The Basic Form of the Cosmological Argument

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The Basic Form of the Cosmological Argument As we shall see, the cosmological argument has a long history, beginning with Plato and Aristotle, running through the medieval philosophy of Arabs, Jews, and Christians, and continuing into modern philosophy through Descartes and Leibniz. In addition, a number of 20th century philosophers have defended the argument. Despite this long history, all of the arguments are variations on a single theme. The common form goes something like this: 1. Everything of type X has a cause. 2. There is something of type X. 3. For some reason (namely, Y), the series of causes of an X must terminate in a first cause. 4. This first cause can be identified with God. The variations on this form come about in three different ways. First and second, different
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Unformatted text preview: versions fill in the variables X and Y in different ways. Third, there are a number of different conceptions of "cause/effect" that are employed in the arguments. These conceptions of causation vary in two different ways. Consequently, there are four different dimensions of variability to consider. The various arguments that result are not necessarily incompatible. It is quite possible that there are a number of different cosmological arguments, each valid, and all converging on compatible and complementary results. Most philosophers will champion one or another of the arguments as the best or most fundamental, but we shouldn't be too quick to assume that there is only one form on which all the others depend....
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