What is the philosophical significance of the question “Does a tree falling in the forest make a sound if no one is there to hear it?” Explain.
2.Explain how Hume distinguished between “impressions” and “ideas.” Why is the distinction important to his philosophy?
3.What is the empirical criterion of meaning? Explain how it works by applying it to an example of your own choosing.
4.In your own words, characterize Hume’s position regarding personal identity and immortality.
5.First summarize, then analyze Hume’s critique of the argument from design. Do you agree with Hume? Explain
6. Have you ever been angry or insulted when someone pressed you for evidence? Or has anyone ever gotten angry with you for asking for evidence? Why do you suppose that is? Is it rude to ask “How do you know that?” or “Can you prove that?” when people make claims about important, or even not so important, things? Analyze this question and see if you can justify not asking for evidence. (page 282)
7. Who is a qualified expert in areas such as psychic phenomena, miracles, nutrition, or philosophy? What is the relationship between the reports of experts and your own experience? When the two conflict, which should you trust? Why? How do you know? (page 283)
8. Reflect on the claim that ideas are copies of sensations by considering these ideas: love, God, perfection, wisdom. Can you identify the precise sensations to which they correspond? (page 290)
9. Think about the notion of mind as contrasted to the brain and brain states. It seems clear that our behavior, moods, and even thoughts can be influenced by factors we are unaware of. These might include fatigue, hunger, the effects of medication, allergies, neurological disorders, and so on. Could we also have ideas, motives, and emotions we are aware of? That is, could we have an “unconscious mind”? (page 291)
10. Apply the empirical criterion of meaning to such concepts as God, love, creativity, and intelligence. What, in general, do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of this criterion? (page 298)
11. Where and what are “you” in the midst of some exciting experience that totally absorbs your consciousness? That is, what happens to yourself when you are not aware of it? What exactly are you aware of when you are self-conscious? A “self,” or sweaty plans, an uncomfortable desk, or a boring lecture? Discuss. (page 300)
12. Have you been able to take Hume’s strictest claims seriously? That is, have you seriously considered the possibility that we lack knowledge of the external world? Discuss some factors that make taking this idea seriously so difficult. Can you spot any errors in Hume’s reasoning ?(page 302)
13. Hume’s point here is very important. Don’t rush by it. Take a moment and try to write a purely factual description of something you believe is immoral. Do you agree with Hume that the facts are value-neutral and that all moral judgments are reports of feelings associated with certain facts? Explain why or why not. (page 308)
1.Briefly explain how Kant completed the “epistemological turn” begun by Descartes and progressively developed by Locke, Berkeley, and Hume.
2.What did Kant mean by “a scandal in philosophy”? Was he right? Explain.
3.Distinguish between phenomena and noumena. Give examples of each. Why did Kant think it necessary to posit the existence of the noumenal world?
4.Why does Kant claim that the only thing good-in-itself is a good will? Explain exactly what he means. Is he right?
5.What is the categorical imperative? What is the practical imperative? Show how they are related by applying them to one or two contemporary moral issues.
6. Think for a moment about a nonmoral world, a world in which no one is held morally accountable. In such a world, every action would be viewed as the inevitable result of genetic, social, and historical causes. What are the advantages of such a view? The disadvantages? Think about some time when you made an excuse for yourself, claiming that you “couldn’t help” doing or not doing something. What is gained and lost by making such excuses? (page 316)
7. Have you ever met or heard of someone with no idea of self? What would such a person be like? What about people with multiple personality disorder? One woman claims to have ninety-four “personalities.” Would such a person have ninety-four “selves” too? (page 325)
8. What would a person be like who could choose only what he or she desired? Do you think it is possible to choose to do something if no desire whatsoever is involved? Explain. (page 328)
9. Psychologists have identified a character disorder that is labeled as either “sociopathic” or “antisocial personality disorder.” One component of this diagnosis is that such people are amoral, lacking any conscience. Do you know people without any sense of moral duty? What are they like? Does the existence of such people mean there is no such thing as a necessary, universal, moral law? Discuss. (page 329)
10. Does the idea of a good will help our analysis of the sociopath in the preceding Philosophical Query? Explain. (page 330)
11. Do you think it is possible to have only one motive for an action? Is it common to have only one motive? Is it important to distinguish moral motives from pragmatic ones? Why? Compare Kant with Hume on the issue of moral sentiments. (page 332)
12. To get a clearer sense of the power of the categorical imperative to clarify the nature of various forms of behavior, formulate and then analyze the maxims that are required to justify the following: charging things on credit without being sure you can pay them off on time; enrolling in two different high-demand courses so that you can check them both out and drop the one you don’t like; having unprotected sex without knowing if you are HIV positive; talking in the theater; forcing schools to teach the values of your religion. (page 334)
13. Consider the actual case of the parents who conceived a child for the express purpose of producing a bone marrow donor for their teenaged daughter who had leukemia. Doctors advised the parents that a bone marrow transplant was the only hope of saving their daughter’s life. Unable to find a compatible donor match, the parents took the desperate step of having another child. In 1991, bone marrow from the specially conceived child, then just over one year old, was transplanted to her nineteen-year-old sister. Can the parents’ action be morally justified? Explain. (page 337)
14. Conduct your own thought experiment by using the concept of a veil of ignorance to write a code of conduct for college courses. Imagine that you do not know if you are a pupil or professor, or any other personal factors. Does the veil of ignorance aid in such tasks, or is something overlooked? Explain. (page 338)