A quiz: Are you a materialist or idealist?

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Interesting Ian
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A quiz: Are you a materialist or idealist?

Postby Interesting Ian » Wed Jun 30, 2004 11:36 am

11 questions. Just choose a, b, c or d for each one. I won't tell you how to score at this juncture. But if you tell me your answers I'll inform you as to whether you fall under being a:

Materialist,

Naturalist,

Semi- idealist or,

Idealist (philosophical idealist that is).


As a matter of interest, the score I got put me as a semi-idealist; but only just. Only failed to be categorised as an idealist by 1 point.


The quiz is from the book Philosophy in Practice by Adam Morton.

(1) Telepathy would occur when one person could receive another person's thoughts, without speech or electronics. On present evidence is telepathy (a) impossible, (b.) unlikely, (c) possible, or (d) actual?

(2) Suppose that there were firm evidence of telepathy. Would this mean that physics ought to be (a) abandoned, (b) supplemented with a very different discipline, (c) expanded, (d) left as it is?

(3) Suppose there were statistical evidence that the positions of the planets influence human fate. Would this be because of (a) an accident, (b) unknown causal processes, (c) something beyond our understanding, or (d) the truth of astrology?

(4) That human beings can survive death is (a) likely, (b) possible, (c) unlikely, (d) impossible.

(5) That today's physics may someday be seen as wildly inaccurate myth is (a) impossible, (b) unlikely, (c) possible, (d) probable.

(6) Where are rainbows: (a) in the sky, (b) in people's minds, (c) in raindrops, (d) nowhere?

(7) Numbers are (a) fictions, (b) marks on paper, (c) ideas in our minds, (d) objects independent of us.

(8) Compare democracy (in politics) and energy (in science): (a) energy and democracy are both just concepts we use to describe our experiences; (b) both energy and democracy are dubious concepts; (c) energy is a useful concept and democracy a dubious one; (d) energy is real and democracy is just an idea.

(9) A factor in many diseases is 'stress', which in part depends on a person's experiences and emotions. The suggestion that stress might one day be understood in purely physical terms is (a) likely, (b) possible, (c) improbable, (d) impossible.

(10) Brain chemistry seems to be connected with some severe mental disorders. The possibility that a person's personality might be completely explicable in terms of their brain chemistry is (a) crazy, (b) far-fetched, (c) likely, (d) probable.

(11) People who believe that they are biological organisms governed by biological principles are likely to treat other people in a way that is (a) more understanding than, (b) different from, (c) the same as, (d) less understanding than those who believe that humans are exceptions to the principles governing other animals behaviour.

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Hexxenhammer
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Postby Hexxenhammer » Wed Jun 30, 2004 2:43 pm

I answered as best I could. 6 is a stupid question, unless I just don't get it, 8 is very confusing, and 10 I don't see a difference between something being "likely" or "probable". They seem like synonyms.

Anyway...
1. b
2. c
3. a
4. c
5. b
6. d
7. c
8. d
9. c
10. c
11. c
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Interesting Ian
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Postby Interesting Ian » Wed Jun 30, 2004 2:59 pm

Hexxenhammer wrote:I answered as best I could. 6 is a stupid question, unless I just don't get it, 8 is very confusing, and 10 I don't see a difference between something being "likely" or "probable". They seem like synonyms.

Anyway...
1. b
2. c
3. a
4. c
5. b
6. d
7. c
8. d
9. c
10. c
11. c


A naturalist but very near materialist.

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Postby Hexxenhammer » Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:03 pm

Do you have a decent definition of naturalist? I'm not up on my philosophy terms.
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Postby gentlehorse » Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:15 pm

1. b
2. c
3. c
4. b
5. b
6. a
7. c
8. a
9. a
10. c
11. c
"How can the third-person requirements of the scientific method be reconciled with the first-person nature of consciousness?" Win

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the mother of all powers,
what you do to us,
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Postby Nyarlathotep » Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:18 pm

My biggest problem with the quiz is question 3, because it would depend on the strength of the evidence. I assumed pretty firm evidence as per question 2.

My scores

1) b
2) c
3) b
4) c
5) b
6) c
7) c
8) d
9) a
10) c
11) c
Last edited by Nyarlathotep on Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Interesting Ian
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Postby Interesting Ian » Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:18 pm

Hexxenhammer wrote:Do you have a decent definition of naturalist? I'm not up on my philosophy terms.


Well, it might be best to put what the author himself says about naturalism


A milder alternative to materialism is naturalism, the belief that everything that exists forms a unified whole, governed by the same laws. So naturalists expect the behaviour of living beings to be explained by the same principles as the behaviour of nonliving beings. (And they disbelieve vitalism, the view that living beings are fundamentally different from nonliving things.) And naturalists, like materialists, expect that human beings are part of the natural world, to be understood with the same theories and techniques.


BTW, the question about rainbows is clearly referring to whether colors are actually part of the external world, or whether colors as experienced are simply an "illusion" created by the mind etc.

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Postby JOKER » Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:19 pm

1. b
2. b
3. b
4. c
5. b
6. a
7. c
8. d
9. c
10. d
11. c
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Interesting Ian
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Postby Interesting Ian » Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:24 pm

gentlehorse wrote:1. b
2. c
3. c
4. b
5. b
6. a
7. c
8. a
9. a
10. c
11. c


A semi-idealist but only just. Just 1 point separates you from a naturalist.

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Postby Interesting Ian » Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:27 pm

Nyarlathotep wrote:My biggest problem with the quiz is question 3, because it would depend on the strength of the evidence. I assumed pretty firm evidence as per question 2.

