PHI 107 Theories of Knowledge & Reality Fall 2012
First set of Review Questions #1
1. Explain what philosophers mean by "an argument". What are the principal parts of
an argument and how are they supposed to be related? Explain what is meant by a multi
stage argument. Give an example of one.
An argument is reasons to support a conclusion. The principle parts of one
consist of premises and conclusions. Premises are the starting point of an
argument and are the reasons/evidence to support your claim. A conclusion is
where the argument ends. It draws and infers the conclusions from the
premises, and justifies them. As for a multistage argument, the conclusions
are based on other conclusions from other premises.
2. Explain/define what a valid deductive argument is. Explain/define
what a sound deductive argument is. Give an example of a
sound argument. Give an example of an argument that
is valid but unsound.
A valid deductive argument is when the truth of the premises must guarantee
the truth of the conclusion.
A sound deductive argument is when it’s valid and all premises are true.
Ex. Sound: All humans are mammals
I am a human
Therefore I am a mammal
Ex. Valid&unsound: All students in this class are male
I am in this class
Therefore I am a male
3.Must a valid argument have a true conclusion? Why or why not? Must a
sound argument have a true conclusion? Why or why not? Can an argument
have all true premises as well as a true conclusion and be invalid? Why or
No a valid argument does not have to have a true conclusion because the line
of reasoning may make sense but one of the premises can be wrong; making
the conclusion wrong. As for a sound argument, yes it must have a true
conclusion because all premises are true and if all it’s premises are true it’s
1 conclusion must be true because it’s valid. Yes an argument can have al ture
premises and a true conclusion and be invalid. For example: P1: If A then B,
P2:Not A, therefore not B. This argument
3. Explain how inductive and deductive arguments differ. What sort of claim does
each type of argument make? And how do those two sorts of claims differ? Give an example of
an argument that is deductively invalid, but nonetheless is a good (strong) inductive argument.
An inductive argument is one with a weaker link between premises and
conclusion. Premises are suppose to make it’s conclusion probable and are
evaluated in terms of goodbad and strongweak. Where as deductive argument
gives conclusive or decisive support to their conclusion and are evaluated in
terms of validinvalid. Inductive arguments make subjective claims such as
one’s based on morals. On the other hand, deductive arguments make
objective claims such as one’s based on factual statements.
PHI 107 Theories of Knowledge & Reality Fall 13 Second set of
Review Questions #2
Review questions #2 covers material from 2nd week: Tues 9/3 & Thurs 9/5. Mostly about Ontological
Argument. Please study these questions, and be sure you can answer them.* Consult Powerpoints
and readings. If you have questions, please ask your TA or the Professor.
*Any of these questions might appear on the Midterm.
1. In the "Value of Philosophy" Bertrand Russell gives 2 main reasons to study
philosophy, two ways in which doing so has value. Explain those two reasons.
*****Main reasons: 1) study it for good of the mind, philosophers are not
necessarily looking for answers rather, enriching their intellect; gaining the ability
to see things in new perspectivesit enlarges our conception of what is possible
2) Philosophy constitutes truths
2. Explain the difference between Apriori and Aposteriori propositions. Give an
example of each, being clear to say which is which, and why.
Apriori are propositions based independent of experience. Ex. 2+2=4 because one
learns the understood meaning. Aposteriori are propositions based on
experience. Ex. Snow is white because one must see snow and experience it to
observe that it is white.
2 3. Give a statement of the Ontological Argument for God's Existence in explicit
numbered premise/conclusion format. It need not be wordforword as given in lecture or text it is
perfectly OK to paraphrase it in your own words, but it should include all the needed steps.
P| 1. Definition: God is that being than which no greater being
can be conceived.
P| 2. God exists in the mind (we think of God).
A| 3. Assume God exists only in the mind but not in reality.
3 | 4. Then we can conceive of a being just like God but which
also exists in reality.
P | 5. Existence is a perfection. If two things are alike in all
respects except the first exists in reality and the second
does not, then the first is greater than the second.
