Homework #2 - Due Thursday, April 4. (Draft due Tuesday, April 2).
- Read William Paley, "The Design Argument," (pp. 116-118 in Sober).
- Read Sober pp. 54-56. This is part of his section on Paley's design argument.
Paley's argument seems to be an abductive argument, like this:
(1) Organisms are intricate and well-suited to the tasks of survival and reproduction.
(2) The best explanation for the fact that (1) is that organisms were created by intelligent design.
(3) Therefore, organisms were created by intelligent design.
(4) Therefore, God exists.
(I've adapted this from Sober's rendition of the argument. The inference from (1) and (2) to (3) is an abductive inference.)
- Answer the following questions:
1. (a) Give the rationale Paley would give for each premise (lines (1) and (2)).
(b) Explain the inference from (3) to (4).
2. (a) What is the "Random Hypothesis"?
(b) Which of the eight objections discussed by Paley addresses the objection based on the Random Hypothesis?
(c) Which premise of Paley's argument does this objection attack?
(d) Paley favors the "Design Hypothesis" over the Random Hypothesis. What about you? Which of these two hypotheses do you think is more plausible? Why?
3. (a) Present your own objection to Paley's argument based on the theory of evolution. Be sure to say which premise of the above argument this objection is attacking. (If you don't know anything about the theory of evolution, look it up in an encyclopedia, or look at what Sober says about it, especially pp. 63-65 and the box on p. 70.)
(b) Do you find this objection convincing? Why or why not?
4. Maybe the theory of evolution undermines all teleological arguments that, like Paley's, are based on the observation that organisms are intricate and well-suited to the tasks of survival and reproduction. But there is another kind of teleological argument for the existence of God that has recently enjoyed a lot of attention. The argument is called The Fine-Tuning Argument. Do a little bit of research and figure out what the Fine-Tuning Argument is. Then:
(a) Present and Explain the argument in your own words. (Do it in a line-by-line format, as the argument above is done.)
(b) Cite the source from which you learned about the Fine-Tuning Argument. (Don't plagiarize -- you won't like the consequences.)
(c) Why is the Fine-Tuning Argument stronger than Paley's teleological argument?
(d) What do you think? Is the Fine-Tuning argument convincing?
Your type-written and stapled-together answer is due at the beginning of class on Thursday, April 4. A draft is due on Tuesday, April 2.
I encourage you to work together in groups. However, you must write up and turn in your own version of the answer.
Homework #1 - Due Tuesday, 2/12
- Read Descartes, Meditations I and II (pp. 211-220)
- Write a summary of the two Meditations. Pretend you are explaining to a friend what Descartes in saying and doing in each Meditation. So don't quote extensively from the text -- use your own words to explain what is going on. And certainly don't plagiarize anything.