The Cosmological Argument

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  • The Cosmological Argument
    • Basis of Aquinas' argument in observation.
      • Aquinas was fascinated with the Big Bang and although he knew nothing about it, his observation of the cosmos convinced him its basic process did not explain themselves.
        • Galaxies,, stars, planes, moons- all things in the universe move and are changed, and those changes are the result of cause and effect.
      • We can observe from the basis of Aquinas argument:
        • It is a posteriori and inductive so its based in observation- observation that the universe exists. Sense experience can verify the existence and properties of the universe.
        • This argument is the observation that all things we see in the universe are contingent.
          • they are moved, changed and caused- they need not exist, but they do.
          • This applies to galaxies, stars, planets, people, trees- everything.
          • All living things die and become compost for new life.- Since the start of the Big Bang , the universe has been in relentless process of expansion and change.
          • NOTHING stays the same - everything is contingent.
        • Aquinas concluded from his observation of contingency that something must exist necessarily.
          • If everything we observe is contingent, then the cause of the universe would seem to lie outside it.
          • seems to be nothing in what we observe that can explain why contingent things exist.
          • Therefore the argument deduces from this that an external reason itself must be necessary.
    • Explanation of the argument.
      • P1-P3:
        • Core argument stems from P2 - 'if everything is contingent, then at some time there was nothing'
          • Aquinas is claimng that all contingent beings/things have a finite lifespan--- there is no contingent being that is everlasting, so there must have been a time when nothing existed.
            • If there was time when nothing existed, then nothing would now exist due to 'ex nihilo nihil fit'- 'out of nothing nothing can come'
              • Obviously false because vast numbers of contingent beings/things now exist.
                • C1: so something must exist necessarily.
      • P4-P5:
        • Aquinas deals with the possibility that there might be an infinite series of caused necessary beings. That would be absurd, because then there would be no ultimate cause of that series and so no series at all.
          • C2: So there must be an 'uncaused, necessary being who brings into existence all caused necessary beings and all contingent beings.
            • C3: This is God.
            • Difference between caused necessary being and an uncaused necessary being:
              • Caused- a being that depends on something else to bring it into existence, but once created is everlasting.
              • Uncaused- a being that contains the reason for its own existence, in that its essence is existence so its very nature is to exist - it cannot not-exist.
  • The argument has two parts:

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