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Basic definitions


a series of statements where the last statement supposedly follows from or is supported by the first statements.

An argument is valid only if

it satisfies the following condition: if its premises were true, then its conclusion would have to be true. It is the relationship between the premises and the conclusion

Invalid argument

the conclusion does not actually follow from the premises.


If the argument is valid, and the premises are true.

An argument is circular if:

its conclusion appears somewhere within its premises.

Affirming the consequent

reasoning that seems to be valid even though it is not. When the consequent affirms the antecedent is true within the premise.




the "if" part


the "then" part

Denying the antecedent

When the second premise is a denial of the antecedent.

Necessary Condition

If you can vote in the U.S, then you are at least 18 years old.

this statement is saying that being at least 18 years old is necessary for being able to vote in the US.

Sufficient Condition

If you are a sophomore, then you are an undergraduate.

this statement is saying that being a sophomore is sufficient for being an undergraduate.. so ALL you need to be an undergraduate is to be a sophomore.


a proposition that can be known completely independent of experience. "from the armchair"


propositions that require experience of the world to come to know.
ex: the knowledge that it is raining outside right now

Contingent truth

a proposition that is true but might have been false
ex: the fact that you exist (your parents could have never conceived on that day, and you could never have been born).

Necessary truths

a proposition that is true and could not have been false.
ex: no matter how the world could have been, triangles would always have three sides-- but we could have used the word triangle to talk about four-sided figures

Bertrand Russell

Wrote "The Value of Philosophy."

"Practical" men

Bertrand Russell described him as, "one who recognizes only material needs, who realizes that men must have food for the body, but is oblivious to food for the brain."

Philosophical Contemplation

does not divide the world into two hostile camps- friends and foes, but views it as the whole impartially.


Making the weaker argument appear stronger


investigating things beneath the earth and the skies


all powerful


all knowing

cosmological argument

Thomas Aquinas, everything was caused by the previous, at some point there has to be an infinite thing (God) that caused everything.

First Cause argument

Argument that reasons that one entity or cause must have started all others, and that God is it.

Problem of Evil

How it is possible for there to be evil in a world created by an all-good, all-powerful, and all-knowing being.


a capacity to realize or become certain things or realize certain states


have the state; being something

The first cause

nothing causes itself so we keep going back to beginning of time until you conclude that there God must have been the first cause

Second cause argument

the need for efficient cause

in fieri

a cause of things becoming

in esse

a cause of a things continued existence

Aquinas five ways to prove God's existence

Argument from Motion, Argument from Efficient Cause, Argument from Possibility and Necessary, Argument from Graduation of Being, Argument from Design

Argument from Motion

Argument stating that nothing can move itself, so each thing has to be moved by something else. Therefore it is necessary to a First Mover and that is God.

Argument from Efficient Cause

Argument stating that we cannot find that something is its own cause because it would have to be prior to itself which is impossible. The series of efficient cause cannot go back to infinity, so there has to be a first efficient cause and that is God.

Argument from Possibility and Necessity

Argument stating that things exist in a network of relationships to other things. They can exist only within this network. Therefore, each is a dependent thing. However, an infinite regress of dependencies is contradictory. There must, then, be a being who is absolutely independent, not contingent on anything else.

without necessary beings, nothing would exist.
God is a being that exists from necessity.

Argument from Graduation of Being

Argument stating there is something which is the cause of being, of goodness, and of whatever other perfections there may be in things. And this we call God.

Argument from Design

All of nature is designed in accord with a predetermined, benevolent, and supernatural plan.Posteriori argument-- answers can be found by investing world.

According to Aquinas, why can't change of cause go back to infinity?

If one pair of contraries were infinite, it would completely obliterate the other. When we use the word God, we mean something infinitely good. If God were to exist, nothing would be bad, but there are bad things that exist, so God cannot exist.

Natural Theology

a philosophy dedicated to discovering the Creator's plan by studying nature. William Paley.

"purpose" in Natural Theology

intentional design of something, the formation of something with the comprehension of its construction. the design and the designer.


the representation of objects (especially a god) as having human form or traits


(philosophy) the doctrine that knowledge derives from experience

Empirical theism

the position that religious belief can be rationally grounded in experience. An empirical theist believes that by looking at the physical world we can come to an understanding of God and his attributes.

Natural Religion

Belief holding that nature presented sufficient evidence of the existence of God.

Ontological argument

Priori argument for the existence of god stating that the very concept or definition of god automatically entails that god exists; because of the special nature of the concept, there is no way that god could fail to exist


concerned with the purpose or ultimate goal of something

According to the argument of design:

evidence of the natural world to arrive at knowledge about the nature of God in the following way: We see that the universe is like a machine insofar as it is perfectly and intricately ordered so that every part, from smallest to largest, fits harmoniously with every other part. every machine we have ever come across in our experience has been the product of intelligent design. Seeing the similarity between the universe and machines, we reason that since they are so analogous, they must certainly have analogous causes. We conclude, therefore, that the universe must also be caused by an intelligent designer. We thus arrive at knowledge about God's nature: we know that he resembles human intelligence.

Paley "Natural Theology" believes:

Our universe is like a watch in that it runs so perfectly, everything being so well adapted to our survival and happiness. To conjecture that all of this could have come together by sheer chance is as absurd as maintaining that a watch could have come together by sheer chance.

Hume- The problem of evils three main characters

Demea, Philo, Cleanthes


believes that God cannot be comprehended or understood at all, much less through reason. Fideism- belief of God only through faith


skeptical of many of these arguments for Gods existence. Claims he believes in God, but doubts human reason that we are capable of proving his existence. Cynical view about suffering in the world. becomes more fidiest at end.


seems to believe there is design in the universe. We have no evidence whatsoever that all the evil balances out for ultimate good

The Problem of Evil

The epistemic question posed by evil is whether the world contains undesirable states of affairs that provide the basis for an argument that makes it unreasonable for anyone to believe in the existence of God.

The version of the ontological argument that Demea puts forward

1) Every effect has some cause. (2) Therefore, there must either be an infinite chain of causes or else there must be some ultimate cause that is its own reason for being (i.e. a necessarily existing thing). (3) There cannot be an infinite chain of causes because then there would be no reason why that particular chain exists and not some other, or none at all. (4) Therefore, there must be a necessarily existing thing, i.e. God.

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