PHL 156 01 Winter 2012 Test One


1. This test will be held in class at the start of class on Wednesday, 29 February, 2012. 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.

One conclusion that can be drawn from the Hymn of Creation in the Rg Veda is that knowledge of the origin of the universe lies beyond the cognitive reach of human beings. Recount and explain, in as much detail as you can, the reasoning that leads to this conclusion.

Alik and Bernice are discussing Advaita Vedanta. Bernice thinks that the basic idea of Advaita Vedanta is that every individual thing in the universe is a distinct part of Brahman with it's own existence. She explains her interpretation of Advaita Vedanta by asserting that Brahman is like a car, and that the things we see in our everyday experience are like the parts of that car, each with it's own separate existence; each on it's own equally real with the car itself. Alik has read the Chandogya Upanishad and knows that this interpretation is wrong. Why, specifically, is it wrong? Using the comparisons given in the Chandogya Upanishad, give the correct account of the relationship between Brahman and everything else that exists. Be as clear and as thorough as you can in your answer.

Chris loves to eat rich, fatty, good-tasting foods at every chance he gets. He cannot pass up a restaurant, dinner party, or even a backyard barbecue. He has been known to miss classes and ignore obligations to family members without warning in order to go to a new restaurant. He overspends on his credit cards for fancy meals as well, paying no attention to his rising debts. He completely ignores considerations of health and nutrition, and as a result he has become seriously obese, suffering high-blood pressure, diabetes, and high risk of heart-attack or stroke.

Use the psychology given in the chariot metaphor of the Katha Upanishad to explain precisely how Chris's behavior is unreasonable and self-destructive. Be as detailed as you can in your answer.

4. Dion is a highly successful businessman. He never stops looking for ways to improve his existing businesses or for opportunities to start up new ones. His activities keep him in constant motion. He is always traveling back and forth between cities all over the country to make deals, cultivate contacts, and to check in with those who are running his projects to make sure that they are doing a good job. Dion is average in terms of the attention he pays to learning and morality. Though he is not deficient in either of these areas, neither is he especially knowledgeable or saintly in character either.

Describe, in detail each of the three gunas from Chapter 14 of the Bhagavad Gita. Which of these three do you think would dominate Dion's being, and why? Support your answer with good reasoning based on what we learned from the reading.

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