PHIL 2200:902 - 16343


PHIL 2200-902 (download syllabus pdf)

U Toledo Distance Learning Course : January 21 - May 8, 2020


Nythamar "Nita" de Oliveira, Ph.D. Dept of Philosophy, Scott Hall

Phone: 419-530-6190 Office Hours: Drop Me a Line

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Course Website:


Personal Website:

Blackboard ID access



Course Description: [3 hours] An introduction to philosophical reflection on such issues as the existence of God, free will, knowledge and objectivity, social justice and moral responsibility. The course will be divided into three main parts, Truth, God, and the Good, respectively dealing with philosophical questions about knowledge (epistemology), being (metaphysics and ontology), and moral action (ethics). DL course.

The course is accessible to students coming from various academic backgrounds and its online format is very practical and pleasant. This course is being offered entirely online through the University of Toledo's Blackboard/WebCT system, accessible through the MyUT Web Portal, 24/7 (anywhere, anytime!). Students encountering any technical difficulties should contact the IT Help Desk at 419-530-2400, or the department of Distance Learning at 419-530-8835.

Required Text: Louis P. Pojman and Lewis Vaughn, Editors. Philosophy: The quest for truth. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. 10th edition. ISBN-10: 9780190254773 / ISBN-13: 978-0190254773. Students may as well use previous editions of the textbook, such as Louis P. Pojman, Editor. Philosophy: The quest for truth. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. ISBN-10: 0199697310; ISBN-13: 9780199697311 (6th Edition)

Grades are based on point accumulation throughout the six units(from January 21 through May 8, 2020). There are 6 Homeworks/Quizzes worth 10 points each (total up to 60 points). Participation is worth up to 30 points (by sharing your views, insights, comments, and criticisms with classmates on the Discussion Board on-line on a weekly basis, at least one posting per unit). The Final Exam is worth 10 points. Students can earn up to 100 points in this course. Final grades for the course are based on the following scale:


93-100 = A
90-92 = A-
87-89 = B+
83-86 = B
80-82 = B-
77-79 = C+
73-76 = C
70-72 = C-
60-69 = D
59 and Below = F


Academic Honesty:

Neither plagiarism (i.e., presenting the written work of another as one's own) nor cheating (i.e., providing answers to exam questions or receiving exam answers from another) will be tolerated. Any academic dishonesty will be disciplined according to the guidelines in the University of Toledo student handbook.



If you need special accommodations to folow this course, please notify me immediately. Any student needing accommodation based on the impact of a disability and students with documented disabilities should contact the Office of Accessibility (419.383.5792 - to coordinate reasonable accommodations.


Reading Assignments & Class Structure:

Chapters on the schedule refer to the assigned readings from the textbook (designated chapters including selections from classical texts in philosophy, 4 chapters per unit). Prepare all the readings before the date given. The reading assignments are usually short and hopefully pleasant. Optional readings are not mandatory. Every week you will have the opportunity to post your comments (at least one posting per Unit on the Discussion Board, in order to get full credit for Participation), ask questions and do self-assessment by taking the quiz online or writing a couple of paragraphs to address some of the suggested study questions (about 200-300 words). The quizzes and homeworks tabs are made available during the whole week and the following week, so that at any time during these 2 weeks you can take the quiz online or use the Homework tab to turn in your essay (a couple of paragraphs, at least 200 words, addressing one or two questions from the assigned chapter). Make sure you understand the key concepts and terms for each unit and by regularly visiting our course website and taking part in the Discussion Board threads. 

Class Participation

Class participation is essential. That includes active involvement in all phases of the class, including the ongoing Discussions on-line (at least one posting per Unit).


