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Metaphysics – the philosophical investigation of the nature of the uni

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Metaphysics – the philosophical investigation of the nature of the uni [#permalink]

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New post 26 May 2015, 08:20
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Question 1
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52% (01:19) correct 48% (00:48) wrong based on 113

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Question 2
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56% (00:21) correct 44% (00:11) wrong based on 105

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86% (00:38) correct 14% (00:18) wrong based on 103

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39% (00:29) correct 61% (00:14) wrong based on 28

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Metaphysics – the philosophical investigation of the nature of the universe and existence – had become unfashionable by the time Alfred North Whitehead began writing in earnest about it in the 1920s. The ever-more impressive accomplishments of empirical science had led to a general consensus in academia that the development of comprehensive metaphysical systems was a waste of time because they were not subject to empirical testing.

Whitehead was unimpressed by this objection. In Whitehead's view, scientists and philosophers make metaphysical assumptions about how the universe works all the time, but such assumptions are not easily seen precisely because they remain unexamined and unquestioned. Perhaps foremost among what Whitehead considered faulty metaphysical assumptions was the idea of substance materialism, which he rejected in favor of an opposite, event-based “process" ontology in which transient events are primary and material substances/beings are abstractions. He also argued that the most basic elements of reality have experiential features, that in fact everything is constituted by its experience (i.e., even things like electrons experience). Whitehead referred to his metaphysical system as "philosophy of organism," but it would become known more widely as "process philosophy."

This philosophy of Whitehead was highly original, and soon garnered interest in philosophical circles. After publishing The Concept of Nature in 1920, he served as president of the Aristotelian Society from 1922 to 1923, and Henri Bergson was quoted as saying that Whitehead was "the best philosopher writing in English." So impressive and different was Whitehead's philosophy that in 1924 he was invited to join the faculty at Harvard University as a professor of philosophy at 63 years of age, even though his educational background was in a very different field.


1. It can be inferred from the passage that those adhering to the idea of “substance materialism” would view material substances and beings as:

(A) abstract
(B) concrete
(C) event-based
(D) experiential
(E) process-driven


[Reveal] Spoiler:
B


2. The primary purpose of this passage is to:

(A) highlight one unique contribution of an important philosopher.
(B) discuss the importance of metaphysics as a field in science.
(C) provide details on the concept of “process philosophy.”
(D) emphasize Whitehead’s place among other philosophers.
(E) prove that “process philosophy” was superior to “substance materialism.”


[Reveal] Spoiler:
A


3. Which one of the following perspectives would best capture Whitehead’s “process philosophy”?

(A) A building is viewed through its size, materials, and aesthetics.
(B) A car is viewed through its horsepower, design, and speed.
(C) A school is viewed through its students, teachers, and staff.
(D) A business is viewed through its mission, advertising, and headquarters.
(E) A person is viewed through his experiences, interactions, and memories.


[Reveal] Spoiler:
E


4. The author would most likely describe Whitehead’s philosophy in the early 1920s as:

(A) highly controversial
(B) unimpressive
(C) never before considered
(D) poorly understood
(E) unique and respected


[Reveal] Spoiler:
E


5. The author of the passage would most likely agree with which of the following statements?

(A) Metaphysics is a field worthy of considerably more attention and respect.
(B) Alfred North Whitehead was successful as a challenger of conventional wisdom.
(C) Empirical science is a more respected field than is metaphysics.
(D) Alfred North Whitehead was a controversial figure among academics in the early 20th century.
(E) Alfred North Whitehead restored the prestige of metaphysics as an academic subject.


[Reveal] Spoiler:
B

[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #1 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #2 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #3 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #4 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #5 OA

Kudos [?]: 147 [2], given: 1

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Re: Metaphysics – the philosophical investigation of the nature of the uni [#permalink]

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New post 26 May 2015, 11:01
Nice passage.... Thank you. Took awful lot of time. The good think is I got 3 correct.

You sure,this is a 600 level passage... I had to re read the passage, considering the wording used.

Kudos...

AVRonaldo wrote:
Metaphysics – the philosophical investigation of the nature of the universe and existence – had become unfashionable by the time Alfred North Whitehead began writing in earnest about it in the 1920s. The ever-more impressive accomplishments of empirical science had led to a general consensus in academia that the development of comprehensive metaphysical systems was a waste of time because they were not subject to empirical testing.

Whitehead was unimpressed by this objection. In Whitehead's view, scientists and philosophers make metaphysical assumptions about how the universe works all the time, but such assumptions are not easily seen precisely because they remain unexamined and unquestioned. Perhaps foremost among what Whitehead considered faulty metaphysical assumptions was the idea of substance materialism, which he rejected in favor of an opposite, event-based “process" ontology in which transient events are primary and material substances/beings are abstractions. He also argued that the most basic elements of reality have experiential features, that in fact everything is constituted by its experience (i.e., even things like electrons experience). Whitehead referred to his metaphysical system as "philosophy of organism," but it would become known more widely as "process philosophy."

