Condemn the Architect: Hume’s Answer to Skeptical Theists (Bonus Episode)

Happy birthday, David Hume! I thought I’d share Hume (or more accurately, Philo) casually destroying skeptical theism in Part XI of Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. His analogy of an architect and a poorly constructed house arose in a discussion of the problem of evil between Philo and Cleanthes, two of Hume’s fictional characters in the Dialogues.
Skeptical theism is no excuse for the poor final result, even if skeptical theists (correctly) claim that making adjustments here or there would affect the causal web negatively overall. If the architect had skill and good intentions, they could’ve constructed a different causal web that didn’t suffer from these problems. Skeptical theism will never be satisfying, since a designer infinite in knowledge and power would have been able to construct a different web entirely, one that wasn’t interconnected in such a way that the prevention of terrible suffering would somehow lead to goods being prevented or worse evils coming to be.
Transcript to this episode:

Leave a Reply