Class Schedule:

How to do well in this DL course

Introduction: What is Philosophy? Truth, God, and the Good
PART I: TRUTH, or the problem of knowledge (epistemology)
Unit 1: Jan 21 - Feb 9 :
Chap. 1: Socratic wisdom
Chap. 2: Of enthusiasm and the quest for truth
Chap. 19: Cartesian doubt and the search for foundational knowledge
Chap. 24: The correspondence theory of truth
Appendix: How to read and write a philosophy paper

Unit 1 Summaries and Test Questions

Feb 2-9 : HOMEWORK / QUIZ # 1

Unit 2: Feb 9-23:
Chap. 22: The origin of our ideas and skepticism
Chap. 23: An argument against skepticism
Chap. 26: Dismantling truth : solidarity versus objectivity
Chap. 27: Postmodernism and truth

Unit 2 Summaries and Test Questions

Feb 16-23: HOMEWORK / QUIZ # 2 / Bonus / Midterm # 1

PART II: GOD, or the problem of being (metaphysics and ontology)
Unit 3: Feb 23 - Mar 8 :
Chap. 5: The Kalam cosmological argument principle
Chap. 6: A critique of the cosmological argument
Chap. 7: The watch and the watchmaker
Chap. 8: A critique of the teleological argument

Unit 3 Summaries and Test Questions

Mar 1-8 : HOMEWORK / QUIZ # 3

March 9-14 : SPRING BREAK (No classes)

Unit 4: Mar 15 - 29 :
Chap. 10: An analysis of the ontological argument
Chap. 11: Why is there evil?
Chap. 12: Why doesn't God intervene to prevent evil?
Chap. 13: There is a reason why God allows evil

Unit 4 Summaries and Test Questions

Mar 22-29 : HOMEWORK / QUIZ # 4

PART III: THE GOOD, or the moral problem (ethics & political philosophy)
Unit 5 : Mar 29 - Apr 12:
Chap. 41: The dilemma of determinism
Chap. 42: Freedom of the will and human responsibility
Chap. 46: Morality is relative
Chap. 47: Morality is not relative

Unit 5 Summaries and Test Questions

Apr 5-12: HOMEWORK / QUIZ # 5

Unit 6: Apr 12 - 26 :
Chap. 51: The ethics of virtue
Chap. 52: The moral law
Chap. 53: Utilitarianism
Chap. 60: The contemporary liberal answer

Unit 6 Summaries and Test Questions

Apr 19 - 26: HOMEWORK / QUIZ # 6

Apr 26 - May 2 : Make-Up / Bonus / Midterm # 2

May 2 - 8 : FINAL EXAM (multiple-choice exam, covers all material Units 1-6)

Download Textbook PDF here!

Suggested & Related Links:


YouTube: Monty Python: The Meaning of Life

Woody Allen on Nihilism & Existential Philosophy

YouTube: Monty Python: Philosophers Football (US soccer)

YouTube: Monty Python: The Philosophers Song

YouTube: The School of Life: Plato

YouTube: The School of Life: Hume

YouTube: Richard Rorty on Pragmatism

YouTube: Daniel Dennett - Why Philosophy of Science?

Aquinas and the Cosmological Arguments: Crash Course Philosophy #10

What is the Kalam Cosmological Argument? - William Lane Craig

Why the Cosmological Argument Fails (7 Reasons)

Intelligent Design: Crash Course Philosophy #11

William Paley's Watchmaker Analogy

The Watchmaker Argument - Debunked

Hume's Objections to the Teleological Argument

David Hume and the Argument from Design

Anselm and the Argument for God: Crash Course Philosophy #9

The Ontological Argument - Debunked (Anselm Refuted)

The Ontological Argument

On W. Rowe's Interpretation of the Ontological Argument

Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov - Analysis

The Problem of Evil

Hume & the Problem of Evil

The Problem of Evil (3 of 4): The Irenaean Theodicy / John Hick

The Moral Argument (A Christian defense)

The Argument from Morality - Debunked (William Lane Craig's Moral Argument Refuted)

Determinism vs Free Will


Cultural Relativism

James Rachels's "The Challenge of Cultural Relativism"


Aristotle & Virtue Theory: Crash Course Philosophy

Kant & Categorical Imperatives: Crash Course Philosophy

Utilitarianism: Crash Course Philosophy

John Rawls's Theory of Justice

Philosophy Studies at UT

Dept of Philosophy & Religious Studies at UT

College of Law - UT

Nietzsche, Foucault, and the Death of God

Nietzsche's Genealogy of Modernity

Jean-Paul Sartre's Existential Phenomenology of Liberation

Paul Ricoeur's Revelatory Hermeneutics of Suspicion

Dialectic and existence in Kant and Kierkegaard

Husserl, Heidegger and the Transcendental Problem of Signification

Heidegger and Heraclitus

Edmund Husserl's Phenomenology of Meaning

Jean Calvin's Philosophical Anthropology

Rawls's Normative Conception of the Person

Transcendental-Semantic Perspectivism (Research Project)

The Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights (Research Project)

Barry F. Vaughan's Notes on L. Pojman's Book

Wikipedia entry on "Philosophy"



What is philosophy ?

