Practice Exam Final

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Note: Implicitly take each of the following questions to be prefaced by the phrase "According to Schick and Vaughn in "Doing Philosophy: An Introduction Through Thought Experiments." That is, to allow for unique answers, the following questions are about what the authors say and conclude in the textbook we are using for the class.

This exam is very much like the actual in-class exam you will take, both in terms of style of questions and content covered, though, of course, the final exam will be considerably shorter in length. Remember that the final exam will cover Chap. 5, sec. 1 through 3 (minus the “ethics of care” material); Chap. 6, sec. 1 and 2, and Chap. 7, sec. 1 and 2.

Chapter 5 - The Problem of Relativism and Morality



1.    A subjective absolutist believes that you can make an action right by believing it to be right. (T)


2.    Emotivists believe that it’s good to be emotional. (F)


3.    Something is intrinsically valuable if it’s valuable for one’s own sake. (T)


4.    A consequentialist ethical theory is one that judges actions in terms of their consequences. (T)


5.    According to Utilitarianism, an action is morally acceptable only if it does not violate anyone's rights. (F)


6.    Kant said that the only thing that's intrinsically valuable is a good will. (T)


7.    According to Kant, a good will is good whether or not it achieves its goal. (T)


8.    According to Bentham, anything that can suffer should be included in the utilitarian calculation. (T)


9. Any theory that judges the rightness of an action in terms of its consequences is a utilitarian theory. (F)


10.  Bentham believes that pleasure is intrinsically valuable. (T)


11.  According to the authors, it is impossible for an atheist to have morals. (F)


12.  Psychological egoism claims that everyone is selfish. (T)


13. John Rawls would sanction taking from the rich and giving to the poor as long as it produced the greatest good of the greatest number. (F)


14.  Rawls’s theory of justice, unlike the political theories of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke, is not contractarian. (F)


15.  For Rawls, an unequal distribution of the various assets of society can never be truly just. (F)


16. Bentham thought that the pleasure produced by an action could be quantified. (T)


17.  The “paradox of hedonism” is that pursuit of higher quality pleasures produces a craving for lower quality pleasures. (F)


18.  The emotivists said that moral judgments have no cognitive meaning whatsoever. (T)

Multiple Choice


19. Which of the following ethical theories is typically associated with consequentialism?

        a.  Subjective absolutism.

        b.  Subjective relativism.

  *    c.  Utilitarianism.

        d.  Kantiansim.


20.  Which of the following is not true of Hobbes’s Leviathan?

        a. It is the central sovereign power.

  *    b. It can rightfully compel a subject to take his or her life.

        c. It has no legal or moral obligation to its subjects.

        d. There can be no contract or covenant between the Leviathan and its subjects.


21. Which of the following claims is not made by Nozick?

        a. The just state protects rights.

        b. Any state that does more than the minimal state violates rights.

        c. The minimal state is inspiring.

  *    d. The just state ensures the equal distribution of goods.


22. A utilitarian would agree to which one of the following statements?

        a. You should sacrifice yourself for the sake of others.

  *    b. The end justifies the means.

        c. God makes the moral law.

        d. Might makes right.


23. How does Mill propose to determine which pleasures are higher and which are lower?

        a. by polling the general populace.

        b. by polling prostitutes.

        c. by polling philosophers.

  *    d. by polling those who've experienced both kinds of pleasures.


24. Rule utilitarianism was formulated in response to

        a. the challenge of subjective relativism.

        b. the challenge of cultural relativism.

  *    c. the challenge of counterexamples to act utilitarianism

        d. the challenge of counterexamples to the categorical imperative.


25. What does Kant claim is the most basic good?

        a. health.

        b. beauty.

        c. happiness.

  *    d. a good will.


26. Ethical relativists claim that:

        a. everything is relative.

        b. there are no objective truths.

  *    c. there are no objective moral principles.

        d. everybody's view is as good as everyone else's.


27. Telling a lie would be morally permissible on Utilitarian grounds if

        a. it would save lives.

        b. you could will that everyone should lie under the same general circumstances.

  *    c. the lie would maximize the general utility.

        d. God commanded you to lie.


28. Which ethical theory would never condone punishing the innocent under any circumstances?

        a. Utilitarianism.

