Spring 2008 Study Question Collaboration
Let's use this for sharing Study Question Answers. Follow the format below, putting two "=" signs around the date of the study questions you're posting. That will make a nice little table of contents at some point.
- 1 Study Questions for Jan. 17
- 1.1 1. What are some of the distinguishing traits of philosophical thought? (ed. by Brittany Fitzpatrick)
- 1.2 2. How do philosophy, myth, and religion relate to each other? Identify both difference and areas of overlap. (ed. by Brittany Fitzpatrick)
- 1.3 3. Do we need to know the truth of all the things we believe in? (ed. by Brittany Fitzpatrick)
- 1.4 4. What is the difference between philosophy and science? Identify an example of an overlap between the two. (ed. by Brittany Fitzpatrick)
- 1.5 5. Summarize Kant's position in "What is Enlightenment?" and give your reaction. Should we value reason in our everyday life in the way Kant suggests? Why or why not?
- 2 Study Questions Jan. 22
- 3 Study Questions Jan. 24
- 3.1 2. Judging from the failed answers Euthyphro gives, what are some of Socrates' criteria for a good definition?
- 3.2 3. At Euthyphro 10, Socrates offers Euthyphro a choice about the kind of account he is giving of piety. What is that choice? What is at stake in choosing one alternative or the other? (Audrey Crandall)
- 3.3 4. What assumptions underline Platonic metaphysics?
- 3.4 5. How does Plato use the analogy of judging horses to demonstrate the reasonableness of believing in essences (Platonic Forms)?
- 4 Study Questions for January 29
- 5 Study Questions for February 5
- 5.1 1. Identify and evaluate competing interpretive theories about the Apology. (Christina Gardner)
- 5.2 2. Summarize and assess Socrates' stated practice, as he accounts for it in the story of the Oracle
- 5.3 3. Is it a problem that philosophical practice can make your fellow citizens angry at you? Is that a problem with philosophy or everyone else?
- 5.4 5. Do people do wrong knowingly? (Christina Gardner)
- 6 Study Questions for February 7
- 7 Study Questions for February 12
- 8 Study Questions for February 14
- 9 Study Questions for February 21 (Casey Schaub)
- 9.1 1. Who were the sramana and what is the general cultural context for Buddhism?
- 9.2 2. Explicate and critically analyze the 4 noble truths and 8 fold path in terms of its theory of reality and enlightenment. Does the Buddhist focus on cessation of suffering make sense as a primary goal in the pursuit of enlightenment?
- 9.3 3. What is paradoxical about liberation, according to Siderits? What is the solution to the paradox?
- 10 Study Questions for February 28th (Cami McCallum)
- 11 Study Questions for March 18th (Cami McCallum)
- 11.1 Do you have a basis for radical doubt about your knowledge of reality? Or, are there reasons to doubt the possibility of radical doubt?
- 11.2 What are the main steps in Descartes' project of radical doubt in Meditations I & II.What is the role of the cogito
- 11.3 How does a postmodern thinker locate Descartes' thought historically and what critique might he or she make of "subject centered epistemology"?
- 12 Study Guide Questions for March 20th (Cami McCallum)
- 12.1 Identify key strengths and weaknesses of empiricism and rationalism as approaches to epistemology.
- 12.2 Identify and distinquish naive realism, indirect realism, and idealism as ways of supporting empiricism. How do the weaknesses of each of the first two positions lead to the third?
- 12.3 What is the distinction between primary and secondary properties and why is it important?=
- 13 Study Guide Questions for March 25th (Cami McCallum)
- 13.1 How does Locke explain our understanding of abstract objects (like triangles and principles of logic)? Is the mind really a blank slate?=
- 13.1.1 What is the pragmatic solution to the problem of induction? Evaluate Hospers account.
- 13.1.2 Does empiricism provide a rich enough account of knowledge to be the sole source of our knowledge? Are there states of mind related to knowledge that that are essential to (or important or valid for) our understanding of the world?
