HUMA 1160 9.0
THE ENLIGHTENMENT AND HUMAN UNDERSTANDING
MONDAY February 25, 2013
Students are permitted to bring a lined sheet of paper containing 8 lines (in normal handwriting) for each
question (=24 lines in total).
Question 1. is worth a total of 40 marks; question 2. is worth 60 marks. Question 3. is an optional bonus
question, which if done satisfactorily, will raise your final mark on this test by a half grade (e.g. from C to
C+; B+ to A).
1. Describe and assess the three views of religious language discussed in class
This answer will argue that none of these views suceed in showing that religious language is meaningful.
1. anthropomorphism: language about God is lateral and inevitable
2. mysticism: language abt god either not be used or used fregunately/ frequently?
3. analogy: language abt god should be used both in terms of similarities and difference
P1 God has desires
P2 Desires can be had only for something one lacks
P3 However God is infinite and so he lacks nothing
Conclusion: Therefore the anthro. either has to deny that God has desires that God is infinite
Criticism 2(God not planned for himself, but what God has created)
P1 God has plans
P2 Plans are needed only for something which is dependent
P3 However God is omnipotent and so does not depend on anything
Conclusion: Therefore the anthro. either has to deny that God has a plan or that God is omnipotent
P1 God wills, desires, plans, thinks etc
P2 Willing, desiring, planning, thinking etc. all happen in time
P3 However God is eternal and so does not do anything in time
Conclusion: Therefore the anthro. either has to deny that God has these mental activities or that God is eternal
Planning is nothing about god himself, he will desires plans and thinks about his creations
Cant will doubt or plan unless you have a MIND….
Criticism 4 (more general version of crit 3)
P1 God has a mind
P2 All mental activity happens in time
P3 However God is eternal and so has no mental activity in time
Conclusion: Therefore the anthro. either has to deny that God has any mental activity or that God has a mind. _____________________________________________________________
Dialectically, nothing meaningful can be said about God, assuming that religious language is eternal and
unmoral, in which case the proper behaviour in terms of religious language is silence. This is the position of
P1 Extreme mysticism says that religious language is meaningless
P2 The proper behaviour is silence
P3 However, atheist and skeptics hold the same position, even though they unline the extreme mystic, don’t
believe in God
Conclusion: Therefore the view of religious language endorsed my extreme mysticism is untenable.
There view of religious language is that it shouldn’t be used at all
Dialectically, this takes us to another view of mysticism according to which religious language must be used
and understood figuratively and equivocally
P1 Modern mysticism Maintains that religious language is figurative and equivocal
P2 Figurative and equivocal language allows for meaningful
P3 However all fig, language must be reducible to literal language if the former is to be meaningful
Conclusion: Therefore, modern mysticism is subject to the same criticisms as anthropomorphism
Some truth to this (above) but not the whole truth
Ex. You are the apple to my eye
How are you suppose to articulate in literal language of wht God is
Dialectically, this takes us to another view of religious language which is analogy. According to the position,
religious language is abt both similarities and differences between God and ppl.
P1 Analogy maintains that religious language is about both the dim and diff between god and ppl
P2 The terms of comparison and contrast between God and people
P3 However the conditions of verifiability, according to which meaningful language is such diff the user can
specify under what empirical conditions his or her claims are true or false (Flew) something that cannot