Philosophy Take-Home Examination Essay Questions
3 or more spelling or grammatical errors will result in a No Grade.
APA format for citation.
1-1/2 to 2 pages per essay
Must be stapled.
Name and section must appear on first page
Please choose two (2) of the following questions and write a complete and thoughtful essay.
1. Kant argued that all knowledge starts with sense experience yet requires some assistance from a priori structures. Please explain what he meant by this. It was an attempt to refute Humean skepticism. In your opinion, does it succeed?
2. What is deontology? Explain the categorical Imperative and why Kant argued that for an act to be moral you need to be able to universalize it. Provide an example.
3. Explain how Hegel attempts to overcome the phenomenal/noumenal split of Kant. What is geist? Finally, explain the process of the dialectic.
4. When is a state or society permitted to override the liberties of an individual according to John Stuart Mill? Relatedly, describe Mill’s famous harm principle? What constitutes harm? Provide an example from contemporary society to illustrate.
5. What is social utility for Mill? What does he mean when he says that he would rather be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied?” How would we measure pleasure or pain?
6. Of the three moral theories we have studied—virtue, deontology or utilitarianism—which one do you think best suits how you morally act? In answering please describe the single theory that best “fits” how you reason morally. Please provide an example from your life that clearly demonstrates your theory.
7. What does Kierkegaard mean by “subjectivity is truth?” Why is this not relativism? Describe the stages on life way and describe why Abraham’s act exemplifies a leap of faith. In what way can this apply to your everyday life
8. Nietzsche offered a trenchant critique of Western European society. What is nihilism? How did Western thought get to this point? What does Nietzsche mean by a “herd morality?” What is the eternal return? Why is this life-affirming?
9. Karl Marx argues that the economic conditions of society determine the social consciousness of its citizens. Please provide an example explaining his claim. Do you accept this? Why? Why not? What did Engels mean by saying that “hitherto philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point is to change it?”
What according to Heidegger is the fundamental question of metaphysics? What is Dasein? How does the Dasein understand itself in the world? What is angst? Are you living an authentic life?
What is pragmatism according to William James? What, according to C. S. Peirce, is the fixation of a belief? Why does one feel prompted to fixate a belief? Provide an example. Finally, what are Peirce’s 4 methods?
Sartre’s existentialism begins with the claim that “existence precedes essence.” What does he mean by this? How does Sartre understand this claim as placing the onus of responsibility on you as the existential being? Do you accept the consequences of your actions or are you living in bad faith? Please explain your answer.
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