Sample Exam

This final exam is closed notes and closed books (you may not use any books, course notes, or other materials during the exam period in answering your questions). Complete both parts of the exam. Read the instructions carefully. Write clearly and legibly. Use bluebooks. You have three hours to complete the exam. Return this exam with your answers.

Part I (30%)

For each quotation below provide (i) the author's name, (ii) an explanation of the quotation's meaning in your own words , and (iii) a brief description of the debate to which it contributes.

  1. These two propositions are far from being the same: I have found that such an object has always been attended with such an effect, and I foresee that other objects which are in appearance similar will be attended with similar effects.
  2. There is, therefore, only a single categorical imperative and it is this: act only in accordance with that maxim through which you can at the same time will that it become a universal law.
  3. Does the equal itself, the beautiful itself, what each thing is itself, that which is, ever admit of any change whatever?
  4. As the pupil plus the power of sight constitutes the eye, so the soul plus the body constitutes the animal.
  5. As I think about this more carefully, I see plainly that there are never any sure signs by means of which being awake can be distinguished from being asleep.
  6. To say that happiness is the chief good seems a platitude, and a clearer account of what it is still desired. This might perhaps be given, if we could first ascertain the function of man.

Part II (70%)

Write short essays on two of the following four questions.

  1. What is Hume's distinction between 'Relations of Ideas' and 'Matters of Fact'? Evaluate the philosophical significance of this distinction.
  2. What are 'sense data', and why does Russell believe they are the immediate objects of perception? What role do sense data play in Russell's account of knowledge? Evaluate Russell's account of sense data, in the Problems of Philosophy.
  3. How does the 'harmony theory' of the soul provide a challenge to Socrates' account of the soul?
  4. Explain and assess one of Descartes' arguments for the existence of God.