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35 Cards in this Set

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  • Back

Plato: The Cave (The Republic)

Prisoners in a cave chained to face a wall, where shadows pass in front of them, these shadow are of things people are carrying above their heads on a road behind them. One escapes and takes a hard journey to the surface. He is dazzled by real objects. Trys to return to his fellow prisoners to enlighten them but they reject him.

Symbolism in the cave

Cave: Our world of sight/appearances

Prisoners: Us trapped in our world

Objects: Imitations of the forms

Fire: The sun

Journey: Soul going to realm of the forms

Dazzled: Becoming a philosopher

Leaders?: The escaped prisoner who is now a philosopher

Evaluation of The Cave

Good: Empirical knowledge can be flawed

Gives reason for imperfections and our recognition of them

Bad: Unclear link between the two worlds

How does one become enlightened? Death?

No proof

Enlightenment = Good leader?

Plato: The forms

-They're perfect, unchanging, nonphysical, eternal ideas

-In the realm of the forms, known through reason

-Eg the form of good or beauty

-Particulars are imperfect copies of forms

-Everything has a form

-Ultimate form is the form of the good

Evaluation of the forms

Good: Explains why we recognise similar elements in things

Explains imperfections and evils

Encourages curiosity

Bad: Infinite regress of forms?

Lacks proof

Not very logical

Goodness is debatable

Is there a form for every brand etc?

Aristotle: 4 causes and Primes mover

Material: What it's made from?

Formal: What are its characteristics?

Efficient: How did it come about?

Final: What's its purpose?

PM: Causes motion and change in the universe

Eternal and necessary, must be wholly good and only think of itself so as not to change

Final cause of everything

Similar to God, not physical

Potentiality vs Actuality

Evaluation of Aristotle

-Relationship between PM and universe is unclear

-PM is transcendent

-Its non physical existence is unclear

-Appears unloving

-Russell: Does there have to be a final cause?

Anselms Ontological Argument: Proslogian

1st Argument:

-God is that than which non greater can be conceived

-God can exist in the mind (in intellectu) or in reality (in re)

-To exist in reality is greater than to exist in the mind

-Therefore God exists in both

2nd Argument:


-To be necessary is greater than being contingent

-Therefore God must be necessary

Descartes Ontological Argument

-God is the most perfect being

-Predicate of perfection is existence

-Therefore God exists

Used example of a triangle

Criticisms of the Ontological Argument

-Gaunillo: The island on behalf of the fool

-Kant: Existence isn't a predicate and you can reject the concept of God

-Russell: Existence can't be a predicate, man, Santa Claus syllogism

Evaluation of the Ontological Argument

-Based on evidence not experience

-Malcom: 2nd argument is good as necessarily existence can't be affected by anything

Moore: God compared to the equator

Aquinas: Cosmological Argument (Summa Theologica)

A-Posteriori and inductive

3 Ways:




Hume's Criticisms of the Cosmological Argument

-Assumption that everything has a cause (Bus stop)

-Multiple first movers?

-Does it have to be the Christian God?

Criticisms of Hume:

-Illogical to think the universe doesn't need a cause

Criticisms of Hume:-Illogical to think the universe doesn't need a cause -Cause and effect is a reasonable assumption

-Cause and effect is a reasonable assumption

Copleston vs Russell CA Debate


-Universe is contingent

-Must have an external cause that's necessary


-Cause is a made up concept

-Explanation of the universe transcends us

-Universe doesn't need a cause

Aquinas: Design Argument/Teleological Argument (ST)

Telos: Goal/Purpose

A-posteriori - Design qua regularity

5th Way:

-Everything works to some purpose and follows natural law eg. Arrow

-Intelligent being must direct everything

Criticisms of Aquinas's DA

-Assumes things have a purpose

-Do things follow a natural law?

Paley: Design Argument (Natural Theology)

Design qua purpose

-Analogy of a watch on a heath- Unreasonable to think it came about by chance he likens this to the universe

-Watch maker is analogous to God

-Doesn't matter if the watch breaks it still has purpose, shows a designer is necessary

Criticisms of the Design Argument


-Better to draw an analogy between organic things

-There could be multiple designers

-There are many problems with this world, suggesting a lesser God

-God is transcendent, we can't know enough to assume


-Evil suggests an imperfect creator


-Evolution and chance (natural selection)

Epicurean Hypothesis:

-Eternal universe means eventually something would happen

Kant: Moral Argument (Critique of Practical Reason)

-People tend to agree on right and wrong actions and feel obliged to do what's right

-This is because of an objective moral law

-This gives us the categorical imperative, figured out through reason

-We do good things because its our duty, if we're forced to do something its not virtuous

-Rewarded by the Summum Bonum in the afterlife (Greatest good)

