Philosophy Review.docx

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Published on 18 Jun 2012
School
Western University
Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 1020
Professor
Philosophy Review
RELIGION
What is religion?
Ludwig Wittgenstein: - nothing is universally correct; very often our words and concepts back definition in the
strict classical sense not every member of a family have the same features
a) Hunter/gatherer: - polytheistic, disorganized, divorced from morality, no connection to the meaning of life
- ask them for a good hunt
b) Agricultural: - shamanistic, political, divorced from morality, high God, people say God has given them
special powers
c) Axial Age: - monotheistic, priestly, political, connected to morality, connected to the meaning of life
- told how to life
The Ontological Argument
- Anselm of Canterbury, Arch Bishop
The argument: - God is that being than which non greater can be imagined
- Other things being equal, a being that exists is greater than one that does not exist
- therefore God exists
- the fact that we define God as a being does not entail that God exists
The Trick of thought in the argument:
- a thing that exists is better than one that does not exist
- a thing which exists in our minds exists in intellectu
- a thing which exists in reality exists in re
- God exists in intellectu, otherwise we can’t talk about him
- a being that exists in re is greater than something that exists in intellectu
- to be that being than which non greater can be imagined, God must exist in re
- the fool hath said in his heart there is no God
- a person who says that God does not exist is contradicting himself
- the very idea of God requires that God exists
Gaunilo’s objection: - imagine an island which is more excellent than all known islands
- because this island is more excellent that all know islands, it must exist… WTF… therefore the ontological
argument is crazy
- Anselm claims it only works for God because God is “that which non greater can be imagined”
Arguments against the Ontological Argument
Rowe: - impossible things: thing that cannot exist = square circle
- contingent things: things that can exist, but need not exist (air, we can imagine a world where it does not exist)
- necessary things: things that must exist = God to Anselm
- possible things: either contingent or necessary things = UWO
- things that exist can exist in reality or in your understanding
Question: If “x” does not exist in my understanding, can I deny that “x” exist in reality?
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- according to Anselm, the answer is no because when the fool says God doesn’t exist, he is contradicting
himself because he knows of God to say that he doesn’t exist. Therefore God exists
The Cosmological Arguments
- Thomas Aqunias’ Five Ways
- cosmological = having to do with the study of the world or universe
1) The First Way: argument from change
- whatever is moved is moved by another
- this cannot go to infinity- therefore, there is a first mover
Problem: - why not an infinite chain?
- the world is not infinitely old
- the universe is like a cycle
2) The Second Way: argument for causation
- things have efficient causes
- nothing can be the cause of itself
- the chain of causes cannot go back to infinity
- therefore, there is a first cause
Problem: - take away the first cause, and you take away the effect
- because a finite stretch of a causal chain has a first cause, it follows that he whose causal chain must have a
first cause
3) The Third Way: argument from contingency - existence
- if everything that exist exists contingently, there will have been a time at which nothing existed
- if that were so nothing could have come to exist, and nothing would exist now
- but things do exist now
- therefore something’s must exist not contingently but necessarily
Problem: - if there is nothing there, you can’t move forward
- if there is an infinite past, nothing should exist
- first premise presupposes an infinite past for the universe, which contradicts himself
- second premise supposes that it is not possible for something to come from nothing
- having proved that there must be some necessary being, Aquinas goes on to argue that there must be a cause
- the principle of plenitude given infinite time, anything that is possible is at someway or another
4) The Forth Way: argument from degrees of excellence (gradation)
- more of less requires a most and least
- we acknowledge more and less good, more and less perfect
- therefore, there is a best, a most truly being, and a most perfect thing
Problem: - seems false
- superlative thing may be merely imaginary, not actually existing
5) The Fifth Way: Argument from harmony
- natural bodies act for an end, including natural bodies which lack knowledge or intelligence
- non-intelligent natural bodies which act for an end must have their action directed by a being endowed with
knowledge and intelligence
- therefore an intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end
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- there is a God watching over them to make sure harmony exists
- there is a difference between unintelligent and non-intelligent
The Kalam Argument
- Craig
- no creation out of nothing
- everything that happens has to have a cause (principle of sufficient reason)
- if the universe has no beginning, the age of the universe would be infinite
- actually infinite series are impossible
- therefore the universe had a beginning
- an actually infinite series would be one in which you have already taken an infinite number of steps
- an actually infinite is also known as infinity in esse
Objection: - why can’t something just pop into existence?
- why must what is true of the contents of the universe be true of the universe itself?
- if the universe can’t be infinitely old, then surely God can’t be infinitely out either
The Argument from Evil
- Epicurus’s classical statement of the argument from evil: Either God wants to abolish evil and cannot; or he
can, but does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is
wicked. If God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?
Doestoevsky: - if God is all powerful and all good, then why does he allow a man to strip a boy naked and let
his dogs kill this boy because he accidently hit one of his dogs
- the book where an atheist talks to a monk
- moral evil caused by the wicked acts of people (murder, rape)
- natural evil caused by nature (weather, disease)
The Problem of Evil Four Theodicies
1) Divine Retribution: - God is all just
- pain & suffering is imply retribution for the evil that they themselves have done
- example: AIDS for gay sex
Problem: - seems like a sledgehammer to kill a fly
- many are being punished who are not guilty; many are guilt who are not punished
2) Free Will: - God’s omnipotence is limited by its decision to give humans being free will
- a world where humans are free is much better than one in which they are just machines…
- best of all possible worlds
Problem: - moral evil arise from the exercise of human free will; it does not seem reasonable to say that natural
evil arise thus way
The Butterfly Effect: - humans create actions bring about evil
- every little action is needed
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Document Summary

The argument: - god is that being than which non greater can be imagined. Other things being equal, a being that exists is greater than one that does not exist. The fact that we define god as a being does not entail that god exists. A thing that exists is better than one that does not exist. A thing which exists in our minds exists in intellectu. A thing which exists in reality exists in re. God exists in intellectu, otherwise we can"t talk about him. A being that exists in re is greater than something that exists in intellectu. To be that being than which non greater can be imagined, god must exist in re. The fool hath said in his heart there is no god. A person who says that god does not exist is contradicting himself. The very idea of god requires that god exists.

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