The Teleological Argument

Mind Map by Sumahlor, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by Sumahlor over 5 years ago


A-Level Philosophy Mind Map on The Teleological Argument, created by Sumahlor on 05/04/2015.

Resource summary

The Teleological Argument
1 The 'design argument'
1.1 Created by Thomas Aquinas and developed by William Paley
1.2 An a posteriori argument - from evidence
1.3 Inspiration from Aristotle
2 Aquinas's argument
2.1 Everything in the natural world follows natural laws, even non-thinking things; eg, rivers flow, trees grow
2.1.1 These things seem to have a purpose/direction and to do well (eg to become a mature tree) A non-thinking thing cannot have direction unless given it by someone - eg an arrow is directed by an archer So the natural world is given direction by God This idea is based on the idea of regularity of succession (the idea that a thing happening leads to something else.)
3 Criticisms of Aquinas's argument
3.1 Anthony Flew: Rivers and trees do not have purpose
3.2 Why can't the natural world just be the way it is? Why does it need to have a designer giving it direction?
3.3 Swinburne: Why should God impose laws?
3.3.1 What reason does he have to do this?
3.3.2 How do we know it's God?
4 William Paley's argument
4.1 If you find a rock, you conclude it's just a rock. If you find a watch, you can see evidence it has been designed
4.1.1 It has a purpose Its different parts are fit for this purpose
4.1.2 If the parts are out of order, the watch will not work
4.1.3 So it must have had a maker
4.1.4 A watch (like the world) can go wrong, but that's not the issue: the issue is that the evidence shows it was designed correctly
4.2 The natural world is far more complex than a watch
4.2.1 For example, the human eye was designed for a purpose.
4.2.2 Paley looks at how things fit together for a purpose rather than at natural laws.
4.2.3 It must have had a designer
5 Crticisims of Paley's argument
5.1 This god is a designer, but not a loving Christian God
5.2 Machines and nature are incompatible; even similar things in nature cannot be compared (eg the nervous system of an animal would not work in a human body)
5.3 David Hume: Why couldn't the world have more than one designer?
5.3.1 The world has issues - so was God stupid, or an infant? Note that Paley thought this was irrelevant - Paley wrote about his argument AFTER Hume made his criticisms of similar arguments For him, not knowing how something is made increases awe for the maker
5.3.2 We have no other universes to compare the universe to, so analogies are insufficient Swinburne countered this: Just because the universe is singular doesn't mean we shouldn't try to work it out
6 Other explanations for order in the universe
6.1 Matter could simply naturally lean towards order
6.1.1 Paley countered: a watch doesn't come out of chance
6.2 Trial and error
6.2.1 Swinburne: Time is regular, and things don't seem to come out of chaos
6.3 Evolution/natural selection
6.3.1 John Stuart Mill questions that there is good in nature. Dawkins uses the digger wasp example Can 'cruelty' be a word applied to nature? Paley and Aquinas weren't interested in the quality of design
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