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REASON, AND REALITY An Introduction to Philosophy - 2


NB. These lecture notes are designed to be read in conjunction with my lectures. They are in places very compressed; you may find it easier to read the appropriate lecture notes after, rather than before the lecture.


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Department of Social Sciences and Humanities. BA (Hons) Interdisciplinary Human Studies.

MIND, REASON AND REALITY: An Introduction to Philosophy - 2.

In this semester we consider further topics in philosophy drawn from the areas of Metaphysics, and the Philosophy of Religion. As in the first semester, the set text is An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis by John Hospers supplemented by handouts and other reading. Course Outline We start by looking at the Aristotelian Conception of Nature and Explanation. Aristotle's conception of physical reality was accepted as dogma for sixty generations. The guiding principle of Aristotle's view of nature is teleology: the axiom that everything that happens in the world is done for a certain end. Aristotle's world - view was destroyed in the seventeenth century. The
attack was spearheaded by Galileo Galilei (1565 - 1641), one of the founders of modem science and the mechanical world - view. The chief features of the

philosophy of mechanism are the quantification of nature; the atomic conception of matter; the distinction between primary and secondary properties; and the thesis of determinism. Determinism is the thesis that the past history of the world and the laws of nature together determine a unique future. Now, two models compete for employment in our efforts to understand ourselves. One is based upon the idea of men and women as autonomous and goal-seeking creatures, a view in accord with Aristotle's ideas, whereas the other is based upon the scientific conception of human beings as cogs in the machinery of the world.

Now. Roger Fellows . There are three. and Libertarianism. The problem of freewill is. if materialism is true . at its most general. We next turn our attention to the chief metaphysical arguments for the existence of God.then it seems to follow that I lack the power to act otherwise than the ways in which I do in fact act (because the past together with the laws of nature entail my present behaviour). Members of this school hold quite generally that statements about the super-sensible (such as 'God is the supreme being') are literally senseless. God's existence can be established by reason alone without recourse to observation or experiment. which are: Hard Determinism. and the Argument from Design seeks to show that the existence of order in the world entails the existence of a designer. Lastly we look at the Logical Positivist critique of metaphysics.that what I am is solely a body composed of atoms . The Cosmological Argument claims that God's existence may be established by working backwards from the observation that all events have causes. Soft Determinism. We discuss the three main responses to the problem. the problem of reconciling human agency with universal causation. The Ontological Argument attempts to show that the existence of God is a necessary consequence of an adequate conception of God. Yet we are aware of ourselves as agents unlike (as we think) inert sticks and stones in motion.

the sun and the planets .are each embedded in their own sphere. The moon.G:\RFELLOWS\HANDOUTS\NOTES ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF ARISTOTLE .Mercury. water.doc NOTES ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF ARISTOTLE 1. There is a fifth element. 2. Aristotle pictures the universe as a series of concentric spheres. The earth is spherical and is at rest at the centre. Jupiter and Saturn . Ether which Aristotle assumes fills space beyond the orbit of the moon in which the sun. air and fire.IHO1O1M. Mars. So Aristotle pictures the natural arrangement of elements thus: . Venus. planets and fixed stars revolve. * and the outermost sphere contains the fixed stars. earth. The sub-lunary domain consists of 4 elements. The heavenly bodies revolve around the earth.

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The cosmos of Aristotle is a very homely place to live in: it fits many of the observational facts of our experience. C. (If I change from being happy to being depressed. but we cannot say of a substance that it is a Mary). Only primary substances exist in the sense that if they did not exist then no properties would exist. (There have to be green things in order for the property of greenness to exist). but its fall to earth again is natural: Aristotle thought that since downward motion is natural for a body of weight w. for our present purposes. Substances can change (many) properties without: loss of identity. The following things are true. and the element fire is absolutely light. 3. B. (This is a good example of one false belief reinforcing another). . of primary substances: A. according to Aristotle. but nothing hangs upon it. a tree or a cow (sometimes Aristotle includes artefact kinds as well as natural kinds). (Mary is a primary substance. This is an oversimplification. What exists in the sublunary domain? Aristotle answers that what exists are primary substances. A linguistic term for a substance cannot be a predicate. If a stone is thrown upwards then its upward motion is unnatural. we should double the speed at which the body falls to earth. E. A primary substance is an individual object such as a human being. A substance is one we can point to as a 'this'.The element earth is absolutely heavy. 4. D. then if we double the weight w. then there must be a something which was at first happy and then depressed. A stone (made of the element earth) falls because it naturally belongs at the centre. We can say of Mary that she is happy. Substances must exist in order for change to be possible. .