  *    b. The Categorical Imperative.

        c. The Divine Command Theory.

        d. Cultural Relativism



Chapter 6 - The Problem of Evil and the Existence of God



29. A theist is one who believes that a personal God exists. (T)


30.  An agnostic is one who believes that the evidence doesn’t justify belief in a god. (T)


31. On the author’s account, a miracle is a surprising or unusual event. (F)

32. David Hume argued that reports of miracles were inherently untrustworthy. (T)


33. The ontological argument for God's existence is based on the observation that natural things have a plan or design. (F)


34. Descartes believed that existence is a perfection. (T)


35. Kant maintained that existence is not a perfection or any other kind of characteristic. (T)

36. Pascal's Wager is meant to be a proof for God's existence. (F)

37. A necessary condition for a miracles is that a natural law be violated. (T)

38. The teleological argument excludes the possibility of polytheism. (F)

39. Vacuum fluctuations are thought by some physicists to show that not every event needs a cause. (T)

40. Logic demands that every series have a first member. (F)

41. It is logically possible for the universe to be eternal. (T)

42. Logically speaking, the Problem of Evil is considered to be a counterexample to the existence of an omniscient, omnibenevolent, and omnipotent God. (T)
Multiple Choice


43. Who said "Were there no example in the world of contrivance except that of the eye, it would be alone sufficient to suppose the conclusion which we draw from it, as to the necessity of an intelligent Creator..."

        a. David Hume.

        b. Rene Descartes.

        c. Immanuel Kant.

  *    d. William Paley.


44. Which of the following best describes the conception of God at work in the teleological argument?

        a. God is the most perfect being imaginable.

        b. God is the most powerful being imaginable.

  *    c. God is the designer of the universe.

        d. God is the creator of the universe.


45. According to John Stuart Mill, God

        a. does not exist.

  *    b. exists but is finite.

        c. is all-powerful.

        d. is all-good.


46. Which argument tries to derive the existence of God from our conception of God:

        a. the cosmological argument.

        b. the teleological argument.

  *    c. the ontological argument.

        d. the scatological argument.


47.  Cosmological arguments for the existence of God are based on

        a. the existence of God.

  *    b. the existence of the world.

        c. the existence of design.

        d. the existence of evil.

48. Omnipotent means

*a. all-powerful.

b. all-seeing.
c. all-knowing.
d. all-good.
e. unchanging.
f. eternal.

49. Which of the following best describes the concept of God at work in the traditional cosmological argument?

a. the perfect being
*b. the first-cause
c. designer of the universe
d. personal and all-seeing

50. If the traditional cosmological argument is sound, then it proves that God is

a. omnibenevolent.
*b. none of these.
c. omnipotent.
d. omniscient.
e. all of these.

51. The Kalam cosmological argument originated from

a. the ancient Greeks.
*b. Islamic theolgians.
c. Jesus.
d. the Apostles.
e. the theory of evolution.

52. According to the Kalam cosmological argument, there is a cause for

a. everything.
*b. things that begin to existence.
c. nothing.
d. the purpose of nature.
e. God's existence.

53. If the Kalam cosmological argument is sound, then it proves that God is

*a. none of these.
b. omnibenevolent.
c. omniscient.
d. omnipotent.
e. all of these.

54. In Greek, "telos" means

*a. end.
b. communication.
c. supreme.
d. sound.
e. patterns.

55. The teleological argument, as presented by Paley', is based on an analogy between the universe and a

a. grapefruit.
*b. watch.
c. country meadow.
d. telephone.
e. monkey.

56. If the teleological argument is cogent, then it proves that God is

a. the first-cause.
b. omniscient.
c. omnipotent.
d. omnibenevolent.
*e. none of these.
57. According to John Stuart Mill, any evidence for design is evidence against the view that God is

*a. omnipotent.

b. unhappy.
c. human-like.
d. a machine.
e. all-seeing.

58. Inclusive fitness is the ability to live

a. in all environments.
*b. long enough to reproduce.
c. inside of another creature's body.
d. in another creature's habitat.

59. A irreducibly complex system is a system that

a. is infinite.
*b. would not work if one of its parts was removed.
c. has a single part.
d. never breaks down.

