missing information Flashcards

1
Q

arguments in favour of Plato’s forms

3

A

explains the puzzle of change
- Heraclitus, you can never step in the same river twice

the ideal standard
- by providing a world without change the forms support the argument of moral realism
- this would be supported by moral realists such as naturalists and intuitionists

the one over many argument
- we are able to recognise different things even if they are not the same therefore we have an innate ability to recognise the Forms from our souls in their past lives
- supported by the story of the slave boy
- but rejected by Wittgenstein with his family semblance theory - there are only overlapping characteristics as are in a family not something common to them all

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2
Q

arguments against Plato’s forms

3

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no empirical evidence/modern science
- Kant argued accessing ultimate realities was not possible through reason alone (critique of pure reason)
- Bertrand Russell found it too difficult to accept the existence of a separate realm without evidence
- the process of evolution and modern scientists like Dawkins

process and change is a part of this world and doesn’t need a solution
- Nietzsche criticised the idea of objective and unchanging truths or values
- Alfred North Whitehead (C20 English ph) criticised the notion of eternal unchanging forms or beings saying that reality is fundamentally consituted by process and change

lack of clarity to the forms
- Plato fails to clarify a number of important points
- how specific are they, a form of a plant with two leaves and another for one with three?
- is there a form for everything?
- is there a form for things that existed in the past and things that will exist

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3
Q

arguments in favour of Aristotle’s four causes?

2

A
  1. most objects seem to conform to the idea
  2. they tell us whether something is doing its job correctly or not
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4
Q

arguments against Aristotle’s four causes

3

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a weak form of empiricism
- Sir Francis Bacon said the causes were too abstract and speculative and instead favoured hard empiricism

relies on the idea of telos
- if we reject this then the theory is meaningless
- this would be done by existentialists e.g. Miguel de Unamuno who said all humans do is live to die without purpose
- also the existentialist Heidegger criticised such metaphysical abstractions that disconnected from the lived experience of being
- Hume rejected the idea of a telos as anthropomorphic projections onto nature

seems of oversimplify the world
- Nietzsche said that the causes obscure nature’s complexity

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5
Q

arguments for Aristotle’s Prime Mover?

1

A
  • presents a similar approach to theism but without many of the issues that go with it
  • e.g. the Prime Mover, due to its lack of interaction with the world, does not have to worry about the problem of evil
  • can bring in other features forom the nature of God topic
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6
Q

arguments against Aristotle’s Prime Mover

3

A

does not seem to be empirical
- where did the Prime Mover even come from?
- Kant argued accessing ultimate realities was not possible through reason alone (critique of pure reason)
- Bertrand Russell found it too difficult to accept the existence of a separate realm without evidence
- the process of evolution and modern scientists like Dawkins

a generally unappealing idea
- having some kind of all powerful being that doesn’t interact with the world in any way is a bit weird
- this is why Aquinas adapted the idea to an actively involved creator that seemed more in tune with human needs

relies on the idea of a telos
- if we reject this then the theory is meaningless
- this would be done by existentialists e.g. Miguel de Unamuno who said all humans do is live to die without purpose
- also the existentialist Heidegger criticised such metaphysical abstractions that disconnected from the lived experience of being
- Hume rejected the idea of a telos as anthropomorphic projections onto nature

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7
Q

arguments for the teleological argument?

2

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the unlikelihood of chance and the complexity of the world
- blatant evidence of design presented through analogies
- FR Tennants anthropic and aesthetic principles in 1930 work ‘Philosophical theology’
- anthropic: there is too much that has gone right in the world for humans to have come about by chance (but this assumes humans are special)
- aesthetic: the ability to recognise beauty is not something that would have come about by evolution (although Dawkins memes)

the importance of faith
- many criticisms can be overcome by Kierkegaard’s urge to take ‘the leap of faith’
- e.g. jumping from a creator to a Christian God

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8
Q

arguments against the teleological argument?

