Cosmological Argument

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info.gif Cosmological Arguments: "A family of arguments for the existence of God that postulate God's existence as the ultimate cause or ground or explanation of the cosmos. Cosmological arguments normally make use of some principle of explanation, causality or sufficient reason."

Evans, C. (2002) Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

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    Beaumont, Doug

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    The Kalam Cosmological Argument and Its Implications for Christian Theism

    "Aquinas used cosmological argumentation in three of his famous 'Five Ways.' Reichenbach calls them 'the most interesting and exciting of the theistic arguments.' Adherents to the cosmological models include: Scotus, Ockham, Leibniz, Clarke, Geisler, Moreland, and Craig. Of the various cosmological-type arguments, two have been most popular: the argument from contingency, and the Kalam argument which involves the impossibility of infinite temporal regression...As will be shown,...the Kalam argument does not require sophisticated philosophical ability or knowledge of terminology (such as contingency, potentiality, etc.) to understand. In fact, the concepts it involves are fairly self-explanatory and once understood very difficult to deny."
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    Beck, W. David

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    The Cosmological Argument: A Current Bibliographical Appraisal

    "I intend this purely as a descriptive assessment of where we are at this point in the discussion of the cosmological argument. I will add nothing new, but so much discussion has occurred over the last years, especially even the last five, that I think some summation and agenda-setting might be helpful. That will be my limited purpose in what follows."
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    Beebe, James R.

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    The Kalam Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God

    "Why does the universe exist? Why is there anything at all? Why is there something rather than nothing? These are some of the most abstract questions we can ask about the nature of the universe. Richard Taylor (1983, p. 91) writes, 'It is strange indeed, for example, that a world such as ours should exist; yet few people are very often struck by this strangeness but simply take it for granted.' The cosmological argument for the existence of God claims that reflecting upon the question of why the universe exists should lead us to see that it must have been created by an all-powerful, all-knowing God. The kalam argument argues for this conclusion by making the case that the universe had to have a beginning and then arguing that the beginning of the universe had to have a supernatural cause."
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    Campbell, Sean Michael

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    The Kalam Cosmological Argument: An Overview

    "The kalam cosmological argument is, in my opinion, one of the most persuasive arguments for the existence of a personal Creator of the universe, or God...After utilizing both philosophical and scientific evidence to demonstrate that the universe had a beginning a finite time ago, it is then argued that anything which begins to exist requires a cause for its existence. Since the universe is something that began to exist, it must have a cause which brought it into being. Conceptual analysis of what it means to be a cause of the universe reveals that such a cause must possess a number of striking attributes which, taken together, form a core concept of what theists mean by God."
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    Craig, William L.

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    The Origin And Creation Of The Universe: A Response to Adolf Grünbaum

    "Adolf Grünbaum argues that the creation, as distinct from the origin, of the universe is a pseudo-problem. Grünbaum, however, seriously misconstrues the traditional argument for creation and his three groups of objections are therefore largely aimed at straw men or else misconceived. His objections to the scientific argument for creation are based on idiosyncratic definitions or deeper presuppositions which need to be surfaced and explored. He therefore falls short in his attempt to show that the question of creation is not a genuine philosophical problem."
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    Craig, William L.

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    A Response to Grünbaum on Creation and Big Bang Cosmology

    "In response to my article 'Creation and Big Bang Cosmology' Adolf Grünbaum argues against God's being a simultaneous cause of the Big Bang and against the inference that the Big Bang had a cause. His critique of simultaneous causation, once validly formulated, is based on an obviously false premiss, namely, that in order for simultaneous causation to be possible we must have a generally accepted criterion for discerning such causes. His most important reason for rejecting the causal inference with respect to the Big Bang is predicated on a B-Theory of time, which I find good reasons to reject."
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    Craig, William L.

