Assignment for Medieval Philosophy Class

What is the argument for Gods existence that Anselm give in Chapters 2 and 3 Since the argument is complex, try to lay it out step by step. Ultimately for Anselm in Chapter 4, what is it that allows the fool (the atheist) to say that God does not exist Do further research on your ownand state (briefly) any objection you findto Anselms so-called ontological argument.

There are two factual premises and a logical premise which are present in Anselms argument in defense of Gods existence. The two factual premises are listed below followed by the single logical premise which will support the conclusion.

The fool understands the claim of the believers that God exists.
The fool does not believe in the existence of God.
It is impossible that God can exist only in the understanding of man as suggested by the fool.
Since the argument involves a lot of technical words, it is best to clarify and single out these words to avoid certain confusions.

This is defined by Anselm as a being than which nothing greater can be conceived. It can be translated as an absolute, supreme and unsurpassed being which is the epitome of perfection.

These are the unbelievers. We refer to them as the atheists, agnostics or skeptics.

This is primarily used as a location in the mind rather than a faculty of the mind.

This involves the ability to create an image of a being with certain qualities in the mind.

It is condition of the mind which requires conviction of things unseen.
We may now proceed with the argument of Anselm using a question and answer format.
Q  Is it possible to conceive a being than which none greater can be conceived
A  It is possible to conceive a being than which none greater can be conceived in the understanding alone.
Q  Is it possible for this being to exist in reality
A  It is certainly possible because if it does not exist in reality then how can it be considered as a being than which none greater can be conceived Greater beings exist in reality and the same goes with God.
C Therefore God exists not only in the understanding but also in reality.

The fool does not adhere to this argument by insisting that the concept of God rests on the understanding alone but cannot be transported to reality. The reason behind their resistance to this fact lies on their lack of understanding of God for only if their minds are illuminated with this understanding then they will not be fools but believers.

Some of the objections against Anselms ontological argument includes the following
existence is not a predicate
it is one sided since it assumes that everyone can indeed conceptualize a being than which none greater can be conceived and makes no room for non-believers who rejects even the conceptual existence of God
the choice of vocabulary is controversial and confusing
it lacks an actual reference and
it is question begging.

In as much as there are many disputes regarding Anselms argument it still remains a good foundation to test your analytical and critical thinking skills. The reader is left with the choice of accepting or declining his argument.

(2) Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae Question 1 Article 1 based onhttpnewadvent.orgsumma1001.htm How does Aquinas see what would today be called the relationship between faith (theology) and reason (philosophy) Are they in opposition Which seems to be superiorfor Aquinas Finally, give the reasons why for Aquinas philosophy is inadequate and theology is necessary.

According to Aquinas, there are two major classification of knowledge (science) which includes philosophical science and divine or sacred science. Philosophical science constitutes knowledge based on reason and is built up by reason while sacred science constitutes knowledge based on reason coupled with divine revelation. Both sciences do not contradict one another rather they support one another with divine science reigning supreme over philosophical science.

The main tool for attaining philosophical science is reason. Reason sorts through the different information received by the senses. It filters all the data received by the brain makes the necessary conclusion and generalization. Unfortunately, it only sees reality which is exposed to the naked eyes and is unable to see through and beyond this physical reality.

Philosophical science can also be characterized as indirect divine revelation because He uses tools to provide us philosophical truth regarding the world. Reason functions as a tool finder for practical knowledge which is relevant for mans survival and convenience in this world. It is moved by this purpose and is motivated to acquire more philosophical knowledge mostly because of this.

Divine science on the contrary is motivated by a different factor. It is moved by Gods desire to guarantee the salvation of man. Unlike philosophical science which we may consider us indirect divine revelation divine science is direct revelation from God. It leads to the arrival of divine truth which is a very important factor in attaining salvation and life everlasting. But unlike philosophical science which is deduced through the known, divine science is attained through the unknown and the unseen. This reason also gave room for theology, the study about God and everything both unseen and seen that is related to Him.

