Philosophy of Religion

AQA AS Philosophy of Religion Flashcards. 

Define Omnipotence
All Powerful
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Define Omniscience
All Knowing
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Define Omnibenevolent
All Loving
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What are the problems with God's omnipotence?
Can God do the logically impossible, like make a square circle? Can God do that which limits his perfection?
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What is the Paradox of the Stone?
Can God create a stone so big that he cannot lift it? If we say that he can he is not omnipotent, if we say that he cannot, then he is not omnipotent.
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What is a response to the Paradox of the Stone?
Either that it is a logical contradiction or that we can imagine person X who can make any size stone and Y who can lift any size stone. Neither is limited imagine they are one person; this is God.
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What is the Euthyphro Dilemma?
Does God define the moral or does God only command the moral?
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What is the problem with the first horn?
God does some morally dubious things (asking Abraham to kill his son), and it also makes morality arbitrary...
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What is the response to the problems with the first horn?
God's commands have a higher value that our ethical beliefs; faith is more important. Alternatively, that what God commands is always moral.
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What is the problem with the second horn?
If God has to abide by a moral law then he is not omnipotent, Why not just worship the moral code?
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What is the response to the problem with the second horn?
Morality is based on a set of natural laws - God created these laws, but now they are in place he cannot change them.
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What are the three ways in which God's omnibenevolence can be understood?
The first way if from the bible, and is based in His love for us - he is a God of Love. The Second way is based in ethical goodness- he is the source of moral goodness, and the third way is that goodness is a form of perfection
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What are the issues with God's omniscience?
Is God's knowledge purely propositional? Can he know how to do things if he is incorporeal, can he know the logically impossible? Can he know things in time, even though he is immutable?
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What are the issues with God and our free will?
If God knows everything, including what will happen in the future, how can we have free will?
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What are the responses to the free will issue?
Either that we do not have free will, or that, as God exists outside of time, he knows everything at once. He knows what we happen to choose, but doesn't force us to.
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What does immutable mean?
Unchanging.
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What does transcendent mean?
Beyond the physical/temporal universe
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What does incorporeal mean?
Without a body
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What is the issue with God's transcendence?
How can he be both transcendent (above) and immanent (everywhere with us) at the same time?
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What does eternal mean?
God exists outside of time and has no beginning or end. This makes sense as beginnings and ends have to happen in time
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What are the issues with God as eternal?
If he is outside of time, it seems strange that he can interact with us and, for example, perform miracles.
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What does everlasting mean?
God exists within time but it infinitely old.
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What are the issues with God as everlasting?
It could limit his omnipotence, as he could not have created time.
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What is the extended version of St Anselm's ontological argument?
1. God is the greatest possible being 2. Even a fool (doesn't believe in God) knows this 3.The fool says that there is no God in reality, only in understanding 4.It is greater to exist in understanding and reality (Cont.)
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(Cont.) 5. The greatest possible being would exist in both reality and understanding. 6. God exists in both reality and understanding.
:-)
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What is the simplified version of St Anselm's ontological argument?
1. God is the greatest possible being 2. It is greater to exist that not exist 3. God exists
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What is Gaunillo's response to St Anselm's ontological argument?
You can prove the existence of anything through this argument, so long as you call it the "greatest" or "most excellent". We could say that the perfect island exists because it is greater to exist than not exist, even if it might not actually exist.
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What is Anselm's response to Gaunillo's criticism?
Gaunillo slips from talking about the greatest possible being to simply a being that it greater than all others. This argument only works for God.
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What is Descartes' ontological argument?
P1: God is the supremely perfect being P2: a supremely perfect being contains all perfections P3: existence is a supreme perfection C1: God exists
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What is Leibniz's supplement?
Leibniz defined perfection as "something without limitations," like power as opposed to horsepower. It is "simple and positive" and can't be defined in terms of anything else.
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What are the issues with Leibniz's supplement?
What do "simple" and "positive" even mean?
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What is Hume's criticism of Descartes' ontological argument?
You cannot say that something necessarily exists, as you can conceive of everything that exists as not existing. It is not a logical contradiction to suggest that God doesn't exist.
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What is Schopenhauer's criticism of Descartes' ontological argument?
