Closed systems, explanations, and the cosmological argument

Examples involving infinite suspended chains or infinite trains are sometimes used to defend perceived weaknesses in traditional cosmological arguments. In this article, we distinguish two versions of the cosmological argument, suggest that such examples can only be relevant if it is one specific type of cosmological argument that is being considered, and then criticize the use of such examples in this particular type of cosmological argument. Our criticism revolves around a discussion of what it means to call a system closed, and what it means to call an explanation complete. Our analysis makes no suppositions about the nature of the infinite, and is therefore independent of many of the issues around which contemporary discussions of the cosmological argument have tended to revolve.
Keywords Cosmological argument  Explanation  Closed systems  Causation  First cause  Efficient cause  Causation in esse
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.2307/27646232
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Patterson Brown (1966). Infinite Causal Regression. Philosophical Review 75 (4):510-525.
David A. Conway (1983). Concerning Infinite Chains, Infinite Trains, and Borrowing a Typewriter. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 14 (2):71 - 86.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

53 ( #64,560 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

6 ( #118,705 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.