A popular critique of the kalām cosmological argument is that one argument for its second premise (what I call the Impossible Formation Argument, IFA) illicitly assumes a finite starting point for the series of past temporal events, thereby begging the question against opponents. Rejecting this assumption, opponents say, eliminates any objections to the possibility that the past is infinitely old and undermines the IFA’s ability to support premise 2. I contend that the plausibility of this objection depends on ambiguities in extant formulations of the IFA and that we may resolve these ambiguities in a way that does not presuppose a finite staring point. I also argue that this disambiguation allows us to construct an argument demonstrating that the concept of an infinite past entails a contradiction.
KeywordsKalām Cosmological argument Infinity Eternity
- Kant, I. (1999). Critique of Pure Reason. The Cambridge edition of the complete works of Immanuel Kant. Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood, trans. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Mackie, J. L. (1982). The miracle of theism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Morriston, W. (1999). Must the past have a beginning? Philo, 2, 5–19.Google Scholar
- Morriston, W. (2010). Beginningless past, endless future, and the actual infinite. Faith and Philosophy, 27(4), 439–450.Google Scholar
- Oaklander, L. N., & Smith, Q. (1994). The new theory of time. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
- Smith, N. K. (1918). A commentary to Kant’s ‘Critique of Pure Reason’. London: MacMillan and Co.Google Scholar