PHIL 251: Intro. to Philosophy (Daniel) Test Questions:
Metaphysics
 

True/False (True=A; False=B)

 1. To ask whether whether a thing (e.g., the number "3" or an immaterial mind) really exists or only seems to exist is to engage in an ontological or metaphysical enquiry.

 2. Insofar as metaphysics is concerned with the fundamental principles of the nature of reality, it raises questions about whether God exists or why there is anything at all in the universe.

 3. "Does the number 3 exist?" is an ontological but not a metaphysical question because it asks about a being, not about being itself.

 4.  Materialism is the view that, because only physical matter and its properties exist, minds are merely manifestations of matter and are reducible to physical features.

 5. Metaphysical materialists claim that everything (except minds or ideas) is ultimately a physical or bodily thing.

 6. For presocratic thinkers like the Milesians, the primary focus of philosophy was the search for the fundamental stuff of the world in terms of which the world could be understood.

 7. By appealing to a constant material principle, Milesian thinkers (e.g., Thales, Anaximander) suggest that reality is ultimately intelligible only in terms of the changing world of sense experience.

 8. As in Anaximander's doctrine of justice or balance between hot and cold, wet and dry, Anaximenes attempts to explain how change occurs by means of his doctrine of condensation and rarefaction.
 
 9.  Though ontological dualists claim that only two kinds of things are real, they admit that mental and physical things can ultimately be reduced to one kind of reality.

 10. According to subjective idealism, there is no way to distinguish dreams or hallucinations from perceptions or experiences of what we call the "real" world.

 11. In Hegel's version of Absolute idealism, everything is real in virtue of its function in the process by which Absolute Mind comes to recognize itself in and through world history.

 12. Philosophical dualists like Descartes argue that mind and matter are fundamentally two different aspects of the same non-mental and non-physical substance.

 13. Metaphysical dualists (e.g., Descartes) argue in favor of their position by pointing out that both materialists and idealists are unable to explain how physical bodies and spiritual minds interact.

 14.  A philosophical idealist would claim that the difference between a real table and an imaginary one is that the real one is material or physical and the imaginary one exists only mentally.

 15. A philosophical idealist would claim that a table is a collection of ideas that are themselves said to exist only if there is some material or physical brain in which they reside.

 16. To say that materialism is a form of ontological monism means that it identifies what is real in terms of the practical (pragmatic) value of things.

 17. A philosophical materialist is someone who claims that all reality except for spiritual thoughts and emotions is nothing other than matter in motion.

  18. A philosophical materialist is someone who claims that all behavior (including inanimate and human behavior) is to be understood in terms of matter in motion.

 19. The problem of "other minds" is concerned with the question of how we can determine whether other human beings have minds.

 20. According to metaphysical or ontological behaviorism, all statements about minds, mental life, or mental events can be expressed in terms of behaviors.

 21. In B. F. Skinner's hard version of behaviorism, external behaviors are more real than the internal minds or mental events that the behaviors mirror or parallel.

 22. The metaphysical behaviorist says that since the self is merely a construct or bundle of perceptions, there must be a continuous substantial self that constructs the bundle.

 23. According to Gilbert Ryle, dualism is based on the mistake (a category mistake) of thinking that minds and bodies belong to different categories--when in fact they belong to the same one.

 24. Gilbert Ryle's characterization of dualism as the "ghost in the machine" theory attempts to show how dualism avoids making a category mistake.

 25. According to eliminative materialism, what has traditionally been referred to in mental terms should now be more properly characterized in physical (specifically, neurological) terms.

 26. According to neural identity theorists, the mind is not necessarily part of the brain but is certainly controlled and influenced by the brain.

 27. According to neural identity theorists, thoughts are physical events (specifically neural firings) in the brain.

 28. In mind-brain (or neural identity) theory, mental states or processes are simply physiological or neurological events or processes that occur in the brain.

 29. Eliminative materialists suggest that, for purposes of accuracy and clarity, we should limit our ways of speaking about mental events to purely materialistic terminology.

 30. To say that behaviorist accounts of consciousness are macro-level accounts (vs. micro-level accounts) means that thought is understood as a product of heredity rather than environment.

  31. The point of a Turing test is to show that, regardless of how sophisticated computers could become, they cannot ultimately be said to think.

 32. Philosophic pluralism argues that a universal or comprehensive truth about reality is purely subjective and relative to each person.

 33. Metaphysical dualists and pluralists can ultimately be identified as monists because both dualism and pluralism each end up saying that all reality is fundamentally one kind of thing.

 34. According to ontological pluralism, reality consists of a variety of things or different kinds of things that cannot be reduced to one or two categories.