When one asks this question, one may think of either an historical approach or a rather thematic approach to the question.

In historical terms, the word "philosophy" refers us back to the 6th century before the Christian Era, when Pre-Socratic thinkers started questioning the ultimate principle of the cosmos, by breaking away from traditional, mythological accounts (theogonies and cosmogonies) and resorting to rational inquiries into the origins and meaning of things in the world, human nature and activities. Thus Thales of Miletus thought that water was the first principle, while Anaximenes held that everything in the world was composed of air and Heraclitus taught that fire was the natural principle that accounted for all phenomena. Pythagoras --who taught that numbers were the fundamental principle of the cosmos (as opposed to the four elements --water, air, earth and fire)-- was among these radical thinkers and was in effect the first one to call himself a philosopher, or lover of wisdom. The Greeks were amazed at the plays of opposites (for instance, between rest and motion, day vs. night, warm vs. cold, wet vs. dry, the changes of seasons (summer, fall, winter, spring), the repetition and the becoming of natural phenomena, such the growth of plants and animals, the observation of planets, stars, eclipses, comets, and celestial bodies, and their wonder led them to develop geometry, mathematics, astronomy, and especially philosophy. These sciences already existed (of course, in a pre-modern understanding of "science") but it was thanks to the development of philosophy that they were developed and became more and more sophisticated.

Hence, etymologically speaking, the word "philosophy" simply means "love of wisdom" (from the Greek words philia = love, friendship, and sophia = wisdom).

So the first philosophers set out to know themselves and to know reality and the world around them. Philosophy can be thus regarded as a permanent quest for truth, for the meaning of being and first causes (especially God), and the end of our actions (especially the moral good). As we speak of Truth, God, and the Good we are not only following a textbook division (say, in Pojman's book!) but are attempting to make sense of this philosophical question in both historical and thematic terms. To be sure, we are talking about Western philosophy --itself very rich and complex, and always on the move!

Historically speaking, one might say that Western philosophy began in Greece and has since then, just like civilization, been always on the move, involving different peoples at different times and different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. We usually divide the History of Western Philosophy into 4 main periods, namely,

Ancient, Medieval, Modern, and Contemporary.

Ancient Philosophy : From the Pre-Socratics (Thales, Parmenides, Heraclitus) through Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, all the way till the end of the Roman period (Cicero)

Medieval Philosophy : From the decline and fall of the Roman Empire (476 of the Christian Era), during the times of Augustine all the way through the Renaissance (15th century); Avicenna, Averroes, Thomas Aquinas, Anselm, Duns Scotus and Occam.

Modern Philosophy : From the times of the Reformation and the emergence of the scientific world (16th century) up to the end of the 19th century; Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Feuerbach, Marx, Nietzsche.

Contemporary Philosophy : From the beginning of the 20th century till our days; Husserl, Heidegger, Russell, Wittgenstein, Moore, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre, Foucault, Ricoeur, Gadamer, Levinas, Derrida, Habermas, Rawls, Quine, Davidson, Rorty.

As we think of Greek and Roman philosophy to stress the cultural context of the birth of Western philosophy, we may also recall that Medieval philosophy was dominated by theological thought (Christian, Jewish, and Arabic), and we may signal that one speaks of an Italian renaissance, French rationalism, British empiricism, German idealism, and American pragmatism. And today we celebrate multicultural and intercultural approaches to philosophy, both Eastern and Western, feminist and gay, continental and analytic.

