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in a mighty rush. and Thomists not counting) have given it up. the argument finds an equal and opposite onethat things go back and back and back and back-and gets underfor mined in the resulting antilogism. we trust. The reader. Whence there is a First Cause. So metaphysics teaches. the Cosmological Argument these days gets a boost from Cosmology. And this. but what it was-and its outset. said "Let there be Light. Aquinas devised it (with hints from Aristotle) and pronounced it valid. all of a sudden Light there was. There is nothing particularly unusual about this. not wishing to delve further into Theology than that." But. With its variants (for example. came with a Big Bang. But is this ruling opinion correct? Oddly. without limit. Philosophy is rarely out of tune with the Science of the last century. philosophers (by and large. Project any of these causal sequences indefinitely back. example-may be taken to have pronounced it simply invalid. Other philosophers-Hume. if they are to be believed. and the mind boggles. from motion). And the cause of everything has a cause. has heard this argument before. So it is at least ironic that. That all men call God. at a time when empirical scientists are putting some physical teeth back into this old argument. MEYER AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL UNIVERSITY Everything has a cause. Later philosophers have not been so sure. it is the Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God.God Exists! ROBERT K. do not report Who. perhaps. and has NOUS 21 (1987): 345-361 ? 1987 by Nou's Publications 345 . if Anybody. Trace back the Actual History of the Universe-not what it could or might have been. on today's common opinion. In Kant. Physicists. is today the ruling opinion.

living at a time when the natural numbers only went forward. and it is not surprising that. for example. it is alleged.' Any argument that has been around that long has had more than sufficient time for minute examination by philosophical counsel for any one of several hundred positions on these questions (and. the ball occupies a succession of points <xo. granting Aquinas the benefit of the doubt. not to us). 0. some of them mighty close together. 3 variety. 2. -2.yo>. Aquinas. it did not occur to him to think of the positive integers as analogous to a descending causal sequence. given that a good many contemporary philosophers have by now caught up with Relativity and Quantum Theory) so that philosophers could catch up.yi> So this causal sequence. For consider some homely causal sequence-the rolling of a ball across the floor by a child. (And. there is between and <xkyk> a third pair any two distinct pairs <xi. . While the title of this paper has (somewhat rashly) asserted the truth of the conclusion of the Cosmological Argument. . The picture is not of one item in the sequence causing the next (since there is no next).1. The most persistent has to do with the character of the backwards causal sequences. . It does take a while to decide why things must be the way that Scientists have told us that they are. . presumptively. more relevantly. is already deeply infinitistic in character. If we view this situation from the viewpoint of the most casual physics. we are (naturally) concerned here only with its validity. . But. an item in a causal sequence. for two). according to various people. the negative integers not yet having been invented. . . So the premiss- . are real numbers.. physics. at least on the most casual < xyj>.) Was Aquinas that dumb? We leave that question to scholarly exhumation and examination of his old math homework. . on an appropriate plane. presumptively. forever. Yet the ordering is not of the 1.346 NOUS been known on occasion to pronounce it Ineluctable. <xiyi>. But there is no need or reason to think that the Cosmological Argument is itself that dumb (whence. and it would be comforting if they would take a hundred years off (or at least fifty. the present argument should be ascribed to him. To the contrary. but of the causal relation just rolling along (so to speak) as the ball works its way through continuum many spots on the floor. what is wrong with it? Various things. since the real numbers are densely ordered. .. with item n + 1 identified as the cause of item n. did not think of the infinite descending sequence.. The ball's occupying any of these points is. various loopholes have been found. if the Cosmological Argument is now pronounced invalid. where the xi and y.

