Winter Term 2010

MIDTERM STUDY GUIDE

The exam will have two parts and is worth 20% of your grade for the course.

  • Part 1 will be 10 T/F & multiple choice questions. This part will be on BLACKBOARD and is due at exam time on February 12, 2010. [30% of the exam grade]
    • The questions will cover Kant & Bierce, plus ask you to compare Kant to Nielsen and/or Williams.
  • Part 2 will be ONE essay question to be written in class on February 12, 2010. [70% of the exam grade]
    • There will be choice, but not all questions on this study guide will appear on the exam.
The essay part of the midterm will be in class Friday, February 12, 2010.
    • No books or notes will be permitted.
    • Exam books or paper will be provided
Please be sure to read and follow the test instructions accurately.
  • As you study, don't try to write out answers and memorize them.
    • Work towards understanding how you would organize an answer to the question and how you would develop it. 
    • For essay tests understanding produces better effects than rote memorizing.
  • Be sure to prepare yourself to refer generously to the texts in the essay question. [not direct quotes, but an accurate stating of the philosopher's position.]
  • For questions that ask you to express your own view please be sure to explain clearly the philosopher’s  ideas that are relevant to your discussion before you express your view. And express your view in relation to your discussion of the author's ideas.
  • During the exam itself feel free to jot down notes inside the exam book cover. Take your time to write a clear, thorough and coherent answer.
The Question Pool: 
  1. Using the concept of "negative responsibility" [discussed in class] and William's argument against "negative responsibility", analyze the choices made by Sophie in the excerpt from Styron's "Sophie's Choice" and the people who walk away in LeGuin's short story, "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas." 

  2.  
  3. Hobbes and Huxley both describe situations in which art, culture, religion and science are not possible. Briefly describe the society each author describes. And then explain carefully what you can conclude from these societies about what the necessary conditions are for the possibility of such activities as art, culture, religion and science. [that is, what conditions are needed for human creativity to flourish?]

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  5. Both Kant & Williams would disagree with Utilitarianism, but for different reasons. Explain what each philosopher's main disagreement with Utilitarianism is and WHY each disagrees. Then explore any relationship you see between Kant's notion of duty and William's concept of "moral commitments".

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  7. In "From Cruelty to Goodness" Philip Hallie states that "by degrading the victim, the victimizer exalts his own perception of self-worth, but in reality becomes evil." Argue for or against this using either Plato or Hobbes. [The argument Socrates gives for being moral in "The Ring of Gyges" is really an argument concerning "mental health." Hobbes also describes the effect of unconstrained human behavior in his writings.