- 13.1 How does Locke explain our understanding of abstract objects (like triangles and principles of logic)? Is the mind really a blank slate?=
- 14 Study Guide Questions for March 27th (Cami McCallum)
- 15 Study Guide Questions for April 1st (Cami McCallum)
- 16 Study Guide Questions for April 8th (Cami McCallum)
- 16.1 What is the basic "argument from the skandhas" for the unreality of self? What is the exhaustiveness claim?
- 16.2 How is Buddha's view of the self similar to Hume's?
- 16.3 What is the "anti-reflexive principle" and how is it suggested by our usage of words like "I"?
- 16.4 Reconstruct the main issues and arguments in the "Questions of King Melinda". Evaluate.
- 16.5 How is rebirth possible is there is no self?
- 17 Study Guide Questions for April 10th (Cami McCallum)
- 17.1 What experiences in our lives might indicate freedom of choice? In what way?
- 17.2 What considerations might lead us to recognize a strongly cultural dimension to free will?
- 17.3 What are the major positions in the free will discussion? Define each and indicate its primary appeal and difficulty.
- 18 Study Guide Questions for April 15th (Cami McCallum)
- 18.1 Are subjective and cultural differences relevant to the question of whether we have free will?
- 18.2 How would someone defend the point that "the truth will set you free"? Which position is this a variation of?
- 18.3 How does deep self compatibilism respond to a criticism of traditional compatibilism?
- 18.4 How does the free will issue relate to the problem of ascribing responsibility?
- 19 Study Guide Questions for April 17th (Cami McCallum)
- 19.1 What is the rationale for placing the question of the existence of God at the beginning of an inquiry into religion? What other approaches might be available?
- 19.2 Reconstruct and evaluate the cosmological, design and ontological arguments for God's existence. Include Rauhut's evaluations in your review. Try to come to some assessment of the persuasiveness and important of arguments for or against the existence of God.
- 20 Study Questions for April 22 (Audrey Crandall)
- 20.1 1.Make a critical assessment of the comparison presented in class between religion and science. Is there a similarity between the ultimate basis of each? Are they nonetheless distinct and separate enterprises? How does reason enter into each?
- 20.2 2. What does James mean by a "live" and "forced" option? What is his point?
Study Questions for Jan. 17
Topic: The Nature of Philosophy and Enlightenment
1. What are some of the distinguishing traits of philosophical thought? (ed. by Brittany Fitzpatrick)
Philosophy is using reason to attempt to develop a "big picture" point of view of the universe. Therefore, philosophy never appeals to divine revelation or to tradition when trying to prove theories true. In philosophy, there must be questions and with that comes arguments in order to defend what claims are made. The defense of such arguments further the development of the "big picture" view. The ultimate goal of philosophy is to provide one truthful picture of the universe.
The three key elements of philosophical reflections are as follows:
-we need to know more about the arguments
-we need to know how to construct arguments
-we need to know how to evaluate arguments
2. How do philosophy, myth, and religion relate to each other? Identify both difference and areas of overlap. (ed. by Brittany Fitzpatrick)
Philosophy, myth, and religion all try to make sense of the world. Myth uses stories in order to explain the world. Mythology can often merge into religion when a divine revelation becomes part of the story. Religion, therefore, can closely resemble myth because they both contain stories. However, religious stories have a key difference: they contain a reason why we should believe that they're true. Again, philosophy shares with myth and religion the pursuit of providing a "big picture" view of reality. Additionally, philosophy resembles religion in the sense that philosophers provide reasons for why their pictures of reality are true. But, the difference in philosophy is there is never an appeal to divine revelation or tradition.
*Extra: On page 4 in our thin book "Ultimate Questions: Thinking About Philosophy" there's a good visual aid
3. Do we need to know the truth of all the things we believe in? (ed. by Brittany Fitzpatrick)
We had a class discussion about this question. Some thought yes, we should know the truth in what we believe because to because living in ignorance is undesirable. The example of medicine was brought up in support of this view point--"You want to know that the medicine will work". On the flip side, some said no, you don't need to know the truth in everything you believe. Some people brought up religion and argued that it is enough to simply believe something is true. In addition, knowing the truth is not always positive.
