The debate over design and order in the universe and whether a supreme power is behind the explicitly orderly systems in the universe have been tackled by many notable and distinguished scholars.Many philosophers have struggled with the need to understand the position of Hume in his masterpiece book Dialogue Concerning Natural Religion, in which he uses Cleanthes and Philo as his mouthpiece to present different views. At the base of views is the contradiction or opposing sides that Philo and Cleanthes take on the issues of design and order. A casual reading of Humes book leads to the conclusion that Philos arguments are logical in as far as Cleanthes arguments are concerned. However, this might not be the case, especially when the knowledge of Hume is taken into account. This paper is a discussion of the arguments by Philo and Cleanthes as Humes mouthpiece in the book Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

The design argument is based on the fact that Cleanthes views Philos objection to the theory of design merely on the claim that the intelligent design of God cannot be the final causative factor, simply because it is not the cause in the first place. To this end, Cleanthes argument is that it is advisable for all philosophers, including Philo, to accept the fact that causes of design and order in the universe are unknown to human beings. It is this view from Cleanthes that prompts Philo to conclude that following the argument as put forward by Cleanthes that causes of design and order in the universe are unknown, it is logical to conclude that the anthropomorphic nature of God is infinitely regressive.

Philos argument for an infinite God rests on the fact that assuming a regressive stand about God will not provide any solution to the problem that is being investigated. Analogically, it is like responding to an inquiry, which seeks to understand why an action was done by stating that it is because it was done. In this manner, the response does not give an account of why a particular incident happened. It might be possible that a person carrying out the action actually wanted to do that action, but it does not offer any information other than just that. Doing so requires explanations of the cause and effect. Through the establishment and lying down of general laws that the issue of understanding how and why the universe is so ordered in the way it is will start to make sense. In a way, Philo demands for a conclusive theory, much in the same way Darwin did with the natural selection to the extent that he proposes a theory that borders on the famous/infamous natural selection theory.

In order to avoid regress in the understanding of design and order in the universe, it is essential to detach from the material world and embrace the unique properties, which all things possess whether they are manmade or naturally occurring in the universe. A dispute of this matter has always been the non compatibility of the impossibility of comparing things by the mere fact that they are ordered in a certain way and do not exhibit any signs of chaotic. Such an attempt, according to Cleanthes, amounts to comparing the bloody flow in human to that of a snake or a frog, simply because in both the blood circulates with some degree of order. However, Philo faults this approach and argues that the comparison of the anthropomorphism of God as a designer of the universe is compared to the abstract properties possessed by all things, whether artificial or natural for the purposes of simplifying the understanding of what constitutes the order and design.

Philos claim that the universe is an animal was founded on the basis of not understanding the propositions that Cleanthes was making. According to Philo, as he expounds in the account, supposing the universe has an intelligent designer, the explicability of the order in the universe could not be depended on God to stand as it is today. The fact that the universe is so ordered means that there is a high level of orderliness in the mind of God to bring about the kind of order seen in the universe. As such, a continued questioning of order, itself requiring order to question, means that philosophers, like Cleanthes, are simply replacing one fundamental question of the existence of order in the universe with a similar question of why, in fact, people have order in the minds of God.

Therefore, according to Philo, by merely arguing that God is the originator of the order in the universe simply does not add any knowledge to the current stock that human beings have concerning the order and design in the universe. It instead drives a human enquiry deep into the abyss that is so difficult, almost impossible to learn. Instead of tackling the issues that Philo puts forward in regard to the design and order in the universe, Cleanthes decides to ignore this line of approach by indicating that he is not interested in the order of minds of God and that to understand God anthropomorphically, one needs not to go as far as inquiring about the order in the mind of God.

Cleanthess advancement of Vegetable-Book analogy is informed by Philos analogy of the animal, where the chief principle is that the material world is much like a flesh body, in the same way God is to the world or what a soul is to an animal body. One of the reasons that make Philo to settle on this analogy is because it was just a popular worldview at that time. Technically, according to Philo, the universe is like an animal with a closed system with different parts of the system working just as parts of the body of an animal for its own preservation and preservation of other parts of the body, as well. In response to this claim, Cleanthes reveals defects in the analogy by pointing out that the universe cannot have organs similar to the ones possessed by animals. In fact, he argues that the universe is more like vegetation than an animal body, and hence, there is a difficulty in deciding the kind of soul that the world has and also the nature of God, which leaves an indeterminate conclusion between the soul of vegetation and that of an animal.


The other point of contagion that Cleanthes emphasizes is the eternity that is implied in the soul animal analogy. Implying that the world is eternal and also claiming that God is the soul, whereas the universe is his body has the implication that the soul could not have existed before the universe. However, through various demonstrations, it has been proved that the world is not eternal to the extent that it has a beginning and most probably an ending too. Thus, analogizing that God is the soul and the universe is the body holds no water. Several instances point to the fact that the world is young, while God is eternal.

