Clarke's Cosmological Argument

Topics: Metaphysics, Ontology, Existence Pages: 3 (1028 words) Published: March 17, 2013
Clarke begins his argument by asserting the obvious--that based on experience, all of the beings that surround us today do exist. These beings, encountered based on one’s experience, are dependent on a prior cause. In other words, everything that exists must have been caused by something else that also exists or has existed; and for something finite to exist today, such as any being in this world, it would mean that there must have been something that has existed since infinity. According to Clarke, there are only two plausible explanations as to how such a premise could be upheld.

First explanation he gives, is that there could have been an infinite regression of dependent things, each one causing the other. However, Clarke is quick to reject such an idea, because the series of such dependent beings must have a cause outside of the series; the infinite series of beings cannot exist on account of causation within itself. He even goes so far as to call such an argument “absurd” (Clarke, p. 23). His claim is quite clear, and it is very logical and intuitive that no effect can be its own cause nor can an effect precede its cause. Thus, this explanation is not sufficient as to support the existence of the things experienced by everyone today.

The second possible explanation Clarke gives--and it is the one he supports--is that there must have existed such a Being, who is independent of any other and who is necessary, which is to say that It is the cause of everything else that has ever existed. In addition to saying that this Being is the reason every other being exists, the author emphasizes the fact that this Being is the cause to itself as well, because of its self-existent nature.

In the end, Clarke uses a “reductio ad absurdum” argument to assume that if an infinite series did exist, it would lead us to the conclusion that this series exists on the account of causation within itself, which is impossible. Therefore, Clarke can eliminate the first...
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