at least. these days. forever. perhaps even Leibniz's.y. in this sequence. CP) in the following manner: (CP) For every causal sequence C. That is. has been that. we can go causally back and back and back and back. in a largercausal sequence. we may form the one-element causal sequence consisting of J alone. Beginning anywhere in medias res. This suggests that our first try at "Everything has a cause" (and. rolled the ball across the floor. The child. where J is any item. it subsumes our earlier version of "Everything has a cause". given a particular item in the sequence. in this case.GOD EXISTS! 347 that everything has a cause-is assumed. there was an item. but this is not our present concern.. the subsequent items are thereupon determined. and sufficient information pertaining thereto. it is whole causal sequences that require such antecedents. that made it roll. For. But first-order . there is some causal sequence C and some item I such that. there is some item I which is causally anterior to every item J in C. it does go back forever. of course. causally anterior to every item in the ball-rolling subsequence: namely.> of ball-rolling items. since we are not here querying what Metaphysics teaches. I is causally anterior to J. so perhaps we can. the impetus that the child provided to the ball. It is not simply particular items in a causal sequence that require causal antecedents. For our homely example. though it surely dealt with causally relateditems. in our homely example. (Quantum or other Indeterminism might. Beginning with J. If we are to make causal sense of even the most mundane and ordinary items of our experience (at least if we use the real numbers-or. the Mechanistic Ideal on which it rested) is a bit naive. In the first place. Well. This leads us to formulate the Causal Principle (henceforth. in the sequence C. there is some element I causally anterior to every member of this sequence: namely. for every item J. infinitesimals).This suggests that what "Everything has a cause" ought perhaps to mean is that. And it is not hard to see that.) But we are entitled to ask what the premiss means. The Mechanistic Ideal. in the sense that any item in the sequence has an infinite number of causal antecedents. By CP. But it is not just the case. that every element of the sequence of ball-rolling items has some causal antecedent. we are back in the old soup. to J. But what happens after "forever"? Consider again the infinite sequence <x.yi> item in the sequence. and Robinson's. remember. hardly enabled us to speak of the cause of a particular <xi. A few words are in order about CP. if that is what "Everything has a cause" means. perhaps.

the question is at least not begged in a psychological sense. roughly speaking. and let us consider now all the items in between. that every causal sequence has a First element. This is a causal sequence. and apply CP to find an item anterior to all members thereof. is to make use of a renowned mathematical principle-the famous Axiom of Choice. even after CP is granted. again applying CP. its quantifiers would read '(C)(HIJ)(J)'. on a point of quantifier interchange. CP is strictly stronger than the subsumed principle. at any rate. while others have found it false.) So. with the former causally fixing items <xi. but it does not have a first element. yield a First Cause. If every time we try to project a causal sequence backward without limit. (In this case. While what follows the 'whence' is true enough. then God exists. it would seem. But this item is just part of a larger causal sequence. were we to state it analogously. namely God. we strike something causally anterior to every member of the sequence. the claim is simply that if everything has a cause. would come out with prenex quantifiers '(C)(J)(HIJ)'. In prenex form. clearly the <xi. no fooling. since it is already contained in the premisses. whence. by CP. to get the ideas down. this time. a sufficient number of iterations (perhaps infinitely many) will. In this case. And our task is to show that. anterior. a delicate mathematical point is still involved. Since some have found this claim startling. CP stands to its weak analogue as uniform continuity does to continuity. For it is not true. it is at least begged in the sense that every valid argument begs the question: namely.yi> item will do. is on its way to going on forever. at least intuitively. We take a causal sequence. This too. But the idea behind the friendly objections seemed to be somewhat simpler. Some to whom we have communicated this argument have objected at this point that the question has been begged.348 NOUS functional calculus fans will note immediately that.yi> and <xj. And then we . We shall first apply this axiom informally. Let us go back to the ball-rolling.yj>. we find an item anterior to all members of the larger sequence. What it has. is an element of a larger sequence which is causally anterior to all members of the given sequence. if you believe its premisses. Since CP does in fact suffice for the existence of God. you cannot but believe its conclusion. The weaker principle. The way to do this. does not this mean that every causal sequence has a First element? Whence every causal sequence that is long enough has a first element. which is the traditional content of the Cosmological Argument. That is. we shall see. it would seem that the path to a First Cause is still blocked.

to all these Ii. Balls and falls. which is what the Axiom of Choice licenses. or to be constituted from items in ways not here to be explained. aside from trading on the reader's intuitions. souls. Pick any item I. shirts and dirt. we made use of the notion of a causal sequence. . sets and numbers. we are off again. Let us not be discouraged by this. intuitively. Let us begin by returning to CP. sinkings and drinkings and thinkings we presume either to be items. . In this informal version. since there is nothing left to choose-or can quit because we have already found a First Cause. Jo=I). or whatever) we have been using the relatively colourless word "item" to describe what it is that A relates. there will be some II causally anterior to I. "is causally anterior to". And we simply continue the process until we have either exhausted Absolutely Everything-in which case we have found a First Cause. a causal antecedent I. . by CP. where each natural number i appears among the indices. and to unboggle the mind. For there is. what formal properties they were supposed to have. whatever their ontological status. there is a First Cause. "is causally anterior to". Picking I. we may get a causal sequence (. In stating it. do not obviously stand in causal relations to each other (esoteric efforts at shuffling the furniture of the Universe aside). (The famous question. in fact). Items. If I is not already a First Cause (that is. Pick an II with this property. there is still something mindboggling about it. . by CP. But we have by now made an infinite number of arbitrary choices (we had already. For example. .. We make no such presupposition about what is more evidently conceptual or abstract. as we have described the "picking" process. In any event.GOD EXISTS! 349 shall set out the requisites for a formal proof.) For another. And. which we shall henceforth abbreviate simply by 'A'. it is necessary to be a little more careful. there are still various gaps in the argument. if we did not pick God to start with). and of a relation. as those who faint-heartedly pronounce the Cosmological Argument invalid are prone to do. But. in fact. A is evidently a binary relation. more important for our immediate purposes. are what is real in the Universe. If we continue in this way. since we don't want to presuppose what the Universe is made up of (events. where X is (as usual) the first transfinite ordinal. The idea. atoms. lights and fights. Let us begin with. or. we didn't really say what these things were. Ii+1 J0 . and find by CP a causal anterior I2 to both of IlI. For one thing. the argument may be no more convincing than previous versions of the Cosmological Argument. "Who made God?" is one of them. That all call God. Pick an I2.. is the one that we have just been through. To fill these gaps.

