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Philosophy Notes Semester Final

Philosophy Notes – Semester Final:

The time has arrived … These are the notes for the Philosophy Semester Final. They are taken directly from the previous tests unless otherwise indicated. Answers and key details are bolded for your studying convenience. Enjoy.

Test #1

Test #2

Test #3

Test #4

Test #5

Non-Test Notes

Test #1:

What is the basic meaning (etymology) of the word “philosophy”?

- “Love of Wisdom”

Please name and briefly describe the major branches of philosophy:

- Ontology: the study of being

- Epistemology: the study of how we know what we know (knowing)

- Axiology: the study of doing (ethics)

The Ionian Philosophers were known as corporeal monists.

What is the basic meaning of this designation?

- The Ionians believed in one (monist) material (corporeal) substance that makes up



Philosophy Notes Semester Final

The Ionians were distinguished by four characteristics. Please name them and give a brief explanation of each.

- Naturalism - disbelief in supernatural causes and belief in only natural causes

- Materialism - belief that everything is made up of only natural substance and not unnatural substance.

- Monism - belief in one fundamental substance that makes up everything.

- Hylozoism - belief that water has the power of movement in a lifelike sense.

The philosopher famous in ancient history for predicting an eclipse of the sun was Thales. He lived in the 6 th Century BC. He believed everything could be reduced to the element water. What were the three reasons for that view?

- Water moves on its own

- Water has three forms (solid, liquid, gas)

- We need water for survival

The philosopher who reduced everything to what he called “the boundless” was Anaxamander. He was also famous for inventing or improving on the device known as the sundial, and he was the first person in history to propose the theory of evolution. The presocratic philosopher Anaximenes reduced all reality to air. The most important of the Ionian Pre-Socratics was Heraclitus, who was called the “Weeping Philosopher of Ephesus”. He maintained that the basic reality was fire/change but also taught a principle of rationality called The Logos.


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

The earliest of the Italian Pre-Socratics was Pythagoras, who reduced all reality to mathematics. This philosopher is important because of 3 views he taught that were incorporated by Plato in his philosophy. What were those views?

- Body-Soul Dualism

- Reincarnation

- Immortality of the soul

The Greek philosopher Xenophanes made a statement that sounded like a strange twist of a biblical affirmation. What did Xenophanes say? “We create the gods in our own image.”

The most famous statement associated with Parminedes is “Whatever is, is.”

The philosopher Zeno attempted to defend the philosophy of Parminedes based on 3 paradoxes. Please identify and briefly explain each one of them.

1. The Runner: to run a race, a runner must go half a distance to get to the end of the distance, but must go a quarter of the final distance, but must go an eight of the final distance, etc.

2. Achilles and the Tortoise: Achilles cannot outrace a tortoise because whenever he gets

to where the tortoise previously was, the tortoise has moved.

3. The Arrow: An arrow flying at the smallest increment of time cannot be covering any

distance, so on a larger scale it isn’t flying at all. (If these notes are unclear, please contact a Website Admin) The philosopher who died by throwing himself into Mt. Aetna was Empedocles. What teaching is he best known for? He taught about the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) being the basic makeup of the universe.


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

Anaxagoras reduced everything to an infinite number and variety of seeds, but the philosopher who first proposed an atomic theory of reality was Democritus. Following philosophical impasse created by the conflicting views of the Ionian and Italian Pre-Socratics, Athens was dominated by a skeptical philosophical movement known as the Sophists/Sophism. These people/this philosophy was characterized by three fundamental principles. Please identify and briefly describe each one:

- Skeptical: no one knew the answers and no one knew how to find them due to the impasse

- Practical: since no one had the big answers, people settled for small useful answers

- Rhetoric: since people remained unpersuaded by the impasse, several people capitalized on the idea of persuading the masses by eloquent speech.

The most famous philosopher of this Athenian school was a man named Protagoras. He denied absolute truth, and instead famously asserted the expression “homo mensura” which means “man is the measure”.

In critique of this humanist philosopher, Plato asserted three arguments. Please identify and give a brief explanation of each:

- Self-Refuting: if man is the measure, then which man is the measure? Not every man can be the measure because men contradict each other.

- Self-Defeating: Skeptics have to be skeptical about the rule that tells them to always be skeptical.

- Self-Deceiving: Skepticism is a philosophy that has never helped anyone.


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

What was the most famous image associated with Diogenes? What was the significance of the image? What school of philosophy is he associated with?