Generally, Vegetable-Body analogy is based on the faults that are evident in the soul body analogy that Philo advances. The major argument that Cleanthes lays out is that there are many areas, where the universe is incomparable to an animal, for instance, the fact that animal bodies have senses, while the universe lacks it; this, in its turn, sets out the whole issue of incomparability between the two. Other differences include a motive power in animals. To this end, Cleanthes argues that the cause of means-ends order must be intelligent, even if it is granted that the immediate causes of such order are often non-intelligent. For that reason, organisms in the universe, much like vegetation, which is designed for a specific purpose contained in the intelligence of the designer, are also a result of the purposeful conception of an intelligent cause, which intentionally and consciously causes them to be the way they are. Much like vegetation designed to serve specific purposes, the suggestion by Demea, that would still be an additional argument for design in its author (Popkin 34) serves to indicate that Cleanthes argument does not reveal any new information regarding questions of the order and design in the universe. In addition, it is not revealed whether indeed God is behind the orderliness and design in the universe. Philo, therefore, thinks that it is crucial for Cleanthes to stick to his argument. This is because changing it will imply the wavering nature of the points that Cleanthes tries to make, which will without any doubt give Philo an easy ride to the conclusion that the design and order is simply a result of an intelligent being, who perceives the final purpose of the design prior to making it.

The analogy of the Great Voice is advanced by Cleanthes argument that the clarity in the previous analogy of the universe and human ingenuity cannot be challenged. Due to this, Cleanthes notes that Philos lines of reasoning are absurd to the level that they are normally applied to other analogical instances in everyday life. For that matter, Cleanthes advances the analogy of Great Voice, where he asks Philo to suppose that a voice came from the heavens and simultaneously spoke to the people of the world in uniform, wherein all people understood what was communicated to them by the voice. He then asks if Philo would doubt if indeed the voice came from an intelligent being, specifically designed to be able to communicate to all people of the world at once.

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Since the world harbors different languages, coming up with a language, which everybody would be able to understand needs a high level of design and intelligence. Further properties of the voice is that it is louder to the extent that every person in the world can hear it, beautiful in the sense that it is understood, and also awe-inspiring. Based on the Philos analogy in the previous argument, this voice cannot be originated from an intelligent being, because it is unlike the human voice in the first place. It is from this line of thought that Cleanthes concludes that Philos analogy of the machine is absurd, because the universe is far more awesome in the structure than the most complicated machine ever made by man. However, this ought not to be a deterrent from making logical conclusions from the easily obvious analogies that can help to understand the design and order issue in the universe.

To a larger extent, the Great Voice analogy succeeds in responding to the Philos analogy of the universe with a machine, especially in revealing the absurdity in the analogy. Moreover, the Great Voice analogy presents a fundamental question of an intelligent being as the force behind the design of the universe in relation to its real purpose. Therefore, it is logical to think that if an intelligent being had the intention of speaking to the whole world in a voice that could be understood by all people, there is no doubt that the voice would be designed specifically to serve that purpose. Consequently, this removes ambiguities in relating such analogy to the design and order in the universe. That is, the universe is designed and ordered by an intelligent being to serve the purpose, for which it is serving today, and there are no slight chances that the universe occurred as a matter of serendipity.

Cleanthes makes the assumption that the order that the matter exhibits must have an external cause, whereas minds have an inherent cause of the order, because the mind is contained within the person having that mind. Therefore, trying to understand what goes on inside the mind is like entering another whole new area of inquiry that requires much effort. For that reason, it is simply essential to assume that the matter is caused by external forces, while what goes on inside the mind is technically beyond the understanding of the human mind. Cleanthes makes this assumption in relation to the question of what makes the order in the minds of God as far as understanding the cause of the design and order in the universe is concerned. The assumption is a must for Cleanthes, especially after his admission that trying to enter into the minds of God to enquire about order therein is a futile activity, given the fact that human beings are not yet ready to understand what is clearly presented to them in terms of systems and processes in the universe.

By arguing that, all the new discoveries in astronomy which prove the immense grandeur and magnificence of the works of nature... presents numerous arguments in favor of a Deity in accordance with the theism of the true system, while according to your hypothesis of experimental theism, they become so many objections" (Popkin 56), Philo implies that the extent of difficulty in providing the solution to the question of anthropomorphism is exacerbated by the fact that the scientific and experimental theism reveals more complications than it provides the answers. For instance, it presents difficulties in interpretation statements that imply that similar effects are caused by similar causes.

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In conclusion, trying to assuage all things to one particular author is an attempt in futility, because such attempts negate the power of reason, which requires that the reality is captured in the reasoning capacity of a human being. Interestingly, he claims with strong arguments that what people usually refer to as the free will is actually the result of unconscious processes in the dark part of the mind and that they become conscious witnesses to their results. The inner mind is otherwise inaccessible to the conscious actions that people engage in, long after the deciding process has already taken place. Throughout his argument, Philo tends to lean on the fact that the causation and effect should be considered in terms of what it takes to actually have a clear understanding of the universal design and order.

As such, it is essential for philosophers, like Cleanthes, who wish to use analogous instances in the real life to explain the activities of thoughts and actions. This would give them a control over factors that might explain the design and order in the universe. For many times, science and experimentation have both provided answers to some of the most complex problems to the humanity. Yet, in a contrasting manner, the same science and experimentation seem to complicate the idea of the design and order more than it provided the answers. All arguments against the existence of the design and order in the universe are surrounded by the need to prove the irrationality of believing that people can have an order in their approach to issues of order before even thinking about understanding the design and order.

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