Home > Uncategorized > Lecture (9/27/11) Aquinas’ Arguments for the existence of God

Lecture (9/27/11) Aquinas’ Arguments for the existence of God

AQUINAS

Existence of God
Applied Deductive Logos

St. Thomas Aquinas
1225 – 1274

I. Preliminaries

God as the All-PKG

Atheism

Is a proposition true?

A posteriori – requiring experience to verify its truth

A priori – true by definition (its truth may be verified by reason alone)

II. The Arguments

Argument from motion
1) The natural world includes objects in
motion.
• “It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in
the world some things are in motion.”

2) In the natural world, objects in motion are
always sent into motion by objects other
than themselves.
• “whatever is in motion must be put in
motion by another”

3) In the natural world, causes of motion
must precede their effects.
• “If that by which it is put in motion be itself
put in motion, then this also must needs be
put in motion by another, and that by
another again.”

4) In the natural world, there are no infinite
cause and effect motion chains.
• “But this cannot go on to infinity.”

5) Therefore, there is a first motion (which is
not itself caused) that occurs in the natural
world.
• “Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first
mover, put in motion by no other.”

6) Therefore, God exists as the first event.
• “and this everyone understands to be God.”

Sum of argument from
motion
1. The natural world includes objects in motion.
2. In the natural world, objects in motion are always sent into
motion by objects other than themselves.
3. In the natural world, causes must precede their effects.
4. In the natural world, there are no infinite cause/effect chains.
5. Therefore, there is a first motion (which is not itself caused)
that occurs in the natural world.
6. Therefore, God (All-PKG) exists as the first event.

Sum of argument from
cause
1. The natural world includes events that occur.
2. In the natural world, every event has a cause, and no event
causes itself.
3. In the natural world, causes must precede their effects.
4. In the natural world, there are no infinite cause/effect chains.
5. Therefore, there is a first event (which is not itself caused)
that occurs in the natural world.
6. Therefore, God (All-PKG) exists as the first event.

A posteriori
• The natural world includes events that
occur (from cause).
• The natural world includes objects in
motion (from motion).

Sub-argument for
premise 4
4) In the natural world, there are no infinite
cause and effect motion chains.
• “because then there would be no first
mover, and, consequently, no other mover;
seeing that subsequent movers move only
inasmuch as they are put in motion by the
first mover; as the staff moves only because
it is put in motion by the hand.”

IV. Evaluation (logos)

Valid?

Sound?

From motion: Valid?
1. The natural world includes objects in motion.
2. In the natural world, objects in motion are always sent into
motion by objects other than themselves.
3. In the natural world, causes must precede their effects.
4. In the natural world, there are no infinite cause/effect chains.
5. Therefore, there is a first motion (which is not itself caused)
that occurs in the natural world.

6. Therefore, God (All-PKG) exists as the first event.

From cause: Valid?
1. The natural world includes events that occur.
2. In the natural world, every event has a cause, and no event
causes itself.
3. In the natural world, causes must precede their effects.
4. In the natural world, there are no infinite cause/effect chains.
5. Therefore, there is a first event (which is not itself caused)
that occurs in the natural world.

6. Therefore, God (All-PKG) exists as the first event.

From motion:
contradiction?

3. In the natural world, causes must precede their effects.

5. Therefore, there is a first motion (which is not itself caused) that
occurs in the natural world.

From cause:
contradiction?
3. In the natural world, causes must precede their effects.
5. Therefore, there is a first event (which is not itself caused) that
occurs in the natural world.

 

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