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Lecture 4

PHIL111 13/14 WEEK 4.docx

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PHIL 111
Jon Miller

Week 4 October 1, 2013 Aquinas’s Five Ways - Short for “Five Ways of Proving God’s Existence” - All arguments follow the same basic course: starting with something familiar and widely accepted, they attempt to deduce the existence of some transcendent cause - The Five Ways 1. The Argument from Motion o Since everything that moves is moved by another, there exists an unmoved mover 2. The Argument from Efficient Causation o Something cannot be its own cause, but instead, causes come in series; since the series of causes cannot extend to infinity, there is a first cause- god 3. The Modal Argument o Given the existence of contingent beings, there is an absolutely necessary being- god 4. The Argument from Gradation o Given the existence of comparative goods- given that one thing is better in comparison to another, there is a maximally good being 5. The Argument from Teleology o All things act for an end; since unconscious and unintelligent things cannot supply their own end, some intelligence gives it to them- god The Argument from Modality 1. Some things can fail to exist 2. Not everything can fail to exist o Sub-proof  If something can fail to exist, then there must have been a time when it has failed to exist  If everything can fail to exist, then there must have been a time when nothing existed  But if there were such a time, the world would not exist, for something can only exist if brought into existence by something else which already exists  So not everything can fail to exist 3. Something which cannot fail to exist is something which exists necessarily 4. If it exists necessarily, either it is or isn’t created by something else which is necessary 5. The series of necessary beings cannot be infinite 6. So there is a being that is necessary per se or in itself 7. That being is god The Argument from Teleology - “Teleology” is a compound of Greek words “telos” (end) and “logas” (reason/account) o Teleology is the reason for a thing’s end/purpose; structure towards an end 1. All things have ends and act for what is best 2. The consistency with which they achieve their ends show that they do so not by accident but by design 3. Some of the things that have ends and act for what is best lack consciousness 4. Because they lack consciousness, they cannot pursue their ends on purpose 5. Because they cannot pursue their ends on purpose, they must be guided to them by something else, something that is able to strive for ends purposely (eg. Archer and arrow) 6. Therefore, there is something with consciousness guiding the actions of non-conscious beings, and that being is god October 2, 2013 Pascal vs. the Scholastics - Anselm and Aquinas’s arguments are different but share one crucial feature: they are for the existence of god; they purport to prove that god (conceived in a specific way) exists - Pascal did not offer arguments purporting to prove the existence of god, but to prove that it is rational to believe that god exists The Text - Pascal’s dates: 1623-1662 - Did not publish anything philosophical, but left behind a notebook of planned defence of Christianity (Pensees de M.Pascal sur la religion et sur quelques autres sujects) - The Pensees has many sections; we wi
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