Philosophy 1305F/G - Lecture 4.docx

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Philo1305 January 30, 2012
Lecture 4
Revisiting St. Thomas Aquinas’ Second Argument (A posteriori Cosmological)
Either the chain that produced Frank was:
o infinite or finite Major Premise
o NOT infinite Minor Premise
o Therefore, finite Conclusion
If so, therefore there is a first cause which is an uncaused cause, which is
what we mean by God.
The exhaustive conclusion is that it cannot be infinite and finite this is impossible.
The Argument Against Infinity:
If the beginning of everything is infinite, then the future too must be infinite. If this is
true, then Frank could never come to exist. If all the causes that preceded Frank, Frank
could never exist, because there is no beginning, middle, or end. Would there be
anything before Frank to cause him, if the line of regression that caused Frank is
infinite? With infinity we don’t have a first, without a first we don’t have a middle, and
without a middle, there is no present/end. The present is currently the end because it is
what we experience now; it is the end of the line of progression that has led to Frank.
The question is not whether Frank can produce outcomes in the future, the question is
what produced Frank.
If something is infinite, then progression is not possible. Therefore everything can have
a beginning, except God.
A circle is not infinite, because it is an enclosed figure, and is therefore finite. The only
way that a circle could be finite is if its diameter is infinite. This is because infinity is a
linear structure (not circular).
In conclusion, we are doing a reduction from the absurd.
Many philosophers maintain that our sensory experience is completely an illusion, and that we
are not sure of our existence.
Objections: Adler
Adler: “We must not assume exnihilation (that something exists out of nothing) because this
assumes an exnihilator which is God, therefore we would be begging the question.
We cannot say that an exnihilator exists, because this assumes what we are trying to
prove: the existence of God.
The question becomes “Does the Big Bang Theory or Steady State Theory propose the
existence of an exnihilator?” Therefore these theories as well as the theory of God must
be rejected because they all assume an exnihilator (someone who caused everything
We must not assume the existence of a first cause because this assumes that time is finite
which is the same as saying that the cosmos had a beginning. This is therefore assuming an
Steady State Theory See pg. 32 HTAB
Steady State Theory: Hydrogen nuclei comes out of nothing (p. 32&34).
o This conflicts with our quest to prove God’s existence, in that it assumes an
Big Bang Theory: See pg. 32 Possible Interpretations:
o A) Bang came at some moment in time. This makes the claim that something
caused the big bang, and the bang caused us. Therefore, this is just another
moment in time that we cannot trace back to a cause. This solves nothing. It’s a
cosmic event with no particular importance to the big chain (it could be
substituted with Frank just as easily).
o B) Bang came out of nothing. It assumes an exnihilator. This points to the same
thing as the Steady State Theory, and therefore science cannot help us answer the
Therefore, to assume an exnihilator in any of these arguments would be circular!
Infinite Temporal Series
Adler makes to suggestions:
Adler suggests that Frank exists solely from an infinite temporal series. He (Adler) rules
out this suggestion he couldn’t exist because it would take an infinite time to catch up
to him.
Each cause comes to be by an uncaused cause outside of the infinite temporal series; God
is outside the temporal series. Therefore Frank does exist if he is part of an infinite
temporal series or not.
If we deny the creator involved in the beginning, how can we say that there even was a
St. Anselm’s Ontological Argument A Priori (No Sense Experience)
Claims that anytime people use the word God, they are able to understand God in the
following way:
“God is that which no greater can be conceived.”
God exists only in the mind
God exists both inside and outside the mind. This is the greater argument! However,
if God only consists in the mind, then this contradicts the definition above.