CLEP Humanities : Analyzing the Form of Nonfiction and Philosophy

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for CLEP Humanities

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Nonfiction And Philosophy

Marxist philosophy is heavily influenced by the dialectic developed by which thinker?

Possible Answers:

David Hume

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

John Stuart Mill

Immanuel Kant

Jeremy Bentham

Correct answer:

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Explanation:

In developing his own theories on capitalism and society, Karl Marx was heavily influence by the phenomenology of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. In particular, Marx used Hegel's dialectic, which stressed that any idea unfolds along a three part process. First, a thesis is presented, which leads to a reaction in the form an antithesis, which is combined with the thesis in a resolution called the synthesis.

Example Question #31 : Nonfiction And Philosophy

St. Augustine of Hippo's Confessions (c. 397 CE) is notable as an early example of the literary form known as __________.

Possible Answers:

epic poem

autobiography

travelogue

catechism

historical fiction

Correct answer:

autobiography

Explanation:

Augustine's Confessions follows the life of the author from his birth through thirteen separate books. Primarily the story of Augustine's early spiritual and educational life and his eventual conversion to Christianity, the book nonetheless covers the important details of Augustine's life. This makes the Confessions one of the earliest examples of an autobiography.

Example Question #1 : Analyzing The Form Of Classical Nonfiction And Philosophy

Which of the following best describes the literary style of Plato?

Possible Answers:

Letter

Discourse

Tome

Dialogue

Treatise

Correct answer:

Dialogue

Explanation:

Although there are several letters attributed to Plato, the bulk of his works are written in the form of dialogues. In his philosophical works, he often writes of how Socrates disputes and discusses some matter with various figures of Athenian civic life. The dialogue style itself is masterful, often using literary devices to make subtle philosophical points. In this, he differs greatly from his student, Aristotle, whose works are quite dry (though also much more direct and clear than are Plato's works). Many later philosophers would write in the form of dialogues, though it is arguable that few ever matched the excellence of Plato's style.

Example Question #1 : Analyzing The Form Of Nonfiction And Philosophy

Which of the following best describes the genre of the Confessions of St. Augustine?

Possible Answers:

Dialogue

Divulgence

Interrogation

Autobiography

Discussion

Correct answer:

Autobiography

Explanation:

In the Confessions, Augustine of Hippo pens a story of his conversion to Christianity. In this, he does "confess" his guilt and arrival at conversion from this guilty state of life. The whole work is written like a monologue to God—a long prayer. This is not offered as an option among those provided for this question. Instead, the closest genre here noted is that of autobiography. In a general way of speaking, Augustine does pen an autobiography by writing the Confessions. It does tell his life story up to a certain point in history, thus giving us a form of monologue-to-God-biography.

Example Question #1 : Analyzing The Form Of Medieval And Renaissance Nonfiction And Philosophy

Which of the following is the most standard form of philosophical style during the mid to late thirteenth century?

Possible Answers:

Homiletic philosophy

Small treatises

Dialogue

Disputed questions

Cursus philosophicus

Correct answer:

Disputed questions

Explanation:

During the second half of the 13th century, there were several standard philosophical styles. One was the style of literal commentary, which was used for interpreting the texts of Aristotle and other accepted authorities. In addition, within theological circles, there was the development of the so-called "summae"—lengthier summaries of doctrine, sometimes quite systematic in nature.

These large texts, however, were made up of questions that were written in a style quite peculiar to the Middle Ages, namely that of "disputed questions." These texts would set forth a question, take options "pro" and "con" and then make a conclusion based upon both sides of the question. Sometimes, in shorter works like this, the author would only consider the options that were contrary to his own, helping the reader to understand some possible objections to the text. 

This style of disputation was used in many of the treatises that began to be written late in the 13th century and into the 14th. It remained a style that was used especially in Catholic thought for some time. It was, however, most vigorously used as a writing style during this period of the Middle Ages.

(It should be added that there were also short treatises written during this time. They are not, however, the most unique style of writing during the time period.)

Example Question #1 : Analyzing The Form Of Seventeenth And Eighteenth Century Nonfiction And Philosophy

Who is the philosopher most associated with a three-part dialectic as an argumentative form?

Possible Answers:

Arthur Schopenhauer

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Soren Kierkegaard

Ludwig Feuerbach

Friedrich Nietzsche 

Correct answer:

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

Explanation:

The "Hegelian dialectic" is often rendered as Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis, meaning any statement can be opposed by an opposite idea, and the clash of the two ideas will create a better philosophical statement. Hegel preferred the terms "abstract," "negative," and "concrete," which better explained the ideas' relationship. Hegel's dialectic was widely influential; it was used by thinkers like Karl Marx and argued against by philosophers such as Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche.

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