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PHLA10H3 Study Guide - Comprehensive Final Guide: Descriptive Knowledge, Reliability Engineering, Philosophical Skepticism


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHLA10H3
Professor
William Seager
Study Guide
Final

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UTSC
PHLA10H3
FINAL EXAM
STUDY GUIDE

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Is the Existence of God Testable?
Logical positivism
Hold that the sentence “ God exists” is meaningless.
isn’t true or false either
we will never discover what a true answer is
positivism believe that theists, atheists and agnostics are all mistaken
The Testability Theory of Meaning
created by positivists
holds that for a sentence to be meaningful it must be either a priori( can be
justified by a reason alone) or a posteriori (through experiences to be
believed)
falsehood can be also applied → e.g. 2+3=5 → priori truth , 2+3= 7 → priori
falsehood
every sentence is decidable in principle → can be proved either true or false
therefore the claim whether God exists is meaningless
Analyticity
priori statements are analytics → An analytic truth is a definition or a
deductive consequence of a definition
posteriori statements are synthetic → a sentence depends on sense
experience for its justification
The statement “ God exists” must be posteriori because we can’t determine
his existence just by definition ( rejection of Ontological argument)
Falsifiability
The sentence “ God exists” is untestable
Karl Popper “scientific theory should be falsifiable”
observation statement:
A statement whose truth or falsehood can be determined by direct
observation.
If H, then O
Not-O
----------------------
Not-H
Auxiliary Assumptions needed
hypothesis rarely deductively imply predictions all by themselves
therefore there are auxiliary assumptions needed
If there is a God, there will be living things in the world and they will be
perfectly adapted to their environments
if there is a God, there will be no living things
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If there is a God, there will be living things in the world, but they will not
be perfectly adapted to the environment
Auxiliary Assumptions Must be Independently Established
Not only are auxiliary assumptions needed if the hypothesis is to make
observational prediction, in addition, those auxiliary assumptions must be
checkable independent of the hypothesis under test.
e.g. if you find the hypothesis true, Assumption 3 and 4 should also be
applicable for the hypothesis
It is difficult to test the hypothesis that God exists because it is hard to
determine which auxiliary assumptions to accept it you don't already believe
that God exists
“God exists” is meaningful
It is kind of possible to discuss whether there is evidence for or against it
In conjunction with various auxiliary statements, deductively implies various
predictions
This is enough go to show that the sentence “God exists” isn't meaningless
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