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Philosophy 102:  Introduction to Philosophical Inquiry
Test 1: The Meaning of Life

 Matching (10 points): Match the key idea with the philosopher who used it. Put the appropriate letter in the blank space provided.

 1. _____ Plato A. "Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy."
2. _____ Socrates B. "…faith was the knowledge of the meaning of human life…"
3. _____ Russell C. Athens wrongly acted against philosophy by putting my teacher to death.
4. _____ Tolstoy D. "…give your whole attention to the question, "Is what I say just, or is it not?’"
5. _____ Camus E. "The true philosophic contemplation…finds its satisfaction in every enlargement of the not-Self…"

 True-False (50 points): Evaluate the following statements and write in the spaces provided the word "true" or the word "false" in accordance with your decision.

  1. __________ Philosophy can be broadly defined as an inquiry into the ultimate presuppositions of any field of inquiry.
  2. __________ Axiology is the branch of philosophy which includes logic and aesthetics
  3. __________ Metaphysics is the study of reality and asks the question what kinds of thing exist.
  4. __________ Epistemology is the study of how we can know that our beliefs are true.
  5. __________ One of the charges brought against Socrates is that he is a Sophist.
  6. __________ The Delphic Oracle stated that Socrates was ignorant and corrupted the youth of Athens.
  7. __________ According to Socrates, you should always do what is right or just—even if this action could cause your own death.
  8. __________ Socrates implies that sometimes you can make a good choice even though you are ignorant of what is in your best interest.
  9. __________ The primary reason Socrates does not plead for his life and seek exile is he realizes he could never escape.
  10. __________ Socrates denies that the soul is immortal because the soul of a person is changeable, and all changeable things are perishable.
  11. __________ Socrates notes that he is a gadfly—this statement means he annoys the prominent citizens of Athens by showing them that they do not know what they claim to know.
  12. __________ According to Russell, philosophy is the only study aiming primarily at knowledge.
  13. __________ Russell says that to determine the value of philosophy we need to free ourselves of the prejudices of practical people.
  14. __________ According to Russell, the chief value of philosophy lies in the greatness of the objects which it contemplates: that is, truth, reality, goodness, and beauty.
  15. __________ Russell states that the instinctive person seeks "enlargement of self."
  16. __________ One important value of philosophy, according to Russell, is to be sought in its uncertainty and the consequent reduction of dogmatism.
  17. __________ Both philosophy and science seek knowledge, but philosophy usually inquires into the assumptions upon which knowledge is built.
  18. __________ Russell implies that enlargement of self is achieved by a person of wide interests, reflective understanding, and tolerance.
  19. __________ At the beginning of his essay, Tolstoy writes that before his arrest of life, he thought "the truth" was that which was most comfortable for himself and his family.
  20. __________ Tolstoy’s arrest of life came about because he was too old to write great novels anymore.
  21. __________ Tolstoy believes that art can provide the answer to the meaning of life.
  22. __________ Tolstoy states that science cannot provide a meaning to life because science actually shows human life to be incomprehensible.
  23. __________ The meaning of faith, according to Tolstoy, is that faith is ultimately irrational.
  24. __________ The one truth that all know to be unavoidable, according to Tolstoy, is death.
  25. __________ Camus states that the only truly philosophic problem is whether of not God exists.
  26. __________ According to Camus, the sense of the Absurd arises when we are undermined and the impersonal nature of the universe clashes with our own subjectivity.
  27. __________ Camus believes that the goal of self-realization in the world is the ultimate program by which to achieve a meaningful existence.
  28. __________ The Absurd, as explained by Camus, is the recognition that no one can ever find value in life, and this is why suicide is a serious philosophic problem.
  29. __________ Camus states that I cannot impose value on my life unless significant others in the world can confer value to my life also.
  30. __________ According to Camus the meaning of human existence can only be obtained by identifying with roles of value in the world.

Essay (40 points): Clearly and completely explain your answers three of the following questions on a separate sheet of paper. State reasons for your philosophic position.

  1. What is the Socratic Paradox? What has Socrates spent his whole life doing? If I cheat on a test, graduate, and get a high-paying job, would Socrates say I have acted in my own self-interest? 
  2. What gives meaning to life according to Russell? Explain what he means by the philosophic mind. How does the philosophic mind differ from the practical mind?
  3. What gives meaning to life according to Tolstoy? Explain his answer clearly and completely.
  4. What is Camus’ answer to the meaning of life. Explain how is answer to life’s meaning is related to the notion of the Absurd. What is the Absurd?
  5. What is Socrates’ argument that death is a good? Why does not Socrates consider the existence of hell to be a real possibility?


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