Philosophy 3600 - Philosophy of Religion

Study Guide for Final Exam


The Final Exam will take place on Tuesday, May 6 at 4:30 p.m. in our classroom. Bring a bluebook and blue or black ink (no red ink, no pencil).

The Final Exam is cumulative. You are responsible for the following topics:

The Final Exam, like the Midterm, 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 (1-59) on the Study Guide for the Midterm .

  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 ("Anselm's Thesis about Greatness") 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. As we understood it in class, what does Kant mean when he says that existence is not a real property? Give examples of both a real and a non-real property on this 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. Explain, in your own words, Kant's argument for this view that existence in reality is not a real property.

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

  12. Explain one of the ways in which the universe is fine-tuned that Collins 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 Parfit thinks the Fine-Tuning Argument fails. Try to make this case as persuasive as you can.

  17. Explain, as persuasively as you can, the considerations we discussed in class that are meant to undermine the Multiple-Universes response to the Fine-Tuning Argument.

  18. What is the Soul Theory (or Substance Dualism) and what does it imply about the possibility of life after death?

  19. Describe an empirical observation that we see that (i) would not be at all surprising to see if the mind just is, or is totally a function of, the brain, but (ii) would be pretty surprising to see if the Soul Theory is true. Explain why (i) and (ii) hold of this observation.

  20. What is the Bodily Theory (or Animalism) and what does it imply about the possibility of life after death?

  21. Present and explain one of the arguments in class that was leveled against the Bodily Theory.

  22. What, roughly, is the Psychological Theory of personal identity? Describe either the teletransporter example or Olen's Badger-Evergreen example, and explain what the Psychological Theory implies about it.

  23. If the Psychological Theory is true, what would God have to do to resurrect you in the afterlife?

  24. What is the principle of the transitivity of identity? Illustrate it by means of an example involving Mark Twain, Samuel Clemens, and the author of Huckleberry Finn.

  25. Present thoroughly the duplication problem for the Psychological Theory. Be sure to identify explicitly the thing that the Psychological Theory (together with the principle of the transitivity of identity) implies is true that is pretty obviously not true.

  26. What is the Brain Theory? Explain how it appears to avoid the problems that face the three previous theories of personal identity? What does the Brain Theory imply about the possibility of life after death?

  27. In an nutshell, why does Wielenberg reject Taylor's account of the meaning of life?

  28. Why, according to your humble instructor, is it true that even if a God of some sort exists, and has a grand plan for us and this world, that is not on its own enough to make our lives meaningful? Give an example that illustrates this.

  29. According to your humble instructor, why shouldn't Hare's Swiss student be satisfied with Hare's philosophical therapy? What more is needed for it to be reasonable for the student to be satisfied?