Cosmological Argument

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What is the Cosmological Argument?
A collection of arguments from natural theology that argue for the existence of God.
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What is meant by 'cosmological'?
Comes from the greek word "cosmos" meaning order but in this case refers to the order of the Universe as a whole
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What type of argument is the Cosmological Argument?
A posteriori.
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What is meant by 'a posteriori'?
Knowledge which proceeds from observation rather than making assumptions.
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What is meant by the Five Ways?
A christian application of the argument that Aquinas published in his Summa Theologica. Five ways that he believed "demonstrated" the existence of God.
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What does Aquinas' First Way focus on?
The idea of motion from potentiality to actuality triggered by the 'First Mover'. It is also known as the Unmoved Mover or Kinetological way, "Kine" meaning motion.
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What is meant by 'actualisation'?
Something moving to its potential.
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How does actualisation link to the idea of the First Mover?
Everything that has moved has been moved by another, which itself was moved. God is the initiator of these change in motions to achieve potentially. "the reduction of potentiality to actuality" e.g. fire to wood.
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What are the qualities of Aquinas' First Mover?
Must contain all actuality and no potentiality because you cannot be both at the same time and you have to have been actualised to trigger the actualisation of another thing. This is what we understand to be God.
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What is Aquinas' First Way?
1. Nothing can move or change itself. 2. Everything that is in motion or change is moved or changed by something else. 3. Infinite regress of movers or changers is impossible. 4. Therefore, there must be a first mover or changer- God.
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What does Aquinas' Second Way focus on?
Cause and existence. It is also known as the Uncaused Causer or Aetological Way, seeking to explain things from their origins.
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Who did Aquinas adapt the First and Second Ways from?
Aristotle
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Why can nothing be the cause of itself, according to Aquinas?
It would already have to exist to bring itself into existence.
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What does our cause of existence say about the existence of God?
If we trace back far enough there must be something that has always existed to be the first cause of the chain of causes. This is what we understand to be God.
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What is Aquinas' Second Way?
1. Nothing can be the cause of itself. 2. Infinite regress of causes is impossible. 3. Therefore, there must be a first cause- God.
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What type of chain is the chain of causes, according to Aquinas?
Hierarchical rather than linear.
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What does Aquinas' Third Way focus on?
Necessity and Contingency
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What did Aquinas refer to as a being?
Anything that has a property.
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What did Aquinas mean by 'contingent being'?
What did Aquinas mean by 'contingent being'? A being with a beginning and an end, and which are dependent on something else for their existence.
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What makes Aquinas believe in the existence of a necessary being?
In an infinite amount of time, all possibilities occur. This means that there will have been a time where all contingent beings will have ceased to exist. Nothing can come into existence by itself so there must be something non-contingent to sustain
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What is Aquinas' Third Way?
1. Some contingent beings exist. 2. If any contingent beings exist, then a necessary being must exist. 3. Therefore, a necessary being exists, namely God.
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Why was Aristotle's arguments seen as a threat to many church leaders?
Because they weren't dependent on Christian doctrine.
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What is meant by 'doctrine'?
A belief or set of beliefs held and taught by a Church, political party, or other group.
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What were Aquinas' aims as a philosopher?
To show how faith and reason could work alongside each other.
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Why did Leibniz develop on Aquinas' Cosmological Argument?
To avoid the problems raised by the suggestion of an infinite regression.
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How did Leibniz develop Aquinas' Cosmological Argument?
He said that even if the universe has always existed it doesn't account for why. He created the Principle of Sufficient Reason.
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What is meant by the 'Principle of Sufficient Reason'?
There must be reasons to explain facts, even if we don't know what these reasons are. There must be an explanation which includes an explanation of how it came to exist.
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What is meant by 'ex nihilo nihil fit'?
"Nothing comes from nothing."
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What is Copleston's version of Aquinas' Cosmological Argument, based on ex nihilo nihil fit?
1. Whatever exists must have a cause or ground for its existence. 2. That cause can't produce perfections that it does not itself possess.
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What is meant by 'The Fallacy of Composition'?
Just because one effect in a chain has a cause it doesn't follow that a whole series of cause and effect has a single cause. Created by Hume as a criticism of the Cosmological Argument.
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What analogy did Russel use to explain 'The Fallacy of Composition'?
It is one thing to state every human being has a mother, but one cannot move from this to say that there is a mother for the whole human race.
