a) Explain Aquinas’ cosmological argument. (25)
Thomas Aquinas, a catholic philosopher, wrote of 5 arguments for the existence of God in his book Summa Theologiae. These five arguments are heavily influenced by the writings of Aristotle and Plato. The first three of these arguments are cosmological, meaning that they are arguing Gods existence based on a study of the universe.
Aquinas’ first and second way are arguments for a first uncaused causer and unmoved mover. Aquinas begins with an observation that all things in the world are in a process of motion therefore everything is in the process of changing from a potential state to an actual state. He then went on to say that something cannot be in a state of potentiality and actuality, for example something that is actually hot cannot be potentially hot it can only be potentially cold. Therefore everything in a state of motion must be put into this state by something else however this chain of movers cannot go on infinitely ‘because there would be no first mover and consequently no other mover’. He therefore comes to the conclusion that there must be a first mover that was not put in motion by something else, and states that this unmoved mover is understood to be God. God is therefore purely in an actual state.
The second argument is very similar to the first one which is why they are so often grouped together. Aquinas states that nothing causes itself, and that all efficient causes follow an order however this cannot go on to infinity as there would be no first efficient cause. He therefore concludes that a first uncaused cause is necessary and this cause we know as God. Here Aquinas is not simply explaining the start of a chain of actions but explaining the reason why anything exists at all and why any motion or causation has occurred at all.
Aquinas’ third way is known as the argument from Contingency. This entails Aquinas stating God’s existence as a necessary existence unlike the existence of humans which...