PHIL/RS 335. Arguments for God ’ s Existence Pt. 1: The Cosmological Argument. Going back to the beginning. The cosmological argument has its origin in Ancient Greek Philosophy. We see versions of the argument in the work of both Plato and Aristotle.
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Arguments for God’s Existence Pt. 1: The Cosmological Argument
The cosmological argument has its origin in Ancient Greek Philosophy.
We see versions of the argument in the work of both Plato and Aristotle.
There, of course, the argument was not aimed at proving the existence of a theistic divinity, but at explaining the origin of the world.
As should already be apparent, the cosmological argument is really a family of arguments which share a basic structure.
Though there are significant variations which we will have to account for, the various versions of the CA begin with certain relatively non-controversial descriptions of the natural world and infer from them the existence of a necessary being, which they then argue must be understood as God.
The class of arguments we are calling a posteriori arguments are common and generally non-controversial, though they are most frequently developed as inductive, rather than deductive arguments.
The claim of the impossibility of infinite regress is much more controversial. Copleston, in the inset on p. 62, tries to rescue this claim by insisting that Aquinas’s assertion is an ontological rather than temporal or genetic claim, but set-theoretic mathematics provides the resources for serious reservations here.
The point of the last observation is to highlight that even if we grant the force of the arguments offered by Aquinas, we don’t seem to get the God of theism. We might get a first mover, a first efficient cause, or a necessary being, but not the loving, personal God which traditional theism is committed to.
Conclusion: There exists a self-existent being.
Makes a category mistake. Assumes that the series is of the same ontological order of the elements of the series.
Commits the Part/Whole Fallacy. All humans have mouths, but that doesn’t mean that the category “human being” has a mouth.
Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Pt. IX, “Did I show you the particular cause of each individual in a collection of twenty particles of matter, I should think it very unreasonable, should you afterwards ask me, what was the cause of the whole twenty. This is sufficiently explained in explaining the cause of the parts.”