Vardy on the Ontological Argument

In high-school education, Philosophy of Religion in general, and the traditional arguments for God are becoming a well (perhaps over-?)trodden path. The danger of this is that if it is taught badly, or even indifferently, students can be left at the end of a unit feeling like they haven’t changed their minds about anything and feeling that they must agree with a certain understanding of causation, say, to maintain their original beliefs. Philosophy then becomes a sort of stroll or tour to apparent complexity but remains uncritical and impotent. Perhaps this is unavoidable before university (though I certainly it is not) and I am sure I have just condemned myself in saying the above.

I’m certainly not claiming that there is a clear and obvious ‘right’ answer in a lot of the areas we discuss, only that there are plenty of ideas that, under closer inspection, show themselves to be problematic.

ANYWAY, the reason I was prompted to think of this was that in his Thinkers Guide to God, Peter Vardy makes a claim that breaks from this ‘tour’ of different but equally valid offerings. He quite plainly accuses John Hick of misunderstanding non-realism, claiming that this leads him to err in his judgement of ontological arguments (87).

In doing so he is making a claim about what the religious believer means by ‘God exists’ in a way that reminds the reader of Swiss theologian Karl Barth’s interpretation of Anselm’s famous argument. Noting Malcom’s reliance on Wittgenstein, Vardy suggest that we must look at religious experience to progress in discussions about God’s existence. For the believer, God’s existence is certainly thought to be necessary, where the non-believer do not presume this in the same way. Vardy is claiming that such an argument offers no proof that the YHWH of Christianity, Islam and Judaism exists and in doing so he is in the company of both Hume and Kant.

The Revolution Will Be Televised

Great for testing your critical thinking skills:

So It’s a well known fact that if we got rid of the Queen, within a couple of years we’d be a communist state led by anarchists led by Ken Livingston.

Look at the French, they got rid of the Monarchy and they’re a bunch of Ar***oles. Do we want to be like the French?


We’ve got not not actual evidence that she is a witch, but then again we have no actual evidence that she is not a witch.

If you ask yourself why has The Sun witch-hunts against paedophiles, Muslims and Gypsies but never against actual witches? conspiracy theory?

Kingdom of Heaven Challenge Year 3

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Jesus had this massive idea to try and explain to people. To help them get it he gave lots of pictures. Try and work out what you think the ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ really is…

To post your paragraph click on ‘leave a reply’ below. Just put your initials in the name box, your school email (it won’t come up) and leave the web page blank, then paste your answer from word or pages… Try and make your answer the very best you can, it will be a major part of your final S2 report…

Thank You :)

some useful websites…


‘Philosophy TV’ is a site of which I was previously unaware. I haven’t watched any of the videos yet – but looking at the names and the discussion topics, it could be very useful. Let me know if you find anything good…

Bioethics bites was around at the beginning of philosophy bites and you may have listened to a few of these without really knowing where they were from. They are full of really useful information that will help you to gain top evaluating marks in the exam…

MacIntyre on Nietzsche’s Criticism of Kant’s Ethics


I’m a bit of a big fan of Alasdair MacIntyre. His Short History of Ethics carried me through my studies at university before reading After Virtue and then moving in a slightly different direction. Here he describes Nietzsche’s criticism of Kant very clearly. I would have this discussed in any IB or A Level (this isn”t in Higher or AH but good to know about) essay on Kant’s Ethics:

…Nietzsche’s accusation is that in fact Kant assumes what he sets out to prove. He takes it for granted that we are entitled to make moral judgements and enquires what must be the case if this is so; he never asks, as Nietzsche does, whether we are so entitled.


Elephant Juice Soup Company – Ethical Business in Edinburgh Case Study

Importantly, however, it also taps into the charitable aspect of Campbell’s business plan. Because every time someone buys a soup from his vintage Type H Citroën van, he has pledged to feed one hungry person, at home or overseas. His charity plans are still in their embryonic stages, but Campbell has lots of connections he hopes to use in order to achieve his goal. “Choosing a healthy product to deliver the promise of ‘one feeds two’ was important as I wanted the customer to improve their own diet while also helping others suffering from malnutrition,” he says.

Hunger has been cited by the World Bank as the most serious threat to the human race and kills more people than Aids, TB or malaria. “The problem is also a threat in the UK,” says Campbell. “Recent figures show over three million people are at risk.”  (

You could use this as an example of ethical business, or as something to consider from a utilitarian or kantian standpoint… and it’s here in edinburgh too…

For IB folk you might even want to consider Nozick and Rawls….

Plato & Aristotle on God – ib philosophy of religion

here are the slides from today’s class if that’s useful, remember to finish the Plato reading and listen to the podcast for next day…

For the podcast click above

click above here for the question sheet

And finally; Here are the five discussion questions for next week:

what is the form of the Good? (& sun similie)

what is the philosopher ruler like?

what is the difference between belief and knowledge, for Plato? (& the line)

how does the cave fit with Plato’s other ideas?

having read the same book as the soldiers in to end all wars, how does Plato’s philosophy fit with the film?

Pascal’s Wager Revision Summary

I’m not sure how much use this is for people anymore but if you’re studying Pascal’s Wager it might be helpful – click on the image for a larger version. Also be sure to check out the video here which is a pretty good introduction to his idea…