3

A

we can reject the idea of a telos
- if we reject this then the theory is meaningless
- this would be done by existentialists e.g. Miguel de Unamuno who said all humans do is live to die without purpose
- also the existentialist Heidegger criticised such metaphysical abstractions that disconnected from the lived experience of being
- Hume rejected the idea of a telos as anthropomorphic projections onto nature

the challenge of evolution
- Darwin
- Dawkins ‘the blind watch maker’
- Daniel Dennett (contemporary American ph) wrote in ‘Darwin’s Dangerous Idea’ that evolution has eroded traditional arguments for God’s existence
- Hume’s epicurean hypothesis and the infinite monkey theorem

evidence of a designer does not mean we can jump to a Christian God
- Hume’s criticisms
- our world is finite and imperfect so why should a creator be infinite and perfect
- there could be numerous designers
- the designer could be immoral
- JL Mackie also pointed out the unjustified leap from the cause of the universe to a theistic God

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9
Q

arguments for the cosmological argument?

2

A

the importance of faith
- many criticisms can be overcome by Kierkegaard’s urge to take ‘the leap of faith’
- e.g. jumping from a creator to a Christian God

modern science suggests there is a definite beginning to the universe

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10
Q

arguments against the cosmological argument

A

evidence of a designer does not mean we can jump to a Christian God
- Hume’s criticisms
- our world is finite and imperfect so why should a creator be infinite and perfect
- there could be numerous designers
- the designer could be immoral
- JL Mackie also pointed out the unjustified leap from the cause of the universe to a theistic God

must everything have a cause
- the fallacy of composition
- infinite regression is a possibility
- Bertrand Russell argued the universe could simply exist without a beginning or a creator
- Dawkins in ‘the god delusion’ pointed out the problem of regress - if everything must have a cause then God must have a cause too, why is he the special case. Using God as a first cause raises more issues than it solves

the concept of a necessary existence
- Kant challenges this
- our concepts of causality cannot be applied from the phenomenal to noumenal worlds and the argument does not prove God as a necessary being

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11
Q

arguments for the ontological argument

3

A

Anselm’s argument itself
- the first argument on the fool of the Psalms
- the second argument from contingency and necessity

Anselm’s reply to Guanilo
- God is a special case, the only being that cannot not exist
- it only applies to necessary beings

Modern variations of the theory show it still has merit
- Norman Malcolm
- Alvin Plantinga
- Godel’s proof formed it in mathematical terms

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12
Q

what is Norman Malcolm’s interpretation of the ontological argument

A
  • if God did exist then his existence would be necessary
  • so his existence is either impossible or necessary
  • there is no disproof of God, the idea of him being impossible is groundless
  • he therefore must necessarily exist
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13
Q

what is Plantinga’s interpretation of the ontological argument?

A

the modal ontological argument
- there are an infinite number of possible worlds
- in one of these worlds there has to be a greatest possible being (MAXIMAL EXCELLENCE)
- if it were truly the greatest possible being it would exist in every world (MAXIMAL GREATNESS)
- our world is one of these possible worlds therefore it must exist here

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14
Q

what are arguments against the ontological argument

A

Kant’s criticisms
- the triangle
- we cannot treat existence as a predicate

Guanilo’s criticisms
- the island
- we do not all have a common perception of TTWNGBCBC

more modern criticisms along the same lines
- GE Moore said statements on existence must be empirical
- Bertrand Russell and Gottlob Frege argued that existence is not a property of objects but rather a quantifier about properties

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15
Q

what are arguments that religious experience can act as the basis for belief

3

A

mystical and nouminous experiences
- they produce such a profound effect that could have only been created by God
- the effect it has on a persons life shows the power of God
- Rudolf Otto’s numinous experiences (awe and wonder in the presence of the divine) - mysterium, tremendum, fascinas
- St Teresa of Avila, religious experiences produce a great positive effect and often fit within the teachings of the church
- William James’ critieria for religious experience and that it goes beyond psychological explanations

conversion experiences show the power of God
- Ian McCormack, CS Lewis, Saul on the Damascus road
- William James’ criteria for a conversion experience
- Edwin Starbuck compared them to finding your identity in adolescence

people ought to be believed when they say they had a connection with God
- Swinburne’s principle of credulity and testimony

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16
Q

what are arguments that religious experience cannot be used as the basis of belief

