Phil 1000. Bradley Monton Class 2 The Cosmological Argument. Three arguments for and one argument against the existence of God. The ontological argument The cosmological argument The argument from design The problem of evil. The Ontological Argument.
The Cosmological Argument
Premise 1: God is the being than which nothing greater can be conceived.
Premise 2: If a being exists in the understanding alone (and not in reality), then a being which is greater than it can be conceived.
Conclusion:God does not exist in the understanding alone -- God exists in reality.
Note that Gaunilo believes in God -- he’s critiquing the argument, not the conclusion.
Gaunilo presents an argument by analogy: he presents a bad argument with ostensibly the same structure as Anselm’s argument.
Premise 2: If an island exists in the understanding alone (and not in reality), then an island which is greater than it can be conceived.
Conclusion:Kokomo does not exist in the understanding alone -- Kokomo exists in reality.
The ontological argument treats existence as a property -- it’s one of the properties that’s needed for maximal greatness.
But Kant says that that’s the wrong way to think of existence.
The ontological argument implicitly assumes it’s possible for God to exist.
But suppose that’s not possible; suppose that the very concept of God is self-contradictory.
Then it would follow from the premises of the argument that God exists …
but it would also follow that God doesn’t exist.
Premise 1: The universe began to exist.
Premise 2: Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence.
Conclusion: The universe had a cause of its existence.
Further step: this cause is God.
Premise 1: Whatever is caused to exist is caused to exist by something else.
Premise 2: It’s impossible to have an infinite regress of (non-temporal) causes resulting in the existence of something.
Conclusion: There must have been a first cause.
Leibniz -- the Principle of Sufficient Reason: there has to be a sufficient reason for everything that occurs.
Even if the universe has been in existence forever, and even if there is an infinite regress of causes, nevertheless there must be a sufficient reason for the universe to exist, and that chain of causes to exist.
That sufficient reason is God.
Maybe the answer is: God necessarily exists.
A further question: is the principle of sufficient reason true?
Rowe says that contingent facts can’t be explained by a necessary fact.
Therefore, an appeal to God can’t explain why the universe is this (contingent) way, and not some other way.
But is the will of God a sufficient reason?