Origins of Western Philosophy, final exam topics
This is just a list of terms, examples, concepts, etc. that you ought to be familiar with, and some questions you should be able to address. Simply memorizing terms isn't sufficient for understanding the class material, of course, but this might be of some use to you as a start to approaching what you ought to know. This list is in addition to the items mentioned explicitly in the essay questions; I've haven't included all those items here, for the sake of saving time and space. Look over the list of possible reading response paper too to get a handle on what we've covered.
Mind/body problem Stuff covered in essay question, plus
- Ways in which Fred is like the consumer of chicken nuggets
- Various proposed disanalogies and how Norcross responds. (Fred tortures puppies himself, our actions make no difference, puppies are cute!)
- The 'rationality gambit.' Why rationality makes a huge difference for Epicurus, for Kant.
- Marginal cases: what they are, why they pose a problem for people who advance 'rationality gambit'
- Moral agent v. moral patient
Free will and determinism. Stuff covered in essay question, plus
- What is the identity theory?
- Indiscernibility of identicals. Intentional contexts.
- How Carruthers deals with various objections: especially: certainty.
- What is intentionality; how does C. deal with it?
- Nagel and the bat example. How is it supposed to work, how does it act as an objection to reductionist theories of the mind? How is 'reducing' mind to neural activities supposed to be different than reducing water to H2O?
- Churchland: what is a fallacious appeal to ignorance? Why does she think Nagel commits it?
- Churchland: Why is the distinction between hard and easy problems of the mind bogus?
- Qualia and attention.
Faith and reason
- d'Holbach: arguments for determinism being true
- d'Holbach: why determinism is inconsistent with free will.
- d'Holbach: benefits of being a 'fatalist' (not believing in free will)
- Why both determinism and indeterminism are incompatible with moral responsibility
- Determinism and the ability to do otherwise
- Agent vs. event causation
- Agent causation and whether there can be a 'science of man'
- Desires and inclination of the will vs. causing actions
- Why the doctrine of necessity is true
- What liberty is, why it is compatible with necessity
- Why denying necessity undercuts liberty. What do we blame?
Return to final exam possible essay questions.
- What is it to 'bet' on God?
- Why is the wager forced?
Why can't reason decide?
- The pay-off table
- How does this-world happiness factor in to the wager?
- What if the probabilities aren't 50/50?
- How can you make yourself believe?
- The case of the ship owner, what it is supposed to show
- How Clifford extends his argument to all beliefs, even ones that don't have an immediate practical implication
- Effect of beliefs on character and on social norms
- Application of general position to religious belief, reliance on scriptures
- Acceptable and unacceptable authority, testimony
- Living, forced, and momentous options: what does this mean?
- How believing via volition/passion does occur
- The two epistemic goals, which is more important
- The case of friendship, what it is supposed to show
- What religion 'says,' according to James.
- How we can will to believe in religious questions, and why we should.
- What belief is supposed to do, why it is not necessary for action
- What hope is, according to Pojman
- Why hope can be moral or immoral
- Relationship of hope to belief-that
- Ordinary hopes vs. deep hopes
- Belief-in vs. belief-that
- Why profound hope is enough for religious faith
Return to the Introduction to Philosophy page.