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    Prof. Grünbaum on Creation

    "Adolf Grünbaum claims that the question of creation is a pseudo-problem because it is incoherent to seek an external, prior cause of the Big Bang, which marks the beginning of time. This claim is unwarranted, however, for the theological creationist has a number of options available: (i) The Creator may be conceived to be causally, but not temporally, prior to the origin of the universe, such that the act of creating is simultaneous with the universe's beginning to exist; (ii) The Creator may be conceived to exist in a metaphysical time of which physical time is but a sensible measure and so to exist temporally prior to the inception of physical time; or (iii) The Creator may be conceived to exist timelessly and to cause tenselessly the origin of the universe at the Big Bang singularity. Grünbaum also claims that theological creationism is pseudo-explanatory because it is in principle impossible to specify the causal linkage between the cause and the effect in this case. At best this objection only shows that theological creationism is not a scientific explanation. In fact Grünbaum's objection strikes not against theology per se, but against all appeals to personal agency as explanatory, which evinces a narrow scientism."
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    Craig, William L.

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    Philosophical and Scientific Pointers to Creatio ex Nihilo

    "To answer Leibniz's question of why something exists rather than nothing, we must posit three alternatives: the universe either had a beginning or had no beginning; if it had a beginning, this was either caused or uncaused; if caused, the cause was either personal or not personal. Four lines of evidence, two philosophical and two scientific, point to a beginning of the universe. If the universe had a beginning, it is inconceivable that it could have sprung uncaused out of absolute nothingness. Finally, the cause of the universe must be personal in order to have a temporal effect produced by an eternal cause. This confirms the biblical doctrine of creatio ex nihilo."
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    Craig, William L.

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    The Ultimate Question of Origins: God and the Beginning of the Universe

    "The absolute origin of the universe, of all matter and energy, even of physical space and time themselves, in the Big Bang singularity contradicts the perennial naturalistic assumption that the universe has always existed. One after another, models designed to avert the initial cosmological singularity--the Steady State model, the Oscillating model, Vacuum Fluctuation models--have come and gone. Current quantum gravity models, such as the Hartle-Hawking model and the Vilenkin model, must appeal to the physically unintelligible and metaphysically dubious device of 'imaginary time' to avoid the universe's beginning. The contingency implied by an absolute beginning ex nihilo points to a transcendent cause of the universe beyond space and time. Philosophical objections to a cause of the universe fail to carry conviction."
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    Craig, William L.

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    The Caused Beginning of the Universe: A Response to Quentin Smith

    "Quentin Smith has recently argued that (I) the universe began to exist and (II) its beginning was uncaused. In support of (II), he argues that (i) there is no reason to think that the beginning was caused by God and (ii) it is unreasonable to think so. I dispute both claims. His case for (i) misconstrues the causal principle, appeals to false analogies of ex nihilo creation, fails to show how the origin of the universe ex nihilo is naturally plausible, and reduces to triviality by construing causality as predictability in principle. His case for (ii) ignores important epistemological questions and fails to show either that vacuum fluctuation models are empirically plausible or that they support his second claim."
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    Craig, William L.

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    The Existence of God and the Beginning of the Universe

    "The kalam cosmological argument, by showing that the universe began to exist, demonstrates that the world is not a necessary being and, therefore, not self-explanatory with respect to its existence. Two philosophical arguments and two scientific confirmations are presented in support of the beginning of the universe. Since whatever begins to exist has a cause, there must exist a transcendent cause of the universe."
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    Craig, William L.

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    Must the Beginning of the Universe Have a Personal Cause?: A Rejoinder

    "Wes Morriston maintains that a negative answer to the question, 'Did the First Cause exist in time prior to creation?' forces the defender of the kalam cosmological argument to analyze the concept of 'beginning to exist' in a way that raises serious doubts about the argument's main causal principle and that it also undercuts the main argument for saying that the cause of the universe must be a person...Morriston in the first part of his critique tries to show that premiss (1)Whatever begins to exist has a cause loses much of its plausibility when it is applied to the beginning of time itself...In the second part of his article Morriston, still assuming that God exists atemporally sans the universe, criticizes an argument for the personhood of the First Cause inspired by the Islamic Principle of Determination."
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    Craig, William L.

