PHIL 437:  FINAL EXAM REVIEW QUESTIONS

 

The Final Exam will be given in two parts:  (1) In-Class.  The first part will be a 90-minute exam on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 4:30 pm in SAV 156.  (2) Take-Home.  The second part will be a take-home exam to be submitted to the electronic dropbox by midnight on Friday, Dec. 18.  The topic for the take-home part of the exam will be given out in class on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

Review questions for the in-class exam appear below.  PLEASE BRING ONE OR MORE BLANK EXAM BOOKS AND A PEN TO THE EXAM.  EXAM BOOKS WITH NOTES WRITTEN ON THEM OR WITH PAGES MISSING WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. The in-class exam will be about the same length as the midterm, but you will have an extra ten minutes to complete it.  Please answer all questions completely, but concisely.  Answer in complete sentences.  In preparing for the exam, you are encouraged to discuss these questions with other members of the class, and to discuss what the relevant considerations would be in answering them.  However, each student is expected to develop his/her own answers to the questions.  You should not discuss the wording of an answer or attempt to come up with an agreed upon answer.  If you draft answers to the questions, you should not show your draft answers to others, nor should you read or copy someone else's draft answers.  Your answers should show that you are familiar with Hume's position and with his own reasons for his position.

The in-class exam will be available for pick-up in the Philosophy Department Office, Savery 345, during the first week of winter quarter.  If you would like your exam mailed to you, please provide me with a sufficiently large, stamped, self-addressed envelope.

 

 

            1.  (a) According to Hume, could we have an idea of a self that is the same through time?  Explain.  (b) According to Hume, what is our idea of self?  Explain. 

 

            2.  (a) On Hume's account, could we have the idea of a ghost, if ghosts are understood to be invisible, inaudible, untouchable, and unsmellable entities?  Explain.  (b) Even if we could have the idea of a ghost, on Hume's account could we ever come to believe that ghosts cause objects to move?  Explain.

 

            3.  In the Appendix, Hume refers to an inconsistency in his account of the self.  Explain it.

 

            4.  (a) What is the difference between the object and the sensation of a passion?  (b) What is the distinction between the subject of the cause and the quality of the cause of a passion?  (c) For pride and humility, give an example of each in which you  identify all four of the following:  object, sensation, subject of the cause, quality of the cause?

 

            5.  Explain what Hume means when he says:  "From this double relation of ideas and impressions the passion is deriv'd."(T2.1.5.5)

 

            6.  The perpetual motion machine.  Hume claims that recognizing our own virtue makes us proud and recognizing our own vice makes us humble.  But he also claims that religion trains us to regard humility as a virtue and pride as a vice.  This would imply that humility would make us proud and that pride would make us humble.  (a) Explain how this could lead to a perpetual motion machine.  You must describe each stage of the process until it begins to repeat itself. (b) How would Hume solve the puzzle?

 

            7.  What does Hume mean by necessity of the will?

 

            8.  (a) “We feel that our actions are subject to our will on most occasions, and imagine we feel that the will itself is subject to nothing; because when by a denial of it we are provok’d to try, we feel that it moves easily every way, and produces an image of itself even on that side, on which it did not settle.”  Explain why Hume thinks that this is evidence against freedom of the will.

 

            9.  Hume expects his readers to believe that moral judgments only make sense if choices are not determined.  How does he argue against this view?  [Hint:  How does he argue that the opposite is true?]

 

            10.  "Since reason alone can never produce any action, or give rise to volition, I infer, that the same faculty is as incapable of preventing volition, or of disputing the preference with any passion or emotion."(T 2.3.3.4)  Is this a correct inference? Critically evaluate Hume's position.  In your answer, you must distinguish three possible roles for practical reason to play with respect to the passions, a directorial role, a filtering role, and an originating role.

 

            11.  (a) According to Hume, what are the only two senses in which a passion can be called unreasonable?   (b) Are there cases fitting Hume’s conditions where the passions are not unreasonable?  Explain.  (c) Are there cases in which passions are unreasonable even though they don’t fit either of Hume’s two conditions?  Explain.  In your answer, you must consider at least one of the examples discussed in class of the possibility of reason playing a filtering role with respect to the passions.

 

            12.  Hume famously said that reason is the slave of the passions.  Explain why this is a misleading statement of Hume’s actual position.  In your answer make sure you specify what he means by “reason”.

