Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Joseph Ellin

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Pritchard

Third Advisor

Dr. Timothy McGrew

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


The design argument provided an intellectual foundation for much of Western thought. From the classical Greek era through the time of modem science, leading thinkers, from Plato to Aquinas to Newton, have maintained that nature manifests design. However, Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion leveled a devastating attack on the classical design argument, one from which many believe the argument never fully recovered. Hume pointed out various problems with the analogy of order in Nature to a designer. He listed alternative hypotheses and argued that the use of the design argument could not determine the nature of deity. This examination of the design argument will point out several problems with Hume's arguments against design. It will attempt to show that Hume's arguments do not rule it out. It will argue however, that Hume demonstrated that an intelligent design inference could not be used to determine the nature of the designer. It will maintain that he unlinked the inference from design to deity.

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