Essay on Varying Arguments for the Existence of God

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Varying Arguments for the Existence of God

Many philosophers and theologians have provided varying arguments for the existence of God. These arguments are either a priori, understood independent of worldly experience and observation (Ontological Argument), or a posteriori, dependent on experience and based on observations of how the world is (Cosmological and Teleological Arguments). This paper will focus on the Cosmological Argument, and show that its underlying principle, the Principle of Sufficient Reason, fails to establish it as a sound argument for the existence of God. To accomplish this, I will, first, define the Cosmological Argument and the Principle of Sufficient Reason; then explain the argument, and how it is based on …show more content…

Thus, there is an explanation for why I exist (PSRa), and also an explanation for every feature of my life (PSRb).
Second, what is the meaning of the argument and how is it based on PSR? Premise (1) stems from Anselm's division of beings "into the three cases: 'explained by another [dependent beings],''explained by nothing,''and explained by itself [independent/self-existing being]'" (Rowe 22). The first rule of PSR holds that every being must have an explanation for its existence. A being that is "explained by nothing" violates this first rule, and as a result, is left out of premise (1). This allows for only two possible types of beings -- either dependent or self-existent. If you hold PSR to be true, them premise (1) is uncontroversial. Because it is an "either, or" statement, only one of the two types of beings needs to exist for the premise to be true. We know that there are at least dependent beings, so premise (1) is true. Premise (2) states that everything cannot be a dependent being. Why is this the case? William Rowe does an excellent job of explaining why if PSR is true, then premise (2) is also true. He (Rowe 24-25) says let's suppose that there has never been a self-existing being, but only an infinite series of dependent beings. In this series, every being has an explanation, because it is explained by the being that came before it and that caused its existence

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