The universe has no cause or reason for being

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Parent debateThis argument is used in the debate Does God exist?.
Keywords: Cosmological argument, First cause, Causality, Reason for being, God[ edit ].


No cause because:

  • there is nothing outside the universe that could cause it
  • we can't see what could be a cause of the universe
  • the principle of sufficient reason is (always, everywhere) false (cf. Meillassoux's "principle of irrationality").


“It is a general maxim in philosophy that everything that begins to exist must have a cause of existence. This maxim is commonly taken to be granted in all reasoning without any proof given or asked for. It is assumed to be based on intuition, and to be one of those maxims that one can deny with one's lips but not really doubt in one's heart. [...] But here is an argument that proves at once that the preceding proposition is neither intuitively nor demonstratively certain. We can never demonstrate the necessity of a cause for any new existence, or for any new modification of existence, without showing at the same time that it is impossible for anything to begin to exist without a producing principle; and if the latter proposition cannot be proved, we must despair of ever being able to prove the former. We can be sure of this by considering that, as all distinct ideas are separable from one another, and as the ideas of cause and effect are obviously distinct, it will be easy for us to conceive that an object does not exist at one moment, and that it exists at the next moment, without attaching to it the distinct idea of a cause or producing principle. It is therefore clearly possible for the imagination to separate the idea of a cause from the idea of the beginning of existence, and, consequently, the effective separation of these objects is possible insofar as it implies neither contradiction nor absurdity; and, therefore, it is not susceptible of refutation by reasoning from ideas alone; and, without such reasoning, it is impossible to demonstrate the necessity of a cause.”



Arguments forJustifications

Arguments againstObjections

  • Argument againstCausality is not linked to temporal succession
  • Argument againstThe first cause may be of a non-physical nature
  • Argument againstThe exception to the principle of sufficient reason deserves justification
  • Argument againstBecause the universe is contingent, it has a cause

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