the Introductory Philosophy Quiz



My officemate Ryan and I devised this test to hang on the wall of our office, where people could gawk at it. The web is very much like the wall of our office, in certain respects, so when it came time to take it down in the office I decided to put it up here. The test is divided into three parts, in order of decreasing possibility:

  1. Multiple Choice
  2. Short Answer
  3. Lab Practical

Section 1: Multiple Choice

  1. On Russell's theory of definite descriptions, "The present King of France is bald" is equivalent to
    1. Socrates is a man.
    2. Socrates is mortal.
    3. All swans are white.
    4. Anything follows from a contradiction.
    5. The cat is on the mat.
  2. If I could do something besides take this exam, I would prefer to
    1. Intuit an essence.
    2. Analyze a concept.
    3. Dissect a brain.
    4. Have a beer.
    5. A deconstruction of the concept of will shows the bankruptcy of the very notion of choice, so a fortiori of multiple choice.
  3. Select the best answer.
    1. b is the best answer.
    2. a is the best answer.
    3. There is an instability between a and b. Although it is not entirely satisfactory, the best answer is to randomly or arbitrarily select one of them.

Section 2: Short Answer

  1. Define reality. Give two (2) examples.
  2. Using only basic first order logic, develop a rational foundation from which to prove the truth of radical relativism.
  3. Analyze the fundamental nature of being. Introduce new distinctions and obfuscatory neologisms.
  4. Escape the hermeneutic circle with only fishing line and a Swiss Army knife.
  5. Demonstrate the validity of the fallacy of composition.
  6. Evaluate the following argument: "If conventionalism is true, it must be true by convention. We do not believe in conventionalism. Therefore, we should change our beliefs because conventionalism is self-evident."
  7. Translate Heidegger's Being and Time into Latin and Aramaic. Provide an analysis of the nature of translation which explains why neither translation makes sense.
  8. Assume solipsism to be correct. Explain why more people aren't solipsists.
  9. Explain the Cartesian distinction between res cogitans and res extensa without going into any intentional states, e.g. thinking of Descartes.
  10. List three beliefs held by eliminative materialists.

Section 3: Lab Practical

When you have completed each problem, wait for an instructor to come and inspect your work.

  1. On the bench you will find a slave boy. Prompt him to remember the Pythagorean theorem.
  2. Next to the slave boy you will find a cave. Break free of your shackles, climb into the light, and behold the form of the Good. When you're done, return to the cave and wisely rule your fellows.
  3. On the bench you will find the thing-in-itself. Treat it as a limiting conception and say nothing further about it.
  4. Next to the cave, you will find a brain in a vat. Determine its principles of operation. Determine what philosophical problems remain after you have done so. Write down several dozen of them.
  5. By staring at the brain, you will be provided with sense data. Arrange and combine them so that everything you know can be expressed in terms of them.
  6. Amidst the sense data you will find the Given. Debunk myths about it. Show its equivalence to the Taken-away.
  7. In addition to the beings on the bench, you will find Being as such. Use it to explain the difference between temporality and Temporality. Then use it to boil an egg.
  8. After having found Being you will find Nothing. Determine who this is presenting himself as Nothingness on the grounds of the nihilation of the bench.
Picasso says Moof!