Class: PHL100 Problems of Philosophy
Classroom: Mahar 122
Class time: MWF 9:10 am - 10:05 am
Class final: TBA
Professor: Craig DeLancey
Office Hours: MF 1:45 -- 3:00 p.m. and by appointment
Question 6: Does the universe, or do at least you, have a purpose?
Review! Which world do we live in?
Our final exam is in class, from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.
Any questions from our first quiz or our midterm are possible.
Additional study questions include:
- What is a valid argument? What is a sound argument?
- What are the four branches of philosophy?
- Describe one of Descartes's arguments that mind is not
the same kind of thing as body.
- What is interactive substance dualism?
- What is a person, according to Locke?
- What makes a person one person over time, according to Locke?
- Do split-brain patients have two persons in their one
brain? Or one? Or some other number? Explain what a
split-brain patient is, and why we might have this
- What are fatalism, causal determinism, libertarianism (in
metaphysics), and their denials?
- Evaluate the argument against free will based on an
existing god's omniscience. Is it valid? Is it sound?
- Evaluate the argument against free will based on causal
determinism. Is it valid? Is it sound?
- What is divine command theory? What is the classical
challenge to this view?
- How does Nietzsche suggest we may be able to overcome
nihilism? Do you agree with his prescription? (You must
explain the idea of the Ubermensch, and of the eternal
- What are anguish, abandonment, and despair, according to
Sartre? Give examples that are not Sartre's own (that is,
apply the concepts).
- What does Sartre mean when he says "We are condemned to
be free"? Why "condemned"?
- Why don't Inez, Joseph, and Estelle leave the room, in
"No Exit"? Use Sartre's existentialist philosophy to
explain their actions.
- What does Sisyphus symbolize for Camus?
- Rosencrantz and Guildenstern do not struggle to evade
their death sentence at the end of the play. How would
Sartre explain their behavior?
Your final papers are due in my office before 2:00. The paper should
be 3-4 pages long.
Your paper can be on one of the following topics, or
one of your chosing. If it is of your chosing it should address
one of the topics we've been discussing since the midterm, and
you should clear the topic with me beforehand. Follow
philosophy paper format. Here's the useful guide on APA
style. Have fun, these are interesting questions!
- One popular materialist theory of mind is that the
mind is like software, running on the hardware of the
brain. If you think this is right, explain how you will
answer two of Descartes's arguments against materialism
and for dualism. If you are a dualist, how will you
answer the Princess's concerns about an immaterial
substance causing material effects?
- Are you free? Explain the various possible answers,
and defend one. If you answer yes, then how do you
respond to the determinist arguments? If you answer no,
are you a compatibilist? Explain.
- Do you have a purpose? Why? Explain and evaluate at
least two possible answers (divine command theory,
architect theory, Nietzsche's answer, existentialism,
Camus's theory, naturalism) and defend why you think
yours is best. Does your answer change how you think
about your life and your own plans? (If you are looking
for an example of a philosopher stating Divine Command
Theory, remember this
selection from the correspondence between Descartes and
the Princess of Bohemia. For Aristotle's naturalism,
you can look to the first sections of the
Nicomachean Ethics to see how he reasons about how
we can find the chief ends. To discover what he thinks human
ends are you'll have to read farther -- but the important thing
is that he thinks we have natural, inherit purposes, such as: to
reason, to interact with other human beings, etc.)
- Consider the plight of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
What advice would Nietzsche give them? What advice would
Sartre give them? What advice would Camus give them?