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PHILOS 1E03 Study Guide - Final Guide: Epicurus, Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism

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Stefan Rodde
Study Guide

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Philosophy 1E03 – Final Exam Study Guide
Soul Making (Hick) –
- That all "good" and "evil" in the world is actually just opportunities to teach a
person's soul to grow and learn not to be selfish
oFree Will is necessary for humans to evolve
oHick’s way of reconciling evil through God’s existence
Gratuitous evil (Rowe) –
-Gratuitous evil—pointless evils from which no greater good seems to result
oGod could have a morally sufficient reason for allowing certain evils to occur
—e.g., to ensure that some greater good is achieved as a consequence of an
evil. However, proponents add, God would only allow as much evil or
suffering as is absolutely necessary in order to achieve greater goods.
oThe existence of gratuitous evil provides strong evidence that God does not
Intrinsic value of life (Nagel) –
- Life has value over and about the experiences one has in one’s life
- Good experiences make a life better and bad experiences make it worse
- But the experience of being alive is not neutral
oThe ability to experience has value over and above the goodness/ badness of
the things experienced
-Death is bad because and only because it deprives us of life
Categorical vs. Conditional Desires (Williams) –
-Categorical Desires: give us reason to live
- Those are desires that cannot be satisfied by ceasing to exist
- The person you are is a function of the categorical desires that you have
oLife stops being good once we lose our categorical desires
- Conditional Desires: The desires I want to satisfy given that I am alive and am the
sort of person I am
- Such desires do not provide meaning to our lives
Instinctive belief (Russell) –
- All knowledge is built upon instinctive beliefs and since they are all coherent and
consistent, we can assume they are correct
oWe can trust there is an external world

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I think therefore I am (Descartes) –
- As long as I am a thinking being, I can confirm that I exist
oDescartes has disproved everything that he is used to believing in. When
there’s nothing left he still is left with himself and nothing else. Regardless of
whether or not he is being deceived by some demon or his beliefs are wrong,
he is able to see that even if he has the ability to doubt something he must
exist to even doubt it in the first place. The fact that he can think is what
assures himself of his own existence
Self as body vs. Self as spirit (Kierkegaard) –
- Experiencing the self as a body and spirit
- In the eyes of God, your body is limited
- Leap of faith has to be continuous towards maintaining faith
- In reality you want to go to heaven but you’ll die
Anxiety (Sartre) –
- No reason for choosing one thing over another because reason is blind
- It’s up to you which reasons are more persuasive to you
o(EX) You can fight and avenge your brother or take care of your grandma, no
one can choose for you which brings anxiety
Free Act (Stace) –
- The problem of free will is not a real one
oThe dispute is merely verbal, and is due to nothing but a confusion about the
meaning of words
oWhat philosopher’s mean by “freedom” is a BAD DEFINITION
oFreedom as uncaused action or ultimate responsibility doesn’t capture what
freedom is supposed to
- The free acts are all caused by desires or motives or by some sort of internal
psychological states of the agents mind.
- The unfree actions… are all caused by physical forces or physical conditions outside
the agent
- It is plan that if we define free will in this way then free will certainly exists and the
philosophers denial of it’s existence is seen to be what it is – nonsense.
- Acts freely done are those whose immediate causes are psychological states in the
agent. Acts not freely done are those whose immediate causes are states of affairs
external to the agent.
Character (Edwards) –
- Character was formed of things out of our control which is why we have no free will
- It is a set of characteristics that define one’s actions

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oThe compatibalists think that we are free of determinism but Edward
concludes we are not
- Each person has a certain genetic [biological] heritage
- Each person was raised in a certain environment
- But: they had no choice over either of these
oTherefore, they are not responsible for their actions
Self-forming action (Kane) –
- They are character building actions
- Instances where there is equal probability where you could choose A or B
oIn these instances whatever you choose defines your character
Unconscious (Freud) –
- Primarily consists of desires and wishes
- These desires are not accessible to consciousness through normal means
- Unconscious desires are causally efficacious
- All desires and wishes aim at fulfillment
- Desires that cannot or ought not be fulfilled are suppressed or repressed
- Suppressed or repressed desires cannot be the objects of intentional action
oSuch desires are fulfilled in dreams
1. Is everlasting life a good thing? Defend a position on this issue by referring to
Epicurus, Nagel or Williams (two).
This letter, written in a direct style, friend to another, is a veritable manual of happiness.
The message is: Do as I say, and you’ll be happy.
Epicurus formulates his ethical philosophy as an ascetic life of pleasure and virtuous.
Happiness is the greatest good, says Epicurus following Aristotle. And happiness, is the
maximization of pleasure. Whether all pleasures are good sources, Epicurus distinguishes
the dynamic pleasures (eating) and static pleasures (satiety), which are recommended by
the pleasures Epicurus. Pleasure is a state of static equilibrium between the satisfaction of
desire and the birth of new desires, frustrations and pain. Similarly, Epicurus
distinguishes the physical pleasures of psychological pleasures. This relates to physical
pleasures, which must be reduced to a minimum satisfaction. The future, and its corollary
fear of the future is what keeps the soul to reach equilibrium at ataraxia.
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