- Diogenes is famous for wandering in the agora of Athens with a torch/lantern, staring closely into people’s faces, and rudely moving on.

- He was looking for an honest man the point was that he never found one.

- He was a cynic the philosophy of being critical of the social norms.

Socrates was tried and executed in the year 399 BC. The crimes he was accused of at that time were:

1. Corruption of the Youth

2. Disbelief in the gods

Socrates was a critic of the Sophists of Athens. His criticism of their philosophy came down to three fundamental principles. What were they?

1. Importance of words

2. Importance of the soul over the body

3. Nature of true virtue

Who originally announced that there was no man wiser than Socrates? The Oracle of Delphi Socrates likens himself to what kind of insect? A gadfly on a horse (Remember that Socrates said this in his Apologia because he was an irritant to the rulers of Athens) Did Socrates have a family? Yes (Remember his weeping wife in Phaedo) What did Socrates charge for his services as a philosopher in Athens? Nothing As described in the Phaedo, how does Plato view the relationship between body and soul?

- Plato viewed the soul as being more important than the body because 1. The soul is immortal. 2. The soul existed before the body (Argument of Recollection). 3. The soul leaves the body but does not die. From all of this Plato concluded that the soul is immortal and the body is not. That established Plato’s priority of soul over body.


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

Test #2:

Restate as closely as you can the famous quote by Alfred North Whitehead about Plato:



The safest general characterization of the European philosophical tradition is that it consists of a series of footnotes to Plato.”

In the space below, list the seven beliefs that Plato opposed:

1. Atheism

2. Empiricism

3. Relativism

4. Hedonism

5. Materialism

6. Naturalism

7. Mechanism

According to Plato, there are fundamentally seven “ideals” in his ideal world. Please list and briefly describe each one:

1. Geometry: identifying and examining by geometry is a purely mental exercise

2. Number: numbers are abstract ideas that really only exist in our minds

3. Sets: a set is not a physical thing because we create sets in our minds

4. Definition: once again, a definition exists only in our minds

5. Proposition: if something is true, then it is eternally true, even in the ideal world

6. Properties: properties of a receptacle object are tied into the ideal properties of an object in the ideal world

7. Relation: examining objects and how they relate to each other is a mental exercise.


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

Why is Plato called both an “idealist” and a “realist”?

- He believes in a world of ideas (idealist) and believes that those ideas are actually real


According to Plato, how do we acquire our knowledge of the ideal world?

- We have our understanding of the ideal world because our souls were there before

we were born (a priori knowledge)

The following is the square of opposition. Please fill in each quadrant showing the

epistemological views of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and everyone else.




All S is P (Aristotle)

No S is P (Plato)




Some S is P (Augustine)

Some S is not P (Everyone Else)

S = knowledge, P = Sense Experience

Explain the fundamental difference in the philosophical perspective of Aristotle as opposed to

the philosophical perspective of Plato.

- Aristotle was more concerned with 1. Scientific Reasons over Metaphysical Reasons, 2.

Observation over Intuition, and 3. Causation over Valuation. He wanted to unify the

ideal and receptacle worlds because he believed that knowledge comes from what we

sense and later when we apply reasoning (Induction over Deduction).


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

Aristotle’s father was a physician (profession) who served in the court of Phillip II, the king of Macedon. He was educated at Plato’s school in Athens, known as The Academy, but when Plato bequeathed his school to Zuphrius (bonus point), Aristotle left Athens and travelled for a few years. He was hired as the private tutor to Alexander the Great where he served for two years before returning to Athens and starting a school known as The Lyceum. The preliminary work in Aristotle’s writings is known as The Organon which generally treats the subject of logic and classification. His writings are broadly classified into three areas. Please explain Aristotle’s theory of knowledge based on his ideas of induction and substance.

- Aristotle defines induction as “that mental exercise by which an object is moved in our understanding from primary to secondary substance.” Substance is what the object is. Moving from primary to secondary is when we take that object and place it in a class. Aristotle says knowledge is taking objects and placing them into different classes.

In his Physics, Aristotle distinguishes four causes. Please list and briefly describe each of the causes.

1. Material: the thing being changed

2. Formal: what the process of changing looks like

3. Efficient: the one initiating the change

4. Final: the motivation behind the change of something

In his theory of language, Aristotle says we use words in three different ways. Please give the name for each way we use language and give an example for each.

- Univocal: a word that has one general meaning. “Mr. Gore is a great teacher” and “The iPhone is a great smartphone.”

