Final Exam Essay Questions
(a) Give short explanations of the following five views: substance dualism, property (attribute) dualism, behaviorism, the identity theory, and functionalism. Give two objections to dualism and two to behaviorism. One objection to an identity theory for pain (say, pain = c-fibers firing) appeals to the premise that it is conceivable that there is pain without c-fibers firing, or vice versa. Does this sort of objection to the identity theory work equally well against functionalism? Why or why not?
(b) Take what you think is the most promising of the five views, and defend it.
- What is physicalism? Carefully explain Jackson's Knowledge argument against physicalism. Assess the argument. Does it establish that physicalism is false? If not, why not? Compare and contrast the Knowledge argument with the argument of Nagel's "What is it like to be a bat?"
- According to Searle, "such great philosophers as Descartes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant [believe] that we do not see the real world...In the past century philosophers usually put this point by saying 'We do not perceive material objects, we perceive only sense data'." Explain "this point" without using the jargon of "material objects" or "sense data". The argument from illusion is supposed to establish the conclusion that we only perceive sense data. What is that argument? Set it out in the form of premises and conclusion, commenting on whether the argument as you have set it out is valid. What is wrong with the argument, if anything? Finally, compare the argument from illusion with Valberg's presentation of the puzzle of experience.
- In "Consciousness and its Place in Nature", Chalmers distinguishes Type-A Materialism, Type-B Materialism, Type-C Materialism, Type-D Dualism, Type-E Dualism, and Type-F Monism. Pick one that you think is false. Explain what this theory is, and why you think it's false. Now take the theory that you think is true (or, at any rate, is the least implausible of the lot). Explain what this theory is, and defend it against at least one objection.