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    Wallace Matson and the Crude Cosmological Argument

    "Wallace Matson objects to the second premiss of the 'crude' cosmological argument, that the universe began to exist, by pointing out that the natural number series shows the logical possibility of an infinite collection of things. The cosmological argument proves only that an infinite collection cannot be formed in a finite time. But the argument asserts the real, not the logical, impossibility of an actual infinite. Nor does it assume that time is finite: one cannot explain how one infinite collection (the series of events) can be formed by successive addition merely by superimposing another (the series of moments) upon it. Matson objects to the first premiss, that everything that begins to exist has a cause of its existence, by asserting that if it were true, then God would also need a cause. But Matson misconstrues the premiss to state everything has a cause of its existence. The correct premiss does not imply a cause of God, since He did not begin to exist."
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    Craig, William L.

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    God and the Initial Cosmological Singularity: A Reply to Quentin Smith

    "Q. Smith contends (i) an atheistic interpretation of the Big Bang is better justified than a theistic interpretation because the latter is inconsistent with the standard Big Bang model and (ii) his atheistic interpretation offers a coherent and plausible account of the origin of the universe. But Smith's argument for (i) is multiply flawed, depending on premisses which are false or at least mootable and a key invalid inference. Smith's attempt to demonstrate the plausibility of the atheistic interpretation on the basis of its greater simplicity is based on false parallels between God and the initial cosmological singularity. Smith's effort to prove that the atheist's contention that the universe came into being uncaused out of absolutely nothing is coherent rests upon a confusion between inconceivability and unimaginability and assumes without argument that the causal principle could not be a metaphysically necessary a posteriori truth. In any case, there are good grounds for taking the principle to be a metaphysically necessary, synthetic, a priori truth, in which case the atheistic interpretation is incoherent."
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    Craig, William L.

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    A Swift and Simple Refutation of the Kalam Cosmological Argument?

    "John Taylor complains that the kalam cosmological argument gives the appearance of being a swift and simple demonstration of the existence of a Creator of the universe, whereas in fact a convincing argument involving the premiss that the universe began to exist is very difficult to achieve. But Taylor's proffered defeaters of the premisses of the philosophical arguments for the beginning of the universe are themselves typically undercut due to Taylor's inadvertence to alternatives open to the defender of the kalam arguments. With respect to empirical confirmation of the universe's beginning Taylor is forced into an anti-realist position on the Big Bang theory, but without sufficient warrant for singling out that theory as non-realistic. Therefore, despite the virtue of simplicity of form, the kalam comological argument has not been defeated by Taylor's all too swift refutation."
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    Craig, William L.

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    Professor Mackie and the Kalam Cosmological Argument

    "Against the second premiss of the kalam cosmological argument, that the universe began to exist, J. L. Mackie objects that the arguments for it either assume an infinitely distant beginning point or fail to understand the nature of infinity. In fact, the argument does not assume any sort of beginning point, whereas Mackie himself commits the fallacy of composition. Mackie fails to show that infinite collections can be instantiated in the real world. Against the first premiss, that whatever begins to exist has a cause, Mackie objects that there is no good reason to accept a priori this premiss and that creatio ex nihilo is problematic. But Mackie does not refute the premiss and even admits its plausibility. One can resolve the conundrums of creatio ex nihilo by holding God to be timeless sans creation and temporal with creation."
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    Craig, William L.

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    Creation and Big Bang Cosmology

    "Recent discussions have raised the issue of the metaphysical implications of standard Big Bang cosmology. Grünbaum's argument that the causal principle cannot be applied to the origin of the universe rests on a pseudo-dilemma, since the cause could act neither before nor after t=0, but at t=0. Lévy-Leblond's advocacy of a remetrication of cosmic time to push the singularity to - involves various conceptual difficulties and is in any case unavailing, since the universe's beginning is not eliminated. Maddox's aversion to the possible metaphysical implications of the standard model evinces a narrow scientism. Standard Big Bang cosmogeny does therefore seem to have those metaphysical implications which some have found so discomfiting."
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    Craig, William L.

