Guide and Review for Second Exam in Philosophy

Guide and Review for Second Exam in Philosophy


As you prepare for second cumulative exam, I trust this guide and review will help you best prepare for this dynamic opportunity to offer your very best.

The exam will be composed of multiple choice, true/false, and perhaps matching. Please bring scantron 882E and number 2 pencil. Exam will not involve essay. Questions will be 50.

Stay focused. Do not wait till day before to prepare for final exam. Study for at least three hours each daym constantly reviewing each time you study. Be strategic! Pace yourself. Do not become preoccupied with other things. Focus! Ask yourself questions! Use all your learning styles to help you prepare for your test.

Make sure you have completed the reading of your textbook, review your notes, and examine the notes I have available on website. Don’t get weighed down by the particulars in your book but focus on big ideas. Focus on major ideas in book for review but concentrate on lecture notes. However, I am requiring that you read Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman. I will test you from it.
I believe in the champion in you!

I.Review the following lectures:

A.What is Philosophy (lecture 1a)

B.What is a worldview? (Lecture 1b)

C.How Can We Know what is True (lecture 4)

D.Plato’s Chart on Metaphysics and Epistemology (Allegory of the Cave). Also be able to define the nature of a “form” (lecture 3)

E.Aristotle’s metaphysics, universals, and 4 causes (Lecture 3b and supplement: Aristotle’s universals and 4 causes

F.Aquinas on reality (Lecture 3f)

G.Aquinas on Knowledge (lecture 3g)

H.Supplement: The analytic Fallacy by John Dewey (between lectures 7 and 8):

I.Nihilism (Lecture 17)

J.Lectures 11-17 on ethics: Virtue ethics, Supplement to virtue ethics: Socrates; Deontological & Consequential Ethics; Hume’s Ethics; Nihilism.

1.Virtue Ethics: An action is right if and only if it is what the virtuous person would do. It is character-formation centered. It asks the question: what type of a person should one be?

2.Virtue comes from Greek word “arête” that means excellency of some sort.

3.In Plato’s Meno, an early dialogue by Plato, Socrates first raises the question about what virtue is. Though not satisfied, he contends that virtue = knowledge. No one would intentionally will do anything wrong.

Socrates contends that the reasons why we do things that are wrong are due to:

  1. Forgetfulness
  2. Ignorance.

In essence, no one would willfully choose to do that which is wrong.

4.Virtue ethics by Plato in Plato’s Republic. Now, Plato contends that virtue = a well-ordered soul.

a.Human soul is composed of three parts: The appetites, the emotions, and the mind. The mind is to govern over the two other parts of the soul in a way that allows those parts to flourish.

b.But if the mind were to ever let down its guard, the emotions or the appetites will take over and it will lead to having a disordered soul: Any addiction = appetites in control of your person; emotions take over you have a disordered soul too.

c.But when the mind rules over the soul, allowing the appetites to flourish and the emotions to flourish, the three parts of the soul will aggregate or harmonize generating a well-ordered soul whereby the four cardinal virtues, namely, courage, justice, self-control, and wisdom, will emerge.

5.Virtue ethics by Aristotle in his famous work, Nicomachean Ethics.

a.Virtue = habits of excellence, a beneficial tendency, a skilled disposition.

b.Two types of virtues:

1.Intellectual virtues which can be taught;

2.moral virtues which have to be acquired through habituation.

Intellectual virtue can be taught.

A good person succeeds at rational activity.

Moral virtue is acquired through excellent habits.

We become good by doing good things.

We become virtuous by practicing virtuous acts.

c.“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~ Aristotle.

  1. How do you acquire virtue: Step-by-step instructions:

Step 1:Master the functional requirements within a given type of task or behavior. Master a good habit.

Step 2:Possess the habitual mastery of the functional requirements to an appropriate degree. Possess habitual mastery of that habit. `

Step 3:Steps 1 & 2: excellence in that task or behavior. Achieve excellence in the habit.

Step 4:Possess habitual excellence in a number of key tasks or behavior.

