The Existence of God, philosophy homework help
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The Existence of God
What is the problem in referring to personal experience for proof of God’s existence?
What is the problem in referring to the Bible for proof of God’s existence?
What are the three traditional arguments for God’s existence?
What is the difference between strong rationalism, critical rationalism, and fideism?
Terms: Pascal’s Wager, fallacy of “begging the question”
William Paley – The Teleological Arguement
Know what Paley’s metaphor of the person walking along the beach signifies. What are each of the objects found meant to represent? Which does Paley relate the world to?
Be able to trace Paley’s argument for God’s existence.
What is Paley’s proof for God’s existence based on?
How does Paley relate our lack of knowledge about the watch to our lack of knowledge about the world and how is this pertinent (or not) to our knowledge of God’s existence?
Terms: Teleological Argument, purpose, Intelligent Design
David Hume – Why Does God Let People Suffer
What argument for God’s existence is Hume arguing against?
Why does Hume object to the concept that we can infer the existence of a good all-powerful God who created the world as it is?
What are his 4 objections against the inference to God? Be able to list and describe each of them.
What is the most that can be inferred by observing the world, once one has seen the suffering present in it? Does Hume think that there is any reason to infer something further than that? Why or why not?
Terms: Inference from phenomena
Soren Kierkegaard – The Leap of Faith and the Limits of Reason & Truth is Subjectivity
Why does Kierkegaard think that all proofs for God’s existence fail to establish proof of God’s existence?
What is faith? Why does Kierkegaard argue that the question of belief in God is not one that one should attempt to base on evidence?
Why is it that proof for God’s existence is something that people continue to attempt regardless of it being impossible and why is it impossible?
What does Kierkegaard argue is necessary for any “proof” of God’s existence?
Being an existentialist, Kierkegaard believes that truth is _____ to the individual. Why?
What is the relevance of life being presented as choice to Kierkegaard’s view of faith?
Terms: leap of faith, fideism
William K Clifford
Why does Clifford argue it is unethical to believe without sufficient evidence? What should one do when one does not have sufficient evidence for or against belief?
What is his response to the person who does not have enough time to educate himself concerning the evidence for belief?
William James – The Will to Believe
What is the religious hypothesis according to William James? What does he argue concerning this hypothesis and the options between believing it or not: is it living or dead, forced or avoidable, momentous or trivial? What does he argue this means then?
What is the problem with suspending judgement on the religious hypothesis according to James?
Why does James object to the notion that one who allows himself to believe the religious hypothesis can will himself to believe anything?
What value does James see to accepting the religious hypothesis?
Friedrich Nietzsche – God is Dead
What does Nietzsche mean when he famously proclaims that God is dead? Why is it relevant that it is a mad man who says God is dead?
According to Nietzsche, why is Christianity something harmful and something that detracts from one’s life?
What does Nietzsche mean when he refers to Christianity as a “religion of pity”? Why is pity dangerous to the individual?
Terms: will to power
Problem of Identity
What are the 3 traditional views regarding how one’s identity is preserved through time and change?
John Locke – Of Identity and Diversity
Which of the 3 views does Locke argue for? What are the significances of the Socrates example and of the prince and cobbler example?
How does his view account for one’s continued identity even when there are lapses in consciousness or memory? What problem does Locke’s view face based on his answer?
Terms: Lockean Circle, personal identity
Meredith Michaels – Persons, Brains and Bodies
Which of the 3 traditional views is Michaels considering in this thought experiment?
Be able to describe the example of Wanda and Schwanda. What is the story meant to show?
David Hume – Of Personal Identity
How does Hume view one’s personal identity? Does his view fit into any of the 3 traditional views?
What does Hume mean when he compares the notion of identity to a republic? How does Hume argue against Locke’s view?
The Problem of Free Will and Responsibility
Aristotle – Voluntary and Involuntary Action
Know how Aristotle distinguishes between voluntary and involuntary action. What do each of them entail as far as which ones we should be held responsible for, praised or blamed?
What are examples of each of the different types of actions?
What are the types of involuntary actions, be able to describe each of them.
What does it mean to be a non voluntary agent?
Terms: voluntary actions, involuntary actions
John Hospers – Meaning and Free Will
How does Hospers distinguish types of voluntary actions and what is it about one type of them that should not allow one to be held responsible for it?
Be able to explain Hospers’ argument against responsibility. When does he think someone is not responsible for his or her actions?
Terms: Argument against Responsibility (Be able to outline and explain the argument, make sure to look toward the end of the reading)
Friedrich Nietzsche – Twilight of an Error
Explain what Nietzsche means when he says religion mistakes the cause for the consequence? How does this relate to the notion of virtue and vice?
Why does Nietzsche think free will is an error?
What is the reason Nietzsche thinks free will is an important concept in religion? What does it lead to?
Terms: Error of Free Will
Jean Paul Sartre – Freedom and Responsibility
What is meant by Sartre when he says “Man is condemned to be free”?
What does Sartre think is meant by the phrase, “In war there are no innocent victims”?
Why does Sartre argue that we are even responsible for our own birth?
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