Philosophy

ontological argument (from the nature of God)

teleological argument (from design)

cosmological argument (from processes of change)

causal argument (from processes of causation)

moral argument (from degrees of goodness)

foundationalism

hyperbolic doubt

solipsism

rationalism

empiricism

empiricism

existentialism

indirect communication (for Kierkegaard)

aesthetic form of life

ethical form of life

Knight of Faith 

1. In what ways did the ideas of the Manichees put Augustine on the path toward truth? How did he eventually come to see their errors?

2. How does Augustine explain the presence of evil in the world? How can it be so prevalent in our experience, if it does not exist independently (as a substance)?
3. What is the source of goodness, according to Augustine (see especially VII)?

4. Augustine describes a time when he understood what is the ultimate good, and yet could not accept God’s grace (see especially VII. 18­19). What does this indicate about the relationship between mind and heart, between intellect and will?

5. Describe some of the ways in which Augustine’s conversion story (VIII. 12) is similar to other famous conversion stories (such as Paul’s, in Acts 9), and some ways in which it is different. 

6. What is time, according to Augustine? Does it exist objectively in the world? (See XI. 14­20)

7. How would Anselm reply to someone who said, “I know perfectly well what you mean when you talk about God, and I also know that there isn’t any such being.”

8. Why does Aquinas think that Anselm’s ontological argument is not available to us?

9. What is the relationship between reason and revelation, according to Aquinas? Is one subordinate to the other?

10. How are essence and existence related in created beings, according to Aquinas? What does this imply about the question of whether the world exists by necessity?

11. Summarize the arguments for God’s existence that Aquinas puts forward: the argument from change, from efficient cause, from possibility and necessity, from the goodness of things, and from design in the world. (The test won’t ask you to summarize all five but might ask for, say, two of them.)

12. How does doubt lead Descartes to certainty? What is it about which he cannot be deceived?

13. Why is Descartes called a foundationalist?

14. How does the conviction that God is not a deceiver help Descartes to establish the reality of an external, material world?

15. How does Descartes argue from the idea of God to the actual existence of God, in Meditation III?

16. How does the distinction between understanding and will explain the possibility of error, for Descartes? How can we avoid error?

17. What is essential to us as persons, according to Descartes? Are we physical bodies?

18. Under what categories does an aesthete (in Kierkegaard’s classification) organize his or her life? How does this differ in the ethical mode?
19. Judge William, writing to A, speaks of his “either/or”. What is that? And how does it mark the difference between A’s form of life and the judge’s?

20. What is the judge’s view of the relation between romantic love and marriage?

21. What is despair? What is the condition of a self when despair is completely eradicated?

22. What is characteristic of a system? What would an existential system be? And how does Kierkegaard attack this notion?

23. “Never at any moment in my life have I ‘sought for God,’” writes Simone Weil (p. 22). Why does she say this? What does it imply about the way in which we come to know God and ourselves?

24. Why is Weil so wary of the church and its “dogma,” its theological teachings?

25. In the essay on “school studies”) Weil writes that “the intelligence can only be led by desire.”

26. How is “every school exercise . . . like a sacrament”? (p. 63)

27. In The Little Logic Book, ch. 13, the authors argue that some purposes are appropriate and others are not in making an argument. Explain what they mean; give examples.

28. “Behind the cases where reasoning with others goes off track, there sometimes lies a moral failure that runs deeper than any logical mistake,” the authors write (p. 192). Explain what this failure is.

29. What is the virtue, in arguing, that represents the mean between excess in either direction? What are the excesses on each side? Explain briefly.The virtue is compromise

The remaining questions are review questions covering several writers. You will be asked to

answer one ortwo of these on the exam. What is important in answering these questions is not

to come up with the correct answer – in some cases there really isn’t one – but to explore the

way writers’ ideas relate to each other and to our concerns as we study them.

30. How would Plato, Aristotle and Augustine answer the question that Socrates first posed: what is the best life for a person to live? How do we know that it is the best?
31. In what ways does Kierkegaard’s view of human life, and the choices we make, resemble Augustine’s? In what ways does it differ?

32. Descartes believes we must never act unless we are certain of the principle we are acting on. Kierkegaard, however, believes uncertainty and anxiety are the inevitable conditions of every human choice. Who is right? Or are both partly right?

would like to answer on the final exam. I will consider adding them as optional essay questions.

TEST 2

argument

premise of an argument

validity

soundness

tautology

contradiction

modus ponens

modus tollens

disjunctive syllogism

hypothetical syllogism

fallacy of affirming the consequent

fallacy of denying the antecedent

constructive dilemma

destructive dilemma

(enumerative) induction

method of addition

method of concomitant variation

Whatever phenomenon varies in any manner whenever another phenomenon varies in some particular manner, is either a cause or an effect of that phenomenon, or is connected with it through some fact of causation.]

method of residues

post hoc ergo propter hocfallacy

hasty generalization

slippery slope fallacy

straw person fallacy

begging the question

fallacy of composition

fallacy of division

against the person (ad hominem)

potentiality:
actuality:

material cause

formal cause

efficient cause

final cause

Review questions to help you prepare for the test:

  1. Do the premises of a valid deductive argument entail its conclusion? Can the conclusion of a valid and sound deductive argument be false?
  2. Can the conclusion of a valid but unsound deductive argument be false?
  3. Do the premises of an inductive argument logically entail its conclusion?
  4. Describe how to use a truth table to determine whether a statement is a tautology.
  5. Describe how to use a truth table to determine whether a deductive argument is valid.
  6. The first requirement a strong inductive argument must meet is to identify a genuine pattern. Explain what this means; give an example of an argument that fails this test and one that meets this test.
  1. An inductive argument must also be based on the right sort of sample. What does that require? Give an example that meets this test and an example that does not.
  2. Why isn’t it possible to show by inductive arguments that the future will be like the past?
  3. 10.Give an example of a causal explanation based on Mill’s methods of agreement and disagreement.

