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How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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spiltteeth
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How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Post by spiltteeth » June 7th, 2019, 1:17 pm

Classical theists make the argument for God from the contingent to the absolute, or from the conditioned to the unconditioned, like Aquinas’s 3rd way.



A devotee of Schopenhauer, I imagine, would make 3 points.


1) You cannot apply our notions of causality beyond physical reality.

2) We only know our experience inside time and space, so how could we know this “God” beyond everything we know ?


3) We cannot know the noumena behind phenomena.



How might one respond ? As a platonist, or theist ?

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Re: How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Post by Maffei » June 15th, 2019, 2:43 pm

Schopenhauer aside (because I don't know his philosophy),can we put those who were refuted to give then a rejoinder?
The further arguments wouldn't be the same as the first refutation?
If yes, the discussion will be worthwhile in the case of entering to a circle?

But ok, let's try to take the cosmological argument as if it were a rejoinder.

Can you accept the notion that everything that exists exist by a cause? Or do you think they came from nothing?
Have you ever asked yourself that the fact that you are a being makes you alike everything that is?
If something is, can you plainly say that it "is because it is"?
What is less convincent, to say that something is because it is or because it has came to existence?

Now think about the totality of the Universe.
Can you just say that 'it is because it is'? Or is it came from something?
Let us guess that so you concede that it couldn't came from nothing but there is only physical causes.
The physical totality would have itself a cause. The cause of totality would have a cause, that in its turn has a cause, that has a cause...
But why the physical totality has some laws of nature and not others? Wouldn't you seek the answer in something not physical?
If you say that the laws of physical totality has origins in the laws of physical totality, wouldn't you be saying that 'it is because it is' again?

How Schopenhauer answer this?

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Re: How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Post by Felix » June 16th, 2019, 6:11 am

spiltteeth said: You cannot apply our notions of causality beyond physical reality.
I would agree with this statement.
2) We only know our experience inside time and space, so how could we know this “God” beyond everything we know?
3) We cannot know the noumena behind phenomena
These two points seem to be the same. Some would say (e.g., mystics and yogis) that their awareness is not limited by time and space, and this is validated by their own experience. That is, while noumena, by definition, cannot be apprehended by the senses, they can be apprehended via intuition or extrasensory perception.
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Re: How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Post by GaryLouisSmith » June 26th, 2019, 10:15 pm

spiltteeth wrote:
June 7th, 2019, 1:17 pm
Classical theists make the argument for God from the contingent to the absolute, or from the conditioned to the unconditioned, like Aquinas’s 3rd way.



A devotee of Schopenhauer, I imagine, would make 3 points.


1) You cannot apply our notions of causality beyond physical reality.

2) We only know our experience inside time and space, so how could we know this “God” beyond everything we know ?


3) We cannot know the noumena behind phenomena.



How might one respond ? As a platonist, or theist ?
As I understand Schopenhauer, the causal nexus grounds only changes of state, not of existential change, which is the change from non-existence to existence and back to non-existence. That assumes that the state of an object is not an existent. As a Platonist I would say that the individual and the properties it exemplifies are all existing things. Schopenhauer, I think, is taking the nominalistic view that the properties of a thing are not real entities. Maybe as a Kantian he believes that they are generated by the observing mind.

Anyway, Schopenhauer argues that the Cosmological Argument assumes that cause and effect can explain existential change, which he says it can’t. It seems to me that it also cannot ground or explain change of state. The causal nexus simply cannot ground change of any kind. There is in fact no such thing as change because all change assumes that there is an underlying substance that remains the same, through a change of state or existential change. But there is no underlying substance. Yes, that is all the vision of Parmenides. A difficult vision. Still, if you work at it you can begin to see that it is true, absolutely true.

If you are interested I will explain why I am an anti-substantialist.

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Re: How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Post by Felix » June 27th, 2019, 2:49 am

"If you are interested I will explain why I am an anti-substantialist."

Go ahead, Gary, it appears spiltteeth lost his front tooth and went off to find it.
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Re: How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Post by GaryLouisSmith » June 27th, 2019, 7:35 am

Felix wrote:
June 27th, 2019, 2:49 am
"If you are interested I will explain why I am an anti-substantialist."