I would like to add one way of looking at this. As you said, some would say that we don't need to know the truth of everything we believe in. The idea of believing something is very tricky. One can certainly believe in something without knowing the truth, but that person should acknowledge that. Faith should never be substituted for knowledge. One can believe something completely unsubstantiated, like God, but that belief is different from actual knowledge. There is, of course, nothing wrong with living a life based on assumptions that can't be proven. Trust is based on a belief in something that can't be known for sure, and trust is essential to meaningful relationships. The point is that beliefs and facts are completely different. We should strive for knowledge, but some things are unknowable. Until we can know everything, faith will have to suffice. TJ
4. What is the difference between philosophy and science? Identify an example of an overlap between the two. (ed. by Brittany Fitzpatrick)
First of all, it must be noted that science was originally a part of philosophy. However, science deals with only a part of reality, not all of it. If we were to mesh each scientific discipline together, we would not be able to obtain a comprehensive rational analysis of the universe. The key difference between philosophy and science is that science obtains information about the world predominately by measurements and experimentation while philosophy analyzes and clarifies complex concepts. However, once the appropriate set of scientific rules/methods are determined, many philosophical questions turn into scientific ones. Still, philosophy has a personal component that science lacks which is that the purpose of philosophy is to clarify your own mind.
5. Summarize Kant's position in "What is Enlightenment?" and give your reaction. Should we value reason in our everyday life in the way Kant suggests? Why or why not?
Kant believes that we should "dare to know." Enlightenment means that we are growing up and learning more things. I believe that we should value reason as Kant suggests. In class we talked about a positive form of reason being scientific breakthroughs is modern medicine. But a negative side that comes from this are super bugs. We can't just stop working to find new cures because of super bugs because there are so many things that we would miss out on. Continuing to learn and grow and try new things is what brings us to Enlightenment.
Study Questions Jan. 22
1. What two kinds of knowledge does philosophy aim at, according to Russell?
According to Russel the two types of knowledge philosophy aims at is  unity of knowledge and  critical examination of beliefs (this is the enlightenment attitude)
3. Identify some of the "philosophical moments" you and your classmates reported. Do you think it is typical for humans to have philosophical reflections?
Some of the philosophical questions we came up with were...How can you tell when you are dreaming vs. being awake? Do we have a destiny in life and then that gets thrown off path or is our life being thrown off path part of our destiny? It is definitely typical for humans to have philosohical thoughts. Everyone questions life and wants to have the answers. Unfortunately answers are hard to come by and coming up with more answers often leads to more questions.
Study Questions Jan. 24
2. Judging from the failed answers Euthyphro gives, what are some of Socrates' criteria for a good definition?
Socrates idea for a good definition is one that is universal and objective. If you answer him he doesn't want to be able to question the idea any further because there is nothing more you can say on the topic. The problem with this is that the majority of philosophical questions are subjective which is why he has so much trouble getting people who give him answers that satisfy him.
3. At Euthyphro 10, Socrates offers Euthyphro a choice about the kind of account he is giving of piety. What is that choice? What is at stake in choosing one alternative or the other? (Audrey Crandall)
He asks his "is the pious being loved by the gods because it is pious or is it it pious because it is loved by the gods?"
4. What assumptions underline Platonic metaphysics?
The two assumptions are  reality is knowable and  what is real is what persists.
5. How does Plato use the analogy of judging horses to demonstrate the reasonableness of believing in essences (Platonic Forms)?
Plato uses this analogy to show that people define many things as real by determining how they fit into our ideal view of what something should be. Many people picture a race horse as a big, strong, and powerful horse than can run extremely fast. But if a small scrawny horse walked out with an injured leg we wouldn't think it was a real racehorse. He uses this to show that most people have a generally objective idea of what makes something real based on this idea that people wouldn't think the small horse was a racehorse.
