Mosaic II (Spring 2009) - Midterm

Answer one question from 1-2 on Darwin.

1. Explain the importance of what Darwin calls the "geometrical ratio of increase." What does it create? Why is it important for evolution? (This question asks you to explain one half of evolutionary theory.)

2. Why does Darwin talk about dog embryos in the last chapter of The Descent of Man? (This question asks you to explain the other half of evolutionary theory.)

Answer one question from 3-4 on the Iliad.

3. I noted several passages in the Iliad that describe a battle death in a curious way: First the poem presents a brief biography of the victim, then it describes his brutal slaying. To see just how odd this is, think about how you might create a film version of any of these scenes. I want you to explain why Homer does this? What purpose does it serve?

4. In Book 16 of the Iliad, after asking Hera's advice Zeus refrains from aiding Sarpedon because he is fated to die at the hands of Achilles. What could this possibly mean? Didn't Zeus rouse Sarepdon just a few lines back? Isn't the present state of the battle largely a result of interference of Zeus and the other gods? Is this notion of fate coherent? Why or why not?

Answer one question from 5-6 on Locke.

5. Why does Locke think that people would want to leave the state of nature and give up the "executive right of nature"?

6. Locke thinks that consent is what makes the government formed by the social contract legitimate. But neither you nor I signed that contract. What does Locke think makes a government legitimate for future generations? That is, why and when are we bound by the laws of a government that our ancestors founded?

Due Date

Thursday 04/02/2009


The complete midterm should be no more than 1,200 words. This is approximately 4 pages double-spaced with Arial 12 point font.


The midterm must be typed. It should be double spaced. It should have one inch margins. You should use a 12 point font. I prefer Arial, since it is easy to read. Please follow the general paper and exam instructions under the "course documents / writing" section on Blackboard.


You are required to hand in a paper copy at the start of class on the due date. In addition you must submit the midterm through Safe Assign via Blackboard by 11:59 pm on the due date. Safe Assign is a plagiarism detection tool. It will compare your paper against others available online, in journals, submitted in this class, Temple, and from all other universities that use the software.

Note: Plagiarism will result in a failing grade in the class, not just on this assignment.


Your exam should be clearly written, well-structured, and free of grammatical and spelling errors. It is practically impossible to get higher than a C if you start writing the night before the paper is due. The grading scale is as follows:

A = excellent

B = good

C = meets minimal expectations

D = bad

F = awful