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The Cosmological Argument

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Introduction

The Cosmological Argument The cosmological argument is a posteriori, as it is based on what can be seen in the world & universe. The name comes from the term 'cosmos', which refers to the universe as a perfect and well ordered system. The Argument predates Christianity. Its earliest forms can be traced back to a man named Plato, a widely known and studied philosopher of the ancient world. He used it arguing that the universe must have been started by a 'first cause' or 'first mover'. Aristotle also developed on of the earliest forms of this argument. Aristotle's concept of a "Prime Mover" is a fundamental component behind the cosmological arguments for the existence of some sort of god. His basic idea was that everything that happens is caused by something else. The argument basically states: * Things come into existence because something has caused them to happen. * Things are caused to exist, but they do not have to exist. * There is a chain of causes that goes back to the beginning. The key idea is that if something exists there must be preliminary factors that have influenced and caused it to exist. The argument then goes on to state the following about the beginning of time; * Time began with the creation of the universe. * There must have been a first cause, which brought the contingent universe. ...read more.

Middle

5. The Fifth Way - Teleological. God made the world with 'Telos' purpose. Aquinas states that the purpose of the world is shown through its design. The Kalam version of the cosmological argument is a more modern version. It has it roots in ancient Arabic philosophy. 'Kalam' is an Arabic term meaning to 'argue' or 'discuss'. The argument was developed by the Muslim scholars Al-Kindi and Al-Ghazali. William Lane Craig has done more than anyone to bring the Kalam argument to the attention of contemporary philosophers. Craig's argument has a very simple structure. 1. Everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence. 2. The universe began to exist. 3. Therefore, the universe has a cause of its existence. Craig regards the first premise as intuitively obvious. Most of his effort is devoted to the defense of premise. Craig gives two main philosophical arguments for saying that the universe has not always existed - one based on the supposed impossibility of an actual infinite, the other based on the claim that even if an actual infinite were possible, it could not be 'formed by successive addition'. This part of the Kalam argument can be split up into the following: * The present would not exist in an actual infinite universe, because successive additions cannot be added into an actual infinite. * The present does exist, as a result of a chronological series of past events. ...read more.

Conclusion

He says that as an 'argument for first cause', the cosmological seems a reasonable one. But it does not by itself establish the existence of god with all the proportions ascribed to them. There is also a list of many criticisms of Aquinas's arguments directly: * Some scholars have argued that Aquinas's arguments rest on assumptions that are no longer widely held. His view rested on a medieval science hierarchy - that everything can be ranked, things are better than others. This is not on time today, in modern world. * There doesn't have to be a first cause. Why only one cause, why not a series of causes throughout the universe. * Why couldn't god have made the earth & universe, and then died. After all, a mother causes a child but then dies. * If everything came from something where did God come from. * Trying to put into words concepts we don't understand. The argument begins with 'this world' and concludes with concepts of which we have no experience, e.g. uncaused, infinity. * Since everything in the universe is contingent, everything could cease to exist simultaneously, and then the universe itself would cease. But if it can cease to exist, then it must be contingent. Recent thinking in physics has also questioned the eternal nature of matter. These weaknesses are fairly successful in weakening the argument. They highlight that points made by Aquinas and Craig can never actually be proved, and the effectiveness of the cosmological argument will always depend on people's opinions of points made by others, and never on fact. ...read more.

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