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Philosophy Exam 2
Terms in this set (44)
What is a reductio ad absurdum? How does this sort of argument work?
An argument that assumes some proposition to be true, then shows that this assumption entails an absurdity or contradiction.
EX: A programmer claims to have designed a chess program that wins every game it plays.
(1) Assume there is such a program.
(2) Imagine a game in which the program plays against itself.
(3) If the program always wins, then both white and black will win the chess game.
(4) This is impossible.
(5) Therefore, there can be no chess program that wins every game it plays.
State the ontological argument. What is Anselm's definition/conception of God?
(1)God does not exist in reality (Assumption for reductio)
(2)God does exist in the mind.
(3)Therefore, God exists in the mind but not reality.
(4)If God exists in the mind only, but not in reality, then God could be greater than God is.
(5)Therefore, God could be greater than God is.
(6)God is the greatest possible being.
(7)Therefore, God cannot be greater than God is.
(8)Therefore, (from premises 5 and 7) God both can and cannot be greater than God is.
(9)Therefore, (by reductio) God exists.
Anselm's Definition of God: God is the greatest or (most perfect) possible being; omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent
What does it mean for something to "exist only in the mind"? What are some examples of this?
Things that we can think of that aren't really real.
EX: Sherlock Holmes, Unicorns, Hilary Clinton's third daughter
Why is it supposed to be plausible that it is better for God to exist than to not exist?
A real cake is better than an imaginary one; A real Superbowl victory for the Vikings is better than one that I merely imagine.
What is Guanilo's "Lost Island" objection? How does it purport to show that the ontological argument fails?
(1)The Lost Island does not exist in reality (Assumption for reductio)
(2)The Lost Island does exist in the mind.
(3)Therefore, the Lost Island exists in the mind but not reality.
(4)If the Lost Island exists in the mind only, but not in reality, then the Lost Island could be greater than the Lost Island is.
(5)Therefore, the Lost Island could be greater than the Lost Island is.
(6)The Lost Island is the greatest possible island. (definition)
(7)Therefore, the Lost Island cannot be greater than the Lost Island is.
(8)Therefore, (from premises 5 and 7) the Lost Island both can and cannot be greater than the Lost Island is.
(9)Therefore, (by reductio) the Lost Island exists.
Guanilo doesn't tell us exactly how Anselm's argument goes wrong. However, it does a pretty good job of establishing that something must have.
What is the problem of omnipotence? What is the brief response to this problem we discussed in class?
God can't make things like a round-square room or a wall that is both all red and all green; Aquinas responded to this problem saying that God can do anything that is logically or metaphysically possible
What is the problem of omniscience presents for our possession of free will?
What is the "big question" that the problem of evil poses for God's existence?
Be able to state the argument presented for the problem of evil. How are God's properties (omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence) used to show that God and evil cannot both exist?
Define unjustified evil.
Evil that does not prevent some greater evil or allow some greater good
What is the fawn in the woods case? What is it meant to show? What is the problem of little evils?
What are the sorts of questions that any theistic attempt to respond to the problem of evil must address?
How might someone try to argue that free will is relevant to the problem of evil? Why can't an appeal to free will deal with all instances of unjustified evils?
In class I made an argument that suggested that having free will need not entail that we can harm each other in all the ways that we do. What was this argument?
How might someone try to argue that the need for natural laws is relevant to the problem of evil? Why can't an appeal to natural laws deal with all instances of unjustified evils? Can a theist make use of multiple different explanations to explain different sorts of evil?
We discussed an argument that suggested that one way for the theist to respond to the problem of evil is that suffering is required to produce a certain sort of person. What was this argument?
What were the problems raised in lecture for this "soul-making" explanation of evil?
What is skeptical theism? How does this position respond to the problem of evil? What were some problems for this position that were raised in class?
Define skepticism. Explain what counts as the external world.
What does Descartes think is required in order for a belief to be an adequate foundation for his knowledge?
Why does it seem that we cannot be absolutely certain of something like "Donald Trump is president"?
How might perceptual illusions be used to call into question the accuracy of our senses? Why does it seem that the existence of illusions cannot call into question our senses when they are used in good viewing conditions?
Why is it plausible that you can't know that you aren't dreaming? What were the reasons given in class that there cannot be a good test that proves that you are not dreaming right now?
What are the BIV and evil demon cases? What are they meant to show?
What is the cogito? What does it show is beyond doubt? How does it show this? What other absolutely certain knowledge does Descartes think we can gain very quickly after the cogito?
What is Descartes' hypothesis? What is the role that clear and distinct perceptions are supposed to play in his attempt to escape skepticism?
How does God enter into Descartes' anti-skeptical arguments? What is the Cartesian Circle? Why does this reveal a big problem for Descartes?
Define external world skepticism. What sort of knowledge is called into question by this position?
Distinguish a priori vs. a posteriori knowledge.
What is the difference between rationalists like Descartes and empiricists like Locke, Berkeley and Hume?
What arguments were used to show that our perceptions are distinct from the objects we perceive?
What is indirect realism? How does this accord with our current best scientific understanding of perception?
Explain Locke's distinction between material objects and ideas.
What is the problem posed by cases like birds (who can see a greater range of colors than us) for Locke's view?
How is Locke's distinction between primary and secondary properties meant to deal with this problem? What are some examples of primary qualities for Locke? Secondary qualities?
Why does Locke's view seem to descend back into skepticism?
Distinguish between materialism, dualism, and idealism.
What are some of the arguments that Berkeley gave in favor of idealism? What sorts of perceived properties did he use to make his case?
Why does Berkeley think his arguments show that there is no need to talk about a material substance? How does his empiricism inform his view here?
What does Berkeley's version of idealism say about normal objects like tables, chairs, cars, etc.?
How does idealism attempt to respond to the external world skeptic?
What is the problem that unobserved objects pose for idealism? How did Berkeley respond?
What was the perceptual binding problem for idealism?
What was the problem posed by the existence of illusions for idealism? Why did I argue that this problem was so serious?
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