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    Graham Oppy on the Kalam Cosmological Argument

    "Graham Oppy has attempted to re-support J. L. Mackie's objections to the kalam cosmological argument, to which I responded in my article 'Professor Mackie and the Kalam Cosmological Argument.' Oppy's attempt to defend the possibility of the existence of an actual infinite is vitiated by his conflation of narrowly and broadly logical possibility. Oppy's attempt to defend the possibility of the formation of an actual infinite by successive addition founders on misinterpretations. Oppy's objections to the premiss that whatever begins to exist has a cause and to God's being that cause are based on modal confusions."
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    Craig, William L. and James D. Sinclair

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    The Kalam Cosmological Argument

    "The cosmological argument is a family of arguments that seek to demonstrate the existence of a Sufficient Reason or First Cause of the existence of the cosmos…The kalam cosmological argument traces it sroots to the efforts of early Christian theologians who, out of their commitment to the biblical teaching of creatio ex nihilo, sought to rebut the Aristotelian doctrine of the eternity of the universe…After suffering several centuries of eclipse, the argument has enjoyed a resurgence of interest in recent decades, doubtlessly spurred by the startling empirical evidence of contemporary astrophysical cosmology for a beginning of space and time."
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    Cramer, John

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    Adler's Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God

    "Fifteen years have passed since the book, How to Think about God, by Mortimer J. Adler was published. It is a revised version of the traditional cosmological argument for the existence of God. Since then, many relevant developments in science have occurred and new philosophical critiques of cosmological arguments have appeared. In this article, I review the status of the concept of inertia, current theories of cosmology, and arguments by J.L. Mackie and Adolph Grunbaum that consider their implications for the plausibility of Adler's argument. I conclude that, on balance, these developments enhance its plausibility."
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    Davis, Stephen T.

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    Hierarchical Causes in the Cosmological Argument

    "...[I]n the present paper I have not given Aquinas' reason for affirming the possibility of an infinitely long chain of linear causes and denying the possibility of an infinitely long chain of hierarchical causes. Indeed, I have found Aquinas' reasons wanting. Nevertheless, I believe I have shown that Aquinas and Copleston were aware of something important of which cosmological arguers and theists in general ought to be aware. No hierarchical causal series can regress infinitely; it must begin somewhere."
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    DeWeese, Garrett J. and Joshua Rasmussen

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    Hume and the Cosmological Argument

    “The kalam cosmological argument is a member of a family of 'cosmological arguments,' all of which share a similar structure. In this essay we distinguish the kalam from other members of the family and present the argument itself. We then respond to two significant Humean-style objections to the argument, one stemming from Hume’s views on causation and the other from what James Sennet has called ‘Hume’s stopper,’ the contention that even if successful, the argument cannot conclude that anything like the Christian God exists. We conclude that a version of the kalam argument can be offered that is impervious to such objections.”
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    Gross, Maxwell J.

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    Simplicity, Relevance, and Swinburne's Cosmological Argument

    “Swinburne's cosmological argument is good science, providing a good C-inductive argument for theism in keeping with the canons of scientific rationality. His theory, like Newton's, has great explanatory power in that it renders the evidence, i.e., the existence of the physical universe, less surprising than it would otherwise be.”
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    Guthrie, Shandon L.

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    Evidence for the Existence of God

    "Perhaps one of the strongest positive arguments for the existence of God is found in the deductive version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument. I lead up to the particular supporting evidences for this argument for God's existence and preface my remarks with grounds for understanding basic logical arguments. I also discuss reasons to implement reason into faith. Armed with philosophical and scientific arguments about the impossibility of the universe being infinitely old, the reader will see the evidence from all vantage points demanding that the universe began to exist and that we face the fact that God exists."
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    Guthrie, Shandon L.

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    The Beginning of the Universe was Caused by God: A Response to Taner Edis

    "Recent criticism from the Internet Infidels about Dr. William Craig's defense of the deductive kalam cosmological argument has been bolstered on grounds that Taner Edis' proposition (no longer available on the Infidels' site) that a quantum gravity fluctuation model or a particular Hartle-Hawking model is preferable to the Big Bang theory. However, such criticism fails to adhere to common sense realism and philosophical evaluation."
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    Guthrie, Shandon L.

