I will be brief for most of the questions. And, as announced, I won’t be posting the questions since you were allowed to take them out of the exam hall (so please don’t email me to ask for them).
On second thoughts, I will be discarding both Question 3 and Question 21 (see my explanations below). Consequently, the final exam will be upon 28 marks, for 40% of your final grade. (For an explanation of the practice, see this.)
I originally didn’t want to release the percentiles, but since quite a few asked, and I did release them in the past, so here they are. The 75th, 50th, and 25th percentile scores are 20, 17 and 14 (after discarding the two questions). The highest is a full 28 (there’s only one).
A small bunch of students didn’t shade their student numbers properly–but it wasn’t difficult to figure them out by looking up the master list. And a couple of bubble forms were somewhat messy (because the eraser wasn’t able to cleanly rub off a previous answer), so we visually inspected them to make sure. Everyone’s form is accounted for with no further issues.
Click through to see…
- Question 1
Option B (66.4%). As announced during the exam itself, “…conform to their [=the citizens’] moral beliefs…” Options A and D are wrong because we don’t know enough about Paullo’s moral beliefs. Option C is wrong since Utilitarianism is itself a form of Consequentialism (yes, it’s meant to be a giveaway). So Option B is the only one that works. Do keep firmly in mind that the question is asked from the point of “Assuming that Paullo’s information is accurate…”
- Question 2
Option C (63.7%). There isn’t enough information to draw the conclusions that Gene, Tess or Dave drew. A good number (28.9%) selected Option A, but what he said is entirely compatible with his holding a weird (even repugnant) set of deontological duties. What Dave said was weird, as many of you saw. For one thing, he misreported what Gene said (which already counts against him). In any case, it’s not true that Madson is either a deontologist of some sort, or a Utilitarian of some sort—there isn’t enough information for us to draw either conclusion.
- Question 3 (DISCARDED)
I tried salvaging this one but on second thoughts, it’s better to discard.
Reasoning in favor of Option D (48.3%). The question text states that it was because of her moral belief that it is wrong to kill animals for food, that Dillows expressed a rare disagreement with Mayor Paullo’s plan to build the factory farm. In other words, she must have thought that Paullo did something wrong. Secondly, we don’t conclusively know that Madson didn’t kill Paullo because he was defending himself from a threat to his own life–nor does Dillows. After all, knowing his moral belief–he thought that the taking of another life without any reason is not only permissible, but praiseworthy–doesn’t mean that we know the specific reason why he acted in the particular case. Also, he passed out during the interrogation (Question 2); and if Dillows knew more about Madson, we can’t take that into account since we don’t know, and Joan specifically says “given what information we know”. From this point of view, as far as we know, Dillows doesn’t have sufficient information to determine if Madson was morally blameworthy given her own moral standards.
Reasoning in favor of Option B (47.4%). Even though the question text states that it was because of her moral beliefs that it is wrong to kill animals that Dillows disagreed with Mayor Paullo’s plan to build the factory farm, the disagreement might still be because she thought that the plan will lead to the violation of duties, not that it already has. On this way of thinking, it’s not clear that she surely thinks that Paullo has already done something morally wrong, maybe just something very unwise. As for Madson–Given the context of the assassination, we should rule out self-defense since Paullo would have been too occupied with the ceremony to pose as a threat. This last bit is more debatable–since who knows that Madson thinks. Maybe he thought that if he didn’t kill Paullo there and then, he will surely die at Paullo’s hands soon after. But whatever the case, the question is too debatable.
- Question 4
Option C (72.0%). Option A is wrong since being a deontologist does not preclude Dillows from agreeing with the Puppy Argument; and this also rules out Option D. Option B is wrong since agreeing that the Puppy Argument is sound doesn’t require Dillows to believe that there is such a thing as cocomone. For Option C, note that you can believe the life of a factory farmed animal is worth more than one of Fred’s puppies and still agree with the Puppy Argument. In fact, if you believe that, you have a stronger reason to agree with its conclusion!
- Question 5
Option C (66.6%). Someone can agree with the soundness of both the Puppy Argument and the Utilitarian Argument against factory farming. While such a person will be a utilitarian, this doesn’t rule out Aleph, since we have no information that he is not a utilitarian.
- Question 6
Option C (59.1%). If you agree with the Lomasky Reply, you are basically agreeing that it is morally permissible to eat factory farmed meat. This rules out your being able to join either the PAFF or the UAFF. Incidentally, the Lomasky Reply rejects Premise 1 of the Utilitarian Argument (see L03 Slides #35-36).
- Question 7
Option B (65.9%). Since the idea that the relationship between her and the drowning child, and between her and the starving children of 3141, is morally the same, is one of the premises of the argument, agreeing with it is a necessary (but not sufficient) condition for Dillows to agree with Petero’s argument. It is not a sufficient condition since you have to agree with the other premises as well.
