Explain Aquinas’ teleological argument. (25)

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a)      Explain Aquinas’ teleological argument. (25)

The teleological or design argument gets its name from the Greek word telos which means end, goal or purpose.  All things that have intelligence can direct themselves to their telos. Aquinas presents his Ways of to prove God’s existence in his Summa Theologica, the Fifth Way being his version of the teleological argument with roots in Aristotle’s argument for the prime mover. The teleological argument is one of five arguments for the existence of God. It attempts to prove God’s existence by using our experience of the world or universe around us. This makes it a posteriori in nature. Teleological arguments can be identified in the guise of ‘design qua regularity’ and ‘design qua purpose’.

We will begin by outlining Aquinas’ fifth way ‘From the governance of things’ or design qua regularity argument (qua meaning through or pertaining to). Aquinas observed the universe and saw that everything in the universe appeared to be working in some sort of order. In particular he noticed that ‘natural bodies’ behaved in a regular way. Here Aquinas is talking about things like flowers or insects. He then goes on to notice the fact that these natural bodies ‘lack intelligence’. By this he means that they are not conscious of their own movement, yet even so they appear to move or act in regular fashion, as our daffodil flowers every spring time. Aquinas suggests that these things cannot provide their own movement as they lack the intelligence to do so. This must mean that their movement or regularity must come from somewhere other than themselves. He argues that this movement does not occur ‘fortuitously but designedly’. By this he means that this regularity or movement has not come around by sheer chance but that something else has caused…

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