4,5| 6. We can conceive of a being greater than God. .
1,6| 7. We can conceive of a being greater than that being than
which no greater being can be conceived (CONTRADICTION ).
RAA7 |8. Thus we reject the assumption that God exists only in
the mind but not in reality. .
2,8 | 9. God exists in reality.
4. Explain what a Reduction Ad Absurdum (RAA) argument is. Explain how the
Ontological argument counts as Reduction Ad Absurdum (RAA) argument. (You don't have to state
the full Ontological Argument, just explain how its basic structure is an RAA.)
RAA is a way to prove something by assuming the opposite and show how that is
false by showing that it leads to something impossible/leads to a contradiction.
This is present in the ontological argument because in order to prove that god
exists, we assume the opposite: that he only exists in our minds, not reality. With
this is used to prove a contradiction that: we can conceive of a being greater than
that being than which no greater being can be conceived. Therefore proving that
3 god exists in reality by assuming the opposite and showing how it leads to a
5. Explain how a critic might challenge premise 1 of the Ontological Argument by questioning
the coherence of the idea of God. Be sure to explain the idea of God and what specific aspects of
that idea might be open to challenge as incoherent (or inconsistent). (If you want, you can use the "largest
integer" example as an analogy, but if you do, be sure to explain it.
Premise one raises some contradictions because if god is “the greatest
conceivable thing” then he could essentially create a rock so heavy he could not
lift it, but if god is the greatest conceivable thing then shouldn’t he be able to lift
it, shouldn’t he have no limitations? This means that one can argue that the
definition of god is inaccurate.
5. Explain how a critic might object to premise 5 of the Ontological Argument by
challenging the idea that existence is a perfection (challenge the idea that
existing in reality makes something better or greater). Can Anslem make any response?
*****A critic may argue that ideas of the imagination are not as limited as things
of real existence such that we can imagine a being greater than god. Anslem
can respond that something in existence is better than something that is not,
simply because we would be able to experience it unlike we would something
that doesn’t exist. Take a car or example, we could imagine one that doesn’t
exist but the one that exists is better because one can actually use it if 2 things
are alike in all respects except the first exists in reality and the other doesn’t,
then the first is better.
6. Explain Guanilo's Perfect Island objection to the Ontological Argument. Give
a basic statement of the objection, and explain how and why it is supposed to be a challenge to
the Ontological Argument. Describe one way in which Anselm or his supporters might reply to
the Perfect Island objection.
*****The perfect Island argument is that there’s a perfect island that no
greater can be conceived, it exists only in the mind and we can conceive of
an island like the perfect island that exists and existence is perfection. We
can conceive of an island greater than the perfect island. We can conceive
of an island greater than that island than which no greater island can be
conceived. And therefore the perfect island exists in reality.
7. Kant raised a famous objection to the Ontological Argument based on the nature of
existence and concepts and their relation. Explain Kant's point about the difference
4 between questions about concepts and questions about existence, and how it is
supposed to be an objection to the Ontological Argument. You can use Zebras and unicorns
as example to help explain Kant's, but be sure to also explain how Kant uses it against Anselm.
What basic mistake does he say Anselm was making?
Concepts are used to assert that something either does or does not have a
certain quality. When we ascribe a quality to anything we assert that the
thing exists then ascribe the quality to it. Existence is not a concept
because it is a general feature of a quality. For example if we were to say
“zebras exist” we it would be redundant and to say “unicorns do not exist”
would be contradictory. Kant considers Anselms greatest mistake to be his
claim that existence is a quality that adds to the greatness of a thing.
Existence is not a quality and therefore since in its third premise Anselms
argument implies that existence is a predicate, the argument must me
PHI 107 Review Questions #3 Week of 9/10 & 9/12 F13 Questions
9 17: on Cosmological Argument & Design Argument ( questions 18 where
given last week on Ontological Argument.)
9. Give a statement of what we called "A Simple Basic Cosmological
Argument" for God's Existence in explicit numbered premise/conclusion format. it is
perfectly OK to paraphrase it in your own words, but it should include all the needed steps.
