Cosmological Argument

My notes on the cosmological argument

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  • Created by: Chantal
  • Created on: 16-02-13 11:25
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Cosmological Argument:
Also known as first cause argument
A posteriori- through senses
Inductive argument- moves from observations in the world to conclusion
Written by theists
Prove existence of God
Aquinas 1, 2 and 3-
`God's effects...are enough to prove that God exists, even if they may not be enough to
help us comprehend what he is'
Did not accept the statement `God exists' is self-evident
Influenced by Aristotle
Had 5 ways of improving existence of God
First way (motion):
Change in the world
Motion in the broadest sense
Movement from one place to another as well as change of quality or quantity
An object only moves when an external force was applied to it
Chain of movements cannot go back to eternity (infinite regress)
Must have been first or `prime mover' which is unmoved
Prime mover= God
Second way (cause):
Cause and effect exists in the world
Nothing could be cause of itself as this would mean it would have had to exist
before it existed- logical impossibility
Rejected an infinite series of causes
Must have been a first uncaused cause
First cause started the chain of causes
The first cause= God
Third way (Contingency):
Being and non being in the world
Contingency of matter
Based on the fact things come into existence and later cease to exist
If time is infinite there must have been a time when nothing existed
The fact they are contingent means they cannot continue forever
If there were a time when nothing existed, there would still be nothing, as
nothing can bring itself into existence
Cause of the universe must be external to it and must always have existed
Must have been a `necessary being' to bring everything else into existence
This `necessary being' is God
If God did not exist nothing would have existed
Accepted the cosmological argument
Principle of sufficient reason= Meaning a complete explanation
Had to be `a sufficient reason for the universe to exist'
Nothing takes place in the cosmological argument without a sufficient reason

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If we suppose the world to be everlasting we would never come to a complete or
sufficient explanation for its existence
The universe requires an explanation or sufficient reason for its existence and God is the
best and most sufficient reason
Hume's Criticism-
Believed all knowledge comes from our sense experience
His examination of peoples mode of thinking led him to conclude humans think that they
know a great deal more about the external world than is warranted
Mistake humans make is to allow imagination…read more

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The term `necessary' can only be applied to `analytic propositions'- propositions that
would be self-contradictory to deny eg `bachelors are married
Only way to argue for the existence of God would be if it could be shown that God's
existence was self-contradictory to deny
Any statement that cannot be proved true or false is meaningless
`Herbert exists' cannot be an analytic statement, only way it can be meaningful is by
going to find Herbert
Does not see it is necessary to look for a cause…read more


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