A2 Predictions

Edit June 2016: These were my predictions for 2015. I would say number 1 and 5 still apply, but for a fresh set of predictions go here.

1. Hume’s understanding of miracle is flawed. Discuss.

2. The concept of disembodied existence is incoherent. Discuss

3. Critically assess theories of the use and purposes of religious language

4. Scripture is the only valid form of revelation. Discuss.

5. Critically assess Ayer’s theory of Verification.

6. There will always be more plausible explanations for religious experience than God. Discuss.

These are my six guesses for the A2 Philosophy examination questions this year. 1 is likely I would say because we have had miracles the least as a topic, and because there has never been a question on the different understandings of miracle. 2 because it hasn’t come around for a while, 3 has never come up – to be honest I’m not sure how a question on it would be phrased, but we have been told they can ask a question on anything on the spec, and its on the spec. 4 because we haven’t had revelation for a while, and this particular question hasn’t come up. 5 because we haven’t had Ayer/verification for ages (since before the new spec) and 6 because, as they mention here there hasn’t been a question on challenges to religious experience – although that is not specifically mentioned on the spec – but I do have a hunch there may be a religious experience question – call it a religious experience if you will! Good luck!

Freedom regained

A discussion on some theories of mind/brain relationship

Scientia Salon

81lyH-va9ELby Julian Baggini

[This is an edited extract from Freedom Regained: The Possibility of Free Will, University of Chicago Press. Not to be reproduced without permission of the publisher.]

We’ve heard a lot in recent years about how scientists — neuroscientists in particular — have “discovered” that actions in the body and thoughts in the mind can be traced back to events in the brain. In many ways it is puzzling why so many are worried by this. Given what we believe about the brain’s role in consciousness, wouldn’t it be more surprising if nothing was going on in your brain before you made a decision? As the scientist Colin Blakemore asks, “What else could it be that’s making our muscles move if it’s not our brains?” And what else could be making thoughts possible other than neurons firing? No one should pretend that we understand exactly how it…

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Boethius’ Consolation, Freedom and Divine Foreknowledge

Eternity and God’s foreknowledge

Scholasticus

[This is the final segment in the Boethius series as the problem of divine foreknowledge takes us through the end of the Consolation. I’ve enjoyed writing it, and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it.]

In prose III of book V Boethius proposes the problem of divine foreknowledge as a subject for further philosophical discussion. How is it that God can have infallible foreknowledge about contingent future events because knowledge requires necessity? If God necessarily knows that Socrates will do X at some future time, then it seems that Socrates cannot fail to do X, and therefore that he does not have free will and X is not contingent. But it is ridiculous to deny the freedom of the will in Boethius’s opinion, since then there would be no vices nor virtues, and even vices would be understood to come about through God’s action, nor would there be any point…

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