The Cosmological Argument

The cosmological argument in all its glory.

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  • The Cosmological Argument
    • What is it?
      • An argument concerned with the existence of the universe
        • The universe cannot account for its own existence
          • There must be a reason the universe exists
            • Infinite regress seems unlikely
    • Aquinas
      • The Five Ways
        • The First Way - The Unmoved Mover
          • Things stay the same unless put into motion by something else
          • This chain cannot be infinite
          • There must be an unmoved mover
        • The Second Way - The Uncaused Causer
          • Every effect has a cause
          • Things do not cause themselves
          • There must be a first cause which is itself uncaused
            • It is contradictory to say that anything is uncaused
              • This assumes God is a 'thing' like any other
                • St. Anselm - "God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived"
          • If one thing changes another, it must have that quality
            • "it is not dead men who commit murders" - Anthony Kenny
              • The thing must have the potential for that quality
        • The Third Way - Necessity and Contingency
          • The universe is full of contingent things
            • Initially
            • Continued
            • Things are contingent but this does not mean that the universe is contingent
          • If all are contingent there must be a non-contingent start point
        • Assumptions
          • The universe exists
          • There must be a reason for the universe's existence
            • Infinite regress could be true
    • Leibiniz
      • Sufficient reason and complete explanation
        • Even if one believes we have always been here, we must have sufficient reason for existence
          • Leibiniz never answers his own question! Silly Leibiniz.
    • Copleston
      • Supports Aquinas' rejection of infinite regress
        • "An infinite chain of contingent beings could only ever consist of contingent beings"
          • This chain could not bring itself into existence
      • Copleston's cosmological argument
        • Some things exist which do not contain a reason for existence within themselves
        • The world contains a totality of such objects
        • The explanation for all things must lie outside of the thing
        • This explanation must be self-explanatory
          • "necessary being"
      • Russell
        • Necessity is only applicable in statements of logic
          • Not possible in terms of the universe
          • "necessary being"
        • The universe is brute fact
          • Quantum mechanics
            • Particles can come in and out of existence without a cause
              • Why can't the universe be the same?
        • We may look for explanations but should not assume one will be found
        • If it is reasonable to seek explanation of the universe, why is it not reasonable to seek explanation of God?
    • Swinburne
      • "the most likely state of affairs is nothing"
        • Ockham's razor
          • "God is simpler an explanation than anything we can imagine and gives a simple explanation for the system"
        • Points towards designer God, even if we cannot explain his existence
    • Plato
      • There must be a mover that requires no further mover
        • Must be a soul of a higher order
    • Aristotle
      • Plato's mover must be beyond the universe
        • Activates the world with its presence
          • Encourages all things towards the ultimate good
        • Non-spatial
        • Eternal
        • Perfect
    • The Kalam Argument
      • Classical
        • Al-Kindi, Al-Ghazali
          • Everything which comes into existence has a cause
      • Modern
        • William Lane Craig
          • Rejection of infinite regress
            • An actual infinite cannot exist
            • An infinite temporal regress is an example of an actual infinite
            • An infinite temporal regress cannot exist.
    • The Big Bang
      • Rejects infinite regress - hypothesises a finite timeline
    • Strengths
      • a posteriori
        • Uses universally available evidence
      • It gives a solution to the universe's existence and all must be taken into account
      • "questions about the universe cannot be separated from questions abut God" - Herbert McCabe
    • Weaknesses
      • Quantum mechanics
        • Particles can come in and out of existence without a cause
          • Why can't the universe be the same?
      • "the cosmological argument is intellectually degrading" - Dawkins
        • If there is no scientific conclusion, there should be further investigation
      • Why can there not be multiple movers?
      • If all things are contingent then how can there be any non-contingent things?
      • To conclude God is the mover requires an inductive leap of logic
    • Hume
      • Why presume the need for a cause?
        • If individual parts can be explained, why do we need a cayse for the whole chain?
      • Why look for an explanation of the whole?
        • Looking for one is like looking for a mother of all humanity
          • Humans have sufficient explanation; the universe does not
            • Sufficient reason and complete explanation
              • Even if one believes we have always been here, we must have sufficient reason for existence
                • Leibiniz never answers his own question! Silly Leibiniz.
            • Copleston
              • Supports Aquinas' rejection of infinite regress
                • "An infinite chain of contingent beings could only ever consist of contingent beings"
                  • This chain could not bring itself into existence
              • Copleston's cosmological argument
                • Some things exist which do not contain a reason for existence within themselves
                • The world contains a totality of such objects
                • The explanation for all things must lie outside of the thing
                • This explanation must be self-explanatory
                • Russell
                  • Necessity is only applicable in statements of logic
                    • Not possible in terms of the universe
                  • The universe is brute fact
                    • We may look for explanations but should not assume one will be found
                    • If it is reasonable to seek explanation of the universe, why is it not reasonable to seek explanation of God?
            • Robert Gardener-Sharpe's cake anaology
            • Individual parts of the universe come and go, it is the whole which is constant
          • Is the concept of  a necessary being meaningful?
            • We can understand the destruction of any being
              • The cosmological argument starts with familiar concepts but reaches conclusions beyond human experience

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