Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Outline of an argument I'll be defending

As some of you know, I'm currently editing an anthology entitled, Contemporary Perspectives in Thomism.  This will be my second major work after completing Faith and Philosophy: An Introduction to Natural Theology, which I authored by myself.  I'll have more details about the publication of these books relatively soon.  In my contribution to the anthology, "Karl Popper, Induction and the Teleological Argument," I argue that the principle of induction is a rational presupposition, the denial of which results in absurdity.

I maintain that Karl Popper's alternative to induction actually presupposes induction, and so his albeit very well thought-out epistemology is ultimately self-defeating.  Since the principle of induction is a first principle of rational inquiry, as well as rational inference, mental assent to the uniformity of nature is unavoidable.  Moreover, I maintain that the uniformity of nature has at the very least some modest theistic implications.  Here's an outline of one of my arguments in support of closing the gap between the uniformity of nature and theism:

1. The universe is intelligible. (Premise)

2. Intelligibility presupposes order. (Premise)

3. Order is explicable in either necessity or design. (Premise)

4. Hence, the intelligibility of the universe is either the result of necessity or design. (From 1 - 3)

5. If it is the result of necessity, then theism is true. (Premise)

6. If it is the result of design, then theism is true. (Premise)

7. Therefore, some form of theism is true. (From 4 - 6)

Obviously, I will have to defend each of these premises, some of which are more controversial than others.  I'll also be taking a look at conceptualism as a plausible explanation for our knowledge of necessarily existent abstract objects, such as the laws of logic, which will yield very strong theistic implications.  After all, the intelligibility of the universe is not just in terms of the laws of nature, but also in terms of a priori knowledge and the laws of logic and mathematics.


  1. P5 would seem to be the more controversial one.

  2. Yes, and some may deny (3) because they're skeptical that there is any explanation of the universe's intelligibility. Others may object that chance suffices as an explanation. I'm not impressed with either objection, but I'll have to answer them.

    Others may even object to (6) on Humean grounds, e.g. there may be many designers, the designers we know of have bodies, etc. Again, these types of objections don't impress me, but I'll have to provide answers to these as well.