God is beyond nature. He is above it and human reason has no capacity to understand his ways and understanding. The only way to realize and attain this knowledge is through direct revelations coming from Him which is strongly supported by facts achieved through philosophical science. Philosophical science cannot achieve this truth but can only support the truth value of these revelations through gathered sensory data information.

(3) Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae Question 2 Article 3httpnewadvent.orgsumma1002.htmExplain the reasoning of Aquinas Third Way for proving Gods existence in the passage above. As with the ontological argument, try to break this argument down into steps or premises leading to a conclusion.Read the Third Way carefully and try to pick out what many commentators have called an error in Aquinas reasoning. Hint it has to do with the first half of the argument in which Aquinas tries to prove thatthere cannot be only possible beings. You might want to research the Third Way to get at this last part.

The Third Way can be characterized as Aquinas version of the cosmological argument which works on contingencies and necessities. It rests on the principle that existence of the world necessitates an efficient cause which is necessary for the existence of all things since these contingent things can only spring fourth from the existence of a necessary being. The argument can be summarized as follows

There exist in nature two things that which is possible to exist and that which is necessary impossible not to exist. Things that rest on possibility cannot generate existence for how can it produce anything if it cannot even support its own existence. The fact in the world is that there are things which are already in existence. We can see, feel, hear, taste and smell these. Given this fact, it is impossible not to conclude that there ought to be something in existence that would have caused the existence of these currently existing things. This being is capable of having his existence independent on other beings existence. This being is what we call God.

There are several criticisms with regards to the Third Way. According to them Aquinas committed the fallacy of relational logic and fallacy of disjunction in his arguments.

Aquinas assumed that if everything fails to exist in a particular time then it is also possible to there is a time where nothing existed. But it would be absurd to even think of anything like this so we should accept that there is something that is independent of existence since there are existing things in the world. This series of arguments according to them fall under the fallacy of relational logic because it commits the fallacy of the four terms. It has the following logical form If every X has A then some X is the A of every X. The phrase is A and has A entails two different entities and is not synonymous with one another.

The other fallacy is referred to as a disjunctive fallacy. He assumed that the truth of one of the disjunct directly follow from the disjunction alone. Something that is either possible to be generated or possible to be corrupted cannot entail the possibility of a world which is non-existent in the past. Nevertheless, we can simply argue that these inconsistencies may have been produced because modal logic was not yet highly developed during his time thus the misinterpretation of some of the quantifiers used in the argument. But a clearer understanding of his argument will lead us to a strong argument in support of his argument. We simply need to clarify some of the modal terms which he used.

(4) Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae Question 2 Article 3httpnewadvent.orgsumma1002.htmExplain the reasoning of any of Aquinas Ways for proving Gods existence other than the Third Way.

The Five Ways of Aquinas is a very challenging argument which aims to prove Gods existence apart from divine revelation through the scriptures.  One of the strongest of these ways must be the First Way. He argues in this that the existence of motion and change in the world warrants an ultimate mover, God.

The argument can be summarized in this manner.
Some things experiences motion (change).

It is best to define Aquinas idea of motion to further analyze his claim. Motion is not limited to the change of location but extends to change in characteristics of things. Thus it will extend not only to living things but non-living things.

The quality of potentiality and movement cannot exist in the same object under a specific realm of time.

It is impossible to claim that you are walking and not walking at the same time. It is absurd to accept a claim that a stone is on top of the table and not on top of the table, especially if we are referring to one and the same stone. It is either you are moving or not. It cannot be both.
Each motion has a cause and that cause is something which is apart from that which is being caused to move.
This springs fourth from premise 1 and premise 2. Since we observe and experience change in the world, it is but rational to accept that these changes is motivated by factors apart from the object which is moved

Chain of motions is moved by series of movers which initiates change in the world but all of these movements are ultimately subordinated by an Ultimate Cause, A First Mover.

