Dissecting Clarke's Cosmological Argument Essay

815 words - 4 pages

Dissecting Clarke’s Cosmological Argument

In the following paper, I will outline Samuel Clarke’s “Modern Formulation of the Cosmological Argument” and restate some of the points that he makes. Samuel Clarke’s argument for the existence of God states that “There has existed from eternity some one unchangeable and independent being” (37). The argument follows a logical flow and can be better understood when the structure is laid out and the argument reconstructed.
Clarke begins his argument with a use of disjunctive syllogism, a form of valid logical reasoning that proposes two outcomes, denies one, and thus proves the other to be true. Clarke’s premise states that one of the two ...view middle of the document...

The second premise states that “Tis plain it can have no reason within itself, of its existence because no one being in this infinite succession is supposed to be self-existent or necessary, but every one dependent on the foregoing” (37). This means that because the series is made up entirely of dependent beings, each being is generated from another and all are “unnecessary”. Clarke believed that in order for the series to have an internal cause, something within the series would have to be necessary. Since the never-ending series of dependent beings can have neither an external nor an internal cause, this theory cannot possibly be true, and thus the theory of an independent being must be.
Another premise that Clarke gives is that every being must either be contingent (meaning that if it exists it is also possible for it to not exist) or necessary (meaning that if it exists it cannot not exist). Clarke also states that every contingent being must have some sort of cause or thing that makes it come into existence. The cause or explanation of the contingent being must be solely from other contingent beings or it must include a non-contingent or necessary being. Because contingent beings alone cannot provide adequate causal accounts for the presence of other contingent beings, (reasons stated before), there must not only exist contingent beings. This also means that what causes or explains the...

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