INTRODUCTION TO PHILOSOPHYPRIVATE QUESTION POOL – TEST #1 Fall 2017 Directions: [50 pts. total] In as much detail as you can answer one of the following. Number your question using my number. Bring your answers to class with you the day of the exam [Late essays incur 10 point penalty]. Your essay may be done open book, open notes, length 1 1/2- 3 pages per question, typed double-spaced. (Page references below relate to your text Solomon, 11th ed.) 1. As best you can, make Thales’ case for the claim that everything is water. What observational evidence might he have cited to back up his claim? How did Thales’ viewpoint on the nature of things represent part of the transition from Mythos to Logos? Does his claim that “All things are full of gods” show that he did not make a clean break with the old mythological way of thinking? (43-46) 2. Palmer’s text states that “the poetry and drama of the Greeks demonstrate an intense awareness of change, of the war of the opposites—summer to winter, hot to cold, light to dark …life to death.”(6) (a) How did a war among opposites play a prominent role in Anaximander’s philosophy? Why for him was this war part of his rationale for the claim that we must look deeper than the four elements for the ultimate stuff? (46-47) (b) How did this war of opposites play a crucial part in Heraclitus’ view that the entire world order needs continual strife for its existence? (49-50, PreSocratics ppt) 3. In claiming that, “There is an exchange of all things for fire and of fire for all things” was Heraclitus reducing all things to fire as the ultimate element as some scholars suggest or was he simply using fire as a metaphor for change as other commentators hold? Which interpretation seems most likely to you to convey Heraclitus’ real meaning? (49-50) 4. How does the idea that we cannot even think of nothing (of what does not exist) play a central role in Parmenides’ abstract argument that Being must be eternal, having no beginning or end, and changeless? Relate the basics of his argument for this. How did Plato incorporate this viewpoint on what must be the properties of ultimate Being into his own theory of Reality, the theory of Forms? (52-54, 66-79) 5. Show how the Socratic Method is illustrated by Socrates’ discussion with Meno over the views of virtue he shares with the Sophist Gorgias and/or his discussion with Thrasymachus on the nature of Justice. (54, 71-79) and/or his geometry session with Meno’s slave boy. 6. Explain, discuss and evaluate the following passage from Plato’s Myth of the Cave: “For the prisoners, Reality would consist of nothing but the shadows.” What gets one of them to alter or question this belief? How does this allegory give us, for Plato, a picture of what philosophy tries to do in getting us to examine and challenge our unreflective, culturally-acquired beliefs? (67-72, Handout) How does Sartre’s advice to his student, “ You’re free, choose” illustrate his own subjectivism—the view that morality is simply a matter of individual, personal choice? Additionally, Sartre cautions the young man that, “No general ethics can show you what is to be done, there are no omens in the world.?” Why does Sartre not believe that anything can be a reliable action guide to his pupil who must decide whether to join the Free French Forces in England or stay in France to help his mother?) Can anything else be a reliable guide for him, according to Sartre? Can the young man find reliable guidance from Christian Doctrine, a Christian Priest as adviser or his own feelings? Has Sartre given him the best moral advice? Why? Why not? (Solomon, pp. 574-579) Assess the strengths and/or weaknesses of the following argument: “Tolerance is a moral virtue. We all ought to practice tolerance. That is, we should all feel morally obligated to do so. Not to be a cultural relativist is to hold that some moral beliefs are objectively true. But to hold this can lead to intolerance of other’s moral beliefs. Therefore, since intolerance is morally wrong, we should all be cultural relativists in our moral beliefs.” Do you agree with Gilbert Harman that this need not lead to a contradiction?

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