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    On Gillespie's Misapplication of the A-Theory of Time to the Impossibility of an Actual Infinite in the Kalam Cosmological Argument

    "In the first issue of The Examined Life On-line Philosophy Journal, Robert Gillespie, Jr. responded to Dr. William Lane Craig’s philosophical sub-argument (against an actual infinite) to the second premise of the kalam cosmological argument by denying its consistency with the A-Theory of time. Gillespie argues that the A-Theory of time only permits the impossibility of an actual infinite if the actual infinite is somehow instantiated simultaneously. In this article I wish to suggest that his objections can be disavowed because he either misapplies the A-Theory of time or he misunderstands the nature of past events. In either case one can justifiably retain the sentiment of the impossibility of an actually infinite number of things thus preserving the victory of the kalam argument."
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    Guthrie, Shandon L.

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    Russell, Infinity, and the Tristram Shandy Paradox

    "Bertrand Russell advanced a paradox and showed how the problem of an actual infinite could be solved in the particular case of Tristram Shandy, the slow autobiographer. In this essay, the task before Shandy is evaluated and Russell's assessment is rejected as to show that there really cannot be an actually infinite number of traversable segments of time whereby Shandy would have time to finish an infinitely long task."
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    Guthrie, Shandon L.

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    Theism and Contemporary Cosmology

    "In this work, we shall consider the role that reason has with respect to belief in God and how contemporary cosmology, as evidence, compels us to that belief. The particular argument we will be focusing on is the kalam cosmological argument in its deductive mode. Although arguments are not necessarily considered as evidence, per se, I believe that the advances of contemporary natural science and the theoretical sciences provide physical evidence for the kalam argument. After the argument is presented, we will examine its strength in light of contemporary cosmology and philosophical scrutiny. Since this argument has come under much criticism, I shall attempt to leave no stone unturned."
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    Kelly, Thomas A. F.

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    Aquinas and Hume on the Argument from Contingency for God's Existence

    "Aquinas, it is generally reckoned, was unsuccessful in his attempts to prove the existence of God, and it is likewise believed that Hume and Kant have between them discredited any such attempt. The thesis which I propose in this article is that an argument for the existence of God is suggested by certain texts in Aquinas and that this argument is able to survive the objections made to such an argument by Hume. I do hold that the argument withstands Kant’s attack as well, but I will restrict my examination here to Hume. The argument in question is a version of the 'proof from the contingency of the world', but is distinct from the Third Way. This article, therefore, will fall into two main parts, in which the contributions of Aquinas and Hume will be discussed."
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    Koons, Robert C.

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    The Grim Reaper's Revenge - A New Kalam Argument

    “Modifying Benardete’s Grim Reaper paradox results in a new version of the Kalam cosmological argument: an argument for the necessary finitude of the past. The argument relies upon two crucial assumptions: the intrinsicality of causal powers, and a generalization of Lewis's Patchwork Principle. I distinguish two different senses in which the past might be finite and consider their logical relations. Finally, I argue that the argument’s conclusion is consistent with the potential infinite divisibility of time, and that it provides support for the hypothesis that the universe has an extra-temporal and immaterial cause.”
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    Koons, Robert C.

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    A New Look at the Cosmological Argument

    "I will follow closely the classical argument from contingency, with its origins in Aristotle's Metaphysics Lambda 6 and developed by the falsafa movement of Arabic philosophy (al-Farabi and Ibn Sina). My argument closely resembles Maimonides' fourth proof and Aquinas' Second and Third Ways. The argument is rigorously empirical in character: I nowhere make claims to a priori knowledge (other than of the rules of classical logic)...I lay out a successful defeasible argument for the existence of a necessary First Cause and discuss briefly its relevance to natural theology."
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    Koons, Robert C.

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    Defeasible Reasoning, Special Pleading and the Cosmological Argument

    "The rehabilitation of causation and modal realism in recent analytic philosophy have made possible the revival of the argument from contingency to the existence of a necessary first cause. Recent work in defeasible or nonmonotonic logic means that this argument can be cast in such a way that it does not presuppose that every contingent situation, without exception, has a cause. Instead, the burden of proof is shifted to the skeptic, who must produce positive reasons for thinking that the cosmos is an exception to the defeasible law of causality."
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    Koons, Robert C.

