top of page
BPYC-134: Western Philosophy : Modern

BPYC-134: Western Philosophy : Modern

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

If you are looking for BPYC-134 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Western Philosophy : Modern, you have come to the right place. BPYC-134 solution on this page applies to 2022-23 session students studying in BAG courses of IGNOU.

Looking to download all solved assignment PDFs for your course together?

BPYC-134 Solved Assignment Solution by Gyaniversity

Assignment Solution

Assignment Code: BPYC-134/ASST/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: BPYC-134

Assignment Name: Western Philosophy: Modern

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


1. Give Answer of all five questions.

2. All five questions carry equal marks

3. Answer to question no. 1 and 2 should be in about 400 words each.


1. What is Kant’s view on the Nature of Knowledge? Explain and analyze. 20

Ans) The core of Kant's transcendental agenda is the identification and examination of the nature of human knowing abilities; only then will we be able to assess the degree to which our knowledge is "completely objective." His metaphysical argument centres on the philosophical goal of limiting the scope of the use of the intellectual faculties, and as a result, he maintains that the human intellect lacks the capacity for intellectual intuition. This restriction prompts Kant to draw the conclusion that object knowledge is only attainable if it is provided by a capacity different from the intellect itself. He names three mental faculties of the human mind that are closely tied to one another, giving sensibility a genuine role. It's them:

  1. Sensitivity  which adjusts our perceptions to correspond with human kinds of intuition, namely space and time.

  2. understanding that harmonises our personal assessments of many things with the categories of mind

  3. Reason which controls how ideas and understanding norms are used to create coherent experiences, conforms the collective whole of our judgments about objects to specific structural constraints of systematic unity.


Sensitivity and understanding are initially endowed with receptivity and spontaneity, respectively. Alternatively, it can be stated in terms of giving and self-awareness as "the element of receiving something and the part of making the given understandable to oneself" (Cassirer, 53). According to Kant, there are two different categories of notions that can be used to categorise order and system in nature. Space and time, the first sort, come from perception, while categories, the second kind, come from understanding. Insisting throughout the Critique that these categories are not generated from experience, Kant argues that experience necessitates them in order for experience to exist at all: objects must be spatial and temporal, as well as exhibit categorial characteristics. This prompts Kant to demonstrate that these ideas are a priori in origin and pure in nature. Sensitivity and comprehension are found to operate and validate one another in the instance of experience validating categories and, in turn, the categories enabling experience.


According to the Aesthetic and the Analytic, this procedure is undesirable. When put into practise, it is challenging to locate anything "objective" within these conceptions of reason, leading Buchdahl to assert that the independence of reason "is acquired at a price". The emphasis on the spontaneity and independence of reason, as well as the fact that reason itself serves as the source of all concepts, suggest that nature is restrained by reason's own determining operation, which is limited to the boundaries of reason itself. The assertion that reason only has insight into what it produces can also be viewed from a different, a posteriori perspective, in which it might be argued that, perhaps, we gradually learn through postulation and hypotheses to tune our reason in accordance with the inherent structure of nature that is not at all obvious but is gradually revealed to us.


2. Explain and analyze Descartes mind-body dualism. 20

Ans) Mind-body dualism, in its original and most radical formulation, the philosophical view that mind and body are fundamentally distinct kinds of substances or natures. That version, now often called substance dualism, implies that mind and body not only differ in meaning but refer to different kinds of entities. Thus, a mind-body dualist would oppose any theory that identifies mind with the brain, conceived as a physical mechanism. A brief treatment of mind-body dualism follows. For fuller discussion, see Philosophy of mind: Dualism; and Metaphysics: Mind and body.


The modern problem of the relationship of mind to body stems from the thought of the 17th-century French philosopher and mathematician René Descartes, who gave dualism its classical formulation. Beginning from his famous dictum cogito, ergo sum, Descartes developed a theory of mind as an immaterial, nonextended substance that engages in various activities or undergoes various states such as rational thought, imagining, feeling, and willing. Matter, or extended substance, conforms to the laws of physics in mechanistic fashion, with the important exception of the human body, which Descartes believed is causally affected by the human mind and which causally produces certain mental events.


For example, willing the arm to be raised causes it to be raised, whereas being hit by a hammer on the finger causes the mind to feel pain. This part of Descartes’s dualistic theory, known as interactionism, raises one of the chief problems faced by Descartes and his followers: the question of how this causal interaction is possible. This problem gave rise to other varieties of substance dualism, such as occasionalism and some forms of parallelism that do not require direct causal interaction. Occasionalism maintains that apparent links between mental and physical events are the result of God’s constant causal action. Parallelism also rejects causal interaction but without constant divine intervention. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a 17th-century German rationalist and mathematician, saw mind and body as two perfectly correlated series, synchronized like two clocks at their origin by God in a preestablished harmony.


