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84 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
What is metaphysics?
there is some explanation for the existence of anything whatever, some reason why it should exist rather than not
What are the elements of the traditional, Western conception of God?
omniscient, omnibenevolent, omnipotent, creator
What is characteristic of a cosmological argument for the existence of God? What is
characteristic of a teleological argument for the existence of God?
argument from universal causation, an argument from first cause, the causal argument or the argument from existence
causality, essentiality, becoming, and the argument from contingency

argument that the existence of order and direction in nature has a purpose and therefore proves the presence of a Creator
Which of the theorists we read offered a cosmological argument? Which one offered
a teleological one?
Taylor- cosmological argument
Paley- Teleological argument
What is the Principle of Sufficient Reason?
for any positive truth there is some sufficient reason for it
Why should one accept the Principle of Sufficient Reason, according to Taylor?
just have to be, there has to be a reason/explanation
What is the difference between a contingent truth and necessary truth?
A necessary truth is one that could not have been otherwise.

A contingent truth is one that is true, but could have been false.
What is the difference between a contingent being and a necessary being?
necessary- existence doesn't depend on another being; existence depends on own nature

contingent- they depend on something to survive/live on own, existence depends on some other being
What is a necessary being like? What characteristics does it seem to have?
necessary being like God
eternal, indestructible
What is Taylor’s argument for the existence of God?
1.) the world exists contingently
2.) So, its existence depends on something else
3.) either a.) something else is another contingent which depends on another contingent...
or b.) the world derives its existence from a necessary being
4.) a.) is impossible
5.) b.) is true. There must be a necessary being on what everything depends
6.) God exists
Is the concept of a necessarily existing being identical to the traditional, Western
conception of God?
no, not omnipotent or omniscient or omnibenevolent or creator
Is Taylor’s argument inductive or deductive?
Is Paley’s argument inductive or deductive?
inductive (argument by analogy)
What is Paley’s argument for the existence of God?
Does Taylor believe that the universe could contain only contingently existing
beings? Why or why not?
No, because contingent things must depend upon something, otherwise there could be no reason why it exists in the first place
How do inductive arguments differ from deductive arguments? Are arguments by
analogy inductive or deductive?
deductive - "if this and this, then this," a conclusion necessarily follows from a set of premises, it is or it isn't
inductive - allows for conclusion to be false even if all premises are true, makes generalizations
arguments by analogy are inductive
How do we evaluate inductive arguments? In other words, what makes an inductive
argument better or worse?
inductive is neither better nor worse than a deductive, it is merely a different form of argument
Which features of nature does Paley cite as evidence of intelligent design?
complexity of parts, subservience of means to an end, purpose/function
Why does evolutionary theory seem to weaken Paley’s argument?
States that natural selection, rather than a divine design, is the best explanation for gradual change in populations over many generations
Is the concept of an intelligent designer identical to the traditional, Western
conception of God?
Does Pascal (like Taylor and Paley) try to prove that God exists? Or is he trying to
prove something else?
No, he is trying to prove the rationality of believing in God saying it is far more worth it to believe than not b/c of the benefits
What kind of reason do we have to believe in God, according to Taylor and Paley:
epistemic, moral or prudential?
What kind of reason do we have to believe in God, according to Pascal: epistemic,
moral or prudential?
What is Pascal’s wager argument? What two options do we have to “wager on”?
What are the two possible outcomes? How do we choose which option to take?
what to do about believing in God?
can believe or not believe, the outcomes being that God exists or he doesn't
we choose by picking the choice that gives the most as a reward and loses the least
Would Pascal think it makes sense to suspend belief about the existence of God, when sufficient evidence is not available? Why or why not?
No, b/c "you are already committed"
there is no suspending belief, only yes or no
How would Pascal respond to the objection that we cannot choose to believe something in the absence of evidence?
he would say to lower the passions which are withholding that person to believe in God
What sorts of assumptions about the nature of God does Pascal’s argument rest on?
God is infinitely beyond our comprehension.
What is the Problem of Evil? Present the problem as a set of inconsistent propositions.
God exists, God is omni..., Evil exists
What are the different ways of responding to the problem?
