Fr. Frederick C. Copleston om kontingensbeviset for Guds eksistens

[F]or clarity’s sake, I’ll divide the argument into distinct stages. First of all, I should say, we know that there are at least some beings in the world which do not contain in themselves the reason for their existence. For example, I depend on my parents, and now on the air, and on food, and so on. Now, secondly, the world is simply the real or imagined totality or aggregate of individual objects, none of which contain in themselves alone the reason for their existence. There isn’t any world distinct from the objects which form it, any more than the human race is something apart from the members. Therefore, I should say, since objects or events exist, and since no object of experience contains within itself reason of its existence, this reason, the totality of objects, must have a reason external to itself. That reason must be an existent being. Well, this being is either itself the reason for its own existence, or it is not. If it is, well and good. If it is not, then we must proceed farther. But if we proceed to infinity in that sense, then there’s no explanation of existence at all. So, I should say, in order to explain existence, we must come to a being which contains within itself the reason for its own existence, that is to say, which cannot not exist. (…)

[M]y point is that what we call the world is intrinsically unintelligible, apart from the existence of God. You see, I don’t believe that the infinity of the series of events — I mean a horizontal series, so to speak — if such an infinity could be proved, would be in the slightest degree relevant to the situation. If you add up chocolates you get chocolates after all and not a sheep. If you add up chocolates to infinity, you presumably get an infinite number of chocolates. So if you add up contingent beings to infinity, you still get contingent beings, not a necessary being. An infinite series of contingent beings will be, to my way of thinking, as unable to cause itself as one contingent being. However, you say, I think, that it is illegitimate to raise the question of what will explain the existence of any particular object?

Kjelde:

Debatt om Guds eksistens mellom Fr. Frederick C. Copleston og Bertrand Russell, 1948. http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p20.htm (08.08.2007) Henta frå Seckel, Al (red.), Bertrand Russell On God and Religion (Prometheus Books, 1986.)

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