An analysis of cleanthes argument from design in dialogues concerning natural religion by david hume

I know not what, unless it were the prophet of Tippecanoe, had turned my curiosity to inquiries after the metaphysical science of the Indians, their ecclesiastical establishments, and theological theories; but your letter, written with all the accuracy, perspicuity, and elegance of your youth and middle age, as it has given me great satisfaction, deserves my best thanks. As I have never aimed at making any collection of books upon this subject, I have none of those you have abridged in so concise a manner.

An analysis of cleanthes argument from design in dialogues concerning natural religion by david hume

Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion Summary The Dialogues are a series of discussions about the rationality of religious belief between the fictional characters Cleanthes, Philo, and Demea.

Demea represents religious dogmatism and insists that we cannot come to know the nature of God through reason. Philo, the philosophical skeptic, agrees with Demea that God is incomprehensible but insists that he might be morally corrupt.

Cleanthes argues that we can know about God by reasoning from the evidence we find in nature. Philo seems to agree with him. Demea goes on to explain that God is the First Cause, meaning that the world operates on a system of cause and effect, so there must be an original cause to have started the world in motion, and that First Cause is God.

The design and order of nature reveal that there must be an intelligent designer, or creator, whose intelligence resembles our own. Cleanthes also states that things that are very familiar and present to us need no reason to establish their truth, such as the knowledge that food nourishes the body.

Philo disagrees with Cleanthes and argues that just because the world is ordered, there is no reason to believe that this order is a result of intelligent design. He explains that the example of the design of the universe supposes an acceptance of cause and effect, which in turn supposes that the future will resemble the past.

However, since there is nothing with which to compare our situation, we cannot assume the necessary connection based on past experience or other examples.

Philo goes further, claiming that even if God is an intelligent designer, this fact does not explain why nature has order. Finally, even if the argument from design were valid, nature does not provide us with any knowledge about God other than that he designed it.

Together, Demea and Philo explain that the world is filled with evil. Philo says that if there is so much evil, there cannot be a God who is completely beneficent, or else he would have eliminated evil. If he cannot eliminate evil, he cannot be all-powerful.

If he is unaware of the evil, he cannot be all-knowing. Demea leaves the room, upset by these claims. His real disagreement, he claims, concerns how strong this resemblance really is. He then attacks religious dogma as both morally and psychologically harmful.

The most rational position, he says, is a philosophical belief in some unknowable higher power. Finally, Philo tells Cleanthes that philosophical skepticism is the only proper route to true Christianity because it forces us to rely on faith instead of the false connection between reason and theism.

The true question is whether enough evidence exists in the world to prove that there is an infinitely good, wise, and powerful God from which morality naturally springs.

Philo argues that there is not, and his explanation that the existence of evil poses a problem for this view of God is worth considering seriously. It seems impossible that an all-good, all-powerful, and all-knowing God could exist in a world as painful as ours.

For example, we cannot prove that motion exists without referring to an example of motion itself. If both man and the universe exhibit form and order, we may logically consider that a similar intelligence lies behind both.

An analysis of cleanthes argument from design in dialogues concerning natural religion by david hume

However, from that claim we could argue that this intelligence, or God, possesses both good and evil, as man does.1. (Philosophy) the academic discipline concerned with making explicit the nature and significance of ordinary and scientific beliefs and investigating the intelligibility of concepts by means of rational argument concerning their presuppositions, implications, and interrelationships; in particular, the rational investigation of the nature and structure of reality (metaphysics), the resources.

Online Library of Liberty. A collection of scholarly works about individual liberty and free markets. A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.

Hume, David | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Design Argument: This entry in the Dictionary of the History of Ideas is historical summary of the argument from design by Frederick Ferré. Ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary versions of the argument are described. "Does Science Make Belief in God Obsolete?". Though Hume was a notorious atheist, the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion has a strong fideist bent to it.

Fideism has been a popular position in the philosophy of religion. Fideism has been a popular position in the philosophy of religion. David Hume's. Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. Part II. Does Humankind Have Qua to Describe God Using Astronomy? by. Move to any Part of David Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, or to beginning of its review via this set of links Cleanthes' argument on behalf of experience works well in quantum~actuality.

An Analysis of Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion ABSTRACT: Hume's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion () may be read in the way Cleanthes (and Philo as well) reads Nature, as analogous to human artifice and contrivance.

SparkNotes: David Hume (–): Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion