Do keep in mind that some of the readings and topics have changed over time, and even for the same topics, some of the definitions were different as well. So don’t be surprised if a few things are not what you expected (to give an example–I didn’t emphasize the epistemological nature of the LPOE in the earlier years).
Just as importantly, I set questions of a very different style compared to my colleague, A/P Mike Pelczar, who rotates the module with me–even though a lot of material overlap between us. Just be warned if you look at the exam scripts from outside the above list.
As stated in W11 Slide #36, the Principle of Indifference says:
When faced with n > 1 possibilities that are mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive, and you have no evidence about their relative likelihoods, a probability equal to 1/n for each possibility.
I also gave two examples in the lecture:
Paul graduated from either JPJC, ACJC, or SAJC (and exactly one of them), but you don’t know which and you don’t know the likelihood of him going to any one of them.
Assign a probability equal to 1/3 to the possibility that he went to SAJC.
You have one lucky draw coupon, and you know that one coupon from a pile (numbered 000,000,000 to 999,999,999) will be picked. Each coupon give you one chance of willing. Assign a probability equal to 1/1,000,000,000 to the outcome where your coupon is the winning coupon.
Now, the “probability” we are talking about is not something about the world–about where Paul actually went to school, or which coupon is the actual winning coupon. Rather, we are talking about the level of confidence you shouldhave, if you are being rational, in one of the options being true, given that you don’t know yet.
Click on image to see Kitty’s reaction upon discovering the Principle of Explosion…
I said a bit about how the idea that God–an omnipotent being–can do the logically impossible is probably not a good idea to accept, whether you are an Atheist attempting to push the Logical Problem of Evil (“Why, your God can’t do that? Not all powerful izzit?”), or a Theist trying to defuse the Logical Problem of Evil. This post expands on that idea and introduces you to a point about logic called the Principle of Explosion.
This is an expansion on the last segment of W08 and the stuff from earlier in the lecture that leads up to it. Since it concerns what many philosophers of religion now perceive to be the critical weakness of the LPOE–prompting them to move to an inductive/evidential rather than a strictly logical formulation of the Problem–it bears a bit of re-emphasizing. (Warning: this is a longish post. I originally wrote it to help students from a previous year who said that they found the material hard to follow. This might not apply to you in this semester. But since I wrote it, might as well.)
Some of you have noticed how Norcross’ Puppy Argument, Singer’s Drowning Child Argument, and what I called Huemer’s “Sam” Argument share the same overall argumentative strategy. This a post about that overall strategy.