PHLA10H3 Study Guide - Final Guide: Reductio Ad Absurdum, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Omnipotence

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Published on 20 Apr 2013
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PHLA10H3 F Exam Review
Unit 1: Existence of God
Anselm: The Ontological Argument-Proslogion
Paley: Excerpts from Natural Theology
Mackie: Evil and Omnipotence
Pascal: The Wager
James: Excerpts from The Will To Believe
Unit 2: The Problem of Free Will
Ayer: Freedom and Necessity
Chisholm: Human Freedom and the Self
Frankfurt: Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person
Unit 3: Philosophy of Minds and Persons
Locke: Of Identity and Diversity
Reid: Of Mr. Locke’s Account of Our Personal Identity
Descartes: Meditation II & IV and excerpts from The Passions of the Soul
Smart: Sensations and Brain Processes
Putnam: The Nature of Mental States
Chalmers: The Puzzle of Conscious Experience
Unit 4: Belief, Reason and Knowledge
Descartes: Meditations I & II
BonJour: The Regress Problem and Foundationalism
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Hume: Excerpts from Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
Russell: On Induction
UNIT ONE: THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
Anselm’s Ontological Argument
-Deductive Argument – reductio ad absurdum
Reductio Ad Absurdum – Assume opposite position and show how it leads to logical
contradiction; indirectly proves conclusions by showing problems with the opposite
Anselm’s God characterized as having many good-making perfections as possible; Something
than which nothing greater can be thought
- Takes existence as good-making quality, better to exist in reality than in understanding
To be possible = logical possible (which is if and only if it involves no logical contradiction)
Atheist says there is no God, but can understand “something than which nothing greater can be
thought”. If can be understood, it exists in his understanding. But in order for it to be which
nothing greater can be thought, must exist in reality or else something greater CAN be thought.
1) God (Being than which nothing greater can be thought) exists in the understanding.
2) God might have existed in reality (existence possible)
3) If something exists only in understanding but might have existed in reality then may have
been greater than it is
4) Suppose God only exists in understanding
5) God might have been greater than he is
6) God is a being than which a greater is possible
7) The being than which none greater is possible is a being than which a greater is possible
C) It is false that God exists only in the understanding
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C2) God exists in reality
Derives existence from definition
Challenge – Gaunilo defense of the fool
Criticizes structure of the argument: you can derive existence of any perfect thing; reasoning
flawed; absurd to derive existence from mere thought of it
Challenge – Kant’s Challenge
Challenges existence as a great-making quality; challenge supposition that existence is a
property; when we make statements we assume existence which would lead to Tigers (which
exist) exist, which is redundant or Unicorns which exist do not exist which contradictory
Challenge – To the concept of God
Omnipotent being is capable of anything, but can God make a stone that God can’t lift
If yes, there is something God can’t do, if no there is something that God can’t do
Paley: The Argument From Design
Appeal to analogy & inference to the best explanation
Analogy of finding a watch – several parts framed together for a purpose, if any other size, shape
or manner of order would not serve same purpose or none at all, infer must have a maker that
must have existed at some point
Thus best explanation of apparently designed object is created by intelligent designer
Even f no knowledge or experience of kind of machine OR ignorant of how some parts work OR
if machine sometimes malfunctioned, still infer designer
Biological world exhibits same general features: pattern, order, design, therefore make analogous
inference for biological world having intelligent designer
Critiques
David Hume: does not establish kind of God most theists would like: consistent with stupid
imitating God, Sequences of stupid Gods who create by trial/error, imperfect God, no presently
existing God
Criticize Analogy – inference for watch maker supported by knowledge of it, purpose, function:
insufficient knowledge of biological world to make it analogous so we cannot infer the same
Response – Ignorance irrelevant marks of design sufficient OR forget analogy biological world
displays apparent design and is best explained by intelligent designer
Criticize Inference – Other possible hypotheses to explain complexity and design of biological
world: Darwin’s theory of natural selection,
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Document Summary

Unit 1: existence of god: anselm: the ontological argument-proslogion, paley: excerpts from natural theology, mackie: evil and omnipotence, pascal: the wager. Unit 2: the problem of free will: ayer: freedom and necessity, chisholm: human freedom and the self, frankfurt: freedom of the will and the concept of a person. Unit 4: belief, reason and knowledge: descartes: meditations i & ii, bonjour: the regress problem and foundationalism, hume: excerpts from enquiry concerning human understanding, russell: on induction. Reductio ad absurdum assume opposite position and show how it leads to logical contradiction; indirectly proves conclusions by showing problems with the opposite. Anselm"s god characterized as having many good-making perfections as possible; something than which nothing greater can be thought. Takes existence as good-making quality, better to exist in reality than in understanding. To be possible = logical possible (which is if and only if it involves no logical contradiction)

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