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background of argument
• A posteriori • Synthetic and inductive • Idea of cause and effect
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study of nature and the order of the universe, Aristotle developed cos argu using Plato’s idea, believed the natural world provided evidence for the existence of God
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aquinas background
• Italian Dominican theologian • Authority of the Roman Catholic Church • Other forms of this argument, his is the most influential • ‘Thomism’ • ‘Summa Theologica’ is over 4000 pages long, only 2 pages relate to arguments for the existence of God
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Summa Theologica
‘nothing comes from nothing’
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5 ways
• The Unmoved Mover, the Uncaused Causer, Possibility and Necessity ( and goodness, truth, nobility and teleological
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what are the 5 ways?
• All are a posteriori as they have observations or experience as the starting point
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example of unmoved mover
wood has potential to become hot
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unmoved mover
• ‘What ever is moved (changed) must be moved by another, which was itself moved’
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unmoved mover - infinite progress and regress
• Infinite progress leads to a first mover • ‘Illogical to apply infinite regression to the world’
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the uncaused causer
• Every effect has a cause, infinite regress is not possible, therefore there must be a first cause which is God • Logical to think it is God • Something cannot come from nothing • Every cause has an effect
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necessary and possibility
• Everything that has a property is a ‘being’ • All ‘beings’ are created and perish – they are contingent • If all beings are contingent, must have been a time when nothing existed • Necessary being is the prime mover
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hume infinite critic
‘Just because everything in our world is governed by cause and effect that doesn’t mean the universe had to have a cause, could it not be infinite?
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russell critiscism
Russell ‘Why I am not a Christian’ ‘obviously the human race hasn’t a mother, that’s a different logical sphere’
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hume - prime mover
• Not just one Prime Mover ‘Could there not be several acting together like a committee’
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Hume - God
• Why the Prime Mover has to be associated with the Christian God. ‘More logical to suggest a world created by male and female gods who are born and who will die’
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J.L. Mackie
universe as a series of hooks hanging one below the other from a fixed point on the wall. Wall taken away = chain would fall. Might be a case infinite regress. Take away the first cause, nothing exists.
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copleston vs russell debate background
• 1948 • Fredrick Copleston and Bertrand Rusell = BBC radio debate about the existence of God • Started by agreeing on a definition of God as a ‘supreme personal being – distinct from the world and creator of the world’
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contingent beings that need a reason for existence, world isnt different from objects, so they need an external reason, must be necessary otherwise would commit infinite regress
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russell quote
‘the universe is just there and that’s all’
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russell - necessary vs contingent
Didn’t accept necessary or contingent - can only describe analytical statements, does not believe that there is a being whose essence involves existence, so that his existence is analytical
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cause is from our obseration, commits fallacy of composition, Individual quantum transitions in atoms have no cause
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principle of sufficient reason by leibniz
• To have a full understanding of the existence of something, we must be able to explain why and how it came into existence
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copleston + principle of sufficient reason
• Copleston argues that the explanation of the universe can only be sufficiently explained by reference to God
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anscombe vs russell - way 2
5. Elizabeth Anscombe says that Hume’s concept is a strange one, agrees that it may be possible for us to imagine an event without the cause we think it has or any cause. Criticism: Bertrand Russell – quantum physics 1920s theoretical phys no cause
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way 2 - hume
Criticism: Hume, never really experience causation, our mind just tells us,
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kant way 3
depend on God’s necessary existence meaning God exists without a cause, assumption, not logical reasoning, necessary beings exist is a predicate
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J.L. Mackie
anything which does not have the predicate of existence requires the existence of a necessary being, God.
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study of nature and the order of the universe, Aristotle developed cos argu using Plato’s idea, believed the natural world provided evidence for the existence of God

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aquinas background


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Summa Theologica


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5 ways


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