If some individual members of a species S are F. etc). which constitute human rationality. These principles would consist in the laws of combination of the 4 elements. When we speak. in the genus animal: the predicate 'is rational' applies to every human being. then the shape is the form and the copper is the matter. Again. [What about an arbitrarily chosen lump of copper? Here we might say that the lump of copper is matter and that the form consists in the principles. our example above of a tree diagram) why does the tree branch? This brings in the distinction between ESSENTIAL and ACCIDENTAL PREDICATION. 'loves'). which can be predicated of primary substances. 9. Aristotle thinks. If every existing substance is a composite of matter and form. are the form). (I can't divorce the shape of my house from the actual material of which my house is composed). In other words. Knowledge of logic. According to Aristotle. so although individual substances go out of existence. whereas others are not. scientific knowledge consists in understanding the way primary substances are related in tree diagrams such as the one above. John. 'A human being is a rational animal' expresses the fact that 'rational' is the essential property of the species human. then we can ask: Is form separate from matter? Form apart from matter would be insubstantial. that just as the system of spheres moves around the earth eternally. then G cannot be a property. it constitutes the form of the individual substance of the species human beings. 6. Aristotle's view is that form and matter are not separable. if some predicate G applies to members of different species S and S1. The individual substance is a composition of matter and form. which essentially picks out members of S from members of S from members of S1. However. of the individual copper bowl. he does apparently make an exception in the case of God. some universals are denoted by natural kind terms (‘cow' and'animal') whereas others are qualities ('white'. and to no other species. for instance.5. We have already seen that rationality is the essential property of humanity: that is. e. 8. (Example: we can predicate anger of Mary.g. the species go on forever. and matter devoid of form would be featureless. Aristotle allows the category of secondary substance (=universal). But Aristotle also thinks that animals and plants have souls. which make copper copper. 'heavy') and yet others are relations ('greater than'. A universal term is one. incidentally. The existence of natural kind universals enables us to set up a system of relationships between primary substances: For Aristotle. (Or perhaps: those principles. 7. then F is an accidental predicate of S. but Aristotle does not have anything illuminating to say about these supposed laws]. Next we can ask what makes a primary substance a cow rather than a human being. His view can be set out thus: . According to Aristotle. (d.

I. which make up the universe. Barnes 2. pp. J. 156-161. we come to A's doctrine of the 4 causes. Aristotle. But God. but the biological domain provides many apparent examples of final causation. . rather than being separate (See Note 2 above) is that the spheres. rotate eternally. We can set it out as follows: Material (the bricks) Formal (plans of the architect) Efficient (the workers) Final Cause (a shelter from the weather) Aristotle regarded the final cause as the most important. Suggested Readinq 1. Vol. Part of the article on Aristotle in The Encvclopaedia of Philosophy. being pure form. cannot move the world as efficient cause: God can only be the final cause.Finally.. Thus. This mixes up the elements. The world moves because God is 'the object of the world's desire'. It is fair to say that this is very unclear. the reason the 4 elements are mixed up.

.Roger Fellows ..

we may conclude that these properties are unreal.2. The stars and the planets appear to revolve around the stationary Earth and they do. IHS Semester 2.they uniquely specify future states of the world .it follows . general mathematical relationships between measurable quantities. Since these laws make no references to secondary properties such as colour.. etc). but which contains speculative assumptions difficult to state with exactness. since the laws of nature are deterministic .. This was due (cutting lots of corners) to the birth of a new physics based upon systematic observation and experiment. which led. [3] The MWP entails a radical divide between how things appear and how they actually are. etc. Also. Colour appears to be a continuous property of bodies and it is. to the search for exact. of motion) formulated in terms of numbers associated with the primary properties of nature (Distance. [4] Why does the MWP have this shocking consequence? First the quantification of nature leads to laws (e. Heavy bodies appear to fall faster than lighter ones and they do.. The second is the quantification of nature. For Aristotle this divide is not present. What is real can be measured. [2] It should be noted that the attempt to formulate a mathematical theory of nature is not identical with the Mechanical World Picture. Weight Speed. Area. Mind.. In general the MWP is characterised by two things. The Mechanical World Picture [1] Aristotle's philosophy of nature was finally destroyed in the 17th century. particularly since the assumption that they are real (which is what Aristotle assumed) leads to no interesting predictions about the future course of the world. The fist is the primacy of efficient causation: all changes in the world are brought about by the impact of bodies.10. For him.g. simple.. the Earth seems to be stationary and it is. Reason and Reality . Time.. (MWP) The latter is a philosophical theory embracing the new physics. in turn. The MWP insists that the senses seriously mislead us about the truth: perception is a wholly unreliable guide to reading the book of nature. tastes or smells.

