Dr Tom Kerns
North Seattle Community College
questions for the
This is a sampling of the kinds
of questions that could be asked on the upcoming midterm exam.
You'll see that some of them are simple questions whose answers
will require only a few words (like in the first two questions
below, for example). Other questions probably most questions
on the exam will be short essay questions whose answers
will require a fuller development.
In general, questions on the exam
can potentially cover anything that we've covered in the class
so far, including everything covered this coming week. So that
includes all the Greek and all the Hebrew stuff. It will potentially
cover material in our Greek and Hebrew readings, in the lectures,
in the discussion questions, and in the class discussions.
When you read these sample questions
below (some of which may turn out to actually be on the exam)
you will see that they are written so that there are right and
wrong answers to them. They are not asking for opinions or impressions.,
but for something that is actually verifiable in a text or lecture
or discussion question.
I know that study groups prior
to exams can be a big help to students who want to do well
on exams. What I'm not sure about is how you might creatively develop a
study-group-like situation here in the online environment. If anyone thinks
of an innovative way to do so, please let the rest of us know with a message in the classroom.
Sample exam questions
- What are the titles of the five
Platonic dialogues we read?
- What are the titles of the three
books of the Hebrew wisdom tradition that we've read?
- One lecture explained that the
Socratic method had four main elements. Explain briefly what
each element is, paying particular attention to the element
that was enunciated by Soren Kierkegaard, who was quoted
extensively in one of the lectures. This question requires that
you a) name each of the four elements of Socratic method, and
b) give a very brief explanation of what each element is, and
a longer explanation of what the element enunciated by SK is.
- List and explain the four major
elements of the Socratic method. What is this method intended
to achieve? In your opinion how effective is Socrates in achieving
his goal? Why? (Be sure you illustrate with examples.)
- Explain and evaluate Socrates's
views on civil disobedience as presented in the Crito. In your
opinion, is Socrates's view tenable? Why or why not? Is civil
disobedience ever justified? Why or why not? (Be sure you give
reasons for your views.)
- Explain the charioteer analogy
in the Phaedrus. What do each of the horses, the charioteer
and the chariot represent? What is Plato telling us about the
nature of human happiness? Do you agree? Why or why not?
- Give the clear, unambiguous English
meaning (as we have been using them in class) of the following
Greek words: eros, philia, hosion, sophia
- List three of the things that
God likes about Job, as described in one of the lectures (see
the lecture "What God likes about Job")
- Describe the problem of evil,
what some of the proposed solutions for it have been, and how
the two different kinds of solutions differ. This question requires
that you a) thoroughly and clearly outline the problem of evil
as it was described in the lecture; b) outline the possible solutions
that have been offered to that problem, also as outlined in lecture;
and c) then explain why it is said that some of those solutions
are attempts to "save" God, and other solutions are
attempts to "save" the reality of evil in the world
(much of the "c" portion of this question will be found
in some of my postings during the class discussion on the problem
- State the problem of evil (presented
to you in class in the Book of Job) and at least two potential
solutions to that problem. Which, if any, strikes you as likely
to succeed? For what reasons?
- Outline the four "stages
on life's way" that were described in one of the lectures,
and note which of the books we read is associated with each stage.
(This lecture will be posted in a few days when you begin to
- The first "stage on life's
way" was said - in that lecture - to be characterized by
three propositions; write out those three propositions. (See
- One lecture tried to explore why
The Book of Job may have been chosen by the rabbis to
be included in the canon of holy writ, despite all the reasons
there may have been for not including the book. In this question
I would like you to a) explain in some detail at least two reasons
(given in the lecture) for why the rabbis may have thought The
Book of Job to be heretical enough that it should not be
included in the scriptural canon. b) Then describe one reason
offered in the lecture that may explain why they did include
- Compare and contrast the Book
of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Job on the topic of human happiness
and the meaning of life. Which view, in your opinion, seems
closest to the truth? For what reason or reasons?
- In the "A injures B"
discussion, we saw that Socrates clearly holds to one side of
the question. a) outline exactly what the A injures B discussion
question was, and what the two possible answers were. b) Say
which side Socrates came down on. c) Describe what I explained
during the discussion about Socrates' reasons for holding to
that side. Briefly explain what his reasons were.
- On what grounds do Socrates and
Plato maintain that when an unjust man attempts to harm a just
man by dispossessing him, torturing killing him the unjust man
succeeds only in harming himself regardless of whether or not
he attains his goal? Do you regard this view as plausible?
Why or why not? (Give reasons!)
- Characterize wisdom as presented
in the Books of Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiates. What connection,
if any, do you see between wisdom as understood in the Hebrew
scriptures and the sort of wisdom which was the object of Greek
philosophy? If none, contrast the two traditions.
are a few examples of the kinds of questions that could be taken
from the study questions:
- What are some of the reasons Crito
gives Socrates for why it would be right for him to break jail
and leave Athens?
- What does Socrates (in The
Crito) believe about civil disobedience? This question requires
that you a) explain what is meant by the term "civil disobedience;"
b) explain what Socrates' position on it is in The Crito.
- What do Job's friends think is
the explanation for why Job is suffering?
- Why, according to the first chapters
in The Book of Job, does the adversary want to torture
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