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BEAR IN MIND THAT THESE TESTS ARE MEANT TO BE DIFFICULT. FOR THIS REASON THEY SHOULD BE ATTEMPTED AFTER THE AFOREMENTIONED NOTES HAVE ALREADY BEEN CAREFULLY REVISED. HAVING SAID THAT, IT IS POSSIBLE THAT ERRORS MIGHT HAVE BEEN MADE DURING THE CREATION OF THE TEST. PLEASE USE THE CONTACT FORM TO LET ME KNOW IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE SPOTTED ONE.
THE LANGUAGE USED IN ALL BLOG POSTS AND IN THE FOLLOWING TEST HAS NOT BEEN SIMPLIFIED. THIS IS BECAUSE EXPANDING YOUR PERSONAL VOCABULARY IS IMPORTANT IF YOU WISH TO ACCESS THE HIGHER GRADES AT ADVANCED LEVEL.
FOR THE ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS, SCROLL DOWN TO THE END OF THIS BLOG ENTRY.
- Which of the following philosophers is NOT responsible for formulating a version of the ontological argument?
2. Which of the following philosophers was the first to use the term ‘ontological’ when writing about this particular argument?
3. TRUE or FALSE? A proposition is knowable a priori if it is knowable entirely through theory or pure logic, while a proposition is knowable a posteriori if it is knowable on the basis of experience or observation.
4. Which of the following is an a priori statement?
a. One plus one equals two.
b. There are two members of the synth-pop group Pet Shop Boys..
5. Which of the following is an analytic statement?
a. All spinsters are unmarried women.
b. Kylie Minogue is a spinster.
6. TRUE or FALSE? The conclusion of a deductive argument is merely probable.
7. TRUE or FALSE? An a posteriori/synthetic statement is potentially falsifiable.
8. TRUE or FALSE? A distinctive feature of ontological arguments for the existence of God is that they are a priori, analytic and deductive in character.
9. TRUE or FALSE? Anselm argued that as the greatest conceivable being, God can only exist in our understanding.
10. TRUE or FALSE? The term ‘aseity’ is often used to refer to the belief that God contains within himself the cause of himself, is the first cause, or rather is simply uncaused. In other words, He is a necessarily self-existent, entirely independent being.
11. TRUE or FALSE? Gaunilo compared Anselm’s notion of God as the most perfect being that can be imagined with the example of a perfect island, arguing that although we may be able to imagine such an island, just because it is perfect does not mean that it actually exists.
12. TRUE or FALSE? Anselm rejected Gaunilo’s comparison on the basis that even though a perfect island is something infinite like God, it is also contingent, whereas God is a being who is both infinite and necessarily existent, so that one cannot conceive of God not existing in the way that one might imagine a perfect island eventually ceasing to exist.
13. TRUE or FALSE? Aquinas criticised Anselm’s proof on that the basis that while a being than which no greater can be thought may indeed exist, such a being may not be like the God of Christianity.
14. TRUE or FALSE? In Descartes’ later version of the ontological argument, existence is not understood to be one of his many perfect attributes and is set apart from them.
15. TRUE or FALSE? Unlike Anselm’s version of the argument, Descartes’ proof is relational in the sense that it depends on a comparison between something that exists in the mind only and something that exists both in the mind and in reality.
16. TRUE or FALSE? Both Anselm and Descartes incorporate the aforementioned concept of aseity, the notion of God as a necessarily existent, independent being, into their versions of the ontological argument.
17. TRUE or FALSE? Both Kant and Russell argued in different ways that existence cannot be a genuine attribute or property (a predicate) of God because it does not add anything meaningful to the description of Him.
18. TRUE or FALSE? Frederick Copleston responded to Kant’s criticism by arguing even if we accept that existence is not a predicate, necessary existence does seem to be, as necessary existence is an attribute that makes God unique and that distinguishes Him from ordinary existent beings. In which case necessary existence is a distinctive property of God that does add something to our conception of Him.
19. TRUE or FALSE? A strength of the ontological proof is that if it is valid, it can lend additional support to the Cosmological argument because the built-in notion of aseity could also help to explain why God might also be the causeless cause of the universe.
20. TRUE or FALSE? A further strength of the ontological argument could be said to be the fact that it has convinced many of those that have studied it that God exists.
- False – the conclusion to an inductive argument is probable while the conclusion to a deductive argument follows inevitably from the premises.
- False – for Anselm, to be the greatest conceivable being, that being must exist in both the understanding (i.e. our imagination) AND in reality.
- False – a perfect island is both finite and contingent, whereas God is neither.
- False – Aquinas’s criticism was different. According to Aquinas, humans have a limited intellect and it is impossible for them to understand or define the nature of God. Anselm is therefore overstepping the mark when he claims to know that God is the greatest conceivable being because if we cannot get our heads around the idea of God in the first place then we are not in a position to work out what the consequences of the idea of God might be.
- False – for Descartes, God possesses all perfections as divine properties or attributes. Existence is one such perfection.
- False – Anselm’s proof is relational in the sense described in the question. Descartes makes no such comparison. His version simply states that God is a perfect being.
- True – Anselm does this in Proslogion III and Descartes’ assertion that existence is a perfection is usually taken to mean that God is necessarily self-existent.
- False – Norman Malcolm came up with this response. Also, do not forget that both Kant and Hume were critical of the notion of ‘necessary existence’.
- False – it has not produced many converts, though it could be said that the fact that there is still a lack of consensus among philosophers and theologians as to why it is flawed even after all this time, and that it still enjoys some support from modern logicians like Kurt Gödel, suggests that it is still relevant when it comes to contemporary debates about God’s existence.