• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the Cosmological Argument

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the Cosmological Argument The Cosmological Argument is an 'a posteriori argument'. Therefore, the strengths and weaknesses of the Cosmological Argument, are the strengths and weaknesses of 'a posteriori' reasoning. 'A posteriori reasoning is 'arguing to a conclusion from our experience of the world'. The most famous expression of the Cosmological Arguments is found in what are known as Saint Thomas Aquinas' 'Five Ways,' seen as proofs of God's existence but since 'a posteriori' reasoning can only offer us probability, and not conclusive proof, then we need to clarify what exactly these arguments are attempting to do and how much do they work doing what they are actually trying to do. There are two forms of the Cosmological argument. The first of these is the 'Kalam Argument', also known as the 'First Cause Argument'. This is the simplest expression of the Cosmological Argument. ...read more.


There is a difference between the Kalam and the Contingency Arguments. The Contingency arguments (arguments such as the third of Aquinas' Five Ways) seek to establish the dependence of the Universe on God now. They seek to show there is something necessary on which the contingent Universe depends. The Kalam argument, by contrast, seeks to establish the Universe has a beginning and that this beginning was caused. The first premise of the Kalam Argument reads, 'Whatever begins to exist has a cause.' This view relies on us interpreting current data (data available to us). We therefore, need to make a judgement on this data to see if the Universe is uncaused or if it has a cause, which has not yet been figured out. Even if the Universe is not an infinite regress i.e. it has a cause, then this cause is uncaused. This leaves us with a problem, this problem being that there cannot be an ultimate explanation. The second premise reads, 'The Universe began to exist'. ...read more.


By saying this, you are arguing against the leap from contingency to necessity that Saint Thomas Aquinas takes. This argument is summed up, in a book called 'The Puzzle of God' by Peter Vardy, by saying, "One cannot move from individual causes to a claim that the totality of all has a cause". Aquinas tries to arrive at necessary existence with his third way. This was questioned as to whether there was any such thing, because it is logical to say of anything that it may or may not exist. In conclusion, the strengths and weaknesses of the Cosmological Argument ultimately depend on what we see it as attempting to do. If we see it as a proof, it fails because 'a posteriori reasoning' can never arrive at conclusive proof because of experience. However, if we see it as a 'probability argument' (does it make God more rather than less probable) then it has a value, as it makes belief in God reasonable, which, I think, was Aquinas' intention. Josh Bradshaw ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Describe the main strengths and weaknesses of the cosmological argument for the existence of ...

    imperfect personalities who reason, emote, act, communicate, etc., God also possesses analogous qualities in perfection. Also, Aquinas argued, that which is found in the ultimate cause must also be found in the offspring, a line of reasoning that led to the Fifth Way.10 The Cosmological argument is developed around a

  2. Examine the main strengths and weakness of the Cosmological argument for the existence of ...

    my way of thinking, as unable to cause itself as one contingent being". Copleston therefore argued that a series of contingent beings (eg. the continual fall of dominos in a line, each domino caused to fall due to the previous domino falling onto it)

  1. Outline the Cosmological Argument-

    The Cosmological argument tries to show that God exists from the fact that the universe exists and that 'someone must have made it'. The argument is based on the abhorrence of the idea of infinite regression some claim it is impossible.

  2. Deontology has many strengths but it is justifiable to reject it. Clarify and assess ...

    Kantian ethics replaces the idea of God with the idea of rationality. Firmly based in reason, the theory argues that we can derive moral laws from rational precepts. According to Kant, anyone who behaves immorally is also acting irrationally. Kant formulated the Categorical Imperative, which in many ways resembles the

  1. Examine the strengths and weaknesses of - The Thomist Cosmological Argument of the Existence ...

    This first cause was God. In his Third Way, Aquinas identified the contingency of matter in the universe. Everything comes into existence and later ceases to exist, so he concluded that there must have been a time where nothing existed.

  2. Outline cosmological argument presented by Aquinas and discuss strengths and weaknesses.

    God is a necessary being and if he didn't exist first then there would always of been nothing. This is another argument that could be believable if it was more developed. Once again it does not give any insight into why God was present first, there is no real proof or proper evidence.

  1. St Thomas Aquinas and the Cosmological Argument

    However, if we accept our limitations, we can still function without abandoning our theories about cause and effect. * Hume believed that all knowledge comes from our experience of the worked. Something can only be called a cause if it is observed to be causing something.

  2. Assess whether the cosmological argument proves the existence of God.

    the red ball to be pocketed but in actuality the white ball moves towards the red ball until they touch and then the red ball moves away into a pocket. Hume would claim that it is our minds which require us to say that the white ball causes the red ball to be pocketed.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work