Faith and Critical Reason – “Take-Home” Final Exam
1. In what do you have faith? (Note: “Nothing” is an acceptable answer, but it must be defended in light of the arguments of the course materials.)
2. When it comes to sex, abortion, and consumerism explore how the concept of “free choice” functions in the authors we read and the exchanges we had on Voice Thread. Have a particular focus on the critiques which argue, because of the social structures in which they are made, our choices are less free than we might imagine them to be at first.
3. What, in your view, is a person? Apply your definition consistently to the following examples: 12-week-old fetus, 26-week-old prenatal child, 24-week-old premature newborn infant, adult human in PVS, dog, pig, and…yes…Superman (a non-human Kryptonian). Engaging the arguments we looked at in this course, which count as persons under your definition and which do not? (Note: If you have a ‘speciesist’ definition of personhood, be sure to engage Singer’s arguing that this is like racism or sexism.)
4. How do you understand the relationship between our moral duties to the poor, consumerism, and happiness?
Type out each answer in essay style but clearly signposted with headings and numbered as to which question (and which aspect of the question) you are answering. In other words, please make your answers easy to follow. Number your pages, but use any font or format style you wish for the exam—though I ask that you double space your textas it is much easier to read. Please e-mail me your exam by noon NYC time on Wednesday, August 5th:firstname.lastname@example.org. This gives you more than two weeks to complete the exam.
Write as much—or as little—as you think is necessary to give an excellent answer the question. I want you to concentrate on excellence, not on artificial length.
REGULARLY QUOTE AND CITE COURSE TEXTS. This is an exam, not a research paper. “Use the format in this sentence to do so.” (Tilley, xx) No need for a bibliography. Use your citations and quotes to show mastery of the course material.
I am looking for three things in particular:
• First, how comprehensive your awareness is of the course material.
• Second, how well you understand the course material—especially those points of view in opposition to your own.
• Third, how well you consistently apply your own point of view—arguments are like buses, not taxis. You must follow them wherever they go…or, if you don’t like where they are going, you need to get on a different bus.
The actual position you take on any issue, it should go without saying, will have nothing to do with your grade. Feel free to take literally any position you think you can defend against fair counter-arguments.
I am available to answer questions about your exam via e-mail. Send me as many as you like.
Please Note! The last page of your exam should have: (1) what you think you deserve for a course participation grade, (2) an explanation/argument for why you think you deserve such a grade. Include both reminders and the positive things you did as well as explanations for things which might hurt your grade. Look at the syllabus for course participation requirements. I may not give you the grade you think you deserve, but here is your chance to make your case and also make sure I have all the relevant information. I promise to take your case very seriously when determining this part of your grade.