Another substance-dualistic theory is epiphenomenalism, which agrees with other theories in holding that mental events and physical events are different. The epiphenomenalist holds, however, that the only true causes are physical events, with mind as a by-product. Mental events seem causally efficacious because certain mental events occur just before certain physical events and because humans are ignorant of the events in the brain that truly cause them.


Among other difficulties faced by substance dualism is the inherent obscurity in conceiving of what sort of thing a mental substance—an immaterial, thinking “stuff”—might be. Such criticisms have led some thinkers to abandon substance dualism in favour of various monistic theories, including the identity theory, according to which every mental state or event is identical to some physical state or event, and the dual-aspect theory, also called neutral monism, according to which mental and physical states and events constitute different aspects or properties of a single underlying substance, which is neither mental nor physical.


3. Answer any two of the following questions in about 200 words each. 2*10= 20


a) What are Innate Ideas? How Locke criticizes the concept of innate ideas? 10

Ans) Innate idea, in philosophy, an idea allegedly inborn in the human mind, as contrasted with those received or compiled from experience. The doctrine that at least certain ideas must be innate because no satisfactory empirical origin of them could be conceived, flourished in the 17th century and found in René Descartes its most prominent exponent. The theory took many forms: some held that a newborn child has an explicit awareness of such ideas; others, more commonly, maintained that innate ideas have some implicit form, either as a tendency or as a dormant capacity for their formulation, which in either case would require favourable experiential conditions for their development.


John Locke’s vigorous criticism later in the century was directed against innate principles and the innate ideas claimed as the terms of the principles. But Locke’s empiricism had difficulty with certain key concepts, such as substance, “which we neither have nor can have by sensation or reflection,” and cause, about which he largely anticipated David Hume’s difficulties in the 18th century. Locke seems to have shared some of the assumptions of his opponents and to have sensed that the issue is one of logic  and not of genetic psychology. Completing this distinction, the 18th-century philosopher Immanuel Kant replaced the doctrine of innate ideas with questions about a priori concepts, which he characterized in terms not of their origin but of their necessity as conditions of human experience of an objective world. In the 20th century, Noam Chomsky argued the necessity for postulating innate ideas to explain the possibility of language.


b) Explain briefly the significance of Pre-established harmony in Leibniz’s philosophy.

Ans) Leibniz asserts that while monads cannot interact, it is important to speak of the harmonious unfolding of each monad with each other due to the fact that perception exists. His idea of "pre-established harmony" is this. It explains why we can talk about how we perceive the universe while also holding that monads are "windowless." Even when two substances cannot interact with one another, the cosmos functions as though their natural interaction were genuine. In contrast to physical relationships, substances form a system based on harmony or inherent compatibility.

Each monad's inner evolution was planned out at the world's inception in such a way that any changes it undergoes are mirrored by changes in other monads. Each monad has a distinct succession of changes than the others, but they are all in unison. It appears as though two monads are interacting because of a "pre-established harmony." Bertrand Russell explains the idea by stating that Leibniz "had an unlimited number of clocks, all ordered by creator to strike at the same instant, not because they affect each other but because each is a perfectly exact mechanism."


There are countless worlds, including those of plants, insects, animals, humans, planets, and so forth. Each of these universes has a certain organisation or perfect order. It is possible to establish continuity and hierarchy among the monads. There is unmistakable continuity from the smallest to the largest, from the lowest to the highest. Similar to this, monads make up the complete human body. The soul of the man whose body it is a part is the dominating monad, while each monad is an immortal soul.


The soul is the reason for the changes in the human body. My arm moves, and the dominant Monad is where the movement is going to be used. This is the reality of what seems to be my control over my arm, according to common sense. The Cartesian dualism of mind and matter is thereby resolved by pre-established harmony. This is described by Leibniz as the "mirroring of all substances." God's influence on the earth and how brains and bodies interact when it comes to perception and movement are only a few instances of the general mirroring. Leibniz emphasises that each part of the body, including the soul or mind, operates according to its own set of laws.


4. Answer any four of the following questions in about 150 words each. 4*5= 20


a) Examine Berkley’s refutation of materialism.