The transfer of energy entails the impossibility of movement extending towards infinity. Ultimately, there should be a first source of all of these motion and the first source lies outside the realm of changes in order to fulfill such a glorious task. It should be devoid of change so it can be considered as the First Cause of Things for how can it become the first if there is still something which precedes its existence. This First Cause is God.

This is a scientific approach towards proving the existence of God. It is supported by scientific explanations and principles, primary the laws of Motion. It clearly states that there is a First Moment in time for the Universe which is caused by a being apart from the world which experiences change.

(5) Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Question 72 Article 2httpnewadvent.orgsumma1075.htmarticle2 How does Aquinas argue that the human soul is (a) immaterial and (b) subsistent Here, subsistent means that the soul can exist apart from the body.

Aquinas referred to the soul as the intellectual principle of man. He argues that it is both immaterial and subsistent based on the following set of reasons.

The soul is the first principle of life and is considered the act of the body, just like heat is the principle of calefaction. It is moved accidentally because several factors add a special form to its nature which includes quantity, quality and relations. This is in contrast with the body which is moved essentially, Nature moves the body to perform certain biological activities which are vital for survival. Some of these activities are eating, drinking, sleeping, walking and talking.

The nature of the soul rests on substance rather than the concept of a body. It cannot be corporeal (material) because according to Aquinas, whatever knows certain things cannot have any of them present in its own nature since it would only impede knowledge of other things. Notice the tongue, it is limited because it is corporeal and is dependent on the body. Its performance is affected by the physical conditions of the body. It works inappropriately when the body is sick. It cannot taste the food properly when the body is enduring colds and flu. Thus material things of the body are dependent on the health of the body.

The soul acts differently. It has its own operation apart from the body. Only things which are capable of subsisting can work in this manner. The tongue cannot subsist without the body, meaning it cannot function apart from the body. The same goes with other body parts and organ system. Their efficiency relies on the body but the soul function efficiently even if the body is extremely sick. It can still function even if the body lies comatose inside the hospital. It can still be aware of its surroundings because it has its own operation which it can work with. It is complete on its own but needs the body so it can absorb particular set of knowledge. Bear in mind that the soul is the intellectual principle of man rests on understanding and understanding goes beyond sense perception.

(6) Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae II, Question 2 Articles 1-8httpnewadvent.orgsumma2002.htmThis question requires a good dealmore reading than the rest. In Articles 1-8 Aquinas rejects a series of candidates for what it is that leads to human happiness. Briefly list these eight candidates and say, again briefly, why Aquinas rejects each of them. In each case for these eight, your answer need not be much more than a sentence or two.

The human happiness referred to by Aquinas is different from the happiness which we commonly discuss. It refers to the ultimate happiness and is related to the ultimate good. Below is the list of the eight candidates which may lead to happiness and the reason why Aquinas rejected them.

It cannot be considered as factor which will lead to happiness because it is sought for by man not as end to itself but as means of other things which may provide him happiness like the other things which will be mentioned below.

It is given as an account of a particular excellence present in the works of man but can only provide partial happiness. The happiness which man seeks is enduring and extends beyond this life so it cannot be honor.

Fame or Glory
It is prone to deception, lies and corruption because it rests on human knowledge which is imperfect.  Happiness rests on Gods knowledge since he alone is free from injustices and lies.

It rests on the nature of principle which is opposite from happiness which rests on nature of last ends. Moreover, it has the tendency to be associated with evil works while happiness can only be associated with the good.

Bodily Good
This is in contrast with mans last end which is to use his will and reason rather than succumb to the dictates of the appetite. Aside from this, man is composed of both body and soul thus making it necessary to satisfy both parts in order to attain happiness.

Pleasure or Bodily Delights
It is often trifles with the soul which is above the capacity of corporeal or material matter.

Good of the Soul
Happiness may indeed belong to the soul but it does not mean that its happiness rests within itself. Inside the soul rests potentiality and potentialities cannot be considered as mans last end.