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What analogy did Hume use to explain 'The Fallacy of Composition'?
Why would someone need any other explanation of the twenty particles when you have explained the cause of each one individually?
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How would Leibniz and Copleston respond to Hume's analogy of twenty particles?
There isn't a reason why we can't ask what made all of the twenty particles. A partial explanation will only ever be partial. Explaining a lit match by saying "I striked it against the box" is only a partial reason for why it's on fire.
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What did Hume say about the idea of an infinite chain of cause and effect?
It is entirely possible for the chain to be infinite. As far as we can tell a priori, the world may have no cause whatsoever. If God's non-existence is impossible because of some "inconceivable qualities", why should we assume that these qualities do
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How would Leibniz, Aquinas and Aristotle respond to Hume's possibility of an infinite chain of cause and effect?
It doesn't pass Leibniz's Principle of Sufficient Reason or ex nihilo nihil fit. Modern physics makes it hard to believe in an eternal universe.
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What is meant by 'a priori'?
Knowledge which proceeds from assumptions rather than observation.
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What did Hume say about the God we assume is the uncaused causer?
Like causes resemble like effects. Surely it would be a closer analogy to assume that finite gods are responsible for such finite effects.
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What did Hume say about causes not being able to produce perfections that it does not itself possess?
"Any thing may produce any thing."
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What is meant by 'de dicto'?
An argument that is based on the use of words.
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What is meant by 'de re'?
An argument that is based on the nature of things.
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What was Humes' criticism of Aquinas' Third Way?
It isn't a contradiction that a contingent being could be without a necessary being because the term 'necessary being' has no consistency. Any being claimed to exist may or may not exist. There is no being whose non-existence implies a contradiction.
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What is meant by 'causation'?
The relationship between cause and effect.
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What was Humes' criticism of 'causation'?
Cause and effect takes us beyond the scope of human ideas and understanding. Given our epistemological limits, the existence of this world must be treated as a brute fact that is incapable (for us) of further explanation. There's not even any evidenc
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What is meant by 'epistemology'?
The nature of our knowledge.
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How would Aquinas respond to Hume's doubts of our epistemological capability to understand God?
Why should our limited understanding be limits of God? We don't need experience of creation to be able to prove God, He is a special case where He doesn't need to be a priori.
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How was Hume an empiricist?
He viewed experience as the foundation of knowledge. We could not experience the actual cause of the universe and so the cosmological argument goes beyond our limits and therefore isn't valid.
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What is 'Oscillating Universe Theory'?
The rejection of the universe having a beginning, it has always existed and so it's meaningless to argue a cause.
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What is the Kalam argument?
What is the Kalam argument? The Muslim version of the Cosmological argument, developed by al-Kindi and al-Ghazali. Everything which began to exist in a point of time, must have a cause. Infinity cannot exist in actuality.
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What analogy did Craig use to support the impossibility of infinity in the Kalam argument?
You cannot have a library with an infinite amount of books because if you borrowed every other book, the shelves would still have to be full.
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How does the Kalam argument presume that there was a God who created the universe?
If the universe is finite, there was a possibility of it being created. There must have also been a possibility of it not being created. There must have been something/someone who made the choice between these two possibilities.
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What is a criticism of the understanding of infinity in the Kalam argument?
It's a misunderstanding of the nature of infinity. Infinity has to exist in actuality, even if we can't understand it.
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What is a criticism of the presumption of a creator in the Kalam argument?
There's no need for an agent to make the choice. It could've been random or accidental. Even if it was a God, it might not have been the God that we imagine.
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How can the Kalam argument be seen as self-contradictory?
It is trying to use the impossibility of infinity as evidence for an infinite God.
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How does recent subatomic physics contradict the entirety of the Cosmological argument?
It has been suggested that things can exist without a cause. Motion does not have to be the result of a mover. Electrons can pass in and out of existence without any apparent cause.
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What is meant by 'cosmological'?

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Comes from the greek word "cosmos" meaning order but in this case refers to the order of the Universe as a whole

Card 3

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What type of argument is the Cosmological Argument?

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Card 4

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What is meant by 'a posteriori'?

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Card 5

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What is meant by the Five Ways?

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