Cosmological Argument

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  • Created by: Chantal
  • Created on: 24-04-13 14:59

Cosmological Argument

  • A posteriori- through senses
  • Inductive argument- moves from observations in the world to conclusion
  • Aquinas 1, 2 and 3 (Motion, Cause, Contingency)
  • Leibiniz
  • Hume’s Criticism
  • Copleston
  • Russell’s Criticism
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  • Also known as first cause argument
  • A posteriori- through senses
  • Inductive argument- moves from observations in the world to conclusion
  • Written by theists
  • Aims to prove the existence of God by proving God is the most adequate explanation for the existence of the universe
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  • ‘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
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Aquinas- First Way (Motion)

  • 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
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Aquinas- Second Way (Cause)

  • 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
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Aquinas- Third Way (Contingency)

  • 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
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  • 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
  • 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
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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 to make a connection between cause and effect
  • Cannot assume a connection between cause and effect
  • We observe a conjunction of events but they are two separate events occurring at separate times
  • Asked why we must conclude that the universe had to have a beginning
  • Even if universe did begin doesn’t mean that the universe was caused
  • We have no direct experience of the creation of the universe
  • We could not speak meaningfully about the creation of the universe
  • Did not believe there was either sufficient evidence to prove the cause of the universe or even that the universe was caused
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  • Definition of God= I presume that we mean a supreme personal being- distinct from the world and creator of the world
  • Without a God there would be no absolute ‘good’
  • Copleston’s argument from contingency:
    • There are some things in the world that do not contain in themselves the reason for their existence eg ‘I depend on my parents and now on the air and on food etc
    • Defines the ‘world’ as the sum total of things that exist and that look beyond themselves for their existence
    • Reasons that to explain the reason for the existence of the world there must be something outside the world that created it
    • If we try to argue something created this ‘creator’ we will have an infinite procession of creators
    • Concludes we must argue for a being which is self-existent
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Copleston Continued

  • Accuses Russell of rejecting an idea simply because it doesn’t fit into his personal system
  • Defines a contingent being as a being which has not in itself the complete reason for its existence.
  • Defines a necessary being as a being which must and cannot not exist
  • Defines God as an uncaused being
  • Must be a separate necessary cause for the contingent series of objects that make up our world
  • Must be a self-sufficient cause outside of the world to be its cause
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Russell's Criticism

  • Concepts of good and evil can exist without there being a God
  • 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 for the whole world
  • ‘I should say that the universe is just there, and that’s all’
  • No need to look for a cause for the whole world
  • Argues Copleston is using faulty logical processes as self-sufficient existence can only be attributed as part of an analytic statement, whereas Copleston attributes it as part of the synthetic statement ‘God exists’
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