but it did mean that the relationship between God and the world had to be redrawn. given the truth of the assumption that everything . the greatest scientist who ever lived.that human behaviour must also be as predictable as the behaviour of other bodies in motion. This redrawing is depicted on the next page.which exists is composed of material particles (Atomism). [5] Historical aside. The downfall of Aristotle's doctrines did not entail a loss of religious belief (Isaac Newton. was keen on doing nasty things to atheists). .


he could have chosen some other alternative instead. Cl: Smith was confronted with a set of alternative courses of action {a. [2] Human beings are capable of attitudes such as resentment. remorse. We hold persons morally responsible for their conduct only if they intended to do whatever it is they did. and unintentional bodily movements. The theory arises naturally from the rise of modern science . The doctrine can be set out follows: . c. The theory maintains that.perhaps one which we cannot rid ourselves of..} at time t such that at least some one member of the set was immoral (setting fire to the University). These attitudes seem to assume that the persons who are the object of them could have chosen to act in ways other than the ways in which they did act. This statement seems to suggest that at least two logically necessary conditions are involved in Mary's judgement about Smith. Suppose Mary says: 'It was immoral of Smith to set fire to the University'. but an illusion all the same. b. Philosophers term such attitudes reactive attitudes..Department of Social Sciences and Humanities. gratitude. human freedom is an illusion . quite generally. FREEDOM AND DETERMINISM [1] We seem to distinguish between actions (which are bodily movements made intentionally).the rise of what we term 'the mechanical world view'. or so it would appear.2. C2: Although Smith chose an immoral course of action from the set of alternatives. [3] The first metaphysical theory we outline is called HARD DETERMINISM. Cl and C2 attribute to Smith freedom of choice. regret and forgiveness. Mind Reason and Reality: An Introduction to Philosophy .

at the micro-level (the domain of sub-atomic goings on). (2) All human actions are events. It seems to me that Indeterminism cannot possibly be an answer to Hard Determinism.AGENT CAUSATION. then no event could happen otherwise than it does happen. Lastly. if my free actions are those which are predicated upon there being random or chance events.deterministic: events happen in accord with statistical laws and not with deterministic ones.(1) Every event has a cause. SOFT DETERMINISM maintains that free will and universal causality are consistent with one another: free actions are those that stem from causes of a particular kind. I think that it is quite hopeless to sever human agency from the causal nexus. nature is non . there are philosophers who think that Freedom requires a different kind of causation from event causation . [5] Indeterminists are fond of citing that. (7) So no one is ever morally responsible. (5) Therefore no human action can happen otherwise that it does happen. This theory can be set out as follows: . (3) So all human actions have causes. (Reactive attitudes are irrational). because. (4) If every event has a cause. then surely I am absolved in any particular situation from moral responsibility on the grounds that on that occasion my action was simply a random event! [6] In general. [4] There are a variety of responses to the hard determinist. INDETERMINISM claims that free will involves chance. (6) A necessary condition for moral responsibility is the existence of alternative actions. The Soft Determinist agrees.

our actions. it follows that my actions have the property of not having been chosen by me. A possible reply is as follows. although in the social world it can mean that. The thesis of Soft Determinism is easily the most philosophically attractive option to philosophers of an empiricist persuasion. since we do not choose those beliefs. and (ii) the agent does a because he or she wants or desires to do a. and A causes B' to 'therefore B has the property'. the cause of every event is some other event. in the social world. wants. The objection seems to have the form: my wants and desires have a certain property.4) are the same as those of the Hard Determinist. [7] The Agency view (often termed 'Libertarianism') agrees that every event has a cause. the causal relation is defined over event pairs. and that. this doctrine is no advance on Hard Determinism. to the conclusion that I dislike getting well. so it is not . (5) In the natural world. since my wants and desires cause my actions. 'x caused y' never means' x compelled y to occur'.Premises (1 . Consider the inference from the premises that I dislike drinking nasty medicine. But the obvious objection is that. But there is a fallacy in moving from 'if something A has a property. the causes of some events are agents. or give point to. and that nasty medicine causes me to get well. (7) Wants and desires are causes of behaviour so causation and freedom are compatible. An agent may be morally judged for their conduct provided that it was not coerced and that the agent was not a victim of some set of unusual physical conditions (e.causing power to act in the world. In the natural world.g. illness or hypnotism). The idea of self-causation is basic and unanalysable. in the natural world. Agents are not themselves events but creatures with a self . namely the property of not having been chosen by me. now. and desires that rationalise. (6) An agent freely performs some action a if and only if (i) he or she is not compelled to do a by coercion. But.

