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MPY-002: Western Philosophy

MPY-002: Western Philosophy

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

If you are looking for MPY-002 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Western Philosophy, you have come to the right place. MPY-002 solution on this page applies to 2022-23 session students studying in MAPY courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: MPY-002/TMA/2022-23

Course Code: MPY-002

Assignment Name: Western Philosophy

Year: 2022-2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor



I) Give answer of all five questions.

ii) All five questions carry equal marks.

iii) The answer of questions no. 1 and 2 should be in about 500 words.


1. What is Cartesian dualism? Discuss Anti-Cartesian foundation of Pragmatism. 20


The Cartesian System

Because Cartesians believe that knowledge—indeed, certain knowledge—can be obtained through reason from innate ideas, Cartesianism is a type of rationalism from a metaphysical and epistemological perspective. The tradition of empiricism, which dates back to Aristotle (384–322 BCE), holds that all knowledge is based on sense experience and is, therefore, only probable because sense experience is fallible.


However, in actuality, empiricists and Cartesian scientists created probabilistic scientific theories through experimentation and observation. Because they believed that God is omnipotent and that his will is completely free, Cartesians were forced to accept uncertainty in science. This is because they believed that God could, if he so desired, turn any apparent truth into a lie and any apparent lie—even a logical contradiction—into a truth. Humans can only be certain of what God reveals and that they and God both exist because their intellect is limited.


This insight is expressed as "Cogito, ergo sum" (Latin: "I think, therefore I am") in Descartes' Discourse on Method (1637) and as "I think, I am" in his Meditations. Descartes contends that one has certain knowledge of one's own existence because one cannot think without knowing that one exists (1641). Descartes also contends in the Meditations that since we are finite and cannot generate an idea of infinity, but instead have an idea of an infinite God, God must exist in order to give rise to that idea. Furthermore, he claims that even though we have no direct experience with the material world—not even with our own bodies—and only have access to concepts that describe it, we are unable to have direct knowledge of it. Only because God cannot be a liar do we know it exists.


The ontological dualism of mind (also known as spirit or soul) and matter was adopted by the Cartesian school. Self-conscious thought is the essence of the mind, while three-dimensional extension is the essence of matter. God is a third, infinite substance, and necessary existence is what makes God who He is. God combines minds and bodies to produce humans, a fourth compound substance. Humans learn about the world by reflecting on their innate concepts of matter, mind, and God. Humans, however, rely on physical motions that cause sensible ideas—that is, sensations—in the mind to be transmitted from sense organs through nerves to the brain in order to gain knowledge of specific events in the world. The material world is therefore only indirectly known to Cartesian philosophers.


Cartesian Mechanism

The first Cartesians were Dutch and French physicists and physiologists who made an effort to explain physical and biological phenomena only in terms of mechanics, i.e., only in terms of matter and its motion, especially without reference to Aristotelian concepts like form and final cause. Henricus Regius (1598-1679), Descartes' first student in the Netherlands, taught Cartesian physics at the University of Utrecht, much to Descartes' dismay. He also rejected Descartes' metaphysics as unrelated to science. Another follower, Nicolas Malebranche (1638-1715), a French theologian and philosopher, shared Descartes' view that animals are merely machines and are therefore incapable of thought or emotion. He is reputed to have kicked a pregnant dog and then rebuked critics like Jean de La Fontaine (1621–95), a French author of animal fables, for spending their emotions on such insignificant creatures rather than worrying about human suffering.


2. Write a note on the notion of causality. How does David Hume challenge the notion of causality? 10+10= 20

Ans) Hume contends that there is simply no other impression to which our idea can be attributed, so we are unable to imagine any other cause and effect relationship. All that is left is this certainty. In terms of his intellectual stance, he is a sceptic and free thinker. As a sceptic, he argues that the standard claims to knowledge are false from the standpoint of the empiricist. He begins with empirical observations about the human mind as a proponent of natural philosophy of man and comes to the conclusion that metaphysicians constructed the mind incorrectly. The naturalism of Hume is Newtonian. He builds a science of the mind without supposition and only on the basis of observation. He made a distinction between "impressions" and "ideas" when referring to mental contents.


The only connection required by causation, in Hume's view, is this certainty. Hume's Copy Principle states that an idea must have originated from an impression, but the event itself gave us no impression of efficacy. Instead, the perception of effectiveness is one that is created in the mind. As we encounter enough instances of a particular constant conjunction, our minds start to naturally link cause and effect, giving each prediction of the effect a little more "oomph" and increasing our confidence that the effect will occur once more. Our perception of necessity is a result of this internal feeling of "oomph," which is simply a sense of assurance that the conjunction will not change. Therefore, the notion of necessity that supports constant conjunction is an imaginary construct. We can't help but predict that this is how the situation will play out.


Now that we've taken this approach to understanding Hume's explanation of causality, we can see where the two definitions of causation he provides in the Treatise originate. (In the Enquiry, he provides definitions that are comparable but not exact.) He offers the following two definitions of "cause":

  1. An object that is both preceding and following another, and all objects that resemble the former are arranged in similar relationships with those that resemble the latter.

