Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion


Part IV

Summary Part IV

However, Philo's objection in this section does not really challenge the validity of the argument by design. Philo's objection is teleological—that is, it says that the argument by design fails to accomplish the goal for which it was designed—but if Philo intends this to challenge the validity of Cleanthes's claim, Philo misunderstands Cleanthes's goal. Cleanthes's goal is not to explain the order of the universe—for Philo is correct that the argument by design does very little to help us understand why the universe is ordered—but rather to show that God exists. The fact that the argument by design does not improve our understanding of why the universe is ordered does not show that it fails to prove that God is anthropomorphic.

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