Anglo-American Philosophy Questions


Question Description

Answer the following two questions, devoting no more than three pages, typed double- space, to each question. Answer the second question beginning on a new page.

1. Discuss how a Logical Positivist would respond to these remarks, and why, and how you yourself would respond to the same remarks, and why:

(a) Metaphysical truths such as “There is a reality beyond the physical world” are deeper than ordinary truths such as “The cat is on the mat.”

(b) Ostensive propositions, those which directly record an immediate experience such as “This looks red to me here now,” are validated as true by our sense experience and cannot be refuted by any subsequent experience.

(c) The hypothesis that this is a 3-volt battery can be conclusively verified as false by connecting the battery to a voltmeter and observing the voltmeter's needle pointing to "2" and not “3”.

(d) Some propositions are known a priori, such as “If the object is red all over, then it’s not blue all over.”

Divide your answer to this question into four lettered parts, starting each part with a new paragraph.

2. Divide your answer to the following question into three lettered parts, starting each part with a new paragraph.

(a) In his article "Philosophical Perplexity" (1936), John Wisdom says philosophical progress has two aspects, provocation and pacification. Explain what he means. Would Ryle and Wittgenstein be likely to agree with him in 1936? Do you?

(b) Discuss how Wisdom would be likely to react to the two comments below, and discuss whether you agree with him. In your answer, make some reference to section 2c called “Direct versus Indirect Intentionality” in the article "Intentionality" in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

Seeing a rabbit, and hallucinating a rabbit, and having a dream of a rabbit, are all similar. What makes them similar is that they are all cases of directly perceiving


something. Let’s call this ‘something’ a “sense datum of a rabbit” or a “rabbit sense datum.” The discovery of sense data is enlightening; it is a revelation about how nature works.

(c) Discuss how Wisdom would be likely to react to the comment below, and discuss why you agree or disagree with him.

When we perceive, we don't ever really know that there is an external world we are perceiving.

Each part of question 1 is worth 3 points; each part of question 2 is worth 4 points. In grading each question, you will get positive points for saying relevant things that are correct, but lose points for failing to say something of central importance, and lose points for saying something that is incorrect, and lose points for going off-topic. Be careful to distinguish your own ideas from the ideas of others that you happen to agree with.

Guidelines: Do not repeat the question within the answer. Answer both questions, devoting three pages or less, typed double space, to each question. Number your pages. Do not use a cover page or place your answers in a binder; just staple together your sheets of paper; and place your name on the first page. Use 12 point font and regular size pages 8.5" x 11".

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