• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess What Can Be Concluded From The Teleological Argument

Extracts from this document...


The teleological argument (often referred to as the Design Argument) deciphers that the world cannot have been a chaotic chance occurrence, but rather a well designed creation with a supreme creator who Paley observes to be God. For the purpose of this argument, we are referring to the God of classical theism who is supposedly, "all-loving," "all-powerful," and "all-knowing." The word 'telos' is Greek for aim, goal or purpose and the word 'logos' means reason and the relevance of these can be seen throughout the argument as countless philosophers over a period of more than 200 years have tried to prove, using this argument, that the world was created with an aim and purpose by God. With the publishing of the Natural Theology (1802) came the first comprehensive and detailed description of the Teleological Argument, by the Peterborough born William Paley, although Hume had published a similar idea many years previously. Paley was a devout Anglican and sought to prove the existence of God through reason, at the time he published many books about Christianity and philosophy which were very influential. Paley explains his argument simply to the reader by using an analogy of himself stood on a heath. He observes two objects initially, a stone and a watch. As he comes across the stone he decides that there is nothing to make him think other than that it has always been there and it has occurred naturally; it requires little or no explanation. ...read more.


From the evil in the world, we cannot assume an all-loving God, and from the diversity in the universe we cannot assume only one God; this contradicts the theory of the God of Classical Theism. There is also the argument that the cause of anything is only great enough to have caused its effect. From this we may establish that a contingent world would not have been created by a necessary being, i.e. God. The idea that there may be multiple God's was illustrated by an analogy of a ship: A ship has many builders, why can a world not have the same with many world builders? Several Gods may have co-operated on creating the world. Following on from this, Hume argues that if it's not the God of Classical Theism then why not an apprentice God? This would provide feasible explanation for the imperfections existent in the world. Furthermore, the teleological argument fails to prove the current existence of a God as the creator of the world could now be destroyed as is suggested by some Christians, this would add further explanation to the imperfections in the world. Hume's arguments should not be disregarded as although they differ from Paley's slightly in that they both use different analogies, Hume provides far more criticisms for his argument which come from a wider variety of approaches. In my opinion despite Paley's argument having a stronger case due to its relevance in modern society and links to an individually specified object, unlike Hume who seeks to relate to a wider population by using a more generalization of a man-made machine. ...read more.


This suggests that God and evolution are compatible in the sense that if things hadn't been created exactly as they are evolution could not have taken place and therefore the universe must have had a designer. This argument is a successful one for me, as it would support the view that God created the world then ceased to exist or that he created beings that would evolve to be humans, with their own free will. This would also justify the imperfections in the world as the free will given to humans allows them to do as they wish with the world. In conclusion, the argument may evoke a greater sense of wonder amongst people, although is unlikely to convince atheists as to God's existence. Criticisms of the argument will fail to dishearten those who already view the world with fascination either. The argument is does not prove the existence of one God or a God that is any of the characteristics outlined in the Classical Theistic description of God. The a posteriori nature of the argument means that it is not logically compelling yet fascinates countless numbers of people. In my own opinion I find the Anthropic Cosmological Principle most compelling with the ideal that God did have a hand in the creation of the universe yet much of it still relies on the natural process of evolution, which despite remaining a theory has strongly supporting scientific evidence (e.g. the pea plant experiment). ?? ?? ?? ?? Wednesday 1st November 2006 Assess What Can Be Concluded From the Teleological Argument (24marks) ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The design argument is also known as the teleological argument. The argument looks at ...

    3 star(s)

    He argued that it's possible to imagine a chaotic universe, where there are no rules. The universe is evidently not chaotic. In fact it appears to be design to support life. Further, It appears to be beautiful at all levels.

  2. Critically assess the design argument

    Hume compared the universe to a vegetable that grows within itself instead of a complexly designed machine like Payley argued. He explained how the universe quite clearly shows evidence that it is ordered but this does not necessarily infer

  1. Nietzsche and Mill on Conventional Morality

    However, surely this very argument that Nietzsche uses to knock down Conventional Morality, could equally be turned against him in favour of a more Utilitarian ideal? Mill would agree with Nietzsche that the value of an action was determined by the consequences of it, but would argue that rather than

  2. (A) Explain Hume's objections to teleological arguments (B) God is the most likely explanation ...

    A major factor in Hume's challenge to the teleological argument is that you cannot understand the design of the universe in the way we would understand the design of a man made product which is often the result of many minds collaborating to produce the best design.

  1. Compare and Contrast the Philisophical Contributions of Nietzsche and Mill to our understanding of ...

    has similarities with Freud in that he thinks religion is a 'neurosis' or mental illness. "Wherever the religious neurosis has appeared on earth we find it tied to three dangerous dietary prescriptions: solitude, fasting and sexual abstinence." So for Nietzsche, being a Christian, means denying ones desires, it means self

  2. Compare, contrast and evaluate Plato and Mill on the relationship between individual and society

    Plato says that eventually the crew will ask the navigator for help, sacrificing their freedom and control for their safety and social benefit. The navigator is capable of using his knowledge of astronomy (knowledge of Being) to help guide the ship and those on it through a world of constantly changing and sometimes-dangerous weather conditions (the world of Becoming).

  1. moral argument

    However, moralists claim that God has given those without His special revelation (scripture, Jesus Christ etc.) the ability to know what the right thing to do is, "Gentiles, who do not have the Law [of Moses] do instinctively the things of the Law."

  2. Mills objection to the teleological argument is stronger than the objections of Hume. Discuss.

    Many such as Aquinas agree and believe that God?s goodness is infinitely different to human goodness, and therefore it can be argued that God allows evil and suffering to exist as part of his greater plan of love. Mill?s criticism of the TA is weakened as there are alternate explanations for evil within nature other than an unloving God.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work