Descartes is begging the question - the conclusion that God exists is already concealed withing his definition of God.
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What is Kant's first objection to Descartes' ontological argument?
Even if a predicate and subject are inseparable - like unicorn and horn - that doesn't mean that they actually exist. Even if God and exists are inseparable, that doesn't mean that He exists, just that if He exists, it is necessarily.
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What is Kant's second objection to Descartes' ontological argument?
Existence isn't a predicate as it does't enrich our concept of things or add a descriptive quality.
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What is Plantinga's ontological argument?
There are 'possible worlds' the was the universe might have been . Everything that is logically possible exists in one of these possible worlds. to say God necessarily exists is to say that He exists in every one of these possible worlds.
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How does Plantinga's argument overcome Hume's objection?
It is a logical contradiction to suggest that God doesn't exist, as everything exists in at least one possible world.
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What is Malcolm's ontological argument?
One of four things must be true: 1. God necessarily exists 2. God's existence is necessarily false 3. God's existence is contingently false 4. God's existence is contingently true. 1 and 2 don't fit with God as they imply that he is limited, (cont.)
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(cont.) All 2 are logical contradictions, but God's existence is not a logical contradiction, so 1 must be true and God must necessarily exist.
:-)
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What is Paley's teleological argument?
Imagine finding a rock on a heath; you might think it had lain there forever, seeing a watch you wouldn't think the same thing; you'd think it had been designed as it has complex parts that work together for a function. (cont.)
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(cont.) The universe also has complex parts that work together for a function, so must have been designed.
:-)
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What is the formalization of Paley's teleological argument?
1. A watch has certain complex features. 2. anything which exhibits these features must be designed. 3. Therefore the watch must have been designed. 4. The universe is like the watch; it possesses these features, but on a more wondrous scale. (cont.)
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(cont.) 5. The universe was designed by a wondrous designer.
:-)
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What is the criticism from our ignorance of watchmaking?
We don't know how watches are made so we don't know if they're designed.
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What is Paley's response to the criticism from our ignorance of watchmaking?
We study cultural artifacts and know they have been designed, even though we haven't seen them being designed. We infer to the best explanation.
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What is the criticism from flaws in design?
If there are flaws in the design, we might not think it had been designed. The universe has flaws (evil in the world) so might not have been designed.
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What is Paley's response to the criticism from flaws in design?
Broken things can still be designed, it doesn't have to be perfect.
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What is the criticism from no purpose?
Some parts of the universe don't have a purpose. The rock doesn't have a purpose, and so we assume it isn't designed, why isn't it the same for the universe?
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What is Paley's response to the criticism from no purpose?
We might not know how each part contributes to the whole, but when it is removed, the 'mechanics' of the universe wouldn't work
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What is the criticism from randomness?
Naturally occurring laws could explain how the universe is the way it is
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What is Paley's response to the criticism from randomness?
Design is plausibly more probable - it is inference to the best explanation.
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What is Paley's second formation of the teleological argument?
Imagine that, upon, further investigation, we see that the watch is actually a watchmaking machine, which was made by a watchmaking machine, which was made by a watchmaking machine and so on. (cont.)
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(cont.) We have to accept that the first watch must have been made by a designer because infinite regress impossible.
:-)
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What is Hume's criticism from no experience?
We can experience watches being made, but none of us can ever experience a world or a universe being made.
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What is Paley's response to Hume's criticism from no experience?
Most of us will never experience oral frames being designed, but we can still tell that they are designed. Some things have intrinsic features that indicate design.
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What is Hume's criticism from analogy?
This is a weak analogy. A watch and the universe are not sufficiently similar. The universe is probably more organic than technological.
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What is Hume's criticism from randomness?
The universe could be a product of randomness - the Epicurean hypothesis states that over an infinite amount of time, every possible combination of matter will occur.
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What is Hume's criticism asking why God should be the designer?
Complex machines are often made by teams (like causes), and if the universe has faults (evil) then then designer cannot be perfect.
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What are Kant's objections to the teleological argument?
Kant says that the most you can conclude from Paley's argument is that there is an architect that put together the form and structure of the watch, not the materials themselves, and the same with the universe. (cont.)