Created Good
Happiness cannot be experienced through the created good since only God can satisfy the will of man. He alone can complete man and provide him happiness.

(7) Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae II, Question3 Article 8httpnewadvent.orgsumma2003.htmarticle8 Explain Aquinas argument for why human happiness can only consist in a vision of the divine essence, i.e. in an unmediated intellectual vision of God of the sort that Aquinas thinks could beexperienced in heaven but not on Earth.

Man is not perfectly happy as long as he desires and seeks something. Here on earth, man is bound by a lot of limitations. We are trapped in a body which is very limited to do and know things. It can only satisfy our wants and desires for a particular moment of time but finds it impossible to give us eternal bliss and contentment.

The soul, man intellectual principle, strives to know the essence of a thing and the essence of causes. Here on earth, it works diligently to know several sets of knowledge with a hope that it will arrive with ultimate knowledge of the First Cause but how can it ever achieve this in earth How can it know something that is beyond its nature and capacity

The soul can only be perfected the moment it comprehends the cause and essence of God. Happiness is only achieved the moment this becomes a reality. God is the Ultimate Cause which man seeks to know and He alone has the power to supply man of this particular desire. These cannot be supplied by philosophical science or divine science on earth because it requires unmediated intellectual vision of God. It requires feeling his presence in all aspects. It requires gazing at his face and feeling his warmth embrace.  It requires being with HIM and this can only be achieved in heaven.

Man needs to directly experience God in order to comprehend his nature, essence and cause and only in heaven can this become a reality. Only in heaven can we gaze upon his full grandeur, glory and magnificence. Only in heaven can we find the answers to all the questions lingering in our mind because he will directly respond to these inquiries. Only in heaven can we find peace and contentment because only there can we find the completion of our being. Only in heaven can we experience enduring happiness because God, the source of happiness, is there with us to satisfy all our desires.

(8) Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae II, Question 64 Article 3httpnewadvent.orgsumma3064.htmarticle7 Explain how Aquinas uses the notion of an act having two effects to justify some cases of self-defense thatresult inthe death of the person being defended against. Note This passage has been interpretedin different ways do your best to come up with a defensible interpretation of what Aquinas is saying.

There are two types of acts presented by Aquinas in this Article intentional acts and accidental acts. Intentional acts are motivated by deliberate emotions and reasons. It may be naturally occur to man as the need arises or it may be pre-meditated. Accidental acts on the other hand are unwanted acts which results from intentional acts. For example, you wish to prepare hot coffee for your visitor but while handing over the coffee to him you stumbled and poured coffee over his head instead. You have no intention to shame him but it happened out of unintentional circumstances.

The act having two effects works on a similar pattern. The intentional act is to defend one self and preserve your life but the accidental act is the death of your attacker. You have no wish that he be killed but based on the consequences of the situation, it leads to his death. According to Aquinas you are free from all liabilities taking into consideration that it does not extend to the limit of a blameless defense. It means that his death is caused by a single gunshot or a fatal strike but not dozens of stab wounds on the chest or multiple gunshots. If the other party died in this manner then the person has no right to freedom from liabilities based on self-defense. It would be very hard not to consider the element of hate, disgust or vengeance when you strike a person in such a brutal manner.

It is natural to defend ones life and a person is biologically bound to take care of his own life more than that of others but it does not give him the authority in any way to become the judge of another persons fate. Thus for Aquinas, judges does not have any moral right to condemn a man to death. We have no power to dictate when a persons life should end. We are all under the same category creations of God and does not reign supreme over and above any fellow human being.

The act having two effects rarely happens but when it indeed happens it should only be motivated by mans natural instinct to defend himself against harm otherwise he is morally liable for the crime. Man is forced in a corner where he has to choose death or life. This does not extend to the states defense for death penalty. The state is not forced in a corner or is it given with a dilemma where the only possible action is to sentence a villain to death. Everyone deserves a chance but if you end his life then what chance will you give him This can only be acceptable if and only if the threat a person poses to society goes beyond what the state can handle.


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