Philosophy for A Level: Metaphysics of God and Metaphysics of Mind

Philosophy for A Level: Metaphysics of God and Metaphysics of Mind

By: Michael Lacewing (author)Paperback

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Philosophy for A Level is an accessible textbook for the new 2017 AQA Philosophy syllabus. Structured closely around the AQA specification this textbook covers the two units, Metaphysics of God and Metaphysics of Mind, in an engaging and student-friendly way. With chapters on `How to do philosophy', exam preparation providing students with the philosophical skills they need to succeed, and an extensive glossary to support understanding, this book is ideal for students studying philosophy. Each chapter includes: argument maps that help to develop students' analytical and critical skills comprehension questions to test understanding discussion questions to generate evaluative argument explanation of and commentary on the AQA set texts `Thinking harder' sections cross-references to help students make connections bullet-point summaries of each topic. The companion website hosts a wealth of further resources, including PowerPoint slides, flashcards, further reading, weblinks and handouts, all structured to accompany the textbook. It can be found at

About Author

Michael Lacewing is a teacher of philosophy and theology at Christ's Hospital school, and a former Reader in Philosophy and Vice-Principal Academic at Heythrop College, University of London. He is founder of the company A Level Philosophy (, and advises the British Philosophical Association on matters related to philosophy in schools.


