Newman’s Argument from Conscience: Why He Needs Paley and Natural Theology After All

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Recent authors, emphasizing Newman’s distaste for natural theology—especially William Paley’s design argument—have urged us to follow Newman’s lead and reject design arguments. But I argue that Newman’s own argument for God’s existence (his argument from conscience) fails without a supplementary design argument or similar reason to think our faculties are truth-oriented. In other words, Newman appears to need the kind of argument he explicitly rejects. Finding Newman’s rejection of natural theology to stem primarily from factors other than worries about cogency, however, I further argue that there is little reason not to pursue design arguments in order to save the argument from conscience.
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First archival date: 2020-07-25
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