Philosophy & Ethics G581 Key Philosophers (OCR)

A K
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Flashcards on Philosophy & Ethics G581 Key Philosophers (OCR), created by A K on 05/30/2014.
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DAVID HUME (1711-1776) Miracles "A miracle can be accurately defined as a transgression of a law of nature by the volition of a deity, or the interposition of some invisible agent."
RICHARD SWINBURNE (1934-) Definition of miracles Criticisms of Hume - Miracles are brought about by God AND have religious significance -Laws of nature are not set in stone: They are descriptive of what usually happens, rather than prescriptive of what must happen
BRIAN DAVIES (1951-) Criticisms of Hume -A large proportion of scientific developments have forced us to accept possible what was thought impossible. -ISSUE: Does not prove miracles are from God
THOMAS AQUINAS (1225-1274) Definition of miracles -God can violate laws of nature -A miracle is "done by a divine power apart from the order generally followed in things."
MAURICE WILES (1923-2005) Rejection of miracles -If God were to intervene, he would be arbitrary -How can we be asked to believe in a God who fed the 5000 but does nothing for global poverty? -Requires radical changes to Christianity
KEITH WARD (1938-) Definition of miracles -God can act, but only occasionally, as otherwise the order of creation would be destroyed. -Miracles build faith, they don't reduce suffering. -ISSUE: What criteria warrants intervention?
R. F. HOLLAND (1923-2013) Definition of miracles -Coincidence miracles - "A coincidence can be taken religiously as a sign and called a miracle." -God acts through the laws of nature
GARETH MOORE (No dates) Definition of miracles - A miracle is any unexplained event, not specifically the act of a creator God. Within the believing community, it may be termed a miracle - God is nothing - it does not refer to any being
RUDOLPH BULTMANN (1884-1976) Rejection of Miracles -Attempted to demythologise the Bible, to make it appropriate for the modern day -Some stories are too fictionalised - ISSUE: How do we decide what is myth?
JOHN MACQUARRIE (1919-2007) Rejection of Miracles -Emphasising the mythological elements of the Bible go against Jesus' teachings. -Luke 16:31, it is stated Jesus wants nothing to do with magic and signs.
C S LEWIS (1898-1963) Miracles -Different people are more inclined to believe different theories. People have a spectrum of presuppositions. -Naturalists will be very skeptical, resolute believers will be far more inclined to agree.
DR ROY JACKSON (No dates) Defence of miracles - Dismisses argument of an irrational God that does not act today for those in great need. -Miracles should be considered in the context of thousands or millions of years. -Shows the positive impact of Jesus, and a more just God.
WILLIAM JAMES (1842-1910) Religious Experience - The Varieties of Religious Experience - Investigated a large number of accounts - "The only thing it unequivocally testifies to is that we can experience union with something larger than ourselves, and in that union find our greatest peace."
RUDOLF OTTO (1869-1937) Religious Experience -The idea of the Holy (1936) - Coined the term "numinous" to refer to the sense of being in the presence of an awesome power, yet feeling distinctly separate from it.
MARTIN BUBER (1878-1965) Religious Experience - Relationships with God form on 2 levels, regardless of the numinous. 1. I-it: Viewing people and things simply as phenomena - functional, detached. 2. I-thou: Personal, emotional relationships.
JAMES LEUBA (1868-1946) Conversion Talks of conversion experiences with respect to wrongness and sin, from which people move away. Akin to a moral conversion.
EDWIN D STARBUCK (No dates) Conversion Conversion in adolescents, religious or not, produces the same results, from depression and anxiety to a "happy relief" and objectivity.
Theresa of Ávila (1515-1582) Visions Ineffability of experience - Famous example: Talked of seeing Christ at her side, without discerning his form. - "I was conscious of him, for neither the yes of the body or of the soul did I see anything." -Accused of being sexually frustrated
St Bernadette of Lourdes (1844-1879) Corporeal vision - Catholic saint - Had a number of visions of Mary
EZEKIEL (THE BIBLE) Visions -Ezekiel 1:4-28: Overwhelmed and frightened by a vision of God -"When I saw it, I fell face down, and I heard the voice of the One speaking."
