SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programm - Vortrag

Hume's Dialogues and Teleological Argument
(Philosophy of Religion, )

Arguments for God's existence appear to be an inexhaustible source of inspiration for philosophers. Some of the most famous critiques of such arguments are provided by David Hume (1711-1776) in a well-known piece entitled Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (_1779_ 2013). Philo, Demea, and Cleanthes discuss various philosophical arguments for God's existence. Philo is a skeptic, and some think he speaks for Hume himself. Opinions on the efficacy of his argument are divided. Some philosophers maintain Hume's criticism spoken through Philo undermines theological arguments, but others disagree.

In this paper, I use Philo's argumentation as a springboard to explore one of Hume's less-studied critiques of teleological arguments for God's existence. A teleological argument is an a posteriori argument that, following the empirical observation of the order of the universe, concludes the order can best be explained by the existence of an intelligent and powerful creator. This type of conclusion is the target of a harsh critique in chapter VIII. Through Philo, Hume asks the following question: can we explain the observed harmony of the universe without appealing to an intelligent creator? In what follows, I go beyond Dialogues to give a Humean response to this question. First, I present Philo's argument. Moving forward, to expand on Philo's theses, I turn to Hume's theory of space in A Treatise of Human Nature (_1739_ 1960) and explore his ideas of space and extension to show we can state that space is extension. Next, I analyse Hume's ideas of the whole and relation. Hume argues it is appropriate to assert the existence of the whole when there is an appropriate relation between its parts, and he regards the universe as such a whole. He emphasizes the observation of relation between extended entities includes the perception of another relation---the one between different spatial parts. In other words, the universe can be regarded as a finite spatial whole composed of definite spatial parts whose causal functioning enables the creation and maintenance of equilibrium in the universe. In effect, the role of the intelligent creator appears to be redundant.

Chair: Ina Jäntgen
Zeit: 12:00-12:30, 10. September 2021 (Freitag)
Ort: SR 1.006

Bogdana Stamenković
(University of Belgrade, Faculty of Philosophy, Republic of Serbia)

In 2013, I enrolled to undergraduate studies of philosophy at University of Belgrade, Faculty of Philosophy. After 4 years, I finished my undergraduate studies with highest marks. The same year, I enrolled to graduate studies at the same Faculty, and in 2018. I obtained my Master Degree with the highest mark, after which I enrolled to PhD studies in the same year, at the same Faculty. Currently, I'm on my final year of PhD studies.

During my studies, I obtained various scholarships. Since 2019, I'm employed at Institute of Faculty of Philosophy as a Junior-Researcher with the following primary fields of interest: philosophy of science, epistemology, and philosophy of language. However, my interests also cover the fields of philosophy of XVII and XVIII century, as well as philosophy of religion. Further, I was one of the organizers of Fourth Belgrade Graduate Conference in Philosophy (

Testability and Meaning deco