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  • Created by: Jess
  • Created on: 21-04-13 16:39

Key Words

  • Objective - True for all cultures and people etc eg 'we need air to survive'
  • Subjective - True for the person eg 'cheese is nice'

Christianity has always recognized that religious and moral truth belongs to the first category: it is objective and not subjective.  In other words, it is the same for all human beings living in every century, culture, and circumstances. 

  • Deductive - Gives logically conclusive support to it's conclusion eg 'Plato is a man, all men are mortal, plato is mortal'
  • Inductive - Gives probable support to it's conclusion 'Bob got an A in his philsophy exam, people who get A's have intelligence, Bob is intelligent.     

Arguments based on expirience or observation are best expressed inductivley whilst arguments based on laws or rules best expressed deductivly. 


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Key Words

  • A priori knowledge -  We don’t need to observe how the world is to have such knowledge. We can arrive at such knowledge through reason alone. Examples: "All bachelors are unmarried", "All triangles have three sides."
  • A posteriori knowledge is knowledge that we can have only after we have certain experiences. We have to make some observations to gain such knowledge. Examples: "There is a cup on this table", "Smoking causes cancer."

Analytic and synthetic are distinctions between types of statements which was first described by Immanuel Kant in his work Critique of Pure Reason as part of his effort to find some sound basis for human knowledge.

  • Analytic -true by definition. 'All Bachelors are unmarried'
  • Synthetic - truth value can only be determined by relying upon observation and experience. 'Jess is cool'
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  • Plato 427 - 347 BC
  • Appearances (This World)
  • Reality (The Forms)
  • By Form Plato meant the idea of what a thing is.
  • When we see a piece of paper we know it is a piece of paper by it's charactersistics, however this is not the true form the real essence is in the real world (although plato isn't concerned with material things)
  • A Form is unchanging because it is a concept.
  • Hierachy of the froms - The form of the good is at the top.
  • Dualism - Humans have an immortal soul.
  • For Plato, the soul - or mind - obtained knowledge through recollection of these forms. By doing this the soul was simply returning to the state of knowledge which it had before birth.
  • Universal qualities - Beauty, Truth and Justice.
  • Characteristics of the Forms:
    • Perfect
    • Transcendent
    • Arhetype for things that physically exist
    • Immortal
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Analogy of the Cave and Criticisms

  • Ilustrates Platos Theory of The Forms
    • The Cave - The world we live in the world imprisons a person, can't see forms
    • The Statues that people carry are also images of the Forms.
    • The Prisioner is set free - Plato believed people need to be taught how to understand the forms.
    • Prisoner gradually starts to see - learning to distinguish forms from the images and copies of them.
    • Prisoner contemplates the Sun - Form of the good, source of the other forms.
    • The released prisoner wants to stay out of cave but wants to educate the other prisoners - Those who can see the forms (what is true) should be the leaders in society.
    • Cannot see again - Difficulties of seeing the forms 
  • Criticisms of Platos theory of the forms - 
    • No way to demonstrate the existence of the forms - it is uncheckable. 
    • Form of good -how do we know what good is? can be relative - Euthyphro Dilemma
    • Platos idea of the soul will only work if you accept the theory of the forms.
    • Suggests you can only be moral if you know the froms? but people are moral.
    • Third man argument - Aristotle, Infinate series.
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  • Aristotle 384 - 322 BC
  • A Posteriori
  • 'All men desire to know' - In Metapysics shows fasination with learning and understanding the world.
  • Rejects Platos theory of the forms, intrested in why a matter exists in the way it does.
  • Aristotles Four Causes -
    • The Material Cause - Matter or substance of something (eg book made of paper)
    • The Formal Cause - What gives matter its form (book not just paper, paper arranged in a particular way)
    • The Efficient Cause - Cause of an object/thing existing, 'why' it exists. (Book exists because someone wrote it, an Author)
    • The Final Cause - Why something is the way it is (why is book laid out way it is, to be readable) 
  • Final cause is Telelogical - concerned with the function.
  • Uses the Marble Statue as an example. 
  • Empirical and rejects dualist view of the world. 
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The Prime Mover

  • Observed that everything that exists in a state of 'motion' (change)
    • eg humans in state of change everyday - our body changes.
  • Aristotle observed four things:
    • The physical world constantly in a state of motion/change
    • The planets seemed to be moving eternally
    • Change or Motion always caused by something
    • Objects in the physical world always in a state of actuality and potentiality
  • Aristotle concludes that there exists something which causes the motion without being moved and is eternal.
  • if something exists, it exists in one 'actual' state and has the 'potential' to become another state.
  • Realised that if things come into existence, must be caused by something else.
  • Charactersitics of the Prime Mover:
    • Exists by Necessity- could not fail to exist.
    • Pure actuality by nature.
    • It is the Final Cause - final goal of movement.
    • Links the Prime Mover with God.
    • Not like the christian God, does not interact with the world - as that would mean he changes.(links prime mover with god)
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Strengths And Weeknesses of Aristole.

