Philosophy 6 Final Exam Questions

The final will consist of 5 of the following questions. You must answer 3 out of 5. Do not answer more than 3 questions (no extra credit).


Your answers should be argumentative essays. They should reflect deep familiarity with assigned readings for each question.


1.      Compare and contrast Christian and Buddhist views of human nature and the human condition.


2.      It is often argued that although the body clearly changes, the soul remains the same, and thus sameness of soul is the basis of personal identity and the hope of personal immortality. What arguments support this view? What arguments oppose it?


3.      What arguments can be advanced in favor of the “memory theory” of identity? What arguments are opposed?


4.      Explain: "Descartes' position on the mind-body question is probably closest to that of the ordinary person, yet philosophically the most naive." What are alternative explanations of mind-body interaction?


5.      What is Plato’s conception of human nature? Why does Plato say that the best society for humans is one organized along the lines of the Republic?


6.      According to Darwin, what are similarities and differences between humans and animals? Explain why Darwin believed that morality did not need a theological grounding.


7.      Marx sees history as exhibiting two simultaneous movements: increased division of labor, and the concentration of ownership of the means of production in the hands of fewer and fewer.  What is the significance of these two movements for alienation of workers?


8.      According to Braitenberg, behavior is the result of bodily structures. Evaluate Braitenberg’s position on freedom. Compare Braitenberg’s view of human nature with that of Aristotle.


9.      What is supposed to happen to men and women in Freudian psychoanalysis? Critically analyze the Freudian story, paying particular attention to Marxist and feminist critiques. Given what you know of Sartre, how do you think existentialist psychoanalysis might differ from traditional Freudian analysis?


10.  Compare and contrast the existentialism of Kierkegaard and Sartre.


11.  Sartre became a Marxist later in his life. Is Marxism compatible with Sartre’s views as expressed in Being and Nothingness?


12.  Explain and critically analyze why, according to Freud, the different patterns and resolutions of the Oedipal phase in males and females result in the moral inferiority of women.


13.  Compare and contrast Christian, Marxist, and psychoanalytic views of marriage and the family.


14.  Is patriarchy inevitable?


15.  How are children oppressed, according to Firestone?


16.  Clearly explain how John Searle differentiates between cognitivism and strong AI.  Why does Searle say cognitivism is incoherent?


17.  In “What is it Like to Be a Bat?” Nagel makes a radical critique of physicalism.  What is his argument?  NOTE:  Nagel’s criticism is much more than “Physicalism leaves something out”.




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