Modern European Philosophy Exam Reviews


The exam consists of multiple choice and short answer questions.  For the multiple choice, study the lecture notes using the topic summaries below as a guide.  For the short answers, pick four central concepts from the list at the end of the topic summaries and write a half page for each in the spaces provided demonstrating that you 1) understand the meaning of the concept, 2) can connect it to other material from the class, and 3) can apply it to examples.

AvicennaOrigins & History of European Philosophy: philosophy as thinking about thinking, opposition of belief & doubt, dogmatism & skepticism, knowledge & wisdom, innovations in the Tang & Song dynasties of China, Chinese mechanics, Islamic algebra, Al Kindi & science, Al Farabi & imagination, Avicenna’s floating man & psychology, Analytic & Continental split after Kant, exclusive objectivity vs collective subjectivity, science vs art, logical vs personal, clarity vs complexity, counter traditions of Utilitarianism & Pragmatism

SpinozaRationalism: opposition to Empiricism, reason reveals the universal, threat of skepticism, Descartes & deceiving demon, dualism of body & material mechanics vs mental & spiritual freedom, self-certainty leading to mathematics and God, Spinoza & community vs heresy, attack on Descartes’ dualism, pantheism, waves on the ocean, determinism & illusion of freedom, Leibniz & binary system influenced by China, best of all possible worlds, pre-established harmony of monads, principle of identity/noncontradiction, principle of identity of indiscernibles, principle of sufficient reason, sublime spirits vs Empiricist dogs

HumeEmpiricism: Locke & political rights with checks & balances, child as blank slate, continuity of consciousness as identity, primary vs secondary qualities, knowledge as probable and complex, Hume & all conceptions are assumptions/habits/prejudices, impressions & ideas, billiard table and causation, knight & dragon of skepticism, reason more doubtful than sensation, skepticism vs passion & employment

Kant paintingIdealism: Berkeley & immaterialism, apple as thing & fruit in the mind, Johnson kicking the rock, substance as perception, recognition of others’ ideas, Kant & universal morality, thing-in-itself, a priori vs a posteriori, analytic vs synthetic, the synthetic a priori, transcendent vs transcendental, understanding vs reason, categories of cause & substance, freedom to be objective, island in the sea, ought & is

HegelPhenomenology: Fichte & noumena as phenomena, self-consciousness as social construct, intersubjectivity, assertion of Das Ich & resistance, German nationalism, Schelling & opposition of expansion & contraction, negation & mediation, Hegel & French Revolution, dialectic & synthesis, semblance, sublation, self-completing skepticism, determinate negation, contradiction as life, three stages of history, master & slave, sense-certainty to perception to essences to final system, Merleau-Ponty & corporeal subjectivity, partiality of perspective, open world, Lakoff’s hard-wired metaphors

SchopenhauerPessimism: Romantics & German Pessimism, Schopenhauer & will, thought as motivated, individuation of abstraction, science vs art, history of village & empire, living irrational world, Upanishads & Buddhism, knot of the world, pendulum of boredom & pain, music, animals knowing their names, Kierkegaard & the solitary individual, unorthodox subjective Christianity, traitor vs spy, Socrates & Irony, no objective determination, leap of faith, choosing oneself

Nietzsche painting munchNietzsche: Opposition to nationalism, Apollonian vs Dionysian, Heraclitus & apes, philosophy as personal interpretation, reality as individual construction, right to fault & contradiction, distrusting oneself, conflict as desirable, creativity as virtue, mind as plurality of drives, fictions of language & logic, self-deception good & bad, life-affirming vs life-denying, revenge & pity, resentiment, Jesus as immoralist, the superman

Avicenna’s Floating Man

Descartes’ Deceiving Demon

Spinoza’s Waves on the Ocean

Spinoza’s Illusion of Freedom

Locke’s Blank Slate

Locke’s Identity as Continuity of Consciousness

Locke’s Primary Qualities

Hume’s Billiard Table

Berkeley’s Apple

Kant’s Synthetic A Priori

Fichte’s Das Ich

Hegel’s Dialectic & System

Hegel’s Master & Slave

Merleau-Ponty’s Perspective

Schopenhauer’s Ship

Kierkegaard’s Solitary Spy

Nietzsche’s Apollo vs Dionysus

Nietzsche’s Morality vs Nihilism

Nietzsche’s Superman



ATTENTION: The Final Exam will start at 7:15pm, not 6:30pm, on Thursday the 26th of May

The exam consists of multiple choice and short answer questions.  For the multiple choice, study the lecture notes using the topic summaries below as a guide.  For the short answers, pick four central concepts from the list at the end of the topic summaries and write a half page for each in the spaces provided demonstrating that you 1) understand the meaning of the concept, 2) can connect it to other material from the class, and 3) can apply it to examples.

