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PHIL 101 Weeks 5 and 6 Lecture Notes.docx (Philosophy of Religion, Epistemology)

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University of British Columbia
PHIL 101
Christopher Stephens

Philosophy Weeks 5 and 6 September 30, 2013 Guanilo’s criticism of Anselm’s argument: is a form of a reductio ad absurdum argument (form of modus tollens) P1) ifAnselm’s argument is sound, then my perfect island argument is sound. P2) My p-island argument is not sound; it’s absurd C) Hence, Anselm’s ontological argument is unsound. If the Earth was flat, you could sail off the edge You can’t sail of the edge Therefore, the Earth is not flat Anselm: finite things, like islands, can’t be perfect. E-unicorn analogy: another objection toAnselm’s ontological argument Unicorns don’t exist in the actual world. But consider a new concept, which we can call an e-unicorn.An e-unicorn is by definition an existing unicorn. Does it follow from the idea of an E-unicorn that there are E-unicorns: certainly not. - Slide: objections to ontological argument Rational Faith There’s a reason to believe in God even if all the other arguments fail. October 2, 2013 Expected Utility Ticket wins (1/1 000 000) Ticket loses (999 999/1 000 000) Action #1 Buy ticket $100 000 - $1 Action #2 Don’t buy ticket / / Expected value of action: (Gain of outcome #1 x probability of outcome 1) + (Gain of outcome #2 x probability of outcome 2) EV of action #1: (100 000)x(1/1 000 000) + (-1)(999 999/1 000 000) ~= -9/10 EV of action #2: 0 0 is bigger, so if you’re interested in maximizing your expected monetary value, don’t buy ticket. Expected Utility: expected magnitude of the satisfaction to your preferences. (could be happiness) Calculate the EU of an action by multiplying each possible outcome of a given action by its probability of occurring and add up the weighted values for each possibility. Pascal’s Wager Evidential rationality vs. prudential rationality Prudential rationality: An action is prudentially rational if it maximizes your expected utility. Evidential rationality: believing all and only what the evidence indicates about the world. God exists (prob: ½ or 1/100) No God exists (1/2 or 99/100) Believe God exists Infinity Finite loss (-x) Don’t believe God exists 0, or –infinity Finite gain (+x) Expected utility of believing is God: infinity(1/100) + (-x)(99/100) = infinity Expected utility of not believing in God: 0(1/100) + x(99/100) = x gain Objections to Pascal’s Wager Many Gods Objection: Pascal is making an assumption about what God would be like if God exists. Maybe God only rewards those who are evidentially rational and punishes those who are prudentially rational, and thus the outcomes would be opposite to what Pascal is suggesting. Consider that Gods Aand B don’t co-exist (monotheistic theory) GodAexists God B No God exists Believe GodA Infinity -infinity -x Believe God B -infinity Infinity -x No believe GodA -infinity Infinity x or B If one makes different assumptions, you can get different answers to the questions of whether it’s prudent to believe. If there’s even a small chance that a God B exists who infinitely punishes theists and infinitely rewards atheists, then one may argue that it is prudentially rational NOT to believe in God. William James: gives an argument for theism based on rationality: based on one’s own individual psyche. Reassured by theism Not reassured by theism Believe God exists +x (life has meaning, less fear of -x (life as a theist is torment, death, etc.) limitation of theism Don’t believe God exists -x (fear of death, life has no +x meaning) These are focused on the consequences of belief in present life, not the afterlife. October 4, 2013 The Problem o
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