God doesn't exist, God isn't omni..., Evil is an illusion
What is a theodicy?
says all 3 are true; some explanation that all 3 true and not inconsistent
What is the difference between moral evil and natural evil?
natural evil- tsunamis, disease, cancer, aging, etc...
moral evil- results from human choice
What is the “free will” theodicy? How does it try to resolve the problem of Evil?
freewill so valuable that even though evil, gave us anyways, evil our fault
How does Ivan in Dostoevsky’s story resolve the inconsistency? In other words, which proposition in the Problem of Evil does he reject?
God is omnibenevolent
Why does Ivan concentrate on the suffering of children?
b/c children are innocent and have done no wrong; so evil done to them is uncalled for
What does Ivan mean when he says, “I hasten to give back my entrance ticket”?
What is the event for which he wants to return his ticket? Why does he want to
return it?
he wants to return his ticket to heaven b/c he believes that if God allows suffering to happen to innocent like children and leave their suffering unavenged, he would rather not go to a heaven with a God whose peace is based on that suffering
Would Ivan agree that the suffering of one person can be compensated for by benefits to someone else?
Mackie identifies two assumptions that are often unstated in discussions of the
Problem of Evil. What are they? (Hint: One has to do with goodness, the other
has to do with omnipotence.)
Assume God exists, and that He is wholly good and omnipotent. Some evil exists still.
Define the following terms: omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent.
omnipotent - all powerful
omniscient - all knowing
omnibenevolent - intrinsically good
As Mackie discusses, some theorists try to answer the Problem of Evil by arguing
that it is logically impossible for good to exist without evil. Mackie presents two
different analogies to explain this idea. What are the analogies? Why does
Mackie believe that neither one will be helpful in answering the Problem of Evil?
good/evil - logical; analogies - red/not red (if all red, won't know what's not red) we wouldn't notice (epistemic, not logical limitation); God would be considered not intrinsically good
big/small (have to have to contrast) - obj. if believe this then can't believe God is omnibenevolent, nothing to contrast with God
What is the Paradox of Omnipotence, as discussed in Mackie?
can an omnipotent being limit its own power?
yes - then power limited, not omnipotent
no- then does not have power to limit
State Clifford’s principle for permissible belief. What rule should we follow in forming our beliefs?
It is wrong always, everywhere and for anyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence
Is Clifford’s principle an epistemic principle, a moral principle or a prudential principle?
moral principle
Why, precisely, is the ship‐owner morally criticizable? Would he have been criticizable if the ship had safely reached America? Why or why not?
He is criticized b/c he placed his sincere belief when the evidence pointed otherwise.
He would still be criticized if the ship reached America safely b/c he still placed his belief in one that he made up to stifle his guilty conscious and b/c he still placed human life in mortal danger
According to Clifford, what should one do if one doesn’t have sufficient evidence
either for or against a particular claim?
Suspend belief.
In James’ essay, what is a genuine option and how is it relevant to religious belief?
choosing whether or not to believe is a genuine option - our passional nature cannot help and lawfully decides in the case of a genuine option
Does James think religious belief is impermissible, permissible or required?
May our passions (emotions, desires, fears) play a role in the formation of belief?
What do you think Clifford would say? What does James say?
Clifford would say that our passions shouldn't play a role in the formation of belief.
James would say that it is necessary that our passions play a part
If we lack sufficient evidence for or against the existence of God, must we suspend belief? What would James say?
No, because our beliefs are based on our passional natures, not on sufficient evidence.
What is causal determinism?
every event is the consequence of past events plus the laws of nature
What is causal indeterminism?
some events are not the consequence of past events plus the laws of nature
What is the Dilemma of Determinism?
if determinism is true, our actions are controlled by preceding events and thus we are not free; and that if indeterminism is true, our actions are random and we are likewise not free; and that as determinism and indeterminism exhaust the logical possibilities, free will is thus logically impossible
What is the consequence argument? Why does determinism seem to be incompatible with freedom and responsibility?
1. If causal determinism is true, then every event is the consequence of past events plus the laws of nature.
2. We are powerless to change past events, laws of nature, or their consequences, which include our actions.
3. If we are powerless to change our actions - if we can't do otherwise - then we can't act freely.
4. Therefore, if causal determinism is true, we can't act freely.
Why does indeterminism seem to be incompatible with freedom and responsibility?
It can't account for personal responsibility. You are responsible for an action only if you did it., but if an action is uncaused, you didn't do it.