  2. An object that came before another, was next to it, and was so connected to it that the idea of one inspired the formation of the other and the impression of one sparked a more vibrant idea of the other.


Numerous books discuss whether these two definitions are equivalent and, if not, which one Hume should prioritise. The person who argues that the two terms are not equivalent, J.A. Robinson, claims that there is a lack of meaning equivalence and that they do not capture the same extension. It seems possible that we could be convinced that one object causes another without constantly conjoining them, just as two objects can exist side by side without our mind concluding that one causes the other. But if the definitions fall short in this way, Hume's claim that both definitions of causation are sufficient is problematic. Don Garrett, for example, contends that the two definitions are equivalent whether they are read objectively or subjectively. However, other scholars have offered evidence that suggests that trying to fit or eliminate definitions may be a misguided endeavour.


3. Answer any two questions in about 250 words each. 2*10= 20


a) Do you agree that there are some common underline themes present in Early and later Wittgenstein? Give arguments to support your answer. 10

Ans) Ludwig Wittgenstein, who is regarded as the greatest philosopher of the 20th century by some, was a pivotal, if contentious, figure in the development of analytical philosophy in the middle of the century. He still has an impact on contemporary philosophical thought and sparks debate on issues like logic and language, perception and intention, religion and ethics, aesthetics and culture, and even political philosophy. The complexity of the project of interpreting Wittgenstein's writings is another key aspect to consider, and this creates a host of challenges in determining his philosophical method and substance.


The early and the later phases of Wittgenstein's thought were initially considered to be the two most important periods in his development. It is generally agreed that his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus best captures the essence of the early Wittgenstein in this traditional two-stage interpretation. He offered fresh perspectives on the connections between the world, thought, and language as well as on the nature of philosophy by demonstrating how modern logic can be applied to metaphysics through language.


The more radical step in challenging traditional philosophy, including its climax in his own early work, was taken by the later Wittgenstein, who is best known for the Philosophical Investigations. His new philosophy is praised for being fundamentally anti-systematic while still allowing for a sincere philosophical understanding of long-standing issues. This division has come under scrutiny in more recent scholarship: some interpreters assert a certain unity between all of his thought's phases, while others speak of a more nuanced division, including phases like the middle Wittgenstein and the post-later Wittgenstein.


b) Write a note on the Socrates’s dialectic method. 10

Ans) The Socratic method, also known as the Elenchus method, the elenctic method, or the Socratic debate, is a cooperative argumentative dialogue between people that relies on questioning and responding in order to elicit critical thought, ideas, and underlying presuppositions. Socrates, a Classical Greek philosopher, gave it the name "maieutic" and introduced it in Plato's Theaetetus. Its purpose is to bring out definitions that are implicit in the interlocutors' beliefs or to aid in their understanding.


By gradually identifying and eliminating hypotheses that result in contradictions, the Socratic method is a method of hypothesis elimination.


The Socratic method looks for broad, widely accepted truths that influence beliefs and examines them to assess their coherence with other beliefs. A person or group can learn about their beliefs about a subject, explore definitions, and characterise general characteristics shared by various specific instances by answering a series of questions designed as tests of logic and fact.


Sophists were lecturers in the second half of the 5th century BC who were experts at persuading an audience to accept their point of view by using the devices of philosophy and rhetoric. Socrates advocated for a different approach to education that became known as the Socratic method.


Socrates started having these conversations with his fellow Athenians after his childhood friend Chaerephon went to the Oracle of Delphi, which claimed that Socrates was the wisest man in all of Greece. This struck Socrates as a paradox, so he started to approach his problem using the Socratic method. However, Protagoras is credited by Diogenes Lartius with creating the "Socratic" method.


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


a) Write a note on Kalam cosmological argument. 5

Ans) The Kalam cosmological argument is presented in its most well-known form by William Lane Craig as the following syllogism. Every beginning has a cause, everything. The creation of the universe. Thus, there is a cause for the universe. In light of the conclusion, Craig adds another premise and conclusion based on a philosophical examination of the characteristics of the universe's cause:


If there is an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe, who is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless, and incredibly powerful, then there must be a cause for the universe.

As a result, the universe has an uncaused, personal Creator who is infinitely powerful, beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, and spaceless. Classical Theism's repercussions as a result of this argument are discussed by Craig in the following way: "... transcending the entire universe there exists a cause which brought the universe into being ex nihilo... our entire universe was caused to exist by something beyond it and greater than it.


b) Evaluate the notion of private language. 5

Ans) Ludwig Wittgenstein introduced the private language argument, which claims that a language understood by only one person is incoherent, in his later work, particularly in the Philosophical Investigations. In the latter half of the 20th century, the debate revolved around this argument.


In the Investigations, Wittgenstein does not succinctly and clearly state his points; rather, he describes specific language usages and invites the reader to consider the implications of those usages. As a result, there is a great deal of disagreement regarding both the argument's nature and its implications. In fact, discussing disputes over private language has become commonplace.


