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About this Lecture
In this module, we evaluate the merit of the design argument, focusing in particular on (i) the ways in which impersonal systems providing explanations for natural phenomena in the universe challenge arguments from design (ii) the pervasiveness of the religious idea that, at the metaphysical level, these systems are the products of a divine intelligence (iii) David Hume on the non-metaphysical scope of naturalistic explanations for the world in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (iv) the metaphysical character of teleological propositions (v) the issue of identifying a intelligent artificer with the personal God of classical theism (vi) the foundational importance of teleological arguments for belief in God’s existence.
In this course, Professor John Cottingham (University of Reading) explores the teleological argument. In the first module, we introduce Aquinas’ teleological argument from regularity in the universe. In the second module, we examine various conceptions of harmony and order in the world. In the third module, we look at William Paley’s argument from design, using the analogy of a watch. In the fourth module, we explore David Hume’s objections to design type arguments, based on the limitations of analogous claims and causal inferences. In the fifth module, we come to examine the rise of Darwinism, before investigating ‘fine tuning’ in the sixth module. In the seventh module we evaluate teleological arguments, and the extent to which they help to ground belief in a personal God.
John Cottingham is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Reading and an Honorary Fellow of St John's College, Oxford. He has published thirty books — thirteen as sole author, a further nine editions and translations, plus (either as single or join editor) eight edited collections — together with over 115 articles or chapters in journals or books. His books include Descartes, The Rationalists, Philosophy and the Good Life, On the Meaning of Life, The Spiritual Dimension (Cambridge, 2005), Cartesian Reflections (Oxford, 2008), Why Believe? (Continuum 2009) and Philosophy of Religion: Towards a More Humane Approach (Cambridge, 2014). He is co-editor and translator of the three-volume standard Cambridge edition of The Philosophical Writings of Descartes. From 1993-2012 he was editor of Ratio, the international journal of analytic philosophy. The Moral Life, a Festschrift honouring his work on moral psychology, ethics and religion, was published in 2008.
Cite this Lecture
Cottingham, J. (2022, June 21). The Teleological Argument - Conclusions [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/the-teleological-argument/conclusions
Cottingham, J. "The Teleological Argument – Conclusions." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 21 Jun 2022, https://massolit.io/courses/the-teleological-argument/conclusions