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Philosophy 1010 Class #9 Title: Introduction to Philosophy Instructor: Paul Dickey E-mail Address: [email protected] Today - Discussion of Class Essay & Expectations. - Discussion of Chapter 4, Sections 4.1 thru 4.5. - Begin Discussion of Chapter 6. 11/6/03 Write 1-2 paragraph statement of your essay topic with brief summary of the argument you will give in your essay. Discuss Velasquez, Philosophy: A Text With Readings, Chapter 7, Sections 7.1-7.3, pp. 456-490 (but you may skip pp. 472-474 & 480-482. Online Course & Instructor Feedback Please Don’t Forget!!! Discuss Class Essay Requirements for Class Essay You are writing a short 3-5-page essay (computer-printed or typed, double-spaced, 1” margins, Times Romans 12-point font). 1) The paper must demonstrate your understanding of a topic we discussed -- for example, the mind/body problem. 2) You will need to identify two philosophers to discuss in your essay in regard to your topic. 3) Your paper will show specific and detailed understanding of the two points of view on the issue by the two philosophers which raises an apparent conflict. 4) The student will discuss this conflict and propose in his or her paper an argument to resolve the conflict. In doing this, you will rely on your own independent thinking. 5) You will need to explicitly identify a narrow sub-topic on the issue that you choose that appropriately allows you to make an interesting claim of your own where the philosophers disagree on the issue. Requirements for Class Essay 5) You are free to select from a broad availability of sources (but not Wikipedia). If you have a question about the appropriateness of a source you wish to use, please discuss this with instructor before you turn in your essay. 6) You must use at least three sources, but not more than five (otherwise your research could get unwieldy). 7) Topic to be selected with instructor approval by next week. By then, you should have a good idea what your general argument will be. 8) Essay are due when you come to final exam on the last day of class. No essays will be accepted after that time!!! 9) The essay will be 15% of your course grade. Any questions? Requirements for Class Essay Choosing a Topic: 1. Hopefully, something we have talked about in class has interested you. For example, when you read Chapter four, perhaps you will be intrigued, by the third “proof” for the existence of God: the Argument from Design. 2. Pick two philosophers who addressed the question, say William Paley and David Hume. 3. Focus your attention on one point where they disagreed. For example, Paley and Hume disagreed about the strength of the watchmaker analogy. 4. Decide what you think about this particular disagreement and make a statement (a claim!) that summarizes your own view on it. For example, a claim might be: Paley based the watchmaker analogy on strong scientific evidence that David Hume did not recognize. Notice that simply saying “Paley was right and Hume was wrong” is not a good claim because it is excessively vague. Now, have fun and let’s hear your argument for that conclusion !!! Requirements for Class Essay Your essay will be graded as an sum of five scores: a) How correctly do you represent the view of the 1st philosopher? NO STRAW MEN ALLOWED! b) How correctly do you represent the view of the 2st philosopher? NO STRAW MEN ALLOWED! c) Is your claim reasonable and clearly stated? d) Do you give a good argument for your claim?, and e) Technical areas such as grammar, spelling. Did you follow the specified requirements?, did you provide a bibliography of your sources, etc. Online Philosophy Sources that you might wish to use in your term paper: http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/ http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/gpi/philo.htm http://philosophy.hku.hk/psearch/ http://www.uni-giessen.de/~gk1415/philosophy.htm http://plato.stanford.edu/ Chapter 4 Philosophy and God (a Metaphysical Study) The Traditional “Proofs” The Argument From Design • The Argument From Design, also known as the teleological argument (thus being traced back to Aristotle) states that the order and purpose manifest in the working of nature, and particularly, human nature require that there be a logical designer or God. • This argument is very popular today and is probably the most prevalent and strongest argument for the existence of God. • The best known early formulation of this argument was given by the theologian William Paley (1743-1805). • Paley compared natural organisms to the mechanism of a watch and by analogy argued that as the design of the watch demonstrates the existence of a watchmaker, natural design shows the work of a “Divine Agency.” The Argument From Design • Relying on a multitude of examples including the migration of birds, the adaptability of species, and the human eye, Paley seemed to make a pretty convincing argument given the science of the day, • David Hume did object however on the basis that as an argument from analogy, the argument was weak. Arguments from analogy are only as strong as our knowledge of the relevant similarities. In this one, we do not know how nature and living things are made and thus that it is at all “like” a watch being made. • Hume was arguing against Paley’s assumption that complex order can be produced only by an intelligent being. That may or may not be the case, Hume would say. Anticipating Darwin, he suggested that perhaps a finite amount of particles in random motion might achieve order. The Argument from Design & Darwinism • Charles Darwin (1809-1882) filled in the missing pieces of Hume’s argument by producing scientific evidence for just what the mechanism could be in nature to produce the order and appearance of design that Hume was suggesting. • Darwin suggested that the process was one he called natural selection. Over millions of years, Darwin argued, random mechanical processes could produce organisms that seemed perfectly designed. • Darwin contended that life forms exhibit inherited “variations” that were gradually selected in a “struggle for survival” to produce new characteristics of species and even new species. The Argument from Design & Darwinism • Others continue to defend the Argument From Design while granting the possibility of natural selection processes, rationalizing that it is then just the process