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Midterm

Philosophy Midterm.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 1020
Professor
John Thorp
Semester
Fall

Description
Philosophy Midterm 11/11/2012 9:11:00 PM November 15 th7-9pm nat sci room 1 What is Religion? 1. The idea of 'definition' a) Necessary and sufficient conditions b) Difficulty of finding necessary and sufficient conditions for 'religion' c) Family resemblances; cluster concepts 2. The evolution of religion a) Hunter-gatherer b) Agricultural c) Axial Age 3. The 'Abrahamic' religions 4. The new reality of plural societies 5. Grounds of religious adherence a) Revered scripture b) Religious experience c) Reason September 13, 2012 2. The Ontological Argument 1. Some history and some language a) Anselm of Canterbury b) 'Argument' c) 'Ontological' 2. Digression on sasquatches: definition and existence 3. Expounding the argument a) the argument: God is (df.) that being than which none greater can be imagined. Other things being equal, a being that exists is greater than one that does not exist. God exists b) the definition of God: that being than which none greater can be imagined c) the trick of thought in the argument: other things being equal, a thing that exists is greater than one that does not. 4. Some technical language: in intellectu and in re 5. The Fool 6. Gaunilo's objection 7. Anselm's reply to Gaunilo 3. Aquinas' Five Ways (September 18, 2012) 0. Some history and other introductory matters 1. The First Way: the argument from change a) the argument Whatever is moved is moved by another. This cannot go to infinity. Therefore, there is a first mover. b) a problem with the First Way: why not an infinite chain? 2. The Second Way: the argument from causation a) the argument 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. b) a problem with the Second Way: ambiguity of "first" c) a better argument against an infinite chain: the impossibility of actual infinite series 3. The Third Way: the argument from contingency a) the argument 1. If everything that exists exists contingently, there will have been a time at which nothing existed. 2. If that were so nothing could have come to exist, and nothing would exist now. 3. But things do exist now. Therefore some thing(s) must exist not contingently but necessarily. b) a problems with the Third Way: presuppositions in the premises 4. The Fourth Way: the argument from degrees of excellence a) the argument More and less require a most and least. We acknowledge more and less good, more and less truly being, more and less perfect. Therefore, there is a best (=most good), a most truly being, and a most perfect thing. b) a problem with the Fourth Way: the basic idea seems false 5. The Fifth Way: the argument from harmony a) the argument 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. b) a problem with the Fifth Way: cybernetics? 6. A general problem with the Five Ways: how do we get from five "gods" to one God? 4. The Argument from Design (September 20, 2012) 1. First Pass: Aquinas' Fifth Way 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. Question about the Fifth Way: is it really true that acting for an end or purpose requires knowledge and intelligence? Cybernetics? Social Insects? 2. Second Pass: Paley's Watch Three Criticisms of Paley: a) Hume's criticism: unintelligent design b) argument by analogy Leaves are complex cellulose structures. Leaves grow on trees. Money bills are also complex cellulose structures. Therefore money grows on trees. c) natural selection "The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered." Charles Darwin To put it another way: The theory of natural selection shows how, in principle, a complex functionally structured organism could evolve from very simple beginnings. Thus we no longer need to postulate God, the 'intelligent designer' to explain how such organisms come to be. Note: Darwin's theory does not prove that God does not exist. It only shows that the argument from design is not compelling. 3. Third Pass: Fine tuning
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