Up@dawn 2.0

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Backup Quiz Oct.29/30 (Attn: sec.10)

(Section 10 didn't meet on Thursday because of the Peter Lawler lecture, so we're playing catch-up today.)

1. English poet Alexander Pope said "Whatever is, is ____." (inevitable, beautiful, right) LH 93

2. German philosopher Leibniz agreed with Pope, in part because of his Principle of ______. LH 93

3. Francois-Marie Arouet, better known as ______, parodied Leibniz and Pope in his 1759 play ______. LH 94-5

4. Even after the ______ earthquake of 1755, Voltaire's "Pangloss" continued to insist that everything was the result of a pre-established _____. LH 96

5. Candide's statement that "we must cultivate our garden" is a metaphor for not just talking about abstract philosophical questions but instead doing what? LH 97

6. Was Voltaire an atheist? LH 98

BONUS: What professor of metaphysico-theologico-cosmolo-nigology "proved" that we live in the best of all possible worlds?

BONUS+: Who called Leibniz's theodicy "superficiality incarnate," betraying "a feeble grasp of reality"?


1. "Everything happens for a reason." People say this all the time. Do you? What does it mean? Should we accept everything that happens, trusting that it's "for the best"? Or do irremediably bad things happen, that we rightfully regret? Should we try to prevent recurrences of the worst (by our lights) that happens?

2. Even if there's a "logical explanation for everything," does it follow that everything is perfect? Or that everything is better than any conceivable alternative possibility? If you thought everything was perfect, what would you do? What would you try to change, about the world? Would you support attempts to feed the hungry, cure the sick, educate the ignorant, save the earth, etc.? Or would you just assume that "all is well," and do nothing?

3. Do you live in "the best of possible worlds"? What improvements would you make, if you could? What improvements do you intend to work for, in your lifetime?

4. After tornadoes, earthquakes, and other fatal natural disasters, people interviewed on television frequently thank god for sparing them. Is that a reasonable response? What would you say to the survivors of those who weren't spared? If "acts of god" (as the insurance companies put it) take life randomly, and you happened to be one of the random survivors, would you feel grateful, lucky, or guilty?

5. How do you "cultivate your garden"? Do you try to ameliorate conditions in the world, or do you simply spectate? Why?

6. Is it still reasonable, after Darwin, to believe that there is visible evidence of providential design in nature, the night sky, etc.? If not, is it still possible to be moved by nature's grandeur and mystery?

No comments:

Post a Comment