Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Fifth Way in Syllogistic Form


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I. From ST I.2.3c:

The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.

II. The Argument in Syllogistic Form:

Major: If something that lacks intelligence is moved towards an end (m), then it is directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence (im).
Minor: We see that things which lack intelligence are moved towards an end (m).
Conclusion: Therefore, all natural things that lack intelligence are directed to their end by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence--and this being we call 'God' (im).

Example of the Major: As the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer.
Example of the Minor: Natural bodies. This is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end.


III. Syllogistic Structure (simple modus ponens):
Major: m ---> im
Minor: m
Conclusion: im


IV. See also:
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