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(cont.) It also does not show that God is perfect, as theists want to.
:-)
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What is Swinburne's teleological argument?
P1: Regularities of succession occur naturally and as a result of human actions. P2: RoS in the human world can be explained through the choices of rational agents. P3: RoS that are the result of natural laws (cont.)
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cannot be satisfactorily explained through reference to other natural laws. C1:(analogy with P2) RoS in the natural world can be explained through that rational choices of free agents. P5: The universe and its laws are immense and complex. (cont.)
(cont.) C2: RoS can only be satisfactorily explained through a free agent with immense power and intelligence.
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What is Swinburne's criticism of Hume's criticism from no experience?
Swinburne says that Hume is wrong to criticize the argument on this account, as scientists, like theoretical physicists, make respected theories about things that they have never experienced.
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What is Swinburne's criticism of Hume's criticism from random processes?
The Epicurean hypothesis does not apply to fundamental laws of physics that underpin the structure of the universe.
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What does Swinburne say about Hume's criticism that the argument hasn't proven God in a theistic sense?
He accepts that he hasn't proven that God exists, just a powerful being.
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What is the Kalem argument?
1. Everything with a beginning must have a cause. 2. The universe has a beginning. 3. The universe must have a cause. 4. Moreover, this cause must be a personal cause, as scientific means cannot provide causal accounts. This cause must be God.
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What is the criticism of the Kalem argument?
That, when it was conceived, infinity was an incoherent concept. Now, this isn't the case, so we could say infinite regress is possible... Also, the conclusion is dubious...
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What is Aquinas' First Way from Motion?
1. There are things in motion. 2. Nothing can move itself. 3. Imagine everything was a 'secondary mover', then there would be an infinite regress of movers. 4. If 3 were true then there would be no first mover and so no subsequent movers. (cont.)
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(cont.) 5. There must be a first unmoved prime mover, and we will call this God.
:-)
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What is Aquinas' Second Way from Causation?
1. Every event has a cause. 2. Nothing can cause itself. 3. Imagine that this chain of causes goes back infinitely. 4. (Reductio ad Absurdum) If 3 were true there would be no first or subsequent causes. (cont.)
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(cont.) 5. There must be a first uncaused cause, whom we will call God
:-)
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What is the first part of Aquinas' argument from contingency?
1. Things in the world are contingent. 2. Imagine if everything was contingent, then there was once a time when there was nothing; everything had passed out of existence. 3. If 2 were true there would be nothing now. (cont.)
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(cont.) 4. Therefore there must be at least one necessary being.
:-)
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What is the second part of Aquinas' argument from contingency?
1. Necessary things either have a cause inside or outside of themselves. 2. If every necessary being had a cause outside of itself there would be no ultimate cause of necessity. 3. If 2 were true here would be no ultimate cause of necessity. (cont,)
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(cont.) 4. There must be at least one necessary being which sustains all other necessary and contingent beings.
:-)
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What is the criticism of Aquinas' three ways to do with God's survival?
These arguments show that God existed as the first cause, but not that he is still present and can act upon the world.
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What is the response to the criticism to do with God's survival?
We could interpret 'cause' as 'something which both causes and sustains a being or event'.
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What is the criticism of Aquinas' argument to do with it resting on a contradiction?
That the argument rests on a contradiction - first he says that nothing can cause itself but then that God must cause Himself.
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What is the response to the criticism that the argument rests on a contradiction?
That is how Reductio ad Absurdums work! Point out that there has to be an exception to the rule!
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What is the criticism of Aquinas' argument to do with contingency?
Perhaps it could be the case that there could be an infinite regress of overlapping yet contingent things in the universe?
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What is the criticism of Aquinas'' argument to do with God's necessity?
The concept of necessity only applies to the truth of statements, not beings. Saying that "God necessarily exists" is saying that "God exists" is necessarily true.
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What is the criticism of Aquinas' argument to do with infinite regress?
We could just bite the bullet and accept that infinite regress is the case.
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What is Descartes' ontological argument?
1. The existence of my idea of God and my continued existence need explaining. 2. I cannot be the cause of my idea of God because I am not God, (cause must be at least as perfect as its effect), & I don;t have to power to make myself exist (cont.)