60. By which Inference to the Best Explanation criteria of adequacy do evolutionary theories rank better than creationist theories?

a. conservativism
b. simplicity
c. scope
d. fruitfulness
*e. all of these

61. If the argument from miracles is correct, then it establishes that God is

a. omnipotent.
b. omniscient.
c. omnibenevolent.
*d. none of these.
e. all of these.

62. Hume discounts ancient reports of miracles like those found in the Bible because they come from

*a. sources of dubious credibility.
b. trained observers.
c. very educated people.
d. demons.

63. The scientific competitor to the God hypothesis that explains religious experiences is the

*a. hallucination hypothesis.
b. alien hypothesis.
c. supernatural hypothesis.
d. mystic hypothesis.

64. Gaunilo's Lost Island thought experiment shows that if Anselm's line of reasoning is correct, then

*a. you could prove that the greatest anything exists.
b. God is evil.
c. heaven is like an island we can never find.
d. lost souls stay behind on earth.

65. Edward's Gangle thought experiment shows that

*a. existence is not a defining property.
b. God is infinite in nature.
c. philosophy can one day discover God's true essence.
d. God must have a physical body.
e. evolution cannot explain the existence of certain creatures.

66. Pascal believes that belief in God can be justified on

a. rational grounds.
*b. pragmatic grounds.
c. no grounds.

67. Which of the following best describes the concept of God at work in Descartes' ontological argument?

*a. the perfect being
b. creator of time
c. human-like
d. miracle worker

68. A theodicy is an attempt to

a. find commonalities among the world's religions.
*b. justify belief in God given the existence of evil.
c. identify the first religion humans practiced.
d. translate all holy scriptures into a single language.
e. find common elements among all mythologies.

69. Some advocates of the free will defense try to justify natural evil by blaming it on

*a. Satan.
b. poor design.
c. St. Peter's betrayal.
d. botched scientific experiments.
e. God's inability to see the future.

70. Earthquakes, floods, and disease are examples of ____ evil.

a. necessary
b. primary
c. secondary
*d. natural
e. moral

71. Murder, rape, and stealing are examples of ____ evil.

a. necessary
b. primary
c. secondary
d. natural
*e. moral

72. Omniscient means

a. all-powerful.
b. all-seeing.
*c. all-knowing.
d. all-good.
e. unchanging.
73. Omnibenevolent means

a. all-powerful.

b. all-seeing.
c. all-knowing.
*d. all-good.
e. unchanging.
74. Attempts to derive the existence of God from the existence of the universe.

a. Astrological Arguments

b. Ontological Arguments
*c. Cosmological Arguments
d. Teleological Arguments

75. Attempts to derive the existence of God from the design or purpose of things.

a. Astrological Arguments
b. Ontological Arguments
c. Cosmological Arguments
*d. Teleological Arguments

76. Attempts to derive the existence of God from the nature of God.

a. Astrological Arguments
*b. Ontological Arguments
c. Cosmological Arguments
d. Teleological Arguments

77. The ancient Greeks, who believed in 12 gods, were

a. agnostics.
*b. polytheists.
c. monotheists.
d. atheists.
e. pantheists.
f. deists.

78. Jews, Christians, and Muslims are

a. agnostics.
b. polytheists.
*c. monotheists.
d. atheists.
e. pantheists.
f. deists.

79. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and George Washington were

a. agnostics.
b. polytheists.
c. monotheists.
d. atheists.
e. pantheists.
*f. deists.

80. People who neither believe nor disbelieve in the existence of God are

*a. agnostics.
b. polytheists.
c. monotheists.
d. atheists.
e. pantheists.
f. deists.

81. People who believe that the universe is God are

a. agnostics.
b. polytheists.
c. monotheists.
d. atheists.
*e. pantheists.
f. deists.

Chapter 7 - The Problem of Skepticism and Knowledge


82. Cognitive cultural relativists claim that truth is socially constructed by each culture. (T)

83. According to Berkeley, we can never bridge the gap between appearance and reality. (F)

84. Cognitive subjectivists claim that truth is objective and independent of any one's beliefs. (F)

Multiple Choice

85. Berkeley's famous dictum is

a. I think, therefore I am.

b. The unexamined life is not worth living.
c. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
*d. To be is to be perceived.

86. Berkeley's Inconceivability of the the Unconceived thought experiment attempts to show that

*a. the notion of a material object is self-contradictory.
b. primary qualities are independent of secondary qualities.
c. our sensations are caused by material objects.
d. objects exists independently of perception.

