ESP Biography

MICHAEL DENIGRIS, MIT sophomore studying physics/math/philosophy.

Major: Physics/Philosophy

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: 2017

Picture of Michael Denigris

Brief Biographical Sketch:

I'm Michael, a physics/philosophy double major at MIT with independent interests in religion, politics/foreign relations and opinion writing. I'm not your typical MIT student: I don't build things, I enjoy philosophy (most of the time), and I'm more interested in why something works than I am in how it can be made useful. Part of that overall theme is that I'm a fan of armchair philosophy: thinking about life's biggest questions, all-the-while refining my answers to them, and how/why these questions are important to us today.

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

H9815: Does god exist? in Splash 2015 (Nov. 21 - 22, 2015)
In this course, we will analyze the philosopher William Lane Craig's formulation of the Kalam Cosmological argument for the existence of god. Similar to Plato's "prime mover" argument and Leibniz's cosmological argument from the Principle of Sufficient Reason, the KCA attempts to show that the universe must have had a cause, and further that that cause is necessarily the being we refer to as god. We will explore various topics in physics (cosmology/astrophysics and cosmogeny) and metaphysics (philosophy of time, causality, etc) to come to an informed conclusion as to whether or not the Kalam is likely to be sound and also discuss what other answers might explain how the universe and everything within it came to be. If you took my course "Does god exist?" last year, this course will be substantially more specific and detailed than what was covered then, so I encourage you to take this class as well!

H8592: Is belief in god reasonable? in Splash 2014 (Nov. 22 - 23, 2014)
This class will provide a very basic introduction to the academic discussion of whether or not god exists, and in what ways one can attempt to establish a justified answer to that question. We will address philosophically rigorous arguments both for and against the existence of god, and attempt to find flaws in their reasoning. The format of the class will be a mix between lecture and discussion. I'll present the arguments, the justifications for the arguments' premises, and some possible objections for consideration, and invite the class to make their own objections or ask questions. Topics: -Burden of proof and the construct of the null hypothesis -Positions one can have on the question of god's existence -Arguments for the existence of god: Teleological Argument, Kalam Cosmological Argument, Moral Argument -Arguments against the existence of god: Problem of Evil, Hume's argument against miracles, the Omnipotence Paradox.