Phil 100

Handout 3

Study Guide for Exam #1

1. Present one of Christian's conceptions of philosophy.  Criticize it.

2. What does your humble instructor think philosophy is?  For each branch of philosophy, name a question that is asked in that branch.

3. Define 'argument', 'valid', and 'sound'.

4. For each of (a) - (d) below, answer 'Yes' or 'No'.  If you answer 'Yes', demonstrate this answer by means of an example.  If you answer 'No', explain why the answer is 'No'.

(a) Can an argument be valid and have a false conclusion?
(b) Can an argument be sound and have a false conclusion?
(c) Can an argument be both sound and invalid?
(d) Can an argument be invalid and have all true premises?

5. What is the problem of freedom and determinism?  Briefly describe the two most obvious ways in which to solve the problem.

6. State Hard Determinism (HD).  Explain why a Hard Determinist thinks that Freedom (or FWP) and Determinism (or PUC) are incompatible.  PEE* the Argument from Drive Resistance against HD.

7. PEE* the Argument from Moral Responsibility against HD.

8. Give the main gist of the argument I called The Argument from Deliberation?  What distinguishes this argument from the other arguments against HD?  Do you think this argument, when applied to you (i.e., 'you' refers to you), is sound?

9. State Extreme Indeterminism (EI).  Be sure to define any technical terms that you use to state the theory.  Explain the main idea behind EI in your own words.

10. State Moderate Indeterminism (MI).  Be sure to define any technical terms that you use to state the theory.  Explain the main idea behind MI in your own words.  Explain exactly what the difference between EI and MI is.

11. According to MI, is Spastic Sam morally responsible for hitting his wife?  Why or why not?

12. PEE the Argument Against MI that we discussed in class.

13. According to a view we will call Simple Soft Determinism, an action is free if the action is caused by the agent's beliefs and desires.  For example, suppose that I am thirsty, that I desire water.  Suppose also that I believe that my cup has water in it.  Suppose that this desire and belief cause me to drink from the cup.  Simple Soft Determinism says that my act of drinking from the cup is a free act, since it was caused by my beliefs and desires.  (Simple Soft Determinism also says that I am morally responsible for my free actions and for the consequences of my free actions.)

Is this sort of freedom compatible with determinism (or PUC)?

14. Suppose some space aliens came down from outer space and inserted a brain-control device inside my head.  With this device, the aliens control my beliefs and desires and hence get me to act in whatever way they want.  If they were to get me to assassinate the president, do you think I would be morally responsible for assassinating the president?  Explain how this thought experiment seems to refute Simple Soft Determinism.

15. At the top of p. 22, A.J. Ayer describes a more complicated version of Soft Determinism, one that would not be refuted by the Case of the Controlling Space Aliens (from Question 14).  According to this view, which we'll call Ayerian Soft Determinism, a free act is one that is not only caused by the beliefs and desires of the agent, but one that nobody compelled the agent to do.

On p. 47 of his book Metaphysics, in the second full paragraph, Richard Taylor says something to suggest that he would think that Ayerian Soft Determinism is false.  Say why Taylor would think Ayerian Soft Determinism is false.  Come up with a thought experiment to make Taylor's complaint more concrete.

16. What is agent causation supposed to be?  How does it differ from event causation?  Give examples of both.

17. State Libertarianism.  Do you think Libertarianism is plausible?  Why or why not?