Posted: November 9th, 2022
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Option 1: The teleological argument: Aquinas and Paley
Critically compare the argumentative strategy employed by St. Thomas Aquinas and William Paley as they developed teleological arguments for the existence of the God. Your critical comparison should include:
A brief summary or overview of each argument.
An identification of the differences in strategy employed by each philosopher.
An argument that indicates which of the two provides a more compelling argument in your view.
Option 2: Paley’s teleological argument: Objections and Responses
In Paley’s argument, he considers many different objections to his argument, while also providing a counter-argument to each objection. Select two of the objections that Paley considers and do the following:
Summarize the objection and Paley’s counter-argument.
Evaluate the quality of Paley’s reasoning. Do you find Paley’s responses to be effective? Why or why not?
Option 3: Hume’s Criticism of the Teleological Argument:
In part 5 of Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, he argues that even if the argument from design is sound, it cannot serve as the basis for inferring anything about the nature of a designer God (what that God is like). Identify two of the properties of God that Hume considers in part 5, and explain in your own words why Hume believes the argument by design cannot serve as the basis for believing that a designer God must have such properties. Critically evaluate Hume’s reasoning. Do you find the argument to be persuasive or not? Why?
Option 4: Hume’s Criticism of the Teleological Argument:
In parts 6 and 7 of Hume’s Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, he argues that the argument by design fails, since we can more readily compare the world (universe) to an animal or vegetable than to a watch. Explain how Hume draws this conclusion. Do you find the argument to be persuasive or not? Why?
Option 5: Open Reading Question
Develop your own reading question by following the instructions found in the Course Information folder.
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