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Take-Home Paper Assignment 1

Please answer any one of the following paper topics/questions. If you want to write about any other topic/question listed below, you must clear it with me one week before the writing assignment is due.

  1. Explain, reconstruct, and evaluate only the first version of the Argument from Evil discussed by Sober. Make sure your paper minimally addresses such questions as (a) why does the problem of evil arise only with a conception of the 3O God?  Why couldn’t the problem arise if one of these properties were removed? (This is part of the explanation); (b) What is a theodicy and how is it supposed to work as an objection to the argument from evil? (c) Do you ultimately think that the theodicy attempt to refute the problem of evil is successful?  (do not address any objections to premises one or three; only address the theodicy objection). Use Sober’s discussion in the evaluation process. Use plenty of concrete examples!
  2. Explain, reconstruct, and evaluate Pascal’s argument for why, even in the absence of knowledge, one should believe that God exists. Your paper should minimally discuss (a) the distinction between evidential and prudential reasons for belief and whether belief acquisition can be successful on prudential basis alone; (b) Pascal’s actual argument for why is it prudentially better to believe in God than not (the detailed gambling process); and (c) some of the assumptions in Pascal’s argument. Use plenty of concrete examples!
  3. Explain, reconstruct, and evaluate The JTB Theory of Knowledge. Your paper should minimally discuss (a) the three different components required for knowledge according to this theory (the letters JTB); (b) explain in detail at least one of the counterexamples to the theory; finally (c) assess the theory (does the counterexample conclusively refute the theory or not). Use Sober’s discussion of this as the basis of your evaluation.  Use plenty of concrete examples!

Your papers must be 5-6 pages long Word Documents (1250-1500 words), 12” font, Times Roman, typed, double spaced, with 1”margings all around, and properly footnoted[1] (e.g. You must turn in both a hard copy in the beginning of class on the due date, May 23 and an electronic copy through Turnitin on the same day, May 23.  Please put your name on the last page of the paper only! Late papers will suffer the penalty of a reduced grade (whether they are handed in late or electronically late). All papers will be checked for possible plagiarism through Turnitin, and any found to be in violation will be dealt according to the administrative guidelines outlined in the Students’ Rights and Responsibilities Handbook. NOTE:  You are allowed to use only your textbook for this class as a source.[2]  No other sources are acceptable. 

[1] Sober, Elliott. Core Questions In Philosophy. New York: Pearson, 2013, p.

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