I. william James -The Varieties of Religious Experience (New York: The Library of America,2009). 1. How is the “healthy-minded” distinguished from the “sick soul”? 2. What is Peirce’s “pragmatic maxim” (p. 399) and how does it function in Varieties of Religious Experience? 3. In general, what does James mean by “religion”? What are some examples of non-religious attitudes? Does religion require a reference to God? 4. What role do religious doctrines play in James? 5. What do religion and morality have in common (p. 44)? 6. What is the sick soul’s attitude toward suffering and evil? 7. What symptoms characterize the sick soul? 8. What is the relation between a person’s temperament and their metaphysics? Is metaphysics a purely rational affair? 9. What, for James, is “the real core of the religious problem” (p. 151)?10. What does James mean by “subliminal” self? 11. What are the two pathways by which the divided self is reconciled (p. 192)? Is the reconciliation complete? 12. Is the healing of the sick soul a completely rational process (p. 171)? 13.What role does the “habitual center of personal energy” (p. 183) play in religious conversion? II. Rorty and pragmatism1. What, for Rorty, should take the place of religious Truth? 2. What idea should the polytheist give up (p. 30)? 3. For Rorty, how are physicists like priests? 4. What does Rorty mean by “Platonism” and why is he opposed to it? 5. What of Christianity does Rorty believe should be preserved? 6. How does democracy support “anti-representationalism”? 7. What is Rorty’s attitude toward James’ split between intellect and emotion? 8. What does Rorty believe Plato’s fundamental mistake was (p. 39)? 9. What is Rorty’s attitude toward scientific theory? How does this influence his criticism of James? III. General Essay Questions(be specific, in essay form)1. Outline the steps of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. How do the steps of Augustine’s inward turn following his reading of the books of the Platonists parallel these steps? What in Augustine is lacking in Plato? 2. How would William James understand Augustine’s conversion? Outline the steps Augustine takes to be important in his coversion, and apply James’ theory to them. Which do you think is correct: Augustine’s account or James’? 3. What does Rorty mean by “anti-representationalism”? Why does he criticize “Platonism”? On Rorty’s terms, could Descartes be considered a Platonist? Why or why not? 4. Descartes’ Meditations aim at establishing a real distinction between mind and body. What does Descartes mean by “mind,” and how does he establish its identity and existence? What are the parallels between Plato’s arguments for the immortality of the soul in Phaedoand Descartes? 5. One group with which Augustine was associated was the Academic Skeptics. What did this group believe, and why did Augustine break with them? Is Descartes’ skepticism the same as the Academics’? Why or why not? How, finally, does Augustine defeat skepticism? Do you believe skepticism is a viable philosophy? 6. Write an essay in which you give the basics of Plato’s worldview and contrast it with Aristotle’s. If forced to choose, would you be a Platonist or an Aristotelian? 7. One concept constantly used by philosophers is that of “substance.”Explain what Aristotle means by substance, its relation to the four causes, and his difference from Plato’s theory of Ideas. Descartes also uses the language of substance. How does his usage differ from Aristotle’s? 8. Discuss the relation between Plato’s theory of Ideas and his arguments for the immortality of the soul. How does his theory of knowledge as recollection support his beliefs about the origin and destiny of the soul? Does Augustine agree with Plato on these topics? Why or why not? 9. Socrates is the beginning of Western philosophy. What do you think makes Socrates important? Be as precise as possible, referring to specific events in his life. Of Augustine or Descartes, could either be said to be Socratic? Why? If not Socratic, how does either differ from Socrates? 10.Traditionally, human persons are thought to be composed of body and soul (or mind). Choose three philosophers we’ve read this semester and compare their theories of the human person. Which theory is most adequate? 11.Philosophy is the love of wisdom. Using three philosophers we’ve read, say which comes closest to showing the way to wisdom, and why the other two are inadequate. 12.A common criticism of philosophy is that it’s abstract and disengaged from “real life.” Is this criticism valid? Why or why not? 13.One standard interpretation of Descartes is that he begins modern philosophy by displacing metaphysics from its position as the most important philosophical discipline and replaces it with the theory of knowledge. Is this interpretation justified? Why or why not? In your answer, be sure two discuss two philosophers other than Descartes.
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