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Title: The cosmological argument for the existence of God : historical and critical analyses
Author: Craig, William Lane
Awarding Body: The University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 1977
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An analysis of the proofs of thirteen of the cosmological argument's greatest proponents reveals that there are basically three types of cosmological argument: (1) the kalarn argument, based on the principle of determination, for a Creator of the world in time, (2) the Thomist argument, based on the principle of causality, for an ultimate Cause of the existence of the world, and (3) the Leibnizian argument, based on the principle of sufficient reason, for a Sufficient Reason for the world. The Leibnizian argument involves two especially significant issues: (1) the status of the principle of sufficient reason and (2) the nature of the necessary being. The principle of sufficient reason cannot be demonstrated, but is likely to be true in view of the intelligibility of the known universe. It must, however, be formulated in terms of real, not logical, possibility. The greatest difficulty with the argument is that the necessary being need not be God. But the presence of mind in the universe suggests that the sufficient reason for the universe is not merely matter, but ultimate Mind. The Thomist argument raises three significant issues: (1) the status of the essence/existence distinction, (2) the status of the causal proposition, and (3) the problem of infinite causal regression. With regard to the first point, Thomists fail to prove things have essences, cannot show that the essence/existence distinction is real, and do not succeed in showing how this distinction makes reality intelligible. The arguments for the causal principle are likewise defective, but the principle is no doubt true. Finally, although one cannot prove an infinite essential order of causes is impossible, this contention seems more plausible than its denial. The kaZFzm cosmological argument can be successfully formulated and defended. Its first premiss, that whatever begins to exist has a cause of its existence, is obviously true. Its second premiss, that the universe began to exist, may be supported by philosophical argument and empirical confirmation. There are two philosophical arguments: (1) the argument from the impossibility of the existence of an actual infinite and (2) the argument from the impossibility of the formation of an actual infinite by successive addition. There are two empirical confirmations: (1) the big bang cosmological model and (2) thermodynamic characteristics of the universe. The conclusion is that the universe has a cause of its existence. This cause must be a personal Creator because only by an act of will could a temporal universe come into being from an eternal cause.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available