Philosophy of Emotion (Spring 2012) - First Exam

Philosophy of Emotion (S12) - First Exam

Before you begin writing, read this entire document.

Answer four (4) questions. All key terms, theories, and named objections must be explained.

I. Answer question 1. (Paradox of Fiction)

1. Evaluate Radford's reply to the Fourth Solution (eg. The objection featuring the mother who reads about a bus accident elsewhere and grabs her children in relief when they return from school).

(This question requires evaluation. Explain Radford's argument. Explain how the Fourth Solution is an objection. Explain Radford's reply and evaluate it. You might want to consider Carroll's argument in your evaluation, but this isn't required.)

II. Answer question 2. (Judgment Theory)

2. Evaluate Solomon's reply to the central objection to his theory, the Passionless Judgment Objection. (See the appendix to his original paper.)

(This question requires evaluation. Explain Solomon's theory of the emotions. Present the objection. Explain his reply and evaluate it.)

III. Answer question 3. (Justifying the Emotions)

3. Does Taylor think that emotional reactions are sometimes rationally required? Why or why not? According to Taylor, is there an asymmetry between unjustified and justified emotions?

(This question does not ask for evaluation. Simply explain her argument.)

IV. Answer one question from 4-6. (Non-Cognitivism)

4. Evaluate Prinz's reply to the objection that physiological differences are insufficient for individuating the emotions. (See the section starting on page 72.)

(This question requires evaluation. Explain Prinz's theory. Explain the problem. Evaluate his reply. Can his theory simply be refuted from the armchair?)

5. Evaluate Prinz's reply to the objection that his theory covertly smuggles in disembodied appraisals as causes. This problem is perspicuous in complex social emotions. (See the section starting on page 74.)

(This question requires evaluation. Explain Prinz's theory. Explain the problem. Evaluate his reply. Should a theory of the emotions be built on other kinds of examples, as Prinz suggests? Why or why not?)

6. Evaluate Robinson's reply to the objection from Complex Social Emotions.

(This question requires evaluation. Explain Robinson's theory. Explain the problem. Evaluate her reply. You should discuss her explanation for how we can differentiate complex emotions on her model.)

Note: When evaluating an argument, you need to build up the argument and then show where it might go wrong. To build up an argument, you must do more than merely offer a formalization. You must explain the argument. Explain why someone might believe the premises. Typically, showing where an argument goes wrong will require arguing that one of the premises is false. When providing your own evaluations, be sure to consider obvious, compelling replies to your objections. If you think an argument is good, then you will need to defend it against the strongest objections that you can think of.

Note: Keep quotations to an absolute minimum. Never use a quotation to speak for you. I can't think of a good reason why you would need to use many quotes.

Due Date

Thursday 3/8/2012


The complete exam should be no more than 3,000 words. This is approximately 10 pages double-spaced in Arial 12 point font.


The exam 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.

Write a separate short essay for each answer. Do NOT try to answer all the questions in a single essay. Formal introductions and conclusions are unnecessary, though you must use paragraphs.

Please skip a line or two between your answers. Include the question number at the start of each answer. Do not copy the questions.


You don't have much space, so you will need to be clear and to the point. Clarity should be your chief goal in writing the midterm. Pick your words carefully. Write to be understood. Assume that you are writing the paper to be read by someone completely unfamiliar with the issues.

I want you to explain the theories and objections as clearly as you can within the space allotted. I do not want papers that are longer than the word limit. The space limitation is designed to force you to practice verbal economy. That said, it is impossible to write a set of adequate answers in much less than the allocated space. You'll have to use most of the space, and use it well.


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. (11:59 pm is after class, not to be confused with the night before.) Safe Assign is a plagiarism detection tool. It will compare your paper against others available online, in journals, submitted in this class, RIC, 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 paper 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


Before writing this paper you must read several documents under the writing section of Blackboard. Read the following: 1. Writing Tip Sheet, 2. General Instructions, and 3. Pryor's "Guidelines for Writing Philosophy Papers". The last document is the most important.