3 Postulates of morality: Freedom, Immortality and God

Criticisms of Kant's MA

Freud: Social Conditioning

Super-Ego: Subconscious set of moral controls given by society

-This is how we make moral decisions

-This links to the Oedipus complex

Darwin: Evolution creates our sense of morality

Evaluation of the Moral Argument


-No proof morality comes from the Super Ego

-God may use the Super Ego to give us morality

-Slightly different rules doesn't mean there's no Moral Law


-Based on probability not certainty

-Moral behaviour doesn't have to be rewarded

-With morality there's no need for God

-Kant: Different societies have different ideas of right and wrong

-No link between God and the Afterlife

The Problem of Evil

Referred to as the 'Inconsistent Triad'

-God is all powerful, all loving, and all knowing yet evil still exists therefore God cannot be all of these things

-This is a problem for Christians but not for Atheists

-Augustine: "Either God cannot abolish evil, or he will not; if he cannot then he is not all powerful; if he will not then he is not all good"

-Mackie: Logical Problem

-Sheer amount of evil is too great

Solutions to the Problem of Evil

-God may be evil

-God may not exist

-Evil might not exist

-Gods attributes may be wrong

-Hume: Only 2 parts of the triad can be right, therefore God doesn't exist

Augustine's Theodicy

-God made a perfect world

-Evil is the privation of good, so God didn't create it

-Evil comes from the free will of those who turned away from God

-Perfection was ruined by sin

-We deserve to be punished as we were "seminally present in the loins of Adam"

Evaluation of Augustine's Theodicy


-Evil from free will is logical

-Traditional Christian interpretation


-Schleiermacher:Evil being a privation is illogical, pops out of no where

-Hell part of the design?

Irenaeus Theodicy

-Evil is a consequence of humans having free will

-God partially responsible as he created the world imperfectly so people could develop into a 'Child of God'

-Couldn't make humans perfect as he needs cooperation

-Freedom is necessary, evil is a side effect

-Natural evil enables compassion to be learnt

-Eventually evil will be overcome and everyone will go to heaven

-Hick: Epistemic Distance

Evaluation of Irenaeus Theodicy


-Explains where evil came from

-Doesn't rely on Genesis, allows for evolution

-Values free will


-Suggests Gods work was imperfect

-Choices don't always lead to growth

-Universal heaven seems unfair and contradictory to the bible

-Too much suffering to be justified

Religion and Science

4 Key Issues:

-Belief in God and modern science: Is God the best answer to explain the start of the universe?

-How and Why oversimplification: Religion explains why, science explains how

-Modern Scientific world view: Science provides facts whereas "Faith is belief in spite lack of evidence"

-Just Different: Some people believe in a mix of both science and religion

Religious issues with Evolution

Began in late 19th to early 20th centuries

-Was the bible inspired or revealed?

-It challenged God as a creator and denied the genesis story

-Used empirical methods to prove the bible right

Scientific and Religious views on Creation

-Big Bang theory: Red Shift shows expanding universe, beginning 13.7 billion years ago, Stephen Hawking believed this didn't rule out a creator

-Creationists: Some believe the 6 days represent 6 long periods instead whereas others say Genesis isn't to be taken literally

-Dawkins(Neo-Darwinist): Evolutions is still the best explanation

Scientific and Religious views on Evolution

-Theory or Fact?

-Conflicts with Genesis

-Tennant: Anthropic Principle, evolution could be part of Gods plan

-Alexander: Evolution was necessary for God to create intelligent life

-Behe: Life at a molecular level is too complex to be random (Irreducible complexity) eg Flagella

-Places humans on the same level as animals

God as a Creator

-2 accounts: Genesis 1: The 6 Days

Genesis 2: Adam and Eve

Genesis 1:

-Created everything in 6 days, he's transcendent, uses only words "God said"

-God pre-exists creation

-Creatio ex nihilo

Genesis 2:

-Creation of Adam and Eve

-God walks, talks and has emotions: Anthropomorphic

-Adam is crafted from "dust of the earth" and is "breathed the breath of life into his nostrils" likened to potter shaping clay

God and the Omni's

Omnipotent: All powerful

Isiah 40:23: "who brings princes to naught and make the rulers of the earth as nothing"

Omnipresent: All present

He is everywhere eg in Eden in Genesis

Omniscient: All seeing

He knew when Eve ate the apple

Is God responsible as a creator?

-God created us so is responsible for us

-But he gave us free will, so we're partly responsible

-Link to problem of evil

-Maybe he knows more than we do as he's omniscient eg carpet and ant

Goodness of God

-1 Samuel 1: Story of Hannah

-Exodus 20: 10 commandments

-Jesus shows Gods goodness

-Eutyphro dilemma

-God forgives

-There's still evil?

-Miracles: God loves some? Hates others?

-Job and The flood

-We can't comprehend Gods goodness