Reply to professor Craig

Sophia 34 (2):15-29 (1995)
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Abstract

I hold that the considerations adduced in kalam cosmological arguments do not embody reasons for reflective atheists and agnostics to embrace the conclusion of those arguments, viz. that the universe had a cause of its existence. I do not claim to be able to show that reflective theists could not reasonably believe that those arguments are sound; indeed, I am prepared to concede that it is epistemically possible that the arguments procede validly from true premises. However, I am prepared to make the same concession about the following argument: Either 2+2=5 or God exists; 2+2?5; therefore God exists . But nobody could think that this argument deserves to be called a proof of its conclusion (even if it is sound). Of course, this latter argument is obviously circular: (almost) no one who was not antecedently persuaded of the truth of the conclusion would (have reason to) believe the first premise. But this fact does not entail that admittedly non circular arguments, such as the kalam cosmological arguments, cannot fail to be equally dialectically ineffective. And, indeed, that is the view which I wish to defend: there is not the slightest reason to think that kalam cosmological arguments should be dialectically effective against reasonable and reflective opponents.

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Graham Oppy
Monash University

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