Phil 100, Lecture 1A, Introduction to Philosophy
Fall 2001

Midterm Exam (Take-home)

Due Thursday, October 25 in your discussion section
Please answer the following questions in essay format. You should aim to make each essay about three-fourths explanation of the text(s) and the rest a statement and defense of your own views. If you have any questions about the exam, please let us know.

Part I. (Everyone must answer this question.)
One essay, around 2-3 pages. (50% of exam grade)

Compare, contrast and evaluate the attitudes of Descartes and Berkeley on skepticism with regard to the senses. Your essay should address such issues as:
Part II. Choose two (and only two) of the following questions.
Two essays, around 1 page each. (each is 25% of exam grade)

A.) Explain both the argument given by Descartes and the rather different argument given by Berkeley for the existence of God. Explain what problems have been or could be identified with the arguments. In the end, do you think that either of these arguments—or slight modifications of them—succeeds in demonstrating that God exists? (Note: we are not asking you whether or not you believe in God. We are only asking whether or not you think these particular arguments are conclusive.)

B.) Compare, contrast and evaluate Descartes and Berkeley on the mind/body problem. What substances do the two thinkers respectively believe make up a person? For each one, what is the relationship between the "mind" or "soul" and the "body" (especially the brain)? Do you agree with either Descartes or Berkeley as to what makes up a person? If so, whom do you agree with and why? If not, why not? Explain and argue for your answer.

C.) Pick any three objections raised against immaterialism by Hylas in Berkeley's third dialogue. For each, explain the objection as well as the response given by Philonous. For each, do you think that Philonous's response is adequate? Why or why not?


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