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Reading for next time: Thomas Nagel’s “What Is It Like To Be Thomas A Bat?” Bat?” The Argument From Evil
The Argument From Evil 1. If there is an omnipotent, omniscient, and If omnibenevolent God, then there is no unnecessary and undeserved suffering in the world. the 2. It is not the case that there is no It unnecessary and undeserved suffering in the world. the 3. Therefore, it is not the case that there is an Therefore, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent God. omnibenevolent 1,2 MT The Argument From Evil Replies to The Argument From Evil Deny Premise 2: There is no suffering. All suffering is deserved. All suffering is necessary. Are any of these moves adequate? Deny Premise 1: The Free Will Defense Is the existence of free will so good that its existence Is outweighs all of the horrible unnecessary and undeserved suffering in the world? suffering Even if we grant that God gives us free will and that Even explains why there is all the unnecessary and undeserved suffering in the world that we cause, what about all the unnecessary and undeserved suffering in the world not not caused by human beings? caused Divine Evil According to the standard story According about Hell: about
(1) (2) (3) God determines who goes to Hell, iif God sends someone to Hell, that f person remains in Hell for eternity, and person iin Hell, one experiences unending agony n and torment (on the order of burning alive). alive). Divine Evil
Divine Evil Argument 1. If the standard story about Hell is true and If God sends people to Hell if they don’t believe in Him/Her, then God, far from being omnibenevolent, is a horribly evil monster. omnibenevolent, 2. The standard about Hell is true and God The sends people to Hell if they don’t believe in Him/Her. Him/Her. 3. Therefore, God, far from being Therefore, omnibenevolent, is a horribly evil monster. omnibenevolent, 1,2 MP Divine Evil The Divine Evil Argument is offered ad hominem The ad against someone who believes both the second premise of the argument and that God exists and is omnibenevolent. omnibenevolent. It is offered to show that there is an inconsistency in It thinking that God is all good and that God would send people to Hell, according to the standard story about Hell, for not believing in Him/Her. Hell, So what is the justification for premise 2?
Whatever reason someone might have for thinking that Whatever it is true. it Since the argument is offered ad hominem we don’t Since ad have to concern ourselves with a justification for premise 2 because we are only offering the argument to people who already accept premise 2. to Divine Evil Justification for premise 1: Infinite agony as a punishment for failing to believe Infinite something seems to be an instance of ridiculously horrible excessive punishment. horrible It is so ridiculously horrible, it seems, that anyone It who would inflict it on someone for merely failing to believe something, would have to be a horribly horribly evil being. horribly So, it seems, if the standard story about Hell is So, true and God sends people to Hell if they don’t believe in Him/Her, then God is truly a horribly evil monster. monster. Divine Evil One final, perhaps disturbing question: How should non-believers view their How friends and acquaintances who believe the standard story about Hell and believe that God sends those who don’t believe in Him/ God Her to Hell? The Mysterian Reply One might reply, and many have replied, both to the One argument from evil and the divine evil argument in the following manner: the “I don’t know how or why God allows unnecessary and don’t undeserved suffering and how or why God punishes people by banishing them to Hell, but God is mysterious and unfathomable and we can be sure that whatever God does is morally good, even if we can’t comprehend how it could be.” be.” This reply is a mysterian reply because according to This mysterian it, the goodness of God’s ways are mysterious and incomprehensible to us. incomprehensible The Mysterian Reply If one is willing to maintain that the goodness If of God is incomprehensible to us then one can’t be too sure about anything in the afterlife. afterlife. If God’s goodness is so incomprehensible to us, then, for all If we know, it could be consistent with God’s goodness for God to send everyone who follows God’s commandments to Hell and all who disobeys God’s commandments to Heaven. Hell But then, you might say, God would be breaking His/Her word. But, if God’s goodness could somehow be consistent with meting But, out so ghastly an excessive punishment as Hell to people who don’t believe in God, then God’s goodness could also somehow be consistent with God’s breaking His/Her word. be Philosophy of Mind In the Philosophy of Mind we are In interested in the questions: interested What is the nature of the mind? How does the mind relate to the body and How the rest of the physical world? the What is consciousness and how can it be What explained, if at all? explained, Philosophy of Mind Recall Descartes on the philosophy of mind: Descartes thought:
(1) (2) He was identical to his mind. He, and therefore his mind, was not a physical thing. He contended that he could exist without his body or without any He bodies (i.e., physical things) at all. bodies So, for Descartes: People are their minds and those minds are non-physical People things. things. Descartes was a dualist. Descartes dualist A dualist is someone who thinks there are two dualist distinct kinds of substances in the world: physical and non-physical (i.e., mental) substances. substances. Philosophy of Mind What does it mean to say that there are What completely non-physical mental substances? completely
