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History of Modern Philosophy Test Questions

History of Modern Philosophy: Study Questions ____________________ For the second test, you will have to answer two out of three questions, chosen by me from the options below. Your essays must explain the relevant philosophical issues. Grades will be based on three criteria: (1) Philosophical content, (2) Clarity of explanation, and (3) The usual conventions of expository English prose. Your response should be clear enough that an intelligent person, without a background in philosophy, would be able to understand it. Your task is to convince your audience that you fully understand the philosophical issues involved: don’t leave any claims unsubstantiated. All technical terms should be explained the first time they are used. Examples can be useful but they should not replace actual arguments.

 (1) (a) Reconstruct and explain Berkeley’s argument (against Locke) that abstract ideas are impossible. (b) What Empiricist assumption creates the confusion here? (c) Explain in detail Kant’s attempt, in the Transcendental Analytic, to overcome this problem

 (2) (a) Explain, in detail, Hume’s ‘Copy Thesis.’ (b) What argument does Hume offer in favour of it? (c) Explain Hume’s theory of the principles of association. (d) What is the problem of ‘the missing shade of blue’? (e) Is Hume’s treatment of this issue consistent with his ‘Copy Thesis’? (f) Explain why.

 (3) (a) Explain, in detail, Hume’s attack on induction (b) Be sure to explain his position in relation to his Empiricism.

 (4) (a) Explain, in detail, what Kant means by saying that space and time are a priori forms of intuition. (b) Explain, in detail, one of Kant’s arguments for thinking that space is an a priori form of intuition. 

(5) Kant thinks that a priori (knowable) synthetic truths are possible. (a) Explain the terms ‘synthetic,’ ‘analytic,’ ‘a priori,’ and ‘a posteriori.’ (b) Explain, in detail, how Kant thinks that a synthetic truth could be knowable a priori.

 (6) (a) Explain, in detail, the main differences between Kant’s transcendental idealism and Berkeley’s idealism.

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