The Good Life (Spring 2009) - Midterm

The Good Life - Midterm (S09)

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

Answer one question from 1-2.

1. Evaluate Feldman's "Crib" thought experiment for isolating prudential value. Does it cleanly pick out concern for welfare, or might it also elicit concern for other types of value?

(This question requires evaluation.)

2. Explain why Feldman thinks that Desert Adjusted Intrinsic Attitudinal Hedonism (DAIAH) is superior to Default Hedonism. You do not need to include the complete formalization of DAIAH.

(This question does not ask for evaluation.)

Answer one question from 3-4.

3. Evaluate Feldman's account of Extrinsic Badness. Do not attempt to explain Epricurus's argument. Don't worry about the badness of death. Simply focus on the theory of extrinsic badness at issue. Is Felman's theory better than the "Causal Hypothesis"? Why or why not?

(This question requires evaluation.)

4. Evaluate the Buddhist Argument against the pleasure-seeking strategy for living a good life.

(This question requires evaluation.)

Answer one question from 5-6.

5. Explain either the Euthyphro Problem or the Problem of Desired Non-Pleasures for the Motivational Theory of Pleasure.

(This question does not ask for evaluation.)

6. Explain why Heathwood thinks that Subjective Desire Satisfactionism is the most plausible version of Desire Satisfactionism. Don't retrace the entire debate. Focus on the reason why he adds the subjective component. What problem does he think it solves for the theory?

(This question does not ask for evaluation.)

Answer one question from 7-8.

7. Explain the Problem of Changing Desires for Desire Satisfactionism.

(This question does not ask for evaluation.)

8. Explain Sumner's argument for the claim that "If an information requirement has any genuine work to do within a desire theory, therefore, it will be inconsistent with the basic rational of the theory." (132)

(This question does not ask for evaluation.)

Note: In order to evaluate a theory, you must first explain the theory. When explaining a counter-example to a definition, you need to specify whether the example shows that a proposed condition is not necessary, not sufficient, or neither. If you are 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. Typically, showing where an argument goes wrong will require arguing that one of the premises is false. 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. The only quotations in your midterm should be of formalizations.

Due Date

Thursday 4/07/2009


The complete midterm should be no more than 2,100 words. This is approximately 7 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.

Please skip a line or two between your answers. Include the question number at the start of each anwer. 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 unfamiliar with the issues.

I want you to explain the theories and objections as clearly as you can within the space alloted. 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 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. 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 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; 3. Kagan's "How to Write a Philosophy Paper"; 3. Pryor's "Guidelines for Writing Philosophy Papers"; and Pryor's "Glossary of Philosophical Terms."