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PHIL 1000Y Study Guide - Final Guide: Divine Command Theory, Ontological Argument, Rule Utilitarianism

Course Code
PHIL 1000Y
Duncan Macintosh
Study Guide

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Philosophy Final Notes
Consistent – sentences that can be true together
Premise – reasons in an argument
Conclusion – statements argued for in an argument
Sound – argument is valid and all premises are true
Valid – conclusion is true (can have false premises and a true conclusion, true
premises and a true conclusion, but not true premises and a false conclusion)
Burden of Proof Argument:
It is irrational to believe in something you cannot prove
Ought implies can, if you ought to prove something, then it must be the case that
you can prove something
Impossible to prove the non-existence of something – you would need to search
the entire universe and not find what you were looking for, which would take an
infinite amount of time
Argument from Miracles:
God is the greatest explanation possible
When disproving an argument, you want to use the simplest explanation possible
that still explain the facts
Even if one miracle was performed, it doesn’t make someone all-powerful, all-
knowing, etc. It would take an infinite amount of time to see all the powers and
label someone all-powerful
First Cause Argument:
Argument does not establish that the first cause is God
Even if the premises are true, the conclusion that God was the 1st cause is false
Infinite number of 1st causes – ex. first tree, first hydrogen atom, etc, if it were to
be true, there would be no one first cause
Even if the universe is finitely old, there is still enough time for an infinite regress
of causes (ex. between 1 and 2 seconds, the possibility for an infinite number of
events exists)
Design Argument:
Humans have evolved over millions of years and are the result of many mutations.
Watches cannot reproduce, so the processes that create the two are not the same
Every process that resulted in the creation of humans is equally unlikely. Just
because something is unlikely is not evidence that the process has been tampered

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If it is suspected that someone tampered with the universe, namely God, direct
evidence of tampering is needed. No matter how unusual the outcome, it is not
good evidence of tamping because every outcome is equally unlikely (ex. how
every number being drawn from a lottery is unlikely)
The Ontological Argument:
Can be used to prove all sorts of false things. By saying a perfect anything must
exist, and that it would be more perfect if it existed (ex. a hamburger), could be
used to prove something that didn’t actually exist. Can be driven to absurdity on
that basis
Cheats – circular definition. Cannot use the word “exists” in the definition of
“God exists.” The argument would become “God exists blah blah blah exists,”
which defines the thing you are trying to prove as itself
Pascal’s Wager:
To play the God game, one must believe in God. If you win you get infinite
happiness. Since there is no evidence of God’s existence, the odds of his existing
and your odds of going to heaven must be set at 0
Happiness (infinite) x Odds (0) – Cost of playing = Expected Utility (0)
Since the outcome is 0, a rational person would only play if there are no costs
But there are costs (no drinking, smoking, premarital sex, etc.)
Even if the costs are viewed as benefits to a healthy lifestyle, they have nothing to
do with the prospect of going to heaven
Argument Against Logic, Philosophy, Science:
It is only important to believe in God’s existence if it’s actually proven. If it isn’t,
it shouldn’t matter what you do because nothing good or bad would happen either
Argument falsely assumes that the more important a situation is, the less relevant
logic, philosophy and science are. Faith should only be used in situations with no
serious consequences (ex. what colour shirt you should wear)
Argument From Evil:
God isn’t obliged to prevent evil, only:
oRespect people’s rights – has not violated anyone’s rights by creating
them imperfectly in an imperfect world. Had we been perfect, we would
not be ourselves
oNot show a bad character – he has shown tolerance for imperfection
oShow minimum generosity – has not made anyone’s life so bad that it
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