Should TGL move to dedicated hosting? 7 votes
1. Should TGL move to dedicated hosting?
We should move to dedicated hosting and I would help pay for it.6
We should move to dedicated hosting but I would not be able to help pay for it.0
We should seek an alternative shared hosting package.0
We should stay as we are.0
Please sign in or register to vote in this poll.
On the Cosmological Argument, Part 2
The Natures of Beginning and the Infinite
According to the Cosmological Argument, no thing comes to be without being caused by - or without being dependent on - some other thing(s), and this apparently rather innocuous understanding immediately leads to the considerations regarding whether there is such a thing as a beginning to the process of dependent things coming to be.
If there is such a beginning, then that beginning would only be a beginning if it were not dependent on any other things such that this beginning thing would be rightly described in terms of being without having come to be; it could, in a sense, be rightly described as having always been inasmuch as it is actual without ever having come to be.
In terms of causes, if all things which come to be do so only by being caused, then the beginning thing is properly described as being uncaused inasmuch as it is without having come to be. The beginning thing is the first thing; in terms of causes, it is the first cause, and it is an uncaused cause.
One objection to the argument regards whether there is any reason for thinking that there is a beginning, a first cause for all that comes to be.
What has come to be called the Kalam version of the Cosmological Argument attempts to overcome the possibility of a beginning-less infinite regress of caused things by presenting a case for why there is and can be no thing which is actually (as distinguished from potentially or merely conceptually) infinite.
In the case of the Kalam argument, what is being claimed is that it is time which is not infinite. This is to say that the Kalam argument is a temporal argument, but there is also what has been described as an atemporal aspect to the Cosmological Argument, a version of the argument which might succeed both in the case of there being no such thing as an actually infinite and in the case of there being some thing actually infinite. It just so happens that this atemporal version of the Cosmological Argument might also go a long way towards dealing with relatively modern (and purportedly scientifically based) objections against the notion that anything which comes to be only comes to be by having been caused.
However, since the Cosmological Argument initiates from the observation of things having come to be by being caused, and since the notion of things coming to be most naturally suggests a passage of time, it might at first seem as though the Cosmological Argument can only be a temporal argument. There is, however, a quite old philosophical tradition commonly called “eternalism” which has more recently been thought of as having garnered scientific support from relativity theory from which it follows that, according to Hermann Weyl, the totality of all events
Or, to quote Einstein:
This is to say that according to eternalism the coming to be of things is a seeming or a mere appearance essentially born from the mistake of thinking about time as if it were separate from space. In accord with contemporary science, time is regarded to be just as much a physical thing – just as much a matter of physics - as is space, and time is effectively proposed as ultimately inseparable from space (or length, width, and depth) so that both time and space are most completely and accurately presented when discussed in terms of “space-time” rather than in terms of either just time or just space.
Basically, then, eternalism is atemporal in that the totality of all does not accumulate as a result of things coming to be or over time; rather than coming to be, the totality “simply is, it does not happen.” In effect, this is to say that, taking into account the time aspect for any constituent component of the totality, the totality of all time and space is never absent (even if parts are inaccessible) nor is totality incomplete.
The thing about this allegedly atemporal totality is that, even if it is a presumed to be an actual infinite, it is still regarded as ordered - which is to say that it exhibits sequence, even if that sequence is atemporal inasmuch as the sequence is never a matter of coming to be. So long as the sequence of totality does not lead to (or end at) its beginning, then this infinite could have an actual rather than an arbitrary beginning.
The point here that is relevant to the Cosmological Argument is that even if time (or space-time) were infinite, this condition in itself does not preclude there being a beginning to the ordering or the sequence of the infinite.
And, this would mean that, with the Cosmological Argument broadly understood as arguing that there is a beginning, a first something, then the only way of relying upon an actual infinite as a means of dispensing with the Cosmological Argument is to deny that the actual infinite is ordered or to deny that the end of the ordering does not lead to the beginning.
Of course, regardless of whether or not the first thing frequently referred to in the Cosmological Argument as the First Cause is itself actually a cause of the rest of the sequence which is the supposedly infinite totality, it would seem to be an inescapable conclusion that the first thing is uncaused.
However, a potential problem for the Cosmological Argument rests in the possibility noted earlier in this part that modern science may give reason to believe that not everything which comes to be does so by having been caused. If there are uncaused things which come to be, then would it be sensible to assert that the First Cause actually causes the rest of the sequence which is the totality of all that ever is?
Part 3 of 'On the Cosmological Argument' will take up the matter of 'Causes and Contexts'
5 The Weyl and Einstein quotes are cited in “Quantum Theory and Our View of the World”, by Paul Feyerabend, published in Physics and Our Views of the World, Jan Hilgevoord, ed., Cambridge University Press, 1994.