including Hard Determinism. Roger Fellows . But the same could be said of any metaphysical idea.amenable to empirical refutation.

because categorical statements such as: (a) Mary can raise her arm.Department of Social Sciences and Humanities. Being free just consists in doing what one wants to do in contexts devoid of external constraint. Clearly it would be delusional to suppose that I could do either of these things. Are really disguised hypothetical statements of the form: (b) If Mary chooses to raise her arm then she will do so. only if I could have falsified the laws of nature or altered the conditions of the universe prior to my birth. then no person could have performed any action other than the action they in fact performed on a given occasion. and hence a context in which Mary was unable to raise her arm. Mind Reason and Reality 2. S-D maintains that universal causation and freedom are compatible. Suppose Mary failed to raise her arm at a certain time t. so the hypothetical analysis fails: if every event has a cause. I could have refrained from performing those actions which I did in fact perform. . then the laws of nature and the condition of the Universe before my birth jointly entail every true statement about my physical movements and actions throughout my life: therefore.D argues that this analysis fails because any given context in which Mary failed to raise her arm is a context in which Mary was unable to choose to raise her arm. Here is one of van Inwagen's arguments. Is Soft-Determinism a plausible alternative to Hard Determinism? [1] Soft Determinists challenge the claim that if H-D is true then no one could have acted otherwise. The proponent of H . Interdisciplinary Human Studies year I. The argument purports to show that if H-D is true. [2] The American philosopher Peter van Inwagen has argued that freedom and determinism are indeed inconsistent with one another as H-D claims.

D be the proposition that expresses the state of the world at t. . W be the proposition that expresses the state of the world at t*. L denote the conjunction of all the laws of physics.Let: t* denote some instant of time before Mary was born.

(3) If Mary could have raised her hand at t. H-D does not support the idea that psychology and sociology are or will become sciences like e. and (W & L) D. physics where prediction is the name of the game. (5) If Mary could have rendered (W & L) false then Mary could have rendered L false (since it is impossible for her to render W false). then D would be false. But this is a vast topic. then Mary could have rendered (W & L) false. (6) Mary could not have rendered L false.(1) If H-D is true then (W & L) D. H-D is a metaphysical doctrine that does not entail the predictability either of the behaviour of individuals or of group behaviour.g. (7) Therefore if H-D is true Mary could not have raised her arm at t. Mary could have rendered D false. . (2) If Mary had raised her hand at t. (4) If Mary could have rendered D false.

[4] Aquinas gave five arguments for the existence of God. but not that God is a unity of three persons: religious faith is required for this.1274). The Cosmological Argument. [2] Aquinas (a Christian Aristotelian) and AI-Farabi (a Moslem Aristotelian) conceived of philosophy as an aid to religious belief and not as a rival to it. known as the 'Five Ways': we consider only two of these. . For instance. although it cannot establish articles of religious faith. The Moslem philosopher AI-Farabi who worked in Baghdad in the first half of the tenth century also put the second of these versions forward. [3] Both Aquinas and AI-Farabi believed that metaphysical argumentation can establish the existence of God. Thus Logic is looked upon by AI-Farabi as an aid in the development of the intelligence that is Allah's greatest gift to humanity.Department of Social Sciences and Humanities BA (Interdisciplinary Human Studies Year 1) Mind Reason and Reality Semester 2. Aquinas believed that reason can demonstrate the existence of God. [1] In these notes we consider two versions of the Cosmological argument for the existence of God given by St Thomas Aquinas (1225 .

[A] (6) But there are innumerable causes and effects in the world today. The argument does not show that God = the First Cause. 4. Remark. (1) Everything has a cause. [From 1 & 2] (4) There is no first cause. 5 & 6] (8) There is a first cause [Re-statement of 7]. [From 3] (5) If there were no first cause then there would be no subsequent effects (since to remove the cause is to remove the effect). [From 1] (3) Therefore. [1. [A] (2) Anything. is caused by another. .The Second Way: The Argument from Efficient Causality. which is caused. [A] (7) Therefore it is false that there is no first cause. there is an infinitely regressive chain of causes.

