ontological argument (from the nature of God)
teleological argument (from design)
cosmological argument (from processes of change)
causal argument (from processes of causation)
moral argument (from degrees of goodness)
indirect communication (for Kierkegaard)
aesthetic form of life
ethical form of life
Knight of Faith
1. In what ways did the ideas of the Manichees put Augustine on the path toward truth? How did he eventually come to see their errors?
2. How does Augustine explain the presence of evil in the world? How can it be so prevalent in our experience, if it does not exist independently (as a substance)?
3. What is the source of goodness, according to Augustine (see especially VII)?
4. Augustine describes a time when he understood what is the ultimate good, and yet could not accept God’s grace (see especially VII. 1819). What does this indicate about the relationship between mind and heart, between intellect and will?
5. Describe some of the ways in which Augustine’s conversion story (VIII. 12) is similar to other famous conversion stories (such as Paul’s, in Acts 9), and some ways in which it is different.
6. What is time, according to Augustine? Does it exist objectively in the world? (See XI. 1420)
7. How would Anselm reply to someone who said, “I know perfectly well what you mean when you talk about God, and I also know that there isn’t any such being.”
8. Why does Aquinas think that Anselm’s ontological argument is not available to us?
9. What is the relationship between reason and revelation, according to Aquinas? Is one subordinate to the other?
10. How are essence and existence related in created beings, according to Aquinas? What does this imply about the question of whether the world exists by necessity?
11. Summarize the arguments for God’s existence that Aquinas puts forward: the argument from change, from efficient cause, from possibility and necessity, from the goodness of things, and from design in the world. (The test won’t ask you to summarize all five but might ask for, say, two of them.)
12. How does doubt lead Descartes to certainty? What is it about which he cannot be deceived?
13. Why is Descartes called a foundationalist?
14. How does the conviction that God is not a deceiver help Descartes to establish the reality of an external, material world?
15. How does Descartes argue from the idea of God to the actual existence of God, in Meditation III?
16. How does the distinction between understanding and will explain the possibility of error, for Descartes? How can we avoid error?
17. What is essential to us as persons, according to Descartes? Are we physical bodies?
18. Under what categories does an aesthete (in Kierkegaard’s classification) organize his or her life? How does this differ in the ethical mode?
19. Judge William, writing to A, speaks of his “either/or”. What is that? And how does it mark the difference between A’s form of life and the judge’s?
20. What is the judge’s view of the relation between romantic love and marriage?
21. What is despair? What is the condition of a self when despair is completely eradicated?
22. What is characteristic of a system? What would an existential system be? And how does Kierkegaard attack this notion?
23. “Never at any moment in my life have I ‘sought for God,’” writes Simone Weil (p. 22). Why does she say this? What does it imply about the way in which we come to know God and ourselves?
24. Why is Weil so wary of the church and its “dogma,” its theological teachings?
25. In the essay on “school studies”) Weil writes that “the intelligence can only be led by desire.”
26. How is “every school exercise . . . like a sacrament”? (p. 63)
27. In The Little Logic Book, ch. 13, the authors argue that some purposes are appropriate and others are not in making an argument. Explain what they mean; give examples.
28. “Behind the cases where reasoning with others goes off track, there sometimes lies a moral failure that runs deeper than any logical mistake,” the authors write (p. 192). Explain what this failure is.
29. What is the virtue, in arguing, that represents the mean between excess in either direction? What are the excesses on each side? Explain briefly.The virtue is compromise
The remaining questions are review questions covering several writers. You will be asked to
answer one ortwo of these on the exam. What is important in answering these questions is not
to come up with the correct answer – in some cases there really isn’t one – but to explore the
way writers’ ideas relate to each other and to our concerns as we study them.
30. How would Plato, Aristotle and Augustine answer the question that Socrates first posed: what is the best life for a person to live? How do we know that it is the best?
31. In what ways does Kierkegaard’s view of human life, and the choices we make, resemble Augustine’s? In what ways does it differ?
32. Descartes believes we must never act unless we are certain of the principle we are acting on. Kierkegaard, however, believes uncertainty and anxiety are the inevitable conditions of every human choice. Who is right? Or are both partly right?
would like to answer on the final exam. I will consider adding them as optional essay questions.
premise of an argument
fallacy of affirming the consequent
fallacy of denying the antecedent
method of addition
method of concomitant variation
Whatever phenomenon varies in any manner whenever another phenomenon varies in some particular manner, is either a cause or an effect of that phenomenon, or is connected with it through some fact of causation.]
method of residues
post hoc ergo propter hocfallacy
slippery slope fallacy
straw person fallacy
begging the question
fallacy of composition
fallacy of division
against the person (ad hominem)
Review questions to help you prepare for the test:
11.What does Mill’s method of concomitant variation (or proportional change) suggest about increases in atmospheric carbon and increasing global average temperature? Does it establish causation conclusively?
12.Give an example of a causal explanation based on Mill’s method of residues (or we could call it “eliminating background factors”).
13.What is the fallacy of false dilemma? How can a valid argument form (“A or B, not A, therefore B”) be labeled an informal fallacy?
14.Give an example of the slippery slope fallacy (you may have heard one or two in high school health class).
15.What is the difference between citing an appropriate authority, in a way that genuinely supports your argument, and falling into the fallacy of appeal to irrelevant authority?
16.Plato believes knowledge must be about a transcendent realm, not about the world of experience. In what way does Aristotle disagree? What is knowledge about, for Aristotle?
17.Why is Aristotle’s understanding of the cosmos called “teleological”?
18.When Aristotle writes about the “unmoved mover,” is this the same as the Christian and Jewish concept of God? In what ways is it different?
19.What are the three levels of soul that exist in living things? Can they exist apart from the bodies with which they are associated?
20.Why does Aristotle reject the idea that a good life is one devoted to the pursuit of pleasure?
21.What is the arête or excellence of a human being, for Aristotle?
22.Explain what is meant by “choosing the mean” in Aristotle’s ethics.
23.What does the opening page of the Confessions tell us about the relationship between God and man, as Augustine understands it?
What does it mean that our hearts find rest only in God?
24.Cite some of the ways in which Augustine’s early education (learning language, enduring beatings) seem to him to disclose important aspects of human nature.
25.What lesson does Augustine draw from the episode of stealing pears?
26.Why does the bishop (last chapter of Bk III) decline to do as Augustine’s mother asks and instruct him in Christian teaching?
Questions to help in your review of the Platonic dialogues:
5. What does Socrates mean by calling himself a “gadfly” on the body of Athens?
10.How do Glaucon and Adeimantus make the objection even stronger? What does Plato (appearing as the character Socrates in the dialogue) need to show in order to answer them?
11.Why does Plato turn first to justice in the state, not in the individual? Aren’t they completely different?
13.Why should music, drama and poetry be strictly controlled in the guardians’ education?
15.What are the three parts of the soul, in the Republic?How should they relate to each other?
17.Has Socrates given us a definition of justice that applies both to individuals and to the state? What is it?
20.What is the difference between knowingand merely believingsomething to be true, according to Socrates?
21.Why is knowledge or understanding not possible about the things of ordinary experience? ● we look past the experience to find the form of the experience, to understand why the
22.Draw the “divided line” and identify the four kinds of belief, and the four objects of belief, that fall under each of the four divisions of the line.
23.How does the Form of the Good resemble the sun?
24.How is leaving the cave and emerging into the outside world like philosophical inquiry? Identify at least three parallels that Socrates wants us to notice.
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