Monday, December 10, 2012


For this exam, you must fully explain and evaluate:
  1. A problem of evil, or an argument from evil.
  2. Either a cosmological argument or a teleological or design argument, and
  3. Either an argument from religious experience or Pacal’s wager.
Your task is to demonstrate that you understand these arguments;
·         that you know what their conclusions are,
·         that you know what their premises are, i.e., the reasons given in favor of the conclusions,
·         that you are able to explain the reasoning,
·         that you are able to explain why someone might accept the premises, i.e., the reasons someone might give in their favor,
·         that you are able to explain at least two objections to the soundness of the argument, i.e., reasons to think that at least one premise of the argument is false and/or unreasonable to believe. (An objection relates only to the intellectual status of the argument or reasoning: recall the ‘intellectual notes’ about Harris).
·         that you are able to give an overall evaluation of the argument, in terms of whether it is sound and so accepting the conclusion on the basis of it is intellectually responsible.
There are multiple versions of each argument. You should always pick the strongest version to present and evaluate, not a “straw man” version of the argument. You may wish to explain why you chose the version of the argument that you did, since that shows deeper understanding of the issues.
Your discussion should be well organized and clear. It could be such that someone could read it and would learn from it, and it would be clear to the reader that YOU know your stuff about these arguments.
You have plenty of time, so organize and clarify your presentation.
Write clearly and simply.
Your test will be graded on the basis of whether you complete the tasks above.