3

A

conversions do not provide proof
- Anthony Flew: conversions are almost always to the religion a person grew up with
- Freud: conversions are just wishful thinking
- Hobbes: ‘to say God hath spoken to him in a dream is no more than to say he dreamed that God spake to him’

too big a leap from positive effects to existence of God
- Bertrand Russell: ‘the fact that a belief has a good moral effect upon a man is no evidence whatsoever in favour of its truth’
- Peter Donovan: ‘there is a distinction between feeling certain and being right
- Kant: religious experiences are logically impossible as there cannot be communication between the nouminal and phenomenological world
- Caroline Frank Davis: whilst Swinburne’s principles work for most everyday things, religious experiences requires more scrutiny

they may have psychological or physiological explanations
- Feuerbach: God is a human invention of projecting our qualities onto the divine
- Freud: religious behaviour is neurosis caused by childhood insecurities and God is attractivee as we can be forgiven for our sins
- Dawkins: religious ideas are memes used for our survival
- Persinger: God’s helmet, magnetic field
- Hardy: approached religious experience from evolutionary perspective, it has a fundamental role in social bonding

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17
Q

what are arguments that corporate religious experience is convincing

2

A

simply more people to back it up
- Swinburne’s principle of credulity and testimony
- the issue of private experiences known only to the individual is avoided
- provides greater evidence of God’s work than a solitary experience

makes more sense that God would speak to many than have ‘favourites’
- Fatima, Portugal: 1917 30,000 saw the sun dancing
- Medjugorje: 1981 six children saw the virgin mary
- the toronto blessing 1990s

18
Q

what are arguments that corporate religious experience is not convincing

3

A

why would God choose to communicate in this way
- things like the 1994 Toronto blessing seem a weird and trivial way in which to communicate with people
- individual experiences that

mass hysteria
- Christian psychatriast John White called corporate experiences ‘learned patterns of behaviour’, not real

individual experience is more personal and tends to have more profound effects
- conversion experience

19
Q

essay plan on whether personal testimony is enough for religious experiences

3

A

people should be believed
- Swinburne’s principle of testimony and credulity
- Caroline Frank Davis: whilst Swinburne’s principles work for most everyday things, religious experiences requires more scrutiny
- Peter Donovan: there is a distinction between feeling certain and being right
- Bertrand Russell: ‘the fact that a belief has a good moral effect upon a man is no evidence whatsoever in favour of its truth’

rather should be evaluated on the effects - conversion experiences
- William James’s criteria, testimony is not enough and the effects should instead be studied
- St Teresa of Avila, is there a positive change in the person, is the person left feeling more at peace, does the experience fit with the teachings of the church
- examples of conversion experiences

they still may have psychological or physiological explanations
- Feuerbach: God is a human invention of projecting our qualities onto the divine
- Freud: religious behaviour is neurosis caused by childhood insecurities and God is attractivee as we can be forgiven for our sins
- Dawkins: religious ideas are memes used for our survival
- Persinger: God’s helmet, magnetic field
- Hardy: approached religious experience from evolutionary perspective, it has a fundamental role in social bonding

20
Q

arguments for Augustine’s theodicy

1

A

preserves the omnibenevolent nature of God
- solves the issue of how God could have created evil
- evil is just a privation of good - privatio boni

21
Q

arguments against Augustine’s theodicy

3

A

can not really be accepted as a theodicy
- theodicies have to plausible and logically coherent in the modern era
- Augustine’s reliance on the fall to explain this requires a reading of genesis that isn’t widely accepted today and is challenged by evolution

does not actually seem to fit with God’s nature
- humans being eternally punished for the actions of two individuals billions of years ago seems unfair and unjust
- it is made even worse with the suffering of innocent children
- how were all things made perfect by God and then just went wrong?
- seems to suggest that God was not aware this would happen and undermines his omniscient nature

the issue of religious language
- Wittgenstein and language games
- DZ Phillips: traditional theodicies misunderstand the nature of belief in God and the role of religious language

22
Q

arguments for Hick’s theodicy?