Step 5:Possess habitual excellence in those tasks or behavior that the common opinion judges to be the most worthy.

Step 6:Steps 4 & 5 leads to agathos.

Step 7:Possessing Agathos (goodness) leads to eudaimonia (human flourishing)

Thus, on balance, excellent traits in human character generally produce excellent actions.

  1. What is a virtue?A virtue is a habit of excellence, a beneficial tendency, a skilled disposition that enables a person to realize the crucial potentialities that constitute proper human flourishing (eudaimonia).
  2. What is a habit? A disposition to think, feel, desire, and act in a certain way without having a tendency to consciously will to do so.
  3. Virtue (arete): A habit of excellence, a beneficial tendency, a skilled disposition that enables a person to realize the crucial potentialities that constitute proper human flourishing.
  4. A habit is a disposition to think, feel, desire, and act in a certain way without having a tendency to will consciously to do so.
  5. “Character” may be defined as the sum-total of one’s habits.
  6. Eudaimonia (Human Flourishing; Successful Living; Happiness):
  7. Phronesis (practical wisdom): A good person consistently does the right thing at the right time, in the right way, and for the right reason.
  8. Practice The Golden Mean: Be moderate in all things to an appropriate degree; avoid both deficiency and excessiveness; cultivate proper virtues that are deemed most worthy by your community;
  9. Mimic, follow the virtuous person.
  10. What is a character: The sum-total of one’s habits, tendencies, and well-being.

M.Chart on Presocratic Philosophy (Lecture 2)

1.Thales: Greek Philosophy began when he naturalistically discovered a solar eclipse.

Thales believed all of reality is ultimately reducible to water.

2.Anaximander: Reality is due to the indeterminate boundless.

3.Anaximenes: Reality is reducible to air.

4.Anaxagoras: Reality is reducible to infinite seeds:

a.Early contributor to Intelligent Designer: Universal Mind is the explanation for the creation of all things.

5.Empedocles: First of the pluralists who stated the roots of physical reality involves air, water, fire, and earth.

a.He anticipated evolution but Aristotle said it left too much to chance.

6.Parmenides: Whatever is, simply is. Change is an illusion. Focus is rationalistic.

7.Heraclitus: “All is in flux.” Focus is empiricism.

R.Introduction to Existentialism with a focus on these existential themes:

1.Freedom of Choice:The possibility of choice is the central feature of our human nature. a. You do not have a fixed nature that limits or determines your choices. b. It is your choices that bring whatever nature they have into being.

2.Angst, Anxiety, Dread, and Death:

We have moments whereby we experience a “generalized dread.” Of what? Of nothing in particular. But what is this nothing, this void we confront?

For Kierkegaard, it is related to original sin.

For Heidegger, it is an aspect of the universe. We have an awareness of our approaching death.

For Jaspers, it is the generalized stress on a range of situations in which the fragility of our existence is brought home to us.

For Sartre it is a confrontation with the fact of our human freedom, of our unmade future

3.Existentialists (and pragmatists) complain that philosophy, historical events, and technology have ignored the intimate concerns of people.

a. Philosophy has become too abstract, technical, and disconnected.

b. Historical events, particularly wars, totally neglect the feelings, life, and aspirations of peoples.

c. Technology, which was suppose to be aid to humanity gained so much power that it has “forced people” to fit their lives into the “rhythm of machines.” Upshot: People are losing their peculiar human qualities. Their identities have been translated from “persons” into “pronouns”, from “subjects” into “objects,” and from an "I” into an “it.”

4.How do we think existentially?

Kierkegaard makes a distinction between the “spectator” and the “actor”, arguing that only the actor is involved in existence. While the spectator can be said to exist, the term “existence” does not properly belong to inactive or inert objects, whether they are spectators or rocks. Consider this illustration by Kierkegaard: Two kinds of people in a wagon, one holding the reins while asleep and the other fully awake. In the first case, the horse goes along the familiar road without any direction from the sleeping person, whereas in the other case the person is truly a driver. Surely, in one sense it can be said that both people exists, but “existence” must refer to quality in the individual, namely, his conscious participation in an act.

