Philosophy 3600 - Philosophy of Religion

Study Guide for Exam #4




Exam #4 (a.k.a. the Final Exam) will take place on Tuesday, December 19th, 10:30am – 1:00pm. It's a bluebook exam so you must bring a blue book. You must also bring (and write your exam in) blue or black ink (no red ink, no pencil).

Exam #4 is cumulative. You are responsible for the following topics:

Exam #4, like Exam #2, is a short answer exam. You will be required to answer a bunch of short answer-type questions having to do with the topics listed above.

To prepare:

Let me emphasize the importance of actually writing out answers to these questions. It's the only way to know what you do and do not know.


Study Questions

All the questions (1-60) on the Study Guide for Exam #2.

  1. Explain Anselm's distinction between existence in reality and existence in the understanding. Give an example of something that exists in the understanding but not in reality. Give an example of something that exists both in reality and in the understanding.

  2. Does anything exist in reality but not in the understanding? If so, can you give an example? If so, do so. If not, explain why not?

  3. What is a negative existential? Explain in general what one is and also give an example of one.

  4. What is the Problem of Negative Existentials?

  5. What is the Anselmian Solution to the Problem of Negative Existentials? State it in general, and then illustrate it with two examples: one involving a true negative existential and the other involving a false negative existential.

  6. Why, according to Anselm, is it impossible for there to be something that both is the greatest conceivable being and fails to exist in reality? Explain the principle this claim rests upon. Illustrate that principle be means of an independent example.

  7. Explain why Plantinga thinks Gaunilo's "Lost Isle" Parody Argument is not in fact analogous to Anselm's original argument?

  8. According to Plantinga, what does Kant mean when he says that existence is not a real property? Given examples of both a real and a non-real property on Plantinga's account.

  9. If Kant is right that existence in reality is not a real property, which part of Anselm's argument is in trouble? Explain.

  10. State the principle of confirmation theory that appears in the Fine-Tuning Argument and illustrate it by means of Paley's example of the watch in the woods.

  11. Explain how the theory of evolution appears to undermine Paley's Argument from Design.

  12. Explain one of the ways in which the universe is fine-tuned that Van Inwagen discusses.

  13. Explain why it would seem that the fine-tuning data is highly improbable if there is no God.

  14. Explain why the fine-tuning evidence doesn't seem terribly improbable on the assumption that there is a God.

  15. What is wrong with the following objection to the Fine-Tuning Argument: "We shouldn't be at all surprised when we hear about the fine-tuning evidence. After all, the constants in the laws of nature had to take some set of values or other, and any other set of values would have been just as unlikely as the set of values they actually took." You can do this by way of an analogy if you like.

  16. Explain why Van Inwagen thinks the Fine-Tuning argument fails. Evaluate this response to the Fine-Tuning argument.

  17. Explain the Leibnizian Version of the Problem of Evil. Present a weak objection to this argument, and explain why it is a weak objection.

  18. Illustrate the following principle by means of an example: "A good person will prevent an evil that she knows is about to occur and is easily able to prevent." Explain the role it is supposed to play in the problem of evil.

  19. What is "cause-and-effect theodicy" (Lewis, "Evil for Freedom's Sake?" pp. 149-150). Why does it fail? What sort of connection between an evil and the greater good that justifies it is needed for a theodicy to succeed?

  20. Explain what we called "aesthetic theodicy" and why Lewis think it is implausible.

  21. Explain Hick's "soul-making" theodicy. Next consider Rowe's example of the forest fire and the fawn. Do you think Hick's theodicy adequately explains why God lets this evil occur? Explain.

  22. How would Plantinga explain why God allows the evil involved in Rowe's example of the forest fire and the fawn.

  23. How would Plantinga respond to the following objection to free will theodicy: "Freedom doesn't justify God in allowing all the evil He allows. This is because He could have gotten the freedom without also getting the evil. For He could have made us free without leaving us free to choose evil."

  24. How would Plantinga respond to the following objection to free will theodicy: "Freedom doesn't justify God in allowing all the evil He allows. This is because He could have gotten the freedom without also getting the evil. For He could have chosen to actualize a possible world in which people are free but, as a matter of fact, never choose evil."

  25. Rowe's statement of the problem of evil rests upon the following claim:

    "There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse."

    Do you think this is true? Why or why not? Do you think this shows that an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being doesn't exist? Why or why not?