Why was Leibniz’s commitment to the principle of sufficient reason dubbed “optimism”? 5. How do monads change, given that they don’t have parts that can move? 6. If you were Fred Stiller or Eva Vollmer, after the events in World on a Wire were over, which of our philosophers would you be most drawn to and why? 7. Would Humean moral sense work against racism? Why or why not? 8. What conditions give rise to the Humean virtue of justice? 9. What is a categorical imperative? What is the categorical imperative? 10. What is a realm (or regime, or kingdom) of ends?

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Please read the document attached below,Four of the following five essay questions will appear on the . Eight of the following ten short answer questions will appear. You may either write:

a) three essays (33.3% each); or

b) two essays (33.3% each) and six short answers (5.6% each).

Therefore, in order to be prepared for any eventuality, you should prepare answers to either:

a’) four essays; or

b’) three essays and eight short answer questions.

 

UNFORMATTED ATTACHMENT PREVIEW

History of Philosophy II Spring 2021 Prof. J. Uleman Purchase College INFORMATION ABOUT THE FINAL EXAM The exam will be given as a Moodle Quiz on Friday, May 14. It will be open from 9:00-11:30am. However, because you can (and should) prepare your answers ahead of time, you will certainly not need the full 2 ½ hours. Four of the following five essay questions will appear on the exam. Eight of the following ten short answer questions will appear. You may either write: a) three essays (33.3% each); or b) two essays (33.3% each) and six short answers (5.6% each). Therefore, in order to be prepared for any eventuality, you should prepare answers to either: a’) four essays; or b’) three essays and eight short answer questions. An EXTRA CREDIT question, worth up to two additional points, may appear. FINAL EXAM QUESTIONS ESSAY QUESTIONS (answers should be 1,000-1,250 words long) 1. Is this the best of all possible worlds? Give an answer that (1) engages significantly with at least two of our philosophers, and (2) that both sympathetically articulates and responds to the/a view you reject (that is, if you do not think this is the best of all possible worlds, and have explained why, also explain why someone might think it is, and respond to their arguments). 2. What account of freedom, offered by a philosopher we have studied, do you find most satisfying, and why? Contrast with at least one other view, expressed by another of our philosophers. Optional: How does your preferred account relate to social/political/ economic realities salient in 17th- and 18th- century Europe (including, of course, colonialism and slavery)? 3. Can reason itself be practical? Or do things stand with Hume, who writes that “reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them” (Treatise of Human Nature, III.3.iii)? Your answer should engage Kant and Hume, of course, but may also bring in a third philosopher if you like. 4. How do we know things? Discuss the views of at least three of our philosophers, being specific and engaging with texts. essay questions continued next page History of Philosophy II Spring 2021 Prof. J. Uleman Purchase College 5. Bordo, Bernasconi & Mann, and Allais all draw out implications, engaging one or more of our philosophers in interesting and important ways. What engagement was most interesting to you and why? Explain/rehearse the central points of the engagement (as if explaining to someone who has not read the piece in question), then explain what you find most philosophically interesting or productive about it, and why. You may also wish to comment on pieces by Reiss, Fenves, Valls, and Mills. SHORT-ANSWER QUESTIONS (answers should be 50-100 words long) 1. Why did Descartes think our idea of infinity must be innate? 2. Name three Lockean simple ideas, and three complex ones. Comment on anything surprising or notable about your lists. 3. Why, for Locke, should we leave a state of nature and enter into a commonwealth? 4. Why was Leibniz’s commitment to the principle of sufficient reason dubbed “optimism”? 5. How do monads change, given that they don’t have parts that can move? 6. If you were Fred Stiller or Eva Vollmer, after the events in World on a Wire were over, which of our philosophers would you be most drawn to and why? 7. Would Humean moral sense work against racism? Why or why not? 8. What conditions give rise to the Humean virtue of justice? 9. What is a categorical imperative? What is the categorical imperative? 10. What is a realm (or regime, or kingdom) of ends? Sample answers to final exam short answer questions (quasi-edited) (1) 1. Why did Descartes think our idea of infinity must be innate? a. Answer to short answer 1: When subtracting every finite thing and idea one has in their mind, we are only left with the idea of infinity. Since God is infinite, and we can’t perceive God without perceiving infinity, it must be that God had created it us with the innate idea of infinity, along with those things that are finite, so that we may see God. b. Descartes describes our idea of infinity as innate because we have never used our senses to experience anything that is infinite, and yet we still can perceive the idea of infinity. This idea formulates with his point that all effects must have a cause, and therefore, the idea of God is formed; which is the cause of our idea of infinity. He also says that the cause of an effect must be at least as perfect as the effect, which potentially means that our idea of infinity came from an infinite being. c. Descartes thought our idea of infinity was innate because there is no dream we have which is wholly new, nothing we can imagine which is not composed of real things. So the fact that we can suppose infinity means the idea is from god, for there is no earthly infinite thing to provide us with such imagination. d. Descartes argues that we do not have the ability to use our senses