ST PAUL (SAUL) (THE BIBLE) Voices - Became the missionary of Christianity on the road to Damascus - Acts 9: Paul is blinded, and spoken to by God. He remains blind for 3 day until he is healed by the Disciple, Ananias.
ST AUGUSTINE (354-430) Voices - Augustine hears the voice of children chanting, "take and read, take and read." - Believing this a divine command, Augustine is freed from his sorrow, and turns to his Bible.
SIGMUND FREUD (1856-1939) Rejection of Religious Experience - Without warning, the id can flood back with repressed memories, causing some form of neurosis. - God is a "crutch" to deal with the challenges of daily life.
KARL MARX (1818-1883) Rejection of Religious Experience People create God to satisfy their emotional needs, a by-product of the human struggle in a capitalist society.
MICHAEL PERCINGHAM (No dates) Rejection of Religious Experience Investigated hyperreligiosity to find that even atheists can experience the feeling of a higher power with magnetic brain stimulation
JONATHON WEBBER (No dates) Rejection of Religious Experience - Revelation and Religious Experience - Notes issues with interpretation, proof of real experience, perception of the Divine, infinite and immaterial and self authentication. -Genuineness ≠correctness
PATRICIA CHURCHLAND (No dates) Rejection of Religious Experience Argues the brain is immensely capable of creating a religious experience.
BERTRAND RUSSELL (1872-1970) Rejection of Religious Experience - "Some people drink too much and see snakes, while others fast too much and see God." - "The fact that a belief has a good moral effect upon a man is no evidence whatsoever in favour of its truth."
RICHARD SWINBURNE (1934-) Religious Experience - Principle of testimony: Don't doubt your own experience without good reason. - Principle of credulity: Don't doubt others' experiences without good reason. - "How things seem to be is a good indication about how things are."
R. M. HARE (1919-2002) Religious Experience -Coined the term "blik" - People will determine event according to their worldview, which can have a massive impact on their lives.
Epicurus (341-270 BCE) Life after Death "Death is of no concern to us, for while we exist, death is not present, and when death is present, we no longer exist."
JOHN HICK (1922-2012) Replica Theory, Life after Death - Death and Eternal Life (1976) - It remains possible for an omnipotent God to create an exact replica of us, and because this replica it could conceivably be the same person
JOHN HICK (1922-2012) Life after Death and the Problem of Evil - Hick questions the concept of heaven where there is no pain or death - Can we conceive of a worthwhile existence with no needs? -Also questions hell as a place of eternal suffering. This make God the creator of a place of torment, incompatible with benevolence.
RICHARD SWINBURNE (1934-) Life after death and the problem of evil Divine annihilation of the damned is most just. Everlasting torment is vindictive, but there is no point keeping the corrupt alive as they could not enjoy the 'vision' of God.
JOHN HICK (1922-2012) Eastern conceptions of life after death - There seem to be random elements of injustice in life. Why are we not created equally, with the same chance of happiness etc? Karma could be the solution. - Ultimately, to say my soul is reborn does not fit in with any conception of ID.
MICHAEL PETERSON (No dates) Eastern conceptions of life after death - Reason and Religious Belief - "One cannot discern whether a soul is a reincarnated person, or a new individual." - The soul bears no strands of the self, and therefore it seems unfair for us to suffer for the actions of another person.
R. K. TRIPATHI (No dates) Hindu views of life after death - Karma removes God from responsibility for the inequality of human birth. - Our actions have karmic consequences and are not judged by God. His role in evil is seemingly non-existent.
JEREMY BENTHAM (1748-1832) Life after Death Intentionally preserved his body to affirm his disbelief in the afterlife. Now on display at UCL.