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(cont) 3. Therefore, the cause of me as a conscious being and my idea of God must lie outside of myself. 4. Either a) this external cause is caused by something or b) causes itself. (cont.)
(cont.) 5. If a) is true then either c) It must be caused by something or b) causes itself. 6. This cannot run back infinitely, eventually we will reach cause #1. 7. The ultimate cause is God. (cont.)
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(cont.) 8. Therefore God sustains my existence and puts the idea of God in me. 9. Because I have both of these, God must exist.
:-)
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What is Hume's issue from infinite regress?
Why is God a satisfactory end to the regress of causes? Why not simply the universe?
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What is Hume's issue from meaning?
There are no necessary being, as it is not self-contradictory to say that something doesn't exist.
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What is Hume's issue from causation?
We never actually see causation, so there could be uncaused events.It is epistemically irresponsible to base an argument on things which are not certain.
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What is Russel's issue to do with a fallacy of composition?
A fallacy of composition is the fallacy of thinking that all things with similar properties, the properties apply to all of them. Just because things in the universe have a cause doesn't mean the universe itself has.
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What is Russel's issue from uncaused events?
We can think of events without causes - like sub atomic particles in quantum physics - so perhaps the universe is uncaused?
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What is Russel's criticism from brute facts?
The universe just is. It is meaningless to ask why, because it doesn't need an explanation. It just is. Period.
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What is natural evil?
Pain and suffering of sentient beings that occurs independently of human actions, for example tsunamis and cancers.
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What is moral evil?
Acts of cruelty, viciousness, and injustice carried out by humans upon other humans and creatures.
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What is the basic problem of evil?
How can we reconcile our idea of God with the presence of evil in the world? And omnipotent God would have the power to stop evil, and Omniscient God would know of the evil, and a benevolent God would want to stop evil, and yet it remains. Why?
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What is the logical problem of evil?
Believers are committed to 5 inconsistent beliefs: 1, God is omnipotent 2. God is wholly good. 3. Evil exists. 4. A good being eliminates evil as far as it can. 5. There are no limits to what an omnipotent being can do.
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What is Plantinga's amendment to the logical problem of evil?
He amends point four, saying instead "every good thing always eliminates every evil it knows about and can eliminate.
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What is the evidential problem of evil?
Given the existence of evil in the world, which is the more reasonable hypothesis? Either a) There is an infinitely powerful, wholly good God who created the world or b) there is no God.
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What is the free will defense against the problem of evil?
God does exist, and is omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent, but the existence of evil is the consequence of an even greater good - Free Will.
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What is a criticism of the free will defense?
It doesn't explain natural evil!
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What is the response to the criticism of the free will defense?
That it was through human's free choices - Adam and Eve's disobedience - that natural evil was brought into the world.
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What is another criticism of the free will defense?
If God created us, why didn't he just make us 'naturally good people' ?
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What is the response to the criticism of the free will defense?
To make us 'naturally good' would be to make us like manipulated puppets! It wouldn't be real!
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What is the soul making defense against the problem of evil?
God does exist, and is omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent, but the pain and suffering in the world leads to a greater good - humans fulfilling their potential.
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What is Leibniz's defense against the problem of evil?
That we live in the best of all possible worlds - pain and suffering are essential ingredients.
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What are the criticisms of the soul making defense against the problem of evil?
Evil seems unfairly distributed, people who deserve it least get it? Also, do the ends justify the means?
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What is a cognitivist account of religious language?
Religious language has a truth value.
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What is a non-cognitivist account of religious language?
Religious language does not have a truth value, but can still be meaningful.
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What is Ayer's verification principle?
A statement is meaningful if, and only if a) it is a tautology or b) it is verifiable through sense experience. It it isn't a) or b), then it is meaningless.
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What is the issue with Ayer's verification to do with science?
General scientific claims like "at sea-level, all water boils at 100 degrees Celsius" can never be conclusively verified so we would have to disregard them as meaningless, yet Ayer held science up as a paradigm case of meaningful statements.
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What is the response to the issue to do with science?
That we could differentiate between strong verification (actually physically verifiable) and weak verification (it could in theory be verified).
