philosophy revision

main topics for philosophy 



Plato's theory 

  • He believe our world was an appearance of the 'real world.'
  • In the 'real world' everything most die and therefore nothing is constant. Therefore for our world to last eternity there must be a constant which he explains as the 'form of the good' which is eternal.
  • Our world shows reflections of the world of the forms and we are all come and end up in the 'world of the forms.'
  • The reason we know what a cat is, is because we have seen a particulate of the form.

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the cave

  • He explains his theory using the cave analogy:
  • The cave represents our world and the prisoners represent us as people.
  • The puppet masters are the government and the shadows are the reflection of the form that they government wish to show the people.
  • The fire is a reflection of the sun, and the sun is a representation of the 'form of the good', the outside world is the 'world of the forms.'
  • The freed prisoners represents the enlighten; philosophers. (If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life. Plato)
  • This helps us understand the world of the forms as we only see what the government show us unless we are philosophers who try and discover the truth. The reflections we are shown we think are the real things for we know no different but the freed prisoner knows they are reflections of the truth (the forms). 
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  • It explains the feeling we have of knowing something is perfect; as we know what true beauty is as we are from the 'world of the forms' and have seen the true form of beauty and our soul recognizes it.
  • It gives humans peace of mind by explaining how are essence lives on in the world of the forms and talks about re-birth, which bring comfort. 
  • The theory of the forms cant be disapprove as no one can see it until they die.


  • As the theory cant be disapproved it also cant be proved.
  • Richard dawkins thinks the 'bad' idea has just been passed from generation to generation: memes. 
  • He doesn't explain how anyone will get to the 'world of the forms'
  • it doesn't explain why there is evil in the real world, is there evil forms?
  • The 'world of the forms' could just be someones view; therefore they are objective and not very valid.
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four causes 

  • The final cause: the reason why something is made.
  • The formal cause: the plan of how it is made.
  • The material cause: the substance is made from.
  • The efficient cause: the way in which an object has been created.

potentiality to actuality

  • Aristotle states that everything must move through the idea of potentiality to actuality.
  • It is the idea of thinking up an idea and then making it happen.

three substances 

  • First there has to be a substance completely immune to change; has to be the cause of its self.
  • Then there are substance which are apparent but will decay/die; humans, plants. We see cause and affect.
  • Lastly substances which are evident but don't decay/die; time, air...
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prime mover

  • His idea of the prime mover comes from the first of the three substance that it is immune to change and it causes it self.

  • He also explains that the prime mover is eternal and sustains all substances.

  • He also explains that without a prime mover the world would also decay/die.

  • 'There is in fact something that moves without being itself moved, existing in activation, and this does not admit of being in any way in another state.'

  • Everything that comes from the prime mover wants to go back to the prime mover.
  • Everyone wants to be with the prime mover as it is the supreme object of desire and love so it is the final cause.
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  • The four cause can be used to explain every object within this world.
  • He basis his four cause on our world and not on reflections which make it more plausible.
  • There is no proof so therefor it cant be disapproved


  • There is an unclear relation between the prime mover and the universe.
  • Maybe there are some things that don’t have causes, they just come about.
  • There is no proof so can't be proved.
  • Plato and Aristotle have different view from each other when Plato taught Aristotle.
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goodness of God


  • Omnipresent: mean that it is present everywhere, this is a characteristic of the Judaic God
  • Omnipotent: all powerful and can do anything - no one is more powerful
  • Omniscient: God is all knowing 'for he knows how we are made' psalm 103:14
  • Omni benevolence: God is all loving and shares his love with all creation 

Genesis 1 

  • transcendent:
  • creatio ex nihilo (creation from nothing)
  • it is stated that 'in the beginning god created the heavens and earth', but it is never made clear whether God was the shaper of chaos or if he really created it all from nothing

Genesis 2

  • anthropomorphic account: given human qualities
  • interaction with humanity - God walks in the garden with Adam and Eve
  • his relationship with his people allows him to bless and punish them within the garden.
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goodness of God

  • The Christian God is a personal God and God made an agreement with his people that he will be the only God 'I will be your God and you will be my people'. 
  • God must have human qualities as we have been created in his image, and as no human is perfectly good but God is perfectly good, God must be non-moral.
  • For Christians their purpose in life is to get closer to becoming perfectly good like their God.

