The teleological argument

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  • The Teleological Argument
    • Telos = purpose, thus this argument looks at the purpose and order of the universe
    • An A Posteriori argument - uses analogy to prove the existence of God
    • Design qua regularity
      • Aquinas 5th way (archer analogy)
        • An arrow can only be directed to its target by an Archer.
          • Arrow = End goal
        • Premise 1. All natural occurrences show evidence of design
          • Premise 2. This suggests that there is a being that directs all things
            • Premise 3. Things that lack knowledge cannot achieve anything unless directed by a thing with Knowledge
              • Premise 4. There is therefore an intelligent being that directs everyone towards a purpose
                • Conclusion This being God
        • Criticisms of Aquinas' argument
          • Never gives examples to support his argument only gave an analogy
          • The purpose/ end goal remains unkown
        • His argument is design qua regularity because it relies on the idea that things follow a set of laws to get to their ends. These laws are scientific, predictable and regular. an example = law of gravity
        • Strengths
          • Regularity in the world is observational as Aquinas pointed out that Whales migrate to polar regions for environmental benefits
      • Paley used the motion of the planets in our solar system, astonoonmy and Newton's laws of motion/gravity to attempt to prove design. The planets, obey some universal laws, governed by gravity. As everything appears to demonstrate regular, predictable motion in our universe, it would appear that there is an intelligent designer, God
    • Design qua Purpose
      • Paley's Watch and eye analogy
        • There is a very mechanical watch on the ground on a heath. This brings attention to you as it doesn't make sense why it is there. You then inspect the watch to find it is very intricate and designed, this leads to the thought of it has to have been designed by a watch maker.
          • Paley's view was that if we found a stone on a pathway, we might just think it had always been there, as part of the path. However, if we came across a watch, we would not come to the same conclusion because:
            • the watch has a purpose
            • it works in a specific way, to an orderly pattern
            • the watch has a purpose and order
            • therefore it must have been designed
        • For paley, all the parts of the watch unite together to fulfil their purpose - and this cannot be explained by chance - it shows evidence of design. He does not intend to draw any conclusions about the character of the designer, or even of the design, in terms of its perfection, infinity or rarity. Rather, he claims, even if the watch goes wrong or shows evidence of bad design or if we have never seen a watch before, we could still deduce that it had been designed. Paley thinks that it is possible to come to conclusions about design on the basis of the information available - even though our information might be limited
        • Paley's Qualifications
          • 1. Even if we had never seen a watch before it would not weaken the argument, just because we know from experience that watches are designed and made
            • 2. It would not invalidate our inference if the watch did not always work perfectly (as it may appear to the world), we would still assume the watchmaker's existence
              • 3. Neither would our conclusion be mistaken if there were parts of the watch whose function we did not understand and could not explain. The supposition of a watch maker would remain.
          • Paley goes on to argue that the world is as complicated as any watch, infinitely more so. One can think of many examples of complexity in nature which Paley argues, lead us to conclude that they are the work of a cosmic designer. Paley indicated such phenomenon as the human brain, the eye, the survival instincts of animals, the alternation of day and night etc.
      • Design qua purpose argument= evidence shows design in the universe around us. Everything seems to have been made to fulfil a purpose.
    • Kant
      • According to Kant, we are limited in our knowledge of what is around us due to our body apparatus. Our mind naturally tries to make images/patterns of what it experiences so therefore cannot infer design. The world might well be in chaos and we would not necessarily know, due to the fact we cannot see the noumena (the essential truth behind things), only the phenomena (how things appear to us). We cannot prove the exitence of God unless we demonstrate him. In the same way we cannot know whether Kant has 100 thalers in his pocket unless he showed us.
    • Tennant
      • The Anthropic Principle
        • argues that the world seems perfectly designed to support intelligent human life. For many modern proponents of the Teleological argument, juts saying it is all chance or it just appears that way is not satisfactory.
          • 1, we live in a world which provides precisely the things that are necessary for life to be sustained.
      • The Aesthetic Principle
        • Argues that the universe is more than just orderly; it posses a natural beauty beyond that which is necessary to live and is saturated with beauty. Some of that beauty is part of the natural order - the beautiful patterns of flowers or the changing colours of the seasons. Moreover, we also find beauty in the things which are not part of the natural world and have no part to play in the survival of the species/ evolution. Art, music, literature and culture all contribute to the way we perceive the them.


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