PHIL 201 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Ernest Nagel, Cosmological Argument, Ontological Argument
SchoolUniversity of Calgary
Course CodePHIL 201
ProfessorC. Kenneth Waters
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Reading Notes, March 25, 2019
Nagel, Ernest (1959) Philosophical Concepts of Atheism
o Atheism Definition: a critique and denial of the major claims of all varieties of theism.
1- Atheism is not irreligious concept, theism is just one amount many views concerning the
nature and origin of the world.
2- Nagel's arguments concerning the Theodicy Problem show that atheists think in a much
more straightforward and practical fashion than do theists.
3- Cosmological argument
Critique #1: He is not concerned with the truthfulness of premise 1.
4- Ontological argument
o (The Problem of Evil)
o So far, we have examined only arguments for the existence of God. But for each
argument, we have also discussed some objections.
o Some theists may accept all these objections and yet maintain a belief in the existence of
o Ernest Nagel, however, maintains that not only are there no good reasons to believe that
God exists (he criticizes all of the arguments), there is a good reason to believe that God
does not exist. On p. 145, he says raises the difficulty.
o " ... which arises from the simultaneous attribution of omnipotence, omniscience, and
omnibenevolence to the Deity. The difficulty is that of reconciling these attributes with
the occurrence of evil on the world."
• First Argument from Evil
1. If God exists, then this world was created by an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good being.
2. If this world was created by an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-good being, then this is the
best of all possible worlds.
3. If this is the best of all possible worlds, then this world contains no evil.
4. This world contains some evil.
5. Therefore, God does not exist.
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