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Explain the main properties of the cosmological argument.

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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.

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