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About this Course
About the Course
In this course, Professor John Cottingham (University of Reading) explores the teleological argument. In the first module, we introduce Aquinas’ teleological argument from regularity in the universe. In the second module, we examine various conceptions of harmony and order in the world. In the third module, we look at William Paley’s argument from design, using the analogy of a watch. In the fourth module, we explore David Hume’s objections to design type arguments, based on the limitations of analogous claims and causal inferences. In the fifth module, we come to examine the rise of Darwinism, before investigating ‘fine tuning’ in the sixth module. In the seventh module we evaluate teleological arguments, and the extent to which they help to ground belief in a personal God.
About the Lecturer
John Cottingham is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Reading and an Honorary Fellow of St John's College, Oxford. He has published thirty books — thirteen as sole author, a further nine editions and translations, plus (either as single or join editor) eight edited collections — together with over 115 articles or chapters in journals or books. His books include Descartes, The Rationalists, Philosophy and the Good Life, On the Meaning of Life, The Spiritual Dimension (Cambridge, 2005), Cartesian Reflections (Oxford, 2008), Why Believe? (Continuum 2009) and Philosophy of Religion: Towards a More Humane Approach (Cambridge, 2014). He is co-editor and translator of the three-volume standard Cambridge edition of The Philosophical Writings of Descartes. From 1993-2012 he was editor of Ratio, the international journal of analytic philosophy. The Moral Life, a Festschrift honouring his work on moral psychology, ethics and religion, was published in 2008.