Ans) Berkeley created the most controversial thesis in all of philosophy by starting with Locke's "commonsense" philosophy. The name for it is subjectivism idealism. It claims that there are just minds and concepts in the minds and that there are no physical objects or actual substances. By making three straightforward advances, Locke's premise leads to this astounding situation. First, it supports the claim that one can only know a thing's sensible properties, making it impossible to construct a notion about a substance. Second, it is impossible to distinguish between qualities that are inherent in the objects themselves vs qualities that the objects inflict on us, as Locke had argued, between primary and secondary qualities.


Thirdly, the question of whether there is any knowledge outside of our experience does not arise once it has been established that all knowledge of the world, with the exception of knowledge of one's existence and knowledge of God, must be attained by experience. Berkeley maintained that a consistent empiricist must reject both the idea of physical things and the causal theory of perception. Because we can only experience things as their effects—that is, as the concepts they elicit in us—we cannot perceive the objects themselves or their causes.


Berkeley establishes idealism by using the foundational tenets of empiricism outlined by Locke, disproving materialism and atheism. Locke's assertion that sense and reflection are fundamental to all knowledge and that concepts are the only things we are aware of makes it impossible for us to understand a world of bodies.


b) “Thoughts without content are empty and intuitions without concepts are blind.” Explain this dictum of Kant.

Ans) According to Kant's maxim, "thoughts without content are empty, intuitions without ideas are blind," neither of them can provide coherent experience or knowledge on their own. Starting with perception, when appearances are merged, synthesis is the primary and fundamental process that underlies all acts of experiencing and knowing. Kant primarily discusses two types of synthesis: transcendental synthesis and empirical synthesis. While empirical synthesis is carried out by reproductive imagination through perception or representations, where the activity of imagination is identified as understanding, transcendental synthesis is carried out by productive imagination through a manifold of pure intuition.


The former produces the objective phenomenal world through the application of categories, and the latter results in our knowledge of this phenomenal world. In the synthesising action of the last and supreme intellectual faculty known as reason, the upwardly moving synthesis of distinct knowledge components reaches a new level of coherence and systematic unity (Vernunft). Reason strives to reach the highest level of knowledge attainable for humans by using transcendental concepts and the pursuit of the completeness of systematic knowledge. Additionally, the Dialectic's primary goal of analysing the transcendental illusions to which reason inevitably leads overshadows this constructive approach to explaining the nature and functioning of reason.


c) How does Spinoza prove that God is the only independent substance?

Ans) Spinoza believed that there was only one substance. He holds that no material of the same kind or quality can exist in more than one place in the universe. For Spinoza, the words "nature," "universe," or "cosmos" were synonymous with "God." Spinoza believed that one substance made up the majority of the cosmos. To understand this, let's imagine that there is only one substance, which is the entire cosmos.


The differences between the universe and God would preclude them from being the same and would prevent God from having any effect or control over the conditions of the cosmos, and vice versa, if they were two distinct things. If God had the ability to alter the cosmos from within, they wouldn't be distinct. The universe and God would instead be composed of the same substance. Spinoza argued that if God is causing changes in the cosmos, then establishes that God is a part of the cosmos. Nothing can be created from matter or destroyed from it.


d) Write a short note on the Locke’s representative theory of perception.

Ans) According to this view, each sense organ projects its own image into the mind using an external object or material substance. This image, which acts as a "copy" or representation of the outside entity, is known as the notion. Thoughts are a common name for the tertium quid that exists between the intellect and substance.


Concepts are used to represent the item. Consequently, the mental representation of a notion used to observe an external object. So, sensation can be thought of as a metaphor for external things. A physical emotion called sensation causes a depiction of the outside environment. To confirm the conceptions as accurate duplicates, we would need to be able to see the actual external item, which is not feasible based on this hypothesis. If we could plainly identify the traits, we wouldn't need the ideas. The representative theory is criticised as a result.

  1. When we use the term "copy," we mean likeness, which leads to subjective idealism in which concepts are the sole objects of knowing. How can one idea be a replica of something that is not an idea remains to be seen.

  2. It brings about realism. The representational theory, according to realists, is incorrect since there is no need for concepts because the mind is immediately aware of the objects.

  3. The alternative viewpoint that emerges as a result of representational theory is that of the sceptic, who maintains that although we are aware of the existence of objects, we are unsure of their precise nature. Hume adopted this viewpoint.


5. Write short notes on any five of the following in about 100 words each. 5*4= 20


a) Alienated Labour

Ans) According to Marx, human labour is what separates humans from non-human animals. Non-human creatures do produce, but only instinctively and for survival. Humans, on the other hand, are creative and treat their work and daily activities as an extension of their own will and consciousness. Marx believes that while capitalism has increased and developed more productive forces than at any other time in human history, it also hinders, distorts, and limits human potential. Alienated labour has four different facets.


