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Essay Notes

2 Pages
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Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHLA10H3
Professor
William Seager

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I
1. Deduction, Induction and Abduction . Consider these three types of argument. Compare
their advantages and disadvantages in the search for knowledge. Do you think that one of
them is superior to the others? Why or why not?
2. Aquinas's Causal Arguments . The first two ways of Aquinas involve causation.
Explain how these arguments work and consider their strengths and weaknesses.
Assess their overall success in the task of proving that God exists.
3. The Necessary Being . Aquinas has an argument for the existence of a necessary being,
which he identifies with God. Trace out how the argument is supposed to proceed.
Carefully explain the concepts involved. Assess the success (or lack thereof) of the
argument.
4. Divine Design . What is the structure of Aquinas's argument from design? Explain how
you think the argument works and consider its strengths and weaknesses. You might also
consider the significance of Sober's claim that the argument is abductive rather than
analogical.
II
1. Evolution and Creation . What is the basic conflict between these two views. Explain how
evolution forms an alternative hypothesis to the design hypothesis. What are some of the
reasons that Sober considers in favour of evolution? Can you develop criticisms of them?
2. The Problem of Evil . Carefully outline the argument against the existence of God which
is based on the existence of evil. What kind of argument is this? How strong do you think
it is? Why? Try to give an overall assessment of whether the argument works, defending
your assessment with arguments.
3. The JTB Theory of Knowledge . Carefully outline and explain the Justified True
Belief Theory of Knowledge. Consider why each aspect of the theory is important,
and explain how the theory accounts for various kinds of knowledge. Consider the
strengths and weaknesses of the theory, and try to come up with an overall
assessment of the JTB theory.
4. Skepticism . What is the philosophical position called skepticism? Discuss the nature of
the view and the arguments that are advanced in its favour. Consider possible answers to
the skeptic and try to assess whether, in the end, the skeptic is right or wrong.
III
1. Foundationalism vs. Reliabilism . Describe each of these theories of knowledge. Consider
their differences and similarities, and try to assess the merits of each. Is one a better
theory of knowledge than the other? Why?
2. Induction . David Hume's invention of the problem of induction raises serious problems
for any account of human knowledge. Describe Hume's problem and consider whether
there is any way to avoid the conclusion that we have absolutely no knowledge based
upon inductive methods.
3. Descartes's Dualism . Carefully outline the kind of Dualism of mind and body that
Descartes endorsed. Consider its strengths and weaknesses. Does Descartes have
good arguments to support his dualism? Why or why not?
4. Dualism vs Materialism . Select the materialist theory of mind which you think is
strongest (of behaviourism, identity theory or functionalism) and compare its strengths
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Description
I 1. Deduction, Induction and Abduction . Consider these three types of argument. Compare their advantages and disadvantages in the search for knowledge. Do you think that one of them is superior to the others? Why or why not? 2. Aquinass Causal Arguments . The first two ways of Aquinas involve causation. Explain how these arguments work and consider their strengths and weaknesses. Assess their overall success in the task of proving that God exists. 3. The Necessary Being. Aquinas has an argument for the existence of a necessary being, which he identifies with God. Trace out how the argument is supposed to proceed. Carefully explain the concepts involved. Assess the success (or lack thereof) of the argument. 4. Divine Design. What is the structure of Aquinass argument from design? Explain how you think the argument works and consider its strengths and weaknesses. You might also consider the significance of Sobers claim that the argument is abductive rather than analogical. II 1. Evolution and Creation. What is the basic conflict between these two views. Explain how evolution forms an alternative hypothesis to the design hypothesis. What are some of the reasons that Sober considers in favour of evolution? Can you develop criticisms of them? 2. The Problem of Evil. Carefully outline the argument against the existence of God which is based on the existence of evil. What kind of argument is this? How strong do you think it is? Why? Try to give an overall assessment of whether the argument works, defending your assessment with argume
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