1. Be sure to complete the preliminary reading assignment: tutorials A01-A04 of the Argument Analysis section of the Critical Thinking Web. This is critical and prerequisite to all three writing assignments, as it teaches you how to logically analyze and evaluate arguments for theories. https://philosophy.hku.hk/think/arg/Links to an external site.

2. Be sure to complete the first reading assignment from the textbook: chapters 15 and 24. This introduces you to the philosophical problem of the existence of God. The philosophy that God exists, or theism, is represented and argued by Anselm of Canterbury and Thomas Aquinas, whereas the philosophy that God does not exist, or atheism, is represented and argued by Friedrich Nietzsche.

3. Write a short essay (of several pages in length) in which you logically analyze and evaluate the following arguments for theism and atheism, respectively. Analyzing an argument involves defining the key terms/concepts in the argument in order to show that you correctly understand the argument. Evaluating an argument involves judging it to be SOUND or not. A SOUND argument is one that is VALID and PREMISSARILY TRUE. Hence, evaluating an argument involves judging it to be VALID or not and PREMISSARILY TRUE or not. It is also important to explain why/how you made the judgments that you did about a given argument. This is all explained in the tutorials. Feel free to do some independent study in preparing to write your essay.

THE TELEOLOGICAL/DESIGN ARGUMENT

premise: The universe is the product of (intelligent) design.

conclusion: (Therefore,) God exists. [theism]

THE ARGUMENT FROM EVIL/SUFFERING

premise 1: If God exists, then there should be no evil/suffering.

premise 2: There is evil/suffering.

conclusion: (Therefore,) God does not exist. [atheism]

it is important that you be as thorough as possible. In composing any given essay, be sure to follow the instructions fully. Be sure to explain and defend any judgments that you make about the arguments. Evaluating an argument is not simply about judging an argument to be valid or invalid, premissarily true or false, sound or unsound. In a proper evaluation of an argument, you need to give satisfactory reasons for coming to the evaluative conclusions that you come to. After all, someone might come to different evaluative conclusions of a given argument, and you need to defend your conclusions.