SnoopDoug

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A Contemporary Defense of the Argument from Motion
« on: April 06, 2009, 01:51:30 am »
I realize that this is more of an Aristotelian/Thomistic argument than Leibnizian, but I can't think of another sub-forum to post this.  Any feedback is appreciated.

1. Everything in motion is moved by another.
2. The series of movers either proceeds to infinity, or has a first mover.
3. The series cannot proceed to infinity.
4. Therefore, there exists a first mover.

The argument is obviously valid, but some have challenged the premises' soundness.  I think for the most part, however, these objections are based on misunderstandings.

(1) is often objected to by pointing out that quantum fluctuations may be random.  I say *may be* because there are deterministic hypotheses that attempt to explain QM.  However, I think we can weaken the strong causal principle from determinism to something more palatable for skeptics.  We might defend (1) by appealing to the metaphysical principle that being cannot arise from non-being - that is, something cannot come from nothing.

(2) shouldn't be controversial, since it is just enunciating the two available options we have.  I think (3) is the key premise, therefore.  This argument should not be confused with the KCA, which denies that a temporal infinite regress is impossible.  Instead, this argument is claiming that an ontological infinite regress is impossible.  Take the human body, for example.  At any finite moment of time (i.e. the present), the human body is being sustained by its organs, its organs by cells, its cells by molecules, and so forth.  The question is whether or not this ontological (re: hierarchical) series can proceed to infinity.  

I would argue that this series cannot proceed to infinity.  The reason why is because it would require an infinite series to move something within a finite period of time; but, it would take infinite time for an infinite series to move anything at all.  Hence, the series of movers must be finite, and must have a first mover.

Thoughts?

"Preach the Gospel at all times; and if necessary, use words." -St. Francis of Assisi

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A Contemporary Defense of the Argument from Motion
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2010, 01:04:31 pm »
1. Everything in motion is moved by another.
 2. The series of  movers either proceeds to infinity, or has a first mover.
 3. The  series cannot proceed to infinity.
 4. Therefore, there exists a first  mover.


I'm going to think on this one for a couple of days.  I'll need to break it down.  I'm not real good at this, but I'm eager to learn.  I've written a post on the nature of God, posting what I've been told is a prolonged easily confusing post of two ideas.
Perhaps you could go and help me understand how to clarify my thinking on that.
suffering servant,
gralan
BTh student
http://TrinityTheology.org/
..................Prov14.31 Micah6.8 Heb13.3 Matt5.48 Titus3.14 James1.27

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SnoopDoug

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A Contemporary Defense of the Argument from Motion
« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2010, 05:21:52 pm »
Hi gralan,

I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about the Thomistic Cosmological Argument (TCA) or the divine attributes we infer from the TCA.  

An easier way to think of this argument is in terms of dependent things.  We all know what it means for something to be dependent.  As human beings, we are dependent on the air we breathe, on our organs functioning properly, and on the laws of nature, such as gravity.

What the TCA does is posit the following question: does nature have a First Cause?  If everything in nature is dependent, then that would be like a house without a foundation - it would collapse.  This is true even assuming that nature is eternal; for, an eternal house would still require a foundation.  

So, we see that dependent things have causes.  The First Cause, on the other hand, would have to be independent.  As is the case with any cosmological argument, the TCA has two major steps: 1) to demonstrate the existence of a First Cause; and 2) to show that this First Cause possesses the divine attributes.

I think the first step is fairly easy to demonstrate, and the second may be inferred by some basic considerations.  We can get into that later, though, if you'd like.
"Preach the Gospel at all times; and if necessary, use words." -St. Francis of Assisi