Aesthetic Argument

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info.gif Aesthetic Arguments: A family of arguments for the existence of God from beauty where the premises are either epistemological in nature (e.g. "our ability to know beauty") or ontological (e.g. "the existence of beauty itself"). Proponents of the argument include Richard Swinburne, J.P. Moreland, F.R. Tennant, and Keith Ward.

Williams, P. (2001) Aesthetic Arguments for the Existence of God. Quodlibet Journal, 3(3)

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    Williams, Peter S.

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    A Theistic Account of Aesthetic Value

    "Christian Philosophers generally advocate objectivist responses to a range of philosophical topics, such as the existence and nature of God, Truth, Knowledge, and Moral values. This is a project with which I find myself in wholehearted support. However, comparatively little attention has been devoted to giving a similarly objective account of Aesthetic value, despite the fact that Philosophy has traditionally grouped together ‘the True’, ‘the Good’, and ‘the Beautiful’. As part of the wider project to produce an integrated Theistic account of Truth, Knowledge, Moral value and Aesthetic value (an account that relates these subjects to each other and to the existence of God), the characterization of Aesthetic value stands out as being in need of most attention. In this paper I will propose an objective account of Aesthetic value that depends crucially upon an objective account of moral value."
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    Williams, Peter S.

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    Aesthetic Arguments for the Existence of God

    “Secular philosophers, like Anthony O'Hear and Roger Scruton, recognize that aesthetics lends itself to religious treatment, and it is noteable how strong a pull towards God they feel when considering aesthetic phenomena. However, being unprepared to follow this evidence where it leads, secular philosophy ends either by denying the objectivity and meaningfulness of beauty, or by requiring a leap of blind faith into Schaeffer's `upper story' if the validity of aesthetic creativity and appreciation is to be retained. A theistic world-view, on the other hand, provides a natural environment for the existence, appreciation and rational understanding of aesthetic reality.”
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    Williams, Peter S.

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    Beauty and the Existence of God

    "I will begin by defining four categories of aesthetic argument. Beginning with arguments from aesthetic experience, I will present a number of aesthetic arguments for the existence of God advanced by the small but distinguished group of apologists who have used them. I will then consider some non-aesthetic design arguments, seeking to show how adding an aesthetic dimension to these arguments can provide valuable support for theism. I will close by examining several deductive ontological aesthetic arguments for the existence of God."
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    Williams, Peter S.

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    Intelligent Design, Aesthetics and Design Arguments

    "This paper aims to map out the role that can be played in the fruitful interchange between intelligent design theory and natural theology by a specific class of design arguments, namely aesthetic design arguments. Aesthetic design arguments take us further towards theism than nonaesthetic design arguments because they infer the existence of an aesthetically aware artist (or deduce the existence of a wholly beautiful objective standard of beauty), and not merely an intelligent designer or craftsman."
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    Wynn, Mark

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    Beauty, Providence, and the Biophilia Hypothesis

    "In this article I have argued that despite the relative neglect of the topic in recent philosophical literature, there remain good grounds for taking our experience of natural beauty as a clue to the providential significance of the world. I have made this case above all by reference to F. R. Tennant's presentation of the issues. In particular, I have tried to show how Tennant's case can resist two kinds of criticism. First of all, I have urged that his argument can meet certain long-established objections to the argument from design, and its association with a religiously deficient concept of God. Secondly, I have made a case for the idea that recent developments in sociobiology, which Tennant did not anticipate, can be accomodated within the framework of his argument."