Final Examination Study Sheet
Your exam will be in two parts. The first part will feature five short answer questions.
Each will be worth 10 points. The second part will feature three essay questions. You
will have to choose two of the three, and each short essay you write will be worth 25
Short Answer Preparation
Five of these eight short answer questions will be on your exam.
1. What is the circularity objection to Locke’s theory of personal identity over time
(either L1 or L2)?
L1 of Locke‟s theory of personal identity over time states that a person existing at one
time is the same person at a later time if and only if the later person is able to remember
the same events experienced by the earlier person (continuous memory). The circularity
objection to Locke‟s theory of personal identity over time criticizes that Locke‟s memory
criterion for personal identity presupposes personal identity because it takes first person
memories into account. For example “I” remember eating ice cream yesterday,
presupposes you as an “I”, someone with identity and it is this very first person memory
that is supposed to act as a criterion for personal identity under L1 and L2.
2. What, according to Nagel, are the five possibilities compatible with the brain
bisection data? What does Nagel think is wrong with each of these possibilities?
First possibility: The patients have a mind associated with the left hemisphere and neither
a mind nor any mental activity associated with the (nonverbal) right hemisphere
Second possibility: The patients have a mind associated with the left hemisphere.
Associated with the (nonverbal) right hemisphere are episodes of mental activity not
associated with any distinct mind
PROBLEM WITH 1 AND 2: Suppose the left hemisphere failed. We would have no
difficulty in ascribing both a nonverbal mind and a nonverbal mental activity to the right
hemispheres activities. If the left went bad the right would still be there (rational behavior
could still exist, just not with verbal behavior)
Third possibility: The patients have 2 minds, one associated with the left hemisphere
(which can speak and write) and another associated with the right hemisphere (which can
neither speak nor write)
PROBLEM WITH 3: How can there be 2 minds when the two hemispheres are so well
integrated in everyday contexts?
Fourth possibility: The patients have a single mind whose contents derive from both
hemispheres in a disassociated way
PROBLEM WITH 4: It is extremely difficult to conceive of what it is like to be a being
with such a disassociated mind
Fifth possibility: The patients have a single normal mind outside of experimental
contexts which splits into 2 minds as per option 3 in experimental settings
PROBLEM WITH 5: For such a drastic change to occur the experiment would have to
bring up some kind of internal change in the patient, and it does not 3. Explain the duplication problem as it arises for the psychological continuity
theory of personal identity. What are some possible responses to the problem?
What are some difficulties for these responses?
The psychological continuity theory locates personal identity in the existence of chains of
psychological continuity. In the case of the duplication problem, what if there is more
than one future body or brain with a claim to being your future body/brain?
P1 at t1 is split into P2 and P3 at t2, these can be interpreted in three ways, P1 is neither
identical to P2 or P3, just one, or both.
i) P1 = P2
ii) P1 = P3
PROBLEM WITH FIRST 2 OPTIONS: arbitrary to pick between the 2, no grounds to
say one but not the other being equivalent to P1
iii) P1 is not equal to P2 or P3 (does not exist at t2)
PROBLEM: How could a double success be a failure?
iv) P1 = P2&P3 as a composite
PROBLEM: That‟s absurd, we cannot understand how this would work
v) P1 is identical to each one individually (P1 = P2 and P1 = P3)
PROBLEM: Violates the transitivity of identity
vi) 2 people extended through time, 2 people involved in P1 from the beginning t1, the
fission just separates them at t2
PROBLEM: There didn‟t seem to be more than one person where you were at t2
4. What is the difference between substance dualism and property dualism?
Explain Princess Elizabeth’s objection to Descartes’s interactionist substance
Substance Dualism: Minds are wholly mental, immaterial substances (material vs.
Property Dualism: You have a body and brain with a central nervous system, and in
addition there are various immaterial non-physical properties (material vs. immaterial
properties). Property non-identity: mental properties are not identical with material
Descartes interactionist substance dualism: He believed that (material) bodies could act
causally on (immaterial) minds and vice versa.
Princess Elizabeth’s objection to Descartes: How can minds, which Descartes thinks are
essentially non-extended, causally interact with bodies, which are essentially extended?
5. Explain the thesis of logical behaviourism. Explain Putnam’s Super-Spartans
objection to it.
Thesis of logical behaviorism: Statements involving mental vocabulary are translatable
into statements involving only physical behavior vocabulary, specifically vocabulary
concerning occurrent physical behavior and/or physical behavioral dispositions (seek to
understand having a mind in terms of physical behavior and dispositions)
Putnam’s Super-Spartans objection to logical behaviorism: Logical behaviorism
implausibly treats minds as behavior itself, rather than the inner cause of behavior. Putnam is trying to tease out the difference between the cause of certain symptoms and
the actual effect.
“Let us now engage in a little science fiction. Let us try to describe some worlds in which
pains are related to responses (and also to causes) in quite a different way than they are in
our world. ...
Imagine a community of “super-spartans‟— a community in which the adults have the
ability to successfully suppress all voluntary pain behavior. They may, on occasion,
admit that they feel pain, but always in pleasant well-modulated voices ...They
do not wince, scream, flinch, sob, grit their teeth, clench their fists, exhibit beads of
sweat, or otherwise act like people in pai