Phil 020 Fall 2005 Dowell Final Exam Study Guide

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Phil 020 Fall 2005 Dowell

Final Exam Study Guide
The format of the final exam will be similar to the mid-term. There will be a few questions about the concepts listed under “Important Vocabulary.” I will then put a few of the questions listed under “Essay Questions” on the exam. Don’t expect as much choice on the final exam as there was on the mid-term. Please bring a blank blue book to the exam scheduled for Saturday December 17th at 8:00. Happy studying!
Readings that the final exam covers









Important Vocabulary

You should be prepared to explain the following terms and concepts providing examples when appropriate:
ontological arguments greatest happiness principle

cosmological arguments Kant’s categorical imperative

teleological arguments intrinsic good

a priori instrumental good

a posteriori inductive arguments

possible objects abductive arguments

impossible objects qualitative identity

contingent beings numerical identity

necessary beings substance views of identity

reductio ad absurdum relational views of identity

Essay Questions

Helpful Hint: If you are asked to explain an argument, merely writing down an argument schema is not a sufficient explanation of the argument. You should explain what each premise means, why one might think it is true, and how the premises work together to support the conclusion.

  1. Carefully explain Anselm's argument for the existence of God. What is Guanillo's objection to this argument? Discuss three possible replies that Anselm might make to Guanillo's objection.

  1. Explain Paley's argument from design. In your explanation, discuss how Paley uses the analogy of the watch to support his argument. Wallace Matson has raised an important objection to Paley's argument. What is that objection? How might Paley respond?

  1. Paley argues that we see purpose and design in nature. Explain how someone might argue that we only see function and pattern in nature. In your answer, you’ll want to explain how function and pattern differ from purpose and design. You will also want to explain how finding function and pattern in nature isn’t sufficient for inferring an intelligent creator.

  1. Paley’s argument is probably best understood as an argument to the best explanation (an abductive argument). Does Paley offer us any grounds for thinking that the existence of complex biological life is best explained by an intelligent creator rather than evolution by natural selection? Once evolution by natural selection is on the table, the teleological argument faces the threat of merely collapsing into the cosmological argument. Explain how.

  1. What is Peter Singer’s argument that we have a moral obligation to give money to famine relief? (State the argument.) How much should we donate, if the argument is sound? (In order to answer the second part of the question, you will need to discuss both the stronger and weaker moral principle that Singer mentions).

  1. Why might it seem as if I violate the second version of the Categorical Imperative when I pay someone to trim a tree for me? Why isn’t this really a violation?

  1. Opponents of utilitarianism claim that the theory has implausible consequences. It is sometimes thought that utilitarianism has trouble handling certain kinds of cases in the appropriate way. It seems that, in certain circumstances, utilitarianism would morally condone the killing of one person to save three. Suppose that three different people in the same hospital are in desperate need of an organ transplant. One needs a heart, one needs a kidney, and one needs a liver. They will each die if they don't get a transplant within the hour. The doctor knows that she must act quickly. You happen to be at the hospital for a routine checkup and, looking over your medical file, the doctor realizes that you're the perfect donor for these three people. Explain why someone might think that this case raises a problem for utilitarianism. You will want to begin by explaining the greatest happiness principle. After you've discussed the objection, what do you think the utilitarian's best response to this objection is?

  1. What is the difference between act utilitarianism and rule utilitarianism, and why might some moral theorists prefer rule utilitarianism? Be sure to discuss the greatest happiness principle, and, in your explanation, give an example case that illustrates the apparent advantage of rule utilitarianism over act utilitarianism.

  1. Explain the puzzle of Thesius’ Ship. Give the best argument that you can that Thesius’ ship on day (1) is identical to the ship in his dock on day (1000). Also give the best argument that you can that Thesius’ ship on day (1) is NOT identical to the ship in his dock on day (1000).

  1. In the first night of Perry's dialogue, Miller attempts to defend the claim that what makes a person B who exists at time t2 identical to a person A who exists at an earlier time t1 is that A and B have the same immaterial soul. On what grounds does Weirob resist this analysis of personal identity? In response to Weirob's resistance, Miller advocates the principle same body/same soul. Explain why Miller thinks that this principle will help his cause. Weirob claims that we have absolutely no reason to believe that the principle is true. Why don’t we?

  1. In the first night of Perry's dialogue, Weirob argues that we have absolutely no reason to believe that Miller's same body/same soul principle is true. Miller makes at least two attempts at showing that we can have some reason for thinking that it is true. One attempt has to do with using certain psychological traits as an intermediary link between bodies and souls, and the other attempt has to do with what we know to be true of our own soul. Explain those two attempts and Weirob's objection to each of them.

  1. At the beginning of the second night of Perry’s dialogue, Miller raises two problems for the body view of personal identity. What is the body view and what are the two objections that Miller raises to the view? (Don’t just state the scenarios that Miller takes to be problematic for the body view. You should explain precisely how those scenarios are problematic for the body view.)

  1. In the second night of Perry's dialogue, the following memory view of identity is discussed: A=B if and only if B remembers doing what A did. Explain why this is not a substance view of identity. In your explanation, it may be helpful to contrast this view with the soul and body view. Next, discuss the forgetfulness objection and how this is supposed to be a problem for the view. How do the defenders of the memory view respond to the forgetfulness objection?

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