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PHILOSOPHY 1 STUDY QUESTIONS FOR FINAL 1. We have labeled a philosophical position “Realism.” Give an example and describe what metaphysical realism is. Realism is the position that things that exist outside of the body have properties and correspond to reality. For example, the United States is a country in North America that is made up of fifty states. Metaphysical realism argues that the concept of things such as God, time or numbers not only exists in reality, but will continue to exist in reality independent of the existence of humans. 2. What is the main characteristic of an a posteriori argument? An a posteriori argument exclusively uses perceivable evidence that is detectable by the human senses. 3. What is the main characteristic of an a priori argument? An a priori argument uses logic, reason, and not empirical evidence. 4. What are the main characteristics of a reductio ad absurdum argument? This four-step argument’s goal is to prove premise P. To do this the argument first assumes “not P”. Assuming “not P” will lead to a contradiction Q and “not Q”. Because a contradiction is obviously false, and assuming “not P” lead to an absurdly false statement, so not “not P” (or P) must be true. Therefore P is proven to be true. 5. Describe the main characteristics of what we call the Problem of Evil. What exactly is the “problem”? 6. Augustine gave us a metaphysical explanation of the source of evil in the world, that is, God did not create evil specifically, but it never the less arose because of a feature of
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his creation. Try as best as you can to describe his explanation of how evil arose in God’s creation. Evil comes in many shapes and sizes, but the two particular types of evil that philosophers are concerned, in regard to the Problem of Evil, are moral evils and natural evils. Moral evils are evils that are dependent upon human will, and that can only be committed by a person’s conscious decision to harm himself, other people, and the world at large. Examples of moral evils include atrocities such as the holocaust and genocides in which millions of humans were slaughtered, and also includes relatively benign evils such as farting on an airplane or eating all the cookies in the cookie jar. On the other hand, natural evils are evils that are beyond human control, and cause pain, suffering and destruction independently of human will. The AIDS virus and Hurricane Katrina are examples of natural evils that have killed thousands of people independently of the wills of those victims or the wills of the observers. The source of evil is another characteristic of the Problem of Evil because it is not entirely clear what the source of evil is (people, evil will, Satan, God, etc.). For example, if people do evil things because of an evil will which causes people to sin, and Satan, who was created as the angel Lucifer by God, induces evil will upon people, then it logically follows that God, who created everything, also created evil. The problem of evil arises because if by definition God is omnipotent, omniscient,
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