UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam: Philosophy Optional 2018 Paper-I
Baljit Dhaka
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UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam: Philosophy Optional 2018 Paper-I

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UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam: Philosophy Optional 2018 Paper-I

Marks-250                                                                                                                                   Time: Three Hours

Question Paper Specific Instructions:

Please read each of the following instructions carefully before attempting questions.

  • There are EIGHT questions divided into two sections.
  • A candidate has to attempt FIVE questions in all.
  • Questions no 1 and 5 are compulsory and out of the remaining, THREE are to be attempted choosing at least ONE from each section.
  • The number of marks carried by a question /part is indicated against it.
  • Word limit in questions, wherever specified should be adhered to.
  • Attempts of questions shall be counted in chronological order. Unless struck off, attempt of a question shall be counted even if attempted partly. Any page or portion of the page left blank in the answer book must be clearly struck off.


Q1. Write short answers to the following in about 150 words each: 10x5=50 marks

(a) Are the two truths-"The Sun will rise tomorrow" and ‘2+2-4' of the same necessity for Hume? Give reasons in favour of your answer. 10 marks

(b) Is there any place for freedom in Leibniz's philosophy when he speaks of "pre-established harmony'? Discuss. 10 marks

(c) How does the notion of 'family resemblance help Wittgenstein to uphold that 'Language is a game'? Discuss.  10 marks 

(d) How does Sartre connect inauthenticity with bad faith? Why does Sartre show that inauthenticity and bad faith lead to alienation? Discuss.  10 marks

(e) How does Strawson explain the concept of person in his philosophy? Discuss.  10 marks

Q2. (a) What is the reason for the difference in the definitions and classifications of substances made by Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz in spite of the fact that they all belonged to the rationalist school of thought? Discuss. 20 marks

(b) Explain the significance of the Kantian dictum, 'Understanding makes Nature'. How far do you agree that Hegel's Absolutism is the culmination of the Kantian Dualism? Discuss. Give reasons in favour of your answer. 15 marks

(c) How does Quine show that the notion of a prior knowledge as discussed by Kant is a metaphysical article of faith'? Give reasons for your answer. 15 marks

Q3.(a) How does Berkeley establish that Mind and its ideas alone are real? How do Moore and Russell react to Berkeley's view in this regard? Do you find any difference between Moore's reaction and Russell's one? Discuss. 20 marks

(b) How do the logical positivists show that metaphysical sentences are meaningless? Can their verification theory of meaning account for the meaningfulness of all scientific sentences? Discuss. 15 marks

(c) How does Wittgenstein apply the distinction between 'saying' and 'showing' to point to a single way of apprchending the most decisive problems of philosophy? Is he justified? Give reasons for your answer. 15 marks

Q4.(a) What is Epoché? How does Heidegger reject this method of phenomenological reduction? Explain Heidegger's concept of 'being in the world' as opposed to the concept of a transcendental ego.  20 marks

(b) Is the relation between the Idea and the World as discussed by Plato logically consistent? Discuss Aristotle's views regarding this and also give arguments in favour of your answer. 15 marks

(c) How is Russell's theory of definite description related to his Logical Atomisin? Discuss and give reasons for your answer. 15 marks


Q5. Explain the following in about 150 words each: 10x5=50 marks

(a) How do the Vaiše?ika philosophers explain the difference of the relationships in the Iwo cases-(i) the brown color of the table and (ii) the book on the table? Discuss.  10 marks

(b) How do the Madhyamika Buddhists apply the notion of Pratityasamutpada to establish their doctrine of Sunyata? Discuss.  10 marks

(c) What is the difference between the indescribability (Anirvacaniyat?) of Brahman and the indescribability (Anirvacaniyata) of M?ya in the Advaita Ved?nta system? Discuss  10 marks

(d) How do the Buddhists and the Ny?ya philosophers explain our knowledge of 'the absence of the jar on the table'? Answer in detail.   10 marks

(e) Is Purusa one or many? Explain the Sámkhya position in this regard and give arguments in support of your answer.  10 marks

Q6.(a) How do the Naiy?yikas prove the existence of God? Do the Yoga philosophers prove God in the same way? If yes, how? And if no, why? Give reasons for your answer. 20 marks

(b) Is it consistent for the Buddhists to admit the theory of Nair?tmyav?da and the doctrine of Nirvana simultaneously? Give reasons in favour of your answer. 15 marks

(c) How do the Jaina philosophers explain 'bondage'? What, according to them, is the distinction between "liberated soul' and 'bound soul'? What do the Jainas think about the condition of the 'liberated soul'? Discuss. 15 marks

Q7.(a) Give a comparative exposition of the concept of Moksa as found in the systems of Višist?dvaita, Dvaita, Suddhadvaita, and Acintyabhed?bheda. 20 marks

(b) How do the Advaita Ved?ntins react to the Prakrtiparin?mav?da of the Samkhya philosophy? How do the Särhkhyas defend their own position in this regard? Discuss.  15 marks

(c) How does R?m?nuja refute the doctrine of Maya as propounded by Sankara? Why is M?y? needed by both Råmånuja and Sankara lo establish their doctrines? Discuss.  15 marks

Q8.(a) Does the admission of Svayampraka?avada necessarily lead to the admission of Svatahpr?m?nyav?da? Discuss after the Naiyayikas, the Mim?msakas, and the Advaita Vedantins.  20 marks

(b) Is C?rv?ka rejection of inference acceptable to the other systems of Indian philosophy? If not, why? Do you think the views of other systems to be justified? Give reasons for your answer. 15 marks

(c) What is Evolution according to Sri Aurobindo? Describe the process of triple transformation and the nature of gnostic being in his philosophy. 15 marks