The Cosmological Argument

Key ideas surronding the Cosmological Argument.

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  • Created by: Bethany
  • Created on: 02-10-14 09:22
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  • The Cosmological Argument
    • Aquinas
      • Book = Summa Theologica
        • Aquinas has 5 ways.
          • 1) Prime Mover
            • Every motion is caused by a previous motion, ultimately requiring an "unmoved mover". There can be no infinite regression.
              • Use the example of playing snooker
          • 3) Contingency
            • Everything (in our experience) is caused by something else. The first cause must be outside the universe in order to create it and this must be God. (must be transcendent)
              • Use the example of the train engine (Mackie) or a box of chocolates
          • 4) Moral argument - not cosmological
          • 2) First Cause
            • Everything that exists was caused to exist. The universe exists so it must have a cause. There had to be something eternal that was not caused by anything. The "uncaused causer" must be God.
              • Use the example of dominoes
          • 5) Design Argument - not cosmological
    • Aristotle
      • Originally came up with the 'prime mover argument'
        • "Ex nihilo, nihil fit"- Nothing comes from nothing.
        • Suggested something moves everything from actuality to potentiality
    • Leibniz
      • "Sufficient reason"
        • Even if the universe has always existed, there is nothing within the universe to suggest why it exists.
          • Everything has a sufficient reason therefore the universe as a whole must have a reason and the reason must be outside the universe.
            • This sufficient reason must be God.
    • 1948 Copleston and Russell BBC radio debate
      • Copleston - Develops Aquinas' argument
        • "If there is a contingent being, then there is a necessary being"
          • "Only contingent beings can have a cause"
            • "If you add up chocolates, you get chocolates after all and not sheep"
      • Russell - Rejects the argument
        • It would look analytic to say "the existent round square exists" but it doesn't.
          • "I see no reason whatsoever that the total has any cause whatsoever" "The universe is brute fact"
            • "I do think the notion of the world having an explanation is a mistake. "I should just say the world is there and that's it"
    • Initial rejections to the argument.
      • Hume
        • Hume has 5 criticisms of the cosmological argument.
          • 3) Everything has a cause, except for God, so the argument implies a contradiction.
          • 2) There is a fallacy of composition as just because everything in the universe has a cause doesn't mean everything outside of the universe has to have a cause.
          • 4) Could just be an infinite regress and have no beginning.
          • 1) The universe doesn't have to have a cause.
          • 5) It may provide a suggestion of a first cause but it can't conclude that this first cause must be God.
      • Kant
        • Book = The Critique of Pure Reason
          • Epistemic distance
            • Kant doesn't like the idea that we can conclude in the necessary being of God, as we are not necessary so we can't comprehend what is.
    • Mackie
      • Moving train analogy
        • If we see the carriages of a train moving, but not what was at the beginning, we would assume an engine was pulling them, and that this was the cause of them moving.
    • Scientists View
      • Can work alongside the Big Bang theory
      • However quantum physics suggests not everything has a cause



In your point about Aristotle, it is moving from POTANTIAL to ACTUALITY and not the other way round :)



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