& 7]. (6) If there were a time at which everything was not. [A] (4) Then everything is such that it does not exist at some time [2 & 3] (5) At some time everything is not. which it does not. [A] (But Aquinas thinks that (5) follows from (4). [ A] (7) Something exists now [A] (8) It cannot be that everything is contingent: there must be a necessary being. there would be nothing now.The Third Way: The Argument from Contingency. it would not follow.e. 5. [From 2. as in the case of the Second Way. is such that it could not-be at some time). pp 290. Reading: Hospers.295. Remark. [A] (3) Suppose everything is contingent (i. that the necessary being was God. at some time is not. Even if the argument were sound. (1) A contingent being is a being which could not-be at some time. Roger Fellows . 3. [Df] (2) That which is such that it could not-be. 6. and so I have flagged (5) as another Assumption).

But how do we know that the name 'God' refers to anything? [3] To avoid this difficulty we may paraphrase 'God has every P' as: 'If there is anything which is God-like.Mind. The Ontological Argument for the existence of God.2. as 'Anything which has all perfections exists'.e. The argument seems to have the form: [2] But if in DOA we construe the proper name 'God' as referring to God. . The argument consists of three conditional statements: (a*) If anything is God-like then it has all perfections. of course. then it has every P'. What can we conclude? Only that if anything is God-like then it exists. that 'exists' is a predicate like 'is red' or 'is wise'. [4] Descartes assumes that existence is a perfection. [1] An analysis of Descartes' Ontological Argument (DOA). i. So premise (b) may be paraphrased. For. Obviously! . if 'God' names God then God exists. then the argument is question-begging. Reason and Reality: An Introduction to Philosophy . which may be true or false of things. The trouble is that we cannot draw the conclusion that God exists from these premises. Since this is a conditional. it does not beg the question by assuming at the outset that anything is God-like. then it exists.if anything is God-like.

But should we treat 'exists' as a predicate? Kant famously argued that (i) all existential sentences .are contingent i.(b*) Anything which has all perfections exists. (c*) Therefore if anything is God-like then it exists.g. 'Skipton is a city' is false because the object Skipton fails to fall under the concept because it lacks the property. The philosopher-mathematician Frege successfully undertook this task. But (i) is false: consider 'There exists a prime number between 3 and 7'.e. [6] 1 suppose that a majority of philosophers who work in the analYtic tradition would agree that there is a vitally important difference between e. Objects are denoted by singular terms and concepts denote properties. but that Kant failed to capture it. [5] The argument fails to establish the existence of God even if we treat 'exists' as a predicate. Frege on Existence. This cannot mean that the object Bradford fails to fall under the concept of existence. (1) There is a fundamental distinction to be drawn between objects and concepts. and (ii) statements of the form 'x exists' add no information to the concept of x. and I'll sketch a (partial) version of his solution. and thus falls under the concept of cityhood. because in this case there would be no such object! . their denial is never logically contradictory.sentences which claim that such-and-such exists . For consider 'Bradford does not exist'. Consider 'I have just discovered that unicorns exist'. (2) How about the sentence 'Bradford exists'? Can we analyse this as meaning that the object Bradford falls under the concept of existence because Bradford has the property of existence? No. Objects fall under concepts. 'x is brown' and 'x exists'. Similarly. and (ii) is vague and not obviously true. For example the sentence 'Bradford is a city' is true just because the object Bradford has the property of being a city.