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    Our A Priori Knowledge of the Scope of Causation

    “Any plausible principle of general causation must fall short of absolute universality. If everything must have a cause, then this would apply to the whole of reality, including the supposed First Cause itself. A coherent principle must admit of exceptions. However, not all exceptions are equal in respect of their epistemological implications. I will argue that there are strong epistemological constraints that reduce to a narrow band the range of permissible principles of causation. This fact may have great significance for the contemporary debate over the cosmological argument of natural theology: a principle with exceptions narrow enough to escape global skepticism may also be strong enough to serve as the heart of a successful argument for God’s existence.”
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    Lenardos, G. Brady

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    The Existence of God

    "Throughout history theologians and philosophers have presented cosmological, or causal arguments for the existence of God. Such well known names as St. Augustine (5th cent. AD), Rene Descartes (17th cent. AD), and Norman Geisler (20th Cent. AD), as well as many others, hold to the logical validity of such arguments. The advantage that Augustine, Descartes, and Geisler have is that they start from a point of certainty. After this they went into different directions. We will also start with these thinkers, and then we will go our separate way."
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    Maydole, Robert E.

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    Aquinas' Third Way Modalized

    "The Third Way is the most interesting and insightful of Aquinas' five arguments for the existence of God, even though it is invalid and has some false premises. With the help of a somewhat weak modal logic, however, the Third Way can be transformed into a argument which is certainly valid and plausibly sound. Much of what Aquinas asserted in the Third Way is possibly true even if it is not actually true. Instead of assuming, for example, that things which are contingent fail to exist at some time, we need only assume that contingent things possibly fail to exist at some time. Likewise, we can replace the assumption that if all things fail to exist at some time then there is a time when nothing exists, with the corresponding assumption that if all things possibly fail to exist at some time then possibly there is a time when nothing exists. These and other similar replacements suffice to produce a cogent cosmological argument."
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    Moreland, J. P.

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    A Response to a Platonistic and to a Set-theoretic Objection to the Kalam Cosmological Argument

    "The first premise of the Kalam cosmological argument has come under fire in the last few years. The premise states that the universe had a beginning, and one of two prominent arguments for it turns on the claim that an actual infinite collection of entities cannot exist. After stating the Kalam cosmological argument and the two approaches to defending its first premise, I respond to two objections against the notion that an actual infinite collection is impossible: a Platonistic objection from abstract objects and a set-theoretic objection from an ambiguity in the definition of ‘=’ and ‘<’ as applied to sets. The thought-experiment involving Hilbert’s Hotel is central to the dialectic, and the discussion clarifies its use in supporting the Kalam cosmological argument."
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    O'Connor, Timothy

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    From First Efficient Cause to God: Scotus on the Identification Stage of the Cosmological Argument

    "In this paper, I examine some main threads of the identification stage of Scotus's project in the fourth chapter of De Primo, where he tries to show that a first efficient cause must have the attributes of simplicity, intellect, will, and infinity. Many philosophers are favorably disposed towards one or another argument such as Scotus's (e.g., the cosmological argument from contingency) purporting to show that there is an absolutely first efficient cause. How far can Scotus take us from this starting point towards the ultimate aim of establishing the existence of a being more recognizably identifiable as God?"
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    O'Connor, Timothy

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    Scotus On the Existence of a First Efficient Cause

    "A lengthy argument for the existence of a being possessing most of the attributes ascribed to God in traditional philosophical theology is set forth by John Duns Scotus in the final two chapters of his Tractatus De Primo Principio. In 3.1-19, Scotus tries to establish the core of his proof, viz., that 'an absolutely first effective is actually existent'...In what follows, I offer a reading of the argument as well as my critical assessment of it. I will contend that Scotus is unable to achieve all that he wants, in that a critical aspect of his official version of the argument is centrally flawed. However, the text also seems to suggest a modified version of the proof which relies on intuitive support for a possibility claim. I maintain that this form of the proof is sound."
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    O'Connor, Timothy

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    'And This All Men Call God'

    "Philosophical discussion of theistic arguments mainly focus on their first (existence) stage, which argues for the existence of something having some very general, if suggestive, feature. I shall instead consider only the second (identification) stage of one such argument, the cosmologic al argument from contingency. Taking for granted the existence of an absolutely necessary being, I develop an extended line of argument that supports the more nearly theistic claim that such a being is a transcendent, personal cause of our contingent universe."
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    Oderberg, David S.