Ten Commandments (Decalogue)

  • Not only did got make a covenant with his people he also gave them ten commandments to follow so they could be more closely like him.
  • Some would explain this as God being a benevolent dictator – for God is seen as the father and Christians his children and he is teaching them tough love.
  • Although Christians have the ten commandment (Decalogue) there are also many other rules in the bible so they can live more perfectly as God is perfect.
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goodness of God

Jesus, showing Gods goodness

  • God sent his son in human form (theophany) to show his people how to live. 
  • Jesus shows this goodness of God through miracles; healing the blind, lame and paralysed, walking on water and raising the dead.
  • he also taught people through stories called parables; lost sheep, lost son, widow and her might, good samaritan.

pascal's wager

  • pascal's wager is the theory that some people believe in God just to get to heaven even if they don't believe it is the complete truth.
  • so these people believe in God as a bet as they feel it is better to believe and get to heaven then not believe and find out you were wrong.
  • it is the instinct of self-preservation.
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goodness of God


  • The fact God came down as a human shows his love for his people
  • Genesis talks about God being a supreme being and creating the world
  • God is seen to interact with humanity and care for his people
  • No one can disprove the existence of God


  • Genesis 1 and 2 both give very different accounts
  • In the old testament God is very angry with his people and in the new testament he sends down his own son and is a lot more caring towards his people
  • No reasoning, God just is
  • A lot of the Christian faith has basis of Aristotle and Plato
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Teleological Argument

'Telos' Greek for purpose 

Paley's Argument

  • Design qua purpose: world was designed to fulfil a purpose - Paley's watch analogy 
  • Paley's watch is that just as a watch is designed for telling the time so the universe is created for a purpose and God must be the designer
  • Just like the watch is complex so is the universe and therefore can't have come about by change.
  • Design qua regularity: the universe behaves according to some order. 
  • Relationships with planets and gravity couldn't have come about by chance, therefore there must be an intelligent designer - God.
  • There is some empirical evidence everything has a designer, analogy follows logic and its a valid argument but not perfect
  • Could be due to chance, the fact God created the world then left us to it represents a Deist view.
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Teleological Argument

Aquinas' fifth way

  • All natural occurrences show evidence of design, this suggests that there is a being that directs all things. Things with lack of knowledge need something with knowledge to direct them, therefore there is an intelligent being that directs everything.
  • Everything has a purpose either conscious or unconscious, for it to carry out the purpose there must be a supreme being at the beginning of the purpose chain.

Archer and Arrow example

  • The archer is God and the arrow is migrating birds, moving towards an end purpose.
  • For everything to be able to move to a purpose there has to be a supreme being at the beginning of the purpose chain that guides everything to it's purpose.
  • This is just like the how an archer guides the arrow to the target.
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Teleological Arguement

Hume's Argument

  • Paley's 1st argument: to speak of design implies a designer, great design implies great designer, there is great design therefore there is a great designer – God. 
  • Hume argues that this implies God is anthropomorphic (human like) which is inconsistent with the idea of perfection.
  • As the world is imperfect, implies an imperfect designer.
  • Paley's 2nd argument: the world is ordered, this is by chance of design. Its possible it was chance. Therefore it came about by design.
  • Hume argues this argument jumps from the possibility to it being by chance to it can't be due to chance.
  • Given two options and left with one.
  • This argument could also mean there was more then one designer.

Mill's Criticisms

  • Nature can be cruel and get away with it. If there is a God he must be cruel to allow cruel things to happen. But by definition God being cruel isn't a characteristic and therefore God can't be a designer.
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Teleological Argument

Richard Swinburne 

  • Machine analogy: there is a machine full of cards. If the wrong card is chosen then it will blow up. The ten cards chosen must all be aces of hearts. Ten aces of hearts are chosen. Swinburne says this is because the machine in rigged.
  • Each represents:
  • the selection of cards – historical events
  • The machine – the universe
  • The person choosing cards - humanity

Hume against Swinburne

  • Swinburne: if you over complicate an argument they are less likely to believe you (ockham's razor.) we normally believe the simplest explanation.
  • Hume: if god is unknowable how can he be made simple? The world is random and God started it so therefore no longer has control.
  • Swinburne: God rigged it to look random to give us freewill. 
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Problem of Evil

Types of suffering 

  • self-inflicted: is when the actions you take cause you to cause suffering on your self. For example smoking.
  • Suffering inflicted by others: suffer of one person can be inflicted by someone’s actions. For example bullying, illness.. ect
  • Natural evil: suffering when a natural occurrence takes place. For example earthquake, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcano eruptions, tsunamis.
  • Moral evil: when conscious acts by one person cause someone else to suffer. For example war, murder, theft.
  • The Fall
  • God then took one of Adams ribs and created Eve (Genesis 2)
  • Then the snake flew to Eve and tricked her into biting the apple of knowledge and it corrupted her. Eve then went to Adam and convinced his to eat it, when God found out he punished the snake by only allowing it to crawl on its belly, he banished them from the garden and man had to work in the fields and women had the punishment of pain in childbirth.  
  • This was the fall of man. Christians believe that this is when evil entered the world and that we all carry this original sin as we were in the loins of Adam at the time the original sin was committed.We can't get close to God until we are tested by God. All the suffering in the world is a test.
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Problem of Evil


