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2022 Fall, PHIL1100

Midterm Takehome Exam (Week 7, Oct.17-21, due Oct. 21, Friday, 12 noon)

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Midterm Takehome Exam (Week 7, Oct.17-21, due Oct. 21, Friday, 12 noon)
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Note: Word limits for your answers are strict.

Read very slowly and carefully, perhaps twice or more, the quotes in this exam. Be faithful to the text in your interpretation and engagement, do not read into things (ideas) that are not in the original text, make reasonable inferences or draw reasonable implications from the text. If you have a guess on the text or if you want to change the context or scenario depicted in the text, make sure you indicate that (“my guess is…”, or “if I change the scenario like this…then….”).


1. In the following two passages, one philosophy discourse and the other religious (and philosophical) discourse, the authors stand or imagine to stand on a special position (unlike one specific position one takes in everyday life or one taken by a specific scientist in a particular discipline). Explain how these ambitious discourses are different from those in natural sciences (physics, chemistry, or biology). Explain whether these ambitious discourses contradict with discourses in natural sciences. (It is raining and it is not raining in Richmond today. This is a contradiction). [ 300 words limit; every sentence count]


“I am a physical object sitting in a physical world. Some of the forces of this physical world impinge on my surface. Light rays strike my retinas; molecules bombard my eardrums and fingertips. I strike back emanating concentric airwaves. These waves take the form of a torrent of discourse about tables, people, molecules, retinas, air waves, prime numbers, infinite classes, joy and sorrow, good and evil.”

(W. V. Quine, 1908-2000)


Genesis [in the Bible]: 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

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