II.Terms you need to know from reading and lecture material. In order to help you, I’ve given you definitions to most terms.

A.If you know and understand the following terms, you should do well.

4.Altruism: The belief that everyone ought as much as possible to seek the good of others.

10.Autonomous: The state of being self-controlling, independent, or free.

11.Consequential ethics: An action is right if and only if it promotes the best consequences.

12.Cultural relativism: The view that morality and other values are rooted in the experience, habits, and preferences of a particular culture.

14.Deontological ethics: An action is right if and only if it is in accord with a moral rule or principle. Deontological ethics can be either secular or theistic.

It holds that acts are right or wrong in and of themselves because of the kinds of acts they are and not simply because of their ends or consequences.

- The ends do not justify the means.

- A good end or purpose does not justify bad actions.You are duty-bound; binding is not dependent on consequences, no matter if it is painful or pleasurable.

15.“Deon” = obligation; binding duty.

16.Egoism: the maximization of self-interest.

17.Empiricism: the belief that knowledge about existing things is acquired through the five senses.

18.Existentialism: A 19th and 20th century philosophical perspective which disdains abstractions and focuses on the concrete reality and freedom of the existing individual.

19.Epistemology: The study of theory of knowledge.

20.Essence: The nature or “whatness” of something that which makes the something the kind of thing that it is.

21.Ethics: The theory of good and evil as applied to personal actions, decisions, and relations.

22.Ethical absolutism is the view that moral values are independent of human opinion and have a common or universal application.

23.Ethical relativism denies any absolute or objective moral values and affirms that either the individual or community (culture) is the source of morality. Individual relativism and cultural relativism flow from this major idea.

25.Habit (Aristotle): To think, feel, desire, and act in such a way that you do not consciously will to do so; you just do it. Habit is second nature to you.

26.Hedonism: The ethical doctrine that pleasure is the highest good, and the production of pleasure is the criterion of right action.

27.Humanism: the view that human reality is the highest reality and value. In other words, man is the starting point for all things.

38. Natural, Moral Law (ethics): In Judaism, Christianity, and Philosophy of Aquinas it is God’s eternal law as it applies to humans on earth and dictates the fundamental principles of morality (e.g., Ten Commandments). In Stoic philosophy, natural law is the principle of rationality that infuses the universe to which human behavior ought to conform. We also see this in Aristotle and Cicero.

39.Phenomenalism: The theory that we only know phenomena. In other words, it is the view that we have no rational knowledge of anything, including the mind, beyond what is disclosed in the phenomena of perceptions.

40.Metaphysics: The branch of philosophy that studies the nature and fundamentals features of being; it is the study or theory of reality. For example, transcendent reality is the reality which lies beyond the physical world and cannot therefore be grasped by means of the senses.

41.Nihilism: literally, “nothingism”; the generally, the rejection of any transcendent values or ultimate meaning. It is the rejection of values andbeliefs. Remember the distinction between ontological nihilism andexistential nihilism from lecture notes. He believed that humanity needed aSocratic figure that was free from all moral constraints and universal standards. He distinguished between master morality and slave morality. Master morality is basically affirmative and defines itself by its own terms;good is defined as that which is noble, powerful and beautiful belonging togreatness.Slave morality is basically negative and claims otherworldly values ordained by God. It is resentful and defines good as humility and pity.It uses the vindictive term “evil” to castigate those opposed to it. Nietzsche claimed that Jews and Christians had poisoned all of Europe with this morality. He proposed a “transvaluation of all values” in order to move us “beyond good and evil.” This transvaluation of values is possible when the ressentiment of the lower classes for the superior becomes so great that they find compensation only in imagining or creating a different moral code.

a.What is significant about F. Nietzsche?

1.What is slave morality?

2.What is master morality?

3.Explain his term, “transvaluation of all values”:

4.What is his notion of true morality?

5.Life is simply the will to power.

6.The moral person is the one who “lives dangerously” by increasing his or her mastery.

