Phil 3260: Study Questions For Paley

Phil 3260: Study Questions For Paley
1. What, in the end, are the two points that are required (according to Paley) for his
argument regarding the watch to go through?
2. How does Paley answer the objection that, if watches begat more watches, we
needn’t draw the conclusion that the watch was designed?
3. How would Hume respond to Paley’s claim that ‘there cannot be design without a
designer; contrivance, without a contriver; order, without choice; arrangement,
without anything capable of arranging’?**
4. What does Paley mean when he describes the watch’s production as ‘a result
connected with the utilities of other beings’? What important point about natural
selection does this remark call attention to? Does this fact about natural selection
undermine Paley’s argument? Discuss. **
5. What does evolution do to help with Paley’s objection to the proposal of a long
sequence of watches giving rise to further watches?
6. Why does Paley reject the suggestion that an infinite series of watches might
solve the puzzle without requiring a designer?
7. Why does Paley think an atheist must be committed to denying design in the case
of an indefinitely self-reproducing watch?
8. Are living things really as analogous to Paley’s watch as he evidently believes?
Discuss. **
Phil 3260 Study Questions on Mackie
1. For whom does Mackie say the problem of evil is a problem?
2. Explain, briefly, the conflict Mackie sees between God’s omnipotence, God’s
being ‘wholly good’ and the existence of evil.
3. What does Mackie mean by an ‘adequate’ solution to the problem of evil? Give
two examples.
4. What does Mackie mean by ‘fallacious solutions’ to the problem of evil? Explain
two ways in which such solutions might appear to work.
5. What limitation on the omnipotence of God is usually accepted?
6. Why does Mackie think that making the good vs. evil contrast parallel to the
(relative) greater-smaller contrast makes God’s pursuit of goodness paradoxical?
7. Mackie argues that if great and small are turned into absolutes, on the other hand,
the necessary ‘going together’ of great and small disappears. Explain how this
argument works.
8. Why does Mackie say that, if everything were red, we wouldn’t notice or have the
idea (or word) red?
9. What is Mackie’s final objection to the claim that evil is required in order for
good to exist?
10. What is wrong with the suggestion that evil is a ‘necessary means’ to some
11. What possibility might allow this suggestion to survive Mackie’s first objection?
12. How does the possibility (and actuality) of higher level evils (as well as goods)
undermine the suggestion that the world is better with some evils in it than it
could be if it were purely good?
13. What is the ‘primary’ reason Mackie thinks that ‘free will’ cannot explain why
there is evil?
14. How does Mackie argue that free will is compatible with people always choosing
the good?
15. What sort of free will is not compatible with people always choosing the good,
according to Mackie?
16. What problem does the existence of free will pose for God’s omnipotence?
17. What is the paradox of omnipotence? What, in the end, does Mackie think it
18. What possible response to the paradox does Mackie suggest? What worry does
this response raise about God and his/her actions?