The Cosmological Argument

These cards put the Cosmological Argument into little chunks to help you remember KEY INFORMATION for the exam. I have purchased some revision cards and wrote these by hand as i am a reader/writer learner and visual. It may help you also - a pack of 100 is around 2.50 in most shops. However - if you would like to print them out that is also up to you! Thank you.

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The Cosmological Argument :-

A POSTERIORI ARGUMENT - focuses on the world around us for evidence.

The argument is by ST THOMAS AQUINAS. His devotion to Catholicism may have influenced his theories.

THE ARGUMENT IN SHORT:

 

  1. Every finite and contingent being has a cause.
  2. causal loop cannot exist.
  3. A causal chain cannot be of infinite length.
  4. Therefore, a First Cause (or something that is not an effect) must exist.

Aquinas uses 3 of his 5 ways to present the argument. They are as follows:

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THE 3 OF THE 5 WAYS: MOTION

1) MOTION:

  • Everything in the world is moving or changing (Heraclitus - you can never step into the same river twice as the world is in a constant change of flux.)
  • Nothing can move by itself.
  • There cannot be infinite regression as it is not possible.
  • There must be a prime mover.
  • This must be God.

Aquinas was incredibly fond of Aristotle's Philosophy as you may have noticed in Ethics also and uses his philosophy in his Cosmological Argument such as the prime mover (originally by Aristotle) and in ethics Natural Law such as eudemonia.

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THE 3 OF THE 5 WAYS: CAUSATION

2) CAUSATION.

  • Everything has a cause.
  • Nothing causes itself.
  • no infinite regression as infinite regression is not possible.
  • there must be a first cause.
  • this first cause must be god.

As you can see he also uses similar Aristolean prime mover examples in this way. This way elaborates more on a cause for everything whereas the first was more along the lines of transformation and change.

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THE 3 OF THE 5 WAYS: CONTINGENCY

3) CONTINGENCY.

  • There are two forms of existence, contingent and necessaryEverything in our world is Contingent.
  • Everything contingent depends on something.
  • There must have been a time when nothing existed.
  • Something necessary must have brought everything into existence if nothing had existed.
  • The necessary being is God.

Contingent: Dependant on something else in order to exist - for example we only exist due to our parents. It is possible not to exist.

Necessary: Something that must exist in order for something else to exist. It is impossible for it not to exist.

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THE FRANK COPLESTON AND BERTRAND RUSSEL RADIO DEBA

FOR:- COPLESTON

  • Copleston focussed on the contingency way.
  • He proposed...Some things can't exist without others (eg. parents) Therefore everything is dependant on something else. There must be a causer that is necessary so it must not depend on anything else. This MUST be God. 

Radio Debate - 1947

Essentially, Copleston is rewording the works of St Thomas Aquinas and Leibniz' principle of sufficient reason using contingency.

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THE FRANK COPLESTON AND BERTRAND RUSSEL RADIO DEBA

AGAINST:- RUSSELL

  • Russell refused to accept Copleston's theories and Aquinas'. 
  • Because he cannot prove the non-existence of God he refers to himself as an AGNOSTIC not ATHIEST. 
  • "I SHOULD SAY THAT THE UNIVERSE IS JUST THERE, THAT IS ALL" Quote from the RADIO DEBATE - RUSSELL.

Copleston stated: "One cannot be checkmated if you refuse to sit at the table"

THIS REFERS TO THE QUOTE FROM RUSSEL ABOUT SIMPLY SAYING THE UNIVERSE EXISTS. HE IS AGAINST THE ARGUMENT BUT HAS NO PROOF.

David Hume-

God is different to us all, he is a necessary being and we are contingent. So how can we possibly understand his nature and prove his existence if he is a different type of being? We cannot prove his existence as his being is unknowledgeable to us. 

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Comments

C Charlton

A good resource but the spelling mistakes are unfortunate. :-/

Natalia Rnic

I do apologize! i will correct them! thank you for letting me know - some English student i am! i can't even spell properly!  

Natalia Rnic

I am deeply sorry about the spelling mistakes! they should all now be corrected! i cannot believe what i had spelled wrong i even looked through and noticed them all! Gosh, what was i thinking at the time of writing this!? I don't know that's for sure! I hope i have not caused too many problems :( 

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