87. The view that there is only one correct way of representing the world is called

*a. absolutism.
b. relativism.
c. subjectivism.
d. minimalism.

88. According to Bertrand Russell, when we look at an apple we are directly aware of

a. the apple itself (material object).
*b. a certain smell, feel, color, and so on (sensations).
c. dream states caused by the mind of God.
d. original sin.
e. none of these.

89. What kind of knowledge is knowing what it's like to be in pain?

a. performative
b. propositional
*c. acquaintance
d. intuition

90. What kind of knowledge is knowing that snow is white?

a. performative
*b. propositional
c. acquaintance
d. intuition

91. What kind of knowledge is the ability to ride a bicycle?

*a. performative
b. propositional
c. acquaintance
d. intuition

92. The theory that talk of all things is reducible to talk of sensations.

a. perceptionism
*b. phenomenalism
c. direct realism
d. representative realism

93. The theory that nothing comes between our perception of the world and the world itself.

a. perceptionism
b. phenomenalism
*c. direct realism
d. representative realism

94. The theory that sensations are caused by external objects and that some of those sensations resemble the qualities of those objects.

a. perceptionism
b. phenomenalism
c. direct realism
*d. representative realism

95. According to Locke, ____ qualities can be sensed by more than one sense.

*a. primary
b. secondary

96. Which of the following would not be considered a primary quality by Locke?

*a. sound
b. solidity
c. figure
d. extension
e. mobility

97. According to the standard account, the necessary and sufficent conditions for knowledge are all of the following except

a. justification
b. belief
c. truth
*d. intuition

98. In this chapter, philosophical skepticism is defined as the doctrine that we have no knowledge of

a. mathematics.
*b. the external world.
c. anything.
d. all of these.
e. our own thoughts.

99. According to rationalists, the only souce of knowledge of the external world is

*a. reason.
b. sense experience.
c. meditation.
d. intuition.

100. According to empiricists, the only souce of knolwedge of the external world is

a. reason.
*b. sense experience.
c. meditation.
d. intuition.

101. Cognitive subjectivism fails because it

a. does not take into account one's beliefs.
*b. is self-refuting.
c. has no criterion for identifying truth.
d. makes truth objective.

102. Descartes' Dream thought experiment shows that

*a. we can't be certain we are dreaming right now.
b. we can control all of our thoughts.
c. dreams are easily distinguished from waking reality.
d. our senses can be trusted.

103. Descartes' Evil Genius and and Unger's Mad Scientist thought experiments show that

*a. thoughts can be implanted in your mind.
b. all knowledge must come through the senses.
c. we are awake all the time.
d. there is more evil than good in the world.

104. The one thing that Descartes cannot doubt is that

*a. he exists.
b. an evil genius exists.
c. the external world exists.
d. he has a physical body.

105. What epistemic principle does Descartes' use to bridge the gap between appearance and reality?

*a. the principle clarity and distinctness
b. the principle of sufficient reason
c. the principle of alternate possiblities
d. the principle of the excluded middle

106. Descartes attempts to justify his epistemic principle by proving the existence of

*a. God.
b. an evil genius.
c. dreams.
d. a mad scientist.

107. Skeptical doubts arise from the notion that knowledge requires

*a. certainty.
b. no justification.
c. logic.
d. memory.

108. The process of interpreting sense data is known as

a. sensation.
*b. perception.
c. realism.
d. the analysis of knowledge.

109. The argument from illusion is a counterexample to

*a. direct realism.
b. representative realism.
c. phenomenalism.
d. skepticism.

110. Which of the following would not be considered a secondary quality by Locke?

a. color
b. taste
c. sound
*d. extension
Short Essay


1.  (a) What is emotivism? (b) Why does it make the seeming fact of moral disagreement so problematic?


Answer: (a) Emotivism is the theory that when we use moral terms like “good” and “bad” all we are doing is expressing our attitudes of approval and disapproval. (b) This view would make it impossible for us to engage in moral disagreements because, if true, emotivism would entail that our moral “statements” are not really statements at all, and thus not capable of being true or false.

2.  If cultural relativism were true, could social reformers disagree with their culture and still be right? Why or why not.


