Philosophy A2

Philosophy Revision for Nature of God, Religious Experience, Scripture. Miracles, Religious Language


Nature of God

·         Defining God's omniscience

·         Difficulties in defining-How does God know? What do we mean to talk of knowledge?

·         How omniscience coincides with God's other attributes: Omnipotence and Omnibenevolence. Problems?

·         Key themes to do with Omniscience: Evil and Suffering, Freedom, Reward and Punishment.

·         Moral problems i.e. Problem of Evil

·         Philosophical Problems i.e. Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

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Nature of God

  •  Different models of God, different ways of presenting God's knowledge and whether they strengthen or restrict the concept of God's omniscience.

·         Feeds into Boethius' argument for foreknowledge and discussion from Eternity-opposing views of this. (Wholly simple timeless God and pre-destination-> FREE WILL)

·         Everlasting God-Assess. More of a successful model of God than wholly simple? Peter Geach's Chessmaster.

·         Genuine Freedom and Freedom to act according to our nature->meanings of each, is one more successful in defining free will and strengthening God's omniscience than the other?

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Religious Experience (as a form of revelation)

·       General definition of religious experience

·       Are they easy to define?

·       Philosophical Problems

·       Value of religious experience to the a) Individual and b) Community

·       Richard Swinburne's 5 ways of defining religious experience.

·       Two broad types of religious experience: External and Internal. Sufficent examples i.e. Saul and which type is more credible.

·       How does Swinburne attempt to address the issue? -> Principles of Credulity and Testimony

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Religious Experience

·       William James (Realist approach)-4 marks of mystical experience. Criticisms of this approach?

·       Nicholas Lash vs William James and anti-realist understanding of religious experience.

·       Numinous experience: Define (Otto) and views of Schliermacher and Buber.

·       Other types of religious experience i.e. Conversion? Prayer? More valid than mystical experience? Corporate experience e.g. Toronto Blessing-easier to believe?

·       Challenges (4) to Religious Experience e.g. Conflicting Claims-> assess each challenge and whether it undermines the concept of religious experience.

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Scripture (as a form of Revelation)

  • Defining revelation
  • Defining scripture and how that reveals God's nature
  • Problems
  • God's Word, language-problems?
  • Is the Bible divinely inspired?-> Logos of God
  • Inspiration or revelation? Meaning?
  • Propositional View, assess, who upholds the view? Faith and Reason.
  • Criticisms of Propositional View
  • Non-propositional view, assess, who upholds the view? Faith and Reason.
  • Criticisms of the Non-Propositional View
  • Views of Fundamentalist (Problems), Liberal and Conservative
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Miracles (as a form of revelation)

  • Definition of miracles-philosophical issues with this? How do they confirm, lead to belief?
  • Different interpretations (realist, anti-realist)
  • Aquinas' approach (3 ways)
  • Traditional approach-HUME-Hume's view on miracles, working from a realist understanding. Implications for prayer?
  • Criticisms of Hume
  • Direct intervention of God is a miraculous occurence-moral problems?
  • Wiles' view-implication on the view of Christ and of miracles in response to Hume.
  • Criticisms of Wiles
  • Contingency approach to miracles-Tillich&Holland-miracles as "signs" or coincidence events, is this more effective in describing the concept of miracle? Assess.
  • Gareth Moore-anti-realist approach to miracles, God as a product of the human imagination, wishful thinking (Freud).
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Religious Language

  • What is language? What is religious language?
  • Philosophical problems with religious language
  • Different approaches-Cognitive/realist and Non-Cognitive/anti-realist
  • Types of language, univocal, equivocal, negation etc.
  • Hume's Fork-works with cognitive/realist approach, Nietzche
  • Logical Positivism and Verification Principle (both forms)
  • Problems with Verification Principle
  • Hick's response to Verification Principle (Eschatological Verification), problems?
  • Falsification Principle-more successful?
  • Problems with Falsification Principle, University Debate-Basil Mitchell and RM Hare
  • Other theories of language: Wittgenstein's Language Games (strengths and weaknesses), Symbol (Tillich), Myth and Analogy. Effective theories of language?
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