Study Questions for January 29
1. What are some alternatives to Platonic thinking about the real?
Heraclitus: "Everything is flux." This means that your reality is always changing. For example, the stage that you are in in your life is your reality. For us our reality is going to school, studying, and working hard in order to graduate. However for someone else their reality may be the fact that they had a child at a young age and must work to support them. As we grow older our reality will continue to change as well.
Parmenides: "Motion is an illusion." essences vs. properties.
3. How does Plato argue for the "objective alternative" in the Euthyphro question (Euthyphro 10)? How would someone argue for the subjective alternative? (Christina Gardner)
Plato argues for the “objective alternative” in the Euthyphro question (10) by way of his Theory of Forms. Plato’s Theory of Forms asserts that Forms, and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality. Thus, Plato is stating that piousness itself is a state of being that is associated with reaching toward the ultimate Form of “Piety”. Piety is an intangible concept that cannot be seen, but is real and helps associate all other components of reality with it. Someone would argue for the subjective alternative by stating the opposite of Plato’s Theory of Forms: that the material world of change is known to us purely through sensation, and that the way we react to the things around us defines what is real and unreal to us. Thus, in the latter example, reality would be subjective.
Study Questions for February 5
1. Identify and evaluate competing interpretive theories about the Apology. (Christina Gardner)
Historical Theory o Many philosophers believe that the Apology dialogue is a historical account of Socrates’ presentation to the court when he was being questioned about his actions. Because Apology is one of Plato’s earliest works, many don’t believe that Plato would have embellished this dialogue, thus making it a factual, historical account.
Deification Theory o Some philosophers also believe that the Apology dialogue was a deification of Socrates, in order to portray him in a God-like manner to honor him for his accomplishments and wisdom.
Tribute Theory o The final theory of Apology is the tribute theory, and it is believed that Apology was written as a tribute to Socrates, to recognize him for his omnipresent wisdom.
2. Summarize and assess Socrates' stated practice, as he accounts for it in the story of the Oracle
In the story of the Oracle we learn that Socrates' find out he is supposedly the wisest man of all. After hearing this he doesn't believe it at first. He sets out to find someone who is wiser than him. As he questions people he comes to decide that he is smarter than other people. The main reason he is smarter is because he can admit when he doesn't know something. He says that a wise person even admits when they are wrong or unsure. I don't think that telling this story is helping out Socrate's case in his trial. Now he seems to be bragging about himself that is is wiser than everyone else.
3. Is it a problem that philosophical practice can make your fellow citizens angry at you? Is that a problem with philosophy or everyone else?
The first thing that should be said here is that we usually use Socrates as the example of people hating a philosopher. All of us read his work, and I think we'd all agree, to some degree, that he was not a nice guy and perhaps is not a good example of how people will react to philosophy generally. Even still, it is a valid question. Some philosophies are not at all pleasing. Just looking at the ones we've discussed, how would you like someone telling you that the only way to enlightenment is through renouncing worldly pleasures? Philosophy asks the tough questions and that is a noble goal even if some of the answers are displeasing. The problem lies with those who refuse to accept these answers. They don't have to agree, but they have to have something better. It is similar to a religion that refuses to question its teachings. If you can't critically examine the most basic assumptions of your being, you're just hiding. TJ Houk
5. Do people do wrong knowingly? (Christina Gardner)
Socrates believes that knowing what is right will result in the desire to do it, even though this feature of our moral experience could be doubted. Socrates is stating that since no human being ever knowingly desires what is bad, differences in their actions must be a consequence of differences in what each individual knows.
Study Questions for February 7
1. What is the geometry demonstration supposed to show? (Christina Gardner)
The geometry demonstration is supposed to illustrate Socrates’ belief that learning is not a matter of discovering something new but rather of recollecting something the soul knew before birth but has since forgotten. Socrates draws a square with sides of two feet long, and asks one of Meno’s slave boys what the length of each side of the square would be if he wanted to double the area of the square that he had just drawn. The boy eventually finds the correct answer, without Socrates actually explaining anything to the boy directly. Since the boy reached this conclusion on his own without any direct teaching, Socrates concluded that the boy must have been recollecting something he already knew.
