100 Final Exam Preview

Final Exam


All exam questions are written response questions.  There are three different kinds of questions on the exam.

Type 1 questions:  These are questions that require knowledge of essential concepts that are contained directly in the reading and/or lecture that require little or no interpretation. These questions require a short answer (about 1-2 sentences).

Type 2 questions: These are questions that require understanding of more subtle or detailed topics in the readings and lectures.  These questions require some interpretation and/or explanation of more complex ideas than type 1 questions. These questions require 4-6 sentences to answer properly.

Type 3 questions: These questions test the depth of your understanding of not only the central concepts and reasoning in the unit, but of the purpose of learning those concepts and patterns of reasoning. They require the student to be able to describe how one or more of the authors of the course readings would react to an idea or situation that they did not explicitly write about. These questions require a short essay (about 12-15 sentences) to answer properly.

All questions are graded according to the following concerns:

  • Answers should contain a complete answer to the question.
  • Answers should avoid saying what is false or inaccurate.
  • Answers should be organized clearly and properly reveal the student’s understanding of the material.

Study Guide:

The exam will contain some, but not all of the questions below.  The exam will only contain items that are listed below.

  1. What is the difference between a descriptive claim and a normative claim?
  2. What is wrong with normative subjectivism?
  3. What is wrong with normative cultural relativism?
  4. Explain the theory of justice given by Thrasymachus.
  5. What does Socrates (according to Plato) say is the way to evaluate a ruler? Why?
  6. Why should anyone enter politics?
  7. Based only on the dialog between Socrates and Thrasymachus, what would Plato think about current American government and politics? Justify your answer.
  8. What is the state of nature?
  9. What is a social contract?
  10. What is a prisoners’ dilemma?
  11. According to Hobbes, what are the causes of violence?
  12. What does Hobbes say that any just government needs to do (at minimum)? Why does he say so?
  13. If Hobbes is right about the causes of violence, identify a situation in which you would expect rates of violence to be high. Justify your answer.
  14. What is the difference between Locke’s and Hobbes’s visions of the state of nature?
  15. According to Locke, why should people give up the state of nature for a government?
  16. For Locke, what are peoples’ “Natural Rights”? Why?
  17. What part of the 5th amendment to the US Constitution is most clearly inspired by Locke’s writings? Explain.
  18. Explain one of Hume’s arguments against the social contract.
  19. How does Hume respond to the idea that staying in a country amounts to consenting to that country’s government?
  20. What is the difference between an historical theory of justice and a patterned theory of justice?
  21. What is Nozick’s problem with patterned theories of justice?
  22. What is Rawls’ “veil of ignorance” and why is it important for his theory of justice?
  23. Using Rawls’ theory of justice, provide an example of a justifiable inequality and an unjustifiable inequality.
  24. What rational decision rule would people use behind the veil of ignorance? Why?
  25. For what purpose does Nozick use Wilt Chamberlain as an example?
  26. Describe one criticism of Nozick’s Wilt Chamberlain example.
  27. Describe one kind of luck that Nagel mentions and how it affects distributive justice.
  28. Describe one social, political, or economic reform that you would make if it were up to you, and fully justify that reform as Just using one or more of the theories of justice presented in this unit.
  29. Name and explain one factor that makes a population vulnerable to famine, according to Sen.
  30. According to Sen, what are the major causes of famines?
  31. What is a poverty trap?
  32. Why do the world’s poor not eat as much as they can?
  33. Why should anyone voluntarily give up their natural freedom? Justify your answer using at least three perspectives discussed in the course.
  34. Of what use is philosophy? Justify your answer