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Present-day philosophers usually envision their discipline as an

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Present-day philosophers usually envision their discipline as an  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 26 Jan 2020, 18:20
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1991 10 SECTION B 17-23

Present-day philosophers usually envision their discipline as an endeavor that has been, since antiquity, distinct from and superior to any particular intellectual discipline, such as theology or science. Such philosophical concerns as the mind-body problem or, more generally, the nature of human knowledge, they believe, are basic human questions whose tentative philosophical solutions have served as the necessary foundations on which all other intellectual speculation has rested.

The basis for this view, however, lies in a serious misinterpretation of the past, a projection of modern concerns onto past events. The idea of an autonomous discipline called “philosophy,” distinct from and sitting in judgment on such pursuits as theology and science turns out, on close examination, to be of quite recent origin. When, in the seventeenth century, Descartes and Hobbes rejected medieval philosophy, they did not think of themselves, as modern philosophers do, as proposing a new and better philosophy, but rather as furthering “the warfare between science and theology.” They were fighting, albeit discreetly, to open the intellectual world to the new science and to liberate intellectual life from ecclesiastical philosophy and envisioned their work as contributing to the growth, not of philosophy, but of research in mathematics and physics. This link between philosophical interests and scientific practice persisted until the nineteenth century, when decline in ecclesiastical power over scholarship and changes in the nature of science provoked the final separation of philosophy from both.

The demarcation of philosophy from science was facilitated by the development in the early nineteenth century of a new notion, that philosophy’s core interest should be epistemology, the general explanation of what it means to know something. Modern philosophers now trace that notion back at least to Descartes and Spinoza, but it was not explicitly articulated until the late eighteenth century, by Kant, and did not become built into the structure of academic institutions and the standard self-descriptions of philosophy professors until the late nineteenth century. Without the idea of epistemology, the survival of philosophy in an age of modern science is hard to imagine. Metaphysics, philosophy’s traditional core—considered as the most general description of how the heavens and the earth are put together—had been rendered almost completely meaningless by the spectacular progress of physics. Kant, however, by focusing philosophy on the problem of knowledge, managed to replace metaphysics with epistemology, and thus to transform the notion of philosophy as “queen of sciences” into the new notion of philosophy as a separate, foundational discipline. Philosophy became “primary” no longer in the sense of “highest” but in the sense of “underlying”. After Kant, philosophers were able to reinterpret seventeenth-and eighteenth-century thinkers as attempting to discover “How is our knowledge possible?” and to project this question back even on the ancients.

1. ​​​Which of the following best expresses the author’s main point?

(A) Philosophy’s overriding interest in basic human questions is a legacy primarily of the work of Kant.
(B) Philosophy was deeply involved in the seventeenth-century warfare between science and religion.
(C) The set of problems of primary importance to philosophers has remained relatively constant since antiquity.
(D) The status of philosophy as an independent intellectual pursuit is a relatively recent development.
(E) The role of philosophy in guiding intellectual speculation has gradually been usurped by science.


2. ​​​According to the passage, present-day philosophers believe that the mind-body problem is an issue that

(A) has implications primarily for philosophers
(B) may be affected by recent advances in science
(C) has shaped recent work in epistemology
(D) has little relevance to present-day philosophy
(E) has served as a basis for intellectual speculation since antiquity


3. ​​​According to the author, philosophy became distinct from science and theology during the

(A) ancient period
(B) medieval period
(C) seventeenth century
(D) nineteenth century
(E) twentieth century


4. ​​​​​​The author suggests that Descartes’ support for the new science of the seventeenth century can be characterized as

(A) pragmatic and hypocritical
(B) cautious and inconsistent
(C) daring and opportunistic
(D) intense but fleeting
(E) strong but prudent


5. ​​​The author of the passage implies which of the following in discussing the development of philosophy during the nineteenth century?

(A) Nineteenth-century philosophy took science as its model for understanding the bases of knowledge.
(B) The role of academic institutions in shaping metaphysical philosophy grew enormously during the nineteenth century.
(C) Nineteenth-century philosophers carried out a program of investigation explicitly laid out by Descartes and Spinoza.
(D) Kant had an overwhelming impact on the direction of nineteenth-century philosophy.
(E) Nineteenth-century philosophy made major advances in understanding the nature of knowledge.


6. ​​​​​With which of the following statements concerning the writing of history would the author of the passage be most likely to agree?

(A) History should not emphasize the role played by ideas over the role played by individuals.
(B) History should not be distorted by attributing present-day consciousness to historical figures.
(C) History should not be focused primarily on those past events most relevant to the present.
(D) History should be concerned with describing those aspects of the past that differ most from those of the present.
(E) History should be examined for the lessons it can provide in understanding current problems.


7. ​​​​​The primary function of the passage as a whole is to

(A) compare two competing models
(B) analyze a difficult theory
(C) present new evidence for a theory
(D) correct an erroneous belief by describing its origins
(E) resolve a long-standing theoretical controversy


Originally posted by pathy on 17 Jan 2020, 21:30.
Last edited by pathy on 26 Jan 2020, 18:20, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Present-day philosophers usually envision their discipline as an  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Jan 2020, 15:17
Explanation please! Are these OA's correct?
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Present-day philosophers usually envision their discipline as an  [#permalink]

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New post 29 Jan 2020, 22:16
1
1. ​​​Which of the following best expresses the author’s main point?

The passage as a whole talks about the evolution of the idea that "philosophy", as a field, is separate from and superior to all other academic and other disciplines. It helps here to assess the first paragraph and the conclusion of the passage, which both state the same, and the rest of the passage provides details about how this idea came to be.