  • Argues that God created the world and it was perfect, without evil or suffering. Genesis 1:31 “God saw all he had made and saw that it was good.” 
  • Described evil as being a lack of goodness. And because evil isn't an eternity God couldn't have created it.
  • The state of perfection was ruined by sin when mankind and angels turned away from God. Is a soul deciding theodicy. 
  • Natural evil: explained as a result of us turning away from God and being sinners. Its a loss of order.
  • Moral evil: caused by freewill and disobedience. We are all worthy of suffering as we were seminally present in Adams loins. God doesn't intervene because he is a just God and we are worth of punishment.
  • Strengths
  • Hasn't broken any of the theodicy boundaries.
  • Criticisms
  • Schleiermarcher – logically if God created a perfect world then evil created itself, its not possible as only God should be able to create himself from ex nihilo
  • If the world was perfect with no knowledge of good and evil how could Adam and Eve disobey God when good and evil were unknown.
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Problem of Evil


  • Argues that evil is a consequence of human free will and disobedience. Unlike Augustine Irenaeus believed that God was partly responsible.
  • He argued that God created the world imperfectly so that imperfect beings could develop, into a 'child of God.'
  • He couldn't create us perfect because to be in perfect likeness to God humans would need to co-operate. So God created free will for us to choose which means he also allowed us to choose either good or evil.
  • Natural evil: has the divine purpose to develop qualities such as compassion through soul-making process
  • Moral evil: derived from human free will and disobedience
  • Irenaeus concluded that eventually evil and suffering will be overcome and humans will become perfect like God, and everyone will have eternal life in heaven 
  • Hicks reformation
  • Hick highlighted the importance of God allowing humans to develop themselves. He reasoned that if God made us perfect then we would have goodness of robots, which would love God automatically without any further deliberation. God wants humans to genuinely love him and therefore gives them free will.
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Problem of Evil

Irenaeus criticisms

  • The idea that everyone goes to heaven is unfounded
  • Is suffering really necessary for soul making? e.g. the genocide in Rwanda
  • D.Z. Phillips in 'the concept of prayer' argued that the continuation of evil doesn't show love from a Omni benevolent God
  • If life suddenly ceased to exist God couldn't have achieved his purpose, sudden death.
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Cosmological argument

  • Chandelier analogy; imagine there is a chandelier hanging from a chain. The chain just disappears into the sky. Now what is holding up the chandelier?
  • Some would say that the chain goes on to infinity to hold up the chandelier. 
  • Others would say something has to be holding it up. Otherwise gravity would pull it down. We have no concept of infinity.


  • Cosmos refers to the universe and everything in it being order and fitting together perfectly to work (like clock work)
  • This is an argument of origins of the universe and what existence depends upon
  • The cosmological argument gives more empirical evidence for god being the source.
  • Plato's idea of a first source was along the right idea that everything was dependent on one supreme source.
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Cosmological argument


  • Aquinas wanted to give proof for God because a lot of people didn't get an education so didn't know, so he came up with the five ways.
  • His theory linked in with Plato’s argument that nothing can be self moving and therefore there is a beginning cause. This could be explain with a domino analogy: that dominoes don't just fall something must have started the domino effect.

Aquinas' five ways

  • Argument from motion: everything moves, they can't move by themselves, can't be infinite regression so must be a prime mover.
  • Argument for causation: everything is caused, nothing can cause its self, can't be infinite regression therefore there must be a first cause
  • Argument for contingency: everything either exists or doesn't, if everything has never existed then nothing exists, as we exist now something must have brought us into existence, God must have done this. 
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Cosmological argument

Copleston's reformulation

  • Argument for contingency: there are things in the world that are contingent (we wouldn't exist without our parents), everything in the world is like this, we all depend on something else to exist, therefore there must be a cause  of everything in the universe that exist outside time and space. This cause must be a necessary being. This necessary being is God.
  • Russell's objection
  • Russell argues that there wasn't a necessary being and that the origin of the universe is the regress of causal events. “what I'm saying is that the concept of a cause is not applicable to the total”
  • Just because everyone has a mother doesn't mean the universe has a mother. Can't apply this to God as that would give him human qualities which isn't possible. “I should say the universe is just there, and that's all.”
  • Russell saw the argument for a cause of the universe as having little meaning or significance.
  • Copleston's response to Russell's refusal to accept the importance of the issue was to claim: “if one refused to sit at the chessboard and make a move, on cannot, of course, be checkmated.”
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Cosmological argument