Go ahead, Gary, it appears spiltteeth lost his front tooth and went off to find it.
Substance individuates. It is the individual that has or exemplifies properties. It is also that which accounts for self-identity through change. It is that last thing that is the problem.

Consider a piece of fruit on a tree. At first it is very little. As it get older and bigger its color and texture change. Finally it is ripe and then it falls to the ground and withers and drops the seeds within it. All the while it remains that particular individual. It is self-identical through change. Let’s call that individual, that substance, X. At time t1 X is F. at t2 X is G, at t3 X is J, at t4 X is H. Its properties F, G, J, and H change but X remains X. X is little, X is big, X is green, X is red. What keeps all that from being a contradiction is that each fact about X takes place at a different time. If they happened all at once, then it would truly violate the Law of Non-Contradiction.

So now we have to consider t1, t2, t3, t4 … tn. Do such moments that a substance is at really exist? And what about the nexus “at”? Are there really moments that individuals are at? Let’s assume that there are. These moments are related to each other. One is much later than another and one is more recent. So far, so good. Now along comes the Theory of Relativity, which says that the “distance” between moments changes according to one’s point of view. It can even happen that what is after from one point of view can be earlier from another. Moments it seems won’t stay put. They are not absolute, but relative. Absolute time vs. relative time. Newtonian time vs. Einsteinian time. With the coming of relativity, the whole notion of there being fixed moments that objects are at, becomes untenable.

So if we cannot say that the existence of absolute time and moments guarantees that change does not become contradictory, then what does? The notion of substance requires the notion of absolute time to avoid becoming self-contradictory. So either we have to drop the idea of substance or think of some other way to save it from contradiction. What other way is there? Beats me. As far as I know no philosopher has thought of any. In fact, I will go so far as to say that the problem of accounting for self-identity through change is a philosophical problem that human beings cannot solve. The End.

I half-way solve the problem by denying the existence of change tout court. I stand with Parmenides and Nagarjuna in that belief. A mad vision.

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Re: How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Post by Le Vautre » June 27th, 2019, 10:34 am

Schopenhauer in his On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason said that the error of theists is to think there is an escape to causality. I can say randomly that we can imagine a God without being, that is to say beyond causality. It's quite easy, in fact.

But I can't understand the second and third points, because Schopenhauer never said that. On the contrary, it's what Schopenhauer criticizes in the appendix against Kant in the World as Will and Representation's first volume. ...

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Re: How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Post by Sculptor1 » June 27th, 2019, 5:22 pm

There is no way to answer a critique of the cosmologial argument, since the argument itself has nothing to recommend it.
I'm not sure exactly what Shop said, but since the argument is;

"an argument for the existence of God which claims that all things in nature depend on something else for their existence (i.e. are contingent), and that the whole cosmos must therefore itself depend on a being which exists independently or necessarily."

It is inherently self refuting as contradictory.

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Re: How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Post by Le Vautre » June 27th, 2019, 7:02 pm

Could you elaborate?

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Re: How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Post by spiltteeth » June 27th, 2019, 7:22 pm

Sculptor1, Well, I've never heard the argument formulated that way, of course Aquinas believes there ARE things that exist in the universe that are not contingent, but there are some beings that lack the power to sustain their own existence - their existence is contingent upon something else....and so is THAT thing...and so on, until an unconditioned thing is necessary to ground it.

You'll have to help me see the contraction, I don't see it...

Gary, thanks for the response , I think you're correct, it is not a "cause" as Schop defines it - a change in an existing substance - and it never claims that God "causes" in such a manner, so I think a theist would agree with Schop, rather it is that "God" donates being, or that contingent beings are ontologically dependent upon "God."

Your idea's are interesting. So, correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't Einstein's theory depend upon an observer ? Such that he is not making ontological claims ? And further that it depends upon multiple viewers ? So for person 1 an event might appear to occur after can appear earlier - but only for another person ? But for person 1, if only there were one person in the universe, no such *apparent contradiction were possible ? And wouldn't a "God" outside of time solve this problem ? I thought the consequence of relativity was that we in fact live in a timeless cosmos a “block universe” — a static block of space-time - which is objective, yet will appear differently depending on the viewers relative orientation....