Give two objections one might raise against that Simple Cosmological Argument. Explain
both of them.
P | 1. The Universe exists.
P | 2. Whatever exists must have a cause.
1,2| 3. The Universe has a cause.
P | 4. Only God could cause a Universe.
4 | 5. If the Universe has a cause, then God exists.
3,5 6. God exists.
2 objections: 1) challenge premise 2: not positive that every event has a cause, 2)
challenge premise 4: possible that something other than god could cause a
10. Give a statement of the First Cause version of the Cosmological Argument for
God's Existence in explicit numbered premise/conclusion format. OK to paraphrase it in your own
words, but it should include all the needed steps.
P | 1. Every event has a cause.
5 P | 2. An event (E )nis happening now.
1,2| 3. There was an event E than1aused E and an en,nt E n2 that
caused E n1,and so on…..
P| 4. There cannot be an infinite regress of causes.
3,4| 5. Thus there was a first cause E that0began the series.
5 | 6. Since E 0 gan the series, there was no event before E 0
that caused E . 0 .
6 | 7. Thus the first cause E w0s an uncaused cause.
P | 8. If there is an uncaused cause, it must be God.
7,8| 9. God exists.
11. Explain two objections that could be raised against premises in the First Cause
Argument for God's Existence. Which premise does the objection challenge, and explain what
reason it gives to attack the relevant premise.
Challenge premise #1 because ‘event 1’ in the series of events must be caused
by an uncaused cause ‘event 0’
Challenge premise #8 because it could be something other than god.
12. The First Cause Argument might be challenged as being Inconsistent. Explain which
parts are in conflict, and then explain two ways in which the argument might be modified
to avoid the inconsistency. Any response to those modifications?
****According to Premise1 Everything that exists has a cause. But premise
7 states that the first cause was an uncaused cause. Thus if the first cause
existed, then according to Premise1 it must have had a cause. So it could
not be uncaused as premise 7 claims. A way to modify this would be to
change P1 into Every event “in time” has a caus. Therefore no event in
time caused E0. And then add premise that “Something outside of time
caused E0”. Therefore, If there is a cause outside of time (a timeless
eternal cause), then it is God.
13. What is meant by "teleological order"? In what sorts of cases do we find teleological order?
Give some examples and explain. In what way might teleological explanations seem to conflict with
6 the normal temporal order of explanation? How might introducing a designer resolve that
apparent time conflict?
Teleological order refers to something that is structured or organized to
achieve goals or an end. For example a watch is made up of separate parts to
serve the function of telling time (springs and gears turn the hands) or a
mechanical pencil for example is made a certain way so that lead can be
refilled and used to write. Teological order can come into conflict with temporal
order because in teleological explanation, we seem to be explaining the present
in terms of the future, but in normal causal explanation we explain the present
in terms of the past. Positing a designer allows us to restore the normal order
of explanation – at least in the artifact case. The designer (in the past) built X to
have certain features to have certain effects in the future.
14. Give a statement of the Teleological/Design Argument for God's Existence in explicit
numbered premise/conclusion format. OK to paraphrase it in your own words, but it should include all
the needed steps.
P | 1. In the world we find many natural phenomena that exhibit
teleological order of a highly complex and efficient sort:
P | 2. When we find such teleological order in human artifacts
we know it should be explained by appeal to the intelligence of their
P | 3. Natural phenomena are not the result of human design.
1,2,3| 4. Natural phenomena that exhibit teleological order should
be explained by appeal to the action of a nonhuman
intelligent designer. (Inductive: by analogy//best hypothesis)..
1,4| 5.There is a nonhuman intelligent designer of natural phenomena
P | 6. If there is a nonhuman intelligent designer of natural
phenomena, it must be God. .
6 | 7. God exists. (God is the nonhuman intelligent designer of
15. State and explain two objections that might be raised against premises in the
Teleological/Design Argument for God's Existence. It is not necessary to state the whole
7 argument. Just explain which premise of the Argument is being challenged by each objection and
explain how so. What is the reason against the premise? Any response?
