University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Mind Body Dualism Essay

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Mind Body Dualism Essay

Mind Body Dualism Essay


Choices for Major Essay

1. Consider either the statement , “Everything except God has a beginning.” or “Everything except God has a cause.” and either defend it or argue against it, as it applies to the Aquinas’ cosmological argument. Does any version of the cosmological argument succeed?

2. Consider some of Hume’s criticisms of the design argument, and whether they lead to accepting or rejecting Paley’s argument from design? Does any evidence from the machinery of nature support the argument? Why or why not?

3. “Dostoevsky was a terrific writer of novels and short stories; he should have stuck to fiction, instead of meddling in religion, morality and science.” Argue either for or against this statement, keeping your comments close to the reading selection in the text, but feel free to bring in relevant positions he may have taken in his fiction which you have read.

4. God could have made people both free and incapable of wrongdoing. Summarize and assess both Mackie’s and Van Inwagen’s views on this point. Does Van Inwagen help you understand Mackie? Does he adequately reply to Mackie? What would Mackie say to the usual believer’s idea that God is like a parent who lets children make their own mistakes?

5. Clifford says that, ”the credulous man is father to the liar and the cheat.” What does this mean? Do you agree with him? What would James say?

6. James compares religious questions with moral questions. Why are they similar? Do you agree with his thesis about morality? How does Clifford analyze this position?

7. Distinguish mind and body as Descartes defines them. What was the main advantage he found in this distinction? What is the main disadvantage? Most people assume that our body affects our mind and vice versa. Does Descartes distinction between mind and body make this difficult to believe? Why or why not?

8. What is the tension between determinism, free will and moral responsibility? How does soft determinism resolve this paradox? Is this position an evasion of the consequences of hard determinism? In your answer, include a critical analysis of two of the three essays by Chisholm, Rachels or Frankfurt.

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