141. Follow the instruction to write 3pages essayAll the work must be originalTurn it in report is require
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HPL 112 Science and Metaphysics
Prof. Michael Steinmann
Second paper assignment
a) Three pages, double-spaced. Submit printed copy no later than Tuesday, March 25. Requests for
extended deadlines have to be made in advance. You can submit earlier if you want, email me the paper if
it is ready before or during spring break!
b) As a general recommendation: before you start writing, write down your thoughts and arguments by
hand. For each argument, find a quote from the text. Make sure to interpret the quote specifically (and
correctly!). Write your text “around” the quotes. Make sure to mention counter-arguments, the more the
better. Write the introduction and conclusion at the end.
c) Pick one of the following topics:
Kant: freedom of the will (pages 49-57 in excerpt). Kant’s solution to the problem of free will is
compatibilist: he assumes that freedom and determinism do not exclude each other but coexist insofar
as one and the same phenomenon can be understood from two different points of view: as empirical
phenomenon, following the laws of causality, and as “thing in itself,” that is, “intelligible subject”
which can be thought to act freely and start causal chains on its own. Reason is “intelligible” insofar
as it cannot be represented in the same way than physical things. Explain Kant’s argument and state
whether you find it convincing. Do find other theories more convincing, and if yes, which ones? Kant
thinks that morality proves that we can think of ourselves as free, do you agree? If determinism would
be the only possible approach, would morality be impossible then? How would we go about questions
of responsibility and punishment if there were no free will? You do not have to answer all of these
questions, I only mention them to give you some ideas. The minimum you have to do is explain the
main argument in Kant’s text.
Kant: proofs for the existence of God (pages 61-85). Kant distinguishes three proofs for the existence
of God: the ontological, cosmological, and physico-theological proof. None of these proofs is
ultimately conclusive for him. At the same time, he thinks that it is logically both possible and
required to assume a necessary being that contains the ground for all other beings that exist. This
means that although the very idea of a god is meaningful, we have no way to figure out by reason
whether such a being exists. You can choose whether you want to discuss all three proofs or only one,
and to what degree you want to engage in a discussion of the demarcation between faith and reason.
As a minimum, you have to provide a careful analysis of Kant’s text. The physico-theological proof
has a long tradition: it assumes that nature can be read as a testimony for the existence of intelligent
design. The ontological proof is merely conceptual and may seem absurd at first glance. However,
one could argue that ideas of god were never strictly empirical. The ontological proof raises the
question of what exactly makes the idea of god possible and creates a need for it in our thinking and
feeling. Again, I only mention possible topics here.
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