Exam Preview

The final exam will have two sections: Definitions and Essays. In the first section, you will be given a list of terms; you must provide definitions of all of them. In the second section, you will be given essay topics divided into two groups; you must write an essay on exactly one (1) topic from each group. That is, you will write a total of two essays, one from each group.

The lists below of terms to be defined, and of essay prompts, are longer than the lists you will find on the final exam. However, the final exam will not include any terms to be defined, or essay prompts, other than those listed below.

1. Definitions

Define all of the following terms. 2-3 sentences will suffice for each.

Method of doubt

Cogito ergo sum (explain meaning & significance)


Idealism (Berkeley)

Primary and secondary properties

Problem of induction

Relation of ideas/matter of fact

Moore shift


Gettier case

Reductionism/anti-reductionism (testimony)

Transmission thesis (testimony)


Gettier case.

A Gettier case is a type of counterexample to the analysis of knowledge as justified true belief (JTB). More specifically, it is a counterexample to the sufficiency of JTB for knowledge: in a Gettier case, someone has a justified true belief that p, but (intuitively) does not know that p.

2. Essays

A. Write an essay responding to one (1) of the following prompts.

i. What is Hume's argument against induction? How does it relate to Lewis Carroll's "What the Tortoise Said to Achilles"? Explain one other response to the problem of induction.

ii. Explain Stroud's reconstruction of Descartes' dreaming argument. Explain and assess Stroud's preferred response to the dreaming argument.

iii. Present one of Berkeley's arguments against mind-independent matter. Present and evaluate one objection to it.

B. Write an essay responding to one (1) of the following prompts.

i. Explain the "Moore shift". Is it a satisfying or convincing response to skepticism? Why or why not? What is the connection between the Moore shift and fallibilism?

ii. Explain the challenge Gettier poses to the JTB analysis of knowledge. Explain one standard response to the Gettier problem, and present an objection to that response.

iii. Explain the difference between Hume's and Reid's views on testimony. Present an argument for the Reidian position, and present and evaluate an objection to that argument.