by which God produces living things. • But this later posture gives up a lot of theological ground. It allows for God to act randomly and that He allows harmful consequences to exist in his creation. • For many others, the Darwinian theory of evolution was taken as a “threat” to the Argument From Design which seemed to be the last bastion of a ultimate support for the existence of God. Thus many theists to this day resist the Darwinian view which meanwhile has become the dominant scientific theory within Biology and has also developed extended applications in other sciences and our entire intellectual culture. William Dembski (1960- ) argues for an empirical theory of intellectual design and specified complexity. Atheism • Atheists such as Richard Dawkins (1941-) state unequivocally that there is no God. • In taking a metaphysical position on the issue, Atheism assumes the same burden in regard to all the issues of meaning and evidence that Theism does. • Atheism must assert reasons that God does not exist just as we expected the Theist to provide “proofs” for the existence of God. • Many would argue that Atheism requires just as much faith as does Theism, but is it really a matter of faith or the strength of your argument? • The primary argument given by Atheists that God does not exist is the problem of evil. The Problem of Evil • The Problem of Evil in its simplest form argues that since evil exists in the world, then God is either not all powerful or all good. David Hume subscribed to this view. • St. Augustine took a position against this view, arguing that God created the universe and all the good in the world but the universe he created is not itself God and is imperfect, finite, and limited. In this way, it allows the existence of evil as incomplete goodness. • Many argue that St. Augustine does not resolve the issue. Why would not God who is all good ensure that there was no evil in His universe? The Problem of Evil • A popular theological argument is that evil is necessary for the Good to exist. But then is God not omnipotent if he cannot create Good without Evil? • Another argument the Theist gives is that God allows Evil in order to give man Free Will. But how does this account for natural disasters such as hurricanes? • Or maybe, they think, we are confused about what is Good? What we think is Evil is Good in the mind of God? • John Hick (1922- ) argues that the presence of evil is necessary for Man to be made into the likeness of God. Experiencing evil gives meaning to virtue for Man and allows him to develop into virtuous beings. Immanuel Kant • That injustice exists in the world should not lead us to reject God. Rather it should compel us pursue a perfectly just world. It is a moral obligation. • To believe that such a world is possible with evil fully punished and good rewarded would require a belief in God and an afterlife. • And since all moral obligations must be possible, then God must exist. • According to Kant’s argument, we must believe in God although perhaps we cannot know that God exists. Agnosticism • Thomas Huxley (1825-1895) argued that it is incorrect to say that one is certain of the truth of a proposition unless he can produce evidence that logically justifies that certainty. • Sigmund Freud suggested that our belief in God is an “illusion” and had its origins in infantile needs for a “father.” • Freud’s view was influential throughout the 20th century but is considered by most today as an insufficient explanation. Further, even if it were true as a psychological explanation, that does not make the claim that the belief is an “illusion” and that God does not exist true. Such an argument commits what is known logically as the Genetic Fallacy. “The Will to Believe” • William James (1842-1910 ) proposed that in the absence of irrefutable evidence for the existence of God, there still is justifiable reason to believe. • James suggests that in this condition, we have the option to choose what we believe. We do not have an option not to choose, as perhaps an agnostic might suggest. To choose not to make a decision is, for James, to decide. • James discusses three fundamental characteristics of such options: • 1) “living or dead” 2) forced or avoidable 3) momentous or trivial An Option is a person's decision among a set of hypotheses. A genuine option is living, forced, and momentous. 1. A living option in one in hypotheses are live, i.e., they are real possibilities for someone. Since I grew up attending a Christian church and was raised to believe that way, it may not be a real option for me to become a Buddhist, but it is a real option for me to become a Presbyterian. 2. A forced option is a dilemma— the hypothesis cannot be avoided. I.e., for someone enrolled in this class to come to class or not is forced. Deciding whether or not God exists and/or we will conduct ourselves according to that may be forced in this sense. 3. A momentous option is one that is unique and may well be one's only opportunity. The choice is not trivial, but significant, because one only has one chance to do it. “The Will to Believe” • James then argues when an option is genuine (that is, living, forced and momentous) and cannot be decided on intellectual grounds, it is justifiable to choose on the basis of our passional nature. In fact, James would argue one should so choose. • For James, our “passional nature” consists of all nonintellectual interests, emotions, desires, hopes, fears, commitments, our deepest personal needs, etc. • James would hold that when an option is not genuine, it makes the best sense to decide to withhold judgment until “the evidence is in.” In Conclusion • W. K. Clifford, 1845-1879, argued against James (as did Thomas Huxley), asserting that it is absolutely and always wrong to make any judgment without sufficient evidence. By doing so, you make yourself vulnerable to logical and factual error. • To the contrary, James pointed out that this was one option that could be chosen and one that would have the advantage that it might protect us from believing what was false. • On the other hand, another option is to try to protect ourselves from missing out on the truth and the truth that would be the one that is ultimately significant to ourselves. • James would choose this option, while recognizing that it itself must be chosen not on rational grounds, but on passional grounds.