basic idea behind parfit ’ H u m a n i t i e s
Answer ALL of the following six multiple-choice questions. Each question is worth one point. For each question, choose the best answer of those listed. Please write the question number and the letter corresponding to your answer.
(1) The paradox of analysis aims to show:
(A) that any conceptual analysis is false and uninformative,
(B) that we cannot understand the whole of a text without understanding its parts,
(C) that we cannot understand the parts of a text without understanding the whole,
(D) that any conceptual analysis is either false or uninformative,
(E) that any concept must have necessary and sufficient conditions.
(2) A logical contradiction is an assertion that:
(A) violates law of non-contradiction,
(B) is not logically inconsistent,
(C) has content that cannot be true or false,
(D) involves a conflict between the content of the assertion and the act of asserting it,
(E) both (A) and (B).
(3) Pascal’s Wager:
(A) provides us with prudential reasons to believe in God.
(B) is a version of the Cosmological Argument,
(C) is a version of the Ontological Argument,
(D) both (A) and (B),
(E) Both (A) and (C).
(4) Choose the correct answer:
(A) the Paradox of Confirmation relates to the notion of absolute confirmation,
(B) the Equivalence Condition claims that that a generalization is confirmed by every
instance of it,
(C) if one accepts the conclusion to the Paradox of Confirmation, one must also accept
that a single piece of evidence can confirm mutually exclusive propositions,
(D) the Instance Condition takes into account the relevance of background knowledge to
(E) both (B) and (C).
(5) The KK thesis:
(A) claims that if you know that you know that P, then you also know that you know that
(B) is uncontroversially true,
(C) denies that if one has first-order knowledge, then one has second-order knowledge
(D) requires an infinite regress of states of knowledge,
(E) both (A) and (D).
(6) Which of the following cases seems to be a counter-example to the claim that we should
never use another person as a mere means to some further end:
(A) The Original Trolley Problem,
(D) Bystander at the Switch,
(E) both (B) and (C).
PART TWO: SHORT ANSWERS
Answer SIX of the following nine questions. Each question is worth four points. Write the
number of the question next to your answer. Put your answers in your own words.
(1) Explain what a conceptual analysis is. Then explain how the Paradox of Analysis is
supposed to undermine the idea of conceptual analysis.
(2) Give an example of a Moore-paradoxical statement. Give one possible explanation of why
this statement is self-defeating or self-contradictory.
(3) Explain how Pascal’s Wager is supposed to make it rational to believe in God. Give one
objection to Pascal’s argument and explain how it works.
(4) Explain the reasoning that seems to make the surprise exam in the Prediction Paradox
impossible. Give one possible response to this reasoning.
(5) What seems problematic about the idea that a blue shoe confirms the hypothesis that all
ravens are black? Do you think we should accept this conclusion? Why or why not?
(6) Explain how the Probability Principle and the Conjunction Principle give rise to the Lottery
Paradox about rational belief. Explain your preferred response to this puzzle and say why you
(7) Explain the difference between consequentialism and deontology. Which do you prefer and
why? What is one problem for the view you prefer?
(8) Explain the basic idea behind Parfit’s claim (from the first half of the course) that personal
identity is a matter of degree. Then consider what the ethical implications of Parfit’s claim
would be. If Parfit is right, would that make consequentialism or deontology more plausible?
Would it affect our responses to the various Trolley Problems? Why or why not?
(9) Explain Greene’s view of our intuitive responses to the various Trolley Problems. Do you
agree with Greene’s view? Why or why not?