18th Century Philosophy (Final)

18th Century Philosophy (Final) - Hume, Voltaire, Rousseau,...

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Hume, Voltaire, Rousseau, Kant, and company—Final exam Spring 2007-08 / McCrossin Said Saillant Please complete your exam in accordance with the guidelines included in the syllabus. Please submit it, together with your paper(s), by the end of the night on May 14, or by the end of the following morning at the very latest. Please do so as concisely as you can, in a few hundred words or a few paragraphs per question, however you prefer to think of this, which I leave to your own wisdom and discretion. For extra-credit, you may include one additional substantive discussion of one addition philosopher or philosophical phenomenon in the sixteenth of seventeenth or eighteenth centuries. 1. Voltaire parodies Leibnizean “Optimism” in Candide , through the figure of Doctor Pangloss, who teaches “metaphisico-theologo-cosmonogology,” a final formulation of which he offers in the concluding chapter as follows. “All events are interconnected in this best of all possible worlds, for if you hadn’t been driven from a beautiful castle with hard kicks in the behind because of your love for Lady Cunegonde, if you hadn’t been seized by the Inquisition, if you hadn’t thrust your sword through the baron, and if you hadn’t lost all your sheep from the land of Eldorado, you wouldn’t be here eating candied citrons and pistachio nuts.” To this Candide responds by saying, with apparent ambiguity, that this is “[w]ell said … but we must cultivate the garden.” (a) Please describe in as concise and compelling a fashion as you can Optimism, (i) in general historical and philosophical terms, (ii) in terms of what as a theory motivates it and what it is supposed to accomplish, (iii) what we can say in support of it, and (iv) what we can say in opposition to it. (b) Please describe in as concise and compelling a fashion as you can the general symbolic importance for Optimism, so described, of the final “garden” allegory, and of the above interaction therein between Pangloss and Candide? Optimism is the doctrine that this world is “the best of all possible worlds.” This doctrine was advanced by G. W. Leibniz as an answer to the theological problem of evil, which is the problem of reconciling the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent God with the existence of evil. Optimism answers this problem by saying the best of all possible worlds implies that less total evil is impossible. This shows that the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, benevolent god is possible because neither of his abilities is limited—he is working to the best of his ability. In support of optimism, one could say that this is the best of all possible worlds because it is the most perfect in that it is the world with the widest range of things possible and therefore the most complete. Of course against it, one can simply say that less genocides or earthquakes would make this world better to which all Leibniz can say is that if less evil were possible, God would have made it happen, which is to say that this world is the best of all
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18th Century Philosophy (Final) - Hume, Voltaire, Rousseau,...

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