follow it.

·         Explain the difference between “in practice” scientific ignorance and “in principle” scientific ignorance, and give examples of each.

·         Explain why, according to Sober, it is impossible for science to explain why there is something rather than nothing

 

·         Is propositional knowledge a necessary or a sufficient condition of object knowledge? Explain your answer.

·         Explain how the success of a Getter counterexample depends on whether one adopts a strong or a weak concept of justification.

·         Explain the distinction known as “Hume’s Fork.”

 

·         Explain the type/token distinction and illustrate your explanation with at least two different examples.

·         Explain the different conceptions of human nature called “the Ordinary Conception” and “the Causal Conception.”

·         Explain the difference between determinism and fatalism, and illustrate your explanation with examples.

 

 

 

Section IV will consist of one discussion question, worth 30% of your total test grade. You will be given two questions and allowed to choose one question to answer. The three questions from which you may choose will be drawn from the following list:

 

·         Discuss Sober’s treatment of (what I called in class) Perfectionist Creationism, Minimal Creationism, and Deceptive Creationism. Your discussion should include clear explanations of each kind of creationism, and an explanation why Sober thinks that none of them is a better hypothesis than the theory of evolution. Do you agree with Sober? Why or why not?

 

·         Discuss the Argument from Evil. Your discussion should touch on the different forms of the Argument and the objections that have traditionally been made against it. Do you think any form of the Argument works? Why or why not?

 

·         Discuss Descartes’ attempt to overcome skepticism with regard to knowledge about the external world (in Meditations III and IV). Your discussion should address, but not necessarily be limited to, the Representational Theory of Perception, the Problem of the Criterion; the “Idea of God” argument; and the “Clearness and Distinctness” argument. Do you think Descartes was successful at overcoming skepticism about the external world? Why or why not?

 

·         Discuss Hume’s defense of skepticism in An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. Your discussion should address, but not necessarily be limited to, the exact nature of the skepticism he is defending; his views on cause and effect; his distinction between “demonstrative reasoning” and “moral reasoning”; the Principle of the Uniformity of Nature; and the role of “custom.” Do you think Hume was successful at defending skepticism? Why or why not?

 

 

Section V will consist of one discussion question, worth 30% of your total test grade. You will be given two questions and allowed to choose one question to answer. The three questions from which you may choose will be drawn from the following list:

 

·         Discuss the three arguments that Descartes gives in the Meditations in support of Cartesian Dualism. Your discussion should include explanations of all three arguments as well as the ways in which Sober criticizes them. Do you think any of the arguments gives us a good reason to believe Cartesian Dualism? Defend your answer.

 

·         Discuss any ONE of the following three solutions to the mind/body problem: logical behaviorism, the identity theory or functionalism. Your discussion should include a thorough explanation of the theory itself, examples to illustrate the theory’s claims, and explanations of at least some of the objections that might be raised against the theory. Do you think the theory you have discussed is a plausible solution to the mind/body problem? Defend your answer.

 

·         Discuss EITHER David Hume’s form of compatibilism OR the “Weather Vane Conception” of free will. Your discussion should include a thorough explanation of the theory itself, examples to illustrate the theory’s claims, and explanations of at least some of the objections that might be raised against the theory. Do you think the theory you have discussed is an adequate account of free will? Why or why not?

 

The essays you write on this test should be as detailed, clear and precise as time allows. In other words, tell me everything you know about the question asked. If you omit something that is relevant to the question, I will assume that you do not know the material you are omitting.

 

The essays you write should incorporate material covered in the lecture notes and your readings, as well as your own thoughts on the subject at hand. The purpose of these questions is to test (1) your understanding and memory of the material covered in class and (2) your ability to engage in original thought about that material. The majority of the grade you get on your essay question will be based on requirement (1); but for full credit, I will require that you state and defend your own position(s) on the issue at hand, thus fulfilling requirement (2).

 

In studying for sections IV and V, I recommend that you practice composing essays that explain the arguments and other moral considerations relevant to each issue and that incorporate relevant facts (from the lecture notes and/or the textbook) where appropriate.

 

I expect that you will spend 30 minutes or longer on each of these essays during the two hours you will have to take the test. I realize that, for some essay questions on this study guide, we may have covered more material than you could write in the length of time you have to complete the test. So in preparing, you should select which arguments, moral issues, and relevant facts you plan to discuss while writing your answers. It is unwise to study by simply reading through the lecture notes and textbook again and again and then attempt to compose an essay for the first time “on the fly,” while taking the test. In preparing to take the test, you should, at the very least, construct an outline of each of the essays you may be asked to write. I recommend that you go beyond simply constructing outlines and actually practice writing your essays as much as possible while preparing for the test.

 

 

**

 

It is very unwise to study simply by reading through the lecture notes and textbook again and again and then to attempt to compose your answers “on the fly” while taking the test. In preparing to take the test, you should actually practice taking the test by writing your definitions, short answers, and essays as much as possible. You should also practice for section I by practicing writing the four argument forms and coming up with your own examples of English-language arguments that have those forms. The efficacy of this study method, which requires that you put away your books and notes and engage in active recall of the course material, has been demonstrated by recent psychological research; see David Glenn, “Close the Book. Recall. Write It Down,” Chronicle of Higher Education 55 (34): May 1, 2009 (available online through GALILEO, accessible via the UWG Library website).

 

 

Please don’t hesitate to talk to me if you have any questions about the test.