Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Intro Philosophy: Final Review

The Final Exam will cover the material from the second half of the course: Islam, Europe, Descartes, Hume, Hegel, Nietzsche, and Wittgenstein. You may use material from Lewis Carroll, Humor or Art for your essay, but they will not be on the test.

The test will be 15 multiple choice questions (2 points each), 3 short answer questions (10 points each) and an essay (40 points). For each short answer you must write a paragraph explaining a key concept we covered. For the essay you must take two of the thinkers we covered and in two to three pages compare them and argue which one (if either) you support. You may use thinkers for the essay that you cover in the short answers, but do not waste space writing explanations of their key concepts twice. If you have another sort of essay you would like to write, please check with me first and I will likely let you write it.

Islam:

Rise of Islam, systems of scholarship, technology, cryptanalysis (pulling out the essential factors), philosophy and science, Avicenna’s Floating Man thought experiment (and Descartes’ Demon), Sufis and the Blind Men & Elephant.

Descartes:

Descartes deceiving demon, proof of self-consciousness, trustworthy God, world and rational facts (2 + 3 = 5), radical dualism of mind and body, intention and mechanics, animals as bodies without minds that cannot think or feel like machines or robots

Hume:

2 types of perceptions: Impressions vs. Ideas, Ideas always come from Impressions, 2 billiard balls and causation as an idea, not an impression, prejudice, assumption, association, and belief (Indian skandas), no ‘true’ facts, just events that are consistent with belief, Induction and Deduction both based on the leap of assumption.

Hegel:

Historical explanation, picture of history (“Orientals”, Greeks, Germans), Master-Slave dialectic and the constant revolution/evolution of history, Dialectic (positive, negative, synthesis as the next positive), Dialectical logic and contradictions as the tensions that structure things and movements, Dogmatism vs. Skepticism in the mind and in history.


Nietzsche:

German pessimism, turn from Reason to Will as central to world, Opposites work together: truth works with false, reason works with emotion, The True is the Beautiful, Truth and Reason are a drive that work to deceive us, Deception and falsehood are necessary to life and creation, Language, Grammar and Logic as deceptive, not trustable, Creative Individuality over all equalizing, Zarathustra as first dualist, thus first to see the whole beyond dualism.

Wittgenstein:

Language Games and Forms of Life (rule structured when things go wrong), Logic lives in the world, not hidden in logical crystal structures within, Against reduction to a single factor (psychoanalysis and reducing a human to ash), Material metaphors for the mental (toolbox, brake lever, train cabin, sign post), The ‘one-thread’ is in fact the chord of many threads together, Meanings and definitions are simply everyday use, not hidden within this.