7.What are general criticisms made against Nietzche’s view of ethics:

a.Self-defeating nature of perspectivalism

b.Destructive consequences in history when his ideas were followed.

c.Promotion of hatred, bigotry, and discrimination

d.Radical empiricism is unwarranted.

b.Jean-Paul Sartre?

c.Albert Camus?

The two of them, Sartre and Camus, proposed the utter hopelessness of life. Camus compared life to the Greek myth of Sisyphus who was eternally condemned by the gods to push a heavy ball up a slope, only to have them kick back down. Sartre suggested that there was no purpose to the “accident” of human existence.

  1. Sartre claimed that humans are profoundly free to create their own lives and thus are entirely responsible for defining the meaning and moral relevance of their lives.
  2. Sartre claimed that we are radically free. We may be influenced by the factors of nature and nurture (heredity and environment), but ultimately we are not determined by them. We are totally free-free to define ourselves by our choices.
  3. Existence precedes our essence meaning we exist but it is only afterward in our choices our essence takes form; we are fully responsible for our essence.

45.Utilitarianism: The ethical doctrine that an action is right if and only if it promotes the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. Utilitarianism is outcome based.

a.Act utilitarianism: Is the idea that the rightness of actions depends solely on the overall well-being produced by individual actions. Each action is judged.

b.Rule utilitarianism: Is the doctrine that a right action is one that conforms to a rule that, if followed consistently, would create for everyone involved the most beneficial balance of well-being over suffering.

c.What is significant about Jeremy Bentham?

d.What is significant about John Stuart Mill?

e.How do Bentham and Mill differ on utilitarianism?

II.Particular ideas and People:

A.Socrates’ concept of virtue: virtue = knowledge. No one intentionally does anything wrong. Rather, we do things that are wrong because of ignorance or forgetfulness. Plato’s concept of virtue is a well-ordered soul; the aggregation (harmony) of the three parts of the soul (appetites, emotions/spirit, and reason) whereby virtues like justice, temperance, courage, and wisdom emerge. In contrast, disordered soul is one whereby the emotional or appetitive parts of the soul (e.g., appetites) take control over reason and become unruly (e.g., gluttony).

B.Know Plato’s Metaphysics and Epistemology (sensible world and intelligible world) and the Allegory of the Cave.

C. Kant’s noumena (things in themselves): Thing as they are in themselves independently of all possible experience of them.

G.Kant’s phenomena: (things as they appear to be).

H.Need to know John Dewey’s starting point in philosophy, namely, experience as it is, how ideas are utilities or tools to help us engage present experience to obtain beneficial ends. Moreover, you need to understand that for Dewey, the most pervasive fallacy in philosophy is reductionism, that is, focusing on one idea to the neglect of all other ideas. John Dewey is a pragmatist. Pragmatism holds that the meaning of concepts lies in the difference they make to conduct and that the function of thought is to guide action. See supplement on Analytic fallacy on website.

I.Understand Hume’s view of “sympathy” and his four-fold categories of pleasurable and useful virtues. Also understand why our human feelings are his starting point for ethics.

Hume’s ethics is ultimately based on feeling. natural, moral sentiment is where moral decision is grounded. Sympathy is a capacity, a psychological mechanism, to be moved or affected by the happiness & suffering others-to be please when others prosper when others suffer. This capacity is experienced to be a principle of human nature; it is a feature of any normal human being. Interestingly, Hume’s notion of sympathy sets him apart from the egoistic models of Plato & Aristotle.

3 Stages of Judgments:

Step 1: Sympathy induces in us to take into account of the happiness & suffering of others as well as our own.

Step 2: General standards correct the operation of sympathy so that we attach the same moral importance to the happiness or suffering of anyone, ourselves, or others, close to us or remote from us.

Step 3: In some cases we need to take into not account not merely the utility or particular acts, but the usefulness to society as a whole: system of general rules & conventions:

Hume’s Virtues: Qualities that are useful to others: Benevolence; justice; fidelity:

Qualities that are useful to possessor: Discretion; industry; frugality; strength of mind; good sense.

Qualities that are pleasurable to others: Politeness, modesty, decency;