THOMAS AQUINAS (1225-1274) Life after Death "The natural condition of the soul is to be perfectly united to the body... and the will cannot be perfectly at rest until the soul is again joined to the body."
ARNALL BLOXHAM (No dates) Evidence for life after death Has produced well documented examples of people taking on different personalities, voices and languages, often found to be historically accurate.
PLATO (428-347 BCE) Dualist view of the soul - The immortal soul pre-exists the human body in the realm of the forms. Real knowledge is thus recollection. - The soul longs to return to the forms - Arguments from the cycle of opposites and from knowledge
RENE DESCARTES (1596-1650) Dualist view of the soul - "proved" the existence of the soul through a skeptical argument. - "Cognito, ergo sum." or "I think, therefore I am." At the very least, the mind exists.
DAVID HUME (1711-1776) Criticisms of Descartes When you introspect, all you find are various thoughts, beliefs, mental states, etc, not an immortal soul.
FRIEDRICH NIETZCHE (1844-1900) Criticisms of Descartes We can only be certain that there are thoughts, at any one time a collection of which are assumed to be one person.
THOMAS AQUINAS (1225-1274) Dualist view of the soul - The soul is not part of the body, but able to operate independently. - Called the anima, because it animates or gives life force to the body. - Not divisible, so able to survive death, and retains the individuality of that to whom it was attached
ARISTOTLE (384-322 BCE) Soft Materialist view of the soul - The soul or something is to be seen in its function or purpose. If an eye had a soul, it would be vision. - The soul is the life giving force of the body, developing character and skills. It is not separate, for without physical material, there would be nothing to have purpose. -The human mind (nous/intellect) is immortal and divine.
JOHN HICK (1922-2012) Soft materialist view of the soul - Psychosomatic soft materialism, very Aristotelian in nature. - To talk of the soul is to describe mental characteristics and behavioral dispositions. - "My soul is not be." The body is a psycho physical unity.
RICHARD DAWKINS (1941-) Hard materialist view of the soul - The traditional view of the soul is a "mythological concept," for the "weak minded" which "stifles creative endeavor." -We are "bytes and bytes of digital data" programmed to reproduce. - Accepts a conception of the soul as "high development of the mental faculties. Also, in a somewhat limited sense, sensitivity."
GILBERT RYLE (1900-1976) Body/soul distinction - The Concept of the Mind (1949) - The soul as separate, "the ghost in the machine" is a mistake of language. - The soul exists, but is not distinct. - Foreigner watching cricket, asking, "Where's the team spirit?" Spirit is not something identifiably extra to the game.
H. H. PRICE (1899-1984) Survival of the disembodied self - Article: Survival and the Idea of Another World - The soul consists of consciousness, memory, volition and emotional capacity. - The afterlife is mind depended, an "image world" with no feelings, just the ability to communicate with other souls. - "Maybe all we are going to get."
PETER COLE (No dates) Survival of the disembodied self Dualism is the "preferred view." It allows the comfort of immortality, without the inherent issues of resurrection theory - the need to create a replica of the dying human body.
BERNARD WILLIAMS (1929-2003) Survival of the disembodied self - Personal Identity and Individuation (1956) - Disembodied existence is a contradiction in terms. - For P to continue to exist, so must its body, which suggests that bodily continuity is a necessary condition of personal identity.
PETER VARDY (1945-) Survival of the disembodied self - Dualism and a disembodied existence devalue the body, and it is hard to see how body and soul may interact. - Vardy questions whether or not he could be himself without any physical attributes such as the body, brain or sensory organs.
JOHN HICK (1922-2012) Criticisms of Price's dream world - Can we really be "living" in this world? - Hick supports an Irenaean theodicy, with an environment suited to "soul making," which may require an afterlife to complete. With no interaction in Price's world, this is impossible.
GEORGE BERKELEY (1685-1753) Idealism - We cannot know whether bodies exist except when we perceive them. - In this case, it is possible only the mind exists, and therefore the illusion that we have physical bodies is removed when we travel to the next world in spiritual form.