3. Can virtue be taught? Compare Socrates' answer to your own.? (Audrey Crandall)
I personally believe that virtue is subjective and there is not one form or model to describe it. Plato claims that he is ignorant as to what virtue truly is and disagrees with Meno's theory that virtue can differ depedning upon age and gender. Socrates also suggests that we should view virtue as a singular entity encompassing all other virtues.
Study Questions for February 12
2. How might you look at the dialogue "rhetorically" or "literally"? (Casey Schaub)
In terms of the literal meaning of the dialogue, some see it as a report, detailing the death of Socrates and that the people present at the time of his death take Socrates at his word regarding the immortality of the soul. They trust his judgment because they considering him wise. A rhetorical reading of the dialogue would pay more attention to the interaction between the characters within the dialogue in order to establish clues for the arguments. They would argue essentially, that Socrates’ arguments are weak. However, they choose not to push the issue because they don’t want to face the fact that they may be wrong about immortality. They don’t want to admit how little may be known about the soul.
5. Summarize and evaluate Plato's attitude toward the body. (Christina Gardner)
Plato views the body as an obstacle to the true desires and freedoms of the soul. He believes that the body is associated with many physical needs and desires, and it distracts the soul from attaining what it really wants, and it prevents us from fully living our life. Plato believes the body to be selfish and over-bearing. Death, which is the absolute separation of body from soul, is considered the highest degree of freedom to Plato.
Study Questions for February 14
3. How do Stoics and Epicureans draw on a view of virtue to support their theory of the good life? (Christina Gardner)
-Epicureans believe that virtue is a necessary condition for happiness, and that virtue will lead you onto the path of happiness.
-Stoics believe that virtue is happiness.
Study Questions for February 21 (Casey Schaub)
1. Who were the sramana and what is the general cultural context for Buddhism?
The sramana were people who dedicated their lives to finding answers to spiritual questions. The general cultural context for Buddhism is that it is not regarded as a revealed religion. Instead, those who believe in it ground the religion in human experience rather than divine. The basis of the religion is ridding the body of suffering through the use of the four noble truths and the eight fold path. With the aid of these rules people will essentially rid their lives of suffering and reach ultimate nirvana.
2. Explicate and critically analyze the 4 noble truths and 8 fold path in terms of its theory of reality and enlightenment. Does the Buddhist focus on cessation of suffering make sense as a primary goal in the pursuit of enlightenment?
Buddhists believe in the four noble truths: 1) There is suffering 2) Origin of Suffering 3) Cessation of Suffering 4) Path to Cessation of suffering. In addition, they also regard the 8 fold path as essential to enlightenment: Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration, Right Understanding, and Right Thought. It is understood that if believers follow the four noble truths and the eight fold path they will reach enlightenment. However, I would have to criticize the Buddhists view of removing all suffering from one’s life. In doing so, I think the Buddhists are doing themselves a large injustice. Enlightenment comes from suffering not from the lack of suffering. In experiencing suffering, humans often come away from the situation with a clearer outlook on things. The suffering has caused them to learn. For this reason, it doesn’t seem realistic to remove suffering from the world.
3. What is paradoxical about liberation, according to Siderits? What is the solution to the paradox?
The paradox of liberation involves the idea that the Buddhists offer countless ways of attaining liberation but they don’t offer information on how to attain this liberation while remaining alive. The paradox states, 1) liberation is inherently desirable, 2) Selfish desires prevent us from attaining liberation 3) In order to attain liberation one must train oneself to live without selfish desires, 4) One does not engage in deliberate action unless one desires the foreseen result of the action. These rules of liberation create the paradox because 3 and 4 show that liberation cannot be attained unless it is desired. However, while 1 says it is okay to desire liberation, 2 states that if we desire liberation we will never attain it. Essentially, while it is okay to desire liberation it will never be attained. Some solutions to this paradox include eliminating 1 altogether or simply justifying with 2 that it isn’t a selfish desire. Siderits suggests indirectly attaining liberation without desiring it. In this way, humans bypass the paradox of liberation because they attain nirvana without desiring to do so.