after all. (If this is displeasing. Whether A is characterized as reflexive or irreflexive. near enough. a relation that would not sensibly be transitive.. that a bears to successor as a relation on natural numbers. The idea then would be that a First Cause (and only a First Cause) would be itself uncaused. our concern here is with A. is "God". A bears the same relation to C that "ancestor" bears to "parent". not C. either because the assumptions are already felt to be too restrictive or because the reader prefers to do his or her mathematics on some other basis than. for reasons in part adduced above. is closer to the usual intuitions about these things. the First Cause is itself to be viewed as uncaused. then we may simply identify A as the ancestral of C. i a j if and only if i < j or i = j. say. in set theories that admit them. This observation. we wish to have some primitive idea of a causal relation C that relates causes to their unique. (Roughly speaking. or of arithmetical S. V could be a proper class. perhaps. in this case. we note that these assumptions are readily transferable to related contexts. This enables us to invoke the ordinary apparatus of set theory. it will apply to these analyses also. But. and we do not think of A as "cooked up" from any other relation.. counting any item I (by courtesy. But.g. it doesn't make much difference. and J bears the same relation to K. If I is causally anterior to J. e.) . and that A is a binary relation on that set. "Who made God?" The only reasonable answer. so far as formal analysis is concerned. or. relates our work here to some more traditional metaphysical analyses of causality. Either of the latter is recoverable from the other in an obvious way. while i < j if and only if both i s j and i * j. using properties of identity.350 NOUS This enables us to assume that the collection V of all items is in fact a set. If not. allowing nothing to be its own cause. we can think of "is causally anterior to" either as an analogue of arithmetical <. that is.) What else do we expect of "is causally anterior to"? Since we have given up (here. if we want to speak that way. If. it makes sense to think of A as transitive. nonetheless. this leaves us two choices that seem plausible. or we can make it reflexive. ZF set theory. provided that other assumptions are adjusted to suit. there will be a kindred notion definable therefrom by the same rubric. The former. whence. Let us now turn to the question. Either we can make A irreflexive. So far as the formal properties of A are concerned. perhaps. given CP. in the mathematical sense. immediate effects. relating a cause to an immediate effect. so to speak) among its own causes. anyway) on the thought that A is a next-tonext relation. then I is causally anterior to K as well.

without loops.e. run into one's younger self on the street.) These assumptions. Any transitive. thinking of R as a < and defining the corresponding < as suggested above. J is minimal if there is no I < J. then I = J. And so the causal sequences are just the chains in V. in the latter case. Given such a relation R defined on a set S.) Nothing prevents a partially ordered set. it follows immediately that it is also asymmetric:if I PA J then not J PA I. accordingly. I2. We need now merely to spell out what we mean by a causal sequence. antisymmetric relation R is called a partial order. in either case. the relation A be total. science fiction writers. etc. A corresponding relation PA. in the present context. to take A as reflexive. The corresponding property to be imposed on A is that of anti-symmetry: if I A J and J A I. under a relation R. is also taken to be transitive. from having no minimal elements (e. i.GOD EXISTS! 351 It will be convenient. if a partially ordered set X has exactly one minimal . since it is evidently irreflexive. though. we shall. Let X be a partially ordered set.... we have either I A J or J A I. under the partial order A. one does not. from having many minimal elements. rule out some esoteric possibilities that physicists. But. with some familiar We can sum up our assumptions mathematical terminology. reflexive. under the relation R. This corresponds. Such a subset of a partially ordered set X is called a chain in X. to the thought that the causal relation has a direction. for all I. the negative integers again. a subset S of V is a causal sequenceprovided that. though they certainly are traditional. when confined to S. (PO) The set V of all items is partially ordered under A. and get back to I. A member J of X is minimal provided that. S is called a partially ordered set. in the light of the assumptions that we have made on A. of course. So our assumptions on the "causal anterior" relation A amount to the following. all that is required for some set S of items to be a causal sequence is that. J in S. some years hence.g. extending to every item I the above courtesy of being counted among its own causal antecedents. for that matter. or. if I R J then I = J. (Less formally. and other partisans of the imagination have wished to entertain. whence. rule them out as well. One does not start from an item I. " may then be defined as just suggested by (I A J) & (I * J). We introduce some further familiar terminology (at least it will be familiar to those who are familiar with it) to restate our Causal Principle CP. under the usual a). But. proceed through a change of effects II. PA. meaning "I is properlycausally anterior to J. (More sharply. Since our purpose here is to be traditional in all things.

