PHL 101 Study Guide - Final Guide: Euthyphro Dilemma, Moral Relativism, Cultural Relativism
Course CodePHL 101
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PHL 101: summer 2006
I will delete several questions from the following list on the day of the final and you will be asked to answer 5 out of those
that remain in your Blue Book (don’t forget to bring one). As you have the questions in advance, I will expect clear and
1. What is Descartes’s “method of doubt”? What is the point
of it? What role in it do (a) the idea of dreams, (b) the
notion of a “demon deceiver” play (be thorough in your
answer)? At what point does Descartes reach the end of his
2. Describe in detail Descartes’s “ball of wax” example. What
kind of epistemological theory is it an argument for, and
why? Also, what kind of epistemological theory might it be
an argument against, and why?
3. Explain what the difference is between Primary and
Secondary qualities, according to Locke. What is matter
really like on his view? How does he argue that it is that
way and not as it appears to us?
4. What metaphysical view does Berkeley hold? What does
he mean by esse est percipi? What does he think causes our
sensations? How does he argue that Locke’s view that
material objects cause our sensations is not as good an
5. What is the ontological argument for God’s existence, as
presented by St. Anselm? How does Gaunilo criticize it,
and how does Anselm respond? Finally, what is Kant’s
reason for rejecting it?
6. What is the teleological argument for God’s existence (you
can use Paley’s version as an example)? What kind of an
argument is it? How does Philo attack the argument in
Hume’s Dialogues? Can it be defended?
7. What is the problem of evil (be detailed and precise)?
Explain what a theodicy is, and give the “free will defense”
against the problem. Give the best two criticisms of those
we studied of the free will defense. Can they be answered?
8. What is hard determinism? What is libertarianism? What
criticism would the libertarian give of the hard determinist?
What is soft determinism? How would the soft determinist
criticize libertarianism? Finally, what is the strongest
criticism of soft determinism?
9. What is Pascal’s Wager (be detailed and precise)? What
exactly is the purpose of the wager? What would Clifford
say about the wager (use Clifford’s examples if you like)?
What is the “many Gods” criticism of the wager? Is it a
fatal criticism, or can one defend the wager?
10. How would a materialist criticize a Cartesian Dualist about
the mind? How would a functionalist criticize an identity
theorist? Give one major criticism of functionalism. What
is Churchland’s theory, and how does it supposedly avoid
the problems of the other theories? (Be sure to define all
your terms in answering this question.)
11. Give Locke’s reasons for rejecting both the body and the
soul as criteria of personal identity. What is his criterion?
What is Reid’s criticism of this view? Finally, give Parfit’s
view on personal identity and what he would say about a
case of cloning.
12. What is cultural relativism? Why might we doubt that
apparent examples of this, such as the Callatians versus the
Greeks (explain) really demonstrate a difference in moral
views? What is ethical relativism? What are three
problems with Ethical Relativism? Why does Pojman
think many people think they’re relativists?
13. What is the Euthyphro dilemma? Which option is Divine
Command theory? What are some implications of that
theory that caused it to be rejected by believers like Saint
Thomas Aquinas? Why might people not want to accept
the other option?
14. Suppose you were vacationing in some terrorist-infested
country and you stumbled across a terrorist group about to
execute 20 prisoners. It turns out the leader of the group
is a big Michigan Wolverines fan, and he gives you the
following offer: if you shoot one of the prisoners, he will
let the other 19 go free. If you refuse, he will shoot all 20.
Analyze this case first from the point of view of a utilitarian
and then from the point of view of a Kantian. Which view
do you think gets the right result? What is a criticism of
15. Explain the difference between Utilitarian and Kantian
analyses of the reasons for punishment, and give criticisms
of each from the point of view of the other (for example,
Glover gives a Utilitarian criticism of Kantian reasons).
16. Give Epicurus’s argument why “death is nothing to us”.
What are the puzzles an Epicurean offers to any alternative
view of death. What is Nagel’s account of death (be
thorough), and what answers does it offer for the puzzles?
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