To say that the Earth has one moon is to assert that the concept 'moon of Earth' has the property of including at least one thing under it. under it'. We must distinguish between concepts that denote properties of objects such as 'red' and 'tall' and concepts that denote properties of properties. To say that Venus has no moons is to say that the concept 'moon of Venus' has the property of including nothing under it. (A) (2) To exist in reality for a BNGC would be greater than to exist in the understanding alone. a being no greater than which can be conceived) exists in the understanding.(3) Frege arrives at his account of existence. Anselm's version of the argument is. To affirm that an object 0 exists is to deny that the concept of 0 has the property of zero.2. So. the sentence 'God has all perfections' cannot entail that God exists. it exists in reality. by his analysis of number terms like 'zero' and 'five'. with all perfections. since what it means is: 'the concept of God has the property of including one thing.3 ) (4) Contradiction: the BNGC would not be a BNGC (5) Therefore it is not the case that a BNGC exists in the understanding alone. [7] ANSELM'S ONTOLOGICAL ARGUMENT. I think. (A) (3) Suppose the BNGC exists in the understanding alone. (A) (1. And this statement is not known to be true by analysis. for Frege. subtler that that offered by Descartes.2 ) . To say that the Earth has one moon cannot mean that the earth's moon has the property of oneness otherwise we should be driven to say that the statement 'Venus has no moons' means that the (nonexistent) moons of Venus possess the property of nothing! (4) Frege's solution. It has the following form: (1) A BNGC (= God. (1 .

then one could logically conclude that it is false that the BNGC exists in the understanding alone.. The contradiction in question is that the BNGC is not a BNGC.. What follows from the assumptions (1) .[8] Many philosophers have thought that this argument fails because it treats existence as a predicate. I think however it has a subtle flaw..(3) is not (4) but (4 *): (It is conceived that there exists an x such that x is a BNGC) & (¬ There is an x such that x is conceived to be a BNG).290. But I don't think that it does follow. Reading: Hospers pages 288. It is true that if this contradiction did follow from (1) . This conjunction is consistent: both conjuncts may be true. which is independent of Frege's analysis of existence. The argument tries to deduce a contradiction from the assumptions (1) (3). . Roger Fellows .(3).

then. But. there is no God? (Psalm xiv. if that. There is no God. who dost give understanding to faith. Anselm (1033-1109) Truly there is a God. do thou. Hence. When a painter first conceives of what he will afterwards perform. than which nothing greater can be conceived. and what he understands is in his understanding. it is one thing for an object to be in the understanding. he has it in his understanding. so truly a being than which nothing greater can be conceived to exist.God is that. And assuredly that than which nothing greater can be conceived. indeed. But this is an irreconcilable contradiction.The Ontological Argument for the existence of God st. than which nothing greater can be conceived and it exists both in the understanding and in reality. we believe that thou art a being than which nothing greater can be conceived. suppose it exists in the understanding alone: then it can be conceived to exist in reality which is greater. give me. although the fool hath said in his heart. our God. if that. But obviously this is impossible. because he has made it. God cannot be conceived not to exist . Therefore. exists in the understanding alone. And it assuredly exists so truly.a being than which nothing greater can be conceived . There is. And so. but he does not yet understand it to be. . since the fool hath said in his heart. than which nothing greater can be conceived . that it cannot be conceived not to exist. than which nothing greater can be conceived. can be conceived not to exist. and another to understand that the object exists. And. cannot exist in the understanding alone. even the fool is convinced that something exists in the understanding. Hence. it is not that.understands what he hears. there is no doubt that there exists a being. For when he hears of this he understands it. I). because he has not yet performed it. at least. Hence. For. than which nothing greater can be conceived. this very fool when he hears of this being of which I speak . For. is one. that it cannot even be conceived not to exist: and this being thou art: 0 Lord. than which a greater can be conceived.that which can be conceived not to exist is not God. the very being. And whatever is understood it exists in the understanding. But after he has made the painting. although he does not understand it to exist. and he understands that it exists. it is possible to conceive of a being which cannot be conceived not to exist and this is greater than one which can be conceived not to exist. Lord. Or is there no such nature. than which nothing greater can be conceived. so far as thou knowest it to be profitable. than which nothing greater can be conceived. at any rate. to understand that thou art as we believe. he both has it in his understanding. and that thou art that which we believe. For.

In the primitive stage the argument is not explicitly formulated. and this assertion may well imply that the world as a whole manifests a power of change and motion which is certainly not predominately human and must be regarded as due to the influence of some immortal force. never to return. . The primitive stage had a long history.liliiii Department of Social Sciences and Humanities. For Aristotle. Stage 1. The demand that explanations of natural phenomena have this form provides the basis of Aquinas' 5th argument for the existence of God. Thales also said that 'all things are full of gods'. For example. The Teleological Stage. Newton published his theory of gravitation according to which comets were celestial bodies some of which move in ordinary ellipses. but it arises as a consequence of a thoroughly animistic view of nature. The Argument from Design. The logical form of teleological explanation is that x happens in order to bring about y. and others move in hyperbolas or parabolas. For instance. when in 1686. there was another more popular theory according to which comets are a sign from an angry God warning that he will strike and bring disaster. Interdisciplinary Human Studies . the argument from final causation. The Primitive Stage. Stage 2. the most important form of explanation was teleological explanation. The Argument from Design for the existence of God has gone through four distinct historical stages. which postulates that everything that happens in the cosmos is done for a purpose. the Greek philosopher Thales (640 – 548 BC) thought that the magnetic stone possesses soul because it is able to move iron.I Mind Reason and Reality Semester 2.