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What is the problem with Ayer's verification to do with language dismissal?
We would have to dismiss a lot of our language to do with ethics and beauty and justice, because they cannot be verified.
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What is the problem with Ayer's verification to do with it's self-contradictory nature?
The verification principle doesn't pass the verification principle, so it is meaningless!
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What is the response to the verification principle's self-contradictory nature?
It isn't trying to make a meaningful statement about the world, it is just a guideline to follow!
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What is Hick's eschatological verification?
Religious statements are verifiable in the afterlife. They are not falsifiable because, if there is not God, then when we die there will just be nothing. However, if there is one, we can verify His existence in the afterlife.
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What is the parable of the celestial city?
Two men are walking along a road, one thinks that around the corner there is a celestial city, and that all of the good and bad are all preparing him for this amazing place. The other thinks that there is nothing around the corner (cont.)
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(cont.) He thinks that all of the good and bad are for nothing and he just deals with it. When the turn the corner, one of them will be right, and the other will be wrong.
:-)
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What is a criticism of Hick's eschatological verification?
It relies on the idea that we can retain out personal identity after death, but our bodies decompose pretty quickly, so how can we survive after death?
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What is a response to the criticism of Hick's eschatological verification?
Imagine person x vanishes from america, and then someone with exactly the same personality, experience, etc. appears in Australia. Same person? Hick thinks yes. Now, imagine that person x dies in America and reappears in Australia. Same person? (cont
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(cont.) Hick says that if we accept that they are the same people in the first example, we must also accept it in this example. Now, imagine that person x dies in American and reappears in heaven. Hick thinks that if we accept they are the same (cont
(cont.) people in both examples, we must accept they are the same people in the last example.
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What is the response to Hick's response?
Just say that they're not the same people?
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What is Flew's falsification?
Flew argues that we should look at falsification, not verification, and that religious language can never be falsified as believers will never give up on their beliefs.
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What is the parable of the gardener?
Two people find a garden. One sees the uncut grass and says there is no gardener, the other sees arranged bushes and says there is one. So, they wait all day but no gardener comes. The believer says that the gardener comes at night so they wait (cont
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(cont.) But still he doesn't come. The believer says that the gardener is invisible, so they put up an electric fence with sniffer dogs.. Still no gardener, so the believer says that he is odorless and intangible. He will never give up!
:-)
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What does the parable of the gardener show?
That believers will never give up on their beliefs and that how an assertion can start out as being about the world, but can end up as nothing at all when you try to manipulate it to respond to criticism?
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What are Hare's criticisms of Flew?
Hare says that believers are not trying to make statements about the world, but are just expressing bliks - fundamental beliefs about the world.
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What is the parable of the paranoid student?
A student believes that his dons are trying to kill him. His friends show him the nicest dons, and after each has retired they say "see, they weren't trying to kill you," but he says that they were just very cunning and was plotting as well.
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What does the parable of the paranoid student show?
However much you try to convince people that they are wrong, they will never give up their fundamental beliefs about the world.
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What are Flew's criticisms of Hare?
Most religious people would want to say they are making religious statements about the world. If you don't truly believe that "God loves us," are you really a theist?
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What is the response to Flew's criticism of Hare?
Modern theists do take and anti-realist approach to Christianity, and see religious statements as expressions of value. However, this is not an orthodox view...
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What are Mitchell's criticisms of Flew?
Mitchell says that religious statements are falsifiable because people can have crises of faith. People can doubt their beliefs, and so they are therefore verifiable.
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What are Wittgenstein's language games?
Wittgenstein says that we partake in different language games when we are talking and each of them have different rules. In the same way it is silly to try and apply football rules to a rugby game, it is silly to try and apply scientific game (cont.)
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(cont.) rules to a religious language game. He says that statements are meaningful if they can be understood by others in a specific context - if they convey what is intended successfully.
:-)
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What is the issue with Wittgenstein's language games?
Religious statements no longer have to be connected to the world or be true or false, but most believers do seem to think they are making statements with a truth value; religious language involves a collection of meta-physical claims, (cont.)
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(cont.) so they think that they are making scientific claims - the believe God is real, not another piece in a complicated language game.
:-)
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