cosmological argument unti 1

the summary of cosmological arguments

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The cosmological argument
The five ways
1. way 1- argument for an unmoved mover
2. way 2- argument for an uncaused causer
3. way 3- argument from contingency
4. way 4- argument from gradation
5. way 5- argument from teleology
Thomas Aquinas' first way
1. We can observe that things in the world are in process of motion.
2. Everything that is in motion is in the process of changing from a potential state to an actual
3. The same thing cannot be at the same time potentially and actually the same thing
4. For example, if something is actually hot, it cannot be potentially hot, but it can be potentially
5. So everything that is in a state of motion must be put into this state by another thing
6. But the chain of movers cannot go infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and,
consequently no other mover
7. Conclusion. It is necessary to arrive at a first mover, put in motion by no other; and this
everyone understands to be god.
Thomas Aquinas' second way
1. Nothing is an efficient cause of itself
2. Efficient causes follow in order: a first cause causes a second, a second a third so on
3. It is not possible for efficient causes to go back to infinity
4. Conclusion. It is necessary to admit a first efficient cause to which everyone gives the name
of God
Infinite regression
An infinite regression is a chain of events that goes backwards forever. If we analyse the chain of
dominos using Aquinas' terms of potentiality and actuality, what we find is that every domino in the
chain is potentially the cause of the next one falling.
Aquinas' claim is that, to explain why there is any chain of events at all, you need to have an actual
cause that is pure act and not a potential cause, because if the cause of everything is only potential,
then it needs to be acted on to achieve its potential, and so the chain of regression begins again.
Aquinas' claim is that the chain is caused by a pure act not a potential act. Aquinas' conclusion is that
the being that is pure act is god.
David Hume
Questioned the idea that every event has a cause
One cannot always claim or assume that every effect has a cause
The fallacy of composition
Hume questioned whether it is necessary for the whole universe to have a cause just
because everything that is within the universe could be explained by a reference to a
preceding cause
Bertrand Russell's example: the mother of the human race
The Russell-Copleston debate
Presented a reformulation of some of the ideas found in the third way of Thomas Aquinas
Argued that the universe can only be sufficiently explained by reference to god

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God is different from contingent beings as he is his own sufficient cause
Argued that explaining why there is a universe is important
Rejected Copleston's argument and suggested that the universe was not explainable in the
way Copleston wanted
Russell argued that whether and explanation for the universe as a whole is possible or not,
the explanation is beyond the reach of human beings
It is unnecessary for human beings to have a sufficient explanation of the universe that goes
beyond the contingent universe…read more


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