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five ways


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The ways of demonstrating the existence of God formulated by Aquinas (Summa Theologiae, Ia 3: it is important in understanding the significance of these arguments to Aquinas that the entire context stretches from Ia 2 to 11). They are: (1) Motion is only explicable if there exists an unmoved, first mover; (2) the chain of efficient causes demands a first cause; (3) the contingent character of existing things in the world demands a different order of existence, or in other words something that has a necessary existence; (4) the gradations of value in things in the world require the existence of something that is most valuable, or perfect; (5) the orderly character of events points to a final cause, or end to which all things are directed, and the existence of this end demands a being that ordained it. All the arguments are physico-theological arguments. The second is a first cause argument, and the first is the Aristotelian variety of it (accepted by Averroës) that singles out the causes of motion as particularly in need of a starting-point (see mover, unmoved). The third is a variety of the cosmological argument, as it had been formulated by Avicenna (but rejected by Averroës). The fourth is the degrees of perfection argument. The fifth is a version of the argument from (or to) design.

(1) Motion is only explicable if there exists an unmoved, first mover; (2) the chain of efficient causes demands a first cause; (3) the contingent character of existing things in the world demands a different order of existence, or in other words something that has a necessary existence; (4) the gradations of value in things in the world require the existence of something that is most valuable, or perfect; (5) the orderly character of events points to a final cause, or end to which all things are directed, and the existence of this end demands a being that ordained it.

http://www.aquinasonline.com/Topics/5ways.html A list of internet resources on the Five Ways

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1002.htm Translated extracts on the Five Ways from the Summa Theologiae

Subjects: Philosophy.


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