PHL 276 01 Fall 2012 Test One


1. This test will be held in class at the start of class on Monday, 5 November 2012. The test period will be from 1:30 PM to 2:45 PM. 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. One of the questions below will be assigned to you using a random method. 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.

1. Pam and her husband Darell are a young couple who cannot conceive. That said, they have always wanted a child. Thus they are considering adopting a child. Their finances are stable and their families support the idea completely. Using the framework for judgment given in the readings and exercises, explain in detail the kinds of considerations that they should take into account as they decide whether or not to go through with the adoption. Use examples to illustrate each type of consideration. Stick to the criteria and be as specific as you can in your answer.

2. Read the following short dialogue:

1 Sheila: I hope the proposal for expanded public transportation passes, because it would help poor people get to places where there is work for them.
2 Rosa: I'm not so sure. There isn't a viable plan for funding the projects that wouldn't impose an undue burden on taxpayers.
3 Sheila: That's a typical point of view for a person who puts the interests of the rich ahead of those of the poor!
4 Rosa: What? The poor pay taxes too. I certainly do, and you know I'm not rich!

a) Identify the problematic term.
b) Give the definitions each person is using for the term.
c) Explain the problems with the definitions, if there are any, using the criteria from the chapters on language and on definitions.
d) Suggest a definition that doesn't have those problems, and that would help the parties communicate more clearly.

3. Suppose Art, a middle-manager at a software company is having a quarrel with his lawyer, Barbara. At one point Art says "I'm going to revoke your law license!" Barbara isn't worried because she knows that Art's speech act in this case fails. Using the conditions for a successful speech act, explain in detail the reasons why Art's speech act fails.

4. Read the following short dialogue

1 Sam: I'm glad to see that the war on drugs is expanding. We've got to do something to curb the flow of illegal substances into our country where it destroys our poorest neighborhoods.
2 Dave: I disagree, Sam. The so-called "war on drugs" is just an excuse to throw a lot of good people in jail and waste a lot of taxpayer money. I think it's oppressive of individual liberty too.

Consider Dave's claim in the second sentence of #2. Using the frameworks you have from the chapters you've read and exercises you've done in class, do all of the following:
(a) Clarify the claim, correcting for problematic vagueness, ambiguity, and emotional valence.
(b) Explain the claim's empirical, logical, and evaluative aspects.
(c) Contextualize the claim.

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