Study Questions for February 28th (Cami McCallum)
How does epistemology relate to the fundamental project of philosophical activity -- the giving and evaluating of arguments?
a. Basic questions: i. What is source of certainty for knowledge ii. What makes something knowledge iii. How do you know that you know
Identify three way in which we commonly use the word know.
a. Propositional/ factual “to know” b. To know how c. Knowledge by acquaintance
How do you distinguish among "reasonable," "unreasonable," and "irrational"?
a. Reasonable- true, plausible, falsehoods b. Irrational- oversimplify, generalize c. Unreasonable- not plausible, unrealistic
Study Questions for March 18th (Cami McCallum)
Do you have a basis for radical doubt about your knowledge of reality? Or, are there reasons to doubt the possibility of radical doubt?
a. Radical doubt i. Skepticism ii. Rationalism iii. empiricism
b. Possibility you are radically wrong about how the world is: i. Naïveté, losing ignorance ii. Uniqueness of perspectives (no one experiences things like you) iii. Diversity of truths ( no one could be right)
c. Doubting the possibility of radical doubt: i. I can’t imagine being that wrong ii. There is still a systematic relationship between experience and reality
What are the main steps in Descartes' project of radical doubt in Meditations I & II.What is the role of the cogito
a. Possible dreaming now--> doubt current perceptions b. Could doubt perceptions c. Impossible distinguish dream experiences vs awake experiences d. Extreme level of doubt->deceived->get to point where can’t be deceived on something (he is the subject of deception) e. Cogito ergo sum-->I think therefore I am i. Makes sense to start at cogito--> life starts at self as the subject of life ii. Certain-->doubt-->cogito stimulates step toward certainty again
How does a postmodern thinker locate Descartes' thought historically and what critique might he or she make of "subject centered epistemology"?
a. Late middle ages--> modernity ( subject-centered epistemology)-->postmodern (subject immersed in appearances) b. Certain-->doubt-->cogito stimulates step toward certainty again
Study Guide Questions for March 20th (Cami McCallum)
Identify key strengths and weaknesses of empiricism and rationalism as approaches to epistemology.
a. Empiricism- sense perception i. Science ii. Depends on perceptual realism ( properties we see are properties of objects) iii. Make inductive inferences 1. based on senses, knowledge we have about the world b. Rationalism- math seems to be true apart from empiricism i. Natural laws are often stated in equations ii. Perception of the mind dualism of mind/body
Identify and distinquish naive realism, indirect realism, and idealism as ways of supporting empiricism. How do the weaknesses of each of the first two positions lead to the third?
a. Naïve realism- color? Light wavelengths b. Indirect realism-which? Primary vs secondary qualities c. Idealism-no way to know where its coming from (God) but we are experiencing it d. The first two question reality, but idealism accepts it for what it is
What is the distinction between primary and secondary properties and why is it important?=
a. Primary-size, shape, motion i. Requires no real thought process to qualify ii. Produce simple ideas b. Secondary-color, taste i. Qualities produce sensations by their primary qualities c. Mind is a blank slate that requires a mix of these two components d. Combination forms patterns of knowledge
What is the contemporary problem of induction?
a. inductive-->enumerative i. Makes generalizations ii. Not much basis besides past experiences iii. Nature must be uniform
Study Guide Questions for March 25th (Cami McCallum)
How does Locke explain our understanding of abstract objects (like triangles and principles of logic)? Is the mind really a blank slate?=
a. Idea is a combination of sensation and reflection b. Primary and secondary qualities c. Mind is a blank slate before the knowledge that comes into our experiences
What is the pragmatic solution to the problem of induction? Evaluate Hospers account.
a. Induction is erroneous because it is based on generalizations of experiences of the past b. Laws of nature are the only sound basis for predictions of the future i. If nature is uniform and if laws of nature are to extend into the future, then one can gain knowledge on an inductive basis c. He still acknowledges that there are holes in this, but there is no way to be completely sure with induction ever
a. No, there are other objects of knowledge besides empiricism i. Faith ii. We thought the earth was flat because that’s all we could see iii. These are based on our experiences to define life, we may not know enough about life to formulate a real knowledge
Study Guide Questions for March 27th (Cami McCallum)
What does the simple Brownson thought experiment attempt to show?
a. If the brain is in the wrong body-->person identifies with the brain b. Not the same person anymore??
