Philosophy Answer Writing Practice 2018 - Week 8 - Question 2

90 Days Philosophy Answer Writing Practice Question 2 for 31-Dec-2018

Instructions for Writing Answer

1. Write your answers in the comment section.


2. Experts will provide their feedback in reply.

3. Model Answers will be uploaded on this page the next day.

4. Rectify your mistakes and progress further.

5. All the Best.

31-Dec-2018 - Question 2

"The natural world is as complexly and manifestly designed as a watch." Evaluate. (2016)

For Question 1 - Click Here

Model Answer

William Paley in his Natural Theology seeks to persuade the Design argument for the existence of God by his analogy of Watch.

In this context, he says that, when we stumble upon a rock lying on the ground and if we ask ourselves how this rock came to exist. We can attribute its existence to CHANCE, and not to a rock maker owing to its simplicity. It may have formed by the operation of natural forces such as wind, rain etc.

However, when we see a watch lying on the ground, we identify that a watch is a complex arrangement of wheels, springs etc. It is made of specific materials and consists of specific parts. It has a purpose to work for. It follows a synchronized regular motion using its indispensable parts. So, it would be wrong to attribute the formation of this watch to simply a chance operation of wind and rains, instead, we are obliged to postulate an intelligent mind which is responsible for making this watch. In other words, we can inductively derive a Watch-maker by looking at the watch because the design is too strong, that must have had a designer.

Now Paley applies the same reasoning to a human eye, which is also made of specific materials , has several parts that work in synchronization, and works for a purpose of enabling vision, and has indispensable parts.

Paley now argues that the human eye, natural world are as complex a mechanism, and as manifestly designed, as any watch. Since the rotation of planets in the solar system, the regular progression of seasons, all suggest a design.

In this context Paley says “Every manifestation of design, which existed in the watch, exists in the works of nature”

He draws an analogy between Watch and Human eye/Natural world as he says, “Like Effects have Like Causes”. Hence, he inductively persuades that Universe needs a designer and that designer is God.


However, many have criticized Paley’s inductive analogy to prove God. David Hume’s criticisms in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion are the most prominent ones.

  1. Like effects do not always have like causes, hence a designer god cannot be induced from a watch-maker
  2. Comparison between the world and watch, is unsound and weak, as the world is not a machine, All things in nature have similar causes as the rock.
  3. He points out that any universe is bound to have the appearance of being designed. As we don’t have nothing to compare our universe to. Here Hume suggests Epicurean hypothesis, that order can come from chaos, i.e., the universe consists of a finite number of particles in random motion and in an unlimited time these go through every combination that is possible to them. If one of these combinations constitutes a stable order, this order in due course will be realized and may be the orderly cosmos in which we now find ourselves – taken from john hick.

Note: There is no template for a correct UPSC answer, the model answer is only for your reference

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