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:

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..

-     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. 

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. 

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

Monday, March 24, 2014

Assignment that'll soon be posted:
Small group project where you (1) present and explain the evidential argument from evil and (2) present and evaluate at least 5 theodicies.

Notes from the other day:
The evidential argument from evil for the conclusion that there does not exist a God.

1. Gratuitous, unjustified evils exist.
2. If God exists, then there probably wouldn’t be gratuitous evils.
3. Therefore, God probably doesn’t exist.

“Unjustified”= either
1. No good comes from the evil.
2. Some good comes from the evil but that good is not greater than the evil.
3. Some good comes from the  evil but that good could have been achieved without much evil.
You were asked to read this:
 "African-American Philosophy of Religion and the Many Problems of Evil

And in these issues of the Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience there is discussion of William Jones' famous Is God a White Racist? book:

Black Experience Vol. 13, No. 1 (Fall 2013) PDF (444.44 KB)  
Black Experience Vol. 12, No. 2 (Spring 2013) PDF (873.41 KB)  

 See Google scholar also for discussion of Jones' book:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Reminder, due Monday, via Turnitin:

Harvard writing book, pp. 57-99, detailed outline or summary. Due the Monday after break, March 24, in hardcopy and via Turnitin. NOTE THE CHANGE! :) 

Monday we will finish discussing the Dialogue book. Please read the final chapters: we can discuss anything from the final chapters.

Wednesday we will move on to the Thinkers' Guide to Philosophy of Religion, Ch. 1, the concept of God. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Assignments for after the Break

Due Friday after the break, March 21: please read the interviews with Plantinga and Antony from the NY Times. Write a well organized essay, with explicitly stated sections, where you:

I. have an introduction that clearly and briefly explan what you will do in the paper;
II. Explain the main claims and arguments from Plantinga
III. Explain the main claims and arguments from Antony
IV. evaluate at least 4 of Plantinga's and Antony's claims or arguments (at least 2 each) in terms of whether you think they are true or sound or not.
V. write a brief concluion that explains what you did in this paper.

I. Introduction
II. Plantinga's Claims and Arguments
III. Antony's Claims and Arguments
IV. Evaluating Plantinga's and Antony's Claims and Arguments.
V. Conclusion

Harvard writing book, pp. 57-99, detailed outline or summary. Due the Monday after break, March 24, in hardcopy and via Turnitin. NOTE THE CHANGE! :)

Midterm writing essay, due Friday 3/7. BY TURNITIN AND IN HARDCOPY. 

Short assignment: pick a different argument that what you discussed earlier and write a paper clearly stating and explaining the argument, some of the main objections to it, and whether the argument sound or not. Thus, a different version of this assignment, done in an even better way than before:

Your assignment is to clearly and accurately explain one of the arguments for God's existence discussed in these chapters, in a manner so that someone who was not familiar with these arguments would understand. You must also explain at least two objections and whether you think the argument is sound or not. 

Your writing must have these section in the paper; these sections must explicitly be in the paper

A Title (Give your paper an informative title)

I. Introduction
Use these exact words: In this paper, I will discuss the argument for God's existence known as _(give the name of the argument). I will first state the argument and explain each premise. I will then explain at least two objections to the argument. In my conclusion I will explain whether whether I think the argument is sound or not, which will involve explaining whether these objections are strong or not.   

II. The Argument

(fill in this section)

III. Objections to the Argument

(fill in this section)

IV. Conclusion