 

            13.  "Reason is the discovery of truth or falsehood.  Truth or falsehood consists in an agreement or disagreement either to the real relations of ideas, or to real existence and matter of fact.  Whatever, therefore, is not susceptible of this agreement or disagreement, is incapable of being true or false, and can never be an object of our reason."(T 3.1.1.9)  Explain why, in this passage, Hume is talking about the understanding and not just reason in the sense in which he uses the term in Book 1.  (a) Why does Hume think that moral distinctions cannot be relations of ideas?  (b) Why does he think that they cannot be matters of fact?

 

            14.  (a) Call the following Hume’s Challenge to the Moral Realist: 

“In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remark’d, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, . . . when of a sudden I am surpriz’d to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not.  This change is imperceptible; but is, however, of the last consequence.  For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, ‘tis necessary that it shou’d be observ’d and explain’d; and at the same time that a reason shou’d be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it.” (T3.1.1.27). What is Hume’ challenge, stated more precisely?  (b) Explain why Hume thinks that the challenge cannot be answered.

 

            15.  "We do not infer a character to be virtuous, because it pleases; but in feeling that it pleases after such a particular manner, we in effect feel that it is virtuous."(T 3.1.2.3)  (a) Explain how, on Hume's account, the judgment that a character is virtuous is like a judgment of cause and effect.  (b) Explain how they are different.

 

            16. (a) According to Hume, what are the four features that can make a character trait a moral virtue or moral vice (for both natural and artificial virtues and vices)?  (b) Would all four kinds of virtue generally be considered moral virtues?  Explain.  Consider each kind separately. 

 

            17.  (a) If Hume accepted that the moral virtues are all character traits that have a tendency to contribute to the general good, would Hume be a moral realist?  Explain.

 

            18.  According to Hume, what is the main difference between the natural and the artificial virtues?

           

            19. (a) What is moral cognitivism?  (b) What is moral non-cognitivism?  (c) What does Hume mean by reason "correcting" the sentiments?  Give an example.  (d) What does Hume mean by "the general view of things"(T 3.3.1.23)?  What role does it play in his account of morality?  (e) Does the general view of things or does Hume's discussion of "correcting" sentiments make his account of moral judgment cognitivist?  Explain.

 

            21.  (a) Hume argues that the motive for justice cannot be explained by public or private benevolence.  Why not?  (b) Why couldn't Hume explain the motive for justice this way:  People have an innate desire for justice and this desire motivates them to perform just acts?  According to Hume, what is the virtuous motive for just acts (e.g., repaying a debt)?

 

            22.  In the Republic, Glaucon argues that self-interest favors acting unjustly whenever we can get away with it?  Would Hume agree?  Critically evaluate both sides.

 

            23.  (a) What does Hume mean by "external goods"?   (b) Why are they a problem for society?  (c) What is the main impediment to harmonious society?  (d) What is the role of judgment and understanding in solving the problem?   (e) According to Hume, the result is a system of restraints.  What kind of restraints?  (f) Hume insists: "Nor is such a restraint contrary to the passions."(T 3.2.2.9)  Why does he insist on this?  Is he correct?  (g) He is surely correct that for the restraints of justice to be effective, they have to be supported by a source of motivation.  The question is whether the understanding can provide motivation to comply with the restraints of justice or whether the restraints must be supported by blind passions.  How would an opponent of Hume best argue that the understanding can provide the motivation to comply with the constraints of justice?  Critically evaluate Hume and his opponents on this question. 

 

            24.  (a) Hume illustrates his account of the motivation for justice with three examples of collective action problems.  Explain them briefly. (b) Explain why his account of the motivation fits only two of the three examples them.

 

            25.  (a) Why does Hume think that justice does not depend on promises?  (b) What examples does Hume use to illustrate how conventions can arise without promises.  (c) In what ways are they analogous to moral decisions involving justice?  (d) Are there important disanalogies?  Explain.

 

            26.    (a) What is the point of Hume's example of the surgeon and the robber (T 3.2.5.15)? (b) Do you agree with Hume on the example?  (c) How might someone disagree with Hume on the significance of the example?

 

            27.  According to Hume, what are the three laws on which the peace and security of human society depends?

           

            28.  (a) According to Hume, what is the origin of civil government?  (b) Why is it necessary?

 

            29.  Aristotle distinguished between natural virtue and virtue in the strict sense by saying that natural virtue is blind but virtue in the strict sense is guided by reason.  How might Hume distinguish between natural virtue and virtue in the strict sense?   What would Hume substitute for the role of reason in Aristotle's account?  Critically evaluate both positions.