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Lecture 6

Week 6 Notes

Course Code
William Seager

of 5
Week 6 lecture 1 & 2
Alternative Hypothesis
Philip Gosse’s Hypothesis
God created the world a short time ago with all the evidence of an old earth and evolution already took place
Compare: can we show that the hypothesis that the universe was created 5 min ago?
Predictively Equivalent- two hypothesis that lead to the same conclusion
-science cant tell them apart by testing
-remember the conditions of plausibility
The Limits of Science
Scientific explanation is a regress of deeper facts
-local vs. global question
-global questions do not seem to have any underlying structure which could explain them
-according to Leibniz, god can explain global facts
-but aren’t we left with a super global question
-why god & universe
Priori – can be known simply by use of concepts and without any experience or observations (posteriori)
A priori truth and Existence
some a priori truth entail existence
how do a priori existence claim affect the question: why is there something rather than nothing
ana priori existence claims ensures that question
Two Distinctions
-a priori / a posteriori
-necessary / contingent
Necessary Contingent
A Priori 2+4=6The word green applies to
green things
A Posteriori Water= H2O Saturn has 56 moons
Green can mean something else
H20- must observe but is necessary
Saturn 56 moons- must observe
First premises: god is possible
-noted this is an objective claim
-we can conceive or imagine what is not possible
-ex. Traveling faster than light
Grades of Possibility
Second Premise: existence is a kind of perfection
-Galileo counter example
-The perfect island must exist
-If it did not we could conceiver of one more perfect which is impossible
Kent’s classic reply
-existence is not a perfectional property
-properties hold or don’t hold of existing things
-existence is the pre-conditions for having properties, not a property itself
-is that conclusive?
-The fact that all things exist does not show that existence is not a property
Solders Criticism
-definition gives a condition for something counting as that sort of thing
-if part of the definition of a bachelor being unmarried then all we can infer is that of a bachelor exists
then he will be unmarried
Principle of the common cause
X & Y are very similar or identical
- two possible explanations for same conclusion common source
If x & y are similar in some respect then x & y have a common cause
Eg. Barometer says highalways a storm
Global wide questionwhy does the universe exist at all?
Should we believe that god made it?
Sober- causation is a relation between events that occur in space and time
The ontological Argument
Possible worlds version
-god is a necessary being
-it is possible that god exists
-therefore, in some possible world god exists
-but a necessary being exists in ALL possible worlds
-therefore that being exists in every world
-that being –god- exists in the actual world
Problems with possible worlds version?
-is god possible
-we proved necessary beings exist why must it be god
-more particularly why does a necessary being have properties of (omni-o-b-p)
-is necessary being a perfection
a possible analogy
is there are prime number between 49929 & 99961
if it is true then there is a world where there is such a prime number
since #s are necessary beings then it would exist in all worlds
Concepts of God Incoherent?
-problems with omnipotence
- can god set himself a task he cannot be successful at?
If he can then his power is limited
Verifications of god
Theories of meaning
-positivists divide all statements into two classes
-1. analytic
Analytic statements are true or false because of their concepts
Synthetic statements are true or false because of verifying experiences
Close link between analytical/ synthetic and a priori/ posteriori
A priori Bachelors are unmarried????
A posteriori ???? Ottawa is the capital of
According to positivists every statement is decidable
Some statements are unverifiable and so are meaningless
Cant prove that: there are totally undetectable entities in the room
The design argument suggest some auxiliary hypothesis which make “god exists falsifiable or verifiable
Possible examples
-since god is perfect, he will only make perfectly designed thingsthere will be no imperfect adaptation
BUT there are imperfect adaptation
-god exists falsified?
-Theodicy – defending godtask of explaining why the apparent evidence against god is wrong
Pascals wager
Prudential and evidential reasons to for belief
-suppose I over you $10 to believe there is life on mars. You don’t care one way or the other but you want the easy
- you have a prudential reason to believe
- but no evidential reason to believe
-evidential reason increases the possibility of the belief
Pascal invented the theory of probability (decision theory & game theory)
Suppose your rolling a pair of dice, whats the chances of getting a 10 or 9?
What is the “Expected utility” of an action
-multiply the chance of the action succeeding by “payoffs (utility) of the successful outcome
Ex. Flipping a coin if you win $1.00 each time you flip and heads win the game
$1.00 (pay utility) X 0.5(chances) = $0.50 (expected utility)