A2 Philosophy questions in topic groups

Religious experience

2003

1 a) Analyse the key concepts of religious experience as an argument for the existence of God. [12]

concept of religious exp; analogy between a range of human experiences and religious exp and principles of credulity and testimony; why this may be a reasonable and simple explanation. Accounts of religious exp only will have a ceiling of 8 marks if no focus on thrust of question.

b) Evaluate the view that this argument supports the probability of the existence of God. [8]

weaknesses of argument such as supposed parallels between religious exp and other types; a consideration of the problems of interpretation as untrustworthy and alternative interpretation; evaluation of responses to criticisms with an understanding of the notion of probability in this context.

 

2002

2 a) “Religious experience presents a convincing argument for the existence of God.” Analyse this claim. [12]

Requires argument and not just accounts. Similarities of principle of credulity in empirical context transferred to claims about experience of God including ideas about testimony.

b) Discuss criticisms of this argument. [8]

Reasons to doubt notions of credulity and testimony such as their applicability to religion; issues about the interpretation of experience; alternative explanations to religious experiences.

 

The Ontological Argument

2003

2 a) Explain the major features of the Ontological Argument for the existence of God. [12]

could include a focus on one major example; understanding of the distinctive features of a priori reasoning with clarification of key terms and stages in this argument such as different notions of existence including necessary existence.

(2002 atheist’s understanding of God; difference between existence in mind and reality; necessary existence)

b) To what extent do the strengths of this argument overcome its weaknesses? [8]

various examples such as the senses of existence and different interpretation of key terms including God, together with an assessment of responses to such criticisms and their strengths or otherwise.

 

2002

1 a) see above 2003 no 2a [12]

b) To what extent if any is this argument a proof of the existence of God? [8]

Clarify proof and implications in this context, significance of deductive reasoning; weaknesses and strengths such as ideas about definition of God an notions of existence and necessary existence.

 

Life After Death

4 a) Compare and contrast TWO of the following:

i) reincarnation    ii) rebirth    iii) resurrection    iv) immortality of the soul [12]

Analysis of significant parallels and major differences and emphases with appropriate reference to specific religious traditions and scholars.

b) Consider critically arguments against belief in life after death. [8]

E.g. behaviourist account of human nature; problems of language and evidence in this debate.

 

2002

3 a) Compare and contrast arguments for and against belief in life after death. [10]

contextual beliefs providing a rationale to support the claims of these beliefs, could be Theological and /or philosophical; implications of selected beliefs about God in this context; hick and the replica theory; arguments against could include conceptual problems in belief in life after death including problems of whether language is at all appropriate in this context; difficulties with the supposed incoherence of some concepts associated e.g. with dualism.

b) Define ONE of the following and evaluate its distinctive contributions to debates about life after death. [10]

Clear understanding of the distinctive features of the selected concept, may draw upon selected philosophers; reasons employed to argue the case that the selected term is valid and convincing; evaluation may include the cogency of this term in its belief system.

Agnosticsim, Atheism, Verification, Falsification, Critiques of Religious Belief

 

2002

4 a) Differentiate agnosticism from atheism [4]

Could include ideas about the different interpretation of each of these terms.

b) Examine either the verification or the falsification debate and evaluate it as a critique of religious belief. [16]

E.g. logical positivism with selecte4d reference to key contributors; evaluation as critique of religious belief with implications about e.g. the meaningless nature of religious language

with dire consequences for religious belief; no evidence to falsify a belief in a benevolent God with the implications of the meaningless nature of such a belief; implications for agnostic and atheistic language and its supposed meaninglessness in this context; possibly also contentious nature of this as a basis of a theory of meaning.

 

2003

3 “It is wrong to believe anything without sufficient evidence.”

Analyse and discuss this claim with reference to the non-existence of God and critiques of religious belief. [20]

What place does evidence have in belief systems; could use psychological or sociological explanations; critical appraisal of religious belief in history and society in which they lack foundation in evidence. Questions the role of evidence in some arguments for the existence of God including the ontological argument and any rebuttal of religious belief.

 


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