11.What does Mill’s method of concomitant variation (or proportional change) suggest about increases in atmospheric carbon and increasing global average temperature? Does it establish causation conclusively?

12.Give an example of a causal explanation based on Mill’s method of residues (or we could call it “eliminating background factors”).

13.What is the fallacy of false dilemma? How can a valid argument form (“A or B, not A, therefore B”) be labeled an informal fallacy?

14.Give an example of the slippery slope fallacy (you may have heard one or two in high school health class).

15.What is the difference between citing an appropriate authority, in a way that genuinely supports your argument, and falling into the fallacy of appeal to irrelevant authority?

16.Plato believes knowledge must be about a transcendent realm, not about the world of experience. In what way does Aristotle disagree? What is knowledge about, for Aristotle?

17.Why is Aristotle’s understanding of the cosmos called “teleological”?

18.When Aristotle writes about the “unmoved mover,” is this the same as the Christian and Jewish concept of God? In what ways is it different?

19.What are the three levels of soul that exist in living things? Can they exist apart from the bodies with which they are associated? 

20.Why does Aristotle reject the idea that a good life is one devoted to the pursuit of pleasure?

21.What is the arête or excellence of a human being, for Aristotle?

22.Explain what is meant by “choosing the mean” in Aristotle’s ethics.

23.What does the opening page of the Confessions tell us about the relationship between God and man, as Augustine understands it?

What does it mean that our hearts find rest only in God?

24.Cite some of the ways in which Augustine’s early education (learning language, enduring beatings) seem to him to disclose important aspects of human nature.

25.What lesson does Augustine draw from the episode of stealing pears?

26.Why does the bishop (last chapter of Bk III) decline to do as Augustine’s mother asks and instruct him in Christian teaching?

TEST 1

Questions to help in your review of the Platonic dialogues:

  1. Why does Socrates reject Euthyphro’s suggestion that “piety” means “approved by all of the gods”? What is wrong with that definition?
    • What does the Euthyphro teach us about what Socrates is seeking? Where should we start in our inquiry? What is the goal?
    • Why does Socrates insist in the Apologythat he did not accept payment for his teaching? What group of itinerant teachers is he thinking about, a group in which many people evidently placed him?
    • What kind of wisdom does Socrates claim to have in the Apology?

5. What does Socrates mean by calling himself a “gadfly” on the body of Athens?

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  1. What does Socrates mean when he says in the Apologythat a life that is unexamined is not worth living? How does this relate to his insistence on “care for the soul”? What did it imply for the conduct of his own life?
    • What does Socrates mean when he says in the Apologythat a better man cannot be harmed by a worse man? Doesn’t this happen every day—when someone steals a car or betrays a friend?
  2. What does the scene of Socrates’ death in the Phaedoshow about Socrates’ deepest values? Why does he accept his death so calmly?
    • What challenge does Thrasymachus throw at Socrates in the opening book of the Republic?

10.How do Glaucon and Adeimantus make the objection even stronger? What does Plato (appearing as the character Socrates in the dialogue) need to show in order to answer them?

11.Why does Plato turn first to justice in the state, not in the individual? Aren’t they completely different?

  • 12.What is the origin of the state, according to Plato? Why can’t we just live independently?

13.Why should music, drama and poetry be strictly controlled in the guardians’ education?

  • 14.What would Plato say to someone who argues that elementary education should concentrate on math and science, leaving those who are interested to arrange musical and athletic activities if they are interested?

15.What are the three parts of the soul, in the Republic?How should they relate to each other?

  • 16.What are the three parts of the ideal city? How should they relate to each other?

17.Has Socrates given us a definition of justice that applies both to individuals and to the state? What is it?

  • 18.Describe the first and second “waves” of opposition that Plato tries to answer in Book V – that his call for equal treatment of men and women is unrealistic, and that the guardians will insist on living with their spouses and children. How does he reply to these objections?
  • 1 9 . W h a t w o u l d b e n e c e s s a r y , a c c o r d i n g t o P l a t o i n B o o k V , t o c r e a t e t h e ka l l i p o l i s , t h e b e s t state?

20.What is the difference between knowingand merely believingsomething to be true, according to Socrates?

21.Why is knowledge or understanding not possible about the things of ordinary experience? ● we look past the experience to find the form of the experience, to understand why the

22.Draw the “divided line” and identify the four kinds of belief, and the four objects of belief, that fall under each of the four divisions of the line.

23.How does the Form of the Good resemble the sun?
24.How is leaving the cave and emerging into the outside world like philosophical inquiry? Identify at least three parallels that Socrates wants us to notice.

  • 2 5 . I s t h e w o r l d o f o r d i n a r y e x p e r i e n c e o n l y a n i l l u s i o n , a c c o r d i n g t o P l a t o ? D o e s i t h a v e a n y reality?
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