The Cosmological Argument

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  • The Cosmological Argument
    • The Kalam Argument
      • 1) Whatever begins to exist has a cause.
        • David Hume argued that we cannot know that everything must have a cause because it is not an analytic truth
        • We only know that things have a cause because of our experience and we have no experience of the beginning of the universe
        • Even if everything within the universe has a cause, this does not mean that it is necessary for the universe itself to do so
        • We may not be able to apply principles we have developed for events within the universe to the universe itself
      • 3) The universe has a cause.
      • 2) The universe began to exist.
        • Because time came into existence with the universe, the universe didn't 'happen' at a time and therefore has no beginning
          • Modern science suggests that the universe has a finite past and so it must have a beginning
            • Whatever had a finite past must have a cause for existence and, in the case of the universe, one that must be outside of time
              • We may not be able to apply principles we have developed for events within the universe to the universe itself
      • Actual Infinite
        • A mathematical concept: it is not growing towards infinity because it is infinite already. It may not exist in reality
        • The present would not exist in an actual infinite universe and so the universe must be finite and have a beginning
          • Potential Infinite
            • Exists if it is always possible to add more to a series of things: it is possible that the future is a potential infinite
          • As natural laws did not exist before the beginning of the universe, this means that the universe must have been created by a timeless personal agent who chose to create the universe ex nihilo (out of nothing)
            • The universe must've been either caused (a choice was made to bring the universe into existence) or uncaused (it was a natural occurrence. Since the rules of nature did not exist before the universe, then it must be a caused universe.
      • Potential Infinite
        • Exists if it is always possible to add more to a series of things: it is possible that the future is a potential infinite
    • A posteriori argument, based on experience
      • The argument is based on the assumption that there needs to be a first cause for the universe
        • Bertram Russell said this is not the case, and that the universe may be "brute fact"
    • Aquinas' Three Way
      • The First Way - The Unmoved Mover
        • Things are either in motion or they are at rest. Something at rest is in a state of potential infinte. Something potential can be moved only by something actual. If matter cannot move itself, then we have no explanation that some things are now in motion. There cannot be an infinte change of past movers, otherwise there would be no movement now due to infinite regress.
          • There must be an 'unmoved mover' who is unchanging.
          • Is Aquinas right in saying that there cannot be an infinite chain of past movers?
            • It is possible to have an actual infinite within mathematics thus there is no reason why we could not have an infinite number of movers
            • The regress may be circular rather than linear and the universe contains in a self-contained time loop which has no beginning and no end
          • The universe is just "brute fact" and need no explanation - Russel
      • The Second Way - The Uncaused Causer
        • There is an efficient cause for everything. Nothing can be the efficient cause of itself. There cannot be an infinite regress of efficient causes; otherwise there would be no existence of the present.
          • So there must be an uncaused causer to cause everything to happen without being caused itself
          • If the first premise for an argument is wrong then so is the whole argument. Is there really a cause for everything?
            • In particle physics we can see sub-atomic particles coming into existence from seemingly nothing.
              • Although string theory suggests that the vacuum is not nothing and thus there is actually a cause.
              • Science works on the assumption that things are true if all of our past experiences say so.
            • Hume argued that this argument works on the assumption that everything needs a cause.
              • Fallacy Of Composition is that just because something is part of an object then it doesnt mean the same for an entire object. This means that just because the things inside the universe need a cause, doesnt mean that the universe itself has to.
                • William Lane Craig argued that the CA is an inductive argument which argues from what we observe. Our common knowledge and experience confirms that something which begins to exist must have a cause. Often, when you explain the parts you have explained the whole.
      • The Third Way - Contingency
        • Everything can exist of not exist; everything is contingent. If so, at some point in time there was nothing, because there must of been a time when nothing had began to exist. If there was once nothing, then nothing could come of it. Therefore, something must exist necessarily, otherwise nothing would exist now. Everything must either be caused or uncaused. The series of necessary beings cannot be infinite, or there would be no explanation of the series.
          • Therefore, there must have been some uncaused being which has necessarily existed.
          • Hume: We could only state that there was a necessary being on the basis of experience, but we do not have experience or empirical evidence for a necessary being.
    • The Principle of Sufficient Reason (Leibniz)


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