Instructions: Write a paper on one of the following three prompts. A rough draft of the paper is due on February 27th by 11:55 PM, submitted to me via email. I will not read these drafts, and they need not be complete, but your participation grade will be influenced by whether or not you send me something by this deadline since class on the 28th will consist entirely of peer reviewing rough drafts. The paper is due on February 29th by 11:55 PM, submitted on VikingWeb or by email to me. If you would like to write on a prompt other than one of the three below or modify the prompt you’re writing on, you need to speak to me by February 25th and have your paper topic approved. Please remember to include a “Works Cited” section or bibliography for your paper.
Prompt 1: Drawing from Holbach, lay out the most compelling argument for hard determinism. Is this argument sound? If it is, argue for its soundness, recount van Inwagen’s “mystery” for hard determinism, and argue that van Inwagen’s concern isn’t as problematic as the concerns he identifies for compatibilism and libertarianism. If the argument is unsound, which premise is false, why should we believe this premise to be false, and which account of free will ought we to accept as a more plausible alternative?
Prompt 2: What is the evidential problem of evil, and how does it differ from the logical problem of evil? According to Rowe, the G.E. Moore shift is the best theist response to this problem. What is the G.E. Moore shift, and how does it try to get the theist out of the evidential problem of evil? Does the G.E. Moore shift provide the necessary groundwork for a successful response to the evidential problem of evil? If not, why not? If so, consider the strongest atheist response to the G.E. Moore shift and show that this response still need not move the theist.
Prompt 3: What is an “argument from design” for the existence of God? Explain Paley’s watchmaker metaphor and how it helps us understand how design arguments work. Then, reconstruct a more contemporary argument for the existence of God based on the examples of the eye and the flagellum that Kitcher discusses. Does this evidence give us the basis for a compelling argument for God’s existence? If not, why not (you should be sure to consider, and respond to, potential theist objections to your argument)? If so, how should the theist respond to Kitcher’s objections?
Citation information for works not appearing in the textbook:
Kitcher, P. “At the Mercy of Chance?” in Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings. Ed. M. Peterson, W. Hasker, B. Reichenbach, and D. Basinger. Oxford University Press, 2009. pp 542-550.
Rowe, W. “The Evidential Argument from Evil” in Philosophy of Religion: Selected Readings. Ed. M. Peterson, W. Hasker, B. Reichenbach, and D. Basinger. Oxford University Press, 2009. pp 324-332.