Philosophy – knowledge and reality

Part 1 Analysis Questions (worth 10 marks each) 
Answer all five of the following questions, each in a single paragraph. Each answer should be approximately one half of a double-spaced page (150-175 words by computer word count). 

1.     Aquinas maintains that contingent beings could not exist unless there were a necessary being. Explain the distinction between contingent and necessary beings and, in your own words, outline Aquinas’s argument. 

2.     William James maintains that faith in a fact can help create the fact. Describe an example that illustrates James’s point. What is the point’s general relevance to the justification of religious faith? 

3.     What is the problem of the veil of perception? Explain how Berkeleys philosophy can be seen as addressing this problem? 

4.     Briefly explain how Hume sees inductive inferences as relying on the assumption that the future will resemble the past (i.e., “the principle of the uniformity of nature”). Why does this assumption pose a problem with respect to the justification of inductive arguments? 

5.     In a nutshell, how does Locke explain personal identity? Explain how Locke understands the difference between (a) being the same person over time and (b) being the same “man” (i.e. the same biological human being) over time. 

Part 2 Essay Question (worth 50 marks) 
Write a brief critical essay on one of the following topics. Your essay should be approximately 2.5 double-spaced pages (600-800 words by computer word-count). 

Topic option 1: 
Philosophers differ on the issue of whether or not freedom is compatible with causal determinism. Describe the views of Chisholm and Ayer on this debate. Whose view do you find more convincing and why? (Or would you take a different approach altogether?) Briefly argue for your position. 

Topic option 2: 
Outline John Searles main objections to the idea of thinking computers. Are Searle’s objections convincing? Why or why not? In arguing for your position, consider how a functionalist might respond to Searle. (Tip: Review relevant parts of the lecture material from modules 9 and 10 to refresh your memory on what functionalism is about.) 

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