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studyquestions - Infinite regress: a movement backward,...

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Infinite regress: a movement backward, either chronologically or conceptually, that goes back forever with no beginning. Cosmos: the orderly universe Fiat: authoritative decree or order Empyrean: highest heaven Equivocally: the notion that words have different senses. For example, the word “power” cannot mean the same thing when applied to God as when it is applied to humans Skepticism: notion that we cannot have sufficient knowledge of anything because the evidence clause remains unfulfilled A posteriori: begins with an observation of phenomena in nature Material substratum: that which allows objects to exist independently of properties manifested in the beholder 1) St. Thomas Aquinas formulated the first three of the “five ways” as follows: All things require a mover, and God exists as the first unmoved mover of all things 2) God must be the first mover because otherwise all other things have no beginning 3) God is a necessarily existing being because otherwise everything would be possible but nonexistent. God as the first in a temporal series: the universe did not always exist, God created it God as the first in the order of being: the universe always existed, God was the first “something” that ever existed. These should be interpreted as first in the order of being because otherwise, God does not exist at all moments necessarily. 2) The cosmological argument, formulated by St. Thomas Aquinas, states that everything in the universe has to have a cause and that nothing can come into being ex nihilo . It follows, then, that the universe as a whole had to have had a first cause, and Aquinas identified that first cause as God. One potentially devastating criticism to the cosmological argument is that it denies the possibility of an infinite regress, the possibility that the universe has always existed. However, this rebuttal to the cosmological argument falls apart when explanations from natural science are taken into account. The second law of thermodynamics, the Big Bang theory of cosmology, the
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steady state theory of cosmology and the principle of the conservation of energy all provide evidence for the claim that the universe had a beginning rather than existed ad infinitum . The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the energy in the universe is expanding throughout, and that heat travels to cooler places in order to reach a state of thermal equilibrium. We would have reached this state of equilibrium had the universe always existed. Because we have not reached the state, therefore, the universe could not have always existed. The big bang theory also provides an account of the beginning of time and it stands in contrast to its competing argument, the steady state theory of cosmology. The application of these scientific claims demonstrates the importance of natural science for philosophical discussion. 3)
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This note was uploaded on 02/27/2010 for the course PHIL 120 taught by Professor Blackman during the Spring '09 term at SUNY Geneseo.

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studyquestions - Infinite regress: a movement backward,...

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