HZT4U – Grade 12 Philosophy Exam Notes

Thanks, Rita!


Multiple Choice & T/F


1. Traditional western view comprised of what 2 influences? → Augustinian
→ Judeo-Christian teachings and traditions.

2. Plato defines forms as …
→ Eternel, perfect ideals, which are counterparts of our world → Only to be known in another dimension, after death
→ Hunger and appetite through reason

3. Aquinas believed happiness was achievable by… → Through reasoning to know God.

4. Two main features of Darwinian view of human nature → (1) Variations
→ (2) Struggle for existence

5. Existentialism states this about our nature, bad faith, existence/essence → We create our own nature.
→ “Bad faith” is pretending that one is not free
→ Existence comes before essence; we create it

**Further explanation in short/long answer section

6. Materialism asserts the identity theory of the mind
→ States of consciousness are identical with states of the brain (a material organ). → Mental and brain states = contingent relationship

7. What is metaphysics?
→ (“after” or “beyond” physics) study of the nature of reality

8. Characteristics of philosophical materialism …
→ (1) Objective methodology = answers that can’t be discovered by sense observation, conclusions therefore cannot be known
→ (2) Deterministic = every event has a cause, even if not easily explained
→ (3) Denies supernatural = anything of nonmaterial substance does not exist; reality is confined to matter and all that is matter
→ (4) Reductionistic = the whole can be explained through parts or units; we can break down one thing in terms of many, smaller parts.

9. Fundamental objection to materialism…
→ Attempting to explain human consciousness (you cannot explain it), and all the conscious mental activities that go with it

10. What is idealism essentially …. Determinism essentially?
→ IDEALISM: defines reality solely as non-matter; the universe and all in it are solely an idea, not

→ DETERMINISM: all human actions are determined by prior events; all human actions are part of one causal chain of nature

11. What are tautologies?
→ Relation of ideas which are true by definition: “My brother is male” → The predicate is the meaning of the subject; they are linked

12. Objective/ Subjective idealism is …? → All things are MIND-DEPENDANT → Me-dependency = subjective idealism → Other-dependency = objective idealism

13. The ontological argument is an argument for God’s existence that is what?
→ Based on logic and reason
→ Based upon the statement that nothing is greater than God; something is greater when it exists in the mind and in reality
→ God must exist in reality and in the mind to have nothing be greater than Him

14. Valid/Invalid = argument, true/false = statement

15. Antirealism claims …
→ That the world we live in and the objects found in it depend on how they are perceived and thought about. Including our linguistic creations.

16. Know what a categorical, hypothetical and disjunctive statement looks like!!


  • –  (1) The middle term is present in both premises but not from the conclusion and must refer to all

    members of the class in at least one of the premises.

  • –  (2) If either term in the conclusion relates to all members of the class, then it must also do so in

    the premises.

  • –  (3) Both premises must not be negative.
  • –  (4) If one of the premises is negative, the conclusion must be negative.
  • –  i.e. Some students are smart

    All smart people have careers Therefore, some students have careers


  • –  Contain “if” (ANTECEDENT) and “then” (CONSEQUENT)

If P, then Q Not Q
Not P

If P, then Q P


– i.e. If it is raining outside, then the sky is cloudy. It is raining outside.

Therefore, the sky is cloudy. OR

If it is raining outside, then the sky is cloudy. The sky is not cloudy.
Therefore, it is not raining outside.


  • –  One statement or the other is true

    Either P or Q Either P or Q Not P Not Q QP

  • –  i.e. Either I will study or I will fail I will not study

    Therefore, I will fail OR

    Either I will study or I will fail I will not fail
    Therefore, I will study

    17. What is empiricism?
    → The theory that all knowledge is derived from sense experiences.

    18. In philosophy, Plato with Augustine, Aquinas with Aristotle. Socrates teacher to Plato, who is teacher to Aristotle?
    → Plato founded the Academy, which Aristotle was a student of.

    19. Main point of logical positivism … refers to metaphysical statements?
    → Metaphysics cannot make meaningful statements about reality, only state feelings. The only meaningful statements are tautologies.

    20. Augustine defines God’s view of time as…
    → Having no past, present, or future. Rather, His time is stretched out before him like a line that can be viewed all at once; He is outside of time

    21. Determinism asserts that…
    → All actions are a causal result of prior events; therefore, humans are not responsible for their actions and its repercussions.