 35. Aristotle's ontology exemplifies pluralism insofar as (for Aristotle) differences in the kinds or species of things change depending on how we decide to arrange them.

 36. Herman Hesse suggests that, as the word implies, behind each "persona" or "mask" is really an authentic self which neither society nor experiences can affect.

  37. According to philosophers (e.g., Karl Marx) who understand "self-identity" as a function of social definitions, the "egocentric predicament" is metaphysically unavoidable.
 

Multiple Choice

38. The question "What does it mean for something to exist?" is different from the question "What does it mean for us to know that something exists?"  The difference between the two questions highlights the difference between two branches of philosophy, namely:
 (a) epistemology and aesthetics.                               (b) epistemology and logic.
 (c) axiology and ontology/metaphysics.                     (d) ontology/metaphysics and epistemology.

39. Thales of Miletos proposed that everything in the world is ultimately made up of water.  In suggesting this way of thinking about the world, he displayed a shift in attitude away from mythic thinking to what became known as philosophy insofar as he attempted to provide:
 (a) a reason for why ice melts and for why steam condenses to form water.
 (b) a justification for substituting philosophy for myth.
  (c) an answer for why Anaximander's theory of "the Indeterminate" still had to rely on mythic concepts (like injustice and reparation) to explain change.
  (d) a way of making all things intelligible in terms of something constant and universal.

40. Metaphysics attempts to provide a rational explanation for why things in nature are the way that they are.  This is different from a mythic explanation, insofar as myth provides:
  (a) a way to act rather than a way to understand.              (b) a materialist rather than an idealist philosophy.
  (c) a natural account of supernatural events.                      (d) a supernatural account of how things come to be.

41. Even though Anaximander agrees with Thales that all things are real and intelligible in terms of a material principle, he argues that that principle cannot be water but rather must be the "Indeterminate," because:
  (a) anything with determinate characteristics (e.g., water) cannot be the ultimate principle in terms of which other contrary things (e.g., fire) are understood.
  (b) the Indeterminate or Unlimited is experienced by itself whenever any one of the other four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) is experienced.
  (c) it makes no sense to say that water is the ultimate metaphysical principle if it is possible that natural changes occur as a result of being "moved" by the gods that are in all things.
  (d) unlike water, the Indeterminate has specific characteristics (hot-cold, wet-dry, rough-smooth, light-dark) that are apparent in sense experience.

42. For Descartes, because the mental (spiritual) and the physical (material) can be conceived distinctly, there is good reason to think that they are really different kinds of things and are distinguishable insofar as:
  (a) mental things (e.g., ideas) exhibit characteristics that some bodies exhibit, just as physical things (e.g., brains) exhibit characteristics that some minds exhibit.
  (b) when compared to real, physical, sensibly experienced things in the world, mental things must ultimately be considered as imaginary or illusory.
  (c) mental things are not in space, they have no weight or shape and are not sensibly experienceable; whereas physical things do have these characteristics.
  (d) mental things (for example, my own ideas) are the only real things in the world; everything physical or bodily is really a projection of my own mind.

43. Mind-body interaction and the knowledge of other minds are problems for dualists like Descartes because they raise questions concerning:
  (a) how a purely spiritual thing known only through introspection can affect and be affected by a purely material thing known only through sensible observation.
  (b) whether one's mind or soul (which supposedly is free from being determined to think by material influences) can exist after other people or minds see that the body dies.
  (c) how a person can know what is going on in someone else's mind without being able to know whether there are any physical or bodily things in the world at all.
  (d) whether the dualist's belief in the existence of minds and bodies is based on first-person introspection or third-person observation.

44. Mind-body interaction and the knowledge of other minds are problems for dualists like Descartes because they raise a number of questions.  Which of the following IS NOT a typical objection to dualism:
  (a) how can a purely spiritual thing known only through introspection affect and be affected by a purely material thing known only through sensible observation?
  (b) how can a mind or soul exist after other people or minds see that the body dies?
  (c) how can a person know what is going on in someone else's mind or even whether other minds exist?
  (d) how can a human being, considered as one mind-body unity, have a body which is determined by physical laws and still have a mind or soul that is free?

45. Idealism explains physical reality as a function of thought just as materialism explains thought as a function of matter.  In this way both theories can reduce the physical or the mental to one monistic account, only by assuming a basic ontological distinction, namely that between:
 (a) appearance and reality.                   (b) truth and falsity.
 (c) reason and experience.                   (d) rationalism and empiricism.

