Cosmological Argument Analysis

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Over the years many philosophers have questioned the existence of the universe. These questions have lead to individual interpretations and theories as to how, who or what created the universe in which we live in today. Many philosophers use the cosmological argument to account for the existence of the universe. Cosmological arguments are a posteriori arguments, meaning that it is based on the experience of the world around us. Two of the best known cosmological arguments came from Thomas Aquinas and Gottfried Leibniz. They both drew on the ancient Greeks as inspiration for their explanations of how the existence of the universe provides evidence for the existence of God. Aquinas, in his book ‘Summa Theologica’, first established the argument…show more content…
In this argument, Aquinas stated that the world consists of contingent beings, which are beings that begin, and end, and which are highly dependent on something else for their existence. Everything in the physical world is contingent, depending on external factors for its existence. Things are contingent in two ways: they depend on something having brought them into existence in the first place and they also depend on outside factors for the continuation of their existence. Aquinas then goes on to argue that if we all agree that everything in the universe is contingent, then we see that nothing would be here at all. Contingent things need something else to bring them into existence. This means that there must have been a time when nothing existed, and, since something can’t come from nothing there must be something external which created the something out of the nothingness. This external being who is external to existence must have caused us, and we call such a being God. Another key version of the Cosmological Argument is Leibniz’s Principle of Sufficient Reason. This principle, which is not universally accepted, states that everything which exists must have a reason or a cause for its existence. According to the Principle of Sufficient…show more content…
Hume aims to challenge the structure of the cosmological argument and questions the validity of the assumption that things that exist need causes or reasons for their existence. Hume says that just because each of the elements of the ‘chain’ has a cause, it doesn’t follow that the chain itself needs an initial cause. Furthermore, Hume suggested that we have no experience of universes being made and it is simply not possible to argue from causes within the universe to causes of the universe as a whole. There is a logical jump which the argument fails to recognise. It is one thing to talk about causes that operate within the system of the universe, but it is an entirely different matter to theorise about whether the universe as a whole is caused. Hume argued that it was illegitimate to move from saying that every event in the universe has a cause to the claim that the universe has a cause. Hume gives the example of a collection of twenty particles – if an explanation is found for each particle individually he suggests it would be wrong to then seek an explanation for the whole collection, because you have already explained it by explaining each
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