and the conclusion is that X has a maximal element.e. (Note: Zorn's Lemma is usually stated in a dual form. checking definitions. V has the bound property. I bears R to J. as Aquinas knew. the Universe V of items is partially ordered under the causal relation A. under the (causal) partial order A. By the causal principle CP. under a relation R. S is a totally ordered subset of X. whose argument to Prime Movers formed the rubric for the analogous argument of Aquinas.. The one appropriate in this context is Zorn's Lemma. So. Theorem. which is first in V under the ordering A. which we state as follows: (ZL) Let X be a partially ordered set. i. has a minimal element G. (CP) (Second version) The set V of items. by definition. where the bound property is characterized using upper bounds. for every element J of S. .) Our Main Theorem now follows. whose conclusion is that there is only one minimal element G in V. the partially ordered set X has the boundpropertyprovided that everychain S in X has a (lower) bound. What is required is an appropriate version of the Axiom of Choice. Another way of saying that I is a bound for S is to say that I is first in S U {I}. It is now evident.E. Finally. Then X has a minimal element G. under R. under a relation R. we shall call G first in X. Q. (In fact Aristotle. such that G bears R to everymember of X.D. ended up with 47 or so of these.352 NOUS element G.) Let again X be a partially ordered set. establishes is that the set V of items. partially ordered by the causal relation A. all that is required is that I belong to X. that CP may be restated as follows. considering the latter as a partially ordered set on its own. V has a minimal element G. has the bound property. Note that a bound I for a chain S in X may belong to S. We note that Aquinas' Cosmological Argument is an Existence Proof. Suppose that X has the bound property. and that further argument for Uniqueness is required. We have now almost proved the existence of God. An element I of X is a (lower) bound for S provided that. By PO. Monotheism requires also a Uniqueness Proof. uniqueness does require further argument. By Zorn's Lemma ZL. God exists! Proof. which we used in our informal proof. And let S be any chain in X. That all call God. viewed as an Existence Proof for God. What the Cosmological Argument. but it need not do so.

on a straightforward understanding of "is causally anterior to". God exists. one that does not make use of the Axiom of Choice. it has been raised by J. and almost trivial. For Corollary. But the axiom of choice has as its content that an infinite number of choices can be made. and All That Stuff-we can confidently assert that no such shallow and trivial proof will be forthcoming.D. not knowing how to dispense with it. in Holland. a number of years ago. For example. the most satisfactory) route to the assertion that God exists. Omnipotence." It is now clear. God can do anything. But other equivalents have seemed decidedly miraculous: e. Proof. this would seem to have been a mistake. Faith. which is no doubt the usual (and. though 2 * 0. Accordingly. the result is still non-zero.) But. perhaps. Dunn) whether there is a constructive proof for the existence of God-i. Q.. Our theorem and corollary state the truth of the matter. but that many of them have wished that they didn't have to. in his book Logicfor Mathematicians.e.E. But the question will naturally arise (in fact.puts in the mouth of a character who objects to the Axiom of Choice. we fear. The Axiom of Choice is true. and that he would count appeal to Special Revelation as cheating in this context. that we have in fact done very little work at all. We also note the unfortunate decision in some universities. and so forth. He can make all those choices. it is indeed a partial order. If it fails to be completely trivial. accordingly. assuming that the God whose existence has been established by the Main Theorem has His Familiar Properties-Omniscience. It has been the sort of principle that most mathematicians have used. But the invincibly ignorant might be reduced to the claim (given cer- . The rest is humdrum. presumptively doesn't count here since we take it that Dunn had in mind a proof by the Light of Natural Reason. Rosser. by those familiar with our familiar terminology. "You're doing theology. Some of the equivalents of this principle seem crashingly obvious. on which mathematicians were no longer required to take Holy Orders. 2 x2 * 0. not mathematics. 2 x2 x2 * 0. by our Main Theorem. (But next.. he will be asking for a proof of the existence of God which is relevantistically valid. outside of our remarks motivating CP and our observation that. if one multiplies 2 by itself an infinite number of times. that this is exactly correct. By the theorem. g. one requires the Axiom of Choice to show that. M. Save.GOD EXISTS! 353 It will be readily observed. it is because the Axiom of Choiceand. Zermelo's famous proof that every set can be well-ordered. on most accounts. its equivalent ZL-has had itself a somewhat controversial history.

