Philosophy of Love (Spring 2014) - First Exam

Philosophy of Love (S14) - 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. (Animals and Friendship)

1. How could Bekoff reply to the objection that he is simply anthropomorphising when he says that animals can love?

(Suggested plan: Explain Bekoff's thesis about animal love. Give some examples. Then raise the objection. In response, explain Bekoff's argument from grief. You should also defend him against the charge of anthropomorphism along the way.)

2. 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.)

II. Answer one question from 3-4. (Partiality)

3. Does the Death in Brunswick example support Cocking and Kennett's thesis? Why or why not?

(This question requires evaluation. Explain their argument for the claim that the duties of friendship can conflict with those of morality, and that sometimes we should commit serious moral wrongs for a friend. Does the example they provide support this claim? You might consider a clearer case of serious wrongdoing to test their thesis.)

4. Evaluate Hurka's justification of national partiality.

(This question requires evaluation. Do not summarize Hurka's entire article. I want you to evaluate his positive argument near the end. What does he think justifies national partiality? Does his suggestion work, say, for all or most citizens of the USA? You might consider the objection we raised involving terrorists who blame you for the Gulf War.)

III. Answer question 5. (Symposium)

5. Provide an account of why Plato includes 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?)

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, 3/6/2014


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 200 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.

You should include a bibliography on the final page. Use the Chicago manual "notes and bibliography" citation style:


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."