Answer: They could never disagree with their cultures and still be right since, by definition, they would always be in the wrong (disagreeing, as they do, with the majority opinion within their cultures).

3.  What is the difference between ethical egoism and psychological hedonism, and what is the relation between them?
Answer: EE is the view that people ought to perform those actions that maximize their own pleasure, whereas PH is the view that, as a matter of fact, people are incapable of acting in any way other than selfishly. PH does not imply EE, but it does suggest that EE is the only game in town, since, if true, it would imply that no other moral theory could possibly be appropriate to the sorts of things that human beings are.

4.  Explain why ethical egoism’s adherents could not consistently advocate it.


They could not consistently advocate it because it would not be in their self-interest to advocate it. If one is the only egoist around, one is likely to make out like gangbusters.

5. (a) Explain the anthropological argument for cultural relativism and (b) why it fails.


(a) The anthropological argument is as follows:

  1. People in difference societies make different moral judgments regarding the same action.

2. If so, they must accept different moral standards.

3. If they accept different moral standards, there are no universal moral standards.

4. Therefore, there are no universal moral standards.


(b) The major problem with this argument is premise (2). The fact that people make different moral judgments regarding a given action is not always best explained by their having fundamentally different moral standards. Different moral judgments can also result from various parties having identical moral standards, but conflicting background factual beliefs or background circumstances which cause these parties to implement these moral standards in different ways.

6. (a) Describe the logical structure of moral judgments. (b) Describe the way in which facts about this logical structure provides us with a response to the anthropological argument.
Answer: (a) Moral standards and factual beliefs are both required for moral judgments to be made.
(b) This fuels a response to the anthropological argument by allowing for the possibility that when people make different moral judgments, this is simply due to their acceptance of different background factual beliefs.

7. (a) What is rule-utilitarianism? (b) Why is it an inadequate theory of right action?
Answer: (a) According to rule-utilitarianism, what makes an action right is that it falls under a rule that, if generally followed, would maximize happiness, everyone considered. On such an account, to decide whether an action is right, we must decide what rule it falls under and whether generally following that rule would maximize happiness. (b) Rules that would maximize happiness would have exceptions. Rules with enough exceptions, however, would sanction the same actions as act-utilitarianism.For instance, in the framing-of-the-innocent-man case, for instance, the rule most applicable to one’s decision is the following: “Don’t frame the innocent except in those case where this will best maximize utility without undermining the institution of justice.” This tells one to frame the innocent man in the imagined case, which is precisely the same recommendation made by act-utilitarianism.

8. (a) What is Hare’s Nazi fanatic thought experiment? (b) How does it attempt to undermine the first formulation of the categorical imperative?
Answer: (a)This thought experiment has us envision a fanatical Nazi who advocates the moral imperative: “Kill all Jews on sight.” He is so sincere in his convictions, in fact that, were he to discover that he is himself a Jew, he would be more than willing to throw himself into the ovens. (b) On this thought experiment, we have an example of someone for whom the universalizability and reversibility tests fail to disqualify the imperative “Kill all Jews on site” from its claim to be morally binding (since the rule could consistently be followed by everyone and the agent in question is perfectly willing to be on its receiving end if that’s how things turn out). Thus, this thought experiment shows that the first formulation of Kant’s categorical imperative is not sufficient to disqualify all the illegitimate candidate moral rule or identity legitmate ones..

9. What is the second formulation of the categorical imperative?
Answer: On the second formulation, what makes an action right is that it treats people as ends in themselves and not merely as a means to an end, where treating people merely as ends in themselves reflects a respect for their right to choose for themselves how they want to live.

10.  (a) Explain Ross’s distinction between actual duties and prima facie duties. (b) How do we make moral decisions on Ross’ subsequent account?
Answer: (a) An actual duty is one that we are morally obligated to perform in a particular situation.
A prima facie duty is one that we are morally obligated to perform in every situation unless there are extenuating circumstances. (b) On Ross’ account, what makes an action right is that it falls under the highest ranked prima facie duty in a given situation.

11. (a) What is Rawls’ original position under the veil of ignorance? (b) What three rules does Rawls think people would consent to when deliberating from this position? (c) What does it mean that they are lexically ordered?
Answer: (a) Rawls’ original position under the veil of ignorance is a situation in which ideal social contract makers make purely impartial decisions concerning the distribution of goods, services and opportunities in society because they lack all knowledge of their talents, interests, and social position.