DAVID HUME (1711-1776) Meaningfulness of language - Analytic statements: Provable by definition, e.g. "The cat is feline." -Synthetic statements: Provable through experience, e.g. "The cat is black." - If a statement is neither synthetic or analytic, we should "commit it to the flames, for it contains nothing but sophistry and illusion."
PETER VARDY (1945-) Meaningfulness of religious language - Gives the analogy of goldfish in a pond. One, wiser than the rest, claims there is an external entity from the pond so far removed from what is known to the fish that its description is impossible. What's more, its existence may never be proven, but it is upon this that all life in the pond relies. - Vardy suggests such views would be laughed out as nonsensical.
A J AYER (1910-1989) Weak verification principle - Language, Truth and Logic (1936) - A statement is meaningful if we can "in principle" think of a way to test it. - Religious language is meaningless as it refers to what is outside the physical world. - Ayer later conceded the principle doesn't work
JOHN HICK (1922-2012) Criticisms of the weak verification principle - Using eschatological verification, we can prove God's existence at death, or when Jesus returns and raises the dead to the 'celestial city' - Verification thus occurs for religious statements, shown true or false if there is eternal life.
KEITH WARD (1938-) Criticisms of the weak verification principle The statement "God exists" could, "in principle," be verified by God himself. The weak verification principle does not in fact reject religious language.
ANTHONY FLEW (1923-2010) Falsification principle - A statement is meaningful if it can, in principle, be falsified. - Religious statements are meaningless as believers refuse to let anything count against them. - Illustrated with John Wisdom's Parable of the Gardener.
BASIL MITCHELL (1917-2011) Criticisms of the falsification principle - Religious statements are meaningful because they can be falsified. However religious believers have overwhelming reasons to maintain their faith. - Illustrated with the Parable of the Freedom Fighter.
R. M. HARE (1919-2002) Criticisms of the falsification principle - The principle does not apply to religious statements because they are non-cognitive. They are not factual statements. - People have a particular "blik" or worldview, in which a religious person may interpret circumstances in a religious way. - Illustrated with the Parable of the Lunatic Student - Religious statements can have a massive impact on peoples lives
RICHARD SWINBURNE (1934-) Criticisms of the falsification principle - Coherence of Theism (1977) - Some statements have meaning but cannot be falsified.
LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN (1889-1951) Language games - It is only through context that words can have any meaning. - Language is made up of various "games" which have their own rules. - E.g. To say "I scored a century" would make perfect sense in a game of cricket, but would be meaningless in a game of tennis.
DON CUPITT (1934-) Criticisms of Wittgenstein - "Wittgensteinian fideism" suggests the rules of each game are outside of rational criticism. - God is only a reality within the rules or reality of religious believers (anti-realism). - Such a view could be derived from the via negativa.
D Z PHILLIPS (1934-2006) Defence of Wittgenstein - The game need not appeal to all: Some people are atheists, others are theists. - ISSUE: One group must be wrong. Are things merely reduced to taste?
PSEUDO-DIONYSIUS (Circa. 5th-6th Century CE) Via Negativa - Distinguishes between 'cataphatic' (via positiva) and 'apophatic' (via negativa) theology. - The former gives us provisional, not real, knowledge of God. - The via negativa is the only way to talk about God as otherwise we may arrive at "an absence of discourse and intelligibility."
BISHOP KALLISTOS WARE (1934-) Via Negativa - "God is absolutely transcendent." - Positive words such as good or wise are true to an extent, but cannot adequately describe the inner nature of God.
PLOTINUS (204-270 CE) Via Negativa Stressed the transcendence of The One (God) who is beyond all language or thought.
SØREN KIERKEGAARD (1813-1855) Transcendence of God Coined the term "qualitative distinction" to illustrate the difference between finite, temporal men, and an infinite being. - This is maintained in the via negativa - View adopted by Karl Barth
MARTIN BURROWS (No dates) Definition of myth "Myth is a symbolic approximate expression of truth which the human mind cannot possibly perceive sharply and completely, but only glimpse vaguely, and therefore cannot adequately, accurately express."
