Cosmological Argument

  • Created by: Daenni92
  • Created on: 30-04-19 10:47
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  • Cosmological Argument
    • The Kalam Argument
      • P1: Everything With a beginning must have a cause.           P2: The universe has a beginning    P3: Therefore, the universe must have a cause.           (This is a deductive syllogism - 3 parts; a major premise, a minor premise and a conclusion)
        • It is an argument about time, and is therefore an argument from temporal causation.
        • Philosopher Craig takes this one step further: C4: Moreover, this cause of the universe must be a personal cause, as scientific explanations cannot provide a causal, or mechanical, account of a first cause. This personal cause is God.
    • Aquinas' 3 Ways
      • 1st way; Argument from Motion. Some things are in motion or state of change. Nothing can move or change itself, but if everything was a secondary mover, there would be an infinite regress of movers. If 3 were true, there'd be no prime mover and thus no subsequent movers. But this is false, so there must be an unmoved prime mover (God).
        • "Moving", is about moving from one state to another. He says "it is not possible that the same thing should at once be in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects" (using Aristotle)
        • Something else must bring about x change, or movement in states. This thing bringing about the change must be in the state the other thing is moving towards. A cold object cannot be made hot by another cold object. Justifies premise that change must be caused by something else.
          • Criticism: William Rowe gives example of plant dying. Is there something else in the state of death bringing about the change from life to death of the plant? It doesn't seem so, for example a child could have picked it.
      • 2nd Way; Argument from Causation. There's an order of efficient causes, nothing can be the efficient cause of itself. If there's an infinite regress of efficient causes, there would be no first cause or subsequent causes. Thus there must be a first efficient cause - God.
        • Efficient Cause = the principle that brings about the change. (e.g. the art of bronze-casting that brings about change from molten bronze to sculpture).
        • This is a vertical chain of causes. As soon as you take away one of the efficient causes, the chain falls apart. The chain of causes and effects requires an ultimate explanation - a first efficient cause.
        • This may not satisfy theologians, as this tells us nothing of God. Doesn't prove a personal, interactive God.
          • his may rest on a contradiction; he says everything must have a cause & nothing can cause itself. Then concludes something must exist and be cause of itself. Some may argue this whole argument is to prove there's an exception to the rule that nothing can cause itself - that there must be a first cause. However, if we make exceptions to the rule, why must God be that exception? Couldn't the universe itself be the exception?
        • These args use "reductio ad absurdum" to prove their claim
          • 1st way; Argument from Motion. Some things are in motion or state of change. Nothing can move or change itself, but if everything was a secondary mover, there would be an infinite regress of movers. If 3 were true, there'd be no prime mover and thus no subsequent movers. But this is false, so there must be an unmoved prime mover (God).
            • "Moving", is about moving from one state to another. He says "it is not possible that the same thing should at once be in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects" (using Aristotle)
            • Something else must bring about x change, or movement in states. This thing bringing about the change must be in the state the other thing is moving towards. A cold object cannot be made hot by another cold object. Justifies premise that change must be caused by something else.
              • Criticism: William Rowe gives example of plant dying. Is there something else in the state of death bringing about the change from life to death of the plant? It doesn't seem so, for example a child could have picked it.
      • 3rd Way; Argument from Contingency. Things in world = contingent. If everything contingent, we get infinite regress we'd have time when everything went out of existence. If true, there'd be nothing now (something cannot come from nothing). So there must be one necessary thing (God). Necessary things either have cause of necessity inside or outside itself, if everything had necessity caused by outside of self, there'd be no cause of necessity. Need one where necessity comes from inside self - ie. God.
        • Criticism; he's saying all contingent things must come to an end as they're impermanent. Mackie argues Aquinas is committing a fallacy if he thinks he can jump from 'every thing at some time does not exist' to 'at some time every thing doesn't exist'.
    • Descartes' Argument
      • Descartes is asking himself what caused him to exist and causes his continued existence. He's looking for the explanations that underpin 2 facts he's established - He has in his mind the idea of a perfect being. and the fact that he has a continuous existence as a conscious being.
      • 1- the existence of the idea of God in my mind needs explaining; the continuing existence of me as a conscious being also needs explaining. 2- I can't be the cause of my idea of God, because I am not God, I can't bring about my continued existence as a conscious being because I do not have the power. 3- Therefore the cause of me as a conscious being, and the cause of my idea of God, must lie outside of myself. 4- either a) this external cause is itself caused by something else, or b) is its own cause. 6- this sequence of causes cannot run back to infinity, & eventually we'll reach an ultimate cause. 7- the ultimate cause; that is, the thing that is its own cause, is God. 8- therefore it's God who ultimately causes my idea of God and its God who ultimately sustains my existence as a conscious being. 9- Because I have an idea of God, and I know I am sustained as a conscious being, therefore God must exist as the cause of both these things.
        • Criticism: This argument is circular (Cartesian Circle). He uses clear and distinct ideas to prove the existence of God, but uses the existence of God to show that he can genuinely rely on clear & distinct ideas.                -possibility of an infinite series + objections to causal principle also apply to Descartes' argument.
    • Leibniz argument from the Principle of Sufficient Reason
    • General Criticisms
      • Possibility of an infinite series: Set Theory can accommodate both finite and infinite sets (maths) and shows that real "infinity" is not a paradox. In terms of Aquinas' 1st and 2nd ways, he seems to be mistaking a finite chain or causes and an infinite chain of causes. an infinite chain of causes would not need a first cause. However, infinite regress is also used as a fallacy. Hume: Why stop at God? Why God? If we accept that there's necessary things - why is the universe not necessary?
      • Hume's objection to the causal principle: we never actually experience causation  (billiard ball + magnet example), we just develop the idea from our experiences. We only experience events happening in constant conjunction (continual happening together/side by side). We cannot, therefore, know the cause of something a priori (Descartes) as we have to observe it in constant conjunction, esp if its the first time. If we see ice for the first time we cannot work out how it was 'caused' - esp a priori.
      • Fallacy of Composition: It makes a jump from "every event has a cause" to "the whole series of events has a cause" - if we've explained the cause of each event in series, its unreasonable to ask what caused the whole series. Paul Edwards: example of 5 Canadians in NYC, each one is there for a different reason - moving there, auditioning etc. - on a case by case basis we can explain why they're there, but (according to Hume) it'd be undreasonable to ask why the group of ppl as a whole - why is it there? Fallacy of thinking a group sharing 1 property means the group as whole thing must have this property as well.
      • The impossibility of a necessary being: We cannot talk about necessary beings. Hume - there is no being whose non-existence is a contradiction thus, existence is not necessary. Russell - any claim about existence cannot be analytic, but must b synthetic. Cannot list attributes of a being and add existence; its not a predicate
      • Does the universe need an explanation?: Russell - it is meaningless even to ask what caused the universe. It is a fallacy to say that because parts of the universe have a cause, the whole must have a cause. He also does not feel the need to for an explanation; it just is.

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