Richard discusses the classic philosophical problem of free will --- that is, the question of whether we decide things for ourselves, or are forced to go one way or another. He distinguishes between two different worries. One worry is that the laws of physics, plus facts about the past over which we have no control, determine what we will do, and that means we’re not free. Another worry is that because the laws and the past determine what we’ll do, someone smart enough could know what we would do ahead of time, so we can’t be free. He says the second worry is much worse than the first, but argues that the second doesn’t follow from the first.
Tom asks whether it is moral to believe something even when you have no evidence that it is true. He discusses a classic debate on that subject, between philosophers William James and William Clifford.
Part 2 of a pair. Tim moves on to the version of the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God called 'the Modal Argument.' The idea is that all the contingent facts about the world need to be explained by some necessary fact, and that necessary fact is that God exists.
Part 1 of a pair. Tim lays out a classic argument for the existence of God, called 'The Cosmological Argument' -- roughly, the idea that something has to explain why the world is the way it is, and that something is God. He distinguishes two versions: the Beginnings Argument, and the Modal Argument. He covers the Beginnings Argument.
William introduces us to different aspects of meaning, as studied by linguistics and philosophers. He tells us about the difference between the literal meaning of a sentence someone says, and what they intend to convey by using that sentence at that particular time.
Sally discusses a classic argument that God does not exist, called 'The Problem of Evil'. Along the way, she distinguishes different ways in which people believe that God exists, and discusses what's bad about having contradictory beliefs.
Caspar asks: can science tell us everything there is to know about the world? He tells us about a famous argument that it can't, sometimes called 'the knowledge argument' or 'the Mary argument', due to philosopher Frank Jackson. If the argument is right, then there are certain aspects of the world that we can't learn about through science. In particular, we can't use science to learn what it is like to see red, or taste coffee, or have other experiences.
Part 3 of a trilogy. Greg considers the evidential version of the Problem of Evil, and gives a response on behalf of someone who believes that God exists. This involves considering whether God might have a good reason to allow bad things to happen.
Part 1 of a pair. Stephen considers the relationship between morality and God. Specifically, he asks: is morality the same thing as the commands of God? Is there no morality if there is no God? Ultimately, Stephen will argue that morality and God's commands are distinct, even if there is a God and she commands moral things. However, in this first video, Steve considers why you might like the view that morality just is God's commands.
Luvell introduces us to the original position -- an idea due to the most important political philosopher of the 20th Century, John Rawls. The original position is a way of thinking about what makes an institution or a society just.
Part 2 of a pair. After part 1, you might have thought that all different infinite collections of things are the same size. Not so! In this video, Agustin shows us another of Georg Cantor’s results: that for every size of infinity, there is a bigger one! An example: there are way more real numbers than there are natural numbers.
Part 2 of a trilogy. Here, Greg gives a response to the deductive version of the Problem of Evil on behalf of someone who believes that God exists. In thinking about this response, we need to think about whether God can make contradictions true, and whether God can have good reasons for allowing bad things to happen.
Part 1 of a trilogy. Greg lays out a classic argument that God does not exist, called ‘The Problem of Evil’. He distinguishes two versions of that argument, which are sometimes called ‘the deductive’ and ‘the evidential’ version. He goes into some details on the deductive version.