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

Explain the main properties of the cosmological argument.

Extracts from this document...


A Explain the main properties of the cosmological argument. The cosmological argument began with Plato and ever since been defended and attacked by many great philosophers. One of the supporters was Leibniz. The cosmological argument is basically an argument about causation. Its major supporter was Thomas Aquinas though Gotfried Leibniz also put forward a simplified version of Aquinas's cosmological argument. The major critics of the argument have included David Hume and Bertrand Russell who question the basic principle that the argument works from. While the arguments of Aquinas assume that the universe cannot be temporally infinite, there is a version of the cosmological argument (supported by Leibniz (1646-1714) among others) that allows that the universe is temporally infinite. Leibniz regards the cosmological argument as a strong argument because there has to be an explanation for life. In 1710 Leibniz furthered Aquinas' third "way" (self existence) into what he called the "Principle of Sufficient Reason". ...read more.


Why do we need an explanation anyway? Hume asks why, if everything has a cause, must one thing not. As does Bertrand Russell. Russell believes that the universe is 'just a brute fact', and it does not matter how, we are just here!' The universe is not an issue. Perhaps the most important fault in the cosmological argument is what would appear to be a contradiction in the idea of everything having a cause for its existence, while at the same time holding that at the end of the chain there is a first-mover that is itself unmoved. Is there any reason to believe this idea? Why should everything except God have a cause? If you say that God does not need a cause for existence, that God is a necessarily existing thing, then cannot this idea be used in favour of anything that exists not having a cause? If however you say that everything does have a prior cause, then surely this shouldn't have exceptions. ...read more.


Also, it is perfectly logical to assert that objects do not bring themselves into existence and must, therefore, have causes. Like the teleological argument, the cosmological argument suffers from our uncertainty of whether or not the past, like the future, is infinite. If the past stretches back infinitely, then there never was a Prime Cause. If there have been an infinite number of causes in the past then logically there cannot have been a first cause. One of the weaknesses of the argument is that if all things need a cause to exist, then God Himself must also, by definition, need a cause to exist. But this only pushes causation back and implies that there must be an infinite number of causes, which cannot be. This is paradoxical. The cosmological argument does however assist with the question of existence and many philosophers observe the theory as a strong one. Therefore, the cosmological argument, although able to be understood easily and useful in some cases, is not sustainable argument and cannot be regarded as a logical explanation for the existence of God. Isobel Manley ...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. The Cosmological Argument

    What distinguishes the Kalam cosmological argument from other forms of cosmological argument is that it rests on the idea that the universe has a beginning in time. Modal forms of the cosmological argument are consistent with the universe having an infinite past.

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

    The hierarchy of necessary existence itself would need an explanation for its existence. Here, Aquinas appeals to the *principle of sufficient reason*, which states that everything that happens has to have a sufficient explanation for occurrences.17 Since the hierarchy of necessary existences would therefore need to be explained, because of

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

    The Cosmological argument, however, only explains the existence of a God, but does not advance further in arguing that he is still a necessary being vital for the continued existence of the universe.

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

    Because Hume could not believe a connection between cause and effect, proved by his example of a game of billiards, he went on to say that causation is not a physical connection but just an association in our minds. Another opponent of the argument was Kant.

  1. St Thomas Aquinas and the Cosmological Argument

    Hume claims that causation is a habit of relationship. He notes that when we repeatedly observe one event following another, our assumption that we are witnessing cause and effect seems logical to us. Hume holds that we have a natural belief in causality, from our own natural habits, and that we can neither prove nor discount this belief.

  2. The Cosmological Argument

    Some arguments for God's existence require more thought and education in terms and concepts, but this argument is basic and simple. Also, it is perfectly logical to claim that objects do not bring themselves into existence and must, therefore, have causes.

  1. The Cosmological Argument

    He believed that motion was the reduction of something from having the potential to move or change to actually moving or changing. For this to happen, it has to be put into motion by another, and the same for the one before.

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

    But the universe having a beginning has support from modern science, as the Big Bang claims that the universe began to exist from a single starting point, although the Big Bang and the cosmological argument may not be exactly reconcilable with each other, the point of the universe having a beginning is a shared principle.

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