Cosmological Argument

  • Created by: mkimani
  • Created on: 02-04-18 14:12
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  • Cosmological argument
    • What is it?
      • A posteriori - After evidence/experience
      • Inductive (persuasion not a proof) - If premises are strong enough provide probable truth of conclusion
      • Based on concept of causation (aka law of cause and effect). Argues that as infinite regress is impossible the first cause must be spiritual, eternal and exist necessarily.
      • Articulated by St Aquinas. Used 3 out of his 5 ways; Motion, causation and contingency. He outlined this in Summa Theologica
        • Contingency:   P1: Contingent things are caused P2: There must exist a necessary being to cause contingent beings   P3:This necessary being is God
        • Causation: P1: Everything that exists has a cause that comes before its effect          P2: Nothing can cause itself             P3: Therefore there must be a first uncaused cause - God
        • Motion :    P1: Things that move must be moved by something as contingent things cannot move themselves P2: There cannot be an infinite chain of movers aka an infinite regression P3: Must be a first unmoved mover that exists outside of the universe - eternal, spiritual and necessary - God
    • Kalam cosmological argument - By Al Ghazindi; Muslim reformulation
      • P1: Whatever begins to exist has a cause of existence   P2: The universe began to exist           P3: Therefore the universe has a cause of existence. This cause is God
    • Criticisms
      • Arguments do not seem to establish the existence of the God of classical theism - Not personal/ loving/sentient  only unmoved movers and uncaused  causers
        • Effects may have more than one effect
      • Aquinas may be wrong about infinite regression. Unclear how or why this is true. (Infinite regression fallacy)
      • HUME - / Valid ideas but dont have to be true - more than one unmoved mover (inductive leap) / aquinas' statement 'whaetver has a beginning of existence has a cause' is not certain - if Hume is true whole argument is uncertain
        • ANSCOMBE - Argues that it is illogical to suggest that something does not have a first cause
      • KENNY - Newton's law states that an object can move at a constant without an external force acting on it (first cause not needed)
      • Inductive leap from 1st cause / prime move to God
      • Why is God the only exception to existing necessarily?
      • Kant - 'Necessary being' idea is incoherent and that because our knowledge is limited to the phenomenal world of space and time it isnt possible to sepculate about what eists independently of time and space
      • BERTRAND RUSSELL - Argues that the universe could simply be 'brute fact' - why do we require a first cause?. we have no experience of universes being caused so cannot claim we know that they need a cause
    • Support
      • Modern universe supports that the universe must have a beginning point (against infinite regress)
      • SWINBURNE - We need an explanation for the universe. Final answer should have explanatory power. Should be probable in regards to prior knowledge. Specificity and simplicity - God is most likley fit
      • COPLESTON - Cause must be something self causing. A necessary being which exists independently of the universe - God has his own sufficient cause
      • LEIBNIZ - For all that exists we need sufficient reason; 'principle of sufficient reason'. Man hasnt been able to find reason within universe so the cause must be outside
      • Empirical evidence (a posteriori) is more verifiable, relatable - we can see the world is contingent
        • Mackies train analogy - 1st carriage powered by engine, pullls 2nd and 3rd carriage etc. Without engine no carriage would move - shows how there needs to be a first cause
      • We should seek for the best explanation for the existence for the existence of the universe - need one object which all others depend on


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