- Question 8
Option B (80.1%). If an action is supererogatory, it’s not morally required (Joan)—so you aren’t blameworthy for not doing it (Dave)—but morally praiseworthy (Abe). Only Gene is wrong since Aleph accepting that the relationship between him and Fred’s puppies, and between him and the animals in factory farms, is morally the same, is not the same as accepting that the relationship between him and the drowning child, and between him and the starving children of 3141, is morally the same. In any case, even if it is, that’s only a necessary and not a sufficient condition for accepting Petero’s argument (cf. Question 7) above.
- Question 9
Option A (43.1%). As announced during the exam itself, “Dillows” should be edited to “Beth” in what Abe and Dave said. As a Utilitarian who believes that we have a duty to do the thing which maximizes the world’s happiness, Beth would say that if the cost of doing something is much higher than the loss to the world’s happiness, then you shouldn’t do it—It wouldn’t matter who bears the cost. Some worry about what sort of “cost” Abe is talking about. But again, note what the question text says about that cost—that “it is much higher than the lost to the world’s happiness that results from the alternative.” The very comparison implies that it’s not just any cost, but a cost that can be compared with and determined to be more than a certain loss to the world’s happiness. In other words, its exactly the sort of cost that a Utilitarian like Beth has to take into account. So Abe is right. What Dave attributed to Beth is more complex so let’s break it down. The scenario is that exactly only one of the following two options are available—(a) let one child drown and save the other three, and (b) save one child and let the other three drown. According to Dave, Beth would say that we are obliged to do (a) rather than (b) if each life is infinitely valuable. But this is wrong. If each life is infinitely valuable, then there is nothing to choose from, utilitarian value wise, between (a) and (b)—since 3 x infinity = 1 x infinity (L04 Slide #33). Under such conditions, given he Utilitarianism, Beth wouldn’t be able to say that you are obliged to do (a) rather than (b).
- Question 10
Option A (67.9%). Recall that for Huemer, “the only problem” with the explicit consent social contract theory is that “it is factually false”—this came up in Quiz 04 Question 7 as well. Abe wasn’t even saying Huemer can or would agree to the idea that the Founding Generation gave their explicit consent. Rather, what he said was that “Michael Huemer can agree that Rigatoni had political authority over the Founding Generation, if there really was an actual and explicit social contract.” (emphasis added). Option B is wrong since just because there was an earlier actual and explicit contract doesn’t mean that there is one with the current citizens—so it’s not true that Huemer will “definitely” agree. Option C is wrong since there isn’t enough information for us to conclude that Huemer will “definitely” agree that if Cannelloni wins the election, he has the implicit consent of the citizens to exercise authority over them. If anything, all of his skepticism apply. Finally, Option D is wrong since Huemer doesn’t argue that political authority is a contradictory concept.
- Question 11
Option D (77.0%). Option A is wrong since philosophical anarchism is a doctrine about whether governments have the moral permission to coerce citizens and the citizens have the moral obligation to obey—rather than about how governments should be abolished. Option B is wrong since believing that some acts of private coercion is morally permissible doesn’t preclude agreeing with philosophical anarchism. Option D simply states philosophical anarchism.
- Question 12
Option D (69.8%). There isn’t enough information given about Beth for Option A or Option B (and hence Option C as well) to be viable answers.
- Question 13
Option A (65.0%). Gene’s argument has the structure “either one thing or the other; if the first thing, then bang; if the second thing, then bang; so, bang!”—exactly the same overall structure as the Standard Argument, hence Option A. Option B is neither here nor there—even if you grant that an argument telling you that you shouldn’t worry about something is sound, it doesn’t mean that you can always control your feelings…
- Question 14
Option D (27.3%). Neither Abe nor Tess put forward a sufficient condition for believing that we aren’t morally responsible for our actions. Abe needs the additional idea that moral responsibility requires free will (otherwise, all he said presents only a sufficient condition for there not being free will), and Tess needs the additional idea that we are morally responsible for our actions only if we are morally responsible for the way we are behind the decisions we make (otherwise, all she said presents only a sufficient condition for our not being responsible for the way we are behind the decisions we make—leaving open the possibility that we are responsible for the decisions we make). The returns are all over the place, though with a plurality of 33.9% choosing Option C.
- Question 15
Option A (61.9%). Since what it means (at least within the module) for someone to be morally responsible for doing something is for the person to deserve censure for doing something morally wrong, if none of us are morally responsible for our actions, then none of us deserve censure (let alone praise)—for doing something morally wrong, hence Option A. But just because someone does not deserve to be censured, this doesn’t mean people won’t, in fact, censure (or for that matter, praise) him—people can be deluded.