This philosophy of Whitehead was highly original, and soon garnered interest in philosophical circles. After publishing The Concept of Nature in 1920, he served as president of the Aristotelian Society from 1922 to 1923, and Henri Bergson was quoted as saying that Whitehead was "the best philosopher writing in English." So impressive and different was Whitehead's philosophy that in 1924 he was invited to join the faculty at Harvard University as a professor of philosophy at 63 years of age, even though his educational background was in a very different field.


1. It can be inferred from the passage that those adhering to the idea of “substance materialism” would view material substances and beings as:

(A) abstract
(B) concrete
(C) event-based
(D) experiential
(E) process-driven

[Reveal] Spoiler:
B


2. The primary purpose of this passage is to:

(A) highlight one unique contribution of an important philosopher.
(B) discuss the importance of metaphysics as a field in science.
(C) provide details on the concept of “process philosophy.”
(D) emphasize Whitehead’s place among other philosophers.
(E) prove that “process philosophy” was superior to “substance materialism.”

[Reveal] Spoiler:
A


3. Which one of the following perspectives would best capture Whitehead’s “process philosophy”?

(A) A building is viewed through its size, materials, and aesthetics.
(B) A car is viewed through its horsepower, design, and speed.
(C) A school is viewed through its students, teachers, and staff.
(D) A business is viewed through its mission, advertising, and headquarters.
(E) A person is viewed through his experiences, interactions, and memories.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
E


4. The author would most likely describe Whitehead’s philosophy in the early 1920s as:

(A) highly controversial
(B) unimpressive
(C) never before considered
(D) poorly understood
(E) unique and respected

[Reveal] Spoiler:
E


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Re: Metaphysics – the philosophical investigation of the nature of the uni [#permalink]

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New post 19 Nov 2015, 08:01
Definitely not a 600 considering the language of the passage ; got 2 right 2 wrong ;
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Re: Metaphysics – the philosophical investigation of the nature of the uni [#permalink]

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New post 28 Nov 2017, 06:04
AVRonaldo wrote:
Metaphysics – the philosophical investigation of the nature of the universe and existence – had become unfashionable by the time Alfred North Whitehead began writing in earnest about it in the 1920s. The ever-more impressive accomplishments of empirical science had led to a general consensus in academia that the development of comprehensive metaphysical systems was a waste of time because they were not subject to empirical testing.

Whitehead was unimpressed by this objection. In Whitehead's view, scientists and philosophers make metaphysical assumptions about how the universe works all the time, but such assumptions are not easily seen precisely because they remain unexamined and unquestioned. Perhaps foremost among what Whitehead considered faulty metaphysical assumptions was the idea of substance materialism, which he rejected in favor of an opposite, event-based “process" ontology in which transient events are primary and material substances/beings are abstractions. He also argued that the most basic elements of reality have experiential features, that in fact everything is constituted by its experience (i.e., even things like electrons experience). Whitehead referred to his metaphysical system as "philosophy of organism," but it would become known more widely as "process philosophy."

This philosophy of Whitehead was highly original, and soon garnered interest in philosophical circles. After publishing The Concept of Nature in 1920, he served as president of the Aristotelian Society from 1922 to 1923, and Henri Bergson was quoted as saying that Whitehead was "the best philosopher writing in English." So impressive and different was Whitehead's philosophy that in 1924 he was invited to join the faculty at Harvard University as a professor of philosophy at 63 years of age, even though his educational background was in a very different field.
5. The author of the passage would most likely agree with which of the following statements?

(A) Metaphysics is a field worthy of considerably more attention and respect.
(B) Alfred North Whitehead was successful as a challenger of conventional wisdom.
(C) Empirical science is a more respected field than is metaphysics.
(D) Alfred North Whitehead was a controversial figure among academics in the early 20th century.
(E) Alfred North Whitehead restored the prestige of metaphysics as an academic subject.



Official Explanation



The correct answer to this universal question is B, as it is clear from the passage that the author believes that Whitehead was successful - note the discussion in the third paragraph regarding his reputation and his "surprising" appointment to Harvard's faculty - at challenging conventional wisdom (in the third paragraph, again, the author calls his ideas "highly original" and "impressive and different"). So B must be true.

Choice A is incorrect because, for one, where the author expresses opinions they are generally about Whitehead and not about the field. Perhaps even more importantly, the only place where the author talks about how respected/important metaphysics is is in the first paragraph, where everything is written in the past tense about the way that the field was perceived in the 1920s. You simply cannot get a feel for how the author perceives the field today. Similarly, choice C is also incorrect: where the phrase "the ever-more impressive accomplishments of empirical science" is talking about the past ("had led to a general consensus") so you cannot gauge how the author would have compared the fields at the time the passage was written.

Choice D takes a stronger stance than choice B - challenging the status quo does not necessarily make someone controversial. All the evidence about how Whitehead was perceived in academia suggests that he was respected (all in the third paragraph), so there is just no evidence of any controversy. And choice E similarly lacks direct proof. While Whitehead did himself become highly respected in academia, there just isn't any discussion of how the field's perception changed in that time.
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Kudos [?]: 1371 [0], given: 440

Re: Metaphysics – the philosophical investigation of the nature of the uni   [#permalink] 28 Nov 2017, 06:04
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