While not everything in the last few paragraphs need be taken as totally serious (though some of it should be taken as at least partially serious). surely out of this sense of wonder that the traditional arguments for the existence of God. the Existence of God is consistentwith the rest of mathematics. as a preferred instrument for philosophical discourse. it is equally (and perhaps more) permissible to its defender. it is not independent of the Existence of God. The traditional arguments for the existence of God have had particularly hard going (not always undeservedly). But is it possible nonetheless to prove the existence of God without appeal to the Axiom of Choice? Certainly not. (In addition to the moral that we might draw from Gddel's equally famous work on this topic: namely. But. But. To the contrary. if that sort of mathematical sophistication is allowed the opponent of the Cosmological Argument. any argument for the Existence of God must use the Axiom of Choice. showed the Axiom of Choice independent of just about everything else (the Generalized Continuum Hypothesis and other even more theological hypotheses not counting).354 NOUS tain subsidiary theorems that we have not proved here) that what we have shown is that the Existence of God and the Axiom of Choice are in fact equivalent.) Even philosophers must sometimes confront the World in wonder. So. Nor is such wonder any enemy of the impulse to be rational. in the negative. it has sometimes been held that the Great Questions (or some of them) have been solved-usually. the usual ascription of the Axiom of Choice to Zermelo should in fairness. although the argument given above does establish . or something that implies it. We return to what has to count as a most significant omissionnamely that. conversely. In this style. For Cohen. came to be. one won't be able to do even humdrum Physics either. If you think that the causal order of the World. Adopt weak premisses about what the Causal Order of the World is like. depended on a less than sympathetic reading of these arguments. The former should thereupon find its place among the long list of mathematical equivalents of the latter. to say the least. Or face the wrath of Cohen. has little to commend it. and on the other Great Questions of philosophy. But that they have done so has. the development of a narrow logic-chopping style. in a famous paper. of course you aren't going to end up with a First Cause. there is a definite moral to all this. projected back. be replaced by its ascription to Aquinas. is like the negative integers. By the argument of our Corollary. It is. and of course one won't do much Theology. as we have seen. And indeed. since it is sound mathematical practice to name a principle after its discoverer. we think. we fear.

I. Consider a particular item J. But. perhaps. Q. VJ is non-empty. I A J. although everything has an ultimate cause. is that we find ourselves. and. since I is a lower bound for a set that contains K. We have made some assumptions about these relations. certainly. involved in real causal relations. it does not yet follow that all things have the same ultimate cause. whence since G A J. and it is partially ordered by the causal relation (since any subset of a set is partially ordered by the same relation).D.GOD EXISTS! 355 (granted its premiss) that there are First Causes. But any chain in VJ is a chain in V. if not. fairly read. Like the previous theorem. Our theorem. where I and J are distinct. In fact. in the sense that there are items which themselves have no extrinsic cause. for. it leaves some further possibilities open. each can be causally anterior to the other. Everything has an ultimate cause. The idea behind this principle. which lead from one to another.e. establishes that some items have ultimate causes. we have I A K as well. what we have showed so far is consistent so far with everything being its own cause. and the happenings within our purview. whence VJ will have the bound property.E. And we certainly don't wish to assume that the causal order is a total one. But there are. of the "windowless monads" of Leibniz. one presumes. (This is reminiscent. Proof. and let K be an arbitrary element of the given chain. But this is quickly repaired. By transitivity of A. by definition K bears A to J. there will be a minimal element G in VJ. Since K is in VJ. causal relations between what goes on on ae Centauri and what . but beginning with the set VJ of items causally anterior to J. Moreover. since we have ruled out the possibility that. Let I be such a bound. everything does.) But this last possibility would not seem to be in the spirit of the Causal Principle. there would be a G' distinct from G such that G' A G. Let G be an ultimatecauseof J provided that G is causally anterior to J. This is a subset of V.. and G is itself a minimal element in the causal order. whence G' is in VJ and G is not minimal therein after all. So any arbitrary item J has an ultimate cause. One can be quickly disposed of. we would have again G' A J. G is also minimal in V. We need to show that any chain in VJ has a bound. whence by CP such a chain has a bound in V. neither causing nor being caused by what is going on here now. Theorem. It does not yet establish that J in itself does. and nothing being causally related to anything else. Now applying ZL. since VJ contains J. What is going on on ae Centauri at this instant is. presumptively. This suffices that I should be in V and shows that VJ has the bound property.

