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Critique of Aquinas's cosmological argument - 3rd way(Contingency)

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Introduction

Critique of Aquinas's cosmological argument - 3rd way (Contingency) Aquinas's 3rd way suggests that the world consists of contingent beings. As all contingent beings have a cause, namely another contingent being, there must have been a time when nothing existed, (unless contingent beings exist as a brute fact). Therefore, contingent beings could not have come into existence unless there is a necessary being which is non- contingent that caused them. Aquinas named this being God. The problem with Aquinas's view is that as physicians have suggested matter is eternal and therefore a necessary being is not required to cause contingent beings. The basis of Aquinas's argument depends on the fact that contingent beings require a cause which is in turn contingent. "Contingent beings require contingent causes", as stated by Stephen Evans in Philosophy Of Religion(55). This basis leads one to believe that an infinite series of contingent beings exists, but Aquinas claims this to be "illogical", thus the need for a necessary being. The objections occur due to the nature of contingency and the recently suggested, eternal nature of matter. ...read more.

Middle

Thus as Peter Cole suggests in Philosophy Of Religion(22), the cause of the universe is not about the metaphysical necessary being called God, it is about the nature of matter. In continuance to this, the matter itself could be defined as the necessary being as it is eternal and therefore could not have failed to exist. Thus "Matter would be a necessary being and would satisfy the arguments definition of God" ( Stephen Evans in Philosophy Of Religion(55). This would undermine Aquinas as he stated that the necessary being was separate from the universe. In essence, this view of matter as eternal means that if God exists, then far from being separate from the universe, God is the universe. Therefore, God would be defined as the matter of the universe which thus means that pantheism applies which undermines Aquinas. So if a belief in God is needed, then God is the universe, and not God was the cause of the universe as Aquinas argued. A further criticism of this argument, which also applies to Aquinas' 1st and 2nd ways, is that he never considered that the universe has always existed, and not finite as he suggested(i.e. ...read more.

Conclusion

The consequence of this principle is that, even if the universe has always existed and matter is eternal, there is no reason for its existence. Thus, Leibniz suggested that according to his principle the reason for the universe is God; God is the sufficient reason for the universe. As shown above, the matter of the universe and therefore the universe itself as a whole should have a finally adequate explanation. Kant points out in Philosophy of Religion p.190 (various authors), " the existence of a being whose essence included existence itself would not be self explanatory". As my argument has shown, this being is the matter the universe is comprised of (pantheism). Therefore, there is a clear contradiction between Kant's point and the fact of eternal matter. Because matter's essence does contain existence (a brute fact), it would mean that it would not be self-explanatory according to Kant. Thus the principle of sufficient reason has not been adhered to because the universe is not only without cause, it is without a reason for existence. This contradiction undermines the fact of eternal matter and to some extent invalidates it . However, as pointed out in Philosophy of Religion(selected readings) p. ...read more.

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