Final Exam

Part I: Short Answer Questions

Please identify or explain the following in 50 words or less. Each answer is worth seven points.

  1. Eternal law
  2. Divine Law
  3. Natural Law (Aquinas, not Hobbes)
  4. Cartesian dualism
  5. Lay out Descartes’s ontological argument. You need not evaluate the argument; simply give the premises and the conclusion.
  6. Descartes's "evil genius"
  7. Why does Hobbes think that sovereign powers should not be divided?

Part II: Essay Questions

Please answer two and only two of the following three essay questions. Please put the numbers of the questions you are answering on the front of your first blue book. Each answer is worth 25 points.

  1. Close readers of Descartes's Meditations often claim that his project to ground all human knowledge is vitiated by a circle in his argument. Based on your own reading of the Meditations and on what was said in class, indicate where Descartes's argument lapses into circularity and how this leads to the collapse of his project.
  2. Explain as clearly as you can what conditions Hobbes thinks would prevail in the state of nature and why they would prevail there. Then explain what Hobbes thinks people in the state of nature would do to avoid those conditions. Next, explain social conditions Hobbes thinks could lead to a return to the state of nature in the England of his day and what solution is implied by his discussion of the state of nature. Finally, indicate whether you think absolute sovereignty is necessary in our own day and why.
  3. Thomas Hobbes and the Grand Inquisitor seem to have much in common. Both seem to have a bleak view of human beings, both defend powerful and undemocratic institutions, and both think that religion is a powerful instrument rulers can use to pacify the ruled. Lay out as clearly as you can Hobbes's and the Inquisitor's views of human nature, the institutions under which human beings are suited to live and the place of religion in such institutions. Indicate, as you do so, significant similarities and dissimilarities between the two. Finally, indicate where you think either or both are right on these three matters, and where you think either or both are wrong, being sure to support your answers.
Citation: Weithman, P. (2006, September 19). Final Exam. Retrieved October 25, 2014, from Notre Dame OpenCourseWare Web site:
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