anthony morris



  • St Thomas Aquinas
  • Guiding questions for St Thomas Aquinas' argument
    • Why does St Thomas Aquinas think it's impossible for something to cause itself?
    • Why does he think there can't be a chain of causes going back to infinity?
    • What does Anselm mean by the word God?
    • Does the existence of God follow from the impossibility of both circular/self-causation and an infinite chain of causes?
      • If not, what other premises need to be added to turn this into deductively valid inference?
  • Guiding questions for William Paley's argument
    • According to William Paley, what is it about a watch that seems to cry out for an explanation in terms of an intelligent designer?
      • Note all of the sophisticated objections that William Paley anticipates and responds to
    • In what respect is a living creature like a watch?
      • See section V
    • Is this analogy strong enough to support the conclusion that the existence of God is the best explanation for the existence of living creature?
      • Why or why not?
    • What sort of definition of God does William Paley seem to be assuming?
      • How does this compare with Anselm's definition?
  • Using analogies to argue for a conclusion is a very common form of reasoning
  • Causal chain
    • Sequence of events, where each event is caused by the previous event
  • Potentially infinite process
    • Process that could be continued on and on without end
  • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz
    • Every fact has an explanation
    • God is a necessary being not a contingent being
      • Contingent being --> could not have existed
        • E.g. if your parents never met, there would be no you
  • William Paley used an abductive argument to explain the design argument
    • Argument by analogy
    • Teleology --> goal based; function
    • Not everything has an obvious purpose
    • Flawed world implies a flawed creator
  • Is infinite regress possible?