- Question 16
Option B (53.5%). For instance, if Premise 1 is false, then there would be things the existence of which is neither explained by the activity of another, nor by its own nature—they would be unexplained, which means that PSR(a) is false. If Premise 2 is false, then it could be that everything that exists is a dependent being—but in that case, the fact that a universe of dependent beings exist remains unexplained, which means that PSR(b) is false. Option A is wrong since the argument, if sound, only proves that a self-existent being exists. And since additional argument are needed to prove that there can only be one such being, Option D is also wrong—what Dave said won’t conflict with the argument being sound. Option C is wrong since even if the physical universe is made up of an infinite series of dependent beings where the existence of each being explained by another dependent being, as long as at least one self-existent being which is not part of the physical universe (i.e., a non-physical being) exists to explain everything left unexplained, PSR is not violated. In any case, the rightness of Option B was supposed to be more obvious.
- Question 17
Option C (62.8%). Keep in mind that what each person says is meant to be a comment on the scenario, and the scenario as stated violates PSR(b)–unless a self-existent being is added to the picture. This is why what Dave says is most clearly right (keep in mind that it is a conditional claim), and any answer that doesn’t include him is wrong.
- Question 18
Option B (51.9%). Option A is wrong since Dave provided a generalization, not a case where a property is transferred from member/part to collection/whole. For Option B, all you need to assume, or pretend, for the purposes of the example, is that electrons are made up of quarks, and quarks have this property “colour charge”. But just because the components make up something has a certain property, you can’t deduce that the thing has or even can have that property—this is classic fallacy of composition territory. (Incidentally, electrons aren’t made up of quarks; but that’s entirely beside the point—you can commit the fallacy of composition even with false premises…)
- Question 19
Option A (55.5%). Not Option B because, since Gene’s argument attempts to prove that believing in theism is irrational, showing that the argument is unsound at best shows that it is not irrational for Phyllis to believe that theism is true. This is still some distance from the idea that it would be irrational for Gene to remain an Atheist. Finally, Recall how Mackie showed the inconsistency between the three beliefs (1), (2) and (3) that–according to him–the theist holds? He argues that if you assume that any two of them is true, you will deduce the negation of the third. This was the core of the LPOE argument. To say that Gene’s argument is sound is to agree to this result. This is what Abe is talking about.
- Question 20
Option D (56.2%). None of the proposals are necessary conditions for resolving the LPOE. Each of them is a sufficient condition though.
- Question 21 (DISCARDED)
As intended, Option D (21.6%). Most (70.9%) chose Option C (“Dave only”). Tess didn’t actually say that there’s actually a restaurant out there that serves fast, cheap, and delicious food, i.e., that good food actually exists, so not Option A. Maybe there’s a false premise in Joan’s argument (Zeno’s Paradox), but what she said doesn’t contain a contradiction, so not Option B. Note that Joan didn’t, in the context of her argument, assert that we can go from A to B. Her argument, if taken seriously, shows that the very idea of our being able to go from A to B involves a logical impossibility. Dave also didn’t provide an example of an inconsistent set of beliefs—since the easiest way to make sense of what he said is to take Kelly as a male (and yes, Kelly is a male name)—so not Option C either. Yes, “Kelly” is an unisex name, unlike the “Jane” from the AY2016-17, Semester 2 exam Question 20.
However, a good number wrote in to say that they are unaware Kelly is a unisex name. (I actually went around the office asking the admin staff and colleagues whether they thought Kelly is male or female, and everyone said that it could be either. But to be fair, they are not people from the students’ age group, and some of them are not from around here. The best part is, my own grad student–not one of the tutors–thought that Kelly is female…) But more importantly, I agree that the question shouldn’t depend on such background knowledge. Ok, I’ll discard this one.
- Question 22
Option D (75.6%). Keep in mind that we don’t have information about the truth of the matter—whether it was really Gatniss who shot Kale. Abe is wrong because saying that Timrose has a good reason to believe something (that she has a justified belief) isn’t enough for knowledge. Joan is wrong because one can have a justified but false belief. Gene is wrong since “really believe something” is not a sufficient condition for “justified to believe something”.
- Question 23
Option D (68.2%). Abe is wrong since Zhuangzi’s Argument from Disputation doesn’t say that justification is always impossible, so Option A is out. Joan is wrong since if the two parties “agree to disagree”, then they are still left with their disputation, with still no resolution, so Option B is out. Gene is wrong since Zhuangzi’s Argument is not confined to “philosophical disputations”, and the disagreement between the two parties can count as a disputation.