1

A

it overcomes many of the weaknesses of Augustine’s theodicy
- evil is a tool of God not a result of him failing to anticipate the effects of the Fall
- it is in line with modern understandings of evolution and allows a metaphorical interpretation of Genesis
- universal salvation (e.g. his view of hell) is more in line with a God who is omnibenevolent
- he gives a purpose to natural evil

23
Q

arguments against Hick’s theodicy

3

A

evil may have a purpose but why is it so extreme
- why does epistemic have to be so great and suffering so intense
- Paul Draper (C20 American ph) some suffering serves a greater purpose but the level of gratuitous suffering is too high

issues with universal salvation
- if you knew that no matter what you did you would end up in heaven that could cause immoral earthly behaviour
- the role of hell
- it also seems to undermine what Jesus achieved through the resurrection

the issue of religious language
- Wittgenstein and language games
- DZ Phillips: traditional theodicies misunderstand the nature of belief in God and the role of religious language

24
Q

overview of the evidential problem of evil

A
  • William Rowe’s argument (Sue and Bambi)
  • Stephen Fry
  • open theists defence but Anselm’s objection
  • Wykstra’s parent analogy
  • Plantinga’s defence using free will and love
25
Q

overview of the logical problem of evil

A
  • Epicurus: is God willing… etc.
  • JL Mackie triad
  • Romans 11:34 (‘who has known the mind of the Lord?’)
  • the two main theodicies
  • Leibniz’s best of all possible worlds theodicy: despite the existence of seemingly gratuitous evil, our world is the best one God could have created because it leads to the greatest good
26
Q

what are the main themes of the nature of God

A

omnipotence
- can God do the logically impossible or does he have self-imposed limitations

omniscience
- God’s knowledge in relation to time
- the issue it creates with free will

omnibenevolence
- the problem of evil
- personal love and time

27
Q

what are the three approaches to God’s omnipotence

A

He can do the logically impossible
- Anselm
- Descartes
- Matthew bible quote

He cannot do the logically impossible
- JL Mackie: ‘a form of words which fails to describe any state of affairs’
- is there even such a thing as the logically impossible
- book of titus: God cannot lie
- Aquinas: whatever involved a contradiction is not held by omnipotence
- Swinburne: God can do everything, squircle not a thing
- Kenny: bound by the constraints of logical coherence
- Geach: cannot perform actions against his good nature

He could technically do the logically impossible but he has self-imposed limitations
- Vardy: still right to call God omnipotent as they are self-imposed, needed for humans to be free
- MacQuarrie: seen through Jesus (kenosis, self-emptying)

28
Q

how does religious language play into the nature of God

A
  • a Wittgensteinian approach
  • When we use the term omnipotence or power it is very much limited in our fallible human minds
  • Therefore it is understandable that we struggle to understand God’s power
  • This view is particularly taken by MacQuarrie and Aquinas
29
Q

what are the two views on God’s omniscience

A

atemporal
- Boethius, no such thing as a future for God
- Anselm’s four-dimensionalist approach, time as the fourth dimension alongside height, width and depth
- does this convincingly resolve the issue of free will (Kant)
- Jonathan Edwards (C18 Am ph): God’s knowledge of our choices aligns with the choices we freely make based on our desires

sempiternal
- Swinburne, love cannot be compatible with immutability (bible quotes)
- Isaiah, King Hezekiah
- resolves the issue of free will and the problem of evil
- but issues with omnipotence
- did God exist before time and will he exist after it?
- can a perfect being change (Aristotle, PM)

thus all of God’s attributes are incompatible together - as pointed out by Bertrand Russell

30
Q

what are the issues with God’s omnibenevolence

draws in both omniscience and omnipotence

A

you will have established with omnipotence and omniscience that God must be able to do the logically impossible and be atemporal however both of these come into contradiction with his omnibenevolence

omnscience
- if God knows what is going to happen in the future then how can we account for the problem of evil
- briefly mention Hick’s theodicy
- JL Mackie’s criticism (a world where we always choose the right option)

omnipotence
- if God is all powerful then why doesn’t he stop the problem of evil
- briefly mention Augustine’s theodicy but the issues with it

