Philosophy of Love (Spring 2013) - First Exam

Philosophy of Love (S13) - First Exam

*Before you begin writing, read this entire document.

Answer three (3) questions. All key terms, theories, and named objections must be explained. You have 1,800 words. (There is a 1,500 word minimum.)

I. Answer one question from 1-2. (Friendship)

1. Evaluate Lewis's "Two Futures" (p.43) argument for the claim that friendship is preferable to romantic love.

(This question requires evaluation. Make sure to explain the argument as clearly as you can before you evaluate it. Does our reluctance to choose to remain friends rather than just lovers show that romantic love is less desirable? Why or why not? Where might the argument go wrong. Suggested plan: Explain Lewis's theory of friendship. Then explain his argument. Finally consider an objection.)

2. Evaluate Montaigne's argument for the pessimistic view that the ideal form of friendship--a union of soul and body--is not realizable.

(This question requires evaluation. Make sure that you explain the argument as clearly as you can before you evaluate it. Suggested plan: Explain Montaigne's theory of friendship. Then explain why the ideal form would be better. Present his argument for the claim that the ideal form is not realizable. What obstacles stand in the way. Then raise some objections.)

II. Answer question 3. (Symposium)

3. Provide an account of why Plato included the speech of Alcibiades in the Symposium. How does it fit? Specifically, how does it relate to the preceding speech where Socrates explains Diotima's ascent of love?

(Suggested plan: Explain the ascent of love. According to Diotima, what is the highest form of love? How do we get there? Explain the stages. Then explain how Alcibiades' love of Socrates might serve as an example of someone on the ascent. What is Socrates like? Explain what we learn about Socrates from Alcibiades' speech. Accordingly, what is it to love Socrates?)

III. Answer one question from 4-5. (Union Theory)

4. Why does Nozick think that changes to the well-being of our beloved can directly impact our own well-being? Make sure to distinguish direct from indirect and coincidental models of impact.

(This question does not ask for evaluation. Feel free to include diagrams if they help.)

5. Consider the Problem of Self-Sacrifice for the Union Theory of romantic love.

(To answer this question you will have to first explain the theory before you introduce the problem. You don't need to defend the view. Simply present the problem as clearly as you can. Be explicit. Does the problem defeat the theory? Or does the defender of the Union Theory have a plausible reply?)

IV. Bonus (optional, 1 point)

6. Draw one of the creatures in Aristophanes's myth, prior to the split.

Note: Keep quotations to a minimum. Never use a quotation to speak for you. The only quotations in your exam should be of formalizations or for textual evidence to support an interpretation of a story or a complex argument.

Due Date

Thursday, 3/7/2013


The exam should be in total no more than 1,800 words. This is approximately 6 pages double-spaced with Arial 12 point font. The exam should be no less than 1,500 words. (I will deduct a letter grade for every 300 words shy of the minimum.)


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 answers. 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.


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 "writing" section on the course Blackboard page.

Write a separate 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. You do not need to start a new page. Include the number of the question at the start of each answer. Do not copy the questions.

If you have citations, include a reference list on the final page. You can use whatever citation format you prefer.


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.

*If you are unable to submit the paper to Safe Assign due to technical difficulties, you must send an email to the helpdesk <> explaining the problem. Make sure to CC me. If this happens, send me a copy of your paper as an attachment. Note: I will not accept your paper if you don't report the problem to the helpdesk.

Note: Plagiarism will result in a failing grade in the class, not just on this assignment. I recommend that you not use any outside sources. If you do, you must cite them even if you don't quote them. You must attribute all ideas to their proper sources.


Before writing, you must read three documents under the writing section of the course Blackboard page: 1. Writing Tip Sheet, 2. General Instructions, and 3. Pryor's "Writing Philosophy Papers."