    22. Antirealism claims what about reality? What is it dependant on? What does it say about reality existing objectively?
    → That the world we live in and the objects found in it depend on how they are perceived and thought about. Including our linguistic creations.
    → No independant real world

→ We create numerous worlds based on our descriptions of reality
23. Paley= Teleological argument, Anselm = Ontological argument, Aquinas = Cosmological argument

→ Teleological Argument (PALEY): the order and purpose revealed in the way things work and function necessitate the reality of God
→ Ontological Argument (ANSELM): God exists in both the mind and reality because nothing can be greater than Him, and it is greater to exist in both the mind and reality than just one

→ Cosmological Argument (AQUINAS): States that there must be a First Cause to every effect in the universe. An unmoved, first mover – God – set the start of the motion of the universe

24. Idealism divides reality into subjective and objective reality… know each… → Objective (OTHER-DEPENDENCY): sense-experience
→ Subjective (ME-DEPENDENCY): mind of God

25. Who stated that scientist’s objective time is just a conceptual abstraction, a construct of the mind? → Henri Bergson: intuition of duration; we experience a flow of intuit – what we feel and perceive – as moving from the future into the present and then into the past

26. What two views are fundamentally sexist to a feminist objecting to what human nature is? → Western Religious View and Rationalist View.

27. Darwinism holds this about life and living…
→ There is no purpose to human existence if we all exist solely through the process of random variations, and blind, natural selection

28. Know rationalist view of human nature … Plato and the three parts, Aristotle and the role of all things in the world …
→ Plato believed that reason was the uniquely human capacity for thinking reactively and drawing conclusions.

→ 3 defining parts which must be kept in balance: reason (brain), appetite (desires in abdomen), aggression (self-assertiveness).
→ Aristotle believed that the truth about human nature could be found in the knowledge of our world, of this reality.
→ A balance of these elements, with reason overpowering the two, one should ascend to the Realm of Perfect Forms: Plato’s envisioning of an afterlife that is an idealistic counterpart of our living world.
→ Aristotle concluded that those who could not master their reasoning would be slaves to those who could, making themselves inferior beings.

29. Law of non-contradiction or principle of consistency?
→ Nothing can be said both to be and not to be something at the same time and in the same respect.

30. What is a premise? What is a conclusion? Know Syllogism rules and formulas. → A statement/ the basis of your argument in a syllogism.
→ The end of your argument. It is based on your premises.
→ Explained in earlier question

Short/Long Answers

1. Know difference between syllogism and statement …
→ Statement: declarative sentence, true/false or that which a true or false sentence asserts → Syllogism: collection of statements
→ Rules/Formulas explained in earlier question

2. Briefly know Aquinas’ 5 ways in cosmological argument/ Existentialism states that humans can envisage certain conditions … What are they?

→ 1) The Argument from Motion- an object that is in motion (i.e. a rolling stone) is put into motion by some other object or force (an unmoved mover aka God, who first put things in motion)
→ 2) Causation of Existence- common sense observation tells us that no object creates itself; some previous object had to create it (an uncaused first cause aka God, who began the chain of existence for all things)
→ 3) Contingent and Necessary Objects- there are two types of objects in the universe: contingent beings (an object that cannot exist without a necessary being causing its existence), and necessary beings (causes contingent beings aka God)
→ 4) The Argument from Degrees and Perfection- for any given quality (i.e. goodness, beauty, knowledge, etc.) there must be a perfect standard (contained in God) by which all such qualities are measured
→ 5) The Argument from Intelligent Design- common sense tells us that the universe (physical laws, order of nature and life) works in such a way that one can conclude that it was designed and ordered by an intelligent designer (aka God)

Existentialism asserts the ability of human nature to do the following: → Imagine additional potentialities for our conditions
→ Envisage what is not the situation of our conditions
→ Adjourn judgement of our conditions

→ Alter our conditions
3. Rationalism/Darwinism/Existentialism regarding human nature…

→ Plato believed humans are thinking/ reasoning beings, that human nature had three defining parts:

  • –  Reason: contained knowledge, located in the brain
  • –  Appetite: desires, located in the abdomen
  • –  Aggression: “spirited element,” self-assertiveness and anger

