Cosmological Argument

6 June 2017

Outline the key features of the cosmological argument The cosmological argument tries to answer the question “why is there a universe rather than nothing at all? ” As the argument draws on experience and observation it is synthetic posterior and inductive. With the use of inductive reasoning, it proposes the need for an eternal and necessary cause. Drawing from Plato’s observation that the universe has to be dependent on a primary mover, which was further developed by Plato’s greatest student Aristotle through his use of reducto ad absurdum reducing the argument to absurdity).

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There is also the Kalam argument which tries to prove that the universe must have a cause. Pl : every event has a cause P2: the universe is an event C: God is the cause of the universe The different forms of the cosmological argument include three of the five ways Aquinas proposes in his book Summa Theologica. Aquinas’ first way was the argument of motion, this form of the cosmological argument sprung from the observation that everything is acted upon by something else.

Aquinas argued that there cannot be an infinite chain of regression otherwise the universe would not be here, but it is (reducto ad absurdum) and so there must be a primary mover. Aquinas suggested the primary mover is God. Pl: nothing can come from nothing P2: If there wasn’t a primary mover there would be no universe (reducto ad absurdum) but we know there is P3: there must be an unmoved prime mover C: the unmoved mover is God The second way of Aquinas is the causation argument.

This developed from the fact hat everything has a cause means that there cannot be an infinite regression of causes, there must be one necessary cause that started everything. Aquinas claims this first cause is God. Pl: everything has a cause P2: nothing can cause itself P3: without a first cause there would be no subsequent causes but we know this to be false (reducto ad absurdum) C: God is the first cause The contingency argument is Aquinas’ third way. This argument is different from the first two ways in the sense that it is formed from the idea that everything is ependent on something prior to it.

Aquinas believes that it is not possible for everything to be contingent, so there must be a non-contingent being which Aquinas claims to be God. Pl: things in the world are contingent P2: imagine everything was contingent; then there was one time when everything had passed out of existence (there was nothing) P3: If this was true then there would be nothing now but we know this is not true (reducto ad absurdum) P4: not everything can be contingent; there must be at least one thing that is necessary C: he necessary being is God.

Another philosopher who supported the cosmological argument was Gottfried Leibniz. He accepted the argument because he believes that there had to be a Leibniz argued “If you suppose nothing but succession of states and will not find any of them sufficient reason”. Leibniz rejected an infinite regress along with Aquinas because he did not believe it was a satisfactory explanation for existence. He accepted that God was the first uncaused cause on which everything is dependant.

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