In several places Hobbes gives what appears to be a version of the cosmological argument. According to one popular interpretation, these are not actually arguments at all, but are naturalistic descriptions of a psychological process. Advocates of this interpretation see this as an ironic criticism of religion, claiming that the psychological story implies that God is a human fiction; hence, it is evidence of Hobbes’s atheism. Such interpretations are unsatisfactory. I argue for a novel, non-ironic psychological interpretation. Hobbes describes a process that does not justify belief in God, but nevertheless involves rational activity. It is psychologically impossible to withhold belief in a first cause while engaged in a certain kind of activity—reasoning correctly and profoundly about the natural world. But because this process is regulated by reason and method, the natural philosopher need not have any qualms about holding the belief.


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pp. 547-571
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