what it is in our minds to postulate. we must show. given any two items J and K.K will bear it also to the other. i. since D is directed. one will find somecommon causal antecedent that J and K share.e. for given J. in this case. By definition of minimality. I R K hold. We shall trot out some further jargon to state this assumption. there is some H in D such that both H R F and H R G. that the same cannot be said of the Magellanic Clouds. Let S be a partially ordered set. Proof. under a relation R. essentially. that F R J for every element J of D. there exists some item I which is a (lower) bound for bothJ and K. H = F and H = G. (Indeed.K. for any two elements J and K in S.) We assume now a directedness property DP on the causal order. (FE) Let D be a directed set. under a partial order R. is not that all things have the same cause. What seems not unreasonable is that. (DP) V is a directed set under the relation A. there may be many lower bounds. By ZL. but merely that any pair of things has at least one causal antecedent in common to each member of the pair. Moreover. in addition to the CP. as we have been at some pains to point out. it is not at all unusual for photons that have been emitted from that spot while a paper was being written to strike the earth before it reaches its readers.) What is a reasonable assumption in this situation. Note that this is far from identifying such an I as "the cause" of J and K. the present assumption is considerably more modest. We now observe that any directed set with the bound property has a (unique) first element. to account for causal interdependence of a familiar sort? It would seem to be that. such that D has the bound property. both of I RJ.356 NOUS goes on here. there is some item I which is causally anterior to each of them. But we hope. S is directed(down) if. it is certainly not asserted that any I which bears R to one of J. there is at any rate some minimal element G of D such that G R J. there is some minimal element F of D. taking it as already informally clear. So let J be an arbitrary element of D. For given items will presumptively have lots of causal anteriors. But. (It is not assumed that this I is in any sense unique. the proof the technical argument of the last theorem. Applying. whence . most of which will not be shared between them. Then D has a first element F. To show that F is first in D.. While the Big Bang might be taken to suggest that this is cosmologically true. if one goes far enough back.

For. While it does not seem an implausible one-it is far weaker than some principles like "action at a distance". save that. For. like the monarchy.) But has not modern physics passed such causal assumptions by? Everybody recalls Russell's famous quip-that causality.) But. V has a first element G. G will of course be a lower bound for any pair IJ of items. to be sound. which is causally anterior to abeverything. however.E. (That all call God. though. the DP will hold most certainly. the DP.GOD EXISTS! 357 F = G. Q. this may no doubt be true. V is directed. But note again that. it seems somehow of less moment. given the theorem. given recent cosmology. (They need not. being strictly finitistic. be true of all possible worlds. showing that God exists and showing that the God that exists is One are different problems. . Again. what we shall show is solutely CP the relation Whence there is one First Cause. by FE. by PO and Universe V of items is partially ordered under the causal A. In a psychological sense. F R J as well. the question arises whether an assumption weaker than the DP will do. so F is first in D. and it has the bound property. which used to be taken with the utmost seriousness-making it underscores what was traditionally clear but which has become somewhat muddled in more recent times. is already considerably weaker than the CP. persists because it is erroneously thought to do no harm. in a strictly mathematical sense. its assumptions must be true of the World. however plausible our assumptions in clarifying what may be taken to be the traditional content of the Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God-brought up to date to eliminate some gratuitous holes that philosophers found (and other philosophers sometimes themselves inserted) in the argument-may they not be themselves out-of-date anyway? We spoke at the outset of bringing the Cosmological Argument up to date. while that question may divert philosophers. Theorem. So. There is exactly one God! Proof. since no claim is entered here that God is a logically necessary being-as though it were somehow below the divine dignity that He should fail to exist in non-existent worlds. as before. it does not depend on any cosmology. namely. whence since G R J. we have monotheism also. If the theorem is thought to overstate the case. But. The reasoning is quite general.D. not physical. unlike the CP. It is another assumption. given the DP. But the argument here has been metaphysical. By DP. it does not seem fair to consider the DP part of the contentof "Everything has a cause". given a First Cause G. Still.

