Study Guide And Test

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					                                      STUDY GUIDE FOR TEST 1
                                        Introduction to Philosophy
                                               Jeff Strayer

1. Philosophy in general. What is philosophy? Where did it begin? What does philosophy mean? What
does philosophy investigate? What is a good definition of philosophy? With what does philosophy
begin? How is philosophy conducted? How does it differ in method and subject matter from science
and mathematics? Where the sciences once part of philosophy? Can philosophy change over time? If
so, in virtue of what does it change? Are other disciplines of interest to philosophy? What does it mean
for an argument or theory of philosophy to be critically acceptable? What do philosophers use in an
attempt to solve their problems? Why do we speak of “attempt” here? Is there any settled body of
knowledge in philosophy with which all philosophers agree? If so why, and if not why not? What does
it mean to say that philosophy is a disinterested search for truth? What are the main branches of
2. The value of philosophy. How does the study of philosophy have value according to Bertrand
Russell? Does philosophy have practical benefits for mankind in the manner of science? What does the
‘practical person’ recognize according to Russell? For Russell, philosophy is ______ for the _____.
According to Russell, philosophy aims primarily at what? Does Russell think that philosophy has had a
great deal of success in arriving at solutions to the problems with which it deals? If so how, and if not
why not? How does a science like psychology, which was once part of philosophy, become its own
discipline? What does Russell say about the human intellect in relation to philosophy? Are any of the
answers suggested by philosophy to its problems demonstrably true according to Russell? True or false,
according to Russell part of the value of philosophy lies in its uncertainty. What value can philosophy
provide for common sense? Does Russell think that doubt is liberating or confining? Why? True or
false, for Russell the philosophic life is calm and free. What does Russell say is happens to the person
who studies philosophy? What do philosophers desire above all else? According to Russell, knowledge
is a form of union of _____ and ______. Does Russell think that truth is man-made? Is knowledge
personal or impersonal? Is truth interested or disinterested? Does Russell think that the free intellect will
value more the knowledge due to the senses or knowledge which is abstract and universal? Is
philosophic contemplation partial or impartial? Can this have an effect on the world on the world of
action and emotion? If not, why not, and if so, is it good or bad? For Russell, we are citizens of
__________. Is philosophy for Russell to be studied primarily for the sake of questions or answers?
What happens to the mind which contemplates the greatness of the universe according to Russell?
3. What is epistemology? What is skepticism? Why is skepticism important to epistemology? What
does Nagel say is the only thing we can be sure of? Why? The answer to the first question makes
Nagel a follower, at least in this respect, of what great figure from the history of philosophy? Define ‘the
external world.’ Give an example of an external world object. With what is the external world
contrasted? Give an example of an object which is not an external world object. True or false, from the
standpoint of my own mind my body is an external world object. On what are all beliefs about the
external world based? Every person’s sense experience is ________. What is the act-object distinction
in experience? Are all acts or events of awareness distinct from objects of awareness? If so why, and if
not give an example of an act which is not distinct from an object of experience. My experience is part
of my ______. Why can a skeptic legitimately suppose that the external world may not exist or may not

be like our perceptions of it? Is it possible to call the evidence of the senses into question? If so why,
and if not why not? Why can I not simply appeal to my senses to prove that the external world exist? If
I were to do so, after the evidence of the senses have been called into question, what is that called?
(There are different names for this.) Define ‘solipsism.’ Analyze the following statement: “I am a
solipsist, and I am surprised that there aren’t more of us.” Does your memory of the past guarantee
that there was a past? Is it possible that all of your memories are false? Is there any reason to think that
they are? Can I prove that my memory had a cause in the past to which the memory is related? If so
how, and if not why not? Why cannot memory be used to prove that the past existed? If I use memory
in an attempt to prove that the past really existed - since otherwise I would not have the memories
which I have - then what does Nagel say that I am doing? Define ‘solipsism of the present.’ What are
the two forms of skepticism about the external world? True or false, science proves that the external
world exists. What is verificationism? What is the verification theory of meaning? For the
verificationist, what can not be verified, at least in theory, is ___________. The skeptic says that all of
reality might be part of my dream. How does the verificationist respond to this? What does Nagel say
about this response? What are the arguments against the verification theory of meaning? What is the
egocentric predicament? How do we respond philosophically and psychologically to the egocentric
predicament and the problem of the external world? What are the correct answers to Nagel’s three
questions at the end of chapter 1?
4. Who is the father of modern philosophy? Descartes wants to make philosophy as certain as
__________. What is Descartes’s method, and what is its purpose? What has this method come to be
called? What are Descartes’s arguments against knowing for certain that we are aware of a world
beyond our minds? Does Descartes think that the senses can be relied on to give us certain knowledge?
If so why, and if not why not? What is the relevance of dreams to the search for some certain
knowledge? What does Descartes say about the similarity or difference of dreams and waking life? Has
his view been challenged by any modern philosophers? If so, what is the challenge? If not, then why do
they agree with him? Which are more certainly known according to Descartes, simple or complex
things? Which sciences does he think are the most certain? True or false, even though we might doubt
the existence of a complex object of vision, Descartes thinks that we cannot as easily doubt the colors
of which the visual object is composed. True or false, Descartes says that God could conceivably
deceive me that 1+1=2. If God does not in fact deceive me, why not? What is the relevance of the evil
demon to the search for some certain knowledge? What is the one thing about which even the evil
demon cannot deceive me? For Descartes, he is something as long as he is __________. What is the
end result of Cartesian doubt? What does it guarantee? Can a thinker legitimately doubt his or her own
existence? What kind of thing does Descartes say that he is? Does Descartes use ‘thinking’ in a wide or
narrow sense? Is it true or false that if I feel there must exist a being which feels? True or false, although
I can doubt the existence of an act of experience, such as seeing, I cannot doubt that the object of
experience exists apart from the experience of it. True or false, I can doubt the existence of my own
body. Which part of a person does Descartes say is more easily or certainly known, the mind or the
body? What is my essence for Descartes? What does Descartes mean by ‘clear and distinct ideas?’
Define rationalism and empiricism. Is Descartes a rationalist or empiricist? Who are the great rationalists
and who are the great empiricists in the history of modern philosophy? Is it possible for a philosopher to

combine elements of rationalism and empiricism in her epistemology? What the point about the example
of the piece of wax? For Descartes, is it the mind or the senses which tell us that an object, like an ice
cube, is the same after change? According to Descartes, can an object like the wax or ice cube be
identified with any one of its perceptible properties or all of its perceptible properties? If so why, and if
not why not? If not, then what does Descartes say the wax is? What is Reinhardt Grossman’s objection
to the Cartesian position here? Does the mind make a contribution to what we can know about
objects? True or false, for Descartes, my perception of something testifies to my existence even if the
object which I perceive does not exist. True or false, for Descartes, external world objects are not
known because they are understood, but only because they are perceived. For Descartes, there is
nothing which is more easily known than ____________.