(b) The three rules are as follows:

1. Principle of equal liberty: each person has an equal right to maximum possible liberty.

2. Principle of fair equality of opportunity: each person has an equal opportunity to be given an office or position.

3. The Difference Principle: social and economic opportunities are arranged so that they are to the greatest benefit of the least advantaged persons.
(c) To say that they are lexically ordered is to say that one would never be justified in compromising (1) for the benefit of (2), or (1) or (2) for the benefit of (3).

12.  (a) Describe Nozick’s thought regarding the basketball player. (b) What does it suggest concerning Rawls' theory of justice?
Answer: (a) Suppose that we start with a just distribution of wealth. Now suppose that a basketball player becomes so popular that people are willing to pay extra to see him. The resulting distribution of wealth may violate the difference principle. (b) The suggested moral of this example is that any pattern-based distribution scheme will eventually end up interfering with individuals’exercising their own liberty (that is, lexically prior rule (1) in our answer to (72 b) above will always end up being violated).

13.  (a) Describe the cosmological argument for the existence of God. (b) Cite one objection to it.



(a) The Traditional Cosmological Argument

1. Some things are caused.

2. Nothing can cause itself.
3. Therefore, everything that is caused is caused by something other than itself.
4. The chain of causes cannot stretch infinitely backwards in time.
5. If the chain of causes cannot stretch infinitely backward in time, there must be a first cause.
6. Therefore, everything that is caused has a first cause, namely, God.
(b) Potential objections include:

1. Even if there is a first cause, it doesn’t have to be God.

2. The notion of an infinite string of causes is no more self-contradictory than the notion of an infinite string of numbers. Similarly, the universe itself may be eternal.

 14. (a) What is the Kalem cosmological argument? (b) Cite one potential objection to it?

(a) The Kalem cosmological argument goes as follows:

(1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.

(2) The universe began to exist.


(3) Therefore, the universe has a cause, namely God.


(b) Two possible objections to the argument:

1. It is not clear that (1) is even true, let alone necessary (e.g., alleged results in quantum physics).

2. Even if some cause were dictated by (1) and (2), there is no reason to suppose that this cause is God (at least on anything like the theist’s description of Him).


15. (a) Describe the pocket watch version of the Analogical Design Argument. (b) Cite one potential objection to it.

(a) 1. The universe resembles a watch.

2. Every watch has a designer.
3. Therefore, the universe probably has a designer, namely, God.
(b) Potential objections include:

1. If God needs a universe to accomplish his ends, he is not omnipotent.

2. Even if there is a designer, it need not have any of the other attributes traditionally associated with God, such as omniscience or omnibenevolence.

3. The universe is as much like a living thing as a mechanism and living things reproduce without need of an external agent.

16. (a) Describe the Best Explanation Design Argument. (b) Cite one potential problem with it.

(a) 1. The universe exhibits apparent design.

2. The best explanation of this apparent design is that it was designed by a supernatural being.
3. Therefore it’s probable that the universe was designed by a supernatural being, namely, God.

(b) Potential objections include:

Apparent design can also be explained by evolution. Evolution is a better explanation than the God-hypothesis because it is simpler, more conservative, has greater scope, and is more fruitful.

17. Does the argument from evil succeed in showing that there is no God? Why or why not?

  1. Answer:

  2. The problem of evil is the following:

                  1. 1. Evil seems to exist. If God were all-knowing, he would know that evil exists.

        1. 2. If he were all good, he would want to eliminate evil.

        2. 3. If he were all-powerful, he would be able to eliminate evil.

        3. 4. Thus, the existence of evil disproves the existence of God.

  3. Whether or not this argument is effective is very much up to debate. One response to it is to deny that God has all three of the properties typically ascribed to him (e.g., omnipotence, omniscience and omnibenevolence). Alternatively, one might try to argue that evil is illusory, or that at least some forms of evil are an inevitable consequence of God's gift of human free will.

18. In Hick's theodicy, in what way is God paternalistic?
God is paternalistic, on Hick's account, because he allows us to suffer for our own good. To this extent, God uses us (by allowing us to suffer in ways that limit our freedom) ito the end of promoting our own spiritual development or moral character.