Hume's criticisms

  • Too big a leap of logic 
  • Just cause I have a mother doesn't mean the world does
  • If we can define God then by definition he can't be God as he is meant to be unknown.
  • Aquinas uses human experience to explain god which hume says isn't possible if God is God.
  • Why should we assume there is a cause, could be infinite regression.
  • Aquinas' ways only explain how things came into motion, caused and into existence doesn't explain about a supreme being. 
  • Immanuel Kant: what sets us into motion has to be in this world which is impossible for god as bible says he is outside time and space.
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Ontological argument

  • Ontology is a theory of being. And concerns with what exists, its nature, character and meaning. “I think therefore I am”
  • Its the first philosophy because if we don't establish we exist then there is no point in thinking of anything else
  • Its the argument for the being or nature of God.
  • Say people say there is a God and others don't
  • It looks at Aristotle’s argument of potentiality to actuality, if you can think of God he must exist
  • There is no evidence for this argument as we can think of the flying spaghetti monster and that doesn't exist and God could be the same. 
  • The claims and conclusions equal each other out: I can think of God so he must exist, God exists because I think of him.

Necessary and Contingent Truths

  • A Necessary truth: is one that couldn't have been other wise, it would have been true under all circumstances.
  • A Contingent truth: is on that is true but could be false.
  • A Necessary truth must be true; and a Contingent truth is true as it happens, but didn't have to be true.
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Ontological argument

  • Analytic statements are a priori, and according to Kant are true by definition.
  • For example the statement 1+1=2 is true because we know that 1+1 doesn't equal anything else. This makes the statement true by definition.
  • Synthetic statements are a posteriori, and is true if the value can be determined empirically by using observation and experience
  • So the statement all men are arrogant is an synthetic statement because the predicate isn't included within the subject

Andelm's arguement

  • We can all understand the idea of God even if we don't believe. Anselm would say this is because God put the idea in our mind.
  • If we can conceive of it then it must be real, it wouldn't be in your head if it wasn't real.
  • “a being than which no greater can be conceived”
  • Even atheists understand what God is meant to be, but don't understand his existence. 
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Ontological argument

Gaunilo's respone

  • Just because something exists in the mind doesn't mean it really exists.
  • He backed up his argument with the analogy of the island: 
  • We can all conceive of a perfect island
  • **** an island most possess all perfections
  • Existence is a perfection
  • Therefore the island exists
  •  If you believe or conceive of God then without knowing you must be bring God into existence.
  • Just as by thinking out the perfect island it comes into existence.

Second argument

  • Anselm said it is impossible for god to be contingent and to keep going in and out of existence. Therefore God must be necessary.
  • Gaunilo said it is impossible to understand God when we don't have anything to compare him to.
  • We don't have any experience of God he is just an idea which  makes him exist
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Ontological argument


  • If you accept the concept to it initiatory then the concept must exist
  • God is perfect, perfection exists, so God is necessary.
  • But if we reject the concept of God we reject him.
  • In order for God to be supreme he must exist.


  • Aquinas rejects Anselm's argument... 
  • We don't have an agreed definition of God – otherwise it contradicts God
  • There is no proof of Anselm's argument only reason
  • However Aquinas argues is we knew God's nature then we would know God's nature includes existence, but as we don't know God's nature we have to treat it as synthetic.

Immanuel Kant

  • We have no idea of a necessary being
  • You can't jump from an idea to reality
  • What is logically possible may not be ontologically possible
  • Existence is not a prediction or a perfection.
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Science vs Faith

3 main ideas of the origins of the world:

  • Intelligent design (creationist) the explain life through God creating everything in creation.
  • Theistic evolution explains that although go started evolution he them allowed it to take its own course. 
  • Naturalism explains that the big bang started everything and evolution brings everything into existence.