but. had done with causal relations. otherwise. So. And it has been a pleasant exercise. and on which it is Unlawful (though not necessarily Illegal). if only because taking a Gallup poll of elementary particles appears to get even more decimal places right than did the old assumptions that each of them was just following orders). everyone recalls Einstein's uphill fight against the purported acausality of quantum mechanics. and. to determine on which of these functions the Universe is Lawful. not particularly commended of order greater than two-have themselves. "Pleasant functions are those that reflect the fact that the Universe is causally ordered. it probably only means that Cray can build something that will crunch the resulting numbers.) At any rate. Of functions in the sheerly mathematical sense. . failing their absorption in some wider system of regularities (which does seem to be the case in practice. ly. these days. it is far from clear what "functional dependence" means. is of course a more serious problem for the Cosmological Argument. unless it means that some things are dependent upon other things in a way that it still makes sense to call causal. but because we live in one that. But it would be at least ironic were this argument to fail not because we live in a Mechanistic Universe of Iron Law." which does not improve the conceptual situation a great deal. inconvenient for those at the time on the other side. And. Acausality. by Human Knowledge. it would seem even more inconvenient for science if the basic items of the Universe are similarly inclined toward providing surprises.. while other pairs of things are not so related. But.with fleets and armies popping up in unexpected places at unexpected times". on the description of one naval historian.g. the problem is certainly that there are too many of them. on the former point. the speculations seem to bog down into something very much like. is the Modern Way. is reminiscent of Japanese battle plans in World War II. This was.358 NOUS And Russell himself suggested that what used to be understood as causal is best understood in terms of relations of functional it was claimed. the sense that their days were numbered may have been a bit premature. The most definite of no partial differential equations allowed these speculations-e. quantum mechanics has often served as a beacon for those who would defend human values (including religious values) against their remorseless undermining by relentless scientific Law. (This used to put a premium on properties like continuity and differentiability. Similardependence-which. not even Russell. no doubt. he is not often judged to have won it. to the contrary. like the monarchy. despite its rapid dismissal above. in which many thinkers have engaged.

It is only reasonable to add the usual disclaimers. and knock-down. let us return to the intuitions which one takes to have been the ultimate source of the traditional proofs. none of this has anything to do with the validity of the Cosmological Argument.) And. but evidently similar remarks may be made if the Universe be ordered by a relation of contingent dependence. if any. mosques. (Or perhaps ZL is false. since it holds that God is Creator without holding that human wickedness is rendered inevitable thereby. as Smart notes in his paper on this subject. Nor does this "growing out of" have to mean "determines". something on the order of CP seems necessary to do justice to this sense of dependence. if our first argument was correct. at least in our small sphere. at least. Readers will have to join the churches. While the Cosmological Argument has come in many variants-we have stuck here to its causal one. if we take seriously the infinite collections admitted to our physics. God might .) Projected far enough back. to defend any of these anti-metaphysical positions. its premisses must be granted if its conclusion is to follow. to be sure.) There is nothing nonsensical in this holding in a transfinite sense as well as a finite one. But it is not the purpose of this paper. but there is no unique First Cause. then the DP must be false. All that the argument seeks to establish is that there is a First Cause. is a sound argument to a true conclusion. (It is claimed that almost everybody with European blood is a direct descendant of Charlemagne. In that. since English is well-equipped to do so. we might find grounds on which to assume some instances of CP. it would be presumptively offensive to traditional theology if it did.GOD EXISTS! 359 However. whether built in in an a prior way or just a fact of life. There is even a counterargument. For such positions would have to have as their premiss that God does not exist. This is not. (We speak temporally. drag-out arguments to this effect have. or cells of their choice to ascertain what other properties. but the root notion seems to be "depends upon". (To the contrary. Like any argument. not "comes later". ineluctable. in the sense of "makes inevitable". temples. through our mathematics. Royal Cousin.) If the galaxies do likewise. nihil obstat. But. For. then the CP must be false. having now done enough logic-chopping of our own. and so forth-but one takes each of them to result from our sense. at least. the exceptions would then demand justification. but not all instances. far from this being the natural course. to the contrary. deservedly.2 If it is false that there are first causes. that what there is grows out of what there was. our individual genealogies find points of intersection. So what is being claimed here. fared even worse than the traditional arguments that God exists. the DP would seem to have some confirmation.