1) Challenge premise #2 because that is often true, but not always true.
Sometimes adaptive artifacts can result from simple trial and error rather than
from intelligent design
****2) Challenge premise #6 because I could be something other than god, such
as natural selection.
16. The Teleological/Design Argument appeals to the case of artifact design (e.g. the design of a
watch) to argue by analogy that the best explanation of natural teleological features
(such as the human eye which is so well organized to fulfill the function of sight) is to appeal to the
existence of a intelligent designer as well. State and explain two objections that one might raise
against that inductive reasoning i.e., two objections against the inductive inference from 1,2,3| to 4 in the
argument as given in lecture.
1) Challenge inference 123|4, because reasoning by analogy works best when the
two items are very similar. It does not work well when they are very different.
Ordinary artifacts and the natural world (or biological organisms) are far too
different to generalize or infer anything about the cause of the latter from the
cause of the former.
2) Challenge inference 123|4, because the existence of an intelligent designer is
not the “best hypothesis” at least not the best for explaining the teleological
order of biological systems. There is a better explanationEvolution via Natural
17. What is meant by "earthly finetuning" and what is meant by "cosmic fine tuning"? How are
they relevant to the Design Argument for God's existence.
****“Earthly fine tuning and cosmic fine tuning Is meant as the teleological order
in terms of how the earth is set up or how the cosmos/stars align rather than in
terms of biology. This suggests purposive teleological order that needs to be
explained. And in this case, we can’t use Darwinian natural selection to the
explain the purposive fine tuning of the earth or universe. An intelligent designer
(God) remains the best hypothesis
18. Explain what is meant by the "Poker Hand Fallacy" and how it might be used to challenge
the "finetuning" version of the Design Argument. What reply could the supporter of the argument
8 make? Explain what is meant by the "Anthropic Principle" and how it could be used to counter
***Poker hand fallacy is like a card of decks any given poker hand is very
unlikely. So it is extremely unlikely that I would get the very hand that I did. But
the fact that I got the specific hand that I did – which was very unlikely does
not require any special explanation because I am always going to get some
hand or other each time. Each hand is individually very improbable, but getting
some hand or other is very probable (certain). Same might be said of fine
tuning. It was very unlikely that the earth (or universe) would be just the way it
is, but very probable that it would be some way or other. This challenges the
design argument because it suggests it was created at random, not by will.
Though a supporter could dispute the Analogy: The fine tuning case is
different than the poker hand case because the actual outcome is “Special” in
the earthly or cosmic case. This can be countered with the Anthropic principle:
Our earth/universe must be one of those – whether rare or not – that permits
the possibility of observers (intelligent beings), because we are here observing
it. Given that we are here observing the world, the probability that the
earth/universe is of a kind – whether rare or not – that permits the existence of
intelligent beings is extremely high (100% certain). Meaning (how is this a
PHI 107 Review Questions #4 Week of 9/17 & 9/19 F13 Questions
1928 on Argument from Evil & on Pascal's Wager
19. Give a statement of Mackiestyle Argument from Evil against God's Existence in
explicit numbered premise/conclusion format. OK to paraphrase it in your own words, but it should
include all the needed steps.
P | 1. If a thing/being is omnipotent then there are no limits on
what it can do.
P | 2. Good is opposed to evil in such a way that a good thing
eliminates evil as much as it can. .
1,2| 3. A good omnipotent thing/being eliminates evil completely.
P | 4.The world contains evil (both suffering and moral evil). .
3,4| 5. There is no good omnipotent being (i.e. no being who is both
good and omnipotent.)
9 P | 6. According to traditional theism, God is both good and
5,6| 7. There is no God of the sort traditional theism claims,
i.e. God in the sense of a good omnipotent being does not exist.
20. Mackie considers three solutions to the Problem of Evil that he labels "adequate solutions".
What are those three solutions? And why does Mackie consider them adequate.