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Final Exam Study Guide

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Author: Jeff Speaks
possible test questions

On the final exam, you’ll be given four questions from the following list, and asked to answer three of them.

  1. Explain Mackie’s version of the problem of evil, and the free will defense. What assumptions about free will does the free will defense rely on, and why? Is the free will defense a partial solution of the problem of evil, a full solution, or neither?
  2. Explain the assumptions in the following argument and say what, if anything, is wrong with it: “If there's something God can't do, then God is not omnipotent. Either God can make a stone which can’t lift, or he can't. Either way there's something he can’t do; so God is not omnipotent.”
  3. Explain Edwards’ argument that free will is incompatible with divine foreknowledge, and the responses to that argument which you think are most convincing. Are any of the responses, in the end, successful?
  4. Explain Newcomb's problem, and explain the arguments in favor of one-boxing and of two-boxing. Which is more convincing? Why?
  5. What assumptions must we make about the distribution of money in the two envelopes in order to generate the two-envelope paradox? Consider the versions of the case in which you choose one of the two envelopes, and say whether you should switch in the case in which your envelope is opened, the case in which the other envelope is opened, and the case in which neither is opened. Defend your answer. Does this involving giving up the Dominance Principle? Why or why not?
  6. When Sleeping Beauty is awoken on Day 1, what probability should she assign to the sentence “The coin flip on Day 1 came up heads”? Explain the main arguments in favor of 12 and 13, and say what you think is wrong with the arguments which oppose your view.
  7. Explain why the lottery paradox seems to show that we know much less than one might have thought. Explain what you take to be the most promising response to the paradox, and evaluate that response.
  8. Explain the sorites paradox, and say what you think the correct solution to the paradox is. Say why you think that your solution is better than at least two of the other competing solutions to the paradox discussed in class.
  9. What is the difference between the Liar sentence and the Strengthened Liar? Why is the latter thought to pose more difficult problems than the former? Explain the argument by which the Strengthened Liar seems to lead to a contradiction. Are there any questionable steps in this argument? Which ones?
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