Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Final Exams

Our final exam time is Monday, May 5 at 1-3. Please be here at one to give us a preview, or the complete version, of your final paper: what arguments are you discussing, what's your verdict on the arguments, who makes the better case, etc?

Final exam writing project is due by Wednesday at noon by Turnitin. MAKE IT VERY CLEAR ON YOUR ASSIGNMENT IF YOU ARE, OR HOPE TO BE, A GRADUATING SENIOR.

Course evaluations are to be done here: 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Wednesday we shall discuss Craig's response to SA in chapter 5.

Recall that you'll need to read and evaluate chapter 3 and 6, the response to the responses, independently.

Final paper assignment, again

Final paper:

Due at time of final exam, which is Monday, May 5 at 1-3 PM. Please come prepared to briefly present your paper to the class.

Due by Turnitin also. (No Turnitin = no grade).

Present and explain at least two of the main arguments from Craig and Sinnott-Armstrong and their responses to each other's arguments. THESE MAIN ARGUMENTS SHOULD ALL BE DIFFERENT ARGUMENTS: SO, TWO ARGUMENTS FROM ONE THINKER AND TWO DIFFERENT ARGUMENTS FROM THE OTHER THINKER. NO ARGUMENT SHOULD BE THE SAME. (So, e.g., present and explain at least two of Craig's main arguments and Sinnott-Armstrong's response to those exact arguments, and vice versa). Explain who makes a better case for his overal conclusion(s) and why.

Your paper should have a clear and straightforward introduction.
It should have clearly marked sections.
It should have a proper conclusion, that summarizes what you did in the paper.
It should be written, as Pryor says, for an audience who knows nothing about these topics.

Your paper should conform to all the guidance on writing, and writing philosophy, you've been given in this course.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Reading for Monday with our guest speaker on Islam:

Questions from Dr. King to prepare answers for:
1) What do Muslims believe?
2) What does Islam say about poverty and social justice?
3) Are there any divisions in Islam
Question from Dr. Nobis:
4) Should *you* be a Muslim? Why or why not?

Final exam schedule: 

For Friday, we will continue with the Craig-Sinnott-Armstrong book.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Change of plans for this Wednesday:
Roundtable Discussion:23 April 2014 @ 11:00, Merrill Seminar Room.

“What is the relationship between science and religion?” 

Panel Participants: 

Lycurgus L. Muldrow, PhD., Director of Sponsored Research and Integrative Activities, Division of Science and Mathematics, Morehouse College. 
Nathan Nobis, PhD., Department of Philosophy and Religion, Morehouse College. 
Harold Bennett, PhD., Chair, Department of Philosophy and Religion, Morehouse College. 
Duane Jackson, PhD., Department of Psychology, Morehouse College. 
And Dr. Troy Story, presiding. Our panelists will make reference to the following links, provided by Dr. Muldrow. 

Episode 1: 
Episode 2: 
Episode 3: 
Episode 4: 
Episode 5: 
Episode 6:

Friday we will return to the God? book, chapter 4: we will skip chapter 3 (Craig's response to Sinnott-Armstrong) and skip chapter 6 (Sinnott-Armstrong's response to Craig's) and leave that for you to read and evaluate on your own. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Wednesday: Ch. 1 of the God debate book.
Today we started this video: 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Today’s Distinguished Lectures at Harvard.

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 
Daniel Howard Snyder, "Theodicy," in ed. Kelly James Clark, Readings in the Philosophy of Religion (Broadview 2008, 2nd edition)