Philosophy 1010 Class #10 Title: Introduction to Philosophy
Philosophy 1010 Class #10 Title: Introduction to Philosophy Instructor: Paul Dickey E-mail Address: [email protected] Next Week: No Class !!! Final Exam will be posted on Quia this Friday (about noon). Submit FINAL ESSAYS & FINAL EXAM by email BEFORE 2/26, 6:00 P.M. For every 4 hours the essay and/or exam is late, a full grade will be reduced. NO EXCEPTIONS. History of Western Philosophy
in Five Minutes Video Does God Exist? Video Chapter 4 Philosophy and God (a Metaphysical Study) The Traditional Proofs The Ontological Argument 1. Saint Anselm (c. 1033-1109) provided the classical ontological argument (proof) for the existence of God:
First of all, Anselm argues, God is that Being for which none greater can be conceived. But if God did not exist, then we could conceive a greater Being, namely a God that does exist. Thus, God must exist. Note: This argument does not give evidence of Gods existence. It attempts to prove it. 2. Unfortunately, the argument seems to suppose that 1.
Existence is a property of a thing, and 2. Non-existence is an imperfection. The Traditional Proofs The Cosmological Argument Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) provided several cosmological arguments (proofs) for the existence of God that were of the following form:
First of all, Aquinas argues, Some things move. What moves must be moved (caused) by something prior. This movement (causation) can not have an infinite regression for it must have an origin. The origin of the movement (the cause) cannot itself move (or be caused). Thus, God (the original mover or first cause) must exist. The Traditional Proofs The Argument From Design The Argument From Design, also known as the teleological argument (thus being traced back to Aristotle) states that the order and purpose manifest in the working of nature, and particularly, human nature require that there be a logical
designer or God. This argument is very popular today and is probably the most prevalent and strongest argument for the existence of God. The best known early formulation of this argument was given by the theologian William Paley (1743-1805). Paley compared natural organisms to the mechanism of a watch and by analogy argued that as the design of the watch demonstrates the existence of a watchmaker, natural design shows the work of a Divine Agency.
Atheism Atheists such as Richard Dawkins (1941-) state unequivocally that there is no God. In taking a metaphysical position on the issue, Atheism assumes the same burden in regard to all the issues of meaning and evidence that Theism does. Atheism must assert reasons that God does not exist just as we expected the Theist to provide proofs for the existence of God.
Many would argue that Atheism requires just as much faith as does Theism, but is it really a matter of faith or the strength of your argument? The primary argument given by Atheists that God does not exist is the problem of evil. The Problem of Evil The Problem of Evil in its simplest form argues that since evil exists in the world, then God is either not all powerful or all good. David Hume subscribed to this view.
St. Augustine took a position against this view, arguing that God created the universe and all the good in the world but the universe he created is not itself God and is imperfect, finite, and limited. In this way, it allows the existence of evil as incomplete goodness. Many argue that St. Augustine does not resolve the issue. Why would not God who is all good ensure that there was no evil in His universe? Agnosticism Thomas Huxley (1825-1895) argued that it is incorrect to say that one is certain of the truth of a
proposition unless he can produce evidence that logically justifies that certainty. Sigmund Freud suggested that our belief in God is an illusion and had its origins in infantile needs for a father. Freuds view was influential throughout the 20th century but is considered by most today as an insufficient explanation. Further, even if it were true as a psychological explanation, that does not make the claim that the belief is an illusion and that God does not exist true. Such an argument commits what is known logically as the Genetic Fallacy.
The Will to Believe William James (1842-1910 ) proposed that in the absence of irrefutable evidence for the existence of God, there still is justifiable reason to believe. James suggests that in this condition, we have the option to choose what we believe. We do not have an option not to choose, as perhaps an agnostic might suggest. To choose not to make a decision is, for James, to decide. James discusses three fundamental characteristics of
such options: 1) living or dead 2) forced or avoidable 3) momentous or trivial An Option is a person's decision among a set of hypotheses. A genuine option is living, forced, and momentous. 1. A living option in one in hypotheses are live, i.e., they are real possibilities for someone. Since I grew up attending a Christian church and was raised to believe that way, it may not be a real option for me to become a Buddhist, but it is a real option for me to become a Presbyterian. 2. A forced option is a dilemma the hypothesis cannot be avoided. I.e., for someone enrolled in this class to come to class or not is forced. Deciding whether or not God exists and/or we will conduct ourselves according to that may be forced in this sense.
3. A momentous option is one that is unique and may well be one's only opportunity. The choice is not trivial, but significant, because one only has one chance to do it. The Will to Believe James then argues when an option is genuine (that is, living, forced and momentous) and cannot be decided on intellectual grounds, it is justifiable to choose on the basis of our passional nature. In fact, James would argue one should so choose. For James, our passional nature consists of all nonintellectual interests, emotions, desires, hopes, fears, commitments, our deepest personal needs, etc.
James would hold that when an option is not genuine, it makes the best sense to decide to withhold judgment until the evidence is in. In Conclusion W. K. Clifford, 1845-1879, argued against James (as did Thomas Huxley), asserting that it is absolutely and always wrong to make any judgment without sufficient evidence. By doing so, you make yourself vulnerable to logical and factual error. To the contrary, James pointed out that this was one option
that could be chosen and one that would have the advantage that it might protect us from believing what was false. On the other hand, another option is to try to protect ourselves from missing out on the truth and the truth that would be the one that is ultimately significant to ourselves. James would choose this option, while recognizing that it itself must be chosen not on rational grounds, but on passional grounds. Can We Know God Through Experience? Video
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