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    On the Beginning of Existence

    "Central to recent debate over the Kalam Cosmological Argument, and over the origin of the universe in general, has been the issue of whether the universe began to exist, and if so how this is to be understood. Adolf Grünbaum has used two cosmological models as a basis for arguing that the universe did not begin to exist according to either of them. In this paper I argue that he is wrong on both counts, concentrating on the second, "open interval" model. I give metaphysical considerations for rejecting Grünbaum's interpretation, and offer a definition of the beginning of existence of an object which improves on prior formulations and which is adequate to show how the universe can indeed be seen to have begun to exist. I conclude with more general metaphysical discussion of the beginning of the universe and of the Kalam Cosmological Argument."
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    Pruss, Alexander

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    Some Recent Progress on the Cosmological Argument

    "The last fifty years of analytic philosophy has focused our attention on three critical questions about cosmological arguments. Each of these questions can receive a plausible answer from a defender of the cosmological argument. Moreover, a cumulative case argument can be run from the number of different principles on which a cosmological argument can be based. There is thus good reason, even on the basis of the cosmological argument alone, to suppose that a God-like being exists."
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    Pruss, Alexander R.

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    Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit: Arguments New and Old for the Principle of Sufficient Reason

    The Principle of Sufficient Reason is essential to certain versions of the Cosmological Argument. In this paper Alexander Pruss argues that "the PSR holds on the best available account of possibility...Those like David Hume who rejected this self-evidence might well have either accepted the PSR implicitly and denied it merely verbally, or have failed to correctly understand what terms like explanation or contingency mean..."
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    Pruss, Alexander R.

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    A Restricted Principle of Sufficient Reason and the Cosmological Argument

    "Some people reject the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR) because of apparent counterexamples like libertarian free will, quantum mechanics or the conjunction of all contingent propositions. I offer a natural restriction of the PSR that takes care of all such supposed counterexamples, a restricted version nonetheless sufficiently strong to ground a Cosmological Argument."
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    Pruss, Alexander R. and Richard Gale

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    A New Cosmological Argument

    "For every true proposition p, possibly p has an explanation. We argue from this weak version of the principle of sufficient reason that there exists a powerful and intelligent Designer-Creator of the universe."
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    Pruss, Alexander R. and Richard Gale

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    A Response to Almeida and Judisch

    "A response to some criticisms of our new cosmological argument."
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    Rasmussin, Josh

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    A Scotistic Cosmological Argument Remixed

    "John Duns Scotus developed an intricate and subtle cosmological argument. In recent times, at least a few theorists have developed cosmological arguments that use Scotus’ insights. In this paper, I will sketch a novel Scotistic-style argument while utilizing a contemporary metaphysical framework. I mean to indicate where the steps of the argument lie, not how to defend each step in detail: I will draw up a map, identifying a novel trail from premises to conclusion. The journey has two stages. In the first stage, I indicate how to reach the conclusion that a necessarily existing thing exists. In the second, I indicate novel avenues to the conclusion that the necessarily existing thing is an infinitely powerful and knowledgeable personal agent. Many theorists have identified obstacles for routes between cosmological premises and theistic conclusions. With Scotus as a guide, I mark out a new route to avoid the obstacles. I believe the map will be useful for future work on cosmological arguments of this sort."
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    Reichenbach, Bruce

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    Cosmological Argument

    "The cosmological argument is less a particular argument than an argument type. It uses a general pattern of argumentation (logos) that makes an inference from certain alleged facts about the world (cosmos) to the existence of a unique being, generally referred to as God. Among these initial claims are that the world came into being, that the world is such that at any future time it could either be or not be (the world is contingent), or that certain beings in the world are causally dependent or contingent. From these facts philosophers infer either deductively or inductively that a first cause, a necessary being, an unmoved mover, or a personal being (God) exists."
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    Rota, Michael

