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HUMA 1160 ~ TEST 4 ~ Q1.docx

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York University
HUMA 1160
Stanley Tweyman

1. In Part 9 of Hume’s Dialogues, Demea argues that through his a priori deductive argument, he can prove conclusively that God (a necessarily existent being) is the cause of the world. Discuss fully Demea’s a priori argument in Part 9, and explain fully any two criticisms that Cleanthes offers against Demea’s a priori argument. (You are welcome to use the logic presented in lectures to enhance your answer: the logic alone will yield no credit.) In part 9, Demea argues that through his a prior deductive argument, he can prove conclusively that God is the cause of the world. Demea argues there is a cosmological ontological proof of God’s existence. Cosmos implies the concern with the world whereas Ontology is the study of existence, therefore the study of the existence of the world. Demea first examines an inductive argument, where the premise does not lead to the conclusion in a logical way. Take for example the statement “all strawberries are red.” Through the use of a limited sample, we can generalize and guess that all strawberries are red if T1=RED, T2=RED, T3=RED. Therefore, Tn=RED (n=all other numbers) as well because all that came before it are Red, the most logical conclusion would be that all after it will be red. However, this conclusive argument does NOT PROVE that all strawberries in a bushel will be red. The best one can say is that ‘probably’all strawberries will be red, but there is no guarantee. Inductive arguments seek empirical regularities, between the two relata, and assume the past will predict the future. However, this is problematic, as the past cannot always predict the future. Take for example a student who gets straightA’s on all assignments in the past, just because the student has a history of straightA’s, does not mean that the student will continue to maintainA’s throughout all his/her classes. Therefore, inductive arguments are never eternal or true for all time. On the other hand, we have deductive arguments which lead from a premises to a conclusion, such as 2+3=3+1. To prove that 2+2=3+1, we use the axiom of equality, which are self-evident truths. Through the axiom, we can conclude that 2+2=4, and 3+1=4; therefore 2+2=3+1.Adeductive argument is appropriate when we have two relatas that are necessarily connected. In terms of the strawberries, the conclusion can clearly change whereas in mathematics there is an eternal connection that is decisive – there is no doubt. Thus leading to the conclusion that deductive arguments yield conclusive proofs. PAGE 149 “and who cannot be supposed not to exist without an express contradiction.” Demea states that, if you think of God, and deny he exists, you can no longer think of God. In this quote, Demea has illustrated deductive proof of the existence of God. This proof talks about a continuum in which anything that exists today, exists contingently (it relies on something before it). Everything in the present must have a cause that made it exist. The cause of this existent is also a dependent existent, the cause produced the effect but it is also depend on some cause. This causal chain is regressive (it keeps going back) and there is nothing to stop this ‘chain,’no first member of this series is therefore infinitely regressive. Demea says that we can either have this infinite regression, or must have recourse to some ultimate cause. The cause of this chain, according to Demea, is God. According to Demea, if there was no infinitely regressive first member, we would have nothing to tell us why there is a chain in the first place, or why anything exists – nothing to identify what produced the chain. Demea says that we can either have this infinite regression, or we must have recourse to some ultimate cause P > Q (anything that exists must have a cause) Demea concludes that the whole chain cannot be explained through the chain or its members, so there must be an external causal explanation and we must go outside the chain to understand why the chain exists. He offers 4 hypotheses, from which he says only one is plausible. The first is external causes, here Demea refers to an external contingent cause. Second is chance, which means its causeless - Demea sees this as meaningless. This is rejected because it’s illogical. Third is ‘nothing,’just as a builder uses bricks, God used nothing (ex nihilo). Demea comes to the conclusion that when it comes to God, we cannot invoke theAristotelian model. This leads Demea to conclude that it turns out there is no external contingent cause that creates the world, and people like Demea came to the conclusion that a modal leap must be made: We cannot explain this contingent through contingent, so we make this LEAP and say that only way we can say there is something rather than nothing is to say there is a God. This God is a necessarily existent being. Demea holds that God’s existence is a deductive proof, the conclusion follows necessarily from the premi
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