Richard Dawkins on God

  • Richard Dawkins believes that everything in life is started by the big bang and then all creatures developed into what they are today, through evolution. 
  • For Dawkins humans are a by product of evolution of natural selection and they only reason we have survived is because we're a strong species.  
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Science vs Faith

Young Earth creationist

  • Are literal Christians, who believe everything written in the old testament is historical.
  • The believe that God created the world in 6 human days and rested on the 7th. They also believe that the reason why people believe the world is much older then it is, is because the flood in genesis pushed all the fossils further below the ground and therefore making them seem older then they are.
  • They also believe humans and dinosaurs roamed together 

Progressive creationist and Theistic evolution

  • Progressive:
  • Believe that god created the world and everything in it. They except modern science but suggest God is the cause of evolution and every time a species changes God has done it.
  • Theistic:
  • God created the world and then programmed the planet and evolution to got through evolution. So although God started evolution he just allowed it to take its course.
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Science vs Faith

Old Earth creationist

  • Believed that God created the world and everything in it but believe that the earth is as old as science suggests.

Day-age theory: 

  • Old earth creationists argue that the 'days' in which God created the world weren't human days but God days. Which in 2 Peter 3:8 “one day with the Lord is a thousand years.” this supports the theory that God created the world and shows how the earth is so old.

Gap theory:

  • Is the theory that between each event within the bible which happened as real days there were gaps of time between each day. This is also known as 'intermittent Day' which also supports the idea that God created the world and science is correct as to how old the earth is.
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Science vs Faith

Creation Science

  • Creation science is when creationists tried to use science to back up their argument and so divided up and came back as intelligent design.
  • Used Darwin to argue against evolution as he stated that 'if there is any species that hasn't developed through evolution then evolution is wrong.' And intelligent design claimed to have found a micro organism which hasn't evolved – a flagellum Therefore creationists have more proof.

Intelligent Design 

  • Agree with micro evolution when evolution happens within a species for example humans have evolved. And reject macro evolution when evolution happens within and between different species, for example we evolve from fish.
  • Therefore they argue that there is too many gaps in macro evolution for it to happen. And believe in micro management when good controls everything that happens.
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Science vs Faith


  • The creationist views don't have strong scientific evidence to back them.
  • Although it uses scientific terminology it doesn't use scientific methodology.
  • Intelligent design and creationism are the same thing.


  • Is a physicist and a priest and doesn't see why evolution and God can't be compatible God started evolution and then allowed it to continue. 
  • Doesn't like to say designer as suggests God is still designing when he just started it all.
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Moral argument

  • Aquinas' 4th way is that for any given quality there must be a perfect standard by which all such qualities are measured. These perfections are contained in God.
  • Kant then based his moral argument on Aquinas' 4th way and then came up with his proof for the existence of God based on morality.
  • First he stated that we all have an innate sense of morality. This sense is the categorical imperative.
  • It is reason that tells us 'we should do our duty for duty's sake.' 
  • So the categorical imperative is an absolute moral law which should be obeyed by everyone.
  • Our duty to obey the categorical imperative is to achieve summum bonum.
  • Moral statements are prescriptive – 'ought'
  • Humans can achieve virtue but its beyond us to ensure we are rewarded with happiness.
  • Therefore there must be a God who can grant us happiness.
  • Kant's argument doesn't require God to be necessary for morality but that God is required for morality to achieve its goal.
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Moral argument

Freud's criticisms

  • According to Freud our sense of moral duty comes from socialisation. 
  • If conscience is the voice of reason you would expect it to be absolute
  • Moral awareness can't be divine origin because of different opinions on ethical issues
  • Morality isn't absolute as we come to different conclusions 

Psychology of religion

  • Psychology looks at the brain and why people may be religious
  • One main question is does God exist because it brings people hope and comfort?
  • If this is so the true origins of religion is that God is constructed by man for man. 
  • 'God is made in our image' (Feuerbach)
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Moral argument


  • States that religion is like animism, religion is the way in which people interpret the world. God is used as a way of explaining why things are the way they are.
  • Religious belief is caused by the wish for a father figure to save the believer like a father saves his child. (wish-fulfilment). Freud argued that religion is from the Oedipus relationship between father and son.
  • Says we came up with the idea of God because of guilt. 
  • The desire for a father shown through the Oedipus complex can be satisfied by God
  • God can be strict and loving just as a human father is. We obey our fathers just as believers obey God
  • Freud believed that once people saw religion as a neurosis it would be cured.
  • Freud also sated primal horde theory was historical. And the the God father figure orientates from the first murder. Killed a father figure and the totem pole slowly became God. Primal horde theory could link with resurrection of Jesus.
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.Moral argument

Criticisms of Freud 

  • No evidence to support his theory
  • No universal agreement that the Oedipus complex exists
  • Freud's God as a father figure is limited and some cultures don't see God as a farther figure or even a male.
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Kat Bamber


sorry about any errors...

Ryan Thomas


Thanks so much! 



This is brilliant! thank-you so much

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