My scores

1) b
2) c
3) b
4) c
5) b
6) c
7) c
8) d
9) a
10) c
11) c


A naturalist very close to materialist. Same score as Hexxenhammer if I recollect correctly.

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Postby Nyarlathotep » Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:29 pm

Interesting Ian wrote:
Nyarlathotep wrote:My biggest problem with the quiz is question 3, because it would depend on the strength of the evidence. I assumed pretty firm evidence as per question 2.

My scores

1) b
2) c
3) b
4) c
5) b
6) c
7) c
8) d
9) a
10) c
11) c


A naturalist very close to materialist. Same score as Hexxenhammer if I recollect correctly.


Given the defintion of naturalist you gave Hexxenhammer, I'll buy that I could be considered a naturalist.

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Interesting Ian
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Postby Interesting Ian » Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:30 pm

JOKER wrote:1. b
2. b
3. b
4. c
5. b
6. a
7. c
8. d
9. c
10. d
11. c


Naturalist. Slightly closer to semi-idealist than materialist.

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Postby Interesting Ian » Wed Jun 30, 2004 3:56 pm

In case anyone in interested here are my answers. I got semi-idealist but just 1 point away from an idealist.

1. d
2. c
3. b
4. a
5. d
6. a
7. d
8. b
9. d
10. a
11. c

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Postby Interesting Ian » Wed Jun 30, 2004 4:06 pm

Interesting Ian wrote:In case anyone in interested here are my answers. I got semi-idealist but just 1 point away from an idealist.

1. d
2. c
3. b
4. a
5. d
6. a
7. d
8. b
9. d
10. a
11. c


Actually, adding up my score puts me as being an idealist. Maybe put 1 answer slightly different than first time round.

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Postby Nigel » Wed Jun 30, 2004 4:11 pm

1) A
2) C
3) A
4) D
5) C
6) A
7) C
8 A
9) A
10) D
11) A

This seems to very open to interpretation. For example, (4) That human beings can survive death... does that mean life after death? (I presume that's it), nde, surviving a car crash that kills someone else, etc.

(11) Wordy. If people do not believe themselves to be biological organisms, then what do they believe themselves to be? Again, the crux of the question is patterns of behavior, and whether or not we believe we're above the animal world (if I interpret that right).

On the whole, I place quizzes like this in about the same category as the love quizzes in Cosmopolitan magazine. Might be fun, but you cannot possibly take it seriously.

So, Ian, where'd I score?
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Postby gentlehorse » Wed Jun 30, 2004 4:26 pm

Interesting Ian wrote:
A semi-idealist but only just. Just 1 point separates you from a naturalist.


Cool. What does the author have to say about the definition of "semi-idealist"?
"How can the third-person requirements of the scientific method be reconciled with the first-person nature of consciousness?" Win

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the mother of all powers,
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Postby Interesting Ian » Wed Jun 30, 2004 4:42 pm

Nigel wrote:1) A
2) C
3) A
4) D
5) C
6) A
7) C
8 A
9) A
10) D
11) A

This seems to very open to interpretation.



I don't have any problem in understanding any of the questions. All seem pretty straightforward to me.

For example, (4) That human beings can survive death... does that mean life after death? (I presume that's it), nde, surviving a car crash that kills someone else, etc.



It means what it says. Is it possible we survive the death of our bodies. I don't know how straightforward the questions need to be before people understand them.


(11) Wordy. If people do not believe themselves to be biological organisms, then what do they believe themselves to be?



What does that mean? Why do they have to be anything?


Again, the crux of the question is patterns of behavior, and whether or not we believe we're above the animal world (if I interpret that right).


If we are an animal like all other animals, then the question is saying, would such people who believe that, perhaps treat people differently from people who believe we are all special in some way. For example people think it's perfectly ok to eat non-human animals. Therefore maybe those who think we are animals too might not have a great deal of regard for human animals either. I believe that's the sort of thing it is getting at.


On the whole, I place quizzes like this in about the same category as the love quizzes in Cosmopolitan magazine. Might be fun, but you cannot possibly take it seriously.



No-one takes these quizzes seriously, nor should they do. Nevertheless it seems to be panning out pretty much what we confess to subscribe to. So perhaps not totally useless.


So, Ian, where'd I score?



Naturalist but very nearly materialist. Same score as Hex and Ny.

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Interesting Ian
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Postby Interesting Ian » Wed Jun 30, 2004 4:58 pm

gentlehorse wrote:
Interesting Ian wrote:
A semi-idealist but only just. Just 1 point separates you from a naturalist.


Cool. What does the author have to say about the definition of "semi-idealist"?


Well it just says you think that science is a useful but potentially misleading tool.

And for idealism it says you think that science is at best a partial guide to the truth, and that not everything about humans and other thinking creatures can be described by it.

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Interesting Ian
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Postby Interesting Ian » Wed Jun 30, 2004 5:10 pm

Interesting Ian wrote:
gentlehorse wrote:
Interesting Ian wrote:
A semi-idealist but only just. Just 1 point separates you from a naturalist.


Cool. What does the author have to say about the definition of "semi-idealist"?


Well it just says you think that science is a useful but potentially misleading tool.

And for idealism it says you think that science is at best a partial guide to the truth, and that not everything about humans and other thinking creatures can be described by it.


Of course this is extremely misleading. Idealists' recognise science for what it is and its legitimate scope. In this context idealism is actually consonant with science; unlike naturalism and materialism.

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Postby zer0vector » Wed Jun 30, 2004 6:50 pm

1.b
2.c
3.b
4.c
5.c
6.c
7.c
8.d
9.b
10.c
11.a
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