Monday, April 14, 2014

Wednesday: Ch. 1 of the God debate book.
Today we started this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8A3Sdw2Eig 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Today’s Distinguished Lectures at Harvard.
By
________


1.  The divine command theory of ethics is the view that ___________________________ EXPLAIN WHAT THIS VIEW IS.

2.  An argument or reason in favor of this view is ___________ OR an argument or reason against this view is ________________.

a.  True? False? Useful, or useless?


3.  I think that this argument or reason is sound or unsound because ________________. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Two new assignments

As mentioned in class, please carefully read the Stairs chapter on God and morality.

Read and write a detailed summary of the remaining sections of the Harvard book on writing. Due Friday 4/11 via Turnitin.

Write a well organized essay that (1) presents and explains an argument for the existence of God from the existence of morality, that is, that some actions are morally wrong and others are not-wrong, and (2) explains whether that argument is sound or not and why, and (3) has a proper, brief introduction and (4) has sections heading, to mark off the section so the paper, and (5) has a brief, proper conclusion. Due Monday 4/14 via Turnitin. NOTE CHANGE.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Group Project

A group project assignment, due FRIDAY, April 25. NOTE CHANGE.

First, carefully read the Stairs chapter on arguments for the non-existence of God from the existence of certain kinds of evil. 

Your assignment is to create an educational tool that will help people evaluating responses to the argument or problem of evil, i.e., an educational tool to help people evaluate theodicies. 

Create your own group of 3 or 4 students. If you cannot find a group, you will be assigned to one.

Create a webpage or blog (on Blogger, Wordpress, Google Sites, wherever) where you do the following:

1. Explain the problem of evil or an argument for the non-existence of God from the existence of certain kinds of evils (do not consider an argument from the existence of evil in general: you need to focus on especially bad evils)That is, fully explain how someone might reason from the existence of certain kinds of evils - give examples -  to the conclusion that God probably does not exist. You want to present the strongest version of this argument that you can, not a "straw man" version of the argument. 

2. Identify least five critical responses to this argument, that is five theodicies. Please pick theodicies that you think are most important, most common and/or the strongest. 

3. Critically evaluate these theodicies, in light of the following concerns:
- what outweighing good does the theodicy propose? (You will likely need to distinguish intrinsic goods and evils/bads versusinstrumental goods and evils/bads: e.g. something can be intrinsically bad but instrumentally good)
- how good is that good, compared to the bad of the evil(s) in question? Is the good great enough to "outweigh" the evil in question?
- could that good have been achieved in some other way, without that evil, or as much of the evil, in question? That is, is that evilnecessary for that good, or could that good have been achieved without that evil (especially by an an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good being?)?
- so does this theodicy succeed in showing what would morally justify an all-knowing, all-powerful, all good being in allowing that evil to occur? Does this theodicy succeed or fail?

4. Your page should have an introduction and a conclusion. Your conclusion should state and explain what you think someone should think about the argument from evil (and its implications for God's existence), in light of your evaluation of the theodicies that you discuss.  

It should be developed in a way that someone interested in these important issues would be able to learn how to better attempt to rationally evaluate theodicies and think more philosophically -- i.e., critically, creatively and with an open mind -- about philosophy of religion. 

5. Your page should be creative and look good!! :) The writing should be clear and straightforward and people should be able to learn from it.

Please email your link to Dr. Nobis, print it out and bring to class and post your link as a comment on this blog.

Relevant readings:
- Stairs chapter on the argument from evil
- Vuletic, A Tale of 12 Officers http://www.vuletic.com/hume/at/12.html 
Daniel Howard Snyder, "Theodicy," in ed. Kelly James Clark, Readings in the Philosophy of Religion (Broadview 2008, 2nd edition) 

Monday, March 31, 2014





Believing on the basis of:
-     “Epistemic / epistemological reasons”:
o  reasons and evidence that support thinking that some belief is true:
§  sensory experience: a posteriori evidence; empirical
§  thinking; reasoning; reflection: a priori evidence
§  memory;
§  scientific evidence: statistical information.
§  Recognizing a tradition.
-     On the basis of more or less nothing! 
o  “No clue.”
o  “Just because!” “Just cuz!”
o  #NewMATH
-     “Pragmatic or prudential reasons”: Whether a belief is useful or not, pragmatic or not.
Pascal’s Wager:
J



God exists

God does not exist
Believe in God

Infinite reward! J
Wasted some time ( some negatives );
Perhaps your life will be better in some ways though.. Mixed bag, but not infinite either way
Not believe in God
Eternal punishment! L
Another mixed bag..
o   

-     On the basis of faith.  
-     Believing because of various causes:
o  Brain injury or disease.
o  Wish fulfillment or wishful thinking… hope… [pragmatic?]
o  “brainwashing”..
o  Drugs / drunk / hypnotized
o  Love?
o  Hormones..



Reminder: as mentioned in class Friday, we will move on to the chapter on faith and pragmatic reasons for belief in God.

Please read that chapter in Stairs. 
Thanks!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Assignment: please make a list of the various tensions and possible inconsistencies among the various divine attributes discussed in Ch. 1. 

God =
S is God if, and only if:
1.        S is necessarily omnipotent = all powerful =
2.        S is necessarily  omniscient = “in all possible worlds’
3.        S is necessarily  omnibenevolent =
4.        S is omnipresent [?] = ?
5.        S exists necessarily.
6.        S eternal and/or everlasting = either ‘outside of time’ but always existing OR in time but has always existed… (HMM?)
7.        Unchanging = his character or essential or core attributes does not or would not change, 
8.        S has “free will”
9.        S is supernatural / outside of the natural laws 
10.   S is immaterial, not a physical being, a spiritual being
11.   S is a person. = beings with personalities; conscious, feelings, rationality, emotions, etc.
a.S is a person if and only if…
                                        i.    “essential properties”… “accidental properties”…..

If God exists, then God is not a person because…


1.        Miracles happen. ?
2.        If miracles happen, then God exists.
3.        Therefore God exists.

4.        People have ‘religious experiences.’\

a.Feelings of ecstasy, it seeming like God is speaking to you, etc. 
b.VERIDICAL OR NOT?
c. TRUTHFUL OR NOT?

5.        If people have religious experiences, then God exists.