What is hard determinism?
the belief that we have no free will
How would the hard determinist explain the “illusion” of free will?
Every brain state follows necessarily from preceding brain states so that every thought and action is entirely necessitated, as the motions of any mechanism must be. Sometimes we are given the impression we can choose, but the choosing is as necessitated as any other mechanical fact.
What sort of reforms to our practices of criminal punishment is the hard determinist
likely to support?
None, no punishment at all. Sin is incoherent.
Is the debate between the Wilson the sociobiologist and Skinner the behaviorist (i.e., the nature/nurture debate) a debate about the truth of causal determinism? Or is it a debate that presumes that causal determinism is true?
A debate that presumes causal determinism is true.
What is compatibilism?
"soft determinists"
define free will as an act in which the agent was able to act without being coerced or forced to do so
What is libertarianism?
individual liberty, especially freedom of expression and action
What is the Principle of Alternate Possibilities? Do libertarians accept the principle?
Do hard determinists?
for an action to be free, must have other choices; hard determinists: yes, but don't believe in free will
What is the Conditional Analysis of the Principle of Alternate Possibilities? Which
group of theorists would accept this analysis? Why?
an act is free only if the agent could have acted otherwise
What distinguishes free and unfree acts, according to the compatibilist? (Review the
compatibilist’s argument that their distinction between free and unfree actions
matches our everyday judgments.)
free- come to class
unfree- taking heroin, stealing if kleptomaniac
Do compatibilists believe we make choices? What are “choices,” in their view?
Yes, choices are events in brain where one can choose either or
Is Wolf a libertarian, a compatibilist or a hard determinist?
How does Wolf criticize the Principle of Alternate Possibilities? What does she mean by saying our ordinary view of responsibility is “asymmetrical”?
does not hold for praiseworthy actions
How does Wolf criticize the libertarian’s picture of a “free” person?
a person just picks interests out of blue
What is Wolf’s model of a free person?
interests are shaped by world, love who love, actions follow psychology
What sorts of people seem to be incapable of free and responsible action, according
to Wolf?
crazy, irrational people
How are blameworthy actions possible for Wolf?
Moral negligence or moral weakness
Is freedom a moral or a metaphysical property for Wolf? For the libertarian?
moral for Wolf
for libertarian (?)
What part of the Dilemma of Determinism poses the biggest challenge for the
Premise two, "if indeterminism is true, then our actions are random, so we aren't free or responsible" obviously because libertarians believe that we DO have free will.
What is the difference between agent‐causation and event‐causation?
agent causation is an action caused by the agent (a hand moves)
event causation is an action caused by an event (rainfall)
How does agent‐causation make indeterminism and freedom appear compatible after all?
A person has a choice and will themselves to behave in a certain way. One choice "overcomes" another, so it can't be called arbitrary, but instead an exercise of freedom. We build character that later determines our actions.
According to the traditional libertarian, is agent‐causation reducible to eventcausation?
(What does “reducible” mean?) Why or why not?
No, because they don't believe in determinism. Reducible means to bring into a certain state.
According to the traditional libertarian, what evidence do we have that agent-causation
is real?
Why does Kane reject the agent‐causation view?
Because the presence of indeterminism diminishes the ability to choose.
Is Kane a compatibilist, a traditional libertarian, or a non‐traditional libertarian?
Non-traditional libertarian.
What happens in the story of Walden Two? How does Kane use it to critique compatibilism? What is the difference between “surface freedom” and “deeper freedom”?
in walden two, a man speaks of how in his village they can do whatever they want
Kane says they have maximal surface freedom (they can choose or do anything they want), but they lack a deeper freedom (their own wills, ultimate say about what they will) because their desires and purposes are created by their behavioral conditioners or controllers
Why does Kane believe only some of our choices or actions must be indeterminate for us to be responsible for most of our actions?
Indeterminate actions shape our character. Business-woman example.
What are “self‐forming choices/actions” (SFAs)? When do we face them?
Went to do 2 incompatible choices at once
How do such decisions get made, according to Kane?
random (both equal, so something gives)
Why are we responsible for such decisions?
something you've done, responsible so free
What objections did we pose to Kane’s version of libertarianism?
redress obj. (?)
What is the source of the indeterminism in self‐forming choice?
Your character