Midterm 1 Essay Questions

 

Essay Questions for Philosophy 17 Midterm 1

 

The essay portion of the exam is worth 100 points. These are your essay questions. You must answer all three questions.

There is an objective portion of the exam also. To get an idea of what the objective portion will be like, see the sample objective Midterm 1.

Please double space; that is easier for me to read.

How long should your answers be? Well, look at the guidelines in the Syllabus for what I want on written work. Look also at the sample good answers (links below). A single-paragraph answer is not long enough; a 10-page answer is too long. Essays should be as long as necessary to answer the question completely and clearly.

To see sample answers, go here.

 

1.         In your own words, explain the difference between inductive and deductive arguments. Give your own examples. Then explain why reasonable people should believe the conclusions of sound arguments.

2.         Write an essay that critically analyzes the argument in the following passage. (This is NOT an editing exercise; the writer commits no obvious technical errors.)

 

Whatever people say, they're just expressing their personal opinions. And opinions are subjective, after all. Because every person's set of personal experiences is unique, nobody can be objective. Every person comes from somewhere; there's no "view from nowhere." And so there's really no such thing as "knowledge," since knowledge requires objectivity. All honest opinions are equally correct. In fact, I'd even go further: I'd say there's no such thing as objective "reality." We all live in our own private little worlds. Who can say their reality is more real than anyone else's?

 

3.         Write an essay that critically analyzes the argument in the following passage. (This is NOT an editing exercise; the writer commits no obvious technical errors.)

 

Iím against abortion, even very early in pregnancy, and hereís why. On the day a mother goes to the hospital to give birth, itís pretty clear to everyone that what sheís got inside her at that point is a little person. The nurses and doctors call it her "baby" even if it hasnít been born yet. Now what about the previous day, the day before the delivery? Nothing much has changed. Itís still a little person -- just a slightly younger person. And what about the previous day -- the day before the day before delivery? Slightly younger again, but still a person. Where do you draw the line? I say you canít. And for that reason, no matter how many days you count back, itís still a person, and killing it at any point is wrong.

 


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