to experience what infinity is. So, if we have not experienced it we haven’t really obtained knowledge to figure out what infinity is, making it innate. In addition, we can not imagine what innate is because it is not something we have physically experienced. e. He thought our idea of infinite must be innate, because people aren’t perfect. Descartes writes: “[f]or how would I understand that I doubt and that I desire” (Descartes 31). He is saying that since we wish to be greater than what we are we must have a conception of something better, and thus, the ideal, perfect, or infinite. Our faculties of knowledge our limited, and we notice it naturally. Thus, our idea of infinity must be innate. (2) 2. Name three Lockean simple ideas, and three complex ones. Comment on anything surprising or notable about your lists. Simple: blue, warm, wet. Complex: flower, notebook, elephant. Each of the simple ideas is simple because each cannot be broken down into smaller parts. Each of the complex ideas is complex because it can be broken down into smaller parts. (3) Why, for Locke, should we leave a state of nature and enter into a commonwealth? For Locke a State of Nature can be peaceful and lovely, but “inconveniences” and looming State of War (where people plot against each other’s lives, liberties, and properties), make it sensible to enter into a commonwealth. (12) A State of Nature is not a settled state/environment, no rule of law exists, there are no judges or lawmakers and therefore no laws are enforced, which is why a state of war looms. (5) a. 5. How do monads change, given that they don’t have parts that can move? Change can happen through rearrangement of parts or change in perception. Monads have no parts, and so cannot change through rearrangement. Therefore, they change by changing perception. (6) a. 6. If you were Fred Stiller or Eva Vollmer, after the events in World on a Wire were over, which of our philosophers would you be most drawn to and why? They would be drawn to Descartes. The film dapples with ideas of solipsism. For example, at the final scene of the movie, Fred’s sense of self from the simulation world is transplanted into his “real” body in the real world. Descartes posited that “…thought exists; it alone cannot be separated from me.” This discovery is a confirmation of a sense of self, that of which is separate from the nature of a corporeal body. b. 6. If you were Fred Stiller or Eva Vollmer, after the events in World on a Wire were over, which of our philosophers would you be most drawn to and why? I’d be drawn to Descartes’ idea that we might not be experiencing reality as it truly is. I think that with descartes’ conclusion that even though its not philosophically grounded we still need to trust our bodily experiences to some degree, it can answer some of the issues with living in a simulation. Even if they can’t find out for sure the nature of the world around them there are still good tools to understanding experiences and thinking within that world. c. #6: As I said in the second response of the World On A Wire responses, Fred Stiller made an off-handed comment that had a major inclination of Cartesian philosophy, and more specifically, sounded like it was from a solipsistic point of view. While this comment alone isn’t an indication as to which philosopher they’d be drawn to, I feel that this burgeoning thought, combined with their “ascension” from the simulation to the “real world”, would spark a lot of solipsistic, Cartesian thoughts. (7) a. 7. Would Humean moral sense work against racism? Why or why not? No, Humean moral sense will not work against racism. Humean moral sense has its basis on sentimentality which, like taste or intuition, cannot be disputed. Hume wrote, “Truth is disputable; not taste” (p.14). Truth is linked to moral judgments which are disputable/debated/proven, which is to say, truth is reasoned about. This could mean that one can have the sentiment that “black folk are bad”, which based on Humean moral sense, is indisputable. This sentiment can be informed, strengthened, and refined by reason–this is known as Humean virtue of justice. b. I think Hume’s philosophy could work against racism because it is it not beneficial to be racist. I don’t think it’s the most ethical way to think about things, but given his emphasis on utility and value, we can see that it isn’t useful to be racist. He writes that there are good traits and bad traits, and to be called racist is obviously bad. I think similar to the way lying is always bad for Kant because it assumes a system of truth, racism would always be bad for Hume because it assumes a system where racism is a problem. c. Question 7: Yes, Humean moral sense can work against racism. Hume likes peace and stability. Hume has a sentimental moral sense, which means that he is an emotionalist. He thinks moral judgements need to motivate us, instead of rational considerations. Although this could get complicated, he believes that justice is fairness, and he expresses that people are equal (however, when it comes to farmland, Hume does not think it should be equal). (9) Answer to short answer 9: A categorical imperative is a commandment that should be acted upon merely because it is the right thing to do (“do X”). This is opposite of a hypothetical imperative, which is a commandment that must be done for a certain result (“If you want Y, do X.”). The categorical imperative is the formula: act only on the maxim which can act at the same time as a universal law. (10) a. A kingdom of ends is a kingdom whose moral law is designed around treating humans as ends in themselves. b. 10. This is a realm of which we should universally act by moral laws. This means that we should attempt to treat all people as we want to be treated. However, even though we may not be able to treat people exactly the same if we were given a certain type of service, we should still try to give back what we all can. …
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