Phil. 26: Third Essay Exam             



Procedure: This exam consists of two parts: an essay and 3 short answer questions. The two parts of the exam should be word processed and stapled together with your name and section # on the first page of the exam. Do not put the exam into any sort of folder. Place ther exam into my Lock Box which is outside my office (Mendocino 3024) or slide it under my office door or hand it to the Philosophy department secretary (Mendocino 3000) by the due date and time, which is by 12 pm in the afternoon of Wednesday, May 13th. Absolutely no late exams will be accepted.


Part 1: Answer each part of this question. Do not include any extraneous information. Follow the format indicated below for writing philosophy papers and base your answers on my lectures in conjuction with the reading. If you do not begin your essay as indicated in the format directions below, you will lose 15 points at the outset. The essay should be about 2 ˝ to 3 double-spaced pages. It is worth 70 points.


In the Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals, Kant gives two examples, one of a self-interested shopkeeper (p. 76, left hand column), the other of a reluctant benefactor (p.77, left hand column). The examples are intended to distinguish between an act done out of desire, such as the desire to retain one’s customers, and acts done out of duty.

1. Briefly describe each of these examples.

2. What conclusion about moral worth does Kant use these examples to illustrate?

3. Give your own example of a moral act that could be done either out of the desire to make someone else happy or out of duty.

4. Do you agree with Kant that if your perform the action in your example out of duty, then the act has more moral worth than it would have if you were to perform it out of the desire to make someone else happy. If you agree, say why you agree. If you disagree, say why you disagree.


Format for Part I:

            1. Open your discussion by restating the question, saying which part of the question you will discuss first, which part second, and so on. Answer the parts of the question in the order in which they are posed.

            2. Use quotes only where appropriate to substantiate, illustrate, or amplify what you are saying. Put in parentheses the page number of the text where the quote can be found. Be sure to quote accurately.

            3. Use the first person when you give and defend your opinion in (4) of the question.

4. Connect your paragraphs in a logical way, even if that means that you have to say something like “Having discussed x, I will now consider y,” where “x” and “y” stand for parts of the question.

            5. Close with a paragraph that summarizes your entire discussion. That is, repeat the parts of the question that you have answered, saying that you have answered each part.

            6. Use a dictionary to look up words whose meaning or spelling you are unsure of and pay attention to word usage, sentence structure, consistency in verb tenses and subject-predicate agreement. You will be marked down for poor spelling and grammar in addition to the 15 points for not following the format directions.

            7. Bibliography or footnotes are not required unless you consult outside sources. Please consult the plagiarism rules on the syllabus because any kind of cheating will earn you an F in the course.


             Part II: Answer each part of the three following questions. This part of the exam is worth 30 points. and each part of each answer should be no more than a paragraph. In some cases a single sentence will suffice but not in all cases.


            1. Hume’s view of the self is opposed to Descartes’ view. Descartes believes that “self” refers to a thinking substance or entity.

                        a. How does Hume attack Descartes’ idea of self as a thinking substance or entity?

             b. Briefly explain how in Hume’s view the fictitious idea of a simple, identical self arises from the features of resemblance and causation.

2. In working out the Categorical Imperative, which is in Kant’s view the fundamental principle of morality, Kant starts from the idea of a good will.

He says that a good will]is the only thing good without qualification.

            a. How does Kant support the claim that the good will is the only thing good without qualification?

            b. What is the connection between a good will and duty?

3. For Kant there is a difference between a morally indifferent act and an action that has true moral worth.

            a. What makes the two kinds of act different? (Hint: Is it the purposes for which the acts are undertaken or is it what the acts are done out of?)

            b. Does this difference mean that we cannot enjoy acting from duty? Explain why or why not.