argument, cosmological

argument, cosmological
   The cosmological argument argues for the existence of God from the starting point of the existence of the cosmos (or, in van Inwagen's formulation, the possibility of the existence of the cosmos). The argument typically proceeds by way of the principle of sufficient reason, which states that everything contingent needs an explanation. Since the universe is contingent, it too needs an explanation. If we find its explanation in something else contingent then we can just ask what the explanation for the contingent whole composed of the universe plus its explanation is. Since, so the argument goes, there cannot be an infinite sequence of explanations, all explanation must find its end and culmination in the existence of a necessary being, God. One particular version of the cosmological argument, known as 'the kalām cosmological argument', argues specifically for the proposition that the world must have had a beginning and, therefore, a cause, on the grounds that it is not possible that an infinite amount of time should have elapsed. Critics have replied that the assumptions made in the various forms of the cosmological argument are not obviously correct, and, in any case, the argument does not establish any other interesting properties possessed by the necessary being.
   Further reading: Craig 1979 and 1980; Rowe 1975; van Inwagen 2002

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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