PHIL-111 Final Exam Questions
1. Define Civil Disobedience and explain Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s five-point philosophy in favor of Civil Disobedience.
• According to Martin Luther King Jr.’s
term, I would define Civil disobedience as an action that publically we present
to our society that you will peacefully protest for an unfair law, which will
mean disobeying the current laws. King was a very big believer in social
change. He broke the laws to prove to the society that the laws they had in his
time were unfair. He came up with his own points of philosophy which are 1. It
is necessary for the preservation of our moral integrity. In his terms, to be a
leader in the civil rights movement, and encourage people to make a change, the
first act is breaking your good character and to break the law to support the
decision to follow an unjust or unfair law. 2. We have a duty to actively
combat immorality. If you are a person who does not act to a situation or
change, then you are supporting the unjust law. 3. Civil disobedience is a
means of social progress. The fact that these unjust law has manipulated
society, doesn’t mean the civil disobedience acts will affect their minds. 4.
There is often no practical alternative. Basically infers that these societal
problems are happening so frequent around the world, that the authorities are
unaware or either unconcerned about society’s problem’s today. 5. The
government often exceeds its own authority, or in other words, when the
government tries to step in, and take matters into their own hand which will
only make the situation worse.
2. How would a determinist reply to each of
the following statements? (a) “When I make a choice, I could have chosen
differently.” (b) “The fact that I have to deliberate before making a decision
proves that I am not determined.” (c) “It is impossible to predict another
• A determinist does not believe in the
act of free will. Therefore, If you are a determinist, you believe that
whatever you do, say, or think, is not an act of free will, but it is the fact
that it was already determined for you. Meaning, every action you make was a
path that god, or your fate already planned for you. (a) If someone said I
could have chosen differently; then a hard determinist would immediately argue
that your actions were predetermined. They would also say that you do not get
to choose your own actions. So if you chose to commit a crime, you would not be
judged for following the path you were predestined for. (b) A determinist would
reply to the question as, even if you have to deliberate your actions before
you choose them, the point is, whichever action you choose to do over another,
shows that you actually meant to choose the action you chose, over the other action.
So which leads to the thought that it is possible to predict your future event.
(c) A determinist would answer false to this question, one reason is that,
there is some neurological evidence that could determine what a person would do
in the next minute. But moreover, determinist can argue that human behaviors
can be predictable. For example, if you are seen as a very ambitious person in
life, then others can predict that you will become very successful, and would
end up following your goal, as you were meant to follow.
3. Discuss Locke’s View of how we arrive at
the knowledge of the nature of apples in terms of questions. (a) How do we get
from the simple ideas of sensation to the idea of “apple”? (b) How do we get
knowledge from a particular object such as apples than to the general idea of
apples? (c) which properties are associated with apples are primary qualities
and which are secondary qualities?
• Locke was a very strong believer in
empiricism. Locke truly believed that when you are born you are born with a
blank slate, or in other words, you are born with an empty mind. He does not
believe we arrived at the knowledge of human nature. (a) Locke describes his
two main ideas as simple and complex knowledge. Simple knowledge is the information
obtained from what we experience. In this case, according to Locke, there are
two sources of experience which include sensation and experience. If we are able to experience something by
either touching, feeling smelling. For example; If you touch a red or yellow
object, then you can feel it and it is firm, you can smell it and it is sweet,
and because it looks and smell good, then you are able to conclude that the
might taste good. (b) Using the idea of complex knowledge, Locke suggests if we
are able to determine different colors of apples, we are able to conclude that
there are green, red, and yellow apples in the world. Afterwards, you can
determine which apples are good to eat based on their color which leads into if
they are ripe or not. Furthermore, you can imagine the more complex ideas such
as how apples are made, or how they are sold and packaged in stores. (c) John
Locke had a very interesting idea determining reality into primary and
secondary qualities. Locke’s idea of a primary quality of an apple would be the
size of the apple, the amount, and the firmness. The secondary qualities are
the qualities we perceive about the apple, such as the color, the smell, and
4. Explain the principles of John Stuart Mill
uses to decide when we should be free to do as we please and when the
government is justified in controlling our actions. Provide examples of each
situation. Do the same for the issue of individual freedom of speech versus
government control of speech. Why does mill think that these principles are
• John Stuart Mill’s essay on Liberty
really expressed the idea that the freedom of speech for individuals is
necessary. One of his theory, the social utility theory, really expresses that
the amount of satisfaction you receive from the people. John Mill also had a
Harm principle. The harm principle states that the only time we should limit
the freedom, in which the government should step in is when one’s individual’s
actions are harming others. One example of the social utility principle is when
you are stuck on a decision. Something simple like deciding to give the class
homework or not to give the class homework. John Mill would want you to choose
the majority rule, which is not to do the homework because the class would be more
satisfied with that decision. The harm principle is much more complex.
According to Mill, you are able to express your idea but the line is cross when
someone is potentially expressing harm towards others. One example is our
philosophy in the market idea, screaming fire in the movie theater. Such action would cause the crowd to panic
causing people to run screaming, possibly trampling over others. However, Mill
does not care if your freedom would hurt one’s feelings, or offending someone.
Mill believes that these principles are best because he believes he the act of
having the freedom of speech would provide knowledge to the world, if we can
experience other perspectives, creating social progress so our society can
improve and give the people what they want.
5. Using the concepts of prior knowledge and a
posterior knowledge, discuss the difference between rationalism and empiricism.
• To obtain facts and skills, or
experience and information from the world is called knowledge. There are two
different types of knowledge priori knowledge and posteriori knowledge. A
priori is the ability to conclude something without experiencing the data. For
example, you cannot experience that two plus two is four. A posterior knowledge
is a knowledge that can only be obtained by experiencing it and seeing the
data. These two different types of knowledge bring open the two types of
philosophical beliefs which are rationalism and empiricism. The biggest
difference between these two ideas, are again, how you gain knowledge.
Empiricists believes that there are no ideas we are born with (such as John
Locke’s idea of a blank slate) or that all our ideas come from our senses, if
we can see it, hear it, touch it, feel it, we can conclude it is true. Also,
empiricist will determine that all of their reasoning should be inductive.
Rationalist are the complete opposite and will resolve something by using
reasoning. Therefore, if they are able to resolve a problem by using reasoning,
their conclusion will be certain and rationalist will believe in innate ideas.
To rationalist, they would most likely believe empiricist are prisoners ins
Plato’s Allegory because they do not want to believe something is true without
experiencing it. However, rationalist sometime needs to depend on empiricist in
order to gain knowledge, because how can you what comes next in a certain
pattern without learning how to acknowledge the rhythm it first?