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Philosophy 1130F/G Final: Philosophy 1130 Big Ideas - Exam Questions and Answers

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Department
Philosophy
Course Code
Philosophy 1130F/G
Professor
Disalle

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I. Infinity:
Explain one ancient argument for the infinity of space.
Lucretius believed that space is an infinite void and bodies are composed of atoms moving
freely in this void, colliding and combining. He did not believe in the end or center of the
universe. Used Reduction to the absurd to prove this: Suppose there is an edge and you
throw a missile off this edge. If it goes forward, then there is no boundary and you are not
at the edge. If it is blocked, then there is something outside and you are not on the edge. If
the universe has a boundary there must be something outside to limit it but nothing can be
outside the universe. The universe is infinite
Aristotle: Infinite space was only infinite if there is always another step beyond it. You cannot
have a completed infinity. Anything that is complete must be finite
Explain an ancient argument for the atomic nature of matter.
Epicurus: atoms naturally tend to "fall" through the void, and collisions or combinations result
from random swerves
These swerves allow the materialistic view to be related to freedom of the will….
Understanding the material origins of human life and the atomic nature of matter frees human
beings from ignorance and fear of death. At death the body and soul dissolve into their atomic
parts. "therefore death is nothing to us; for that which is dissolved is without sensation;
and that which lacks sensation is nothing to us."
Explain a “paradox” of infinity.
Infinity turns out to be contrary because it is not what has nothing outside of it that is infinite, but
what always has something outside of it. In short, it doesn’t mean that the universe has
nothing outside of it, it means that there is always something outside of it.
A quantity is infinite if we can always take a part, outside what has already been taken. If
something does not have an end than it is not complete. Even calling it infinite is almost
contradicting because it doesn’t finish to have a complete label.
This according to Aristotle, denies the existence of the infinite in the sense of actual
existence; can it actually exist if its not completed
What is paradoxical about infinite sets?
Galileo says that if the totality of all numbers is infinite, than the numbers of their squares
and roots are infinite and therefore, the terms "greater," "less" and "equal" are actually
not applicable in infinite sets.
Bertrand Russell's Paradox: “For let us assume that the world has no beginning as regards time,
so that up to every given instant an eternity has elapsed, and therefore an infinite series of
successive states of the things in the world has passed by. But the infinity of a series consists just
in this, that it can never be completed by successive synthesis. Therefore an infinite past world-
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series is impossible, and accordingly a beginning of the world is a necessary condition of its
existence; which was the first thing to be proved.”
What is the difference between countable and uncountable infinity?
Two sets are the same size if there's a one to one correspondence between them. All countable
infinite sets are the same because they all have the same number of sets as countable numbers.
II. Determinism and Freedom:
Why did Pierre de Laplace think that probability plays a central role in human reasoning?
Laplace said that once humans realize that with the right knowledge about the universe, humans
could use reason to predict probability and deduce the past and future to certainty. To Laplace
it's like the game of rolling dice; if you are aware of all the possible outcomes and if you
have knowledge of the elasticity of the table, you can predict which number will appear and
can manipulate it.
How did Laplace explain the idea of determinism?
Laplace says that from any state of the universe at any moment, past and future can be
determined. If you know all the positions and momenta of all particles at a given time. You
can deduce their trajectories for the entire future or past.
We can do this because we know everything that is relevant to the solar system
If we knew everything relevant in the universe (the actions and particles of the world and
the people on it) than we can know how it will evolve as we do with the solar system
According to Hume, where does our idea of necessity come from?
Necessity and causation arise from the observable laws of nature. Because of uniformity and the
predictability of human behavior, you can see a pattern of cause and effect in history. Causality
affects necessity when two things are joined together and humans abide by the laws of the effects
of these two things, even if we don't see it.
Why does Hume think that philosophical disputes about free will arise from disagreements about
words? Which words?
The disputes about free will arise from the semantics of liberty and necessity. He says that we
cannot utterly say that our actions are not influenced by circumstance and uniformity. Therefore
liberty can only mean the power of acting or not acting; the arguments arise over the meaning of
liberty. He believes its false to think that liberty is acting in an undetermined way, but
instead it’s the ability to act in accord with ones will instead of being constrained by
circumstances.
