Michael Daniel 9-17-2006 Hume: Critique of the Design Argument Thesis: God created the universe in such a way

that everything works perfectly with each other like items in a massive machine. This is similar to the way that people create houses and clocks. Thru a posteriori argument this information can be used as proof that God exists and that His intellect is similar to human intellect. This work is a description of a conversation between 3 people. Cleanthes is a philosopher with some new ideas. Demea seems to be a less learned individual when it comes to philosophy and argumentation. She could possibly be a member of the nobility or a figure of religious significance but the text is not exactly clear on whom she is. Philo is a more orthodox philosopher. He speaks more than anybody else in this story. At one point Demea makes reference to a young man named Pamphilus. The reference is such that it seems like he is present but does not say anything (pg 120, paragraph 3). Cleanthes begins by telling Demea that he has observed that everything in nature works together perfectly, as if all of creation is a massive machine created by God. The machine of creation is put together in much the same way that people would put a house or a watch together. From this we can see that Gods thought resembles the thought of people. The implication of this is that God is human-like. Cleanthes’s argument is a posteriori. Demea strongly rejects Cleanthes’s argument because it doesn’t resemble an a priori argument. Demea seems to have problems understanding a posteriori arguments. Philo argues that the universe is not similar enough to a house or a watch that we can draw direct comparisons between building a house and building a universe.

Cleanthes counters that when we build a house the steps are made in such a way that the length of our stride is taken into account so that we can walk up them easily. Our legs are made in such a way that we can walk or ride (I assume he is referring to riding a horse). When God creates our legs why can’t He be thinking along similar lines as we do when we create a staircase? Demea strongly disagrees with Cleanthes again. To paraphrase her speech in the vernacular, she said to Philo, ‘What am I paying you for? Stop messing around and show this guy what a moron he is.’ Philo restates Cleanthes’s argument in such a way that Demea understands it and then attacks the idea. His attack seems to center on showing how dissimilar the universe is to a watch. This dissimilarity shows that God does not think the same way that people think. Cleanthes interrupted Philo and said that reason is a species of experience. He proposed that he can prove by experience that God created the universe to act like a machine in much the same way that he can prove by experience that the moon revolves around the Earth. Philo gives a short description of Copernican physics. Cleanthes describes in detail how Copernicus and Galileo came to their conclusions and explains that they believe that the other planets are made up of the same things that earth is made up of. This includes land, oceans, rivers and mountains. Therefore his observations about Earth apply to all planets in the universe. Philo tells Cleanthes that he can’t make the assumption that the universe is like a massive machine until he has experienced the entire phenomenon of the universe from start to finish. The story ends abruptly there.