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date: 23 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Within the history of western philosophy, there have been a number of classic ways of arguing for the existence of God. The most important of these are the teleological argument (or argument from design), the ontological argument, the cosmological argument, the moral argument, and a loose family of pragmatic considerations affirming the prudence or desirability of theistic belief (including, most famously, ‘Pascal’s wager’). Demonstrating the weaknesses of these approaches is crucial for establishing the ‘negative’ case for atheism. This essay begins by defining what it is that philosophers normally means by ‘God’—i.e., what it is that the classic arguments in the philosophy of religion are arguing about. It then outlines and critiques each main approach in turn, focusing primarily on its most classic and influential expressions within the western philosophical tradition.

Keywords: history of philosophy, philosophy of religion, existence of God, teleological argument, argument from design, ontological argument, cosmological argument, moral argument, Pascal’s wager

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