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'David Hume's criticisms of the cosmological argument do not succeed. Discuss.' Free essay! Download now

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'David Hume's criticisms of the cosmological argument do not succeed. Discuss.'

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 536 | Submitted: 08-Jan-2013
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Hume made several comments regarding the argument, CoplestonRussel give their opinions.


‘Hume’s Criticisms of the Cosmological Argument do not succeed’. Discuss.
David Hume’s criticisms have been discussed by many different modern philosophers. Many see his point of view and believe arguments like ‘we cannot assume a connection between cause and effect’. However others disagree and are in favour of the cosmological argument and the need for a necessary, supernatural being.
In 1947 there was a live radio debate titled: ‘The Existence of God-A Debate’. Copleston used Aquinas’ third way as a method of defending the cosmological argument. Paley would have been supported by Russell disagreed with Copleston, and suggested that the universe was not explainable in the way Copleston wanted. At the heart of this specific debate is the issue of contingency and necessity, and what is a sufficient reason to explain why anything exists is. David Hume did not believe that there was sufficient evidence to prove the cause of the Universe, or even that the Universe was caused. Copleston along with Aquinas and his third way would disagree as they argue that the universe can only be sufficiently explained by reference to God. Copleston states how God is different from contingent beings as he is ‘his own sufficient cause’. They then go on to argue about how detailed an explanation must be; Hume and Russell would want a more detailed explanation about the creation of the universe than ‘God created everything’.
Hume says that ‘humans think they know a great deal more about the external world than is warranted’. Russell supports this idea by saying that the explanation of the Universe is beyond the reach of human beings, he believes that it is unnecessary for human beings to have a sufficient explanation of the universe that goes beyond the contingent universe. Copleston once more disagrees with the argument presented by Russell; he describes his opinions as ‘dogmatic’. This is a hidden insult, as ‘dogmatic’ is a word used by Roman Catholics, to describe a belief which is held beyond any doubt and debate. He is accusing Russell not being open minded. Copleston says ‘if one refuses to sit down at the chess board and make a move, one cannot, of course, be checkmated.’ In essence, Copleston is saying that Russell is not exploring ideas about God, he is merely ignoring them, and refusing to say anything more than ‘the universe is just there and that is all’.
Further criticisms come of Russell and Hume’s ideas through McCabe. He says ‘To ask a question is to enter on an exploration which Russell was simply refusing to do’. It appears to be that the only criticism of Russell is that he, and anyone else carrying similar views (Hume) are simply in ...

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