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Telelogical Argument Strengths

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Introduction

Is the Teleological Argument strong? The Teleological Argument is an a posterior inductive argument which was put forward in many forms by ancient philosophers such as Plato and Cicero to the more modern philosophers and theologians such as Aquinas and Paley. It is an argument to prove the existence of God. The name of the argument comes from Greek "telos" which means purpose or aim. Aquinas's argument which was in his Summa may be summed up in this way: 1. All designed things have a designer 2. The Universe is designed 3. Therefore it has a designer, this designer is God This argument, as seen from point one and three, is begging the question (in other words, it is a circular argument). This makes it weak because it has already asserted one of it's premises in the conclusion. It as though he is saying that "it's true because it is true". ...read more.

Middle

So, the fact that it is not necessarily true does weaken the argument. The argument is also a posterior, this gives room for Scepticism (which doubts the external world) to weaken the argument. Scepticism says that we can never have knowledge of the external world which means the 'order' or 'purpose' we see in the world can also be doubted. As Descartes put it, the only thing that is infallible was your own mind (this clearly illustrated when he said "I think therefore I am"). How do we know that order, purpose and beauty in the world isn't the working of an Evil Demon? David Hume, the British Empiricist, raised objections to the teleological argument which was put forward by Paley however his objections can be used against Aquinas's argument too. Hume's first objection was that we can not assess whether a universe was designed because we have no experience of universe being designed or built. ...read more.

Conclusion

His second objection, which was combated by Swinburne, can not possibly be true because the order the universe has In conclusion, the Teleological Argument is strong because the first two objections that were put forward by Hume have been combated by Swinburne and do not hold up. However, Hume's third objection still holds, this makes the argument weaker because it shows that the argument does not fulfil its purpose (to show God's existence - the definition being of a Judeo-Christian God). The objection that it is an inductive, argument does not hold because although it makes it less likely to be true, that does not mean that is not true. Also, the fact that it is a posterior, may mean that scepticism can doubt it but the common sense approach (put forward by Wittgenstein) says that we should not be affected by such things. Wittgenstein says "Here is one hand, and here is another" and that is proof enough. ...read more.

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