Phl 126 01 Fall 2011 Test One


1. This test will be held in class at the start of class on Monday, 17 OCtober, 2011. The test period will begin at 10:30 and end at 11:45 AM or whenever the last person present finishes. Do NOT be late! No late or make-tests will be scheduled. There will be no exceptions.

2. The blue book you provided will be returned to you with appropriate identification. You may use a pencil or blue or black pen to complete the test. No notes, books, handouts, dictionaries, electronic devices, or any other materials of any kind may be used.

3. Do not write your name anywhere on your test. Please also “double-space” your answers, and write only on the front of the pages. (Don’t worry—you will have plenty of space.)

4. Your test answers should be your own work. Any detectable collaboration will be considered cheating. So will absences from the test longer than five minutes. Cheating will not be tolerated. In keeping with Marygrove College’s academic honesty policy, sanctions up to and including automatic failure of the course may be applied in cases of cheating.

5. This is NOT a research assignment. You are NOT to use outside sources. Usage of verbatim quotations from the textbook and paraphrasing of the textbook are to be used sparingly and kept under three lines per occurrence. If you must use quotations, know that all verbatim quotations must be enclosed in quotation marks. All such quotations, and any paraphrasing of material from the text, must be followed by an appropriate citation. The following simplified format may be used: ([author’s name], [page number from which the text is taken]). The following is an example of the minimally acceptable citation format:

For a verbatim quotation: “Of all the things which wisdom acquires to produce the blessedness of the complete life, far the greatest is the possession of friendship.” (Cahn & Markie, p. 183)

For paraphrasing: Epictetus says that friendship is the most important thing for a blessed life. (Cahn & Markie p. 183)

Failure to cite quoted or paraphrased works properly is plagiarism—the misrepresentation of other’s work as one’s own. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. In keeping with Marygrove College’s academic honesty policy, the first instance of plagiarism will merit a grade of “0” on the test and the notification of the student’s advisor. Repeated offenses will be met with more serious sanctions. Lecture material does not need to be followed by a citation.

6. Be sure that you address all parts of the question. Be efficient, clear, and thorough in your writing. Keep in mind that this is a test of your understanding of the material, not a solicitation of a manifesto of your own personal philosophy. Stay focused on simply and directly answering the questions.

7. Your answers should be substantive and your points should be supported with evidence (from the text), lecture material and independent argument. All technical philosophical terms (e.g. ‘psychological continuity’, ‘substance’, etc.) should be defined. Charts, graphs, and drawings should not be used. Your answer must be correct and clear. It need not be rhetorically pleasing. That said, basic issues such as grammar, spelling, and structure will all count towards your grade. Clear writing and clear thinking go hand in hand.

8. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at any time. I do not give provisional grades to test answers but I will answer questions about the test insofar as I can without conferring an unfair advantage on anyone.


On the day of the exam the instructor will return your blue book to you with your student number on the outside cover. On the day of the test one of the questions below will be allotted to each student via a random procedure. This means that you have an equal chance of getting any one of the four questions below. The question assigned to you will truly be the luck of the draw. Not even the instructor will know which of the questions you will answer before the day of the test. You will be responsible for answering ONLY the question assigned to you. Do NOT answer the others. No extra credit of any kind will be given.

Below are the questions. These questions will not be altered in any way prior to the exam. They will occur exactly as they are written here. READ EACH QUESTION VERY CAREFULLY and break it into its composite parts before attempting to answer.

Suppose someone you know were to object to Sellars' account of philosophy as follows: "Sellars thinks philosophy is so much more special than any other discipline, as if philosophers were the only ones who see things the way they really are while the investigations of those in the so-called special disciplines only deal with tiny little parts of the picture. What do philosophers know anyway? All they do is sit around and make up whatever they want to believe!"

Clearly this person is wrong about what Sellars says. Explain and correct the mistakes in what the objector says using what you know about what Sellars actually believes.

Jim is a law enforcement officer of ten years. In addition to knowing and following the proper procedures for his profession, he also makes an effort to understand the neighborhoods he routinely patrols. He gets to know the people he sees on a regular basis and he does what he can be trustworthy to them. For example, there are many Spanish-speaking people in his district so he makes an effort to learn Spanish. Apart from his Spanish classes, Jim also goes to night school at the local community college to take classes in psychology, sociology, political science, communication, and social work—not because he intends to leave the force, but because he believes that such general knowledge will make him better at what he does.

Without adding any details to the account just given, explain how you think Sellars would evaluate Jim's efforts to make himself a better police officer through the study of other disciplines. Is Jim's approach to being a better policeman philosophical, according to Sellars? Why (or why not)? Support your answer, be specific and clear, and be sure to make correct use of Sellars' terms and ideas where they apply.

It has not been a very pleasant six months for Billy-Bob Robertson. First, he was in a car accident and lost the use of his left hand, thus ending his career as a concert pianist. Then, in his depression, he converted to the religion of Grand Toasterism only to find out that there was no such thing as the Grand Toaster and that he had been taken in by an elaborate scam. His girlfriend left with the Grand Guru of the fake church, taking all his money. To make matters worse, two days ago he fell into a magic hole in the ground and was teleported from his home in Ipswich, England to the north face of a remote Hawaiian volcano. (Teleportation, of course, means the complete disintegration of one's body into it's constituent atoms followed by it's immediate reconstitution at another location out of qualitatively identical atoms. Thankfully all of one's memories, thoughts, and psychological states are perfectly re-created at the other end such that one doesn't even notice the disintegration/reconstitution bit—it just feels like a slight breeze.) It could be worse. At least the volcano's not expected to erupt for another 100 years.

In what sense (if any) according to Derek Parfit's view of personal identity, would we be right to say that Aldo is the same person before his accident as he is now? Support your answer, be specific and clear, and be sure to make correct use of Parfit's terms and ideas where they apply.

Explain Parfit's "complex view" in detail. How is it different from the view that everybody has one fixed self that persists through all the changes one experiences as one lives one's life? If the complex view of the self is true, then to what, if to anything, do personal pronouns (e.g. 'I', 'me', 'mine') actually refer?

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