Philosophy Chambers of reality


Answer both of the following two essay questions in roughly 600 words (per question).  You may consult our readings, your notes, and other course materials on our Canvas course page.  You may not consult outside sources or discuss your answers to the exam questions with others until after the exam due date.  You may quote from our readings or course materials, but you should be clear when you are doing so (by citing the reading or lecture, for example).  A bibliography, however, is not needed.  But you will receive very little credit for content that is not in your own words


You should submit your answers as a file upload (in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format only).


Question 1


Carefully present and explain what Chalmers calls the “master argument for skepticism”. Be sure to explain each premise of the argument and what reasons can be given in support of each premise.

What do you think is the best anti-skeptical response to this skeptical argument from our readings and/or class discussion? 

  • Which premise does it deny? [Explain how it does so]
  • What reasons can be given to support denying that premise and responding to the argument in that way? [Explain]
  • Is this response to the skeptical argument successful? Why or why not? [This is your own critical evaluation of the objection. Explain and support your answer as best you can.]


Question 2


Suppose that Sam has been living in a computer simulation, and Sam has been living in this computer simulation his entire life. Let’s assume that it is a perfect simulation, and that Sam has had subjective experiences that are similar to the experiences you have had in your life. Sam is a pure sim who has never existed outside the simulation and never will, and he does not know that he is living in a simulation (and never will know).  

  • Does this entail that most or all of Sam’s perceptual experiences have been misperceptions (such as illusions or hallucinations)? [Explain and support your answer]
  • Does this entail that Sam does not know anything, or at least that Sam does not know anything about the external world? [Explain and support your answer]
  • Does this entail that Sam lacks other things that we might value in life, such as achievements, friendships, or other things you think matter? [Explain and support your answer]

Explain your answers to these questions carefully, and offer strong reasons in support of your answers. Pretend your audience disagrees with you, and you are trying to convince them that your view is the correct one. You might agree or disagree with Chalmers or others on these questions. What is important is that you demonstrate an understanding of the philosophical considerations that are relevant to answering them. [It may be that you think that the right answers to these questions depend on details that I have not specified about the nature or origin of the simulation. If so, you are welcome to fill in any relevant details or explain why some additional details are relevant to determining the correct answers to these questions.]