Reconstruction and assess Parfit's argument in the Split Brain Case
a. 2 people, will they be me?? i. I am both 1 and 2 1. NO- they are different people with different experiences ii. I am 1 or 2 1. NO- I know them equally well so why should I know one better? iii. I am neither 1. NO- almost as bad as dying, no longer existing b. Psychological continuity-->thin notion of identity vs. all or nothing c. Self is just what you have been i. Too much pressure on future to create identity d. Soul-->development
How does Dennett develop his fictional narrative to explore the possibility that personal identity is a flexible notion?
a. Where Hamlet goes, Dennett goes i. Body could be gone, brain is what matters b. Where Yorick goes, Dennett goes i. Experience not limited to life in the vat c. Dennett is where he thinks he is i. Identity based on point of view ii. Cognitive development construction iii. Could be wrong, could be habit trained to think you are somewhere d. flexibility with personal identitymore or less connected to body e. soul and psychological continuity f. stops checking on brain i. copied part of brain-->couldn’t associate with real brain->had mind of its own ii. brain and copy-->two SEPARATE entities g. conclusion- flexibility with personal identity; more/less connected to body i. soul and psychological continuity
Study Guide Questions for April 1st (Cami McCallum)
Reconstruct and evaluate Weirob's argument that it isn't even possible for a self to continue beyond death.
a. Weirob- criterion for identity of personal identity i. Qualitative identity- anticipate my future self (share qualities) ii. Numeric identity- exactly the same b. Miller- same body, same soul, same person (gives up) i. Same psyche (psychological characteristics), same soul c. Weirob- discuss water i. River doesn’t have the same water at any given time 1. not numeric identity d. makes sense, always changing self
Study Guide Questions for April 8th (Cami McCallum)
What is the basic "argument from the skandhas" for the unreality of self? What is the exhaustiveness claim?
a. Aspects of self which argue to be exhaustive of all properties of any self b. Exhaustiveness claim: i. Rupa- body/corporeality ii. Feeling iii. Perception- mental events, senses aroused iv. Volition- moves us toward objects (hunger, attention, desires) v. Consciousness- awareness of physical, mental states vi. ** nothing about the self isn’t captured in these skandas **
How is Buddha's view of the self similar to Hume's?
a. Every aspect of self captured in skandas (exhaustiveness claim) b. All skandas impermanent c. If there is a self it would be permanent d. Therefore there is no self
What is the "anti-reflexive principle" and how is it suggested by our usage of words like "I"?
a. There is no connective/ persisting/reflexive self between body and mind b. “I” implies reflexive, self
Reconstruct the main issues and arguments in the "Questions of King Melinda". Evaluate.
a. Rebirth without persistent identity b. Processes your life has set in place continues
How is rebirth possible is there is no self?
a. dependent origination- product of pre-existing forces b. effects of your life c. causal forces come back as another you; different self i. still active but not actually YOU self
Study Guide Questions for April 10th (Cami McCallum)
What experiences in our lives might indicate freedom of choice? In what way?
a. License b. Religious freedom c. Skipping class i. Breaking with expectations ii. Authentic choice
What considerations might lead us to recognize a strongly cultural dimension to free will?
a. Arranged marriage b. Chosen marriage by family c. Freedom of religion/ gender roles
What are the major positions in the free will discussion? Define each and indicate its primary appeal and difficulty.
