Philosophy

Order Instructions/Description
Directions: Choose one of the following questions and write a thorough essay on it (when I say thorough I mean it, several meaty paragraphs). You may not write on a question you wrote your final paper on. Be sure to use your own examples and analogies in explaining your answer.

  1. What does compatiblism say about free will? How does it differ from anti-compatiblism? Why does Searle reject compatiblsm? Why does Searle think the “scientific view of the world” (i.e. reductive materialism) entails humans do not have free will in the libertarian sense? Why does Searle think it is psychologically impossible for us to give up the idea that we have free will even if it is an illusion? What are some problems with Searle’s view of free-will? (Be sure, in your answer, to define “determinism”).

  2. What does Descartes claim was the source of all of his former erroneous beliefs? What does Descartes mean when he says it is the source of them? How does Descartes propose to insure he will not be misleadagain by this source? What objections does Descartes consider to his proposed plan? How does he answer them? What final skeptical worry does Descartes raise at the end of Meditation I, and how does he, rather poetically, express that worry by hypothesizing an “evil genius”?

  3. What truth does Descartes find to be so certain that not even the evil genius, if there is one, could cause him to be mistaken about? What is Descartes’ reason for thinking this truth is most certain? Do you agree with Descartes? Why or why not? What other truths does Descartes conclude he cannot be mistaken concerning in Meditation II? What reasons does he give for thinking he knows these to be true? (I am thinking here about truths concerning Descartes; essence, the essence of matter, and how he knows all these things.)

  4. What is Descartes proof for the existence of God from the cause of his (Descartes’) idea of God? What premises of this proof could be objected to? How could Descartes respond to these objections? (Be sure in your answer to talk about Descartes causal principle and his notions of formal reality, eminent reality, and objective reality, and his concept of God).

  5. Why does Aquinas think that every material substance is composed of prime matter and substantial form? (Be sure to define in your answer such terms as “substance,” “form,” “matter,” “substantial form”, “prime matter, “potency,” “act,” “substantial change,” and “accidental change.”).

  6. What argument does Aquinas give for the view that human beings have free will (i.e. they can, to some extent, determine what they choose to do). How does his answer depend on the notions that the will is ordered to the “good”, that humans are able to form universal concepts of things, and that no finite thing is good in every respect? (Remember that in saying the will is “ordered” or “directed towards” the good, Aquinas does not mean we will always prefer what is morally good—his notion of the good is broader than that).

7 What was Sankara Misras notion of the soul? How did he think the soul was related to the human body? What argument does Sankara Misra give against reductive materialism? What three arguments does he give against non-reductive materialism? What argument does he give against both kinds of materialism? (Be sure, in your answer, to define “reductive materialism” and “non-reductive materialism”.)