Third Exam


Third Exam. Take-Home. Due April 21st; your grade declines one grade level for each day late. If you use any web source, use quote marks and list citation; presentation as your own writing of a web source or a published book or article will get an F for the course (remember how easy it is to search the web). Retain a copy of your paper and be prepared to explain your answers in an oral examination.


Instructions: Type your paper and write no more than 2,000 words in toto. Answer questions 1 and 2 and three other questions. Five in all.


1. Describe how the 16th and 17th century changes in Europe and the growth of modern science and technology posed problems to traditional European beliefs about God, immortality, and morality (what change did the battle of Lepanto solidify?). Describe the steps in doubt taken in Descartes= Meditations and the conclusions Descartes derives from the structure of his doubts. How do these conclusions resolve the problems mentioned in the first sentence? How would La Mettrie resolve these problems?


2. What in general distinguishes Rationalists such as Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz from Empiricist such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Bishop Berkeley, and David Hume (also, tell us how each of these Empiricists differed from eachother). What recent results in cognitive science over the last few decades have supported some of the rationalist\'s views about language and morality?


3. What are the characteristic views and activities of the philosophes such as Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Maupertius, La Mettrie, etc.? What ancient philosopher shared what views with them.? What did the philosophes think of England and John Locke?


4. What argument did Leibniz give to claim that this is "the best of all possible worlds"? How did Voltaire respond to Leibniz\'s claim in Candide? Explain how this illustrates that Leibniz was a rationalist and Voltaire an empiricist. How are monotheistic religions confronted with “the problem of evil?” In particular, how did Leibniz= invention of the calculus fit with his view about Aapparent evil@?


5. What is unusual, for his time, in La Mettrie\'s views about humans, religion, animals, sexuality, and punishment? Quote passages from Man A Machine that support these views. How did La Mettrie come to be "disappeared"? What steps led to his "undisappearance"?


6. What criticism does La Mettrie make of the philosophers of his time? How come he now criticizes "M. Charp" for deriding Descartes\' view that animals are machine? (Given that "M. Charp" is La Mettrie.) What really is La Mettrie=s view of Descartes as presented in Man a Machine? How can this view of Descartes be defended?


7) For La Mettrie how are we like animals and what animal are we most like? What sets us off from them? What specific proposals does La Mettrie make for an experiment that might bridge the gap? What happened when the experiment was finally conducted? Why is this issue important for La Mettrie?


8) What does the example of Trembley\'s polp establish for La Mettrie? What recent research echoes this and how?


9) Two positions in ethics came to the fore in the 19th century: Kantianism and Utilitarianism. Describe, contrast, and indicate the strengths and weaknesses of these two positions. Indicate how particular philosophers of the 17th and 18th centuries and the ancient world anticipate these positions in ethics?