19. Can believing something to be true make it true? Why or why not?
Sometimes this may indeed occur, as when self-confidence improves performance a self-inculcated belief in the goodness of people elicits the decency of others. In none of the cases, however, are the beliefs in question completely unfounded, since we often have good evidence that self-confidence improves performance and that courtesy toward others makes us likable. Thus, they are not examples of a state of affairs being brought about by blind faith.

20. Explain why Bertrand Russell thinks that passionate belief in God is nothing to admire.
Russell thinks that the more passionate a belief is, the less likely it is to be true, since true beliefs are likely to be supported by evidence, and beliefs supported by evidence are likely to be held with calm conviction rather than passion. Thus, he suspects that passionate belief about religion (or anything else for that matter) is likely to a symptomize intellectual irresponsibility.

21. What is Descartes's dream argument?
The dream argument is that, since we cannot discern any marks or features of experience which infallibly indicate that we are awake rather than merely dreaming, we cannot know for sure that we are not dreaming. As a result, we cannot trust the claims we make about ambient reality on the basis of sensory experience.

22. What did Descartes's dream argument and evil genius arguments purport to show?
Both arguments purport to show that our knowledge of the “external world” is much more limited than we ordinarily take it to be. Both envision ways in which this world might be very different from how it seems to us to be on the basis of our experience even though the features of said experience remain constant. The “evil genius” argument, however, is intended to motivate more thorough doubts than the “dream” argument, however. This is because dreams, as we conceive them, are ordinary occurrences that take place within a natural worldly setting. The “evil genius” argument, on the other hand, has us envision a situation in which the world is very different, even in general character, from how we ordinarily take it to be.

23. What is Descartes's argument for the principle of clarity and distinctness?
Descartes argues that God, being benevolent, could not be responsible for Descartes' own false conclusions concerning the world around him. The fault must be his own, he therefore concludes. He then explains these faulsts by saying that they arise when his will overpowers his understanding, thereby leading him to form conclusions concerning things of which he lacks clear and distinct ideas. Thus, he concludes that judgements about those things he conceives clearly and distinctly must be true, since God is not a deceiver.

24. What is the problem of the Cartesian circle?
The problem of the Cartesian circle is that Descartes needs to identify criteria through which he can judge that his worldly beliefs are true. However, he ends up being unable to justify the trustworthiness of these principles without assuming the very truths about wordly reality that he hopes to ground. In particular, Descartes assumes that ideas which he perceives clearly and distinctly are true. However, he only judges that this to be the case because he assumes that God is no deceiver. And he only claims to know this about God as a result of examining his clear and distinct notion of God. Thus, Descartes' program to escape skepticism requires that he presuppose precisely those things he hopes to prove.

25. Does knowledge require certainty? Why or why not?
This is a controversial question. But one might argue that knowledge requires, not that we be able to rule out all possible doubt, but that we merely be able to rule out all reasonable doubt. If this is the case, then Cartesian demands for certainty may be misplaced.

26. What is the difference between primary and secondary qualities?
Secondary qualities (e.g., color, taste, smell) exist only in perceivers' minds. Primary qualities exist as intrinsic characteristics of external physical bodies (e.g., solidity, mass, or “color” when understood as the reflectance features of external objects that cause perceivers to have such and such visual experiences).

27. How does Locke solve the problem of the external world?
On Locke's account, some sensory experiences (i.e., those corresponding to primary qualities, for instance, shape) resemble the primary qualities of perceived objects. Thus, according to Locke, our sensory experiences can and do give us some knowledge of the external world.

28. How would Berkeley respond to the question, If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Strictly speaking, it doesn't. Certainly, sound waves are ommitted, but no auditory experiences exist, since no auditory sense organs exist as causal conduits through which they might be created.

29. How does phenomenalism close the gap between appearance and reality?
According to phenomenalism, all talk about physical objects is ultimately translatable into talk about experiences. Thus, in talking about the former. One is really talking about the latter.

30. Explain the confusion involved in Berkeley's assertion that it's impossible for something to exist unconceived.
This assertion is true only if it taken to mean that one cannot conceive of an object without conceiving it. It is false, however, if it is taken to mean that one cannot contemplate the proposition that a certain object does not, in fact, exist.

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