The Cosmological Argument

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What is a valid argument?
One where there are no mistakes in logic
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What is a sound argument?
One where there are no mistakes in logic and the premises are true
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What is a deductive argument?
One which both valid and sound tus leading to an indisputable conclusion
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What is a inductive argument?
One where we may accept the premisees but we don't have to accept the conclusion
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Is the cosmological argument deductive or inductive?
It attempts deductive reasoning but is more successful if treated as an inductive argument
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What does the cosmological argument attempt to do?
It attempts to infer the existence of God from the existence of the cosmos (the universe) and the phenomena that occurs within it
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What is an 'a posterior' argument?
A proof that uses reason based on experience of the world
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Is the cosmological arugment an a posterior argument?
Yes, becuase its based on empirical evidence
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What are Aquinas 5 ways?
1) The unmoved mover 2) the uncaused causer 3) possibility (contingecy) and necessity 4) goodness, truth and nobility 5) telelogical
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Which of Aquinas 5 ways are apart of the cosmological arugment?
1 (the unmoved mover), 2 (the uncaused causer) and 3 (possibility and necessity)
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What is the argument that Aquinas puts forward in his first way (the unmoved mover)?
P1 - Everything in motion is moved by something else P2 - Infinite regress is impossible C1 - therefore there must be a first/prime mover and this we call God
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What does Aquinas mean by 'motion' and 'movement'?
He included not only movement from one place to another but aslo movement in the senes of change or quality or quantity
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What is infinite regress in context of motion?
Everything that is moving is moved by something outside of itself, that is in turn also in motion. Infinite regress is the idea that this goes back forever (infinitely)
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Why did Aquinas believe that infinite regress was impossible?
An infinite series of dependent causes is inconceivable
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Why does there have to be a being that in and of itself is unmoved who is responsible for all moved things?
Because if it wasn't unmoved then it would be the same as everything else in the cosmos
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What is the name of Aquinas' other theory that supports his First Way?
Potentiality and actuality
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What did Aquinas mean by 'potentiality'?
The inherent but underdeveloped possibility for someone or something to change/develop
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What did Aquinas mean by 'actuality'?
A state of being, the reality of something at this moment in time
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What example did Aquinas use to demonstate potentiality and actuality?
Wood has the potential to become hot, and fire is in an actual state of heat. If you put both together the actuality of the fire allows the wood to move from potentiality to actuality of hot.
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What point is Aquinas trying to make in the example of fire and wood?
That for something with potentiality to move inot actuality, something that is already in that actual state has to act upon it
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How is Aquinas' theory of potentiality and actuality related to the cosmological arugment?
Something with actuality must have started the universe, this makes senese because of human understanding of cause and effect
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What is the argument that Aquinas puts forward in his second way (the uncaused causer)?
P1 - Every effect has a cause P2 - infinite fegress is impossible C1 - therefore there must be a first cause and this we call God
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Why does Aquinas identify that nothing can cause itself?
Because for something to be the cause of itself it would have had to exist before it existed. This would be logical impossibility
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Why does the first cause have to be in and of itself uncaused?
Because if it wasn't then it would be the same as everything else
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What is the argument that Aquinas puts forward in his third way (possibility and necessity)?
P1-The world consists of contigent items P2-there must have been a time when there were no contingent items P3-if this were true, nothing could have come into existence as there needs to be a cause C1-thus there must exist a necessary being (God)
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What are both definition of 'contingency'?
1) an intem that is dependent on something else for its existence 2) may or may not exist
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What is a 'necessary being'?
Cannot not exist (must exist) / depends on nothing for its existence
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What does the being have to be in and of itself non-contingent (necesarry)?
Becuase if it wasn't then it would be the same as everything else
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Why do we have to put forward the idea of a necesary being?
Because contingent things cannot create themselves as this would paradoxical (illogical)
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Why would a necessary being exist outside of time?
Becuase time is measured by change, and such a being would not be subject to change which is seen as a measure of criterion of imperfection
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How is it shown in Scripture that God is the necessary being?
God's name in part of the Bible is 'Yahweh' whihc translates into 'I be, I is' showing how God could not have created himself and was not created by anything else, He just is. Therefore he cannot be contingent therefore is necessary
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What point did Betrand Russell make about Aquinas' Third Way?
As we have no evidence of a self-dependent being, the word 'necessary' is meaningless. God as a necessary being would have to be in a special category of his own, which leaves too many questions
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How did F. C. Copleston attack Betrand Russells point about the language Aquinas uses?
He asked Russell to consider that he was talking about God in a way that demonstrated that Russell understood the meaning of a necessary being, so this meant that such a being could exists
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What conclusion did Betrand Russell make about the universe's beginning?
'just because humans have a mother, does not mean that the whole race had to have a mother'. The universe does not have to have a beginning, and that is was just a 'brute fact. ("I should say that the universe is just there and that is all")
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What school of philosophy did David Hume come from?
Empiricism (sensory learning of the world)
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What assumptions did Aquinas make, according to David Hume?
1) That the world had a beginning 2) That the necessary being has to be God
