BRUCE REICHENBACH COSMOLOGICAL ARGUMENT PDF

Related Entries 1. Islamic philosophy enriches the tradition, developing two types of arguments. Arabic philosophers falasifa , such as Ibn Sina c. The world is composed of temporal phenomena preceded by other temporally-ordered phenomena.

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Related Entries 1. Islamic philosophy enriches the tradition, developing two types of arguments. Arabic philosophers falasifa , such as Ibn Sina c. The world is composed of temporal phenomena preceded by other temporally-ordered phenomena. Since such a series of temporal phenomena cannot continue to infinity because an actual infinite is impossible, the world must have had a beginning and a cause of its existence, namely, God Craig part 1.

This version of the argument enters the medieval Christian tradition through Bonaventure —74 in his Sentences II Sent. Enlightenment thinkers, such as Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Samuel Clarke, reaffirmed the cosmological argument. The principle of sufficient reason is likewise employed by Samuel Clarke in his cosmological argument Rowe chap. We could admit an infinite regress of causes if we had evidence for such, but lacking such evidence, God must exist as the non-dependent cause.

For example, since God is immobile and has no body, he cannot properly be said to cause anything. The cosmological argument came under serious assault in the 18th century, first by David Hume and then by Immanuel Kant. Hume attacks both the view of causation presupposed in the argument that causation is an objective, productive, necessary power relation that holds between two things and the Causal Principle—every contingent being has a cause of its existence—that lies at the heart of the argument.

Kant contends that the cosmological argument, in identifying the necessary being, relies on the ontological argument, which in turn is suspect. We will return to these criticisms below. Both theists and nontheists in the last part of the 20th century and the first part of the 21st century generally have shown a healthy skepticism about the argument. Richard Gale contends, in Kantian fashion, that since the conclusion of all versions of the cosmological argument invokes an impossibility, no cosmological arguments can provide examples of sound reasoning chap.

However, Gale seems to have changed his mind and in recent writings proposed and defended his own version of the cosmological argument, which we will consider below. Similarly, Michael Martin chap.

Yet dissenting voices can be heard. There is quite a chance that if there is a God he will make something of the finitude and complexity of a universe.

It is very unlikely that a universe would exist uncaused, but rather more likely that God would exist uncaused. The existence of the universe…can be made comprehensible if we suppose that it is brought about by God. Typology of Cosmological Arguments Philosophers employ diverse classifications of the cosmological arguments. Swinburne distinguishes inductive from deductive versions.

Craig distinguishes three types of deductive cosmological arguments in terms of their approach to an infinite regress of causes. The first, advocated by Aquinas, is based on the impossibility of an essentially ordered infinite regress.

The third, espoused by Leibniz and Clarke, is overtly founded on the Principle of Sufficient Reason Craig — Craig notes that the distinction between these types of arguments is important because the objections raised against one version may be irrelevant to other versions.

Another way of distinguishing between versions of the argument is in terms of the relevance of time to the argument. The relationship between cause and effect is treated as real but not temporal, so that the first cause is not a first cause in time but a sustaining cause.

Complexity of the Question It is said that philosophy begins in wonder. So it was for the ancients, who wondered what constituted the basic stuff of the world around them, how this basic stuff changed into the diverse forms they experienced, and how it came to be.

Those origination questions related to the puzzle of existence that, in its metaphysical dimensions, is the subject of our concern. First, why is there anything at all? Why is there something, no matter what it is, even if different or even radically different from what currently exists? This question becomes clearer when put in contrastive form, Why is there something rather than nothing?

We can ask this question even in the absence of contingent beings, though in this context it is likely to prove unanswerable. For example, if God or the universe is logically or absolutely necessary, something would not only exist but would have to exist even if nothing else existed.

At the same time, probably no reason can be given for why logically necessary things exist. Some doubt whether we can ask this question because there being nothing is not an option.

What would nothing be? He analogizes nothing with the notion of empty space, in terms of which, he thinks, we can conceptualize nothing. He reasons that we cannot achieve a notion of empty space simply by removing its contents one at a time, for space the void would still exist. But we need not analogize nothing in terms of empty space, and even if we do, we surely can conceive of removing space. If we think of space as a particular type of relation between objects, the removal of all objects everything would leave nothing, including relations.

We can easily be misled by the language of there being nothing at all, leading to the notion that nothing has being or existence. Heil suggests that nothing might be a precursor to the Big Bang. But this too is a misconception—though one widely held by those who think that the universe arose out of nothing, e. Suppose that there is nothing. If there is nothing, then there are no possible states of affairs, since nothing is actual to bring them about.

