PHL235H5 Study Guide - Final Guide: Logical Truth, Open Theism, Omnipotence
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1:Theism: the belief that there is a deity.
Monotheism: the belief that there is exactly one deity.
Polytheism: the belief that there are many deities.
Pantheism: the belief that God is identical with nature or the world as a whole.
Henotheism: the belief that there are many deities, but we should restrict our allegiance to one particular
Deism: the belief that there is a deity who created the world but is not active in it.
—Atheism: the belief that there is no deity of any kind.
—Agnosticism: the withholding of belief on the question of whether there is a deity; in other words, the denial
of both theism and atheism.
2:What is meant by the idea of a self-existent being?
Anselm argues that the supreme being’s existence must be due to itself. In other words, the explanation of the
existence of the supreme being is to be found within the very nature of that being.
- It is inconceivable that something should exist and that there be no explanation of its existence.
- There must be an explanation of the existence of the supreme being.
- The supreme being would not be supreme if it depended on anything other than itself for its existence.
- The explanation of the existence of God (the Supreme Being) is to be found within His own nature.
Nature was not brought into existence with the help of any external cause, yet it does not exist through
nothing, or derive existence from nothing, how existence through self, and derived from self, is conceivable
Set out and explain Anselm’s reasons for claiming that God is a self-existent being?
- Because he does not exist through something else, and cannot derive existence from itself because that
presupposes that it existed before itself
- Cannot exist through nothing or through another thing
- cannot derive existence from another
- from itself and through itself it is whatever it is
- It did not creates itself, nor did it spring up as its own matter, nor did it in any way assist itself to
become what it was not before, unless, haply, it seems best to conceive of this subject in the way in which one
says that the light lights or is lucent, through and from itself.
3: Explain the notion of a necessary being and contingent being:
This is primarily a metaphysical distinction. A natural way of explaining this distinction is in terms of the notion
of a possible world, that is, a possible situation or set of circumstances, a way that things might have been.
A proposition is necessary if and only if it is true in every possible world.
A proposition is possible if and only if it is true in some (in at least one) possible world.
A proposition is contingent if and only if its does not have the same truth value in every possible world.
- So God is a necessary being because he is true in every possible world
4: What is the connection between God is self-existent being and that God is necessary being?
A necessary being is self-existent, which means a necessary being exists without the influence or help of
anything else. A self-existent being does not necessarily have to exist in every possible world.
5: analytic statements:
This distinction was first explicitly made by Immanuel Kant The distinction is primarily a semantic one:
roughly, an analytic truth (or falsehood) is a statement that is true (or false) solely as a matter of logic and the
meanings of its constituent terms:
- A statement is analytic if it is a truth or falsehood of logic or it may be turned into a truth or falsehood
of logic by substituting synonym for synonym.
- A statement is synthetic if it is not analytic.
The following statements are analytic:
- All roses are roses.
- All bachelors are unmarried.
- Either Biscuit is a cat or Biscuit isn’t a cat.
- Some triangles are four-sided plane figures.
Given their logical structure and the meanings of their constituent terms, the first three statements must be
true and the last must be false. On the other hand, the following statements are synthetic:
- This flower is a rose.
- Bachelors die younger than married men.
- The speed of light is a constant.
- There are more women than men in Toronto.
These statements depend for their truth or falsity, not simply on the meanings of their constituent terms, but
on how things actually are in the world.
Since the truth of a synthetic statement depends on how things are in the world, when we come to know that
a synthetic statement is true, we have learned factual information about the world. By contrast, analytic
statements reflect the meanings that have been assigned to words or symbols. Accordingly, they are devoid of
factual information, and when we come to know that an analytic statement is true, we have not learned
anything factual about the world.
A Priori-A Posteriori Distinction
This is primarily an epistemological distinction, concerning how we acquire knowledge. Again, the
contemporary understanding of this distinction, as an epistemological distinction derives mainly from Kant,
although versions of it precede Kant in the writings of Leibniz and David Hume.
A priori knowledge is supposed to be a kind of knowledge or justification that does not depend on evidence, or
warrant, from experience (that is, experience from the senses, memory, or testimony); it contrasts with a
posteriori knowledge, knowledge requiring evidence derived from experience. Roughly speaking, a
posteriori knowledge is empirical, experience-based knowledge, and a prioriknowledge is non-empirical
knowledge. (Standard examples of a priori truths are the truths of mathematics, whereas standard examples
of a posteriori truths are the truths of the natural sciences.)
