Friday, October 5, 2007

Metaphysics Take-Home Midterm

Due Friday, October 12. 2007 in class (not later in Dr. Nobis’s box, etc.)

Class Monday and Wednesday are optional:

come and discuss the questions and issues of the exam, if you’d like.


Read the materials on how to write a philosophy paper; see handout or blog.

Construct your answers so that someone who hasn’t read the material, has not ever discussed these issues, and is totally ignorant about them – but is very smart and is a careful and critical thinker – could understand your answers. That is, you must explain everything, give the relevant backstory, and provide everything else so that your reader is able to understand.

Response to all these writing prompts:

  1. Describe two different kinds of logically possible “splitting” cases, i.e., where a persons’s mind and/or body (i.e., brain, typically) are divided. Explain the implications of these kinds of cases for what we should think about the issue of personal identity. In light of these cases, explain Parfit’s proposal that personal identity does not matter; rather, what matters is survival. Thus, explain which (broad) view about the nature of person identity we should accept. Defend your answers from objections.

  1. Fully present and explain the strongest argument that you believe can be given in defense of fatalism (metaphysical or logical, or theological: you need to explain what fatalism is, of course). Explain whether this argument is sound or not and why and, thus, whether anyone should think that any kind of fatalism is true or not. Defend your answers from objections. \

  1. Is time travel logically possible? Explain what time travel is. Explain why one might think that it is logically possible (or, at least, why there is no reason to think that it is not possible) or why it is logically impossible. Explain which theory (or theories) or conception of time on which time travel might be possible. Which theory of time is moral plausible, all things considered, including the question of time travel.

  1. From an intellectual point of view, or a philosophical point of view, should people believe that God exists? To answer this question you must explain and critique at least two arguments for God’s existence (of course, you must also explain what is meant by ‘God’), and think about what role reasons and arguments should play for what people believe.

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