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Why does Hume think that free will is compatible with determinism, once we understand free
will properly?
Hume thinks free will is compatible with determinism because humans may believe they have
free will, but are actually constrained to following natural circumstances that happen in the
world. Instead then, he says that like liberty, free will is not doing something entirely free from
causation but rather acting in accordance to what your will wants whether its taking place
because of causation or not
Why, according to Hume, do human actions sometimes seem more distinct from natural events
than they really are?
Hume says that, most of the time we are unaware to the natural patterns and laws of our behavior
and natures behaviour that determines us to act in a certain way. The human body to us seems to
be an intricate machine with irregular and unpredictable events. Because they are beyond our
comprehension we cannot see that there is regularity in nature operations.
What philosophical problems arise, according to Hume, from the assumption that all events are
ultimately determined by the will of an all-powerful deity?
If human behavior is entirely determined by a god, then this means that that god also must be
held responsible for all the evil in the world.
How is the idea of free will related to the idea of moral responsibility?
If the true meaning of free will is being able to act in accord to your will without being
constrained from circumstance, than this means, like existentialism, that we are in full
responsibility for our actions; moral praise and blame. It is how we create our sense of morality
and we must hold ourselves accountable for our actions if there is such thing as free will because
in that way there is no god or causation to blame.
III. Skepticism:
What is the motivation for skepticism as a philosophy?
Skepticism brings greater recognition of our ignorance and weakness to our judgement.
Skepticism teaches people to look beyond their beliefs and that is what philosophy is all about.
Skepticism is a sense of fallibility of human judgement
Why is finding oppositions so important to Sextus’s skeptical argument?
Sextus was a strong endorser of oppositions because he believed that for every point of rational
evidence, there is another opposing side by a just as important figure of authority or intelligence.
If you understand this, he believes you can achieve happiness because you’re not
alternating between hope and disappointment of good vs evil, but instead you can remain
without judgement.
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Description
I. Infinity: Explain one ancient argument for the infinity of space. Lucretius believed that space is an infinite void and bodies are composed of atoms moving freely in this void, colliding and combining. He did not believe in the end or center of the universe. Used Reduction to the absurd to prove this: Suppose there is an edge and you throw a missile off this edge. If it goes forward, then there is no boundary and you are not at the edge. If it is blocked, then there is something outside and you are not on the edge. If the universe has a boundary there must be something outside to limit it but nothing can be outside the universe. The universe is infinite Aristotle: Infinite space was only infinite if there is always another step beyond it. You cannot have a completed infinity. Anything that is complete must be finite Explain an ancient argument for the atomic nature of matter. Epicurus: atoms naturally tend to fall through the void, and collisions or combinations result from random swerves These swerves allow the materialistic view to be related to freedom of the will. Understanding the material origins of human life and the atomic nature of matter frees human beings from ignorance and fear of death. At death the body and soul dissolve into their atomic parts. therefore death is nothing to us; for that which is dissolved is without sensation; and that which lacks sensation is nothing to us. Explain a paradox of infinity. Infinity turns out to be contrary because it is not what has nothing outside of it that is infinite, but what always has something outside of it. In short, it doesnt mean that the universe has nothing outside of it, it means that there is always something outside of it. A quantity is infinite if we can always take a part, outside what has already been taken. If something does not have an end than it is not complete. Even calling it infinite is almost contradicting because it doesnt finish to have a complete label. This according to Aristotle, denies the existence of the infinite in the sense of actual existence; can it actually exist if its not completed What is paradoxical about infinite sets? Galileo says that if the totality of all numbers is infinite, than the numbers of their squares and roots are infinite and therefore, the terms greater, less and equal are actually not applicable in infinite sets. Bertrand Russells Paradox: For let us assume that the world has no beginning as regards time, so that up to every given instant an eternity has elapsed, and therefore an infinite series of successive states of the things in the world has passed by. But the infinity of a series consists just in this, that it can never be completed by successive synthesis. Therefore an infinite past world
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