(A) Philosophy’s overriding interest in basic human questions is a legacy primarily of the work of Kant. Incorrect. While Kant is definitely mentioned, the entire passage (as a whole) does not focus on Kant or his works.

(B) Philosophy was deeply involved in the seventeenth-century warfare between science and religion. Incorrect. The passage states "When...Descartes and Hobbes rejected medieval philosophy, they did not think of themselves, as modern philosophers do, as proposing a new and better philosophy...".

(C) The set of problems of primary importance to philosophers has remained relatively constant since antiquity. Incorrect. The passage states "Kant, however, by focusing philosophy on the problem of knowledge, managed to replace metaphysics with epistemology".

(D) The status of philosophy as an independent intellectual pursuit is a relatively recent development. Correct.

(E) The role of philosophy in guiding intellectual speculation has gradually been usurped by science. Incorrect. While this is vaguely alluded to in the passage, it does not focus too much time or effort on this idea.

2. ​​​According to the passage, present-day philosophers believe that the mind-body problem is an issue that

This is a typical anchor-phrase question. We will locate the phrase "mind-body problem" and paraphrase the information relevant to it to obtain our answer. It occurs in the first paragraph, where the author provides the "mind-body problem" as an example of basic human questions whose solutions have been fundamental to other intellectual pursuits.

(A) has implications primarily for philosophers Incorrect. Not as mentioned above.

(B) may be affected by recent advances in science Incorrect. Incorrect. Not as mentioned above.

(C) has shaped recent work in epistemology Incorrect. Not as mentioned above.

(D) has little relevance to present-day philosophy Incorrect. Not as mentioned above.

(E) has served as a basis for intellectual speculation since antiquity Correct. Consistent with above.

3. ​​​According to the author, philosophy became distinct from science and theology during the

The answer is given in the last paragraph, which states "The demarcation of philosophy from science was facilitated by the development in the early nineteenth century of a new notion, that philosophy’s core interest should be epistemology...". The passage goes on to state "...it was not explicitly articulated until the late eighteenth century, by Kant, and did not become built into the structure of academic institutions and the standard self-descriptions of philosophy professors until the late nineteenth century".

(A) ancient period Incorrect.

(B) medieval period Incorrect.

(C) seventeenth century Incorrect.

(D) nineteenth century Correct

(E) twentieth century Incorrect.

4. ​​​​​​The author suggests that Descartes’ support for the new science of the seventeenth century can be characterized as

On this topic, the passage states "They were fighting, albeit discreetly, to open the intellectual world to the new science and to liberate intellectual life from ecclesiastical philosophy and envisioned their work as contributing to the growth, not of philosophy, but of research in mathematics and physics".

(A) pragmatic and hypocritical Incorrect. Inconsistent with above.

(B) cautious and inconsistent Incorrect. Inconsistent with above.

(C) daring and opportunistic This is a tempting answer choice. However, for something to be described as "daring", there must be some evidence of adverse consequences, which is absent in this particular instance. I would rule this option out.

(D) intense but fleeting Incorrect. Inconsistent with above.

(E) strong but prudent Correct. Hinted at by the phrase "liberate intellectual life".

5. ​​​The author of the passage implies which of the following in discussing the development of philosophy during the nineteenth century?

This is discussed in the last paragraph of the passage.

(A) Nineteenth-century philosophy took science as its model for understanding the bases of knowledge. Incorrect. Nothing in the passage to suggest this.

(B) The role of academic institutions in shaping metaphysical philosophy grew enormously during the nineteenth century. This is to be considered, since the passage mentions an idea of philosophy being embedded into academic institutions. However, the passage mentions nothing about the role played by the institutions themselves. Hence we can rule this out.

(C) Nineteenth-century philosophers carried out a program of investigation explicitly laid out by Descartes and Spinoza. Incorrect. Nothing in the passage to suggest this.

(D) Kant had an overwhelming impact on the direction of nineteenth-century philosophy. Correct. The passage mentions that Kant was the first to explicitly lay out the interests of philosophy in the late 18th century, and that idea is what has led to the understanding of the subject in the 19th century.

(E) Nineteenth-century philosophy made major advances in understanding the nature of knowledge. Incorrect. Nothing in the passage to suggest this.

6. ​​​​​With which of the following statements concerning the writing of history would the author of the passage be most likely to agree?

The only thing we can go by for this question is the author's style of writing the passage and his/her views expressed in the passage.

(A) History should not emphasize the role played by ideas over the role played by individuals. Incorrect. The author writes extensively about various ideas in this passage.

(B) History should not be distorted by attributing present-day consciousness to historical figures. Correct. The author spends a lot of time in the passage making the point that present day beliefs about philosophy have been incorrectly attributed to historical figures like Descartes.

(C) History should not be focused primarily on those past events most relevant to the present. Incorrect. The passage does talk a lot about past events which are relevant to the present.

(D) History should be concerned with describing those aspects of the past that differ most from those of the present. Incorrect. The passage does talk a lot about past events which are relevant to the present.

(E) History should be examined for the lessons it can provide in understanding current problems. Incorrect. The passage talks a lot about historical views which are quite divergent from current views as well.

7. ​​​​​The primary function of the passage as a whole is to

We can derive the answer to this question from Q1. The passage talks about the evolution of the current idea of philosophy, and how this is a misrepresentation of the past.

(A) compare two competing models Incorrect. Inconsistent with above.

(B) analyze a difficult theory Incorrect. Inconsistent with above.

(C) present new evidence for a theory Incorrect. Inconsistent with above.

(D) correct an erroneous belief by describing its origins Correct. Consistent with above.

(E) resolve a long-standing theoretical controversy Incorrect. Inconsistent with above.

Hope this helps.
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Present-day philosophers usually envision their discipline as an   [#permalink] 29 Jan 2020, 22:16
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