By all accounts, from the outset, philosophy has been a perennial inquiry into the ultimate reality and a quest for the truth, the good, and the beautiful. Thus one can fairly divide philosophy into several fields of investigation, namely:

the truth: what can I know? epistemology

the good: what ought I to do? ethics

the beautiful: how can I judge? what can I hope for? aesthetics

philosophy of religion

being / beings: what makes beings what they are? metaphysics / ontology

Traditional metaphysics, in turn, has been divided into

general metaphysics (ontology = the study of beings, "ta onta," in Greek)

and special metaphysics, itself comprising

1. theology = study of god, or the first mover, the ground of being

2. anthropology = the study of human being and/or psychology = the study of the soul as active principle of living beings, especially human beings

3. cosmology = the study of the cosmos ("kosmos" in Greek, the universe, the whole or totality of all beings)

Philosophers like Kant allowed for a rapprochement between religion and aesthetics, for instance, when dealing with the question of the sublime. Hegel reappropriates this view when he brings art, religion, and philosophy together in his Phenomenology of the Spirit.

Philosophy can be thus distinguished from religion, art, and science, even though there is no consensus among philosophers about this. In effect, it is very common to approach philosophy from a more or less scientific attitude (for instance, in analytic philosophy) or from a rather artistic, literary perspective (Romanticism, Continental philosophy, postmodernity). In any case, philosophy cannot be reduced to either science or art.

What is philosophy ?

Well, that will certainly remain a damn good question for philosophers and nonphilosophers alike!

"... we cannot learn philosophy... We can only learn to philosophize; in other words, we can only exercise our powers of reasoning in accordance with general principles, retaining at the same time, the right of investigating the sources of these principles, of testing, and even of rejecting them."

(Immanuel Kant, Critique of Pure Reason 1781, PART II: The Transcendental Doctrine of Method, CHAPTER III. The Architectonic of Pure Reason)


Lecture Notes


1. Plato, Apology: Socrates' (470-399) trial and death penalty; drinking the hemlock

charges: corrupting the youth and introducing new gods
the gadfly of Athens: a radical critic of his own culture and times (democracy)
sophistry = reasoning which is fallacious and dishonest, manipulative
Socratic method:
1. maieutics (midwifery) = helps to bring to light knowledge / truth already latent in one's soul; "know thyself" / self-knowledge (Delphic oracle)
2. elenchus (cross-examination) = refutation of an opinion, by eliciting self-contradiction and comparing several hypotheses, arguments, and counterarguments
3. dialectics (dia + legein = back and forth argumentation) = the art of arguing for and against given positions (for example, thesis vs. antithesis)
we start from opinions (doxa) and move towards real knowledge (episteme) as we commit ourselves to an endless search for truth, by knowing ourselves and things around us: " an unexamined life is not worth living"

2. John Locke (1632 - 1704)

An Essay concerning Human Understanding, (1690)
tabula rasa = clean slate, blank tablet, blank sheet / blank diskette
Empiricism: the human mind acquires knowledge by processing all data through experience, as opposed to rationalism (the assumption that innate ideas and principles make our knowledge of the world possible, as Plato and Descartes held)
"Enthusiasm" (in the sense of the Enlightenment) = a state of religious exaltation that seeks to establish supernatural revelation as over against the natural light of reason.

3. Rene Descartes (1596-1650)
Meditations on First Philosophy (1641)

mathesis universalis = universal, rationalist method to lay the foundations of the sciences
intuition = immediate representation of a self-evident truth
1. methodic doubt; skepticism about sensory perception, suspension of judgment about the external world, hypotheses of madness, dream, the evil demon (check the Wikipedia entry on the thought-experiment brain in a vat or David Chalmers'sphilosophy of Matrix)
2. "Cogito, ergo sum" = "I think, therefore I am" : I doubt > I think > I exist
3. whatever is clear and distinct must be true; deductions

deduction = proceeds from universal to particular propositions, or better said, in deductive reasoning if the premises are true then the conclusion must be true
for ex.: If p, then q
Therefore, q [modus ponens]

Everyone born is Florida is American, but not all Americans were born in Florida.

induction = proceeds from particular cases toward generalized propositions, or in more strictly logical terms, inductive reasoning means that the premises of an argument support the conclusion but do not ensure it, hence it is a matter of probability
for ex.: John observes 1,000 green ducks in the property and notices that they all have a black head
It is very likely that the 1,001st green duck found in the property will also have a black head --but this is just a probability, it might not actually occur.

4. Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

As opposed to a coherence theory of truth, a correspondence theory of truth maintains that:
1. truth is to be opposed to falsehood
2. "true" or "false" are assigned only to beliefs
3. beliefs, in turn, depend on facts outside the beliefs themselves (external world).

Coherence theories of truth betray a "completely rounded system" ("The Truth") and must presuppose basic truths such as the law of contradiction (such as stated in 1: it is either true or false that "such and such is the case," say, that "the cat is on the mat.")

5. William James (1842-1910)

A pragmatic theory of truth is an alternative to both coherence and correspondece theories.
A proposition is true if holding to be so is practically successful or useful.
After all, good theories are supposed to work and to make a difference in real life ("cash-value")
according to pragmatism, "our beliefs are rules for action"
"intellectualist" conception of truth: a copy of reality; an inert static relation
"True ideas are those that we can assimilate, validate, corroborate and verify. False ideas are those that we cannot."
Truth is "what we ought to believe," hence "the true is the name of whatever proves itself to be good in the way of belief"

6. David Hume (1711-1776)
A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40): Of Understanding, Passions, Morals
analytic truths ("relations of ideas"/ a priori) vs synthetic truths ("matters of fact"/ a posteriori)
All perceptions of the mind: ideas (less forcible) vs. impressions (more lively)
"3 . 5 = 30 / 2 ," Pythagorean theorem are relations of ideas, tautologies
"That the sun will rise tomorrow" and that water boils at 212 F are matters of fact: probability
"cause and effect" is a relation solely established by custom, habit: skepticism
"From causes which appear similar we expect similar effects": "constant conjunction"

7. John Hospers, "An Argument Against Skepticism" (1967)
3 senses of "knowing": acquaintance, ability, propositional
"I know that p": p must be true, I must believe that p is true, I must have evidence for p

8. Thomas Nagel, "What Is It Like to Be a Bat?" (1974)
consciousness cannot be fully dealt with by dualism or physicalism/materialism
dualism: mind (soul, thinking substance) vs body (extension, corporeal substance)
physicalism: "mental states are physical states" (materialist reduction)
objective and subjective perspectives are complementary not excluding
phenomenology: a descriptive science of what appears as the experience of consciousness

9. Richard Rorty, "Dismantling Truth" (1987)
("hard," natural) sciences vs. humanities
objectivity: "methodical," "rational," "scientific"
(hard) facts vs. (soft) values
deconstructing absolute conceptions of Truth: "the paradigm of rationality"
Thomas Kuhn: "paradigm shifts" in the history of science
new pragmatism: "the new fuzziness," blurring the objective-subjective distinction
"unforced agreement": ethnocentric, intersubjective; fluid communities / cultures

10. Daniel Dennett, "Postmodernism and Truth" (1998)
In defense of Western civilization: science and epistemology
Truth ultimately refers to objective facts and "events that really happened"
Postmodernism and multiculturalism: science is objective, not neutral
Postmodernism: a radical, deconstructive critique of modern ideals and metanarratives
Postmodernists vs. modernists:
difference vs. identity (logic, ontology, metaphysics, correspondence)
fragmentation vs. totality (system, absolute, completion)
dissemination/dispersion/dissent/displacement vs. unity (closure, coherence, symmetry)


B. Russell: The value of philosophy consists not in material goods (money) or conclusive answers ("the meaning of life" or self-help crap!), but in self-knowledge, self-understading, and the pursuit of knowledge (between the self and the not-self, all that remains to be known in the universe)

Aquinas: The five ways (5 arguments for God's existence):
1. the argument from change (motion)
2. the argument from causation (efficient cause)
3. the argument from contingency (hence, a necessary being)
4. the argument from degrees of excellence (perfection)
5. the argument from harmony (design)

Craig: the kalam cosmological argument
Premise 1: whatever begins to exist has a cause
Premise 2: the universe began to exist
Conclusion: Therefore, the universe has a cause [Modus ponens]

