- Why does Ayer claim that assertions made about a transcendent God are not intelligible notions?
- Why does Ayer reject the notion of God with a capital ‘G’?
- Why does Ayer suggest that the atheist and agnostic positions are as untenable as the theist’s?
- What does Ayer mean by asserting the existence of a transcendent god shows nothing but the ‘state of mind’ of the theist?
- Why are claims made by primitive religions given some credit where those of sophisticated religions are not?
- Ayer uses all of these phrases: true / false; unintelligible notions; no literal significance; not propositions; nonsense; not a genuine cognitive state; fallacious; cannot be any transcendent truths… – what point do they all have in common?
- What does Ayer suggest about believing people?
These are the key concepts in Ayer’s article:
Primitive vs. sophisticated religions / teleological; ontological; religious experience / atheism; agnosticism; religious language; truth; knowledge [Plus number 6!]
Hegel / scholastic vs. deistic / historical context: religious persecution, intolerance and war in Europe/ Enlightenment rationalism / Kant’s idea / Schleiermacher – Spinoza / Hegel / Hume / Marx / Nietzsche / Kierkegaard. See list of their ideas! [document called: Notes on the key concepts and philosophers in Westphal’s extract.]
- How does the focus shift in this article from the preceding ones [in the volume in which Westphal is included – not the leaflet we have]?
- What did Hegel complain about?
- What was the difference between scholasticism and deism and what historical situation did deism arise to combat?
- What did Hume and Kant’s critique of the ontological, cosmological and teleological arguments seem to provide a devastating blow to? And what was the result?
- Summarise Kant’s reformulation.
- What belief did Schleiermacher and Spinoza have in common?
- What does Hegel suggest about the importance of the person of Jesus?
- What is meant by ‘suspicion’ in terms of Hume?
- What have Marx, Nietzsche and Kierkegaard all got in common as far as the function of religion in society?
- In your own words explain the difference between ‘knowledge about’ and ‘knowledge of.’
- Which form if either is more important in Donovan’s view?
- In your own words explain what Buber means by ‘I-It’ and ‘I-You’ relationships.
- In Donovan’s opinion what are the problems with religious experiences as a form of knowledge?
- What is the difference between ‘feeling certain’ or ‘inner conviction’ and ‘being right’?
- What is the problem with ‘intuitive’ knowledge?
Key concepts: BASICS – is religious experience a valid form of knowledge? If it isn’t has it any value?
- What is regarded as knowledge? / How does knowledge come? / Is religious experience a valid form of knowledge and what doubts can be cast on it?/ Intuition as a form of knowledge / Feeling certain and being right – how do we know we are right? / Knowledge about and of / I-It and I-You /