Philosophy of Religion, final exam topics
This is just a list of terms, examples, concepts, etc. that you ought to be familiar with, and some questions you should be able to address. Simply memorizing terms isn't sufficient for understanding the class material, of course, but this might be of some use to you as a start to approaching what you ought to know. This list is in addition to the items mentioned explicitly in the essay questions; I've haven't included all those items here, for the sake of saving time and space. Look over the list of possible reading response paper topics too to get a handle on what we've covered.
Is death bad?
- 'No subject of harm' argument.
- Symmetry argument.
- The 'deprivation account' of death's badness.
- How death isn't like a dreamless sleep or suspended animation
- What makes life good.
- Examples of things that are bad for you that don't bother you.
- When death is bad for you.
- His rebuttal to the symmetry argument; how birth and death are asymmetrical.
- How death can set back your interests; interests that survive your death
- Feinberg's account of what harm is.
- Self-regarding vs. non-self-regarding interests
- Fulfillment vs. satisfaction of desires; other side: thwarting desires vs. frustrating them. Examples of each.
- Retroactive harm: how antemortem people can be harmed by postmortem events.
- How retroactive harms don' involve backwards causation.
- Pluralism regarding truth-claims of religions, vs. pluralism regarding salvation
- Hick's characterization of what all religions have in common.
- In what way are all religions equally 'true,' for Hick? His evidence for this?
- How can apparently inconsistent claims of differing religions all be true, according to Hick?
- Dalai Lama and Rahner
- How does inclusivism differ from pluralism?
- DL on doctrinal differences, and on the ways in the major religions do agree.
- DL on integrating practices of different religions
- DL on why not to proselytize
- Rahner on why it's particularly hard to be a Christian inclusivist
- Doctrinal reasons to want to extend salvation to non-'Christians.'
- What 'anonymous Christians' are.
- Hick's two criticisms of Rahner.
- His definition of exclusivism; what sort of 'exclusivist' he will focus on.
- Why he thinks believing others are wrong is a simple matter of logic.
- The 'arrogance charge,' what principle lies behind it.
- Why Plantinga thinks, if the principle behind the 'arrogance charge' is accepted, pretty much everybody is arrogant.
- Why Hick is arrogant
- Why the 'abstemious pluralist' (like Clifford) who refuses to assent or deny religious claims is also arrogant. Difference between denying a claim and dissenting from it.
- Analogy between religious and moral beliefs.
- Intellectual charge against exclusivism: dependence of your beliefs on being born in a certain time and place make those beliefs unreliable.
- Plantinga's response; why he thinks the intellectual charge refutes itself.
Return to the Philosophy of Religion page.
- Aquinas: why God cannot do what is logically impossible and why this doesn't limit God's power.
- Aquinas: why God cannot change the past and why this doesn't limit God's power.
- Anselm on why God cannot do many things.
- Geach's objections to the 4 definitions of omnipotence.
- Geach on the distinction between God's being 'almighty' vs. 'omnipotent,' why it's better to say that he's almighty rather than omnipotent.