) ' . that any argument along the lines of the cosmological argument can be pulled to pieces by a correct logic. standardly. (This need not be the case from less standard viewpoints. Well. pales beyond the real thing (though several people of our acquaintance would. though in what would seem to be an Arithmetic inappropriate for the purpose. It is. (While most people seem to view the former with more equanimity than the latter. namely that something exists.360 NOUS have. the present one can't. (These arguments have. to the effect that. some continuing plausibility. "That anything should exist at all does seem to me a matter for the deepest awe. for that matter. dear Reader-and in your vicinity (not to mention the starry skies above or the moral law within)-it is that you and all these things come embedded in a causal nexus. house.' He also says. finds the argument itself incredible. the cases would seem to be symmetrical.) And let us forget also the ease with which we have adjusted to the Mathematics of the Infinite. than simply that it is. in the same place. Whence Smart was certainly correct in doubting that a result so remarkable could be derived from a premiss so minimal. they will run out also. the critic of the cosmological argument whom we have cited. nonetheless. that something exists. by Sylvan. they run out. So if there is anything more remarkable than the existence of of your friends. For he goes on to say. Nothing in logic tells us that. when we project our memories backwards. since we all come from somewhere. loved ones. it will be no worse off if it borrows as much again-a principle that actual Governments seem to apply anyway. But there is more to be in awe about. the World as whole must have done so also. Smart. we were not here yesterday. if we project our expectations forward.g. rather wonderful. and shall be gone tomorrow.) But it is scarcely a theorem of logic that God exists. What Smart had in mind. with any repugnance that one has about ceasing to be matched by equal repugnance for not having been). Or that we are. although we are here today. in the same sense. if anything. for one thing the arithmetic does tend to be simpler than in the finite case. is that it is a theorem of logic. that academic facsimile of immortality. Let us forget the old easy arguments. but what he takes to be the premiss. e. one senses in reading his paper. But let us return to wonder. such as the free logics of Lambert or the Meinongian ontology espoused. even more remarkable that. settle for the facsimile). And. (Well. so far as the World is concerned. This information must be kept from the Treasury. just now. lest the Government becomes aware that. Even tenure. rocks you. if it already owes continuum many dollars..

. while consciousness provides no bound on our individual histories. afterforever. on logical grounds alone. was that one could meet these objections (at least formally) by suitable appeal to principles of transfinite induction. but inferred. A. if one does not wish to be so dramatic. Of course. 2J. It is nothing to conclude that what we are most immediately acquainted with. in New essays in philosophical theology. There is the Causal Principle. more seriously. 46. Aquinas lacked the wit to conceive infinite descending chains) were a bit heavy-handed. So God exists! which was to be demonstrated.C. not a closed one. (Certainly there is some deep aberration in the thought that the old theological sense that God is a necessary being should now be encompassed in the thought that LI(God exists) ought to be a theorem of S5. Arguments from the logical modalities work both ways. p. with a bound anterior to an infinite summing up. (London. In assessing whether this nexus leads anywhere. and it is no more satisfying to assert that what might not be is not than to assert that there is anything which..) But. is enmeshed in the causal nexus. in what had been taken to be its prohibited. solely responsible for the form of the argument given here. This is humdrum. The Cosmological Argument (in this form and speaking loosely) locates the First Cause before forever. the Causal Principle. And the greatest wonder of all is that this should be the case. A ball rolling across the floor. That is. from our first new toys. in memory and expectation. provides the same. as an open interval. 3Ibid. and for the conclusions drawn. I am. for example. to the best of my recollection. The terminal points of this interval are not experienced. must be. it certainly does not suffice that it is logicallypossible that it should not. in the same sense.J. Out There. The view that he expressed then. SCM Press 1955). Flew and A. is one that we in fact apply to our own lives. reason supplies one. NOTES 'Adolf Grunbaum once spent six weeks of a course on the philosophy of science examining the Cosmological Argument and what was wrong with it. though we have not dwelt on it here.GOD EXISTS! 361 Let us ask simply about the character of the causal nexus in which we are embedded. that. and old ones that wore out. our own lives are presented to us. It is everything to have become aware that among the things which have been new but which wear out are we ourselves. who suggested in conversation several years ago that stock objections to the Cosmological Argument (that. 4My thanks are due to Professor Hilary Putnam. and the Final Cause. It is customary to assert of God that He does not exist in Time. Macintyre eds. fallacious form. Smart "The existence of God". One detects a fallacy of equivocation here somewhere. of course. in the stuff of our own lives.

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Meyer's presentation of Putnam's proof of God's existence

Meyer's presentation of Putnam's proof of God's existence

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