31
Q

arguments for the apophatic way

1

A

avoids anthropomorphic talk of God
- recognises he is wholly other
- William James: religious experiences are ineffable just like God
- Pseudo-Dionysius (6th) and Moses Maimonides (12th)
- David Bentley Hart (cont Am ph) stresses God’s transcendence of human thought an language

32
Q

arguments against the apophatic way

2

A

can it provide any meaningful discussion of God
- Inge: leads to an annhilation of God
- Barth: God revealed himself through Christ thus we should speak of God positively based on this revelation

undermines the importance of evangelism
- the great commission
- Swinburne: apophatic way makes God too abstract and inaccessible
- Plantinga: negative theology leads to agnosticism

33
Q

arguments for the cataphatic way

2

A

resolves issues of the apophatic way
- allows, positive, meaningful talk about God avoiding agnosticism but still does not speak anthropomorphically about God
- analogy of attribution (bull)
- analogy of proper proportion (recognising nature of human language, football)
- Hick, proper proportion and faithfulness
- Ramsey (C20 Br bi) religious language as a model with qualifiers, heavenly = qualifier, father = model

method of analogy is not dissimilar to scripture
- in Jesus’ parables he would say ‘the kingdom of God is like…’
- things like the parable of the sheep and the goats or the good samaritan use everyday human events to speak of God’s nature and how to be a good Christian

34
Q

arguments against the cataphatic way

A

everyone interprets analogies differently
- God is a rock means different things to different people
- as Swinburne pointed out, how far do we stretch analogies

35
Q

arguments for Tillich’s use of symbols

A

they preserve the transcendency and mystery of God
- God is not a part of the empirical world so we cannot speak of him literally, language must be understood as symbolic
- would be supported by Kant (noumenal and phenomonelogical)
- Sallie McFague (C21 Am th) used metaphors for traditional theological terms as a modern take on religious symbolism
- Rudolf Otto used symbolic language to convey his idea of the ‘numinous’ (God being wholly other)

36
Q

arguments against Tillich’s use of symbols

3

A

like Aquinas, everyone interprets symbols differently
- appears to be a more vague theory than Aquinas’ that allows even less meaningful discussion
- gilkey (C20 Am ph) criticised Tillich for overemphasising the existential dimension of symbols at the expense of historical and concrete aspects of religious traditions

the fact that symbols can change over time might mean our idea of God does as well

Karl Barth’s neo-orthodoxy
- religious language should be accessible to everyone not just scholars and theologians
- theological language should be grounded in revelation through Jesus

37
Q

strengths and weaknesses of Plato’s view on the soul

A

Strengths
- innate knowledge: the story of the uneducated slave boy suggests we have knowledge from our past lives
- the linguistic argument: ‘i am happy’ vs ‘i have a body’ - suggests we are not our bodies

Weaknesses
- you also say ‘I have a headache’…
- Wittgenstein said language has gone on holiday
- all criticisms of materialists

38
Q

materialists arguments

A

Gilbert Ryle
- belief in the soul was making a category error: when something is talked about in completely the wrong way and belongs to a different category entirely
- called substance dualism ‘the dogma of the ghost in the machine’, the idea that it is impossible for a non-physical soul to interact with a physical body or brain, a ghost cannot operate a machine

Dawkins
- the soul is a mythological invention to explain the mystery of consciousness
- modern science will one day explain it (soul 1 v soul 2)

Daniel Dennett
- the mind is a computational system, a more mechanistic understanding

neuroscience
- states of consciousness are affected by brain chemistry like depression, one day we will be able to explain everything

39
Q

property dualists

A

Susan Blackmore
- rejects the idea the conscious is non-physical but accepts it is ‘the last great mystery in science’

Frank Jackson
- having a thought or experiencing pain cannot be reduced to a specific location in the brain even though they are caused by the brain

John Searle
- mental states caused by the brain’s physical processes but are not reducible to them

40
Q

Aristotle and Aquinas’ view on the soul

A

Aristotle
- the soul is a property that is possessed by the body but is not additional to it (football)

Aquinas
- Integrated Aristotelian philosophy with Christian theology, emphasising the unity of the soul and body and advocating for the soul’s immortality