Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2015)

Authors
Del Ratzsch
Calvin College
Jeffrey Koperski
Saginaw Valley State University
Abstract
Some phenomena within nature exhibit such exquisiteness of structure, function or interconnectedness that many people have found it natural—if not inescapable—to see a deliberative and directive mind behind those phenomena. The mind in question, being prior to nature itself, is typically taken to be supernatural. Philosophically inclined thinkers have both historically and at present labored to shape the relevant intuition into a more formal, logically rigorous inference. The resultant theistic arguments, in their various logical forms, share a focus on plan, purpose, intention and design, and are thus classified as teleological arguments (or, frequently, as arguments from or to design). Although enjoying some prominent defenders over the centuries, such arguments have also attracted serious criticisms from a number of major historical and contemporary thinkers. Both critics and advocates are found not only among philosophers, but come from scientific and other disciplines as well. In the following discussion, major variant forms of teleological arguments will be distinguished and explored, traditional philosophical and other criticisms will be discussed, and the most prominent contemporary turns (cosmic fine tuning arguments, many-worlds theories, and the present Intelligent Design debate) will be tracked. Discussion will conclude with a brief look at one historically important non-inferential approach to the issue.
Keywords teleological argument  existence of God
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophy of Biology.Elliott Sober - 1993 - Westview Press.
Philosophical Writings of Peirce.Charles S. Peirce - 1940 - New York: Dover Publications.
Inference to the Best Explanation.Peter Lipton - 2007 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 74 (2):421-423.
Natural Theology.William Paley - 2007 - In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Late Modern Philosophy: Essential Readings with Commentary. Blackwell.

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Citations of this work BETA

Did the Universe Design Itself?Philip Goff - 2019 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 85 (1):99-122.
The Explanatory Challenge: Moral Realism Is No Better Than Theism.Dan Baras - 2018 - European Journal of Philosophy 26 (1):368-389.

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Paley's Teleological Argument and Its Significance.Bill Spencer - 2006 - Dialogue: Journal of Phi Sigma Tau 48 (2-3):62 - 65.
Teleology.Andre Ariew - 2007 - In David L. Hull & Michael Ruse (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to the Philosophy of Biology. Cambridge University Press.
Arguments for the Existence of God.R. G. Swinburne - 1984 - In J. Houston (ed.), Is It Reasonable to Believe in God? Handsel Press. pp. 121 - 133.
Teleological Arguments for God's Existence.Del Ratzsch - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Averroes and the Teleological Argument.Taneli Kukkonen - 2002 - Religious Studies 38 (4):405-428.

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