Philosophical historians have identified the private language argument's forerunners in a number of works, particularly those of Gott lob Frege and John Locke. Since he argued in his essay An Essay Concerning Human Understanding that a word's referent is the idea it stands for, Locke is a well-known proponent of the point of view that the argument challenges.


c) Write a short note on picture theory. 5

Ans) The Tractatus discusses philosophical issues pertaining to the interaction of the world, thought, and language and offers a sane resolution. Since thought and proposition all have the same logical structure, thought is a representation of the world while proposition is an expression of thought. The world is made up of facts, not things (T 1.1). Facts are actual conditions that exist and are combinations of objects (T 2). Depending on their internal characteristics, objects can combine with one another and have a variety of properties. The current state of affairs can be broken down into its simple constituent objects despite its inherent complexity. The world is the totality of the actual states of affairs, just as reality is made up of all possible and actual states of affairs.


Wittgenstein offers a picture theory of language and thought in the Tractatus. Pictures are representations of reality (T 2.12) and are composed of elements that stand in for objects. The arrangement of objects in a picture corresponds to the arrangement of objects in the situation.


d) Write a note on the concept of time and space in Kant’s philosophy 5

Ans) Kant noted the sad and perplexed condition of philosophy, which has been reduced to little more than fumbling around in concepts. No solid foundation has been established for metaphysics. Man, on the other hand, is a metaphysical animal that ponders existence constantly. Man's natural disposition is toward metaphysics. He is propelled by an internal desire to ask questions that can't be resolved through the application of empirical reason. Because science sought after accuracy and perfection, the Metaphysics of Kant's time was tinged with dogmatism and illogic and was unworthy of the name "science." Metaphysics can still make its way onto the safe path of science. If Metaphysics was unable to follow the safe path of science in the past, it was because it was on the wrong path. Kant felt that there needed to be a sort of radical reordering of presuppositions as a result. Up until now, it has been assumed that all of our knowledge must be consistent with external objects.


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


a) Phenomenon 4

Ans) Things that happen naturally—phenomena—occur or show up without human intervention. The forces of gravity, tides, biological processes, and oscillation are a few examples of natural phenomena. Social phenomena are those that result from or are caused by human social interactions. For instance, social networking shows the phenomenon of six degrees of separation. Human actions and reactions are manifestations of psychological phenomena. The propensity for people to keep spending money on things that are obviously failing is known as the "sunk cost effect." The Hawthorne effect, another psychological phenomenon, is characterised by an improvement in behaviour or performance in response to increased attention from superiors, clients, or co-workers.


b) Analytic a priori judgement 4

Ans) Analytical a priori judgments are used to describe knowledge claims that are "self-contained." You can judge things like this without referring to anything "external" in and of themselves. The statements "squares have four sides" and "all bachelors are single" are examples of analytical a priori judgments. In actuality, squares have four sides, and bachelors are single. The thing wouldn't be a square if it didn't have four sides. The same is true of bachelors; if a man were married, he wouldn't be a bachelor. They would be a married person. Synthetic posteriori judgments are the exact opposite of analytic a priori judgments. These conclusions you draw in relation to "something" outside.


d) Black Feminism 4

Ans) African American feminists have always been outspoken participants in feminist criticism and ideology, even though they may not have been a part of the early mainstream second-wave feminism. They have claimed that sexism coexists with racism as a problem. As is classism (the hierarchy created by a caste-like economic and social class system). They have urged feminists to take into account the issues of racism and classism in addition to sexism, and they have also described how these issues are intertwined. In the same way that racism embodies sexism, it is impossible to truly comprehend sexism without also understanding its racist roots. They have disproved the myths that black women are matriarchs and superwomen, and they have led movements to give women of colour more influence in the political and economic spheres. Numerous organisations dedicated to feminism and women's rights, some of which are specifically for women of colour, are supported by African American women.


e) Esse est percipi 4

Ans) This argument holds that all qualities ascribed to objects are sense qualities. In this way, just as blueness is a quality of visual experience, hardness is the perception of resistance to striking, and heaviness is the perception of muscular effort when, for instance, holding an object in one's hand. But only a subject or spirit with sense organs can perceive those qualities, so they only exist while being perceived. George Berkeley, an Anglo-Irish empiricist of the 18th century, disagreed with the notion that sense perceptions are influenced by a material substance, the existence of which he denied. He intuitively understood the axiom "to be is to be perceived." The argument is straightforward, but it has sparked a large and complicated literature, and modern idealists have deemed it indisputable.


f) Coherence theory of truth 4

Ans) Correspondence, coherence, and pragmatic are three popular theories of truth. The correspondence theory holds that a statement is true if it corresponds to what actually exists (the "facts" or "reality") and false if it does not. If what we think or say is consistent with the facts—the way things really are—then it is true. If and only if a belief corresponds to a fact, it is true. Throughout the development of western philosophy, this viewpoint has been expressed in a variety of ways. This view is currently held by the analytical philosophers Russell and G.E. Moore. A statement is true if it is logically consistent with other beliefs that are believed to be true, according to the coherence theory of truth.

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