Skip to main content

New remarks on the cosmological argument

Abstract

We present a formal analysis of the Cosmological Argument in its two main forms: that due to Aquinas, and the revised version of the Kalam Cosmological Argument more recently advocated by William Lane Craig. We formulate these two arguments in such a way that each conclusion follows in first-order logic from the corresponding assumptions. Our analysis shows that the conclusion which follows for Aquinas is considerably weaker than what his aims demand. With formalizations that are logically valid in hand, we reinterpret the natural language versions of the premises and conclusions in terms of concepts of causality consistent with (and used in) recent work in cosmology done by physicists. In brief: the Kalam argument commits the fallacy of equivocation in a way that seems beyond repair; two of the premises adopted by Aquinas seem dubious when the terms ‘cause’ and ‘causality’ are interpreted in the context of contemporary empirical science. Thus, while there are no problems with whether the conclusions follow logically from their assumptions, the Kalam argument is not viable, and the Aquinas argument does not imply a caused origination of the universe. The assumptions of the latter are at best less than obvious relative to recent work in the sciences. We conclude with mention of a new argument that makes some positive modifications to an alternative variation on Aquinas by Le Poidevin, which nonetheless seems rather weak.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Bunge M. (1977) Treatise of basic philosophy. Ontology I: the furniture of the world. Reidel, Dordrecht

    Google Scholar 

  2. Bunge M. (1979) Causality and modern science. Dover, New York

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bunge M. (2010) Matter and mind: a philosophical inquiry. Springer, Dordrecht

    Google Scholar 

  4. Carnap R. (1958) Introduction to symbolic logic and its applications. Dover Publications, New York

    Google Scholar 

  5. Craig W. L. (1979) The kalam cosmological argument. Harper & Row, New York

    Google Scholar 

  6. Craig W. L. (1980) The cosmological argument from Plato to Leibniz. The Macmillan Press, London

    Google Scholar 

  7. Craig W. L. (1991) The existence of God and the beginning of the universe. Truth 3: 85–96

    Google Scholar 

  8. Craig W. L., Smith Q. (1993) Theism, Atheism, and Big Bang Cosmology. Clarendon Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  9. Gott J. R. III, Li L. X. (1998) Can the universe create itself?. Phys. Rev. D 58: 023501

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Grünbaum A. (1989) The Pseudo-problem of creation in physical cosmology. Philosophy of Science 56: 373–394

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Grünbaum A. (1990) Pseudo-creation of the Big Bang. Nature 344: 821–822

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Grünbaum A. (1991) Creation as a pseudo-explanation in current physical cosmology. Erkenntnis 35: 233–254

    Google Scholar 

  13. Grünbaum A. (2000) A new critique of theological interpretations of physical cosmology. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 51: 1–43

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Pondevin R. (1996) Arguing for atheism. Routledge, London and New York

    Google Scholar 

  15. Perez-Bergliaffa S. E, Romero G. E., Vucetich H. (1998) Toward an axiomatic pregeometry of space–time. International Journal of Theoretical Physics 37: 2281–2298

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Rayo A. (2004) Formalización y lenguaje ordinario. In: Orayen R., Moretti A. (eds) Filosofía de la Lógica. Trotta, Madrid, pp 17–42

    Google Scholar 

  17. Rowe W. L. (1998) The cosmological argument. Princeton University Press, Princeton

    Google Scholar 

  18. Romero G. E. (2004) God, causality, and the creation of the universe. Invenio 13: 11–20

    Google Scholar 

  19. Romero G. E., Torres D. F. (2001) Self-existing objects and auto-generated information in chronology-violating space–times. Modern Physics Letters A 16: 1213–1222

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Swinburne R. (1979) The existence of God. Clarendon Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Daniela Pérez.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Romero, G.E., Pérez, D. New remarks on the cosmological argument. Int J Philos Relig 72, 103–113 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11153-012-9337-6

Download citation

Keywords

  • Causality
  • Cosmology
  • Theology
  • Semantics