Heidegger walking in the woodsExistentialism: Heidegger & setting sail, thrownness, Dasein, closed vs uncanny, revealing as concealing, horizon & death, dwelling vs fleeing, authenticity, metaphysics vs hermeneutics, focus & articulation, tools & social roles as extension of self, the unthought, issues & time, symbiosis of self & world, distancing, the They, moods, fear & anxiety, support of Nazis, Sartre & Camus, cafe waiter, racism, bad faith, de Beauvoir & woman as Other, Existential Feminism, Fanon & Postcolonialism

russellLogical Positivism: Comte & verified science vs opinion & nonsense, unified coherent science, three stages of history, Sociology & mathematics, Russell & axioms vs grounded mathematics, mathematicians vs philosophers, problem of induction, whittling down to universal principles, Wittgenstein & early logic vs the Vienna Circle, search for rhino, world as facts, oven & carbon, lure of the secret cellar, explanation vs description, subjective & objective together, language games & forms of life, rules variously interpreted, child at the blackboard, descriptions add complexity, Vienna Circle pamphlet, Ayer & weak verificationism, Common Language Movement & turn to common sense, Moore & the lights of Wheeler Hall

Cornel West Hannover GermanyUnitarianism & Pragmatism: Mill & progressive rights, utilitarianism, long & social view, no hard sciences, no first principles, bad as good example, Pragmatism & late Wittgenstein, Peirce & belief as willing to act, fallibilism, three categories, James & no objective truth, functionalism, stream of consciousness, Dewey & progressive diverse education, truth vs inquiry, affecting & being affected, philosopher’s fallacy, three stages of history, Rorty & Neopragmatism, problem with the mirror metaphor, society as open conversation, taking metaphors too literally, similarity of early Heidegger & late Wittgenstein, West & master mappers, demythologizing theory, disconnected academia & activism

Thomas KuhnPhilosophy of Science: Kuhn & paradigm shift, normal vs revolutionary science, textbooks normalize science, Popper & falsifiability, open society vs metaphysics, joke vs poker, Feyerabend & epistemological anarchism, democratization of science, localized practices, no unified pragmatic method, detailed human thought, “prescientific” as foot-binding, contradicting accepted theory, taboo reactions, separation of science and state, Latour & Antimodernism, outlying data & orthodox theory, Moderns, myth & idol of icy reason, Portuguese & African fetishes, Helvetius & equal mental capacity

foucault ponders parisStructuralism & Poststructuralism: Marx & social class, Freud & satisfaction vs repression, Saussure & signs, arbitrariness vs motivated onomatopoeia & portmanteau, Levi-Strauss & three loves, the practical & symbolic, relationships of relationships, exchange, totemism, mythemes, myth as expression of contradiction, debate with Sartre, Lacan & self-image, narcissism, paranoia, the Real, Barthes & the death of the author, criticism of the ‘natural’, wrestling, Operation Margarine, Paris Match cover, depoliticized speech, Foucault & distrusting binary oppositions & institutions, knowledge as power, the Panopticon, capillary level & marginalization

Donna_HarawayPostmodernism: Lyotard vs thought as language, metanarrative vs micronarratives, obsession with precision, cure vs symptom, Deleuze & identity as difference, repetition, concepts vs systems, ideals as useful, Marx & Freud as lenses, Baudrillard & consumption, nihilism, the Hyperreal, simulacra, ecstatic acceptance, Haraway & cyborgs, hybridity, Derrida & freeplay, incoherent center, recentering, ethnocentrism, scandal of incest, displacement, debate with Searle

Heidegger’s Horizon

Heidegger’s Authenticity

Heidegger’s Unthought

Heidegger’s Symbiosis

Sartre’s Bad Faith

de Beauvoir’s Existential Feminism

Fanon’s Postcolonialism

Comte’s Sociology

Wittgenstein’s Oven

Wittgenstein’s Blackboard

Mill’s Utilitarianism

Peirce’s Pragmatism

James’ Functionalism

Dewey’s Philosopher’s Fallacy

Rorty’s Open Conversation

West’s Demythologizing Theory

Kuhn’s Paradigm Shift

Popper’s Falsifiability

Feyerabend’s Anything Goes

Saussure’s Arbitrariness

Levi-Strauss’ Symbolic

Lacan’s Self-Image

Barthes’ Death of the Author

Barthes’ Magazine Cover

Foucault’s Knowledge/Power

Foucault’s Panopticon

Lyotard’s Metanarrative

Deleuze’s Repetition

Baudrillard’s Hyperreal

Haraway’s Cyborgs

Derrida’s Freeplay

Derrida’s Scandal of Incest

Derrida vs Searle

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