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Unformatted text preview: Philosophy 3480: Critical Thinking and Writing in Philosophy Essay 1: A Proof for the Existence of God Part 1: Inference Indicators Scoring : Give one point for each correctly identified inference indicator, for a possible total of eighteen points . Topic: A Proof of the Existence of God Based on the Idea of Necessary Beings and Contingent Beings "One way of proving the existence of God turns upon the distinction between necessary beings and contingent beings. Let me begin by explaining, then, that distinction. The objects that one encounters in the world of space and time are such that there existence is not necessary: one can easily imagine their not existing. But one can also say something stronger - namely, that all of the things that exist in the world of space and time have a tendency to cease to exist, a tendency to break apart, to undergo destruction. Let us define, then, a contingent being as one whose nature is such that it involves a tendency to cease to exist. A necessary being, on the other hand, will be anything that, either because of its own nature, or because of its relation to some other thing, cannot cease to exist. Given this distinction, the first question we need to consider is whether it is possible that absolutely everything is a contingent being, and when we do this, we can see that this is not possible. In the first place, if something involves an inherent tendency not to exist, then at some point it will cease to exist. Assume, then, that everything is a contingent being. It follows that everything that exists will cease to exist at some time, and therefore that, at some time, absolutely nothing would exist. But then there would be nothing in existence now, since nothing can come into existence unless there is some cause of its coming into existence. Hence , if absolutely everything were a contingent being, then there would be nothing in existence now. Since that is false, it must be the case that not everything is a contingent being. So there must exist at least one necessary being. We now need, however, to introduce a second distinction - namely, a distinction between necessary beings whose necessity is caused by some other being, and necessary beings whose necessity does not depend on any other thing - and then we need to ask whether all necessary beings might have their necessity caused by some other being, or whether, on the contrary, there must be some necessary being that has...
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- Winter '08