- How is the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) used by the advocate of the Cosmological Argument to justify the two premises of the argument? Make sure to clearly define dependent and self-existent beings, and also to explain the two parts of PSR and how each part is used to justify a different premise of the argument. (See Rowe's article; pp. 37-46)
The Cosmological Argument stipulates that there must be some first cause or uncaused cause that led to the creation of the universe. Everything in the universe that we observe comes from something else. The Cosmological Arguments does not believe in an infinite regression of causes, but instead that if everything exists due to a cause then if you trace back the chain of causality far enough you must admit that there is a firt cause or uncaused cause.
The Principle of Sufficient reason has two parts, that everything must either have a reason or a cause. It states that there is nothing in the observable universe, nothing in our everyday life, which is a self-existent being, but that it must regrest back to an initial causality. This is often used in support of the Cosmological Argument, which is often used as a proof to justify the existence of god.
- According to Aristotle, how does an individual come to lead a good life? Include a discussion of happiness, our unique function as human beings, character, virtue, and the ‘mean.’
For Aristotle happiness was the highest goal and good that a man can aspire too. He believed that happiness required the nourishment of virtue. His virtues were individual rather than social virtues. Aristotle believed that a lot was required in order for someone to truly be happy. These included both physical and mental well being. He believed that a person must keep a balance of things, or the Mean, which was a point between two extremes or excesses. This is similar in a lot of way to the Buddhist doctrine of the Middle Path.
An example would be someone who loves work and their family. Spending all ones time with one but not the other would lead to the loss of one of the important things. Rather, a balanced approach to life, giving both work and family their due, was the approach advocated by Aristotle
- What makes someone the same person over time according to John Locke's theory of personal identity? How does Thomas Reid expose a contradiction in Locke’s theory with his example of ‘the boy who is flogged'? Lastly, briefly explain Hume’s critique of the traditional notion of the ‘self.’
Locke’s theory of personal identity comes from his belief in empiricism that all knowledge came from the senses and human experience of the world around them. His theory allotted for offering what remains the same over time within a person despite the outward and physical and mental changes that occur without and without.
Locke believed in three substances. Material substance, finite intelligence and God. Lock does not believe the physical nature of man to be his identity, but rather the mental state or consciousness of the entity was the overriding and defining factor.
Reid challenges Locke’s idea that pointing out that consciousness has a limit to how far it can reach. So that this cannot be the universal standard for identity, since it is not something that is stable.
Hume believed different that humans do not have a clear or definitive concept of the self, but really only saw particulars or a “Bundle of sensations” that one thought of as the self.