NINIAN SMART (1927-2001) Myth Myths are like a symbol in that they point to objective truths and often to a higher reality, and are a key component of religion.
PETER VARDY (1945-) Myth - Myth can remove all transcendental reference, important in a religion of a transcendent being. - It also becomes difficult to decide which stories to consider mythological. - We need to rediscover the power of myths, to reveal the real truths they try to convey.
ÉMILE DURKHEIM (1858-1917) Criticisms of myth Myth is relative to particular societies, and merely serve as a cohesive force to convey the histories and traditions of these societies.
PAUL TILLICH (1886-1965) Symbol - All "God talk" is symbolic and not to be taken literally. - Distinguishes between a sign, which points to a fact, and a symbol which "participates in that to which it points." E.g. A flag participates in the power of a king or nation. - God is wholly other and transcendent. Symbol is the only way to convey meaning. - Religious symbolism is a form of revelation. Religious language is a way to focus on the ultimate, expressing truth, but not literally. Symbols "Open up the deepest levels of reality."
WILLIAM ASHTON (No dates) Criticisms of Tillich Tillich's symbols are not literally true, so have no meaningful impact on us.
JOHN HICK (1922-2012) Criticisms of Tillich Hick questions how a symbol participates: In what sense does a flag actually do something?
THOMAS AQUINAS (1225-1274) Analogy - Any language we use about God is likely an approximation. - Language used cannot be univocal as this would place God on a human level. It also cannot be equivocal as God is not totally removed from us. - The analogies of proportion and attribution allow us to speak about God meaningfully without anthropomorphising him
IAN RAMSEY (No dates) Analogy Uses models and qualifiers. In "God is good" the model used is the word good, but in order to understand God properly, we must add a qualifier to say "God is infinitely good."
BRIAN DAVIES (1951-) Analogy Uses the example of a baker and bread: The baker's goodness is not a magnified version of the bread's goodness, rather his goodness is the skill required to make the goodness in th bread. Thus, God's goodness is not moral, but the capacity to create it.
DUNS SCSOTUS (No dates) Criticisms of Aquinas' analogy - We are told how unknown qualities might apply to God, without knowing what these qualities are. - Aquinas does not reach enough of a conclusion to properly justify the claim that a human understanding of God can be achieved through analogy.
SHERRY (No dates) Criticisms of Aquinas' analogy There must be grounds that such language is actually applicable to in some way to humans and God. How do we know which characteristics we share, and which we do not?
THOMAS AQUINAS (1225-1274) God's simplicity God is immaterial - he is bodiless. A body would have characteristics just as we do, but God is simply God.
ST AUGUSTINE (354-430) God's simplicity Timeless God - God is unchangeable and cannot lose or gain any characteristics. - God is also unchangeable because change involves movement. God is the cause of change because he is unchanged. - "Thy years neither come nor go, whereas ours both come and go."
BOETHIUS (480-524 CE) God outside of time - The Consolation of Philosophy - God does not exist in time, he is "the whole simultaneous and possession of unending life." - Uses the term "providence" rather than "prevision". God does not see things from our inferior perspective but from above; in the sense of time, above past, present and future. - "The difference between simple and conditional necessity is the addition of the condition."
PETER VARDY (1945-) Different conceptions of God's knowledge - In The Puzzle of God, Vardy presents 2 ways of understanding God's knowledge - If God knows Y, then necessarily Y will happen - If Y happens, then God necessarily knows Y. - Boethius takes the latter view.
ANSELM (1033-1109) God's simplicity - God is perfect. Anything subject to change is not. - Could be used to support Boethius' view.
RICHARD SWINBURNE/ANTHONY KENNY (1934-)/(1931-) Criticisms of Boethius It does not make sense to argue that all time exists simultaneously to God, as it seems to suggest that everything happens at once.
