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The Argument from Design, by William Paley Essay

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During the 1800th century, William Paley, an English philosopher of religion and ethics, wrote the essay The Argument from Design. In The Argument from Design, Paley tries to prove the existence of a supreme being through the development of a special kind of argument known as the teleological argument. The teleological argument is argument by analogy, an argument based on the similarities between two different subjects. This essay purposefully attempts to break down Paley’s argument and does so in the following manner: firstly, Paley’s basis for the teleological argument is introduced; secondly, Paley’s argument is derived and analyzed; thirdly, the connection between Paley’s argument and the existence of a supreme being is made; and lastly, the supreme being is compared to the supreme being in Western Philosophy, God.
The teleological argument begins by stating a special kind of argument, an a posteriori argument. An a posteriori argument is an argument based on the knowledge of experiences encountered in the world. For Paley, the a posteriori argument is established as he imagines himself nature walking, only to stumble upon a watch: a pocket watch, whose function is made visible through a transparent glass and made possible through gears and springs. Paley retrieves the watch and questions how such an object came to be in the middle of vegetation and is easily intrigued to reflect about the nature of the watch. Let us reflect about the physical attributes of the watch. Imagine for a second that the body of the watch was covered in highly polished gold metal and in the middle of its body laid a transparent glass. The glass lets us see two disproportionate metallic rods whose ends are encrusted with small diamonds. Apart from ...


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...erfect goodness and is morally good all the time. Paley's supreme being is never attributed with being a good or bad, loving or hateful, individual. A second important characteristic of God is that he is omniscient; he knows everything about anything there is to know; although Paley's supreme being is intelligent enough to engender the first creation, it does not imply that he knows about all the subsequent creations which rose from that first creation. Thirdly, God is considered to be all-powerful or omnipotent while the supreme being possesses the power to create the first creation. Lastly, God is an eternal being whose existence defies space and time. At the start of Paley's a posteriori argument, it was concluded that while anything that shows evidence of creation has a creator, such creator exists or has existed at one point in time but is by no means eternal.



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