Sunday, October 6, 2013

Intro Philosophy: Midterm Review

The Exam will consist of 25 Multiple Choice questions and 5 short answer questions.  The Multiple Choice are pulled from the lectures and readings on the topics below.

Shamanism: “One who knows”, common world culture of early tribal society, forms that appear in world religions, ecstatic experience as ‘standing outside’, initiation rites and ‘rebirth’, investigating problems and seeking visions of solutions, the All-Tree, the problem of the One and the Many, the problem of destiny after death, stories as transmission of knowledge

City State Priests & Egypt: Societies gather into larger societies and settle, authorities become traditional, specialization of experts and scholars, eternal stars of fire as order above, water as chaos below, air as ordering breath or communication, Egyptian wisdom texts show criticism of society and human behaviors, heart centered individual, warring state periods good for thought, polytheism to monotheism to abstract solar monotheism

Hinduism, Jainism & Buddhism: Three paths of worship (Bhakti devotion, Raja asceticism, Jnana scholarship), trinity of Brahma, Vishnu (salvation) and Shiva (destruction), multitude of gods who are yet are not these three, two types of afterlife (reincarnation and release of Nirvana), Vedas as multiple origin stories, Upanishads as philosophical ‘that is you’ inner meaning,  Jain influence on Buddhism and Hinduism, Mahavira and the Tirthankaras, two principles of skepticism (non-one-endedness and postulation), practice of asceticism and austerities (fasting, postures, meditation), Jain all karma as negative and total release as joining the order of the cosmos, the Jain metaphor of the leaky boat (plugging and bailing), Buddhism concepts of Impermanence, Doctrine of the Mean, Codependent Arising

Heraclitus: All is One/Fire/Cosmic Mind, all particular things are impermanent (even gods/planets), experts do not know much more than the common people, we are all apes to the gods, can’t step in the same river twice, perspective changing how things are

Plato: Parmenides over Heraclitus, Forms/Ideas as eternal models of things, the three parts of the soul (appetite, spirit and reason) corresponding to the three classes of the city (workers, police and philosophers), allegory of the cave

Confucianism: Mandate of Heaven as abstract monotheism, social order and rites as strength of society, study and civil service over meditation and nature of Daoism, criticism of the individual and equating others with oneself, right mind/intention over right body/action, love as center of human and system, recognition of the lowest as oneself and self criticism, Neo-Confucianism as blend with Daoism and Buddhism

Daoism: Return to nature and stillness, seeing both sides, Yin-Yang symbol, influence on Chinese Buddhism and Zen, the great One/Way as nameless above all named 10,000 things, water-like in fluidity and getting everywhere, the wheel as both solid and empty together, Zhuangzi and perspective, Cook Ting, humans ugly to minnows and deer, Peng bird vs. dove and cicada

For the short answers, pick five topics from the list below.  For each of your choices, write a half page in each of the spaces provided.  You should demonstrate that you 1) understand the meaning of the concept, 2) that you can connect it to other material from the class, and 3) that you can apply it to examples from your own experience or outside material (print or video, fictional or nonfictional).  If you demonstrate each of these three things and complete the required page length, you will get full points for your answer.


The Jain metaphor of the Leaky Boat
Jain negative view of karma vs. the Buddha’s middle way
Buddhist Codependent Arising
Heraclitus and Zhuangzi on animals and perspective
Heraclitus and the river ‘never twice’
Plato’s assent out of the cave
Plato’s three parts of the soul and city
Confucius’ right intention over right act
Laozi’s wheel as both solid and empty
Confucian study in the city vs. Daoist meditation in nature
Absolute truth vs. relative truth