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Thursday, May 03, 2007

My General Exam & Defense

Last week I took my general exam and yesterday gave a defense of my answers. Well, I passed and am now an official candidate for the doctoral degree. (That sounds so cool.) When talking with people about this exam, many weren't too sure what the exam was like and what types of answers the exam committee expected. So, I've decided to do a series of posts where I'll present one of the questions I answered and then give my response (in a truncated form). Because I still have to finish a paper for my Kant seminar by tomorrow, this post will only contain the questions that I answered. I'll start posting my responses next week.
  1. Discuss one of the three traditional classes of argument for theism: The Ontological Argument, the Cosmological argument, and the Teleological Argument. In your discussion present at least two forms of the argument-- a classical form and a contemporary form. The latter may be a version of your own invention, but it should be the best version you know of. Evaluate the argument. Discuss the issue of whether the traditional arguments have any use for religion as a practice.
  2. Present the argument that infallible foreknowledge seems to entail the non-existence of human free will. Give at least three traditional compatibilist solutions to the problem and briefly evaluate them. Present your own evaluation of the argument.
  3. What is meant by religious exclusivism? What is meant by religious inclusivism? Distinguish inclusivism/exclusivism about truth and inclusivism/exclusivism about salvation. Explain the theory of religious diversity John Hick calls pluralism. How is it meant to circumvent the unappealing aspects of both exclusivism and inclusivism about the truth of different religions? How well does Hick succeed? Discuss some of the objections raised to Hick’s theory.
  4. Distinguish the logical and evidential problems of evil. Carefully explain the most compelling version of the Free Will defense. Discuss the prospects for a version of this response as a plausible way out of both problems.
Well, I'm now off to start working on that last paper. I'm very excited about the thought of not having any more term papers after this one. I guess you could consider the dissertation as one big term paper, but that takes all the fun out of it.



Nathan said...

Thanks for your note on my blog. I really appreciate the advice. Having that balance of Christian friends and non-believers is key in challenging me without destroying and insulating my faith. I definitely will be intentional about it. I'll keep you updated about how everything goes. And btw, congratulations to the Mr. Doctoral Candidate.

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