Define theory

1. Define theory. Describe the differences between the four types of statements theories make, open/closed theories. Explain how the scientific method works and how a scientific theory is different from a philosophical or religious one (we’ll have a lecture on this second part about a week before the exam is due, it does not come from the reading).
set of related concepts; four types of statements: value, analytic, empirical, metaphysical; 2-3 signs of a closed system (attacking the critic’s motives, explaining away, provide examples); scientific method: objective evidence tested by empirical means, theories build on data and make falsifiable predictions (in some cases, especially the social sciences, probability of finding a treatment effect by chance), replication, opinion vs. evidence


2. In Hindu belief, what is the connection between you, your pen or pencil, and the idea represented by this question? Discuss.
discuss nature of universe, human nature, Brahman, atman, realization of true nature, karma, Shankara vs. Ramanuja interpretations


3. Define and discuss the implications of free will and determinism in relation to God.
background nature of the universe/creator, original sin, view of free will in Christianity, why free will is important, what the logical problem is if God is all-powerful and perfect


4. Identify the six pillars of Islam and what role some Islamic scholars view science has to play.
the first is from the lecture and can be found in an encyclopedia if you missed it; the second comes from the assigned reading and involves a discussion of the complementarity of science/faith

Plato (two parts / total 1 page)

5a. What is Plato’s vision of the best societal arrangement for human beings?
describe the forms and what they are, esp. moral/political, 5 types of government, what type Plato wants, how this type is special, who is in charge, what are the other levels to its government, how dissenters would be treated, why philosophers wouldn’t be corrupted, education

5b. What is human nature for Plato?
describe mind/body dualism, the components of mind (appetite, reason, spirit)


6. What, according to Marx, would be the best societal arrangement for human beings? What are his justifications for such an arrangement?
discuss alienation, progression of human history, revolutions, proletariat and bourgeois, labor and production in 19th c. capitalism, how things would be different under communism and why this would be better


7. Describe Freud’s personality structures.
id, ego, superego, how they relate to unconscious, role of childhood development, where happiness and discontent originate, discuss Freud’s notions of dysfunctional balances in the mind, dysfunction in society


8. What does Sartre have to say about freedom of choice, how does he prove it, and what does Sartre have to say about how this applies to ethical decisions that people are faced with?
role of atheism for Sartre, freedom of choice AND the relation to ethics, what the consequences of this are (good/bad faith)

Darwinian theory

9. What is the importance of environment and the role of free will for Skinner? How does this contrast with other Darwinian perspectives?
principles of behaviorism, conditioning, importance (or not) of mind for Skinner; discuss Lorenz too


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