Essay mark scheme – Paley

Essay Mark Scheme for William Paley

4 (a) Explain Paley’s argument for the existence of God. [25] A01

While many candidates may focus on Paley’s watch analogy, some may be aware that in his Natural Theology he has developed many different approaches to the teleological argument, drawing on the science of his day.

He describes the human eye as an organ of extraordinary flexibility and ability. He also noted the way the wing of a bird and the fin of a fish seem to be engineered to allow flight or movement through water. Added to this was the way the planets rotate and the seasons change all with regularity and purpose.Those who focus on a description of the watch analogy may add these comments which Paley made:

Our inference would not be weaker even if we had never seen a watch before; the watch is so obviously different from the rock that it must have a different source. Even if the watch did not work perfectly, there is enough design to enable us to deduce the watchmaker. In the same way, our inference would still hold even if there were parts of the machine whose function we could not work out. Some candidates may explain Paley’s distinction between order qua regularity and order qua purpose.

(b) “The universe has no purpose.” Discuss. [10] A02

Some candidates may begin by attacking the statement and assessing some of the views of philosophers who argue for purpose in the universe. They may for example assess the extent to which Paley, even if he was right about design, was right to suggest that this design had a purpose.

Others, using the views of Darwin, may critically examine the idea that evolution is progressive, which might be used as an argument for purpose.

Others may attack this idea suggesting that entropy, the second law of thermodynamics, may mean that ultimately everything in the universe will fall apart and that therefore there can be no purpose.

 

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