CONTENTS Acknowledgements Introduction How to use this book How to do philosophy Following the syllabus Additional features Using the anthology Glossary Companion website and further resources 1 How to do philosophy Philosophical argument Deductive argument Inductive argument Understanding arguments Evaluating arguments Evaluating claims An aside: why reason? Fallacies Reading philosophy Approaching the text Engaging with the text Beyond the text Writing philosophy What you need to know Planning an essay Writing an essay A standard essay structure General advice 2 Philosophy of religion I. The concept and nature of `God' A. God's attributes Omniscience Omnipotence Aquinas on omnipotence Supreme goodness (omnibenevolence) God and time Thinking harder: Stump and Kretzmann on eternity Key points: God's attributes B. Arguments for the incoherence of the concept of God The paradox of the stone Omnipotence and supreme goodness The Euthyphro dilemma Plato's dilemma Omnipotence and morality Discussion Omniscience and free human beings Thinking harder: three solutions Key points: Arguments for the incoherence of the concept of God Summary: the concept and nature of `God' II. Arguments relating to the existence of God A. Ontological arguments St Anselm's ontological argument Gaunilo's `perfect island' objection Thinking harder: Anselm's reply Descartes' ontological argument Two objections to ontological arguments Empiricist objections to a priori arguments for existence Kant's objection: existence is not a predicate Malcolm's ontological argument Thinking harder: a response to Malcolm Key points: ontological arguments B. Teleological/design arguments The design argument from analogy Hume's objections Paley's design argument Discussion The problem of spatial disorder Evolution by natural selection Swinburne's design argument Swinburne's response to Hume Thinking harder: is the existence of a designer a good explanation? Is the designer God? Hume's objections Swinburne's response Key points: the argument from design C. The cosmological argument The Kalam argument Thinking harder: infinity Aquinas' First and Second Ways Aquinas' Second Way Aquinas' First Way Thinking harder: Descartes' cosmological argument Two issues for arguments from causation Hume on the causal principle Thinking harder: The possibility of an infinite series Aquinas' Third Way Leibniz's argument from contingency Two more issues for cosmological arguments Russell on the fallacy of composition The impossibility of a necessary being Key points: the cosmological argument D. The problem of evil An outline of the problem Two types of evil Thinking harder: Midgley on human evil The logical problem of evil A free will theodicy Thinking harder: Midgley on free will Plantinga's free will defence Natural evil The evidential problem of evil Plantinga's free will defence again Hick's `soul-making' theodicy Key points: the problem of evil Summary: arguments relating to the existence of God III. Religious language The distinction between cognitivism and non-cognitivism Discussion Verificationism Objections Thinking harder: verification and falsification The `University' debate Flew's challenge Mitchell's response Hare's `bliks' Key points: religious language Summary: religious language 3 Philosophy of mind I. What do we mean by `mind'? Features of mental states Intentionality Phenomenal properties/qualia Overview of the six theories Key points: what do we mean by `mind'? II. Dualist theories: substance dualism A. Substance dualism Descartes' indivisibility argument The mental is divisible in some sense Not everything thought of as physical is divisible Thinking harder: Is the mind a substance? Descartes' conceivability argumentMind without body is not conceivable Thinking harder: What is conceivable may not be metaphysically possible What is metaphysically possible tells us nothing about the actual world Key points: substance dualism B. Issues facing substance dualism Issues facing interactionist substance dualism The conceptual interaction problem The empirical interaction problem Issues facing epiphenomenalist substance dualism The problem of other minds The argument from analogy The existence of other minds in the best hypothesis Thinking harder: Avramides on Descartes' solution Substance dualism makes a `category mistake' Key points: issues facing substance dualism Summary: substance dualism III. Physicalist theories Physicalism Supervenience Key points: physicalism A. Mind-brain type identity theory Type identity theory Smart on correlation, identity and reduction Issues Putnam and the multiple realisability of mental states Dualist arguments Key points: mind-brain type identity theory B. Eliminative materialism Patricia Churchland on reduction and elimination Paul Churchland on why `folk psychology' might be false Issues Our certainty about the existence of our mental states takes priority over other considerations Folk psychology has good predictive and explanatory power (and so is the best hypothesis) Thinking harder: the articulation of eliminative materialism as a theory is self-refuting Key points: eliminative materialism C. Philosophical behaviourism Hempel's `hard' behaviourism Ryle's `soft' behaviourism Dispositions Thinking and other mental processes Issues Dualist arguments Issues defining mental states satisfactorily The asymmetry between self-knowledge and knowledge of other people's mental states The distinctness of mental states from behaviour Key points: philosophical behaviourism Summary: physicalist theories IV. Functionalism What is a function? Functionalism and behaviourism Functionalism and multiple realisability Issues The possibility of a functional duplicate with different qualia (inverted qualia) Block on the possibility of a functional duplicate with no qualia Thinking harder: Chalmers on explaining consciousness Key points: functionalism Summary: functionalism V. Dualist theories: property dualism A. Property dualism The theory The knowledge argument The knowledge argument as a dualist argument against other theories Responses to the knowledge argument Mary does not gains new propositional knowledge, but does gain ability knowledge Mary does not gain new propositional knowledge, but does gain acquaintance knowledge Thinking harder: Mary gains new propositional knowledge, but this is knowledge of physical facts that she already knew in a different way The `philosophical zombies' argument Possible worlds Chalmers' zombie argument Thinking harder: how arguments for property dualism work The zombie argument as a dualist argument against other theories Responses to the zombie argument A philosophical zombie (or zombie world) is not conceivable Thinking harder: what is conceivable may not be metaphysically possible Thinking harder: what is metaphysical possible tells us nothing about the actual world Key points: property dualism B. Issues facing property dualism Issues facing interactionist property dualism Issues facing epiphenomenalist property dualism The phenomenology of our mental life Natural selection Thinking harder: introspective self-knowledge The problem of other minds Property dualism makes a `category mistake' Key points: issues facing property dualism Summary: property dualism 4 Preparing for the exam The examination The structure of the exam Assessment objectives Understanding the question: giving the examiners what they are looking for Three-mark questions Five-mark questions 12-mark questions 25-mark questions Revision: it's more than memory Exam technique: getting the best result you can Revision tips Exam tips Glossary (with Joanne Lovesey) Index by syllabus content Index

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781138690400
  • Format: Paperback
  • Number Of Pages: 384
  • ID: 9781138690400
  • weight: 706
  • ISBN10: 1138690406

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