- Equivocal: a word that has two different meanings. “Mr. Gore is a cool teacher” and “The fridge feels cool.”

- Analogical: a word that has two meanings but with a logical connection. “Mr. Gore is a bright teacher” and “Burning magnesium is very bright.


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

Please states Aristotle’s four theistic proofs, and give a one-sentence summary of each.

1. Argument by Purpose: Since things exist, something must have created them.

2. Argument by Motion: Things only slow down, so something must have been there to start them up.

3. Argument by Necessary Being: Things don’t create themselves, so something must have created them.

4. Argument by Causation: Things don’t cause themselves, so something must have caused them.

In his Ethics, Aristotle suggests there are four levels of happiness. Please list and briefly describe each one of them.

1. Pleasure (lowest): satisfying basic bodily desires (leads to the Hedonistic Paradox)

2. Victory: winning against enemies (zero-sum gain)

3. Giving: being generous to others

4. Great Cause (highest): devoting yourself to a higher cause outside of ourselves

Test #3:

Following the death of Alexander the Great, certain Hellenistic philosophies flourished in the ancient near east. Although they differed from each other in their particular beliefs, they shared some core ideas in common. Briefly describe those ideas.

- The ideas were Skepticism and Pragmatism (check on other tests)


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

Who were the major influences in the thought of Epicurus? Give the name and a brief explanation of the contribution (positive or negative) made by each.

- Aristotle: Epicurus used his ideas of happiness (+)

- Democritus: Epicurus used his atheistic and atomic ideas (+)

- Aristipus: Epicurus used his ideas on happiness (+)

- Plato Epicurus thought he was too spiritual for any use (-)

Please list and briefly describe the chief characteristics of the Stoic philosophy.

- Discipline: in order to be a Stoic, one needed to show that he could endure harsh guidelines.

- Virtue: the Stoics upheld four virtues: courage, justice, temperance, and wisdom.

- Logos: the Stoics felt that others should connect their thoughts to a natural seed of reason.

- Way of Life: the Stoics incorporated all of these ideals into their everyday lives.

- Cosmopolitan: the Stoics had a world-city-irrelevancy-of-borders outlook.

- Clear Judgment: the Stoics controlled their emotions so as to think critically about issues.

- Knowledge: ignorance is the cause of evil and knowledge is the source of good.

Stoicism was founded by a man named Zeno of Citium. The name “Stoic” came from a Greek word that means porch (, stoa). What was the reason for this name? Zeno of Citium would give his speeches from the porch of Mars Hill.

Later (Roman Stoicism) dominated by three well-known Stoic philosophers. Their names were Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius.

The Jewish philosopher Philo lived in the city of Alexandria. His academic labors took place in what century? 1 st Century AD. It is commonly believed that at least two of the books in the New


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

Testament were responding to the thought of Philo. Those books are Hebrews and Colossians. Please briefly describe the major themes in Philo’s thought.

- Plato and the Bible: Philo wanted to synthesize the two in a way so pagans wouldn’t reject Judaism

- Logoi: Philo believed in lesser beings called “logos” that created levels between man and God.

- Liberal Outlook: Philo tried to adapt the Bible to fit the philosophy of the time instead of separating the sacred and the secular.

Please list the accusations that were commonly made against Christians by the pagan world in the second century.

- Cannibalism, Incest, Civil Disobedience, Insurrection, and Atheism

What is the fundamental difference between the Apologetical outlooks of Clement as opposed to that of Tertullian? With whom do you find yourself in greater agreement? Why?

- The fundamental difference between the two is how they approach philosophy. Tertullian opposes implementing philosophy into Christianity because there is no reason to find answers when we already have the answers (“What does Jerusalem have to do with Athens?” – Conservative View of the Bible). Clement embraced the implementation of philosophy into Christianity and even thought of it as a means to salvation (Liberal View of the Bible).

- (Personal Answer)

The second century Christian apologist, Justin Martyr, addressed his most famous work, entitled Apologia, to the Roman Emperor of the time, whose name was Antoninus Pius. In his defense of the Christian faith, he made heavy use of the word Logos, showing how Christ answered the questions with which the Greeks had wrestled with down through the centuries.


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

Later, in the second century, Irenaeus wrote his most famous work, entitled Against Heresies.

In his work, he analyzed in great depth the most well-known form of Greek distortion of

Christianity, commonly called Gnosticism.

The first person to use the word “trinity” was apparently Tertullian.