The employee is hostile:

  1. Derived from one's own labour’s goods.

  2. From the industrial process.

  3. Through species.

  4. By other people.

Aliensation is expressed in the division of labour, wage labour, and private property. Abolish private property as well as the connection between private property and wage labour in order to put an end to alienation. Marx held the view that alienation and private property would both be abolished as a result of the class struggle that would lead to a revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat.


b) Enlightenment

Ans) Following the developments in Newtonian mechanics, Europe saw a revival of the belief in reason, albeit a scientific kind of reason. This movement, known by the moniker of "Enlightenment," originally appeared in England during the "Glorious Revolution" of 1688. Later, the Enlightenment expanded to France thanks to young thinkers like Voltaire who had lived in England for a considerable amount of time. It wouldn't be overstating things to say that the French Revolution of 1789 was the pinnacle of the Enlightenment movement. Traditional methods of thinking were challenged in Spain, Italy, and Germany as a result of this movement.


The Enlightenment's philosophy did not openly oppose religion. But because it promoted reason outside of theocratic structures, it pitted it against the church. Significantly, a form of cosmic humanism was highlighted along with the importance of intellectual sovereignty. People had been divided as a result of sectarian conflicts waged in the name of religion. The healing touch of enlightenment was applied to a nation weary of senseless carnage. The philosophers of this time period advocated for a global unification of humanity. They believed that by using reason, they could access the basic riches of nature and create a paradise on earth.


c) Tabula rasa

Ans) Tabula rasa, (Latin: “scraped tablet”—i.e., “clean slate”) in epistemology (theory of knowledge) and psychology, a supposed condition that empiricists have attributed to the human mind before ideas have been imprinted on it by the reaction of the senses to the external world of objects.


Comparison of the mind to a blank writing tablet occurs in Aristotle’s De anima (4th century BCE; On the Soul), and the Stoics as well as the Peripatetics (students at the Lyceum, the school founded by Aristotle) subsequently argued for an original state of mental blankness. Both the Aristotelians and the Stoics, however, emphasized those faculties of the mind or soul that, having been only potential or inactive before receiving ideas from the senses, respond to the ideas by an intellectual process and convert them into knowledge.

d) Descartes’s Scientific Method

Ans) Descartes is sometimes portrayed as a proponent of the a priori method of knowledge discovery, which is based on the theory of innate ideas and produces an intellectual understanding of the essences of the objects with which we are familiar with our sensory experience of the universe. The method of Newton, Bacon, and the British empiricists, who rejected the metaphysics of essences and the doctrine of innate ideas, is then contrasted to this metaphysics of essences and the accompanying a priori method.


For them, knowledge of the world of sensible appearances was to be located not by leaving it to travel to a realm of essences, but by using the method of experiment through which one could identify patterns in this world of causes and effects. This common perception does have some validity, but Descartes' and the empiricists' ideas go far further than this straightforward illustration. Descartes believed that experience and experimentation are just as important for gaining knowledge as those that are known a priori.


e) Cogito, ergo sum

Ans) The Latin cogito, ergo sum, usually translated into English as "I think, therefore I am",[a] is the "first principle" of René Descartes's philosophy. He originally published it in French as je pense, donc je suis in his 1637 Discourse on the Method, so as to reach a wider audience than Latin would have allowed. It later appeared in Latin in his Principles of Philosophy, and a similar phrase also featured prominently in his Meditations on First Philosophy.


The dictum is also sometimes referred to as the cogito. As Descartes explained in a margin note, "we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt." In the posthumously published The Search for Truth by Natural Light, he expressed this insight as dubito, ergo sum, vel, quod idem est, cogito, ergo sum ("I doubt, therefore I am  or what is the same  I think, therefore I am"). Antoine Léonard Thomas, in a 1765 essay in honour of Descartes presented it as dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum ("I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am").

100% Verified solved assignments from ₹ 40  written in our own words so that you get the best marks!
Learn More

Don't have time to write your assignment neatly? Get it written by experts and get free home delivery

Learn More

Get Guidebooks and Help books to pass your exams easily. Get home delivery or download instantly!

Learn More

Download IGNOU's official study material combined into a single PDF file absolutely free!

Learn More

Download latest Assignment Question Papers for free in PDF format at the click of a button!

Learn More

Download Previous year Question Papers for reference and Exam Preparation for free!

Learn More

Download Premium PDF

Assignment Question Papers

Which Year / Session to Write?

Get Handwritten Assignments

bottom of page