Lecture 6_The Cosmological and Teleological Arguments for the Existence of God

Lecture 6_The Cosmological and Teleological Arguments for the Existence of God

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The Cosmological and Teleological Arguments for the Existence of God How are these arguments unique? They are both attempts to justify belief in God by appealing to facts supposedly available to any rational person, religious or not. Not just any facts: EMPIRICAL FACTS! Hence, these are a posteriori arguments. The Cosmological Argument Actually a series of arguments the roots of which can be traced back to Aristotle’s Physics and Metaphysics . St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274 C.E.) formulated arguments for the existence and character of God in his “Five Ways,” which form part of his monumental Summa Theologica . Only the first three “ways” constitute what is properly called the “Cosmological Argument.” The Versions of the Cosmological Argument 1. The Argument from Change Begins with the fact that there are things in the world that are undergoing change and reasons to the conclusion that there must be some ultimate cause of change that is itself unchanging. 2. The Argument from Causation Begins with the fact that there are things in the world that are clearly caused to exist by other things and reasoned to the conclusion that there must be some ultimate cause of existence whose existence is itself uncaused. 3. The Argument from Necessity Begins with fact that there are things in the world which need not have existed at all (i.e., “contingent things”) and reasoned to the conclusion that there must be some being that had to be or could not have failed to exist (i.e., a “necessary” being). Common Decisive Feature There must be an ultimate uncaused cause (“a prime mover”) or necessary existent that explains the existence and nature of the universe Why? The lack of such a being would suggest infinite regress (arguing backwards forever) This was (at the time) an unacceptable result. Important Distinctions and the General Form of the Argument Dependent being vs. self-existent b eing 1. Dependent being : a being whose existence is accounted for by the causal activity of other things. 2. Self-existent being : a being whose existence is accounted for by its own nature. General structure of argument : P1: Every being (that exists or ever did exist) is either a dependent being or a self-existent being. P2: Not every being can be a dependent being. ______________________________________________
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C: There exists a self-existent being. (Note: This is a valid argument!)
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This note was uploaded on 04/10/2012 for the course PHI 2010 taught by Professor Tacks during the Spring '12 term at Florida State College.

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Lecture 6_The Cosmological and Teleological Arguments for the Existence of God

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