Philosophy Exam: Cosmological Argument

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Cosmological Argument Question

From class discussions and class handout, construct and critically evaluate the cosmological argument for God's existence. Discuss the three examples of this argument constructed by Thomas Aquinas (which were discussed in class; the first, second and third ways). What problems have been offered against these arguments? Do you think these arguments demonstrate God's existence? Why or why not?

Rejection of Ontological Argument

Humans can not grasp the 'concept' that is god. Proof of God's existence must be established by considering the physical world, especially the physical world's need for an ultimate explanation.

The Argument From Motion (First Unmoved Mover)

1. In the world, there are things in motion.
2. Whatever moves is moved by another.
3. An infinite regress of movers in not possible, because if there were no first mover, there would be no motion at all.
4. Teherefore, it is necessary that there be a first, unmoved, mover.

Argument From Efficient Causality

1. In the world, there is an order of efficient causes.
2. There is no known cause in which a thing is its on effecient cause.
3. Without a infinite regress of cause, there would be no effects at all.
4. Therefore there must be a First Uncaused Cause.

Argument From Possibility and Necessity

1. In the world, there are contingent things, things that can either be or fail to be.
2. If everything can fail to be, then at some time there was nothing in existence.
3. If at one time there was nothing in existence, it would have been impossible for anything to have com into existence. (You can not get something from nothing)
4. Therefore, not all beings are contingent--merely possible, but there must be something that exists necessarily ad of itself.

Attempt to Improve Effecient Causality and Motion arguments

1. "The weakness of these arguments lies in the dificulty of excluding as impossible and endless regress of events requiring no beginning."
2. Mascall attempted to improve the argument by interpreting it as follows: It is not possible for an endless and tus eternally inconclusive regress of explanations. Clarke argues that while an endless regress of events is possible, one still needs a cause or an explanation of the series as a whole.
3. How do we know that the universe is not ultimately unintelligible?

Criticisms of Possibility and Necessity

1. Premise 2 is questionable. An infinite series of finite contingent events overlapping each other over an infinite ammount of times seemes logically possible.
2. A counter to this might be to argue that while an infinite series of contingent events overlapping each other may be possible, it seems extreamely unlikely.
3. Even if premise 2 is correct, however, a further problem remains. For these arguments to be conclusive, the second of these alternatives must be rulled out.

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