Explain Hume’s criticisms of the teleological argument (25 marks)
Hume criticised the teleological argument in plenty of ways as he believed that the argument was deeply flawed.
His first point criticised Paley’s analogy of the watch. The first part of the analogy claimed that if you found a rock while walking through a heath, you would not think anything of it. However, if you had seen a watch you would examine it and find that it had moving parts that demonstrate that the watch has a purpose, the parts work together for a purpose and they are ordered to make the watch function because if they weren’t, the watch won’t perform its function. He concluded the first part of his analogy by saying that the watch had a maker who must have existed at some time and place.
The second part of the analogy claimed that if we suppose the watch had another imaginary function, and this function was the producing of other watches, then our admiration for the watchmaker would be increased. He concluded this part of his argument by saying that anyone who finds such a watch would conclude that the design of the watch implies ‘the presence of intelligence and mind’. Paley said that just like the watch being designed necessitates a designer as an explanation of its existence, all of nature requires a much greater designer. The complexity of nature is far greater than any machine human beings can make and therefore a grand designer is needed, this designer is God. Hume criticised this point by saying that the analogy is limited. For example, you could conclude from a study of the human blood circulatory system that animals had the same system. This would be a weak and mistaken analogy however to compare a human’s and an animal’s circulatory system to the way sap circulates in a plant.
Hume maintained his criticism of Paley’s analogy of the watch by an analogy of his own. This analogy said that we can conclude that a house had a builder and an architect but we cannot,...
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