a sort that is present in artefacts and non-artefacts equally.ii3. such as physical bodies.. This argument is an induction from factual evidence and even if (c) followed from (a) and (b) it would not prove monotheism as against polytheism.'We observe that things without consciousness. Things lacking knowledge move towards an end only when directed by someone who knows and understands. The Clockwork Stage. (b) Orderly structures and processes are always the work of intelligent design.] Stage 3. since the truth of the . or almost so. (c) Therefore Nature is the work of an intelligent designer.' [Summa Theologica Ia. as appears from their cooperating invariably. Clearly then they reach this end by intention and not by chance. operate with a purpose. In summary form it runs as follows: (a) Nature everywhere exhibits orderly structures and processes. Now the notion of orderliness. On the other hand. and this being we call God. as an arrow by an archer. e. a stone or a cloud of water vapour. in the same way in order to obtain the best result. Nor does it establish creation out of nothing.g. as opposed to a non-artefact. it may mean the sort of orderliness discovered beneath the surface of things by the scientist. This ambiguity is important. since although it is a truism to say that the first kind of order is the result of intelligent agency. On this ground alone it is hard to see any plausibility in this version of the design argument. It may mean the orderliness of a machine. it is part of the conclusion of the argument that the second sort is also. although crucial to the argument is unclear. There is consequently an intelligent being who directs all natural things to their ends.

For instance. (2) There are many different ways in which these laws might have been set. These versions have been undercut by Darwin's theory of evolution. when the conclusion rests upon asserting their similarity. It's not that animals and plants have been fashioned by a divine designer. The Probability Stage. (4) It is very improbable that the laws of physics should just happen to be set so as to allow human beings to develop. and those new variants which had the luck to be better adapted to their environment survived. They regard these versions of the argument as supported by modem scientific theories rather than being undermined by them. This argument is sometimes called the Anthropic Principle. (3) Only a small percentage allow for a stable universe that could produce and sustain human beings. It is much more plausible to suppose that there exists a divine intelligence who 'fine-tuned' the laws because he wanted Homo sapiens to flourish. then the universe could not have existed for more than a few seconds.. if the gravitational force had been slightly stronger. Patrick Glynn puts it as follows: '.the Anthropic Principle says that the seemingly arbitrary and unrelated constants in physics have one strange thing in common--these are precisely the values you need if you want to have a universe capable of producing life. Stage 4..truism depends on a contrast between the two kinds of case. Here is one version of the probability argument: (1) The world is governed by natural laws. it's just that over long periods of time new kinds of living thing have come into existence as a result of random genetic variations. The classic versions of the argument from design appeal to the appearance of purposive adaptation in nature. The probability version of the argument (or family of arguments) is one that is advocated by some scientists.' .

and lotteries. then assign the probability l/n to each of them.000. but it is not. The only way I can think of assigning probabilities to members of the set of possible universes is to appeal to the Principle of Indifference. in the case of n possible universes the probability of W1000 being the actual universe is l/n and this is presumably highly improbable. My winning is highly unlikely but that does not give me any reason to believe that the lottery was rigged in my favour. a reliable guide to assigning probabilities to outcomes. But can we make sense of assigning probabilities to Universes that are alternatives to our own? Cosmologists believe that the Universe came into existence a finite time ago in a so-called 'Big Bang'. Now even if it is true that it is very unlikely that the Universe should have been up in such a way as to allow beings like us it does not seem to follow that the laws were 'fine-tuned' its just that we have been very lucky. in general. So for instance in the case of the National Lottery there are thirteen million outcomes so each ticket gets assigned a probability of winning of 1/13. Let's operate with this crude picture: Wt to WK represent the set of possible universes that are alternatives to our own which is W1000. But . dice. But suppose I do win. The first is. which says that if there are n possible alternatives and our knowledge rules out none of them. Hence. that the indifference principle works fine. Therefore the probability that Tau Ceti has one planet is 1/2.But suppose I buy a ticket in the National Lottery. For instance I know of no reason why the star Tau Ceti does or does not have one planet orbiting around it. If I am rational I don't believe I am going to win since the odds against my doing so are about thirteen million to one. (Question: what if there are an infinite number of alternative universes to our own?) I end by making two points. when we dealing with playing cards. it is just that I have had fantastic luck.000.

