Ensure that you have a sound grasp of the fundamentals on the material presented in this unit. To that end, you should try to be concise and limit yourself to three or four pages (1,000 words) for each of these short answer questions. I’m not so concerned with whether you agree with a particular author or not. The quality of your answer is based on your explanation of the competing positions and the reasons you provide in support of the position you defend. The value of each question is indicated beside the question.
The questions in these assignments are not designed to be “research” questions. There is no requirement to research your answers from external sources such as websites like wikipedia. In fact, it may count against you. For example, if your reasons for supporting a particular position are simply cited from an external source, that isn’t properly your reasons. So you wouldn’t receive a very good mark.
The material you need to successfully complete these assignments can be found in your online course written and video materials and the course readings package. You can find this information on the course reading list in the course materials section of the course website. I have simply taken that information and broken it down to the readings that are relevant to the individual questions
Note: online preparatory readings are linked in Unit 2.
Total possible marks = 100
1. The Ontological Argument (20 marks)
1. Clifford, William Kingdom. The ethics of belief.
2. James, William. The will to believe.
3. Saint Anselm, excerpts from Proslogion. (The Ontological Argument) Chapters II – V. https://www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/anselm-proslogium.html
The Ontological Argument is characterized by the fact it doesn’t appeal to empirical evidence to support its conclusion. Provide a concise formulation of the Ontological argument and explain how your formulation displays this characteristic. Provide what you understand to be the best criticism of the Ontological Argument. Explain why it is the best criticism.
2. The Cosmological Argument and the Teleological Argument (40 marks)
1. Saint Thomas Aquinas, excerpts from Summa Theologica. (The Cosmological Argument). Question 2 Article 3 “Whether God exists?”
2. David Hume, excerpts from Dialogues concerning natural religion. Part II.
3. William Paley. State of the argument and application of the argument continued. In Natural Theology.
4. David Hume. Part X from Dialogues concerning natural religion.
Both the Cosmological Argument and the Teleological Argument appeal to our experience of the world to provide justification for the conclusion that God exists. Provide concise formulations of
both arguments and explain precisely how each formulation appeals to our experience of the world. Which is more plausible? Explain why.
3. The Logical Problem of Evil and the Paradox of Omnipotence (40 marks)
1. MacKie, J. L. 1955. Evil and omnipotence. Mind 64: 200-212. Linked in Unit 2.
2. Peterson, Michael, William Hasker, Bruce Reichenbach, and David Basinger. 1991. The logical problem of evil. Reason and religious belief, 94-107. New York: Oxford University Press.
Available in your course readings package
3. Hume, David. Skeptical challenge to the belief in miracles. Section X, Of Miracles, Part I. https://18th.eserver.org/hume-enquiry.html
Provide as concise a formulation of the logical problem of evil and the paradox of omnipotence. Explain how Mackie suggests that the latter provides support for the former. Provide what you consider to be the best response to the problem of evil. Is that response also capable of also responding to the paradox of omnipotence? Explain