It means that mental substances have none (or It almost none) of the properties that physical objects have. objects Mental substances aren’t located in space. Mental substances don’t have shapes. Mental substances don’t have mass, charge, spin, Mental velocity, momentum, etc. velocity, Many people are not dualists. Many people are monists. A monist is someone who thinks that there is only kind of monist substance in the world. substance Philosophy of Mind Some monists believe that there are no physical Some substances and that all there are are mental substances. substances. A monist who thinks that the only kinds of substances monist there are in the world are mental substances is an idealist. idealist One famous philosopher who was an idealist was George One Berkeley. Berkeley. Other monists believe that there are no mental Other substances and that all there are are physical substances. substances. A monist who thinks that the only kinds of things there monist are in the world are physical substances is a physicalist (or a materialist). physicalist materialist Most contemporary philosophers are physicalists. Philosophy of Mind One prominent contemporary proponent of One physicalism (or materialism) is David Armstrong. Armstrong. A Materialist Theory of the Mind (1968) In Armstrong’s view, to understand the mind In we should look to science. we But science seems to tell us that we can give a But complete account of human beings in purely physico-chemical terms. physico-chemical Philosophy of Mind
Armstrong’s Argument For Physicalism (1) Science can explain all of the Science phenomena in the world. phenomena (2) If science can explain all of the If phenomena in the world, then physicalism is true. physicalism (3) Therefore, physicalism is true. 1,2 MP Philosophy of Mind Justification for premise 1: Armstrong thinks that science is the one discipline Armstrong that is a guide to the truth because science, alone, among philosophy, religion, art, and all other disciplines, has actually seemed to reach an intellectual consensus about controversial matters. intellectual “Science has provided us with a method of deciding Science disputed questions. This is not to say, of course, that the consensus of those who are learned and competent in a subject cannot be mistaken. Of course such consensus can be mistaken. Sometimes it has been mistaken. But, granting fallibility, what better authority have we than such a consensus?” such sciences”: physics, chemistry, biology, etc.) sciences”: (What does Armstrong mean by “science”? He means the disciplines that constitute the “hard He Philosophy of Mind Justification for premise 2: Science only studies physical things and how Science physical things interact with other physical things. physical It only studies things that have mass, are located in It space, have shape, etc. space, So if science can explain all the phenomena in the So world, it must be that all the phenomena in the world are explainable in terms of physical things. world And so, if science can explain all the phenomena And in the world, then the only things in the world must be physical things. be And so, if science can explain all the phenomena And in the world, then physicalism must be true. in Philosophy of Mind What do physicalists, like Armstrong, think What about the mind then? about Do they deny that there are any minds? No! Physicalists don’t deny that people have Physicalists minds, they just don’t think that those minds are non-physical substances. are Rather, physicalists think that the mind is a Rather, physical thing and that mental phenomena are identical to physical phenomena. identical Philosophy of Mind But with which kinds of physical phenomena do But physicalists think mental phenomena are identical? physicalists One early group of physicalists, behaviorists, One behaviorists identified mental states with physical behavior. identified For example: my being (feeling) angry with you just was my For acting angrily towards you. acting Another example: my wanting something just was my Another behaving in ways to procure it. behaving Problems for behaviorism: The mental states could be absent even though the The behavior was there. behavior The mental states could be there without the behavior. Philosophy of Mind Very few physicalists are behaviorists Very anymore. anymore. Many physicalists, like Armstrong think that Many mental states, instead of being identical with physical behavior, are the inner causes of behavior. behavior. causes that these physicalists identify with mental states? mental And what kinds of states are these inner And They’re states of the brain and nervous system. They’re Philosophy of Mind On this view, what is it to desire a particular? It’s just to be in a certain kind of brain state. Which one? Neuroscientific Neuroscientific investigation will reveal the answer. On this view, what is it to be in pain? It’s just to be in some other particular brain state It’s (or state of the nervous system more generally). (or Which one? Again, neuroscientific investigation will reveal the Again, answer. answer. ...
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