Istory of Western Philosophy: Modern Period

” choose two out of three questions from Section B
Section B
Short Critical Essay  approximately 2 pages each (20 points each):

1. Philosophers often claim that one of the chief failings of Descartes philosophical project in the Meditations is what they call the Cartesian Circle: i.e., that the argument for the existence of God is in fact circular. One response sometimes made on behalf of Descartes is to say that he can avoid a circular argument by paying greater attention to God s attributes. In other words, once we realize fully that God is a perfect being lacking no perfections, then we will realize that it is impossible to formulate doubts about our own clear and distinct perceptions. Any attempt to formulate such doubts ends in confusion because they depend on conceiving of God as a deceiver. Write a short essay in which you assess this response. First, explain what the Cartesian Circle is, and how the argument is circular. Then say whether you think the above response to the problem has any merit. Be sure to say what reasons you have for thinking that the proposal works or not.

2. One of the principal objections that Empiricists make against Rationalists is to reject the theory of innate (inborn) ideas. John Locke argues against Descartes innateness thesis by putting forward several objections in his Essay Concerning Human Understanding (pp. 601-02). First explain Locke s objections against Descartes. Then consider how Descartes would respond to Locke. Do you think that Descartes response is successful? Why, or why not?

3. Locke claims that personal identity consists solely in sameness of consciousness. Some philosophers object to this theory by claiming that a consequence of this view is that we can become entirely different people if we forget things we did in the past. How does Locke respond to this objection? Do you think that Locke s reply is successful? Why, or why not? (hint: if you think Locke s reply is successful, try to think of a counter-response that an opponent would give, and give Locke s answer to that response. If you think that Locke s reply is not successful, give a counter-argument against it, consider how Locke might reply to the counter-argument, and respond to Locke s response.)

” Essays are to be typed, using standard fonts and margins (e.g. 12 point font, 1 inch margins)

” The total length of the exam should not exceed 5 typed pages. Remember: concision is a virtue!

” Extra credit will be given only for answering the extra-credit question accurately and completely. Answering more than the required number of questions will only result in the first four questions being graded, or two if the critical essays are answered.

” Essays are to be the product of your own effort. All answers should be written in your own words. Plagiarism will be sufficient to earn a grade of F on this exam. (Plagiarism is here defined as the putting forward of another person s views as one s own effort.) Please note that no outside research is required for this exam. Please also note that Internet sources are often of very poor quality, and are thus very easy to detect. Lastly, I do not mind if you talk to other members of the class about the questions, but make sure to write up your own exam independently of other classmembers.

” Essays will be graded for accuracy, completeness, and relevance. Evidence used in support of your views needs to be explained fully. If you choose to write one of the essays in Section B, be sure to select the strongest reasons you can in favor of your views.

Istory of Western Philosophy: Modern Period

Please check attachted file.
” answer two out of three questions from Section B
Section B
Short Critical Essay  approximately 2 pages each (20 points each):

1. As we saw in class, Berkeley argues that the being (existence) of objects consists in being perceived by us. Sometimes it is said that there is a problem with Berkeley s theory, since the theory seems to imply that objects go out of existence when we stop perceiving them. An answer to this problem is that God perceives all objects, all the time, thus keeping them in existence. Do you consider this response to be a satisfactory answer to the problem? Explain why or why not.

2. Hume makes an objection to Berkeleys master argument on p. 798 (in the footnote). What does Hume think that the master argument in fact demonstrates? Does Humes objection succeed? Why or why not? (Choose a side, and defend either Hume or Berkeley on this point.)

3. Explain the general strategy of Kants reply to Hume on necessary connection. How would Kant analyze the case of Clyde and the Billiard Balls from question 2 in part A? Does Kants reply to Hume on necessary connection succeed? Why or why not?