46. If we say that thinking is a form of behavior characteristic of only biological beings, then we must conclude that, insofar as machines like computers do not exhibit biological characteristics, they do not think.  As functionalists suggest, the real issue about whether computers think would thus depend on resolving the prior question about:
  (a) whether or not machines can calculate or predict as well as human beings can.
  (b) whether thinking is inherently linked to having certain biological characteristics.
  (c) how computers lack the creativity of human thought, regardless of their speed or accuracy.
  (d) how thought is based on the rational examination of alternatives instead of random guesses.

47. Some have argued that even if a computer looked human and imitated emotions like love and fear, it would still not think, because it would have to rely on something else to bring it into existence (e.g., construction) and to maintain its ability to act (e.g., electricity).  However, this argument can be turned around to show that no human beings can be said to think, because:
  (a) thinking is not learned or programmed; it is what human beings do naturally.
  (b) human emotional activity is unconnected with rational or cognitive activity.
  (c) they cannot "imitate" emotions like love or fear as well as computers can.
  (d) they likewise do not cause their own existence and they depend on other sources of energy.

48. While behaviorism seems appropriate in explaining consciousness in other people, it seems inappropriate in accounting for self-consciousness.  For, if one were to give a behavioristic account of one's own thoughts or feelings (e.g., pain), one would merely be describing the behavior of experience or feeling instead of:
 (a) explaining to others what it was that one is describing.             (b) unconscious experiences or feelings.
 (c) actually experiencing or feeling itself.                                       (d) the physical aspects of mental events.

49. In Skinner's version of behaviorism, being human means nothing more than behaving in certain ways that we recognize as human.  The fact that humans behave and think in regular or predictable ways indicates that consciousness or thought itself should be understood as:
 (a) the external or observable sign of unperceivable mental activity.
 (b) observable behavior patterns (macro-events).
 (c) the neural events in the brain (micro-events).
 (d) the causes of behavior that themselves are not caused by other behaviors.

50. According to the hard behaviorism of B. F. Skinner, it is misleading (and, in fact, wrong) to talk of minds or mental events (e.g., having ideas or intentions) because such things:
 (a) are spiritual entities and cannot be described in physical terms.
 (b) are accessible (introspectively) only to the person speaking and not to anyone else.
 (c) simply do not exist.
 (d) cannot be explained by the behaviorist other than in dualistic terms.
 
51. In Gilbert Ryle's behaviorism, we can say that there are things like minds and intentional states, as long as we recognize that the distinction between mental and physical is only a logical (not an ontological) distinction.  Without this distinction (he claims) we could not differentiate between:
 (a) hard and soft behaviorism.                           (c) behaviors and dispositions to behave.
 (b) intentional and accidental behaviors.             (d) observable and non-observable behaviors.

52. Some behaviorists have suggested that, even though computers have to be programmed and are not living organisms, that does not rule out the possibility that they can think.  The fact that we cannot distinguish between some computer behaviors and the behaviors of children and some adults indicates that our exclusion of computers from the category of thinking things is due simply to:
  (a) a choice to limit how we think or talk about thinking beings only to unprogrammed, living organisms.
  (b) a category mistake in which computers are inappropriately placed in the category of thinking things.
  (c) a justified rejection of the behaviorist assumption that everything (including thought) can be explained behaviorally.
  (d) our recognition that, because organisms are not genetically programmed like computers, they (unlike computers) are alive.

53. According to Ryle, dualists like Descartes fall into a category mistake when they attempt to explain the relation of the human body to the mind.  The problem, Ryle points out, is that the mind cannot affect the body and the body cannot affect the mind because:
 (a) the pineal gland is physical and therefore cannot be a point of spiritual contact.
 (b) the behavior of a mind cannot be detected as easily as the behavior of the body.
 (c) unlike bodies, minds are not things at all.
 (d) the human body is a theoretical entity which the mind identifies in terms of a particular linguistic behavior.

54. The behaviorist's approach to the question of the relationship of mind and body avoids problems normally associated with dualism, insofar as the behaviorist:
  (a) treats dualism simply as a feature or aspect of the body.
  (b) treats both mind and body as things that interact with one another but according to different laws.
  (c) treats the mind and body as different ways of talking about persons rather than different things needing to be associated.
  (d) treats the mind and body as different forms of behavior of some third kind of thing.

55. If human beings are products of their environment and conditioning (as Skinner claims), how can they be held responsible for their actions (if they were not "free" to have done otherwise)?
  (a) It only seems that people are not free; in fact, they can change their behavior if they really want to if they truly set their minds to it.
  (b) Human nature (determined genetically) restricts the options that human beings have in acting, but by holding people responsible we can change human nature.
  (c) Holding someone responsible for an action means reinforcing desirable behavior, not as a reward for past actions but to cause someone to act in desirable ways in the future.
  (d) The task of behaviorism is to recognize how the concepts of freedom and dignity have contributed to an improvement in the human condition by changing behaviors.

