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

outline the cosmological argument for the existence of God

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Outline the cosmological argument for the existence of God. The cosmological argument for the existence of God is a metaphysical, a posteriori argument that sets out to prove God as a supreme being who is external to the universe. The argument is based around the idea of causation, and in it's simplest form claims that if everything requires a cause, then logically the universe itself must require a cause; the argument concludes that this cause is the being that we call God. Aquinas used the cosmological argument in conjunction with his five ways proofs. His argument from motion claims that motion should be seen as "nothing else than the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality", and that nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality in this way unless by something that is in a state of actuality- "thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it". Aquinas argued that it is therefore impossible for anything to move itself- i.e. for the wood to become hot without the fire. In this instance, he claimed that motion should be seen as a long chain of one thing moving another- but Aquinas argued that "this cannot go on to infinity". ...read more.

Middle

Craig focuses on the idea that all things that begin to exist have a cause, and the universe must at some point have begun to exist, as an actual infinite is an impossibility. Craig uses analogy, describing a bookcase of infinite length, with books arranged in a pattern of green, red, green, red, etc. What would happen, he asks, if one removed all of the green books? How many books would there be? The answer is, of course, there would still be an infinite number of books. Craig claims that this is illogical, as it goes against the laws of division. Therefore he deems infinity to be an illogical concept in itself. Therefore he asserts that the universe does require an explanation- it cannot have always existed- and this explanation is what we know to be God. Comment on some of the weaknesses raised against the argument. To what extent do weaknesses outweigh strengths? Several criticisms can and have been raised towards the cosmological argument. Firstly, some philosophers argue that the concept of infinite regress should not be so quickly rejected, despite the fact that it is seen as a fallacy. J.L Mackie used analogy as a part of his argument, describing a situation in which wall hooks are hung from one another to form a chain. ...read more.

Conclusion

Ockham's razor states that "entities should not be multiplied beyond necessity"- Hume claimed that the use of God in the cosmological argument is doing just this. He says that God is not a necessary part of the argument- if there must be an exception to the rule, then why can this not be the universe itself? If something must be uncaused by anything else, hence going against the Hume questioned the argument's dependence on causation. He claimed that the human mind often assumes that two events happening in succession are connected- cause and effect; he argues that this is mind-imposed, and therefore we cannot always say that cause leads to effect. Therefore5 Hume accused the argument of taking the characteristics of individual parts and attributing them to the whole- even if everything in the universe is caused, he argues, why should that mean that the universe as a whole should be caused? Bertrand Russell agreed with this point, asserting that that just because all humans have a mother, it does not mean that the human race as a whole must have a mother. Russell went on to say that the universe is simply a "brute fact". As he put it: "The universe is just there, and that is all". In doing this Russell is saying that the universe cannot be explained, and therefore any attempt to explain it will automatically be a failure. Copleston argued against Russell, sayi ...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 ...

    The second way: the argument from efficient causes 1) There is an order of efficient causes; that is, some things cause other things to exist. 2) Nothing can cause itself to exist. 3) There can't have been an infinite series of things causing other things to exist.

  2. Explain the cosmological argument for existence of God

    William Temple argued "[...]It is impossible to imagine infinite regress [...] but it is not impossible to conceive it." He meant that something is unthinkable if we cannot hold the concept without contradiction. But infinite does not contradict regress; you can imagine infinity but not think of it, the world makes sense as a concept and can be understood.

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

    In other words, using the domino example again, the chain of falling dominos can never be infinite because it always must have a first cause to set it of (ie. someone to push the first domino). The premises up to this point, then, are based on factual evidence, and can be backed up with examples from everyday life.

  2. Explain Aquinas cosmological argument for the existence of God. Humes criticisms ...

    Aquinas believes cause and effect are natural in our world and that whatever happens is caused by something else. It would be illogical to say something can cause itself because that means it was there before it began, "It is necessary to admit a first efficient cause to which everyone

  1. Outline the Ontological argument for the existence of God. Comment on the claim that ...

    If I was to explain and describe the note in depth commenting on colours, texture, smells - would that mean that the note exists? Guanilo states that Anselm simply describes God - but when applied to other such analogies it is hard to see any logic.

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

    Furthermore, he makes an epistemological assumption in his second premise, which states that the universe began to exist, however how do we reliably know that the universe began to exist, as there was no one around to experience such a thing, also an good empiricist like David Hume would say, this takes us beyond experience, therefore being unreliable.

  1. i) Outline the key features of the cosmological argument ii) To what extent is ...

    It is concluded that, the external cause must be God, as God is eternal and therefore does not require a cause for his existence. The cosmological argument also argues that infinite regress is impossible as it would mean no ultimate cause, in which case the universe never existed.

  2. Explain the Cosmological Argument for the existence of God, according to Aquinas

    Aquinas bases his cosmological argument on Aristotle?s causality and welds it to his belief in a Creator, the being that caused creation. The first of the ways of the cosmological argument is Motion or Progression, the idea that we all experience with our senses motion which has a previous cause for a prior unmoved mover.

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