There Must Be A First: Why Thomas Aquinas Rejects Infinite, Essentially Ordered, Causal Series


Authors
Caleb Cohoe
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Abstract
Several of Thomas Aquinas's proofs for the existence of God rely on the claim that causal series cannot proceed in infinitum. I argue that Aquinas has good reason to hold this claim given his conception of causation. Because he holds that effects are ontologically dependent on their causes, he holds that the relevant causal series are wholly derivative: the later members of such series serve as causes only insofar as they have been caused by and are effects of the earlier members. Because the intermediate causes in such series possess causal powers only by deriving them from all the preceding causes, they need a first and non-derivative cause to serve as the source of their causal powers.
Keywords Thomas Aquinas  five ways  causal series  causal regress  infinite  causation  ontological dependence  proofs  God
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2013.816934
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References found in this work BETA

On What Grounds What.Jonathan Schaffer - 2009 - In David Manley, David J. Chalmers & Ryan Wasserman (eds.), Metametaphysics: New Essays on the Foundations of Ontology. Oxford University Press. pp. 347-383.
The Question of Realism.Kit Fine - 2001 - Philosophers' Imprint 1:1-30.
Truth and Ontology – Trenton Merricks.Ross Cameron - 2008 - Philosophical Quarterly 58 (232):544–546.

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Citations of this work BETA

On the Ultimate Ground of Being.Soufiane Hamri - 2018 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 83 (2):161-168.
Divine Foundationalism.Einar Duenger Bohn - 2018 - Philosophy Compass 13 (10):e12524.
Peter Olivi's Rejection of God's Concurrence with Created Causes.Gloria Frost - 2014 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 22 (4):655-679.

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