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Is the cosmological argument an 'a priori' or a 'posteriori' argument? What does this mean?
It is a posteriori argument, meaning that it is based on observations of the world around us (from experience)
Which philosophers criticised the cosmological argument? (3)
- David Hume
- Bertrand Russell
- Immanuel Kant
Who supported the cosmological argument? (3)
- Thomas Aquinas
- Frederick Copleston
What were Aquinas' Five Ways? How many are relevant to the cosmological argument?
The five ways were a formulation for the existence of God, only the first three are relevant
What was the 'Prima Via'?
- The first of Aquinas' five ways
- Argument from Motion
What was the 'Secundum Via'?
- The second of Aquinas' five ways
- The argument from cause
What was the 'Tertia Via'?
- The third argument of Aquinas' five ways
- The argument from Necessity
Who was Aquinas influenced by?
Aristotle, and his theory of the unmoved mover that caused all movement in the world with the intention of moving to perfection
What is a syllogism?
Two statements that must be true in order for the conclusion to be true as well
Explain the Prima Via syllogisms
- P1 = everything is in motion
- P2 = Nothing can move itself
- P3 = Movement is cause and effect
- P4 = Chain of cause and effect cannot be infinite
C = There must be a prime mover
Explain the Secundum Via syllogisms
- P1 = Everything that exists has a cause
- P2 = Nothing can cause itself to exist
- p3 = Infinite regress is illogical
- P4 = There must be a first unnamed causer
C = There must exist a first cause that is itself caused (God)
What is a contingent being?
Any object or being that could not exist, their existence is dependant on something else
Define: necessary being
A being that has to exist, and existence depends on nothing
Explain the Tertia Via syllogisms
- P1 = all contingent things must have a reason for their existence
- P2 = the universe is contingent
- P3 = The universe must have a reason for its existence
- P4 = The reason cannot be contingent as this leads to infinite regress
C = Therefore there must be a necessary being
What was Hume's objection to the cosmological argument?
He didn't believe in cause and effect, he said we make false connections between events (fallacy of composition)
We need not explain the creation of the universe as an explanation of the parts of the universe is sufficient to explain the whole.
What are the critiques to the cosmological argument?
- We have no knowledge about how the universe came about and cannot infer anything about this process (limited human knowledge)
- Rejection of the idea of necessary beings, all things are contingent
What is the fallacy of composition?
The idea that cause and effect are false connections made by humans, that just because parts of the universe are caused doesn't mean the universe itself is caused.
For example: if you are waiting at a bus stop and you put your arm up to stop an oncoming bus, and it stops, you would be wrong to assume that you had made the bus stop. (could have been someone on the bus for example)