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What point did Hume make about Aquinas' assumption that the cosmos needed a beginning?
"If fire warms and water refreshes, it is only becuase it does us too much pain to think of it otherwise" which means just because we see cause and effect, it could just be an order that impose on the world to make sense of it
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Aquinas identifies the necessary being as God. What did Hume make of this?
The it is an assumption, baring the Fallacy of Composition in mind, maybe the universe itself is necessay. Aquinas is guilty of an inductive leap of logic as othing in the premises leads us to that conclusion
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Within the work of Gottfried Von Leibniz, what is meant by the 'principle of sufficient reason'?
A complete explanation that explains the cause of an event. In this case, the origin of the universe (a version of the cosmological argument)
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What phrase does Leibniz base his principle upon? What does this translate to?
'Ex nihilo, nihil fit' meaning out of nothing, nothing comes
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What is Leibniz's version of the cosmological argument?
P1-Nothing takes place without a complete explanation P2-If there is to be a complete explanation, it has to get back to soemting that does not rely on anything else P3-Infinite regress is not sufficient reason C-Necessary being is sufficient reason
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Who did Leibniz identify as the necessary being? And why?
God because only He can have teh properties of a necessary existence
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Why did Leibniz reject infinite regress?
He said that we should be not satisfied with such an unending process but should recognise that the whole universe depends on God, who is uncaused and so not dependent
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What approach could we say that Leibniz is guilty of?
God of the gaps approach
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Explain the God of the gaps approach.
Some religious believers who tend to place god in the gaps of our knowledge, which means when the true knowledge is discovered we then have to remove God and so belief in God because much less tenable (believable)
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Did Anthony Kenny criticism or support Aquinas' Cosmological Argument?
Kenny heavily criticised it
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Explain how Anthony Kenny criticised Aquinas using Newtons first law of motion.
It states that nothing changes or moves unless its acted upon by something else. Whilst it may be possible that at body cannot cause itself to move, a body may just be perpetually in motion or perpetually at rest without needing a cause
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How could be counter Kenny's point about perpetual movement?
Newton was not talking about change as Aquinas was. Newton's law concerned with physical movement but Aquinas was spekaing of change (e.g. ageing). Also, Newtons law appears to support Aquinas so we could argue that Kenny offers a new starting point
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What did Kenny say about Aquinas' views of planets and their influences?
That Aquinas had very medieval views about nature and thus believed that the planets influenced movement and causation more than science confirms - "the first way starts with an indisputable fact... the second way from archaic fiction" - Kenny
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How can we attack the view that Kenny had on Aquinas beliefs of nature?
Although Aquinas had peculiar views abot cosmology, his second way is about cause and effect in the world in general and is not specific to the stars and planets. This is an assumption that Kenny has made and this is bad philosophy
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How did J L Mackie feel about Aquinas cosmological argument?
The infinite regress may not be impossible and that time does not necessary have to be linear, it could be cyclic (occuring in circles / repeatedly) which, if this were the case, a beginning would not make sense
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What is the example that J L Mackie gives?
Mackie described Aquinas argument of the causes in the universe as a series of hooks hanging one below the other from a fixed point on the wall (God). If the wall was taken away the chain would fall apart. Instead the chain of hooks might be infinite
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What is F R Copleston's version of the cosmological agrument? (the premises)
P1-Some things in the world don't contain the reason for their existence within themselves P2-the world is the totality of individual objects which don't contain the reason for their own existence
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What is F R Copleston's version of the cosmological agrument? (the conclusion)
C1-Therefore the explanation of the existence of everything in the universe must be external to the universe C2-This explanation must be an existent being which is self explanatory (contains within itself the reason for its own existence)
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Is the Kalam argument comological?
The Kalam argument is cosmological becuase it argues that everything that exists has a cause of it's existence tand this includes the universe
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Why did Al-Ghazali rejected actual infinites?
Becuase it would result in unacceptable logical paradoxes
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What is a potential infinite?
If something is potentially infinite then it is always possible to add one more to a series of things or events (e.g. time, as it is always possible to add another second, minute, hour, day, week etc.)
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What is an actual infinite?
A mathematical concept found in set theory that refers to a part of something with actual infinity is equal to the whole set becuase everything within it is infinite
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What is Part 1 of William Lane Craig's Kalam argument?
1-present would not exist in actual infinite because sucessive additions are impossible 2-present day does exist as the result of chronological series of events 3-universe must be finite 4-a finite universe has a beginning so needs a first cause
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Why Lane Craig deny the possiblity of actual infinity?
This would mean that there would be just as many wars as there would be all other events together. Also, from experience we know that history was formed by one event following on after another-successive addition which can't happen in actual infinity
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What is Part 2 of William Lane Craig's Kalam argument?
1-If the universe had a beginning it was either a natural occurance or a choice 2-As rules of nature did not exist before the universe, it cannot be through natural causes 3-Therefore the universe was caused by a personal being
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According to Lane Craig, why must the first cause be a personal God?
God is the only entity who can be incorporeal (out of body), atemporal (out of time) and necessary who has the ability to choose freely. No one else has suggested another being with these qualities
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What is a sound argument?


One where there are no mistakes in logic and the premises are true

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What is a deductive argument?


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What is a inductive argument?


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Is the cosmological argument deductive or inductive?


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