The Existence of Alpha

Norman Kretzmann

in The Metaphysics of Theism

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780199246533
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597886 | DOI:
 The Existence of Alpha

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Without a good argument as yet for the existence of God or anything else that might count as the universal first source of being and assuming that there is an answer to the question, why is there this sort of world rather than another sort, or nothing at all—the working hypothesis is adopted that there is an ultimate explanatory principle. Aquinas's arguments that focus on immutability and causality are examined. Aquinas expressly grants the possibility of an infinite regress of generating causes, but denies it with sustaining causes. He assumes or considers self‐evident, some form of the Principle of Sufficient Reason. We arrive at an entity that can and must be identified with an altogether immutable, beginningless, endless, and independently existing entity ‘necessary through itself’, first cause, first mover, first sustainer, and first necessary being.

Keywords: Aquinas; causality; explanatory principle; first cause; first mover; first necessary being; first sustainer; God; God's existence; immutability; necessary existence; Principle of Sufficient Reason

Chapter.  12709 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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