What was the distinctive approach of Origen to the interpretation of the Bible?

- Origen used a three-layer system to interpreting the Bible: body (literal meaning), soul

(moral meaning), and spirit (heavenly meaning)

In what way may the Christian movement be said to represent a philosophical synthesis in the

world of Greek philosophy?

- Plato is ontologically strong (The Forms), but epistemologically weak (Recollection

Theory). Aristotle is epistemologically strong (evidence by observations) and

ontologically weak (probability). Christianity is epistemologically strong (Witness of

Jesus Christ) and ontologically strong (God the Father).

Test #4:

Please state the major themes associated with Ebionite Theology. With what city was Ebionite theology mainly associated?

- The Ebionites wanted to remove all Greek influence from the church. They were monotheistic, believed in Jesus as Messiah but not God, and “this-worldly” salvation.

In conflict with the Ebionite approach was the emphasis associated with the city of Alexandria. In the third century, the most important champion of this outlook was Seballius. What are the 3 most important aspects of this man’s theology?

1. Modalistic Monarchism: being emanates from God.

2. Pantheisim: God emanates a little piece of himself into all creation

3. Defined Terms: referring to Jesus as “light of light”, “God of God”, “Same Essence” etc.


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

Augustine was an “auditor” of a religion that began in the third century known as Manichaenism. In the space below, give a brief summary of the most important aspects of this religious outlook.

- Two divine dualistic gods (one of light and one of dark) that brought the universe into being

- Syncretistic but empiricism based seeking to eliminate faith

Please state Augustine’s definition of original sin

- Augustine defines original sin as “Non posse non peccare” – “not able to not sin”

The Nicene Council was precipitated by a man named Arius. Please state briefly here the seven fundamental ideas associated with his theology:

1. God alone is eternal

2. God creates all things voluntarily

3. God alone is unbegotten

4. To beget means to create

5. God created an independent substance by which he created everything else

6. The Son is a perfect creature

7. The incarnation involves the unification of a human body with the Divine Logos

In the space below, briefly explain the three types of knowledge that form part of Augustine’s epistemology. Include the name associated with the type of knowledge, the source of that knowledge, and the significance of that knowledge in Augustine’s broader philosophy.

1. Sapienta: the knowledge associated with God found only by abstraction. It answers the “whys” of the world

2. Scientia: the knowledge associated with man in the form of science. It answers the “hows” of the world

3. Sensation: the knowledge associated with matter found only by deduction. It answers the “whats”


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

Please name each of the seen ecumenical councils of the church, including the year and the heresy. Please explain each heresy in a sentence.

1. Nicea, 325 This council condemned Arianism and established the doctrine of the Trinity

2. Constantinople I, 381 – This council denied Apollinarius’ 3 Part Body-Soul-Spirit doctrine

3. Ephesus, 431 – The council denied Nestorius’ 2-Person-2-Will explanation of Jesus Christ

4. Chalcedon, 451 – The council denied Eutychus’ 1-Person-1-Will explanation of Jesus Christ

5. Constantinople II, 553 The council condemned the Monophysite Heresy (Take 2 of Eutychianism)

6. Constantinople III, 680 The council condemned the Monothelyte Heresy (saying Jesus had only one will)

7. Nicea II, 787 This council discussed the role of icons

In the reading, “Faith in Search of Understanding”, Augustin is making an argument against Honoratus. State briefly in your own words the basic argument that Augustin is making.

- His argument is that we believe before we prove by reason. We trust the authority in what they say before we try to rationally prove what they are saying.

In the space below, please list the four terms emphasized by Augustin in his theology of the church, and give a brief explanation of the significance of each term

1. One individuality, being the only legitimate one.

2. Holy being set apart from all others.

3. Catholic having an established hierarchy of authority (Bureaucratic)

4. Apostolic working from doctrine or teaching (Charismatic)


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

Test #5:

With respect to the following statements, indicate which of the philosophies we covered would take that position. (Remember that the order will be changed!)

- A universal effect of the atonement is grace provided to all people Weslyanism

- Christ is the supreme example Pelagianism

- Grace is not necessary to make a start towards salvation Semi-Pelagianism

- Grace is the external prerequisite for salvation Semi-Pelagianism

- Justifying grace is irresistible Armineanism

- Man can resist sin easily Pelagius

- Non posse non peccare Augustine

- Predestination is understood in light of prescience Semi-Pelagianism

- Those who cooperate with grace are saved Armineanism

- We always choose according to our strongest desire at the time of the choice Augustine

Why does Augustine’s view of original sin lead to his view of predestination?