a. Hard determinism i. One past, one future, all is determined
b. Indeterminism i. Quantum indeterminacy at neural level ii. Reality described by statistical relationships
c. Soft determinism i. Traditional compatibalism 1. one past, one future, but we still have free will ii. deep self compatibalism 1. caused by agent and not forced a. in principle you are the origin of your actions 2. free if caused by desires truly our own
d. libertarianism i. do what you want ii. deny that same kind of determinism operates world and human choice iii. events caused one way but I’m special
Study Guide Questions for April 15th (Cami McCallum)
Are subjective and cultural differences relevant to the question of whether we have free will?
a. no i. we can have it without using it b. Yes i. If you don’t know what free will is (and experience is relevant) you can’t determine if you have it
How would someone defend the point that "the truth will set you free"? Which position is this a variation of?
a. Knowledge is power b. Loss of ignorance/naïveté leads to maturation and growth which leads to a heightened sense of freedom
How does deep self compatibilism respond to a criticism of traditional compatibilism?
a. Traditional- not take into account that addiction might not be free will b. Deep self- authentic desires, truly our own knowledge, the truth will set you free
How does the free will issue relate to the problem of ascribing responsibility?
a. With great power/freedom comes great responsibility b. Affirm free will- if we don’t we can’t hold back people accountable for their actions c. As we know more about repeat violence offenders, less is based on their free will
Study Guide Questions for April 17th (Cami McCallum)
What is the rationale for placing the question of the existence of God at the beginning of an inquiry into religion? What other approaches might be available?
a. question of God’s existence i. yes 1. existence 2. attributes ii. no- improbable iii. can’t tell b. question of the nature of religious experiences
Reconstruct and evaluate the cosmological, design and ontological arguments for God's existence. Include Rauhut's evaluations in your review. Try to come to some assessment of the persuasiveness and important of arguments for or against the existence of God.
a. Cosmological i. Some explanations needed for our reality as a whole ii. Reason for everything iii. Why is there something rather than nothing? 1. cosmos exists 2. must be reason for it-->principle of sufficient reason 3. only a necessary being applies that reason 4. therefore, God exists
b. Ontological Argument i. Does the denial of God’s existence entail a contradiction 1. Yes a. Deny God’s existence, believe there is something higher than God (the greatest possible being) b. Imagine the greatest possible being without imagining it existing doesn’t work c. If something has to exist, it probably doesn’t come from your mind i. Your mind has to agree with the point
c. Design i. Creationism- if there is design, there is a designer ii. Evolution iii. Intelligent design creationism- accepts evolution in most details 1. irreducible complexity
d. Thesis i. Religious experience is an important amount ii. Universal part of human experience independently of this active truth of its beliefs
e. Problem of evil diminishes strength of existence of God- Rauhut
Study Questions for April 22 (Audrey Crandall)
1.Make a critical assessment of the comparison presented in class between religion and science. Is there a similarity between the ultimate basis of each? Are they nonetheless distinct and separate enterprises? How does reason enter into each?
Religion and science are both used to help clarify and define the bigger picture. Religion is more subjective than science, and is built upon a conceptual basis. Science only deals with one part of reality. They also relate in the theories of evolution and adaptation. Our bodies and cultures have been altered over time to find a more efficient and safer way to live. whether it be through religion or physical changes
2. What does James mean by a "live" and "forced" option? What is his point?
A living option is one in which both hypotheses or posibilities are live. The liveliness of an option depends upon its appeal or relation to an individual. Ex: Be an agnotistic or be a christian. Most people would agree in this culture that this is a live option because we contain knowledge of both and can recognize their appeals. While if given the option "Be a theosophist or be a Mohammedan" most people in this culture would say its a dead option, because we do not consider either possibilities. According to the reading this shows that deadness and liveness in an hypothesis are not intrinsic properties but relations to the individual thinker.
Forced options are when you give two options and you must choose one. Ex: "Either accept this truth or go without it." This statement gives you two options. You can either accept it as solid truth or you will not have it at all. This differs from the statement "either call my theory true or call it false" because you still have the option to be indifferent about it and make no statement at all.