- Question 24
Option B (89.4%). Abe is wrong and Joan is right since what epistemic permissivism allows is the possibility that two conflicting beliefs can both be justified given a body of evidence, not that they are both true. Gene is right because accepting epistemic permissivism allows you to reject premise 1 of the argument. (Note also that any viable option has to contain Joan and not contain Abe, which also leave only Option B.)
- Question 25
Option B (77.6%). Abe is wrong since it is entirely possible for Kale to have those experiences and beliefs even if Mind-Body Dualism is false. Let’s say that some form of Reductive Physicalism is true. Then all it means is that all the facts about Kale’s belief are reducible to facts about the physical happenings in his brain. Dave, in contrast, is right—the scenario is compatible with Mind-Body Dualism.
- Question 26
Option C (11.7%). The largest group (43.6%) chose Option D (“Neither Abe nor Joan”). Abe is right since Nagel’s argument doesn’t rule out the idea that at least some facts about our conscious experiences are essentially physical facts that can be captured from a purely third person objective point of view using the concepts presently available. He just needs some facts about our conscious experience to be not so. In fact, he will agree that those facts relates to the complicated physical processes—that we can detect using various means—that go on whenever we have any conscious experience (in fact, he’s even explicit about this on p. 29 of the reading–but you should be able to infer it just by thinking about the nature of his overall position as not denying the physical aspects of our mental lives); so Joan is right also.
- Question 27
Option D (65.9%). If Nagel’s argument is sound, the either Physicalism as a theory of the mind is false, or it is true but unjustified. So Abe is wrong. Gene is wrong also since nothing in Nagel’s argument rules out the possibility that we can find out how living creatures with very different neuro-physical structures would behave. (What we will have trouble finding out is what it feels like to be one of those creatures, from their point of view.)
- Question 28
Option A (21.7%). The majority (70.4%) selected Option B (“Abe only”). This one is a surprise upset.
Almost everyone (92.1%) can see that that Joan is wrong—she isn’t talking about how Timrose can apply the principle at all. She’s saying that if all three locations can offer her safety, then Gatniss has no reason to prefer behaving in a particular way, i.e., prefer going to one rather than another location. And almost everyone (95%) can see that Abe is right. So the only controversy is over Dave.
But if you agree that Abe is right—assigning 1/3 probability to Gatniss being at each location—then it is indeed less likely for her to be with the brothers Savage and Jeffrey (1/3), than for her not to be either there, i.e., for her to be in the Von Neumann Forest or the Morgenstern Monastry (1/3 + 1/3 = 2/3). Dave’s answer is thus logically implied by Abe’s answer!
(For those who are thinking of the Partition Problem—I wasn’t, since that’s not a requirement for the module—the answer remains the same taking that into account as well! If Huemer’s proviso is not used, then Abe’s answer remains in force, entailing Dave’s answer as explained above. It’s just that if someone else—say, Gene—comes along to insist that it is equally likely for Gatness to be at one location rather than not because the two options are mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive, we would have to agree that Gene also applied the principle correctly. Remember Quiz 10 Question 1? On the other hand, if you do take Huemer’s proviso into account, then Abe/Dave’s way of partitioning the options has explanatory priority over Gene’s way of doing it. So Dave is still right.)
- Question 29
Option D (77.9%). Abe is wrong since Bostrom’s argument specifically counts upon conscious observers not being able to tell, from the inside, whether they are simulated or not. Joan is wrong since a person who believes that he is a simulated life could just be crazy, or he could have found out via some other means than the Simulation Argument (e.g., he was contacted by a Simulator).
- Question 30
Option B (55.5%). Abe is wrong since all Bostrom’s argument shows, if it is sound, is that at least one of three possibilities (including one saying that we are almost certainly simulated observers) has to be true. Joan is right since the argument requires both simulated intelligence and simulated consciousness. If the argument is sound, then we might well be sims, and we are intelligent and conscious observers… As long as you see that Abe is wrong and Joan is right, you can already rule out everything except Option B!
What about Dave? The easy way is to say that since Bostrom’s argument, if sound, shows that at least one of three possibilities has to be true, then if the last one (the one saying that we are almost certainly simulated observers) is not true, then at least one of the other two has to be true. But to be technical about it, the above reasoning (for Dave) is incomplete, even though it does culminate in the correct answer. So we have taken for granted that the argument is sound, but we are not sims. Nonetheless, the proposition–we are almost certainly sims–is either true or false. In the context of Bostrom’s argument, it is either the case that the fraction of observers in the history of the universe that are sims is either almost 1, or it is not almost 1. But what are the odds that we aren’t sims even though that fraction is almost 1? As opposed to the contrary possibility, i.e., that we are sims, and the fraction is far from 1? The odds favor the latter, i.e., they favor the third proposition being false. Now we can continue by saying that since that one is false (or almost certainly false anyway), at least one of the other two is true.