David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 15 (1):33 – 50 (2001)
In this paper I look at two connections between natural philosophy and theology in the late 17th century. In the last quarter of the century there was an interesting development of an argument, earlier but sketchier versions of which can be found in classical philosophers and in Descartes. The manoeuvre in question goes like this: first, prove that there must, necessarily, be a being which is, in some sense of "greater", greater than humans. Second, sketch a proof that such a being is necessary. Move from the fact that there must be at least one such being to the conclusion that there is precisely one such being. Raise the question: could this necessary being be matter, the entire material universe, or must it be God? Produce an argument from natural philosophy to show that matter cannot be the required necessary being. Either explicitly or implicitly run the obvious disjunctive syllogism and conclude with a few remarks about the foolishness of atheism. The argument, which has classical roots, found a number of 17th-century exponents. Cudworth provided the most important version, and Locke, Bentley and Clarke adapted Cudworth's version with varying success. The argument touches on natural philosophy in two ways. First, the basis of the argument invites consideration of a problem in the philosophy of science - the relation between micro properties and macro properties - which was seen clearly enough in some contexts but which was overlooked in others, particularly when the theological aspect was uppermost. The second point of contact involves a direct application of a scientific result - the existence of a vacuum - to the theological issue.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
David Hume (1739/2000). A Treatise of Human Nature. Oxford University Press.
René Descartes (1984). The Philosophical Writings of Descartes. Cambridge University Press.
I. Kant (1984). Critique of Pure Reason. Philosophy 59 (230):555-557.
Aristotle (1984). The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation. Princeton University Press.
David Hume (2007/2006). Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Philosophical Review. Blackwell Pub. Ltd. 338-339.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Teed Rockwell (2009). No Gaps, No God? Philosophy and Theology 21 (1/2):129-153.
Albert Ribas (2003). Leibniz' "Discourse on the Natural Theology of the Chinese" and the Leibniz-Clarke Controversy. Philosophy East and West 53 (1):64-86.
Jan W. Wojcik (1997). Robert Boyle and the Limits of Reason. Cambridge University Press.
Mark F. Sharlow, Playing Fast and Loose with Complexity: A Critique of Dawkins' Atheistic Argument From Improbability.
Eric Schliesser (2013). On Reading Newton as an Epicurean: Kant, Spinozism and the Changes to the Principia. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 44 (3):416-428.
Thomas Krettek (1997). The Moral Argument For The Non-Existence Of God. Philosophy and Theology 10 (2):329-352.
E. J. Coffman (2011). Clarke's Defense of the Contrast Argument. Dialectica 65 (2):267-275.
Margaret J. Osler (1994/2004). Divine Will and the Mechanical Philosophy: Gassendi and Descartes on Contingency and Necessity in the Created World. Cambridge University Press.
Yiftach J. H. Fehige (2009). Thought Experimenting with God. Revisiting the Ontological Argument. Neue Zeitschrift für Systematicsche Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie 51 (3):249-267.
Samuel Clarke (1998). A Demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God and Other Writings. Cambridge University Press.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads9 ( #289,926 of 1,777,929 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #206,198 of 1,777,929 )
How can I increase my downloads?