• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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 ...

    If this be true, then the chain could never come into existence, as for this to happen there must be one being that is not dependant upon another for its existence. F.C. Copleston, as cited in The Existence of God, said "An infinite series of contingent beings will be, to

  1. St Thomas Aquinas and the Cosmological Argument

    Its existence is "self-explanatory". Copleston refers to this as a "Necessary Being". Compare this with the Ontological Argument and its attempt to argue that God's existence is "necessary". Russell Russell's initial response was simply to reject the terminology that Copleston used.

  2. 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.

  1. Outline the Cosmological Argument-

    our knowledge of the temporal world to something that is non temporal. It is beyond our experience. Mills suggested that since we learn from experience that all events must have a cause then to say that there is a cause, which does not have a cause, cannot be maintained.

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

    If they are to be persuaded by a deontological ethical theory it would have to be a secular one. In this respect, Kantian Ethics may present a more suitable candidate. Immanuel Kant's Formalism, another well-known deontological theory of ethics, has been characterised as "a Divine Command Theory without the Divine", because of the similarities between the two theories.

  1. Proof and Probability in Arguing for God's Existence.

    Jesus might be a mortal centaur (half man and half horse), or he might be a bionic man. The claim that he is not just a man does not in itself justify the conclusion that he is not mortal. I have used the above examples not in order to present

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

    This is called the efficient cause, the cause that keeps the given subject going. Aquinas here does not seem to consider the possibility of an infinite series of contingent things which overlap each other, as J.L Mackie pointed out and so if this were to be the case then there

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