Critics such as Dawkins and Russell say the universe is here today due to ‘brute fact’ whereas Swinburne would argue highly with that and say ‘God is simpler than anything we could imagine and gives an explanation for the system’. Incorporation Aristotle’s notion of a prime mover, Aquinas formulated his version of the cosmological or "first cause" argument. The first cause incorporates the theory that there must be a contingency/necessary being. According to this argument, the things which we see around us now are the products of a series of previous causes indicating a prime mover. But that series cannot go back in time forever.
Aristotle has a monist approach to the soul, unlike Plato he says that the soul cannot exist without the body. The soul is not a body but something that belongs in a body, comparable to the brain; it is necessary and is within all humans and it gives us reason, intellect and an innate sense of justice. This therefore can make his theory more convincing than Plato’s as the soul isn’t ‘immortal’ and dies along with the body, thereby eliminating the theory of reincarnation which is hard for anyone who isn’t Hindu to believe as it is contradictory to their religious views. Aristotle states that all reason is associated with the pure thought of the Prime Mover and the soul is what gives the body its shape and form; he argued that the soul is not a substance but the reason and shape behind the matter. Best described by using the example of a marble statue, as the marble stature is essentially a block of marble but it has a shape and form and like the body the soul, the shape and form cannot be removed from what the statue is, in the same way the body cannot be separated from the soul.
Swinburne counted this by claiming that the order in the universe does require an explanation. As some is not even necessary for human survival. Just because we are there to observe it does not make it less unlikely. However Charles Darwin formulated the theory of natural selection which provided an alternative explanation for the design of the world, without reference to creation by God. ‘Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for this existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind’ Richard Dawkins supports Darwinian evolution and rejects God.
The cosmological argument has several different forms and seeks to prove the existence of an external necessary being which caused the universe to come into existence. This external agent according to the cosmological argument is God. It is an a posterior argument meaning it is based on our experience of the universe around us. Plato and Aristotle were the first to postulate views on the idea that the universe could not exist without a mover. They both argued that the fact of motion needs a prior agency to motivate it and this mover itself would not need a further mover itself as it would be a prime mover, a necessary being.
Plato’s analogy of the cave, overall, is an analogy of how we, in our physical state, cannot gain knowledge of the true forms. Plato was an absolutist philosopher in classical Greece. He was also a mathematician, writer of philosophical dialogues and a student of Socrates, which some may say, after Socrates dramatic death, fueled his fire to prove classical Greece wrong. However, millenniums after the analogy was conjured, it is still not clear what Plato actually meant: it is down to interpretation. Firstly, we come across Plato’s metaphor of chains.
Plato’s definition of good is not the same as the good we define. By good, Plato means what someone most wants, the purpose of everything and what makes you good and want to be good. Plato believed everything exists for a purpose – that is its good. For Plato, good is eudaimonia and this is what we should be aiming for. It contains virtue, freedom, philosophy, happiness, beauty and courage.
“Logos” describes a kind of truth that strives for objectivitythrought the use of critical reason, while “mythos” describes a truth whose purpose is to overcome our subjective sense of separateness from the world and other living beings. Though past societies understood the distinction betwwn the two, Armstrong contends that in our time both skeptics and religious people treat mythos as a set of objective claims. After reading “Homo Religiosus,” the concept of keeping mythos separate from logos is impossible to
However Kant challenged Descartes argument, he said that an idea of something does not make that something exist. Kant used the example of a unicorn to help demonstrate his point: we may have an idea of exactly what a unicorn is in our head; however this idea does not cause the unicorn to exist in reality. Kant then concludes that existence is something additional to the mere idea of a thing and then criticises the ontological argument by stating that existence is not a predicate of God. Kant also criticised the ontological argument in the form of drawing a distinction between analytic and synthetic statements – he said that analytic statements tell us something factual and true whereas synthetic statements tell us something about what exists in reality, and can also be untrue. Kant then argued that God’s existence in the ontological argument is based on a synthetic statements (‘God is that which than greater cannot be imagined’ and ‘existing is greater than not existing’) therefore more evidence and proof is required in addition to the ontological argument in order to verify the existence of God.
He therefore rejected an infinite universe because he did not believe that it was a satisfactory explanation for its existence. Copleston supported Aquinas’ rejection of infinite regress on the grounds that an infinite chain of contingent beings could only ever consist of contingent beings, which would never be able to bring itself into existence. However, Bertand Russell opposed that the cosmological argument was evidence for the existence of God, he rejected the idea of contingency also, and he argued that a ‘necessary being’ has no meaning. Kant examined the argument of the existence of a supreme being as a first cause of the universe. He argued that cause and effect can only be applied to the world.
Critically access the view that humans have immortal souls (35 marks) People who support the idea of an immortal soul think that that the soul is a distinct and immortal entity within the body (dualism) which can survive the death of the body and ascend to the afterlife. However, this theory would be greatly opposed by those who believe in materialism, the belief that we as humans exist as a single unit of body and soul which cannot be separated. The first major argument in favour of an immortal soul was given by the philosopher Plato. Plato believed that the soul was imprisoned within the body and that the ultimate goal of the soul was to be released at death back to the world of the Forms where it could be reunited with the Form of the Good (God). Thus the body which is purely material dies for Plato and the soul returns to the world of the Forms and is immortal.