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Re: How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Post by GaryLouisSmith » June 27th, 2019, 7:24 pm

Le Vautre wrote:
June 27th, 2019, 10:34 am
Schopenhauer in his On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason said that the error of theists is to think there is an escape to causality. I can say randomly that we can imagine a God without being, that is to say beyond causality. It's quite easy, in fact.
I'm having a little trouble parsing your sentences. Sorry about that. I am a theist and I have never liked the cosmological argument, probably because i don't believe in the causal nexus as what can be the ground of one thing bring another thing into existence. Could you please reword you above sentences to help me understand them.

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Re: How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Post by Felix » June 27th, 2019, 7:25 pm

Gary, Schopenhauer is demanding dramamine, your peregrinations have made him nauseous!
GaryLouisSmith: Now along comes the Theory of Relativity, which says that the “distance” between moments changes according to one’s point of view. It can even happen that what is after from one point of view can be earlier from another. Moments it seems won’t stay put. They are not absolute, but relative.
Not quite... time slows down as one approaches the speed of light, relative to a stationary observer's perception of time, but the difference is negligible until one's speed is about 2/3rds that of the speed of light.
With the coming of relativity, the whole notion of there being fixed moments that objects are at, becomes untenable.
I'm afraid that never was a tenable notion or even a notable tenet.
The notion of substance requires the notion of absolute time to avoid becoming self-contradictory.
For all intents and purposes, time is absolute for us, at least until we are traveling close to the speed of light. But maybe we don't need to do it physically, just increase our perceptual powers to quasi-light-speed, perhaps even to the speed of light, wherein time would stand still and we'd enter a timeless state of mind. Sri Aurobindo spoke of the "mind of light," perhaps his bodhi had reached orbital escape velocity.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Post by Felix » June 27th, 2019, 7:51 pm

GaryLouisSmith: "I'm having a little trouble parsing your sentences."

It sounded like Le Vautre was just disagreeing with Schopenhauer.

Le Vautre: "But I can't understand the second and third points, because Schopenhauer never said that."

Yes, they don't sound like statements a Buddhist would make, which he more or less was.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Post by Le Vautre » June 27th, 2019, 8:14 pm

@GaryLouisSmith, it just means what phenomenology tells us: the apriorities of experience, or intentionality etc., don't exclude transcendence, namely, that the objects can be something else. On this basis, God might be what gives us this idea (Being gives beings for Heidegger)...

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Re: How does one answer Schopenhauer’s critique of the cosmological argument ? 


Post by GaryLouisSmith » June 27th, 2019, 9:09 pm

Felix wrote:
June 27th, 2019, 7:25 pm
Gary, Schopenhauer is demanding dramamine, your peregrinations have made him nauseous!
GaryLouisSmith: Now along comes the Theory of Relativity, which says that the “distance” between moments changes according to one’s point of view. It can even happen that what is after from one point of view can be earlier from another. Moments it seems won’t stay put. They are not absolute, but relative.
Not quite... time slows down as one approaches the speed of light, relative to a stationary observer's perception of time, but the difference is negligible until one's speed is about 2/3rds that of the speed of light.
With the coming of relativity, the whole notion of there being fixed moments that objects are at, becomes untenable.
I'm afraid that never was a tenable notion or even a notable tenet.
The notion of substance requires the notion of absolute time to avoid becoming self-contradictory.
For all intents and purposes, time is absolute for us, at least until we are traveling close to the speed of light. But maybe we don't need to do it physically, just increase our perceptual powers to quasi-light-speed, perhaps even to the speed of light, wherein time would stand still and we'd enter a timeless state of mind. Sri Aurobindo spoke of the "mind of light," perhaps his bodhi had reached orbital escape velocity.
Are you taking the idealist's position that it is human perception that gives context and therefore the truth and reality of the world? If that is gone, are there moments that objects are at? Is there, for you, an objective reality away from human perception?

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