  • A problem with the four causes is that they rely on experience. Plato argued that experience was unreliable as it changes from person to person – we cannot be sure that chairs look the same to every person. Also, Aristotle has no concrete evidence that the material world is the source of knowledge – many would turn to religion and faith as the source of truth.
  • Four Causes are derived from Aristotle’s reflections on his studies of the natural world so many would agree that they are reliable, including many scientists.
  • The four causes can be applied to things which already exist. (Anylytic)
  • Emotions go against the theory as they have no material or formal cause and even their efficient and final causes can be questioned. Is there a final cause for despair?
  • it can be argued that empiricism is a strength of the four causes as unlike Plato’s metaphysical World of the Forms, which cannot be proved by definition, Aristotle has observable data to support him, as the four causes can be clearly seen in everyday live through examples such as a table.
  • Aristotle says that everything has purpose, however without witnessing all how can he possibly know this? This destroys his theory, as the four causes are based on empirical evidence he would have to have seen everything, which is impossible.
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In the Bible God is described as the creator, nature of God is most clearly seen in a few passages from Genesis, Job, Psalms and Isaiah.

  • Deism - God starts of world then leaves it to run by itself, not involved with creation.
  • Theism - God creates world and continues to sustain it and be involved.

'In the beginning when God created the Heavens and The Earth' (Genesis 1:1)

  • Genesis 1: god commands there is light, dark, stars, sun, animals and people etc
  • Genesis 2: Adam and Eve. God walking into the garden (not to say God like a human)
  • Isaiah 40: describes God watching over creation compared to grasshoppers in the sight of God.
  • Thomas Aquinas - Doesn't matter whether the world had a beginning, what matters is good causes everything to exist to exist
  • The Craftsman - Job 38 described as designer who laid the very foundations of the earth.
  • God in control - Isaiah 40 - sitting above the earth having power to reduce princes to nothing
  • Creatio ex Nihilo - Genesis and Job.
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  • Humans beings' place in creation - humans at the top of the hierachy of life. In Psalm 8 god said to of made human beings - 'yet you have made them a little lower than God'
    • Imago Dei - Humans made in the image of God.
    • Genesis 2 - Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, tempted by the snake and thrown at the Garden and punished. - God is pictured as providing a paradise for humans as long as the follow the laws
    • Beauty of creation- Peaceful Garden of Eden before the fall of Adam and Eve 'the beauty of creation reflects the infinate beauty of the creator' - Roman catholic church.

Omni Qualities of God -

  • Omnipotent - Allpowerful 'caused the dawn to know it's place' - Job 38
  • Omnibenevolence - All Loving, God is 'good.
  • Omnipresene - Present throughout creation - Genesis 3 walking through the Garden
  • Omniscience - All Knowing - Eve eating the fruit and when David commits adultry.
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Goodness of God

  • Euthyphro's Dilemma comes from writing of Plato.
    • is an action good because 1)God commands it or 2)God commands what is good?
    • 1) if God commanded 'rappe is not wrong' there would be nothing morally wrong with it.
    • 2)Goodness would not originate from God - in bible 10 commandments express Gods will.
    • New testiment paints a picture that God as good.
  • The 10 commandments in exodus 20
    • 'thou shall not kill'

There is suffering in the world.

People may of questioned whether God is good by examining bible stories (eg destruction of the city of Ali)

Agustine pointed out that evil could be definded as not living up to something, a lack of something. If an action is evil it is lacking goodness

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Ontological Argument

  • The Ontological argument claims to demonstrate that the statement 'God exists' is analytically true - incoherent to doubt Gods existence.
    • Once you understood the meaning of the word 'God' you must recognise God exists.
    • Begins reflecting on a pslam from the bible which says 'Fools in their heart' 'There is no God'

First Ontological argument -

  • God is the greates possible being which can be concieved (thought) of
  • God may exist either in the mind alone or in reality
  • Something which exists in reality and in the mind is greater than something that exists as an idea in the mind alone
  • therefore, God must exist in reality and in the mind.
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