56. One objection raised against reductive materialism is the following: Though the attempt to give a purely physical description of so-called mental states (e.g., having ideas) might have some merit, such an account does not seem to be able to explain emotional states (e.g., being in love), artistic judgments, or social states like being married.  To this objection the materialist might respond:
  (a) the materialist account of reality is not intended to explain every aspect of existence, but only those things that everyone already acknowledges as being physical.
  (b) though it might sound unromantic or too scientific, artistic, emotional, and social pronouncements nonetheless refer to nothing more than bodies in motion.
  (c) emotional, aesthetic, and social judgments are really spiritual (non-physical) events or activities that are caused ultimately by physical events or activities.
  (d) whether we say that such judgments or states are spiritual or physical is irrelevant from a practical standpoint if it makes no difference in how we live our lives.

57. Some critics of materialism argue that materialists cannot account in physical terms for emotions or social or legal relations (such as being married).  But materialists would reply that this is no real problem for them, since emotions and social/legal relations are simply:
  (a) bodily phenomena, behaviors, or physical arrangements.
  (b) physical manifestations of real spiritual (immaterial) events.
  (c) mental states that are correlated with (though not identical to) brain states or behaviors.
  (d) not explainable terms of metaphysics since they are not real (that is, they do not exist).

58. According to mind-brain or neural identity theory, mental events are electro-chemical events in the brain.  From such a perspective, to say that a person has a mind, then, would mean that:
 (a) the person exhibits behaviors that indicate that the person is alive.
 (b) the person's mind causes a complex and measurable pattern of neural activity.
 (c) the person has a complex brain and/or nervous system.
 (d) actual neuron firings in the brain demonstrate the presence of a spiritual consciousness.

59. Mind-brain or neural-identity theorists acknowledge that to say that someone has an idea or experiences an emotion obviously does not mean the same thing as saying that a neuron is firing in the person's brain.  However, they argue, this fact does not rule out the possibility that the two ways of speaking can be correlated, as long as we recognize that they both ultimately refer to:
 (a) the observable behavior of the person.                     (c) what the person thinks is really happening.
 (b) non-observable mental/spiritual events.                     (d) micro-observable, neurological events.

60. Critics of the mind-brain identity theory object that equating mental states with neural events does not rule out the possibility that mental events might still be different from physiological events.  That is, to assert that mental events are only neural events, one would have to prove that there is no such thing as a mental event.  But that could not be done simply by limiting one's account to neural events, because:
 (a) mental events might actually be neural events.
 (b) physical events are never neural events.
 (c) neural and mental events might be correlated without being identical.
 (d) neural events, like mental events, are physiological activities of the brain.

61. For Aristotle, kinds or species of things are distinguished from one another in a way that is different from how things in the same kind or species are distinguished from one another.  How?
  (a) The essence or form of a thing distinguishes it from other kinds or species, but its matter distinguishes it from other members of the same species.
  (b) The essence or form of a thing distinguishes it from other members of the same species, but its matter distinguishes it from other kinds or species.
  (c) The essence or form of a thing has nothing to do with distinguishing its kind or species; its matter is what distinguishes it both as a kind and as an individual.
  (d) The matter of a thing has nothing to do with distinguishing its kind or species; its form or essence is what distinguishes it both as a kind and as an individual.

62. In terms of ontology, "ordinary language" theorists claim that the best way to address the issue of how we should speak about the nature of reality is to see how we, in fact, ordinarily speak about something's being real.  If we ordinarily say that something is real in one context and that it is not real in another context, then (according to these theorists):
 (a) one of these ways of speaking simply must be wrong.
 (b) the reality of the thing is determined (according to naive realism) by its essence or form.
 (c) that context in which there is the most physical reality should be more important.
 (d) we must recognize how what we mean by the reality of the thing itself can change.
 

Answers:
 
1.  A
2.  A
3.  B
4.  A
5.  B
6.  A
7.  B
8.  A
9.  B
10.  B
11.  A
 
12.  B
13.  B
14.  B
15.  B
16.  B
17.  B
18.  A
19.  A
20.  A
21.  B
22.  B
 
23.  B
24.  B
25.  A
26.  B
27.  A
28.  A
29.  A
30.  B
31.  B
32.  B
33.  B
 
34.  A
35.  B
36.  B
37.  B
38.  D
39.  D
40.  D
41.  A
42.  C
43.  A
44.  B
 
45.  A
46.  B
47.  D
48.  C
49.  B
50.  C
51.  B
52.  A
53.  C
54.  C
55.  C
56.  B
57.  A
58.  C
59.  D
60.  C
61.  A
62.  D