PAUL HELM (No dates) Timeless God - God brought about and sustains the universe by his will. - God timelessly produces the entire space-time universe through one eternal act.
NICHOLAS WOLTERSTORFF (1932-) Everlasting God - God everlasting - The eternity of God has appealed to people because an eternal God is different from Human's experience of life and the world, not just due to Greek philosophical influence. - The Biblical view of God requires him to act freely in response to the actions of humans, and so he must act within time.
RICHARD SWINBURNE (1934-) Eternal God - The concept of an eternal God fits better with the Biblical understanding of God. - God exists at all points inside time, but doesn't exist outside of time - "There is no time at which he did not exist... He is backwardly eternal."
OSCAR CULLMAN (1902-1999) Eternal God - This is the best understanding based on scripture. - The most logical translation of eternal would be "endless duration, not outside of time."
JÜRGEN MOLTTMAN (1926-) Process theology - The Crucified God - God does not just sit outside of time being perfect and immutable, but gets involved and shares in the pain of human experience to the extent of suffering and death by torture. - ISSUE: If God is perfect or immaterial, in what sense can he experience pain or time?
D Z PHILLIPS (1934-2006) Other conceptions of eternity Eternity is not relative to time, but expresses something of a qualitative nature. God is completely different to any being that can be comprehended, and "eternal" tries to convey this.
RENE DESCARTES (1596-1650) God's omnipotence -God can do anything, including the logically impossible. - Criticised by philosophers such as J L Mackie: The idea of logically impossible actions is "only a form of words which fails to describe any state of affairs."
THOMAS AQUINAS (1225-1274) God's omnipotence - God's power is infinite, which relies on it being unlimited by the constraints of physical existence. - Whatever involves a contradiction is not held by omnipotence: "A contradiction in terms cannot be a word, for no mind can conceive it." - God can't climb a tree - it is illogical.
ANTHONY FLEW/J L MACKIE (1923-2010)/(1917-1981) Issues with omniscience/omnipotence - Does omniscience include knowledge of the future? - Flew and Mackie have argued that, given God could have foreseen the consequences of creation, it ought to have been possible to create free creatures who always do the right thing.
ALVIN PLANTINGA (1932-) God's omnipotence - Even though God is omnipotent, it is possible it was not in his power to create a world containing moral good but not moral evil. - Moral evil can only be removed along with moral good: logical impossibility. In line with Hick. - Omnipotence = What is logically possible for God
PETER VARDY (1945-) God's omnipotence - God created the universe in such a way that his ability to act is necessarily limited. - Limitation is self imposed, necessary for the existence of free, rational beings.
RICHARD SWINBURNE (1934-) God's omnipotence - It only follows from the stone paradox that if God were to create said stone, there would be something he could not lift. - The paradox is only an issue for omnitemporal omniscience - the view of a being who exists necessarily and is necessarily omnipotent at all times. - A person is no less omnipotent for being unable to bring about a state of affairs that he believes he has an overriding reason not to bring about.
PETER GEACH (1916-2013) God's omnipotence - Providence and Evil - Omnipotence is to be understood as a statement concerning the power of God. - Criticises the view that omnipotence is what is logically possible for God to do - it relies on the view that his nature is perfect.
J L MACKIE (1917-1981) God's omnipotence - God's omnipotence is incoherent. For God to be omnipotent, he needs to be able to do anything, yet the paradox of the stone suggests otherwise. - God cannot be all powerful.
PLATO (428-347 BCE) God's benevolence - The Euthyphro dilemma - Is good good because it is good, or because God says it is good?
R M ADAMS (1937-) God's benevolence To call God good is to express a favourable attitude towards him, and to ascribe qualities that we deem virtuous.
RICHARD SWINBURNE (1934-) God's benevolence - Free will is essential to benevolence and reward/punishment - God can know the future, but limits himself out of love, to give us freewill. - We must be free to damn ourselves.
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