Edwards: calls into question that the existence of contingent beings necessarily implies the existence of a necessary being (let alone, that this being must be the personal God of Jews, Christians and Muslims)
Paley: teleological argument for God's existence = intelligent design, cannot be reduced to the laws of nature or the order of the universe
Hume: both orthodox believers (dogmatic) and natural theologians (like Paley) fail to prove the existence of a personal, theistic God
The ontological argument (Anselm): God = a Being than which nothing greater can be conceived.
God must exist in reality (or God necessarily exists): if God did not exist, then God would not be that than which nothing greater can be conceived (in the understanding).
The analogy of a painter: "For when a painter imagines beforehand what he is going to make, he has in his understanding what he has not yet made but he does not yet understand that it is. But when he has already painted it, he both has in his understanding what he has already painted and understands that it is. Therefore even the fool is bound to agree that there is at least in the understanding something than which nothing greater can be imagined, because when he hears this he understands it, and whatever is understood is in the understanding."
Dostoevsky: If God didn't exist, everything would be possible. Everything is permissible if God does not exist.
The problem of evil: How is it possible that an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God does not prevent evil in the world? Is God the author of evil? Can theistic belief in God harmonize the existence of a personal, loving God with the fact that evil things happen to innocent people?
Theodicy = "the justice of God"; justification of God's moral goodness in the face of moral evil. An assertion of the free will (human freedom) in opposition to determinism.


ETHICS Power Point

Utilitarianism Power Point

John Rawls Power Point Presentation

Existentialism Power Point (advanced)

Suggested study questions for Homework # 1:

I.1 Pojman p. 6-7:
4. What are the charges brought against Socrates? What are Socrates' responses to the charges?
8. What kind of life does Socrates think is worth living?

I.2 Pojman p. 19:
1. What is the first requirement in searching for truth?
3. How does Locke characterize "enthusiasm"? What is its source?

III.19 Pojman p. 166:
1. What caused Descartes to begin the process of doubting everything?
5. What is the first thing that Descartes comes to know with certainty?

III.24: Pojman p. 211:
2. What are the three conditions a theory of truth must meet?
5. What is the proper role for coherence in a theory of truth?

III.25 Pojman p. 216-217:
4. What is James' argument against the "intellectualists" (that is, e.g., philosophers who believe in the correspondence theory) ?
10. What is the relationship between the good and the true ?

Suggested study questions for Homework # 2:

III.22 Pojman p. 193:
1. What is the origin of our ideas? How does Hume distinguish ideas from impressions?
6. Why is causal reasoning doubtful? What does Hume mean by saying that causal relations can never be discovered by a priori arguments?

III.23 Pojman p. 202:
1. What are the three senses of "know" that Hospers describes? Which is most important philosophically?
2. What are the three conditions for propositional knowledge?

IV.32 Pojman p. 285:
2. What is the "subjective character of experience," according to Nagel?
5. What is Nagel's speculative proposal regarding bridging the gap between the subjective and the objective?

III.26 Pojman p. 225f.:
1. What is the relationship in our culture between science and the humanities? Which receives greater respect and why?
6. What role does Thomas Kuhn's work play in the debate between science and the humanities? Why does Rorty congratulate Kuhn?

III.27 Pojman p. 233:
4. Are multiculturalists responsible people?
8. According to Dennett, how do postmodernists treat the concept of truth?

Suggested study questions for Homework # 3:

I.3 Pojman p. 25:
1. What do many scientific and practical people think of philosophy?
3. What are the aims of philosophy? Has it been successful in attaining them? Explain.

II.4 Pojman p. 51:
3. Identify the central idea in each of the five arguments.
4. Outline the second argument in your own words and analyze it. After this, try to sum up the other arguments.

II.5 Pojman p. 54:
1. What are the premises of the kalam argument?
10. Where did the Big Bang take place?

II.6 Pojman p. 72:
1. Even if the cosmological argument is sound, would it show that God is all-good or all-powerful? What is Edwards' view?
7. What does Edwards say about the possibility of the universe being uncaused? What is his view about the universe being a "brute fact," something that is unexplained?

II.7 Pojman p. 83:
1. What does Paley think are the inherent differences between a stone and a watch? What inferences does each permit about its origins?
3. How does Paley respond to objections to the analogy?