The Linguistic Theory of Necessity
Thus, we have three distinctions, a semantic one, an epistemological one, and a metaphysical one. The
semantical distinction between analytic and synthetic truth is not the same as the epistemological distinction
between a priori and a posteriori knowledge; nor are either of those the same as the logical or metaphysical
distinction between necessary and contingent truth. There remains, however, the question, To what extent do
these distinctions correspond? Obviously, many analytic truths are knowable a priori and are necessary.
Perhaps all analytic truths are necessary; and perhaps all analytic truths that are knowable are knowable a
priori. Are there, however, a priori truths that arenot analytic? Or necessary truths that are not analytic?
According to the Linguistic Theory of Necessity, a view popular during the first half of the 20th century, modal
propositions are true, not by the way the world is, but by the way we conceive or describe the world. On this
view, modal truths simply reflect linguistic conventions. Hence, ‘analytic’, ‘a priori’ and ‘necessary’
6: What does Findlay mean by the notion of an adequate object of religious attitudes?
Findlay defines an object worthy of our worship. He says:
- For all limited superiorities are tainted with an obvious relativity, and can be dwarfed in thought by still
mightier superiorities, in which process of being dwarfed they lose their claim upon our worshipful attitudes.
And hence we are led on irresistibly to demand that our religious objects should have an unsurpassable
supremacy along all avenues, that it should tower infinitely above all other objects. And not only are we led to
demand for it such merely quantitative superiority: we also ask that it shouldn’t owe it no allegiance, or set
limits to its influence. The proper object of religious reverence must in some manner be all comprehensive:
there mustn’t be anything capable of existing, or of displaying any virtue, without owning all of these
absolutely in a single source.
- True object of religious reverence must not be one, merely, to which no actual independent realities
stand opposed: it must be one to which opposition in totally inconceivable.
- Must not only cover realm of actual but the realm of the possible
- Not only must his existence of other things be unthinkable without Him, but his own nonexistence must
be unthinkable in any circumstance. There must, in short, be no conceivable alternative to His existence
properly termed “divine”: God must be wholly inescapable, as we remarked previously, whether for thought
or reality. And so we are led on insensibly to the barely intelligible notion of a Being in Whom Essence and
Existence lose their separateness.
So this is saying that is in God’s very essence that he is logically necessary, and if He wasn’t, he wouldn’t be
- Not only is it contrary to the demands and claims inherent in religious attitudes that their object should
exist “accidentally”: it is also contrary to those demands that it should possess in various excellences in some
merely adventitious (added from outside and often unexpected source rather than intrinsic) or contingent
(possible but not certain) manner.
- It would be quite unsatisfactory from the religious standpoint, if an object merely happened to be wise,
good, powerful and so forth, even to a superlative degree, and if other beings had, as a mere matter of fact,
derived their excellences from this single source. An object of this sort would doubtless deserve respect and
admiration, and other quasi-religious attitudes, but it would not deserve the utter self-abandonment peculiar
to the religious frame of mind.
7: What however, are the consequences of these requirements upon the possibility of God’s existence?
Findlay doesn’t believe it God existence because:
- Plainly they entail (for all who share a contemporary outlook) not only that there isn’t a God, but that
the Divine Existence is either senseless or impossible. The modern mind feels not the faintest self-evident
force in principle which trace contingent things back to some necessarily existent source, not does it find it
hard to conceive that’s things should display various excellent qualities without deriving them from a source
which manifests them supremely.
- Those who believe in necessary truths which aren’t merely tautological think that such truth merely
connects the possible instances of various characteristics with each other: they don’t expect such truth to tell
them whether there will be instances of any characteristics.
- And of a yet more modern view of the matter, necessity in propositions merely reflects our use of
words, the arbitrary conventions of our language.
Conclusion: modern views make it self-evidently absurd (if they don’t make it ungrammatical) to speak of
such a Being and attribute existence to Him. Anselm bare something that is of the essence of an adequate
religious object, but also something that entails its necessary non-existence.