Puzzles and Paradoxes Midterm Exam

Part One: Multiple Choice

Question One

Answer: (C)

Question Two

Answer: (E)

Question Four

Answer: (D)

Question Five

Answer: (A)

Part 2: Short Answers

Question 6: Paradox of the arrow

The paradox of the arrow assumes that there are no times between instances and that time is always discreet. However, if an arrow cannot move between instants or during instants, then it cannot move. This means that motion is impossible. First Zeno assumes that an arrow does not travel any distance during a moment. This means that it occupies an equal space. However, the whole period of its motion has instants only, all containing an arrow at rest. This argument tries to show that an arrow is often at rest at any instant. It also shows that nothing moves during an instant but time comprises of instants.

One way to resolve this paradox is by maintaining that though time and space are comprised of instants and points, their number is any finite interval. One can also escape this paradox by denying that time and space comprise of instants and points at all. Individuals can also deny the reality of time and space altogether.

Question 8: Time travel

Time travel is the notion of moving between time points that are analogous to movement between space points typically using a time machine. It also means going forward to the future or back in time to the past. Time travel is mostly recognized in science fiction and philosophy. The grandfather paradox assumes that time travel is not possible. This paradox arises when a time traveler travels back to the past and attempts to prevent a particular event from happening. The event is often a precondition of time travel going back in time. The grandfather paradox is often viewed as a potential logical problem that may arise if an individual travels back in time. The name comes from the notion that if an individual travels back in time before his or her grandfather has children and kills him, their birth is likely to be impossible.

According to Davis Lewis, it is not possible to kill a grandfather in the past since killing him in the past can lead to a contradiction in the present. Lewis explains the grandfather paradox by stating that even if an individual wants to kill his grandfather and that time travel was possible, an outside force will always prevent an individual from doing so. I do not agree with Lewis’s solution to the grandfather paradox because a time traveler cannot contribute to anything that is not meant to happen. Even if the time travel participates in the past, he cannot change the past.

Question 11: Paradox of omnipotence

The paradox of omnipotence assumes that if an individual can create a stone that he cannot live, then there is more than one task that the individual can perform which can be lifting the stone. If the individual cannot create a stone which he cannot live, then there is more than one task that he cannot perform such as lifting the stone. Hover, if that person is omnipotent, then he can perform all tasks. Therefore, that person is not omnipotent. This paradox is meant to show the idea of omnipotence is inconsistent.

I find the second solution of this paradox to be most convincing. The second solution suggests that it is logically impossible and contradictory that an omnipotent individual makes a stone that is extremely heavy that he cannot lift it. The second definition states that not doing an impossible thing is entirely well-matched with being invincible. To show that an individual is not omnipotent an individual would that a specific task cannot be performed, and is logically possible. However, the task of creating a stone that is extremely heavy for an omnipotent individual to lift violates the second option. This solution is superior to the others since it is supported by several scholars including George Mavrodes and St. Thomas Aquinas.

Question 12: General psychological theory of personal identity

The general psychological theory of personal identity philosophically confronts the questions of human existence such as who we are and if there is life after death. It provides a set of sufficient and necessary conditions for a person’s identity over time. John Locke’s version of psychological theory postulates that “any change in self shows a change in personal identity and can change in personal identity shows that the self has also changed.” Locke also suggests that an individual’s identity extends with consciousness. According to him, memory is a necessary personal identity condition. Locke refers to the states of interrupted forgetfulness or consciousness by stating that doubts can be raised in all the cases since we are losing sight of our past selves and our consciousness is interrupted. Therefore, memory is sufficient and necessary for self and personal identity.

Reid’s objection to memory theory does not deny the notion that memory presupposes a past apprehension nor the notion that memory is a current mental state. Reid denies that memory is a current apprehension and that a past apprehension is an object of, memory. The modified memory theory avoids this objection. The modified theory states that if there are no direct and indirect memory relations between individuals, then they are different.

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