USC PF Strawson RM Hare & JL Austen Analytic Philosophy Questions


Please answer three questions, no two of which are on the same philosopher. Each answer should be between 300 and 400 words.

-Links to texts are embedded in title names

-An answer to only one question is needed for sections with more than one question

Section II: Strawson’s on Truth and Moral Responsibility (P.F. Strawson, Truth; Analysis, 9, 1949)

3. What is determinism and how is it thought by some to threaten moral responsibility? How does Strawson use “reactive attitudes” to counter that threat, while continuing to recognize genuine circumstances in which moral responsibility is diminished or suspended?

Section III: Hare’s Theory of Goodness (R.M. Hare, Language of Morals ch 5-8)

4. Explain Hare’s analysis of the “primary meaning” of sentences of the form x is a good N. What is the main problem with it?

5. Sketch the reasoning behind Hare’s claim that the “primary meaning” of sentences of the form x is a good N can’t be descriptivist. How might a descriptivist respond?

Section V: Austin’s Sense and Sensibilia (J.L. Austin, Sense & Sensibilia; A.J. Ayer, Has Austin Refuted the Sense-Datum Theory in Metaphysics and Common Sense)

9. Explain Austin’s argument that some claims about the external world can be known without evidence. Why does the argument fail?

10. Austin rejects theories of perception according to which what we directly see are images private to ourselves. Explain how the theory arises and Austin’s most important criticisms of it.


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