Study Guide for Exam #1: Logic and Epistemology

1. (a) Name a question that is asked in Metaphysics.
    (b) Name a question that is asked in Ethics.
    (c) Name a question that is asked in Epistemology.

2. (a) What is an argument?
    (b) What are the three types of arguments we looked at?  What general feature distinguishes them from each other?
    (c) What is deductive validity?  What is soundness?
    (d) What does it mean to say that truth is objective?  Explain the argument I gave in class for the claim that truth is objective.  Do you think this argument is sound?
    (e) What is supposed to be the relation between the premises and the conclusion of an inductive argument.  Invent an example of an inductive argument.

3. (a) Explain the difference between necessary and sufficient conditions.
    (b) What is a theory of knowledge?
    (c) Who is Plato?  About when and where did he live?  Tell me some "fun facts" about Plato.
    (d) What theory of knowledge is initially proposed by Theaetetus?  Explain why Theaetetus' theory is false.  (You can do this in one of two ways: (i) present a valid, line-by-line argument against the theory, and then explain why each premise is true; or (ii) you can just explain in a paragraph why the theory is false.)
    (e) What theory of knowledge is apparently endorsed by Plato in the Theaetetus?  (State the theory and give its common name.)

4. (a) Present one of the Gettier-style counterexamples to the theory from 3(e).
    (b) Do you think this alleged counterexample successfully refutes the theory?  Why or why not?
    (c) In class, we discussed one way to retain the JTB theory in the face of the Gettier problem.  What did this involve?  Explain in detail.
    (d) What is a troubling consequence of this move?

5. (a) Who is René Descartes?  About when and where did he live?  Tell me some "fun facts" about Descartes.
    (b) What is Cartesian Foundationalism?  Be sure to explain the technical term that appears in the theory.
    (b) What is Descartes' project in his Meditations on First Philosophy?
    (c) What method does Descartes employ towards this end?
    (d) What property does Descartes require of a proposition before he will believe it?  Give some examples of some propostions that might have this property for you?  What famous sentence does Descartes prove has this feature for him?

6. (a) What is the Common Sense Hypothesis?  What is the Evil Genius Hypothesis?  What is either the Truman Show Hypothesis or the Matrix Hypothesis?  In what sense is the Evil Genius Hypothesis more radical than either of these last two hypotheses?
    (b) Descartes suggests that there is nothing we could do to test which of these competing hypotheses is the true one.  Do you agree with Descartes here?  Why or why not?  If not, what test could you perform to gain some evidence in favor of one these competing hypotheses?
    (c) Do you think there are propositions we can be absolutely certain of, even though the act of believing them doesn't make them true?  What is an analytic truth?  Give some examples.  Give some examples of synthytic truths.  Do you think you can be absolutely certain of all analytic truths?  Does Descartes?

7. (a) Who is David Hume?  About when and where did he live?  Tell me some "fun facts" about Hume.
    (b) What is Hume's main project in the selection you read from his Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding?
    (c) Explain the distinction between relations of ideas and matters of fact.  Give a few examples of each.
    (d) Recall Descartes notion of indubitability.  Are relations of ideas are indubitable, in Descartes sense of the word?  Do you think you can be certain of the truth of at least some relations of ideas?  Why or why not?  Does Descartes?  Why or why not?  Suppose we can in fact be certain of the truth of some relations of ideas.  How does this make trouble for Cartesian Foundationalism?

8. (a) Explain the distinction between a priori and a posteriori propositions.  Give a few examples of each.
    (b) What is the thesis I called 'A Humean Thesis'?
    (c) What is the conclusion of Hume's Problem of Induction (this is the thesis I called 'Hume's Main Thesis')?
    (d) What is PUN?  What role does Hume think PUN plays in induction?

9. (a) Present Hume's main argument, the so-called Problem of Induction.
    (b) Give the rationale for each premise (i.e., the reason someone would think it is true).
    (c) Does Hume think the argument should convince us to stop using induction and therefore stop holding beliefs about the future?  Explain.
    (d) Explain Sober's response to Hume's Problem of Induction.