Cosmological Arguement

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Cosmological argument:

What: Is a philosophical argument in favour of the existence of God, Inductive and posteriori arguement. First 3 ways- Motion, cause and contingency

  • The argument: 1.There are things that are in motion, caused, contingent 2. These things require something else to move/ cause/ create them and so on 3.The chain of causation, movement, contingency can't go back forever- There must exist an unmoved mover, uncaused cause and a uncreated being
  • Some intial criticisms of Aquinas: Suppose we allow exception that "everything must have a cause" Why make God the exception? Why couldn't the universe be the exception? Maybe the universe could be self causing or it may not require explanation at all; It just is
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Cosmological argument:

Hume's criticisms of the Cosmological Argument:

  •  All events have a cause- Argues that we see event A followed by event B. This does not prove that A causes B. An infinite series of causes is possible. Does the chain of causes have to end somewhere?
  • There must be first cause: The fallacy of composition- If we know about causes within the universe, we do not also need to explain the universe as a whole
  • Cause and effect is invalid and could be an illusion, Aquinas makes an iductive leap
  • The material world itself may be necessary 
  • We cannot assume that every effect has a cause-"the whole" has a cause is "an arbitrary act of the mind" There is nothing in our experiance, or any logical argument that can be made, to suggest that there is an overarching cause which gives a reason for the effects we see in the universe

"Why may not be the material universe be the necessary existent being...We dare not affirm that we know all the qualities of matter"

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Cosmological argument:

The Russell- Copelston Debate:

  • Copelston: He aruged that unless one accepts the existence of a first cause there is no explanation for the existene of the universe- He is combining Aquinas' Third way and Leibiniz's principle of suffcient reason.
  • He agued that the universe is "gratuitous"- Each object is contingent on the existence of other things, relies for its exitsence on a "reason external to itself". There must be an external explanation- there must be a "being which contains within itself the reason for its own existence" A necessary being
  • Russell's responce: "I should day that the universe is just there, that's all" "It is without an explanation". It is an assumption that the world is knowable.
  • Russell rejects the terminology- The universe is neither contingent nor non contingent and the terms "universe" and "existence" were meaningless. The concept of a "necessary being" had no meaning, "necessary" cannot be applied to things, only to statements of logic, it does not make sense to talk of God as necessary
  • The concept of the universe as a whole having a cause was meaningless. His view was that we cannot grasp the concept of the entire scheme of things, and then hope to find an explanation for it- Fallacy of Composition, just because every human has a mother, it does not make sense to make the leap and say that the entire human race has a mother. The existence of the universe is a brute fact!
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