A Reconsideration of the Cosmological Argument for the Existence of God
Schmaltz, Tad M.
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In its various forms, the cosmological argument for the existence of God is an attempt to understand why something exists rather than not. This attempt is entangled in further attempts to understand the nature of the cosmos and the nature of God. For its historical proponents, the cosmological argument was to be part of a systematic understanding of reality. A reconsideration of the cosmological argument must include a tracing of the evolution of the argument in history. Such a historical investigation reveals that there are two essentially irreconcilable versions of the cosmological argument, each with a distinct set of metaphysical and theological presuppositions and implications. A reconsideration must also involve a critical assessment of the various metaphysical systems to which the forms of the cosmological argument belong. The evaluation finds the various systems to be inadequate accounts of reality. From this rather destructive account emerges a third form of the cosmological argument which may yet be shown (though not in this thesis) to be part of a satisfactory metaphysical system. The critical assessment culminates with an investigation of the radical rejection of the cosmological argument in particular and of the Kantian rejection of metaphysics generally.