    → Purpose: to master ability to reason so that we can become conscious of the forces that shape us and the influences that make us what we are

    → Charles Darwin: His views were radical and contradictory that they reduced the supremacy of humans to equality with other living things; stated that humans have no real purpose and are only here to survive. → His two main points are:

– Variations: animals and plants can be born with different features from their parents, yet can pass

on those differences to their own offspring
– Struggle for existence: all animals are caught up in continuous, competing battle to stay alive; a

selection takes place when an animal’s randomly advantageous variation allows them to survive

and multiply
→ If all living things exist solely through the processes of random variations and blind, natural selection, then there is no purpose to existence.
→ Evolution happened by chance, not because of this designs of a loving God

→ Sartre believed that humans are free beings
→ No essential human nature; neither beings with a fixed rational or beings with a purpose
→ Humans live in guilt, fear and anxieties because they are overwhelmed by so much freedom
→ Without a God, purpose, after-life, etc., life is meaningless – when you accept that, you’ll be happier → Freedom = Responsibility
→ Existence omes prior to essence; you create it

4. Antirealism vs Logical Positivism for the reality question.



→ GENERAL SUMMARY – Our reality is defined by linguistic concepts
→ Rejects the view that an external reality exists independent of our minds; it claims that the world or worlds we reside in and all objects found in it or them, depend wholly on how they are depicted, perceived, and thought about
→ Antirealists (idealists) define reality in terms of our own linguistic creations (reality is subjective)


→ Sexism cannot be objectively real because nothing exists objectively
→ Mistaken and misguided; fails to distinguish between description of reality and actual reality – it confuses our descriptions of reality (which depends on language) with the reality we are describing (which does not depend on language)
→ We must have some common reality in order to communicate with each other, which contradicts idealism in terms of individual ideas and perceptions of reality – i.e. If people understand each other at times via their languages, then they must be referring to an independent reality



→ GENERAL SUMMARY – Metaphysics cannot make meaningful statements about reality, only state feelings. The only meaningful statements are tautologies.
→ Rejects the comprehension of reality based on metaphysical concepts; it asserts the use of language and the meaning of words to define what is real and what is not

→ Clashed with materialists and idealists; according to logical positivists, neither of them ever analyzed the meaning of the language they use to support their own arguments and reject the opposite’s findings. (The language employed is fundamentally meaningless)
→ Alfred J. Ayer (a British philosopher) concluded that there could only be 2 kinds of meaningful


  • –  Tautologies (relations of ideas): statements that are true by definition (i.e. All birds have wings);

    also known as analytic propositions; the meaning of the predicate is part of the meaning of the


  • –  Empirical hypotheses (statements of fact): tell us that our world is one way rather than another

    and that they can only be true if we can prove them by observatory means ( i.e. Toronto is the capital city of Ontario); also known as synthetic or empirical statements


    → It is impossible to prove a general statement true

    5. Pascal = wager on God’s existence/ Paley’s teleological argument and major objections? → Pascal’s Wager:

  • –  Either God exists or He does not; you either wager for God or against God
  • –  Rationality requires the probability that you assign to God existing to be positive
  • –  Rationality also requires you to perform the act of maximum expected utility (when there is one) –

    in other words, perform the action that gives you the most benefit

  • –  CONCLUSION #1- Rationality requires you to wager for God – as there is no negative

    consequence for either wager, yet there is a positive consequence for the wager for God

  • –  CONCLUSION #2- You should wager for God

    → Paley’s teleological argument:

– The order and purpose revealed in the way things work and function necessitate the reality of

God; everything happens because of God


  • –  The law of probability states that over large amounts of time, every possible combination of something will occur, randomness – not necessarily put in place of God.
  • –  God’s hand is not necessary for the survival of the human race; we are just simply the species that adapted the best to the planet’s conditions.
  • –  We adjust to the conditions, not the other way around.
  • –  Certain things may randomly occur
  • –  God’s hand is not necessarily for the survival of the human race

    6. What is the main objection to logical positivism?
    → It’s deeming that only tautologies or empirical statements are meaningful, which is ignorant
    → The argument, while valid, is in itself, meaningless as the first premise, “all meaningful statement is either analytic or synthetic,” cannot be authenticated and the whole premise of their argument explains nothing