II.8 Pojman p. 86:
1. How does the natural theologian Cleanthes argue for the existence of God?
7. List six objections that Philo makes to the design argument. Are they plausible objections?

II.9 Pojman p. 95:
3. After an initial reading, attempt to outline the argument. Do you agree with Anselm that it proves the existence of God?
4. What is Gaunilo's criticism of the argument? Is it plausible?

Suggested study questions for Homework # 4:

II.10 Pojman p. 98:
1. What are the basic concepts involved in the ontological argument?
6. What is Kant's criticism of the ontological argument?

II.11 Pojman p. 111:
1. Does Ivan believe that God exists? What does he think of the hypothesis that humanity invented the notion of God?
5. What is Ivan's response to the proposal that the solution of the problem of evil is to be found in an eternal harmony?

II.12 Pojman p. 115:
1. What, according to Johnson, are some of the bad explanations for God not intervening to prevent evil?
6. What do people mean when they say that God has a “higher morality” than we have, so that we cannot apply our standards to him? What is Johnson's response to this defense of theism?

II.13 Pojman p. 121:
1. Why is the problem of evil a dilemma?
6. Why couldn't God create people who were both free and totally good?

Suggested study questions for Homework # 5:

II.15 Pojman p. 130 (Clifford):
4. What is the Ethics of Belief? How do moral duties apply to beliefs?
5. What is the danger to society of becoming credulous?

V.41 Pojman p. 355 (James):
2. What are the two suppositions set forth at the outset?
11. What is James' conclusion to the problem of free will versus determinism?

V.42 Pojman p. 365 (Lamont):
1. What is Lamont's thesis?
4. How does Lamont qualify his thesis that we have free will and are not determined?

V.44 Pojman p. 375 (Frankfurt):
2. What do humans have that no animal appear to have?
7. What according to Frankfurt is freedom of the will?

VI.46 Pojman p. 400 (Benedict):
1. What does Benedict see as the purpose of modern social anthropology?
5. How does Benedict characterize morality? With what phrase is the sentence "It is morally good" synonymous?

VI.47 Pojman p. 406 (Rachels)
2. How do Eskimo practices seem to lend support to the thesis of cultural relativism? Note what Rachels says later about the reasons for these practices.
9. What does the author think are the two lessons of cultural relativism?

Suggested study questions for Homework # 6:

VI.51 Pojman p. 440 (Aristotle)
1. How does Aristotle define politics and ethics? What is the relationship between them?
3. What are the characteristics of the good?

VI.52 Pojman p. 450-1 (Kant)
6. What is the categorical imperative?
9. What is Kant's second formulation of the moral law? Is is equivalent, as Kant thought, to the first formulation?

VI.53 Pojman p. 463 (Mill)
1. How does Mill define utilitarianism?
6. How can utilitarianism attain its end?

VI.54 Pojman p. 470 (Sartre)
1. What are the two meanings of "subjectivism" in this essay?
6. What does Sartre mean by saying that "we are condemned to be free"?

VII.73 Pojman p. 609 (Singer)
1. What is the relationship between the women's rights movement, the civil rights movement, and the animal rights movement?
2. How does Singer define "speciesism"?

VII.60 Pojman p. 519 (Rawls)
1. What does Rawls say about the relative importance of the individual versus the welfare of society?
7. What are the two principles that Rawls says we would choose behind the veil of ignorance?

If possible, try to write your answers in digital (computer-generated) format, so that you could print them out and keep a copy of your own texts for further studies --this is actually a good practice for your own academic development. But if you cannot type or use a computer, please make sure your handwriting is legible, indicate the question numbers and staple all the pages before turning your homework in. The idea is to explore your writing skills and get as close as you can to developing an essay style, featuring clarity, well-formulated sentences and good arguments. Even if some of the study questions may not seem to require more than simply addressing some definition of a concept or idea, try to avoid mere reproduction, by making explicit your own understanding of concepts and ideas, just as it would be required in a philosophical essay.

Course Website:

Further Links:

G-d : Reformed, Catholic, Jew
UT Course: Philosophy of Religion
UT course on Globalization and World Religions
UT Course on Buddhism
UT Course on Contemporary Moral Problems
UT Course on Business Ethics
Jewish Philosophy Seminar

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