But since I am actual, there is at least one possible state of affairs S. But if S is possible, then by S5, necessarily, S is possible. But this contradicts the original assumption that total nothingness is metaphysically possible. Hence, total nothingness cannot be actual. Second, why are there contingent beings? The traditional cosmological arguments consider these options and determine that the last provides the best explanation for the existence of a contingent universe.

Third, why are there these particular contingent beings? The starting point here is the existence of particular things, and the question posed asks for an explanation for there being these particular things.

If we are looking for a causal explanation and accept a full explanation in terms of contemporary or immediately prior causal conditions and the relevant natural laws or intentions that together necessitate the effect , the answer emerges from an analysis of the relevant immediate causal conditions present in each case. As Hume argues, explanation in terms of immediately conjunctory factors is satisfactory. Theists counter that if we seek a complete causal explanation where nothing of the causal event remains unexplained, the response can lead to the development of the cosmological argument.

Heil suggests that the answer depends on how one understands the Big Bang If it was spontaneous, the question has no answer. If not spontaneous, there might be an answer.

Theists take up the latter cause, broadening the explanatory search to include final causes or intentions appropriate to a personal cause. On the other hand, God acts out of his nature; Swinburne 47, —23 emphasizes his goodness, from which we can infer possible reasons for what he brings about. God also acts from his intentions Swinburne —45; 83—84 , so that God could reveal his purposes for his act of creating. Fourth, why do things exist now or at any given point?

This is the question that Thomas Aquinas posed. Aquinas was interested not in a beginning cause but in a sustaining cause, for he believed that the universe could be eternal—although he believed on the basis of revelation that it was not eternal.

He constructed his cosmological arguments around the question of what sustains things in the universe in their existence. Fifth, if the universe has a beginning, what is the cause of that beginning? Two things should be obvious from this discussion. First, questions about existence are more nuanced than usually addressed Heil It is important to be more precise about what one is asking when one asks this broader metaphysical question about why there is something rather than nothing.

Second, it becomes clear that the cosmological argument lies at the heart of attempts to answer the questions, and to this we now turn. Argument for a Non-contingent Cause Thomas Aquinas held that among the things whose existence needs explanation are contingent beings that depend for their existence upon other beings. The response of defenders of the cosmological argument is that what is contingent exists because of the action of a necessary being.

We might sketch out a version of the argument as follows. A contingent being a being such that if it exists, it could have not-existed or could cease to exist exists. This contingent being has a cause of or explanation[ 1 ] for its existence. The cause of or explanation for its existence is something other than the contingent being itself. What causes or explains the existence of this contingent being must either be solely other contingent beings or include a non-contingent necessary being.

Contingent beings alone cannot provide a completely adequate causal account or explanation for the existence of a contingent being. Therefore, what causes or explains the existence of this contingent being must include a non-contingent necessary being.

Therefore, a necessary being a being such that if it exists, it cannot not-exist exists. The universe is contingent. Therefore, the necessary being is something other than the universe. In the argument, steps 1—7 establish the existence of a necessary or non-contingent being; steps 8—9 attempt in some way to identify it.

Over the centuries philosophers have suggested various instantiations for the contingent being noted in premise 1. In his Summa Theologica I,q. Whereas the contingency of particular existents is generally undisputed, not the least because of our mortality, the contingency of the universe deserves some defense see section 4.

Premise 2 invokes a moderate version of the Principle of Causation or the Principle of Sufficient Reason, according to which if something is contingent, there must be a cause of its existence or a reason or explanation why it exists rather than not exists. The point of 3 is simply that something cannot cause or explain its own existence, for this would require it to already exist in a logical if not a temporal sense.

Premise 4 is true by virtue of the Principle of Excluded Middle: what explains the existence of the contingent being either are solely other contingent beings or includes a non-contingent necessary being. Conclusions 6 and 7 follow validly from the respective premises.

The truth of 5 depends upon the requirements for an adequate explanation. According to the Principle of Sufficient Reason PSR , what is required is an account in terms of sufficient conditions that provides an explanation why the cause had the effect it did, or alternatively, why this particular effect and not another arose.

Swinburne 75—79 , and Alexander Pruss 16—18 after him, note diverse kinds of explanations.

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Explanation and the Cosmological Argument

The universe began to exist. Therefore, the universe has a cause. Given the conclusion, Craig appends a further premise and conclusion based upon a conceptual analysis of the properties of the cause: [6] The universe has a cause. If the universe has a cause, then an uncaused, personal Creator of the universe exists who sans without the universe is beginningless, changeless, immaterial, timeless, spaceless and enormously powerful.

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