     (127K)

    Infinite Causal Chains and Explanation

    "Many cosmological arguments for the existence of a first cause or a necessary being rely on a premise which denies the possibility of an infinite regress of some particular sort. Adequate and satisfying support for this sort of premise, however, is not always provided. In this paper I try to provide support for such a premise, and thereby make some progress towards formulating a rigorous and convincing cosmological argument. After discussing the notion of a causal explanation (section I), I formulate three principles which govern any successful causal explanation (section II). I then introduce the notions of a caused being, a causal network, and a causal chain, and argue that (roughly) an infinite causal chain of caused beings cannot be explained merely by reference to the causal activities of the members of that chain (section III)."
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    Smith, Paul

     (129K)

    Did the Universe Begin to Exist?

    "The assumption of an infinite past leads us to a paradox: It probabilistically guarantees that the cosmos has a beginning."
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    Spitzer, Robert J.

     (443K)

    Indications of Creation in Contemporary Big Bang Cosmology

    "...[T]he possibility of a pre-Big-Bang era and space beyond the observable universe requires an investigation into domains about which physics can only speculate. Nevertheless, a philosophy of space and time can be applied to the notion of physical simplicity (i.e., a unified era), and to the conditions of spatiality to show that the finitude of the post-Big-Bang universe probably extends to a pre-Big-Bang universe (if, indeed, such a pre-Big-Bang universe existed). Thus, the combination of philosophical evidence (an ontology of space and time) and physical evidence (a notion of physical simplicity in a unified era) can provide considerable evidence for the finitude of universal past time, and therefore, for a creative event at the universe’s first moment."
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    Taylor, Richard

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    The Cosmological Argument: A Defense

    "It happens to be true that something exists, that there is, for example, a world, and although no one ever seriously supposes that this might not be so, that there might exist nothing at all, there still seems to be nothing the least necessary in this, considering it just by itself. That no world should ever exist at all is perfectly comprehensible... Considering any particular item in the world it seems not at all necessary in itself that it should ever have existed, nor does it appear any more necessary that the totality of these things, or any totality of things, should ever exist...From the principle of sufficient reason it follows, of course, that there must be a reason, not only for the existence of everything in the world but for the world itself..."
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    Vallicella, William F.

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    Could the Universe Cause itself to Exist?

    "This article responds to Quentin Smith’s, ‘The Reason the Universe Exists is that it Caused Itself to Exist’, Philosophy 74 (1999), 579-586. My rejoinder makes three main points. The first is that Smith’s argument for a finitely old, but causally self-explanatory, universe fails from probative overkill: if sound, it also shows that all manner of paltry event-sequences are causally self-explanatory. The second point is that the refutation of Smith’s argument extends to Hume’s argument for an infinitely old causally self-explanatory universe, as well as to Smith’s two ‘causal loop’ arguments...The third point is that, even if Hume’s principle were true, Smith’s argument could not succeed without the aid of a theory of causation according to which causation is production (causation of existence)." -- This article is also hosted on Maverick Philosopher, the blog of William F. Vallicella, and is hosted here with his permission.
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    Williams, Peter S.

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    Cosmological Argument

    "If anything exists then it must exist either contingently or necessarily. Something is contingent if it owes its existence to some state of affairs outside itself...The problem with explaining the existence of contingent things...is not solved by positing different arrangements or numbers of such things. Whether finite or infinite in number, and in whatever causal connection with each other, contingent things require the existence of something that is not contingent. But if something is not contingent, then it must be necessary."
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    Wood, David

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    Aristotle’s Cosmological Argument: Metaphysics Λ as 21st Century Cosmology

    "Although Metaphysics Λ is filled with the cutting-edge science of the fourth-century BC, not all of its science is wrong. Neither are all of its principles inextricably linked to outdated science...Λ can be used to make the same case Aristotle made more than two thousand years ago: 'And since that which is moved and moves is intermediate, there is something which moves without being moved, being eternal, substance, and actuality.' (1072a24-25)"