But he or she is unlikely to do that because in believing in God. omniscient and wholly good created the world clashes with the belief that the world contains natural evils such as earthquakes.equally. Intellectual honesty compels me to admit that scientific upholders of the Anthropic Principle must be aware of the lottery fallacy. I have not read this book myself. Routledge 1989 that received excellent reviews. [2] The problem is one of internal consistency. To say that the problem is one of internal consistency is to ask whether all of the above beliefs about God can come out true together. [3] Some theists try to solve the problem by attempting to figure out a divine policy in which the evils of this world can be seen as a necessary . floods and famines. I know of no reason why the star should or should not have twenty planets. I recommend for further reading Universes by John Leslie. which have at least one planet. And I can think of no other way of assigning probabilities to non-existent universes. The second point follows from the first. divided by the total number of stars in the sample. Therefore the probability the star has twenty planets is the same as the probability it has one! How would we calculate the probability that the star has one planet? We need the concept of relative frequency in the long run. Interdisciplinary Human Studies Year 1 Mind. Roger Fellows. It is not a problem about belief which does not square with the evidence. although I own a copy. unless of course the theist denies that there is evil in the world. Reason and Reality Semester 2 The Problem of Evil. The probability that the star has one planet is equal to the number of stars in a significantly large random sample of stars. the theist believes both that God created the world and that much in the world is defined by the very standards that God created. and moral evils such as the bad acts done by human beings to one another. We cannot rely upon the Indifference Principle to conclude that the existence of the Universe is highly improbable. We have no present way of making this calculation. [1] Sceptics claim that the belief that a God who is omnipotent.

[6] The most famous defence of the consistency of God's omnipotence.part of some good purpose. One of the most famous of all theodicies is that of the philosopher Leibniz who claimed that this world is the best of all possible worlds. But it then becomes unclear that God is a suitable subject of worship. If this could be demonstrated. It might though be argued that some evils are necessary for certain good things to occur. Also we ought to be very careful before deploying the evasive device that denies what we mean by 'good' is the same as what God means by 'good'. omniscient and wholly good. God's allowing pain must have a deeper reason than this for an omnipotent being could have created a world for sentient creatures who would not have felt pain yet still be aware of danger. omniscience and supreme goodness is the so-called free-will defence. This distinction enables us to brush aside any theodicy that seems to make evil a merely causal necessity for good. The free-will defence roughly argues that since God wanted us to be responsible for our actions. If we go along with this line of thought we are committed to showing that the evils in this world are necessary for the existence of the best world possible. There is a strong temptation to argue in this way. [4] One unattractive solution to the problem of consistency is to water down the proposition the God is omnipotent. We might perhaps appeal to scientific orderliness or the multiplicity of natural kinds. then surely he will be able to judge which of the infinite number of possible worlds that he could create would be the best one. and create it rather than another. [5] We need to stress the distinction between causal and logical possibility. To say. it would show that an omnipotent being could not have created the best of all possible worlds without creating evil. that pain is a danger signal is do nothing to justify the fact of pain. since if God is supremely good and all knowing. for instance. then it is logically impossible for me to be compassionate if there is no suffering to engage my sympathies. he gave us freedom to choose and thus we can choose to do . For if the best possible world is one in which human beings are compassionate. a view savagely parodied by Voltaire in Candide. If someone does claim this he or she is usually said to be propounding a theodicy.

Roger Fellows . and since God is omnipotent. [7] Lastly. Naturally a libertarian would disagree with this analysis. The freewill defence is sometimes extended to cover natural evils by arguing that there have to be some natural evils in the world for us freely choosing beings to react to. It is not obvious that this view can be squared with the existence of natural evils although we are undoubtedly responsible for much moral evil. the free-will defence invites us to ask what conception of human freedom is pre-supposed in the argument? For instance a soft determinist would argue that since freedom and causality are compatible.evil. he could have created a world with different natural laws that precluded both the occurrence of earthquakes and our being the kind of beings who act wickedly towards one another without endangering freedom just because there is no inconsistency between the assertion that human behaviour is governed by causal laws and the assertion that human beings are free agents.