Directions and Questions
Directions: You will have to answer three of the below six questions on the final exam. I may choose the three questions you must answer, or you may be given some choice. Some possibilities (ordered from nastiest to nicest): a) I choose three of the below questions to appear on the final, and you must answer all three of the ones I choose; b) four of the below questions appear on the final, and you’re instructed to choose three of those four to answer; c) all six of the below questions appear, and you are instructed to choose any three of them. Lots of other possibilities, but you know this: you will be asked nothing that’s not on the below list of questions, and you will have to answer a total of three questions. To be safe, you must prepare to answer each of the below questions, with this one exception: You will not to be forced to answer #6. If that question appears on the final, it will appear as an option.
You are, of course, encouraged to make use of both books and notes in preparing for the exam, but at the time of the exam, you will have to write your answers from memory, without the aid of books or notes. You will have a maximum of three hours to complete the exam, but I would expect that a good job could be done in two hours, or slightly more than that.
You may find that answering these questions well requires you not only to remember what you read and were told, but to actually think about the issues for yourself. That is by design.
The final will be on Thursday, December 18, at 2:00 PM, in LC (Linsly-Chittenden Hall, 63 High St), room 211 (note: not in our usual classroom).
1. Briefly explain the difference between physicalism and dualism. Then explain, at greater length, the argument for physicalism (and against dualism) that van Inwagen calls the “remote-control argument.” How might a dualist best respond to this argument? In the final analysis, is this a convincing argument for physicalism? Explain and defend your answer.
2. Briefly explain the difference between physicalism and dualism. Then explain, at greater length, the argument for physicalism (and against dualism) that van Inwagen calls the “duplication argument.” How might a dualist best respond to this argument? In the final analysis, is this a convincing argument for physicalism? Explain and defend your answer.
3. Explain the Ontological argument for the existence of God (in what we were calling in lecture the “original” form of the argument). Then explain how this argument can be attacked by the use of a “parallel argument.” How, in particular, does the Ontological argument go wrong – or, if you think it’s sound, where in particular do you think it seems most vulnerable to objection? In the final analysis, is it a convincing argument? Explain and defend your answer.
4. Explain the Cosmological argument for the existence of God in the two forms that we discussed in class: first as an argument that utilizes the premise that an infinite series of causes is impossible, and second as an argument that allows that an infinite series of causes may be possible, but that uses a form of the Principle of Sufficient Reason to run the argument anyway. Explain how those using the second form of the argument might respond to what we called the “hired cab” objection. How might a skeptic best respond to the second form of the argument? Is this a successful argument? Explain and defend your answer.
5. Explain what we have been calling the “Fine-Tuning argument” for the existence of God – the argument that van Inwagen presents at the end of Chapter 8 and in Chapter 9 of Metaphysics. Then explain two of the objections to the argument that van Inwagen discusses together with van Inwagen’s evaluation of those objections. Then critically evaluate the success of the argument in light of the criticisms you have explained. Is this a convincing argument or not? Defend your answer.
6. Explain the argument that van Inwagen gives for incompatibilism (for the conclusion that “determinism implies that there is no free will” (p. 209.6)). Then explain the argument that van Inwagen presents for the conclusion that “the indeterminism that seems to be required by free will seems also to destroy free will” (p. 210.8). Then (and here you must go beyond what was discussed in lecture) explain and critically discuss van Inwagen’s response to these two arguments. Does van Inwagen in the end conclude that we don’t have free will, or that one of the arguments mentioned above is unsound, or what? Is his response sensible? Defend your answer.