- Because we are “non posse non peccare” – “not able to not sin”, we need someone else to lead us to salvation due to our inability.

How does Arminius deal with the term “elect” as found in the Bible?

- Arminius sees the elect as referring to a class, not specific people.

What position was adopted by the Reformers in connection with the Pelagian controversy? The Augustinian Position


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

During the Middle Ages, there was a broad idea that “man is small” in the cosmos. What were the reasons for this view of man?

- Paganism

- Scholasticism

- Islam

- Feudalism

- Platonic Other-Worldliness

In the later Middle Ages, Europe expected growing skepticism with respect to the church, and especially the leadership of the church. What were the main reasons?

- The Papal Schism

- The Pre-Reformers

- The Babylonian Captivity of the Pope

The Crusades were a significant force in European culture leading to a new sense of freedom. What was the nature of that freedom, and what are the major links connecting the Crusades to a rising sense of freedom?

- Crusades > People travelling and collecting relics/knowledge > Creation of Free Towns > Creation of Free University

The 1000 years separating the Fall of Rome with the beginnings of the Renaissance and the Reformation were characterized by a declining emphasis on philosophical “realism” and a rising emphasis on philosophical “nominalism”. What does this mean?

- Realism goes back to the Platonic World of the Forms and focuses on a reality higher than man. Nominalism focuses on the world of man and the receptacle world.

Does Anselm’s ontological argument represent nominalism or realism? Why

- It represents realism because it focuses on a reality (God) that is not receptacle.


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

Non-Test Notes:

These notes are mostly from Thomas Aquinas. They will be on the final though they are not as specific as the test notes from above.

Three terms to describe the era of Aquinas:

- Skepticism: tension between the Platonic ideas of the past and the rising Aristotelian outlook

- Equipolens: the idea that for any affirmation of a transcendent truth, there can be an equally persuasive argument for the negative.

- Double Truths: A particular fact or idea may be true as a matter of grace (metaphysical truth) but false as a matter of nature (scientific truth).

Thomas was born to a noble family in Aquina, Sicily, the 7 th son of a wealthy Lombard family.

- His parents wanted him to become a Benedictine monk at a Catholic university but at age 14 Thomas wanted to join the Dominican order (who were responding to the skepticism of the time).

- His parents were upset. Thomas joined anyway.

After his father died, his mother sent her three sons to kidnap Thomas and bring him home as a hostage (after trying to get him to commit mortal sin. #fail)

His family released him after little success.

- Went to a university in Paris and studied under Albertus Magnus

Earned the nickname of “dumb ox of Sicily

After a theological presentation, Thomas lost the nickname and finished school.

Saw himself as a lawyer for the church

- Most important work: Summa Theologica


Philosophy Notes Semester Final

Classical Synthesis:

“The truth of the Christian faith surpasses the capacity of reason, nevertheless that truth that the human reason is naturally endowed to know cannot be opposed to the truth of the Christian faith” (Basically, Christian truth surpasses reason, but reason is not an enemy of Christian truth)

Augustinian Thinking - going from faith

Grace faith, revalation, etc.

Nature reason, investigation, observation

Articulus Mixtus truths established by either grace or faith

Ptolemic Thinking - going from reason

Before, people drew a fine line between Grace and Nature. Aquinas wanted to overlap the two and make connections

In essence, we can only know nature by reason and grace by faith. The Articulus Mixtus is a category where we can use either faith or reason to discover truth. This is known as the Two Ladder Theory.

The Five Ways: five theistic proofs based on reasoning.

1. Teleological Argument we see evidence of purpose in creation, so there is One who made that purpose (Aristotle).

2. Necessary Being existence now means some form of existence eternally (Aristotle).

3. Motion since stuff slows down, something had to start them up (Aristotle).

4. Efficient Causation If there is an effect, then there is a cause (Aristotle).

5. Gradation – Anselm’s Ontological Argument (Anselm).

This is the ladder that goes from reason to the existence of God.


Philosophy Notes Semester Final


Aquinas believes that language from God has to be analogical since equivocal language has too many meanings and univocal language has too few meanings.

The Atonement:

Aquinas believes that God must necessarily offer sacrifice to clear sins but that no other boundaries stop him from acting the way he wishes in the atonement process.


Aquinas was the first to define communion as Christ’s literal body and bread after the priest consecrates it.